On a recent trip to Southeast Asia, San Francisco plastic surgeon Dr. Stanley Jacobs, a certified facial cosmetic specialist, noticed several beauty trends of interest to Western patients and professionals with an interest in aesthetics throughout the world, and how our two cultures impact and influence each other.
In terms of skin care:
• The population of Southeast Asia experiences very humid and hot weather for most of the year in, so skin tends not to dry out too much. Because of that, moisturizing is not as important for residents as it is for people who live in temperate climates, such as the Western United States.
• Oily skin is prevalent, and, on a related note, acne is too. Exfoliators, such as the Stanley Jacobs Synergy Peel pads, are very helpful for this condition.
• There is a bit of a regional obsession with skin-lightening products, but hydroquinone is frowned upon. As Dr. Jacobs’ serum and moisturizer contain mandelic acid, which reduces pigmentation, he found that there is an audience quite anxious to use these products.
• Anti-aging techniques, particularly around the eyelids, are very popular.
On the surgical front, Dr. Jacobs found that plastic surgery is not done as often in Singapore as it is in the United States. However, more surgery is performed in South Korea and Thailand, so many Singaporean patients fly to those countries for procedures. Of course, those surgeons specialize in Asian eyelid surgery.
For Chinese and Japanese patients, a round face is considered to be untrustworthy, so procedures to slim the face—including removing jaw bone tissue, liposuction of the face, and BOTOX® to relax facial muscles—is common. Many rhinoplasties are performed in Asia to build up the bridge of the nose in particular, while nostril narrowing or Weir incisions are popular, too.
That said, Dr. Jacobs, working from his San Francisco Bay Area office, has encountered some unusual problems in Asian patients who have their procedures done in various parts of Asia. One female patient had undergone liposuction to one half of each cheek, reducing the fat only in the area in front of the ears, which resulted in a flat look, though the cheek areas around the folds were full—as though she had two faces. Another patient had received injections of an unknown material into her lips, which, over the years, created large lumps that required surgical removal, which Dr. Jacobs accomplished.
Having traveled in Southeast Asia and seen patients who’ve undergone procedures on both that continent and this one, Dr. Jacobs recommends that any patient who would like to have surgery in Asia find out if the injectable material they are using is FDA approved in the United States. And, as with any surgeon, ask to see before-and-after pictures, as well as inquire as to how many procedures the doctor has performed. In other words: Always do your due diligence.
To learn more about certified facial cosmetic surgeon Dr. Stanley Jacobs’ notes on beauty in other cultures, read about his 2015 journey to Russia. Contact his Healdsburg office at (707) 473-0220 or his San Francisco office at (415) 433-0303.