Health & Fitness Aesthetic procedures - How much is too much?

Aesthetic procedures – How much is too much?

By Dr Kwan Yuan Dong, resident physician, DTAP Clinic Group

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With the boom of social media and the ‘selfie culture’ in the last two decades, aesthetic procedures and plastic surgery have become seemingly more acceptable. What used to be a taboo topic of ‘going under the needle or knife’ is now common sight on social media, with celebrities, social media influencers and even teenagers publicly sharing cosmetic and aesthetic procedures they have undergone.

Unfortunately, we have also seen an increase in ‘too-far-too-much’ faces, including some dignitaries or celebrities. The mainstream and social media have been abuzz with wild discussions about what possible procedures these personalities have gone through.

Indeed, aesthetic procedures and plastic surgery can be tools for rejuvenating and enhancing existing facial features and even correcting problems caused by an aging. However, overzealous and excessive treatments may backfire instead.

So, how much is too much? Here are 10 of the tell-tale signs:

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1. Tight and thin waxy looking skin

Many people undergo facial and aesthetic treatments hoping to attain a smooth, soft, glowy skin texture. However, we increasingly see people ending up with a thin crepe-like skin that almost looks like a plastic wrap stretched across their faces, with a waxy sheen to it.

This is a sign of over-exfoliation. It can be caused by excessive use of chemical peels, acids, exfoliative laser treatments, exfoliative cosmeceuticals, as well as scrubs.

Also, a waxy look may be due to too much botox: when the face loses muscle tone/contraction, it starts looking like the face of a wax figure with frozen facial expressions.

2. A frozen face/ unnatural facial expressions

Botox (or botulinum toxin treatment) is almost a household name in today’s society. The age at which Botox injections are done has become younger and “preventative” Botox has become the new fad.

However, too much Botox can have consequences, such as a “frozen face” that has unnatural, awkward, minimal or no facial expressions.

3. Highly arched brows

Strictly speaking, high arched brows are not necessarily a sign of overdone Botox, but rather of improperly injected Botox. This is usually due to placement of too much Botox over the forehead centrally and not enough on the sides, causing muscles on the sides to pull the eyebrows up. Since aesthetics is highly subjective, there are cases where some patients demand such a look.

4. Unnaturally shaped noses or “avatar” noses

Unusual looking noses are usually due to too much or incorrect filler placements. When fillers/non-surgical nose jobs are overdone without obeying the aesthetic rules of the face, it can lead to the loss of aesthetic contours leading to unnaturally high or sharp nose bridges and tips. A migration of filler material can also lead to the nose bridge becoming broad giving rise to a nose that looks like the blue Na’vi from planet Pandora in the Avatar movie. Overfilling in the nose can also lead to a nasal dorsum that looks bowed.

5. “Flowerhorn fish” forehead

Few years ago, there was a trend in China during which it became popular for fillers to be injected into the forehead to the extent of being overfilled. This led to the condition now coined ‘flowerhorn heads’, so named because of the likeness to the fish of the same name.

A beautiful forehead is one that has a smooth rounded contour which made one look more feminine or child-like. However, overzealous filling had led to some people developing an unsightly bulge over their foreheads.

6. “Trout pout” or “sausage” lips

The “trout pout” or “sausage” lips are seen when people have overdone lip fillers. The lips are remarkably expandable due to the fat spaces and muscles within it. Thanks to a perception that thick lips are sensuous, celebrities and ordinary people alike have gone for lip fillers.

An aesthetically pleasing lip filler job is not always easy, just as art and science are not synonymous. So, you may have seen overfilled upper lips that typically lose the curvature of the lips and end up hanging down on the sides. The cupid’s bowl is also frequently lost giving rise to sausage shaped lips. Overfilling of the lips also everts the lips inwards to out, giving the typical ‘pout’ that has now become known as the “trout pout”.

7. Pillow faces

In the quest to correct sagging of the mid face, injection of fillers to ‘lift’ the sagging fat pads, as well as fill volume loss has become one of the most done filler procedures. However, when overdone, it can result in overly puffy cheeks which look unnatural and inappropriate for the patient’s age. The natural lid-cheek junction is often obliterated causing the whole mid-face to become one continuous bulge, very much like a pillow.

8. Cat-eyes

A very typical overdone surgical lift around the eyes is the ‘cat eyes’. As we age, the corner of our eyes start to sag and droop downwards giving heavy lids and droopy eyes, causing a tired and haggard look. Multiple interventions have been used to deal with this, which may include lateral browlift, lid surgery, and canthopexy. But when overdone, it can lead to an unnatural upswing of the corner of the eyes, giving the eyes a cat-like appearance.

9. Witch’s chin

Another popular procedure seems to be a filler treatment in the chin. A well sculpted chin projects naturally into the jawline. However, overfilling of the chin gives a typical ball in the chin appearance, which is commonly likened to a witch’s chin.

10. High protruding cheekbones

Cheek treatments have also become a very popular. With this, there has also been an increase in people with overfilling in the cheekbone area. This has resulted in what is now termed the ‘Maleficent cheekbones’, deriving its name from the witch in the movie Maleficient.

There are many other examples of overdone faces or people who have gone through too many aesthetic procedures or plastic surgeries. With aesthetic procedures, the adage of ‘too much of a good thing may become bad’ rings true. The desire to improve one’s appearance and self-confidence has to be balanced with the medical risks involved with each procedure. Over-obsession and excessive treatments can have undesirable effects. In the quest to reverse or slow down the effects of aging or to improve our appearances, we should always remember that moderation is key.

Dr Kwan Yuan Dong Bio: Dr Kwan is the aesthetic doctor at S Aesthetic Clinic, obtained his medical degree from the University of Edinburgh before spending a number of years practising a wide range of specialities in London. His areas of practice include general surgery, breast surgery, urology and primary care amongst others. He also pursued a Masters Degree in Surgical Sciences during his time in London. With his holistic approach, Dr Kwan hopes to help patients improve their quality of life and enhance their physical wellbeing.

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