The Aes­thetic Beauty Treat­ments That Don’t Have to Hurt

The ma­chines that Manon Al­lano uses in her aes­thet­ics sa­lon are from her fam­ily’s med­i­cal equip­ment busi­ness in France. They prom­ise a pain-free ex­pe­ri­ence.

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When Manon Al­lano and her hus­band Bastien came to Sin­ga­pore from France in Novem­ber 2014, she had a mis­sion: to ex­tend Es­the­clinic, her fam­ily’s me­di­aes­thet­ics busi­ness, into Asia. The first Sin­ga­pore branch at Tras Street, its ninth af­ter ones in France, Bel­gium and Mo­rocco, opened in 2015.

With an MBA in lux­ury re­tail, and hav­ing done sev­eral in­tern­ships in the beauty in­dus­try, in­clud­ing one in China, Al­lano, who joined the fam­ily busi­ness in 2011 and is Es­the­clinic’s man­ag­ing direc­tor, was con­vinced there was po­ten­tial here. “It’s be­cause Sin­ga­pore is at the fore­front of tech­nol­ogy in the beauty field,” she says.

Manon’s fa­ther, Dr Ger­ard Bout­boul, is a renowned aes­thet­ics sur­geon and doc­tor, and founder of Es­the­clinic in France, as well as BVA Tech­nol­ogy Group, which has been mak­ing and dis­tribut­ing med­i­cal and aes­thetic equip­ment to doc­tors and der­ma­tol­o­gists all over Europe for more than 20 years.

The Al­lanos came with a strong sell: the abil­ity, through their equip­ment, to of­fer con­ven­tion­ally painful beauty treat­ments with­out pain: high­in­ten­sity fo­cused ul­tra­sound (Hifu), in­tense pulsed light (IPL) and cryother­apy (aka fat-freez­ing).

On the day I try their Ul­ti­mate Lift Hifu treat­ment, Al­lano, who gave birth to her sec­ond child in De­cem­ber 2018, as­sures me I’ll be pleas­antly sur­prised. I’m scep­ti­cal – Hifu is known to be painful.

An hour later, the ver­dict: There is no pain – and any dis­com­fort is bear­able. I can only de­scribe it as elec­tri­cal zaps on the skin, which are more in­tense around bony ar­eas like the jaw, cheek­bones and fore­head. These parts are slightly achy to the touch for a few days af­ter. Weeks later, my face con­tours are more filled out as col­la­gen pro­duc­tion kicks in. The re­sults are sup­posed to last four to six months, and it costs from $580 for an a la carte ses­sion.

Sub­se­quently, I try their In­tense Glow treat­ment (from $380 for the face), an IPL treat­ment paired with LED light ther­apy, meant to brighten the skin and make it more ra­di­ant, and gen­er­ate col­la­gen.

IPL usu­ally feels like rub­ber bands snap­ping at your skin, but this was sen­sa­tion­free. It felt a lit­tle warm in some parts, but not painfully hot. The only dis­com­fort came from the light flashes of the IPL ap­pli­ca­tor, and later, the brighter-than-bright yel­low and red LED light used to ac­ti­vate col­la­gen pro­duc­tion. My skin had a nice glow, and my freck­les looked lighter.

The Silky Smooth IPL Hair Re­moval Treat­ment (from $90 a ses­sion) was sim­i­larly so com­fort­able that I dozed off for the short time the treat­ment took; no numb­ing cream was needed.

When we first in­tro­duced pain­less per­ma­nent hair re­moval in France in 2008, ev­ery­one was scep­ti­cal.

Es­the­clinic has also made fat-freez­ing, which has a painful rep­u­ta­tion, pain­less. A hand­piece is placed on the tar­geted area, and its strong suc­tion “sucks” up and re­leases the flesh in that area be­fore clamp­ing it be­tween two cold plates cooled to mi­nus 5 deg C for an hour. The suck-then-re­lease mech­a­nism is what makes the ex­pe­ri­ence pain­less. You may feel a lit­tle achy af­ter, but that’s if you don’t have much ex­cess fat.

How is it all so pain­less, I ask Al­lano. “This is a mys­tery for me too!” the 32-year-old says. “When we first in­tro­duced pain­less per­ma­nent hair re­moval in France in 2008, ev­ery­one was scep­ti­cal (and we were too). Peo­ple had a ‘no pain, no gain’ men­tal­ity, and couldn’t shake it from their heads.”

She ex­plains that BVA Tech­nol­ogy works with en­gi­neers, and physi­cians with an in­ter­est in aes­thet­ics, to bring the lat­est sci­en­tific ad­vance­ments to the ta­ble and de­velop ma­chines that fo­cus not just on re­sults but cus­tomer com­fort as well. These aes­thetic ma­chines are ex­clu­sive to Es­the­clinic in Sin­ga­pore.

The Hifu ma­chine, Al­lano tells me, is pain­less as it uses frac­tion­ated Hifu. Tra­di­tional Hifu uses fo­cused, large beams that cause pain deep in the skin. In Es­the­clinic’s Hifu, the beams are bro­ken up into frac­tions to by­pass the skin sur­face and pen­e­trate at very pre­cise depths.

“I’m among the peo­ple who can­not and do not wish to en­dure pain for the sake of my ap­pear­ance. That’s why I’m so in love with our treat­ments, be­cause I can see very good re­sults with­out any pain or down­time.” Es­the­clinic has three out­lets: 72 Tras Street, 424 Joo Chiat Road, and 44 Rochester Park.

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