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Medical Aesthetic Clinics Vs Spas in Singapore – Part 1


10 Min Read – What’s the difference between Medical Aesthetic treatments Vs Spa treatments in Singapore? There’s a whole world of difference and that should matter to you if you’re having real skin problems. These are some of the insider tips on navigating the often complicated skin treatment scene in Singapore.


Serious about Skin, go to a Medical Aesthetic Clinic, Period

In Singapore, as a rule of thumb, treatments conducted at Spas and Beauty Salons do not require a doctor or a clinic license and their treatments tend to focus more on delivering a relaxing experience and are NOT MEDICAL GRADE. As Shakespeare wrote in his literary classic Romeo and Juliet, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” doesn’t actually apply to Clinics and Spas.


Characteristics of Spas And Beauty Salons

In general, if no doctor is involved in the entire treatment process from consultation to post treatment care, the treatment is not categorised as a medically approved treatment by the Singapore Health Science Authority (HSA). And that means, these treatments tend to deliver to you an experience of relaxation and general wellness to soothe and unwind, rather than being classified as an actual medical treatment. They do not require authorisation and approval from HSA.


Claims made by Spas and Beauty Salons do not need to be substantiated with actual medical research and are therefore not regulated by the Ministry of Health (MOH). A point to note is that treatments offered at some Spas and Beauty Salons may sound the same and use similar terms and phrases as actual clinic treatments.


In Singapore, robust safeguards governing medical doctors who specialise in aesthetic medicine are bound by additional rules from MOH that Spas and Beauty Salons aren’t restricted to. Some Spas and Beauty Salons may include some clinical sounding words like ‘Medical’ or ‘Lab’ to give the appearance, some semblance of being associated as an actual clinic but patients are never seen or have their treatment progress closely monitored by an actual registered doctor.


That is why, when people who are uninformed but require serious or are serious about getting their skin condition treated then an Aesthetic Clinic should be your first go to choice. That of course is still dependent upon your expectations, needs and budget. But if you require relief from an actual skin problem then why not get your skin checked out by a trained and licensed doctor? Aesthetic doctors specialise and acquire in-depth training in a variety of techniques aimed at treating skin conditions, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.


Our Skin is Complex

Our skin is the largest organ in the body that serves as the first line of defence against the environment, nature, harmful pathogens etc. Consisting of three layers; Epidermis, Dermis and Hypodermis, it consists of about 1.6 trillion skin cells, with 1 inch of skin having about 20 million blood cells, 1000 or more nerve endings and 60,000 melanocytes that are responsible for giving our skin its colour.


As dead skin cells are replaced daily by new skin cells, it is a very gradual process that takes place over weeks and months. Dead skin cells lie at the top while new skin cells grow from the bottom of the epidermis layer. In an hour, your skin would have replaced 30,000 – 40,000 cells, losing a million cells in a 24 hour span! This is where the field of Medical Aesthetics comes in to speed up this renewal process a hundred fold over with a majority of the treatments focused on stimulating the body’s natural healing, renewal process.


As our skin is continuously aging all the time, it is imperative that one arrest these problems early or risk exacerbating even minor conditions. Prevention is always better than the cure and only medical doctors specialising in treating various skin conditions are qualified to make these detailed assessments about your current skin condition. Learning how to differentiate between Spas and Clinics is very important in ensuring your money is well spent.


8 Characteristics of Medical Aesthetic Clinics in Singapore

  1. Treatment Plan & Protocol – Consultations, diagnosis and follow-ups with patients by doctors are part and parcel of treatment protocols.
  2. Full Disclosure – Patients are always given full disclosure with informed consent about risks, side effects, adverse outcomes.
  3. No Over the Moon Promises – Unable to make claims that cannot be substantiated.
  4. Backed by Clinical Research – Treatments carried out by Aesthetic Clinics must be based on proven medical science backed up by clinical research.
  5. Govern by MOH – All clinics fall under the purview of MOH and are therefore regulated.
  6. Evidence Based – Treatments offered must be evidence-based with advertisements substantiated by medical research and are factual. Images used and descriptions must not be misleading or overtly laudatory.
  7. Bound by “Do No Harm” – Dr Cindy’s Medical Aesthetic clinics are bound and governed by MOH, SMC and medical ethics.
  8. Continuous Training – Doctors performing aesthetic treatments must also acquire a certain number of training hours to perform certain treatments. These requirements are constantly regulated by HSA to ensure only treatments with an acceptable rate of efficacy are carried out in clinics.


Complicated Problems Call for Medical Expertise

The interconnectivity of our extremely complicated nervous system might be a wonderful aspect of the human body but also serves as a double-edged sword as skin treatments that do not focus on minimising pain, will be rather painful, especially treatments that involve general anaesthesia.


In many countries, the field of Medical Aesthetics aren’t govern by robust rules and government regulations1 and in a journal article published in the US National Institutes of Health, Singapore was mentioned as one of the few countries in the world where strict government regulations apply to the Medical Aesthetic industry2. Many countries do not require the same stringent regulations.


Spas and Beauty Salons do play a role in the beauty industry and the purpose of this post is not a comparison of treatments. Rather, both industries can be almost equally balanced on a scale. We all need time to unwind, relax and recharge almost as much as we need expert medical care.

Aesthetic clinics provide patients with

achievable dermatological results all

with less pain and recovery time.”

Medical Aesthetics play an important role by focusing on patient comfort by balancing it out with high rate of treatment efficacy and are evidence-based. By functioning as a bridge between “non-invasive, or minimally invasive treatments” and full blown cosmetic surgery, Aesthetic clinics provide patients with achievable dermatological results all with less pain and recovery time. Less disruption to our daily lives.


This is the core mission of Dr Cindy’s Medical Aesthetics. In our next blog entry, we shall examine regulations and evidence-based treatments in aesthetic clinics.

Call Us & Book an Appointment:

+65 6733 4433

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