AGNES at The Clifford Clinic: Avada Kedavra, Recurrent Acne!

Hello everyone!

There are plenty of myths and old wives’ tales surrounding our skin that I can turn a blind eye to. But what really grinds my gears is the false notion that people suffering from acne will eventually grow out of the condition. While it may be so for some lucky souls, this belief usually does not hold true for the more severe cases. A good case in point would be yours truly, who even at the ripe age of 29, is still battling with cystic and nodular acne, sometimes worse than what I had in my adolescent years.

I know, I know… This is the umpteenth post about my acne and you’re probably sick of reading about my acne encounters already. Plus, haven’t I already found the cure to my skin woes? Don’t get me wrong – the oral prescription and Q-switch treatment worked like a charm and helped my skin revert to the flawless state in my prepubescent days. No kidding, my confidence peaked and I was able to go anywhere without putting on any makeup and still looked great. However, with it comes an undesirable price that no one would be willing to pay – extreme brittleness and dryness in hair (caused by the medication), leading to thinning and baldness.

Nice skin but hair was so dry!

Nice skin but hair was so dry!

At first, I didn’t think much of it because bruh, what’s a little hair loss compared to years of terrible skin, right? That was, until I realised that my part had become way wider than normal and I was also leaving traces of my hair everywhere I went (think strands of hair strewn all over the canteen table, work desk, shared spaces, etc – how embarrassing 😞). I was convinced that I was going to be prematurely bald at that rate so I stopped taking the oral medication completely. Within two weeks of the cessation, BAM! The zits came back, this time populating a more extensive area of my face 😭

Bumpy face 2 weeks after stopping oral medication

Bumpy face 2 weeks after stopping oral medication

Bumpy forehead (and my thinning hair)

Bumpy forehead (and my thinning hair)

Dr Ee was naturally shocked to see the state of my face when I turned up for my appointment. He brought up the suggestion of undergoing AGNES but I was hesitant because I remembered stumbling upon an online article (he totally knew which) that refuted the efficacy of the treatment (especially the claim that it would make the skin permanently dry – which I honestly would very much prefer to having unrelenting breakouts). Dr Gerard Ee was quick to denounce the credibility of such sources with solid medical facts (that only very few oil glands are destroyed in proportion to the millions of oil glands located throughout the entire face) and make me feel that I was in good hands. So, I agreed to undergo AGNES right there and then 🙊

Zee AGNES equipment

Zee AGNES equipment

But due to the rigorous nature of the treatment, I was advised to embark on it during the school holiday so that I wouldn’t have to deal with rude stares and comments from people I met. I was so glad I heeded his advice because I wasn’t expecting the treatment to be so potent 😱

Cleansing the face again

Cleansing the face again

Topical anaesthetic cream was administered to my face about 20 minutes prior to the treatment. After the slight numbing took effect, I was led into the treatment room where an aesthetician would cleanse and scale my skin. This step involved full-face drainage with the much-dreaded extraction which – I swear to God – wasn’t as excruciating as what I had experienced before (though it still hurt despite the anaesthetic cream). This could possibly also be due to the fact that most of my zits were “ripe” and hence didn’t require the extractor to go too deep into the skin.

Extract those gunk!

Extract those gunk!

 

Once those nasty gunk were out of the way, the same aesthetician applied a clear, light-blue, semi-cooling gel (or electrode gel) on my face before sticking an adhesive rubber pad (called ground plate or neutral electrode) on my back to enable monopolar radio-frequency current to penetrate the tissue through a tiny microscopic needle that would later be inserted into my skin follicle and sebaceous glands. The needle insertion was performed solely by Dr Ee under microscopic guidance to allow highly accurate targeting of overzealous glands without thermal injury to the skin. Upon each insertion, he would step on a foot switch to emit a pulse of electric current to destroy the identified problematic sebaceous glands.

All ready to be AGNES'd!

All ready to be AGNES’d!

Some discomfort was definitely felt with each zap (it intensified on the not-so-fleshy parts like the forehead) and I was pretty sure that if I were any less tolerant to pain, I would have been reduced to tears at the end of the treatment. Throughout the whole process, Dr Ee and his assistant (the aesthetician) tried to keep me calm by making small talks, and it also helped that familiar instrumental music was playing in the background to distract myself in between conversations.

Ahhhh ouch!

Ahhhh ouch!

The sacrifices I make for clear skin...

The sacrifices I make for clear skin…

My face was noticeably much redder and bumpier than before at the end of the treatment. The little dried blot clots all over my acne-prone areas caused by the continual poking had undoubtedly left me feeling so self-conscious that I wouldn’t go anywhere outside my house without a surgical mask for the next few days.

Immediately after the first session of AGNES

Immediately after the first session of AGNES

Day 2 (before the follow-up appointment) - affected areas had dried up quite a bit. I did not put on any face cream here

Day 2 (before the follow-up appointment)Day 2 (before the follow-up appointment) – affected areas had dried up quite a bit. I did not put on any face cream here

(Day 2, pre-appointment condition) The other side

(Day 2, pre-appointment condition) The other side

The hair follicles would be filled with exudate and debris after the treatment so it was imperative for me to return to the clinic the following day to remove them lest they become a source of infection. The post-care treatment includes melting the treated areas (using a bipolar device to deliver a suitable amount of heat to the skin) to facilitate the extraction of sebum and debris. At the same time, it would also prevent scar formation. The follow-up treatment was wholly administered by the aesthetician since it was minimally invasive (save for the extraction process) and it lasted no more than 15 minutes.

Applying electrode gel

Applying electrode gel

With electrode gel on

With electrode gel on

Melting treated area for easier extraction

Melting treated area for easier extraction

Merry-go-round on the face

Merry-go-round on the face

Cleaning up the gel

Cleaning up the gel

Face became slightly redder

Face became slightly redder

Extraction

Extraction

Thankfully, those concerned spots (which were now scabs) gradually diminished in size and became less conspicuous over time before finally disappearing without a trace after close to two weeks. During this recovery period (which may vary from one individual to another), I had to stay away from the sun and make-up – something which everyone knew I could never imagine being without.

Day 3. Zits turning into scabs!

Day 3. Zits turning into scabs!

Day 3. YES I could totally feel them healing

Day 3. YES I could totally feel them healing

AGNES certainly brought some inconveniences (imagine having to deal with curious glances and explain repeatedly that you are not ill to those who think otherwise just because you’re wearing a face mask), so much so that it had made me wonder for a split second if I had made a mistake in agreeing to go ahead with the treatment. But seeing how my face has cleared up and remained largely spotless until now (with most of my hair still intact), I think the trouble I had gone through was worthwhile.

Day 5. SO MUCH BETTER!

Day 5. SO MUCH BETTER!

(Sorry for the blur quality) Almost entirely gone on Day 8!

(Sorry for the blur quality) Almost entirely gone on Day 8!

Could already put on some light makeup by Day 11!

Could already put on some light makeup by Day 11!

Of course, it is still too early to tell if this treatment is a hundred percent effective (but I must say progress has been rather promising so far). I’ll continue to monitor my condition and keep you guys posted if anything crops up.

Would you consider AGNES for your persistent acne after reading this review? Share your thoughts or experience with me (if you have undergone this treatment) in the comments below! 😊 If you are not ready for AGNES yet, be sure to check out the other acne treatments offered by The Clifford Clinic here as well !

Thanks for reading!

The Clifford Clinic ¡ 24 Raffles Place #01-03 Clifford Centre Singapore 048621 (Exit A from Raffles Place MRT) ¡ Tel: 6532 2400 / 8318 6332 (WhatsApp) ¡ For more information about AGNES, do visit Their website or Like them on Facebook and Instagram.

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for bite-sized beauty updates!

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Individualised Acne Treatments at The Clifford Clinic: Hydrafacial + Q-switch Laser + Topical & Oral Therapy

Hello everyone!

LONG READ WITH SOME REVOLTING IMAGES AHEAD BUT THE INFORMATION YOU’LL SEE IS VERY BENEFICIAL FOR ACNE SUFFERERS, I PROMISE

Pardon me for sounding like a broken record, but for the sake of new readers who have only seen spotless (pun intended) pictures of me in my makeup reviews, I need to make a revelation: they were most likely photoshopped to save you from throwing up. “But why? Are you that ashamed of your flaws?” Of course I am, especially when struggling with acne as bad as this:

This is still far from the worst I've experienced

This is still far from the worst I’ve experienced

Having suffered from acne since I was 15 years old, I know firsthand the stigma attached to it. At my lowest point, I dreaded going outdoors because my pimply face would attract looks of disgust. A trip to the mall was never one without pushy salespeople reminding me about my skin condition in a desperate attempt to sell me acne-fighting products. With my confidence at rock bottom, I kept to myself as I was afraid the next conversation would revolve around my face, again. I was apprehensive about standing up for myself in conversations or arguments for fear that my acne would be used against me, and I lost count of the number of times I broke down in front of the mirror – all these aggravated by the fact that I’ve been called “pimple girl” or “mo peng” (Hokkien for pockmarked face) for the most part of my secondary school life.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne vulgaris – or commonly known as acne – is almost like an epidemic which plagues about 85 percent of teens in each generation. Depending on your luck, the condition may persist for only a year or two, or when you eventually grow out of it. But unfortunate souls like myself have to deal with it for the decades because literally nothing worked to cure it. Some topical products did help to subside a few existing cysts, but not without allowing new ones to form. Thus for 13 years, my face was constantly riddled with angry pimples and scars which no amount of makeup was able to conceal due to their dark and bumpy nature.

M Y T H   D E B U N K E D
Contrary to popular beliefs, acne is not caused mainly by poor personal hygiene although cleanliness does play an important role in skin care, and this is coming from me, whose once porcelain-smooth complexion was blemished by agonising pustules and cysts time and time again despite being a clean freak and religiously washing my face twice or thrice each day. So don’t, for God’s sake, tell an acne sufferer that she’s in dire need of a shower. It’s not funny.

The acne eruption became so extensive and severe as I grew older (how ironic, when acne is supposed to get better with age) that I had conceded to the fact that I would have to live with breakouts for the rest of my life..

..until Dr Gerard Ee of The Clifford Clinic came to my rescue. In fact, their acne treatment wasn’t one of my initial considerations because I thought my condition was already under control by the antibiotics given by my previous clinic. But as soon as the course was completed, BAM! The pimples returned in full swing. Seeing how promising their acne treatment is, I decided to take a leap of faith and entrust my face to Dr Ee.

Surprisingly, much as this condition is mostly associated with puberty, adult acne has also been on the rise globally with “more than 50 percent of women in their 20s suffering from acne, and over 35 percent and 26 percent of women in their 30s and 40s respectively” going through the same ordeal. Although the causes for adult acne are debatable, research has shown links to hormones and genetics, not forgetting stress which is prevalent in today’s fast-paced society so you never know when you’ll be affected by this distressing problem.

To gear you up for any unforeseen bumpy ride, below are some acne treatment options I had explored at The Clifford Clinic which you may want to consider trying out in times of crisis. For the handful of you who have been suffering from since adolescence, they might just be the permanent answer to your skin woes.

HydraFacial

HydraFacial® is a medical-grade treatment and the only hydradermabrasian procedure that cleanses, detoxifies, exfoliates, extracts and hydrates all at once to achieve better acne control for all skin types and complexions. A non-ablative facial treatment that uses the patented 4-in-1 Vortex Technology™, it involves a four-step process including Vortex-Exfoliation™, Vortex-Peel™, Vortex-Extraction™ and Vortex-Fusion®, each marked by a different coloured HydroPeel® tip for attaching to the handpiece. But most incredibly, the whole procedure only takes less than 45 minutes (depending on whether you have makeup on) while offering noticeable results with no downtime, thus making it a great lunchtime beauty fix.

HydroPeelÂŽ tips

HydroPeelÂŽ tips (source)

Before beginning each treatment, my therapist would carefully remove my eye makeup with a couple of drenched cotton pads, and then gently massage cleansing foam into the rest of my face. The makeup removal process is so soothing that I would admittedly wear makeup to the treatment even when there wasn’t any need to just so that I could enjoy those additional minutes of pure luxury 😝 Most of the time, I would descend into a rejuvenating sleep at this point.

Note: all images are unaltered and were taken during the first session unless otherwise stated
Melting away the eye makeup

Melting away the eye makeup

Wiping away foundation

Wiping away foundation

Taadaah! My horrible skin!

Taadaah! My horrible skin!

Cleansing stage now

Cleansing stage now

Love the massage!

Love the massage!

But I have mixed feelings about the therapist touching my neck and collarbone hahaha damn ticklish!

But I have mixed feelings about the therapist touching my neck and collarbone hahaha damn ticklish!

Towel-drying my face before HydraFacial

Towel-drying my face before HydraFacial

(P/S: Kindly pardon my unsightly double chin. These were taken before my first Sygmalift session 🤣)

HydraFacial room

HydraFacial room

HydraFacial machine

HydraFacial machine

The treatment starts off with cleansing and exfoliation using Activ-4™ serum – a combination of Lactic Acid and Glucosamine – to resurface the skin and create a clean canvas. Acid peel is then performed using the GlySal™ solution (7.5% Glycolic Acid and 2% Salicylic Acid Peel) in tandem with Vortex-FusionÂŽ technology to slough off dead skin cells before extraction is painlessly carried out with a vortex suction nozzle (instead of squeezing – ouch!) to draw impurities out of the pores. As a finishing touch to the now-radiant skin, Antiox-6™ – a powerful formula made up of the deeply moisturizing Hyaluronic Acid and detoxifying antioxidants such as Vitamins A, E, White Tea Extract, Horse Chestnut Extract and Rosemary Extract – is applied to replenish the skin’s natural elasticity and hydration. At the same time, it also helped detoxify and protect the skin from environmental free radicals. ˢᵒᵘʳᶜᵉ The therapist then concludes the treatment with a therapeutic massage on the face and neck area.

HydraFacial (Extraction)

HydraFacial (Extraction)

Sucking out more junk from areas with clogged pores..

Sucking out more junk from areas with clogged pores..

And my zits.. horrible, horrible zits..

And my zits.. horrible, horrible zits..

Absolutely pain-free!

Absolutely pain-free!

More massage!

More massage!

Time for mask! This step was specially incorporated into the session to suit my skin, so be sure to ask for it (additional charges apply) if you're keen!

Time for mask! This step was specially incorporated into the session to suit my skin, so be sure to ask for it (additional charges apply) if you’re keen!

One more snap before I doze off..

One more snap before I doze off..

Mask removal, and a little bit of massage

Mask removal, and a little bit of massage 😍

Post-HydraFacial!

Post-HydraFacial!

HydraFacial felt vastly different from all the facials I’ve had in the past. Every session was truly a relaxing and indulgent experience and I actually enjoyed every single part of it, even taking the opportunity to catch forty winks after a long day’s work which wouldn’t be possible with traditional facials. Unlike traditional facials that punish horrible skin with an excruciating extraction process which often leaves the face looking terribly blotchy at the end (also why I dreaded facials – my face always seemed worse than before so I often wondered why people pay to torture themselves), Hydrafacial manages to achieve similar effects (i.e. immediate reduction of redness and inflammation) without putting the person through sheer hell. In fact, Dr Ee does not advocate the use of comedone extractor or any form of squeezing for the main reason that these old-school techniques can potentially lead to scarring.

Psst.. first-time customers get to enjoy HydraFacial at an introductory rate! Find out more by calling The Clifford Clinic at 65322400 or through WhatsApp at 83186332.

According to the clinic, between 5 to 10 sessions are needed to clear up the whole face but as always, results vary from person to person. Much as I take delight in getting my face pampered, Hydrafacial alone did not come close to improving my condition which I suspected had been due to inner factors. So while it helped reduce clogged and congested pores to some extent after each session, it didn’t take long for them to revert to their original state *sigh* But instead of stopping Hydrafacial altogether, Dr Ee suggested I do it in conjunction with other treatments.

Can I interest you with pictures taken during my second HydraFacial session?

Can I interest you with pictures taken during my second HydraFacial session?

After the session. LOOK AT MY FACE.

After the session. LOOK AT MY FACE.

Right side

Right side

Left side

Left side

Topical & Oral Therapy

For optimal results, proper at-home care in between visits is imperative – that’s why Dr Ee prescribed a series of topical products to me to ensure that oil production was regulated even when I wasn’t in the clinic, and hopefully treat my acne too. The first set of products ranged from face cleanser to moisturiser and acne cream. But prior experience and more than a decade of trying my luck with topical products told me that they weren’t going to miraculously pull the plug on acne, so I requested for oral antibiotics to kinda like nip things in the bud.

First set of topical products from The Clifford Clinic

First set of topical products from The Clifford Clinic

Hence, apart from the clinic’s self-formulated Balancing Facial Wash, Balancing Facial Cream (a really light moisturiser which restores the levels of missing free fatty acids, namely linoleic and linolenic acid, without the excessive oiliness), and Stieva-A Cream (a tretinoin cream which stops acne growth by keeping skin pores clear and making skin less oily), I was also given a month’s dosage of green capsules called Doxycycline which supposedly target and kill the acne-causing bacteria in the pores while minimising any inflammation of the skin. True enough, my face started clearing up tremendously within a few days of taking the medication (although my skin did become flaky around the chin area), giving me the confidence of going makeup-free at work. I had found my cure – or so I thought.

On Doxycycline

On Doxycycline

Sadly, the effects were short-lived. Soon after completing the course, my pimples returned with a vengeance, causing daily makeup application to be ever more challenging and time-consuming on the bumpy surface. Doxycycline was then replaced with Ermycin, another antibiotics that prevents excessive oiliness of the skin. This was supplemented with Epiduo Gel, an antibiotic-free topical acne treatment with a fixed dose combination of 0.1% adapalene and 2.5% benzoyl peroxide and a proven track record of being highly effective on acne. But likewise, the condition was suppressed only right until the very last pill. And to make matters worse, my face reacted unusually sensitively (allergy reaction?) to the benzoyl peroxide in the cream despite the low concentration and swelled like a puffer fish. Worried that it would affect my day-to-day activities (it was my busiest week of the month), I paid an emergency visit to Dr Ee the following operating day and was given a soothing cream and some medication to calm the swelling (which thankfully went down in a week).

Epiduo day 2, one day before it officially turned me into a puffer fish

Epiduo day 2, one day before it officially turned me into a puffer fish

My face was starting to itch quite badly

My face was starting to itch quite badly

AND BOOM. My face turned crusty, warm and itchier. Furthermore, I couldn't take leave from work because I had an important presentation on that day! 😭

AND BOOM. My face turned crusty, warm and itchier. Furthermore, I couldn’t take leave from work because I had an important presentation on that day! 😭

With almost every option exhausted, Dr Ee persuaded me to try taking a kind of oral medication – a controversial one for severe acne conditions, in fact, which I had been resisting because of the scores of side effects it brings about such as extreme dryness of the skin and birth defects if a woman takes it during pregnancy, coupled with the fear that my acne would flare up even more after the course (this is a misconception, by the way). The prescription is an incredibly potent medication which works by cutting down the amount of oily substances (sebum) made by glands in the skin, and if this turned out to be ineffective as well, Dr Ee would have to resort to the AGNES treatment, which involves a downtime (not advisable for my job which long sick leaves are frowned upon) and high pain tolerance.

Determined to put an end to my nightmare, I relented and started with a low dose of the medication. In the first week, the unforeseen happened and my acne actually got worse. At that point in time, I felt kinda angry with Dr Ee for his “ill-advised” recommendation and was this close to quitting. But not wanting to leave a useless drug lying around, I decided to press on and complete the course.

One after another, the cystic pimples on my face shrunk and faded away as the days went by, leaving a baby-smooth complexion that was more glowing and flawless than before. Amazingly, I could even wear foundation for the whole day in humid Singapore and not spot a single trace of greasiness on my face! And for the first time in 13 years, people complimented my skin! But I didn’t want to keep my hopes too high only to be knocked down again by another massive breakout after the last pill so I waited..

After 10 hours, my makeup still looked the same as when it was first applied. Sorry for the lips.. couldn't control myself from picking them

After 10 hours, my makeup still looked the same as when it was first applied. Sorry for the lips.. couldn’t control myself from picking them 😭

And waited..

I am in love with my new skin

I am in love with my new skin

AND STILL NO NEW ZITS AFTER TWO WEEKS (and counting, even with a diet of fried food and late nights 😂)? Goddammit, this thing actually works! 

Excuse my French, but the prescription is the shit and I am kicking myself for not taking it earlier – it could’ve saved me from all the agony and self-loathing. My skin has never been better even though understandably, I have been getting itchy rashes all over my body. On top of that, my lips have also been chapping like crazy (arm yourselves with tons of lip balm!) and I have to refrain from using matte lipsticks. But sheesh, what’s chapped lips compared to a decade of acne-ridden skin? Lipsticks can wait 😂

This prescription had certainly enabled the other treatments mentioned here (without which my condition wouldn’t have improved so quickly) to perform more effectively. However, due to its possible complications, oral medication is only available on prescription only and you’d have to sign a consent form before it is dispensed to you. On top of that, what may work for me may not necessary work for others, so it’s always best to seek medical advice from a skin expert like Dr Ee who has probably seen (and cured) the worst of cases of acne.

Q-switch Laser

So, I have finally found a solution to my acne. Now what? The truth is, only half the battle is won. Those pesky pimples left behind a strewn of irate scars to remind me that they were never going to be exterminated.

My acne marks

My acne marks 😡

Thirteen years ago, they would have gotten their way. But not anymore. To eliminate acne and its remnants once and for all, Dr Ee recommended Q-switch laser, a no-downtime method for pigment removal (e.g. hyperpigmentation, freckles, melasma) which involves emitting short pulses of high-energy laser light towards the affected area to break down the pigment molecules into smaller fragments. The laser energy is cleared away naturally by the body’s lymphatic system upon being absorbed by the skin, making it safe with no side effects. Moreover, because this treatment only requires 10 to 15 minutes, it is typically done during lunchtime and after which, patients can expect to resume their normal activities.

SCARS BE GONE!

SCARS BE GONE!

Q-switch laser

Q-switch laser

Post-laser. Eyes turned red from the sudden change in lighting haha

Post-laser. Eyes turned red from the sudden change in lighting haha

A single session is capable of lightening or removing 70 to 100% of acne scars. In my case, probably 75% of my scars were visibly lighter than before while the more stubborn ones took about three sessions to be completely gotten rid of.  In addition, this treatment is also an excellent preventive measure against acne as it eradicates the sebaceous glands and removes the bacteria that causes pimples and acne. For pre-existing acne, it helps reduce inflammation and minimise pores so the skin is less prone to leaving marks.

But all these benefits are not without some stinging sensation as the procedure is being executed especially during the first few sessions which made my eyes tear behind the protective goggles 😂 Even so, the sting was still tolerable for me and it sorta diminished in intensity with more sessions. After the treatment, your nose will also constantly pick up slight burning smell (to be exact, the smell of fried facial hair) until you wash your face.

Still, these are small change compared to the many more years I would have suffered from acne if I hadn’t gone to The Clifford Clinic.

Skin now // 8 months after first consultation with Dr Ee and 4 months after starting on Oratane. Can't be more thankful to the clinic!

Skin now // 8 months after first consultation with Dr Ee. Can’t be more thankful to the clinic!

What are some of your experiences with acne and how did you deal with it? Also, let me know in the comments below if this review has helped you!

Thanks for reading!

The Clifford Clinic ¡ 24 Raffles Place #01-03 Clifford Centre Singapore 048621 (Exit A from Raffles Place MRT) ¡ Tel: 6532 2400 / 8318 6332 (WhatsApp) ¡ For more information about the acne treatments offered by The Clifford Clinic, do visit Their website or Like them on Facebook and Instagram.
Treatments were complimentary in exchange for this review but all opinions expressed are my own.

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for bite-sized beauty updates!

HIFU Sygmalift at The Clifford Clinic: Non-Invasive Facelift for a V-Line Face

Hello everyone!

Face shape is pretty much a make-or-break factor to a new look or hairstyle. Having naturally bestowed with one that is globally adored (for which I thank my Dad), my V-shape visage – characterised by a small and slim oval face narrowing down to a sharp chin and a refined jawline like a melon seed (how the Chinese descriptive term for this face shape – 瓜子脸 – is derived) – has always been on the receiving end of compliments because it is perceived to impart a sculpted and youthful appearance while enhancing facial features. In the eyes of the Koreans and Chinese, a V-line face is also a mark of feminine beauty.

But like everyone knows, nothing is eternal. As the face undergoes the ageing process, it begins to lose structure and elasticity, and slowly becomes an inverted V with a droopy jowl area and a broader lower face. Contrary to popular beliefs, these unwelcome changes can take place as early as in our 20s – or about 25 in my case as evident from my growing double chin – and are often exacerbated by late nights and an unhealthy diet, no thanks to our poor work ethics. If this were the 20th century, the loss of volume in the face would be irrevocable and only get worse as the years go by. But luckily for us, the advancement of technology in recent years has made it possible to reverse these effects brought about by ageing and, what’s more, even alter the appearance of the face by creating a more pronounced cheekbone and chin – all administered by professionals and without the need to go under the knife!

Granted, there may be over-the-counter products that promise similar results but in terms of efficacy, safety and speed, nothing honestly comes close to Sygmalift – a non-surgical, painless process that has risen in popularity among those not ready to deal with the risks of a nip and tuck. It uses combination therapy of High Intensity Focal Ultrasound (HIFU) for facial remodelling and lifting, and Cold Laser 635 nm for bio-stimulation and enhancing skin glow. Not only does it yield long-term results without the downtime, it is also relatively quicker (about an hour) and more affordable than traditional facelift procedures that can amount to thousands of dollars.

The Clifford Clinic

The Clifford Clinic

The Clifford Clinic

The Clifford Clinic

One of the pioneer aesthetics clinics to offer this newest and most advanced HIFU technology in Singapore is The Clifford Clinic where I was invited by Dr Gerard Ee to experience this wonder first-hand to hopefully address my anti-ageing woes. As opposed to traditional HIFUs which penetrate at precise depths in the skin with very focused large beams and thereby causing a lot of discomfort and pain during treatment, HIFU Sygmalift uses fractionated beams that enable them to painlessly bypass the surface of the skin and penetrate at very precise depths to stimulate and remodel collagen without the need for painkillers or application of numbing cream.

HIFU Sygmalift machine

HIFU Sygmalift machine

Before undergoing Sygmalift. This was the state of my face in November 2017 - so horribly sad! So apart from Sygmalift, Dr Ee also recommended a series of acne treatments for me to try and these experiences will be covered in my next post!

Before undergoing Sygmalift. This was the state of my face in November 2017 – so horribly sad! So apart from Sygmalift, Dr Ee also recommended a series of acne treatments for me to try and these experiences will be covered in my next post!

Preparing to receive the therapy

Preparing to receive the therapy

Let's get started!

Let’s get started!

Suitable and safe for all ages and skin types, this treatment is perfect for facial rejuvenation as well as for saggy cheeks, crow’s feet, jowl and laugh lines reduction. Depending on your age and skin condition, it is recommended to be done once a week over a span of 3 to 6 weeks. Admittedly, my skin hasn’t quite reached a state of crisis so intensive care wasn’t necessary for me. Thus, I was only required to undergo 2 sessions of Sygmalift nearly 3 weeks apart. Results of skin tightening and lifting can be observed progressively within 40 days and are expected to last up to 12 months. In fact, there was already noticeable difference during my first session which followed after my Hydrafacial (but that’s another story and shall be told another time 😉).

From the chin

From the chin

To the jawline

To the jawline

And then to the cheekbone

And then to the cheekbone

Notice that my face is slightly lifted on the right now?

Notice that my face is slightly lifted on the right now?

Both times, my makeup would have been entirely removed by the therapist performing the Hydrafacial on me prior to the Sygmalift procedure (otherwise, I’d have to remove it myself), so there was always a sparkling clean surface to work on. Upon applying a layer of cool gel all over my face (as a conductor for the beams to penetrate better into the skin as well as to reduce friction), the therapist firmly pressed the handheld device down onto one side of my jawline (it may take awhile to get used to the pressure), slowly and smoothly sliding her way up to the cheekbone. The whole process involved repeating the same set of steps at one targeted area several times before proceeding to the next, and because it was so therapeutic, I tried very hard to fight off my drowsiness in the middle of the treatment just so that I could keep tabs on what was happening. But my perseverance level plummeted by the second session and I subsequently slept through the next 😂

Moving on to the left side!

Moving on to the left side!

From this picture, you can tell roughly how much pressure is exerted onto my face

From this picture, you can tell roughly how much pressure is exerted onto my face

Done! My face felt a little swollen after the procedure but it was just temporary

Done! My face felt a little swollen after the procedure but it was just temporary

The treatment comprises two parts – the first being the focal ultrasound which helps reduce the fat and lift the muscle while the second the laser to stimulate collagen production and tightening. The latter would require me to wear laser-protective goggles and put my ability to take pictures without a sight to the test 😂

Wiping off the cool gel in preparation for the next part of Sygmalift

Wiping off the cool gel in preparation for the next part of Sygmalift

Putting on the safety goggles...

Putting on the safety goggles…

Part 2 begins now!

Part 2 begins now!

Post-Sygmalift

Post-Sygmalift

So, did I fare well? LOL.

On that day I underwent my final session, I had my passport photo taken and was pleasantly surprised at how much sharper my chin and jawline had become as compared to how I looked previously in 2012! But considering that I have also started frequenting the gym and engaging in more intense exercises, I must say that my weight loss does play a part in reducing the chubbiness of my face as well.

November 2017 (left) and 2012

November 2017 (left) and 2012

As an added bonus, here's me throughout the years XD

As an added bonus, here’s me throughout the years XD

Although no downtime is associated with this treatment, there is still bound to be some sort of aching along the jawline from the continuous pressure of the therapist on the device. But the feeling was mild enough to be ignored without causing any inconvenience and it generally subsided by the next day, leaving no signs of bruising.

For the most part, Sygmalift is relaxing and pain-free, and I would recommend it to those in dire need for a “facelift” but have low pain threshold. It is also great for those who do not have the luxury of taking long leaves because effects are (almost) instant and does not require any time to heal.

What do you think about Sygmalift? Let me know your views or experience in the comments below!

Do stay tuned to find out how, with the help of The Clifford Clinic, I successfully got rid of my acne. Thanks for reading!

The Clifford Clinic ¡ 24 Raffles Place #01-03 Clifford Centre Singapore 048621 (Exit A from Raffles Place MRT) ¡ Tel: 6532 2400 / 8318 6332 (WhatsApp) ¡ For more information about HIFU Sygmalift, do visit Their website or Like them on Facebook and Instagram.
Treatment was complimentary in exchange for this review but all opinions expressed are my own.

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