Customised beauty powered by science and the arts

These doctors believe their musical background allow them to be more attuned to the subtleties and details needed in their craft

Aesthetics clinic Veritas Medical Aesthetics provides customised treatments to suit patient's skin type and condition to minimise potential side-effects while maximising results. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

If a certain aesthetic treatment is not suitable for you, these doctors are going to say so, like it or not. Dr Chua Cheng Yu and Dr Lena Fan believe so strongly in being honest with their patients that, when they set up their clinic, they named it after the goddess of truth in Roman mythology, Veritas.

Dr Chua, Veritas Medical Aesthetics' founder and medical director, says, "The clinic was set up in 2017 with a unique approach, as most places are centred on glamour, beauty and luxury, but not ideals such as truth, honesty and efficacy. We tell patients the truth - if they don't need the treatment, we will tell them. We give them what they need and not what they want."

After all, he adds, different types of beauty and minor imperfections can be distinctive, such as a beauty mole. "You don't seek to balance it with a mole on the other side of your face," he shares.

Dr Chua, 36, and Veritas' clinical director Dr Fan, 36, have combined more than 10 years of experience in aesthetic medicine. Dr Chua has a post-graduate qualification from the Royal College of Surgeons (Edinburgh), while Dr Fan has a background in family medicine. Add to this a strong background in music, and you have passionate doctors whose appreciation of tone, mood and beauty impact the way they approach their work daily.

Dr Chua, who won both the first prize and the Marion S Gray Outstanding Musician Award at the prestigious Bartok-Kabalevsky International Piano Competition in the U.S. in 1998 at age 13, was a concert pianist before he gave it up for medicine. He is also a photographer and says their foundation in the arts gives them a fine eye for details "to pick up subtleties and keep highlights natural" when treating patients.

He adds, "As pianists, the pianoforte part can be very challenging, as you have to go from loud to really soft but still be able to get the notes crisp and nice. To do that, you need firm control to enunciate clearly - we apply the same fine touch to aesthetic treatments. A delicate touch, for example, is essential for under-eye or upper eyelid fillers, where the skin is very thin, coupled with very precise eye-hand coordination and minute movements."

Backed by science

Dr Fan, a former church pianist, adds, "Our training in the arts hones our artistic sensibility to successfully create beautiful faces. Patients trust us to give safe and effective results as our treatments are supported by clinical evidence and science."

Dr Chua reiterates, "Our treatments are backed up by hard science. The clinic offers a comprehensive range, from an 18-laser set-up to energy devices and injectables, and we also do minor surgery such as the removal of moles, simple lumps, bumps and cuts."

Emphasising the hard science involved, Dr Fan explains, "Take, for example, the body-contouring through cryo-lipolysis or Coolsculpting 'fat freeze' treatment - which is applied to areas of the body with excess, superficial or subcutaneous fat. This goes way back to 2008 and is backed by clinical trials to prove its efficacy and safety."

Dr Chua Cheng Yu (left) and Dr Lena Fan believe in being honest with their patients, using an approach of truth, honesty and efficacy with their patients. PHOTO: VERITAS MEDICAL AESTHETICS

Dr Chua points out that body-contouring is a fusion of art and science, "knowing where the fat pads are, and which ones to keep and which to remove". He explains, "Many people don't know that fat removal with Coolsculpting is permanent. While proper work renders permanent beauty, bad jobs result in long-lasting disfigurement."

Over the years, the clinic has developed and improved several protocols for different conditions, adds Dr Fan. "We customise treatments to the patient's skin type and condition to minimise potential side-effects while maximising results." She points to the 18-laser set-up used to address a wide range of issues, including eye bags, dark eye circles, acne scarring, wrinkles and skin pigmentation.

The most common problems among patients are facial sagging, wrinkles, acne, pigmentation as well as hair-thinning and hair loss. Patients range from teenagers to those in their 80s, but Dr Fan stresses no two patients would have the same exact procedure as the doctors take into consideration their age, sex and skin type. That is why a detailed consultation is crucial, adds Dr Chua, to manage the patients' expectations and for the doctors to guide them as to what is realistic and the choices available.

Some of the treatments at Veritas include the BLADELESS, where lasers are combined with a unique protocol created by the two doctors, to help lift the skin; and the PERFECT, which uses a combination of lasers targeting different layers of the skin to help treat skin irregularities such as scars, wrinkles, bumps and uneven surfaces. There's also the BLEND, which Dr Chua says "is a cocktail of non-invasive lasers to treat pigmentation and acne and to help mop up blemishes on the face, which is only made possible given the unique 18-laser set-up."

The doctors also stay at the forefront of changing trends. Balance and proportion are components of classic facial beauty throughout history, with the human face demonstrating the Grecian "golden ratio" of 1:1.61 in their proportions. But different cultures influence the way people perceive beauty, says Dr Fan. "The popularity of K-pop has made feminine masculinity such as a soft jawline, sharp nose and pale skin a coveted look for men in some Asian countries. On the other hand, Westerners sunbathe to get tanned skin while Asians are bothered by it."

Another aesthetic medicine trend is to use Botox for facial "rebalancing". For example, some aesthetic doctors may use the injectable to "soften a square and asymmetrical jawline". Dr Chua explains, "Botox is about muscle rebalancing and relaxing. Its results may differ from one 'chef' to another, as it's all about the finer art of injecting."

To him, aesthetic medicine is not a job or career, but a passion. "It's very fulfilling when our patients trust our hands and are satisfied with the results, and we go on to become friends," he adds.

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