Singapore Tatler Best of Singapore
STEPS TO SELF-CARE
Albeit an overused buzzword, self-care is a key element in your overall physical and mental well-being, say experts. But if you’re not sure where to begin, these easy tips will get you back on track in 2020.
BURN FAT, BUILD MUSCLE
“People often want to lose weight, when what they really should aim for is to lose fat,” says Elizabeth Leong, CEO of Illumia Therapeutics, adding that general weight loss is usually a combination of muscle and fat loss.
Ideally, you should lose pure fat and preserve or build more muscle for one simple reason, stresses Leong. “Your muscle houses mitochondria—think of these as mini-powerhouses that produce energy. It’s where fat is metabolised, so the more mitochondria you have, the higher your fat-burning potential, as these active tissues burn fat throughout the day, even while you’re sleeping.”
But weight loss can be tough, says Leong, especially for clients who struggle with dietary changes due to frequent entertaining at social gatherings; others, on the other hand, just dislike exercise. It’s a dilemma that Illumia Therapeutics easily solves with the Illumia Teslaforte procedure, which goes beyond the usual fat reduction techniques. Instead, Illumia Teslaforte is designed to stimulate and activate your muscles, and is “the equivalent of doing 20,000 sit-ups.” The process, Leong says, aims to tighten the core and sculpt your body, and is a non-invasive way to build muscle, which leads to fat-burning.
CARE FOR YOUR MANE
The average human sheds anywhere between 50 and 100 strands of hair daily. “But when you start losing more than that, or when new hair doesn’t grow back fast enough to replace lost hair, that is hair loss,” says Elayne Soh,
Follicle Hair Care Centre’s CEO.
It isn’t an uncommon condition either. In fact, according to The Clifford Clinic’s medical directors, Dr Gerard Ee and Dr Chow Yuen Ho, at least 60
per cent of men aged 18 and above and 64 per cent of women aged 40 and above will experience some degree of hair loss over time. And while hereditary baldness is often the common cause, medical conditions like alopecia areata or trichotillomania, stress, medication and even lifestyle choices like hairstyle products and dietary habits can be triggers, says Soh.
“A common misconception people have about hair loss is that the only way to combat it is with hair transplant surgery,” she adds. But according to Leong, there are other available treatments and procedures, as there are
“Fda-approved technologies and proven therapies that have been scientifically proven to prevent or combat hair loss.” In fact, many haircare centres like Follicle, Papilla Haircare and The Clifford Clinic rely on therapies that are backed by science and cutting-edge medical technology to address hair loss.
“We use stem cell technology and scientifically innovative delivery mechanisms like the RF Regenultra— the world’s first radio frequency device for hair—as part of our offerings for hair loss,” says Elizabeth Leong,
CEO of Papilla Haircare. Some, like Follicle, have also turned to co-curation techniques with Korean trichologists to strengthen the quality of their procedures and to “develop a new combination of treatments that stimulate troubled scalps and promote hair regrowth.”
Deal with hair loss by starting early, these experts say. “Seek professional help when you start noticing any degree of hair loss because there are ways to prevent it while the follicles are still alive. Once the follicles are dead, the only way to restore them will be through a hair transplant procedure,” stresses Dr Ee.
Hair loss can also be addressed by changing your lifestyle habits, says Soh, who suggests avoiding tight hairstyles like buns and braids to minimise pressure on your scalp.
“Opt for dermatologically-tested, sulphate- and parabens-free conditioners and shampoos; avoid excess use of dry shampoos; and maintain a balanced diet with an adequate consumption of omega-3, iron and protein.”
GET YOURSELF SCREENED
Prevention is better than cure, and it’s an approach Thomson Wellth
Clinic prioritises through its health screenings—a major component of modern preventive medicine. “The goal is to maintain optimal health and enjoy more quality years of life,” says Dr Derek Koh, the clinic’s head of medical health screening. He finds that health screenings help detect early signs of illnesses that would otherwise go unnoticed. “This helps us provide the correct advice and interventions for the client’s risk assessment and health status.”
Thomson Wellth Clinic’s screenings typically consist of blood, urine and stool analyses as well as X-ray and ultrasound scans; there are a range of screenings for different age groups, too. However, health screenings are not a one-size-fits-all solution, he says, stressing that patients should personalise it as much as possible.
“We tend to tailor the screenings to suit the individual by taking into account international statistics. We then correlate this to a patient’s age, prior medical and family history, lifestyle and presenting symptoms or agenda.”
It’s also important to screen for common killer illnessess like cancer, stroke and heart disease. But you should not assume that a single screening will ensure years of good health, warns Dr Koh. While assessing for illnesses will minimise or eliminate risks, health screenings “should be done yearly, as what is currently normal may not remain so over time.”
TAKE TIME TO DESTRESS
Most doctors and healthcare professionals will suggest regular exercise, healthier diets, sleep and positive relationships for a balanced, happy life, but spa treatments are important, too, affirms Cassandra Forrest, director of spa and wellness at Capella Singapore. “Taking time out for yourself is essential to combat stress. It provides the energy to prolong your relationships and commitments with others.”
It’s something Auriga Spa in Capella Singapore takes seriously, because destressing begins before your actual treatment. “We recommend you come approximately 45 minutes prior to your treatment time so you can enjoy the herbal steam baths, experience showers and vitality pool,” Forrest elaborates, as these allow your mind and body to slip into a more relaxed state.
Auriga Spa also offers plenty of head-to-toe treatments to help you unwind. “We have the Signature Moon Rituals—these unique experiences are aligned to lunar phases— and our wellness journeys. There are even tailored couples’ treatments if you want to reconnect with your significant other,” she says. While you’re there, lock your smartphone in the spa’s lockers, advises Forrest, and use the time to “enjoy your surroundings, be mindful and reconnect with your body.”
BOOST YOUR OVERALL WELL-BEING
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioners believe that physical and mental health issues are caused by an imbalance of yin and yang in your body. “When either yin or yang is in excess or deficient, our body will start to experience various symptoms,” says
Lim Swee Cheng, general manager, clinic services and operational excellence, of Eu Yan Sang Integrative Health Pte Ltd.
However, TCM isn’t just for pain management or for those with medical conditions, she adds. Various popular TCM methods such as herbal medication, tui na massages, acupuncture and cupping also help boost your overall physical and mental well-being.
“Acupuncture could be used to manage the digestive system to promote weight loss. It could also be used on the face for beauty purposes. When you’re feeling slightly under the weather, acupuncture and/or herbal medication could be used to raise energy levels and promote better health with improved blood and qi circulation,” explains Milissa Wong, a consultant physician at Bao Zhong
Tang. At Bao Zhong Tang, acupuncture is frequently used to treat and manage conditions such as insomnia, tinnitus, menopause symptoms, flatulence, digestive problems and more.
TCM treatments are highly individualised. As such, you should communicate with your physician, who will be able to answer your questions.
LOVE YOUR SKIN
Ageing isn’t the only reason for imperfect skin; poor lifestyle habits can also cause pigmentation, breakouts, dry or sensitive skin, or a dull pallor. But maintaining good skin isn’t just about lathering on the latest remedies and expecting instant results. Furthermore, adds Kelly Keak, MTM Skincare’s managing director, what works for one person may not work for another, as everyone’s ideal skincare routine will differ. “It’s important to recognise that not all complexions have the same needs. For example, a 20-yearold and a 50-year-old will need different solutions for their targeted skin problems.”
Porcelain’s founder and managing director Pauline Ng, often stresses that the first step towards great skin is to first understand its condition. “The skin operates at an optimum when its ph levels—the water and oil content—are properly balanced,” she says. One way to do this, says Keak, is to maintain an anti-pollution skincare routine. “Products designed to combat pollution help cleanse the skin of nanoparticles absorbed from the air or by creating a protective barrier that acts as a shield against pollutants.”
You’ll also need to understand what’s actually in a skincare product before you invest in it, Ng advises. “Look for tell-tale signs of bad ingredients; sodium laurel sulphates typically dry out skin and make it more prone to damage from pollutants and bacteria. Fragrances and alcohols are also a no-no as they irritate the skin and dry it out.”
Many rely too heavily on a homecare regimen, but this is no longer enough,
especially with Singapore’s tropical humidity, opines Buraya Ng, director of SK-II Boutique Spa by Senze Salus. “Professionals have the skills and tools to do more than cleanse; they will be able to treat specific skin problems, too.” Ng also recommends scheduling regular facials, which will help “strengthen the skin’s foundation in the long term.”
And while Singapore’s warm weather all year round can be pleasant, excess sun exposure can accelerate the ageing process, shares Cambridge Medical Group’s medical director, Dr Lee Mun Heng. “Chronological skin ageing can’t be helped, but photoageing accelerates the process, as the sun is responsible for 90 per cent of premature ageing.”
As such, he often advises patients to invest in broad-spectrum sunscreen— it shields against both harmful UVA and UVB rays—with at least SPF30 protection that should be reapplied throughout the day.
REMOVE UNWANTED HAIRS
“Waxing is a temporary solution, but many of our clients opt for it due to hygiene purposes,” says Honeypot
Group founder Ow Shin Yann. “The hair grows back finer after each session, and waxing can minimise body odour; it also has a mild exfoliating effect on your skin.” Better yet, waxing doesn’t have to hurt if you go to an experienced, skilled therapist. “There may be a mild discomfort if it is your first session but our therapists are known to deliver one of the best waxing experiences,” assures Ow.
Aside from the traditional Brazilian wax, there are other alternatives, too. Jasmine Yong discovered sugaring when she lived in Seattle, Washington, and it took only one experience with this unique hair-removal method to win her over. Today, she’s a master sugarist—yong is certified by Alexandria Professional Body Sugaring, a leading institute that specialises in the technique—and has established Sugar(ed), Singapore’s first sugaring studio with four outlets islandwide.
It’s an epilation technique that has been used since 1900 BC, where a smooth, hairless body was considered healthy then; it was also the standard of youth, beauty and innocence for women in ancient civilisations such as Mesopotamia, Egypt and Greece.
A water-soluble sugar paste is applied directly to the skin and flicked off in the hair’s natural growth direction, effectively removing hair from the roots. “This means hair regrowth is slower, finer, softer and lighter in colour,” says Yong. “It is less painful than common waxing methods and removes dead skin cells, leaving skin soft and smooth.”
Scalding is not an issue either, as the sugar paste is applied at body temperature. It is also 100-percent natural, as it only comprises sugar, water and lemon. “The high sugar concentration inhibits bacteria from breeding,” explains Yong.
Moreover, the therapists that handle each sugaring session are highly trained and are often encouraged to improve standards. “The team attends periodic refresher workshops so we can fine-tune every aspect of the business, especially in areas such as technique, product knowledge, skincare and customer service,” says Yong.