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Blog: Natural-looking, pronounced cheekbones, without looking fake

Dr KK Chew and I at the NU U Aesthetics & Wellness Clinic.

Photo by Shah Rizal Bin Baharudin

Recently I visited Dr KK Chew at NU U Aesthetics and Wellness about preventing my facial skin from sagging and was surprised at what he offered me and how well it worked.

With time, and exacerbated by gravity, facial skin tends to sag, causing the smile lines around the mouth to deepen, and jowling. In the past, several different types of treatments have been used to counter this; from radiofrequency (RF) and high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), to thread lifts. The radiofrequency treatments I had tried produced results but only after a few treatments, and I was told that although effective and its results are long-lasting, HIFU treatments could be painful. Thread lifts are rather invasive, involve downtime, and are more suited to treating more severe sagging and jowling which I fortunately am not (yet) suffering from. So what is there left to do?

“Fillers,” said Dr Chew. I told him that I had already undergone a cheekbone and chin augmentation with fillers in 2016 which had a somewhat lifting effect and I had no intention of repeating the procedure. I also said I would like to retain my jawline as the Korean V-shaped jawline would not suit me, which he concurred with.

Dr Chew went on to explain that the fillers he was referring to are not used to augment or replace lost volume but to restore the tautness and strength of the true ligaments, “There are two types of retaining ligaments in the face: the true ligaments (osteocutaneous) and false ligaments (fasciocutaneous). True ligaments are short and stout fibrous bands that connect the dermis of the face to the bones of the skull via their periosteum coating. In a youthful face, the true ligaments are short, taut and stout and support and protect soft facial tissue against gravitational change. With ageing, these ligaments become loose and stretched, resulting in laxity and reduced soft facial tissue support.”

Marked the injection points. Photo is my own

“RF, HIFU and thread lifts tend to focus on the tightening and repositioning of the soft dermal tissues of the face, while the Restylane True Lift technique involves injecting beneath the true ligaments of the face to support the underlying structures of the dermis. Imagine the injecting beneath these ligaments as strengthening the pillars of a suspension bridge that lifts the skin it supports in a natural-looking way.”

I decided to proceed with the treatment. My “before” photos were taken and numbing cream was applied on my brow area, the top of my cheekbones and along my jawline.

He then marked the highest points of my eyebrows, the top of my cheekbones and on either side of my chin.

Although Dr KK Chew is big and tall, he is an amazingly light-handed injector.

Photo by NU U Aesthetics & Wellness

While waiting for the effects of the numbing cream to kick in, Dr Chew and I began chatting. Leaning back in the treatment chair I realised how big and tall he was, at just under 1.9m. I got a little nervous about having a big man looming over me with a sharp needle in his hand but his easy-going manner put me at ease.

And what a gentle giant he was! I did not even realise that the needle had gone in until I heard a sound not unlike water being sucked through a straw; first in the highest points in my eyebrows and then in two points along each of my cheekbones. He used his fingers to massage the filler into place, and again, it was a light, gentle touch, guaranteed to put any aesthetics virgin at ease.

To define my chin and jawline, he then injected the filler into both sides of my chin, followed by the apex of my chin. The injection at the apex of my chin was not a True Lift injection point, he asserted; it was to achieve a subtle projection, and topping up whatever filler that had been biodegraded since my 2016 treatment. The whole treatment took about 10 minutes.

About two weeks post-treatment (cheekbones!). Photo is my own.

A few hours after the treatment, my jaw felt sore, like I had braces on (only that I had never had braces), but it lasted for only about 24 hours. I had expected some bruising but I did not bruise. On the second day post-treatment, it appeared that my right cheek was protruding a little more than my left cheek which got me into a mild panic. When I visited Dr Chew for my review I asked him if he could top up the left cheek to balance it out. He said that my face, like most people’s, is a little asymmetrical to start with, and I should wait for a few more days when the filler has settled down before deciding if I needed touch-ups. By day five, the right cheek had settled down, the effects of the treatment appeared to have kicked in for good, and I did not need touch-ups.

Verdict: Overall my facial contours appear sharper, more lifted and defined! I love my natural-looking, more pronounced cheekbones without that overfilled look. If you are new to filler injections and are looking to subtly define your features, this would be the perfect introductory treatment for you.

NU U Aesthetics & Wellness is at Paragon Medical Suites, #09-18/19.

Call 6732 9989 for an appointment.

Check out how much more defined my lower face is now

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