I’m sitting in a reclining chair with my mouth wide open as Dr Lum Yang Xi pokes and prods inside. By all accounts, it would seem as if I’m at the dentist, except that Dr Lum is an aesthetic doctor and she’s wielding a laser instead of dental tools.
The location? IDS Clinic, where I’m trying a new laser treatment that starts from - you guessed it - within the mouth. According to the press release and Dr Lum, it’s supposed to to stimulate collagen contraction to tighten the treated area and lift it from the inside out.
Naturally, I’m a little nervous about this (lasers beaming into the part I use to eat with? There’s a lot at stake here!). But Dr Lum assures me it’s safe and kicks off the session innocuously enough, by taking photos of my face from all angles so we can chart my progress. Then I’m ushered into a room where I’m told to gargle with industrial-strength mouthwash, after which a therapist helps remove my makeup. She also applies a numbing cream to my cheeks and along the jawline.
I lie down with my mouth wide open as Dr Lum aims a laser device at the insides of my cheeks and mouth that emits a high-pitched beep each time a targeted area is “hit”.
While certain areas become a little hot, especially the insides of the lip area, what’s more uncomfortable is having to keep my mouth open throughout (where are those dental mouth openers when you need one?).
After a while, I experience a tingling, slightly numbing feeling, in particular around the lips. Dr Lum tells me this should go away within a few hours.
She then moves on to the next step of the treatment using yet another laser to rejuvenate the skin and stimulate collagen production. This time though, it’s done on the skin’s surface. It feels like rubber bands flicking across the face and I have to control myself from flinching even with the numbing cream on.
There’s a slight burning smell in the air and I’m told that it’s my ultra-fine baby hair that’s being singed off. Eeks.
To finish, Dr Lum puts the laser device on a different setting and waves it across my cheeks - a bit like a magic wand, except that there’s extreme heat emitting from it. This is to heat the tissue within the skin to tighten, firm and lift the facial contours. To be really effective, the doctor says that the temperature needs to reach at least 42 degrees Celsius. Luckily, this doesn’t feel too bad; just imagine you’re sitting inside a sauna.
After the treatment is done, the therapist comes back and applies sunscreen on my face, then I’m good to go. All in all, it’s taken just 45 minutes, which is really quick. Dr Lum tells me that the effects of this Laser Lift will be seen over the course of the next few weeks.
Immediately after the treatment, I notice that my complexion looks somehow brighter and feels smoother to the touch. And in just two weeks, my laugh lines around the mouth are less prominent. My makeup doesn’t sink into them as much and I’m convinced my cheeks look a little fuller and not as droopy.
Would I go back? Perhaps - I think it’s a great complement to other lifting treatments like Thermage to enhance and prolong the effects.
$1,250 (excluding GST) per session. For more information, visit IDS Clinic, #05-07 Novena Specialist Center. Tel: 6568-3555.
Photos: Imaxtree and IDS
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