Then and Now – A Work in Progress with Botox, Lasers, and Lots of Effort

A few days ago, I chanced upon a passport photo of myself taken in 2004, back in the days when sun worshiping was still my favourite past-time.

When you see yourself everyday, you do not realize how much you change over time; you assume that how you look now is the way you have always looked. Hence my surprise when I stared into my old photo.

After I showed my old photo to my friends and colleagues, many have expressed disbelief, and even more have asked what I have done to achieve the transformation . As promised, I will explain how I turned from this in 2004:

To this today:

Firstly, I would like to emphasize that this did not happen overnight. Nor did it happen after a single miraculous treatment. It took a change in lifestyle, multiple treatments, and alot of hard work.
A 180 Degree Lifestyle Change
The first thing that had to go was sun-tanning. Sun tanning had given me most of the skin problems you see – clogged skin (notice the bumps on my forehead), enlarged pores, acne and subsequent scarring (worse on the left side of the face), and that horrible patch of pigmentation on my left cheek. I gave up swimming, wind surfing, and deliberate baking in the hot sun altogether. For exercise, I started jogging in the evenings and hitting the gym instead.
Late nights and junk food were replaced with lots of water, adequate rest, and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. I incorporated meditation into my everyday life for stress relief.
Piling on the Creams and Sunscreen
The only thing I applied onto my skin used to be tanning oil (which explains the acne!). After throwing away all my tanning oils, I devised a skin care regime for myself, and followed it religiously.
For cleansing, I used a anti-acne cleanser with AHA/BHA. 
For anti-acne treatment, I used a salicylic acid lotion  and a tretinoin containing product.
For skin whitening, I sought the help of a non-hydroquinone containing serum (Sloane Inc Lightening Complexion Corrector), and a high potency Vitamin C serum (iS Clinical Super Serum).
The creams I used changed and evolved over the years, but the 2 I never stopped using are Vitamin A and Vitamin C. These are the bread and butter of my anti-acne, anti-aging and lightening regime. And of course, lots of sunscreen.
Of Lasers and Resurfacing
Lasers helped me tremendously. I have previously described how fractional laser resurfacing has improved my acne scars dramatically.
On top of that, I underwent (and still undergo) regular sessions of Skin Brightening Laser to lighten pigmentation, tone my skin, and reduce acne. Again, I would like to stress that lasers require dedication and discipline: regular treatments are required for maximal benefits.
Fillers for the Soul
I always rave about how fillers work wonders for the undereye area. And it comes from personal experience. Fillers for my undereye area for the dark eye circles, helped make me look much fresher.
Fillers in my nose helped define its shape and make it look sharper.
Transforming the ‘Fat’ Face
People ALWAYS thought I was fat when they saw my photos. The truth is, at 176cm and 60 kg, I was almost underweight!! Years of Bruxing (nocturnal teeth grinding) have left me with huge jaw muscles (the masseters), making me look ‘fat’.
Botox changed all that. My main aim for undergoing Botox treatment initially was actually to treat my Bruxism, which was causing my molars to grind to a powder. The dramatic change in facial shape came as a pleasant side effect. The photos are testament to the effects of Botox: despite being 10kg heavier today, my face looks much slimmer compared to 7 years ago.

It is not only the Treatments

It has always been my strong belief that transforming how you look is not about a jab here, or a tuck there. It is about a makeover in body, mind, and soul. And the cosmetic treatments – they are just the icing on the cake, to help you complete the picture. You can do all the lasers in the world, but if you must fry on the beach, your pigmentation and wrinkles will never go away.
But once you set your mind to it, and make that first step, it is possible to make that change.


  1. Hi Dr Siew,<br /><br />Can you tell me the effectiveness and side effect of the VBeam? I have googled it and found that most people end up with bruising for days or even weeks, some with good results, some remain unchanged. I have a sensitive, acne scars (that&#39;s red even after donkey years) and acne prone skin… Thanks!