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Opinion

Optics matter

THE CORNER ORACLE - Andrew J. Masigan - The Philippine Star

Even as early as now, those aspiring for public office are already preparing their respective campaigns. Funds are being raised, alliances are being forged and campaign machineries are being put in place. A good number of candidates are also giving themselves a physical overhaul. Not only are they preparing their bodies for the grueling campaign trail, they are also giving their faces a makeover.

Politics is all about optics. A Finnish study found that political candidates who look better than their opponents have a 20 percent advantage in approval ratings. The study further shows that those with youthful, symmetrical faces have three times more persuasive power than those with lopsided, aging faces. That said, one can understand why facial enhancements have become an important political tool.

In the early 2000’s, stem cell therapy was the preferred treatment among politicians. Derived from bone marrow, stem cells promised to repair heart tissue, mend blood vessels and form new brain neurons. It is also said to induce the production of new skin, stimulate collagen production and promote hair growth.

But stem cell therapy has its drawbacks, not the least of which is the risk of rejection. This happens when one’s immune system attacks the donor stem cells. There have also been cases where fresh stem cells get contaminated by viruses, bacteria or pathogens. This could cause diseases when reintroduced to the body. There is also the issue of cost. The average price of stem cell treatment ranges from under $5,000 to over $25,000, depending on the source of cells and the number of sessions required.

For many, the benefits of stem cell therapy are not enough to justify its risks and cost. This is why its popularity has waned.

I recently spoke to Dr. Cyril Mitchel Agan, who is arguably the most sought after aesthetic physician in the country today. Trained in the United States, South Korea and Singapore, Dr. Agan has become the preferred doctor of many politicians, entertainers and elite members of the business community. He is the shared secret no one talks about. His clinic, called Lift Aesthetic Center, is located in Bonifacio Global City.

The latest technologies for facial enhancements today involve the use of injectables, declared Dr. Agan. Unlike surgical face lifts that require cutting and suturing skin, injectables only address the surface areas, hence is non-invasive. And unlike surgical lifts whose effects are permanent, whether it is a success or a botched job, the end product of injectables can be adjusted, accentuated or undone. It is the safer, more conservative approach to facial enhancement.

An alternative to injectable treatments is the use of laser therapy. While lasers have gained popularity, its effects are often too subtle, sometimes even undetectable. It takes multiple treatments to realize obvious results and its cost could be prohibitive.

Between injectables, plastic surgery and laser therapy, Dr. Again attests that injectables are the better choice. Its effects are obvious enough to make a positive impact while not being too severe. It also yields immediate results for a fraction of the price. This is why it is the preferred therapy in the United States and South Korea.

For men, especially those vying for public office, the preferred procedure is a jaw enhancement. A strong jawline and chin speak of discipline, fortitude and strength. It evokes authority, credibility and reliability.

Dr. Agan is able to achieve a strong, angular jawline through the use of Hyaluronic Acid (HA). HA is a chemical that our bodies produce naturally. HA fillers were developed in Switzerland and manufactured by a company called Teoxane. It is considered the gold standard as far as facial fillers go.

The procedure involves injecting HA fillers in strategic areas of the jaw to angulate and emphasize the sharp transition between the face and the neck. HA fillers can also be used for the undereye to eliminate eye bags and make the cheeks appear more robust.

Those afflicted with sagging jowls and deep nasolabial lines (or laugh lines) can eliminate them through the use of lifting threads made of poly-L-lactic acid and caprolactone (p(LA-CL)). The threads are inserted near the ear and made to run under the cheeks or jowls through microscopic slits on the skin. The threads have tiny barbs that latch on to fat inside the cheeks. The physician pulls the threads to the desired tautness, just enough to get rid of creases and sagging skin. The skin keeps its form as the barbs hold them firmly in place. The end result is a rejuvenated face, relieved of 20 years of wear and tear.

The advantage of using the (p(LA-CL)) threads is that they can be stretched and retracted. This means one can make wide, dramatic facial gestures without being constricted. Over time, the threads stimulate the production of collagen which makes the face appear even more youthful. Poly-L-lactic acid and caprolactone disintegrates into water after 18 months.

As Asians, we are all predisposed to having fat deposits in the cheeks and below the chin. This is why our features are rounded. To achieve an angular appearance, Dr. Agan recommends the use of Deoxycholic Acid. The natural compound breaks down fat cells when introduced to fatty areas. It normally takes four rounds of injections to melt a typical fatty chin.

Those with stubborn wrinkles can utilize Botulinum Toxin or “Botox” to eliminate them. Done properly, the results should appear natural with facial expressions clearly discernable.

Although Dr. Agan works on both male and female clients, he is perhaps the country’s only specialist in the male facial form.

Working with injectables requires skill, advises Dr. Agan. Its all about using the right filler in the right places at the right amounts. Restraint is key and the aim is to bring out one’s best features, not alter them. It is both an art and a science whose mastery is achieved through years of practice and good instincts.

Jan Raymond Conadera handles the business affairs of Lift Aesthetic Clinic. Jan says that they are so accustomed to handling discreet clients that it is not uncommon for them to close the clinic for certain customers and disarm CCTV cameras.

In a perfect world, looks should not matter. However, we are wired, on a primal level, to favor people who look healthier, younger and better proportioned. This is why in politics, as with entertainment and business, optics matter.

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Email: andrew_rs6@yahoo.com. Follow him on Facebook @Andrew J. Masigan

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