Once upon a time, having Botox or filler injections to spruce up one’s appearance was a luxury reserved only for the rich and famous.
But with the boom of global medical tourism in Asia, these privileges are becoming increasingly available as well as affordable for both men and women.
*Images provided by Orient Skincare and laser center Now, more and more Vietnamese – and expats living in Vietnam – are embracing the technology. They’re proving that choosing to stop the clock in its tracks is preferable to waiting to turn back the years…
Oi spoke to Dr. Ho Xuan Vuong, a local veteran of the Vietnamese beauty industry with more than 10 years of specialized experience under his belt, to shed light on the Botox scene in Saigon.
He is a graduate of the HCMC University of Medicine and Pharmacy, a licensed member of the Laser Association, and of the Medical Aesthetic Academy USA. Dr. Vuong currently serves as one among the core medical team at Orient Skincare and Laser Center.
How long have botox and filler treatments been available in Vietnam?
Dr Vuong: They have been here for at least 10 years, since 2004, but not until 2007 did their popularity start to pick up.
How long do the treatments take? Are they painful?
Botox and filler injections only take 10 to 15 minutes to complete, then two weeks for the injection to see results. Aside from a pinch you get from the injection, they are completely painless.
How long does the effect last?
A single injection should last you for at least three to four months, even as long as six months provided the skin condition is good. Afterwards, you will need subsequent injections every four to six months based on the specific condition of your skin.
Is there any side effect if the injections are stopped?
Not at all, provided the patient follows our instructions in caring for his or her skin.
Do the patients need down time after an injection?
No, they don’t. The biggest perk of Botox and other quick and painless beauty treatments is their convenience. A patient can pop in for 15 minutes in the morning, have their injection then go on the rest of her day as usual. This is also why Botox and fillers are among the most popular beauty treatments for tourists.
How does the pricing compare to that in the West?
That is difficult to say for certain. Of course on average the prices in Vietnam are always lower compared to places like America or Europe. But in the Vietnamese industry itself, the variations in price range are huge depending on the quality and reputation of each beauty center. As a rule of thumb though, a high quality treatment in Vietnam costs around a fifth to a third of a treatment of similar quality level in America or Europe.
Are the quality levels in Vietnamese beauty center different compared to beauty centers in the West?
I think anyone in the local industry would like to say ‘no’ to that question but the truth is that there are just too many variations in the industry as well as too many people willing to do anything for money for that to be true.
That said though, if the doctors in charge of the treatment are trained and licensed by the same institutes and use the facilities and injection units imported from the same countries then I don’t believe there are any causes for a difference in quality level. The doctors at Orient Center are trained in America, Thailand and Singapore and we use medicine and botulinum toxin vials imported from America so I don’t believe that there is a significant difference in quality.
Are there any governing bodies in Vietnam that can certify a doctor for these beauty treatments?
Sadly, there are none, and anyone who tells you otherwise is not being truthful. The industry in Vietnam hasn’t grown to the point where we have such authorities yet. Specialized doctors and technicians in Vietnam are mostly trained abroad where there are academies and associations specializing in these new treatments. Popular countries include Thailand, the US and Singapore.
In that case, how do potential clients distinguish which beauty centers are of high quality and which ones they should avoid?
I have heard of horror stories concerning beauty centers of dubious credentials. For a potential client, there are several ways to ascertain the quality of any beauty center. First is the age of the beauty center and the number of branches. The industry in Vietnam is incredibly competitive. Centers with shoddy quality and reputation do not survive for long. Multiple branches is a definite sign of success and popularity, and the longer the center stays in business, it will gain more experienced and talented doctors.
Second is the medical team. Good doctors have many options and offers and tend to be picky about where they work. Only the best beauty centers manage to keep a stable team throughout the years. If you see a center with many years but with a constantly rotating medical team, then best stay away.
Third is the facilities, or in this case, the brands of botulinum toxin used for injection. In Vietnam right now, there are many brands of varying quality and prices. These brands are mostly imported from America and Korea. And of course, high quality botulinum toxins are much more expensive than those of questionable quality and unknown origin. Here at Orient, we use Allergan, the highest quality brand imported from America.
The fourth way to determine whether a beauty center is good or not, and this is from my personal experience, is the schedule the doctor sets for the patient. At Orient, we have many patients who come to us for Botox injection three or four days before a big event. As a rule, I don’t accept these patients.
What do you mean by that?
As I said above, it takes two weeks for a single injection to have its full effect. So it’s a common practice for doctors to have the patients coming in at the end of the two weeks. What we do then is check the results of the first injection and see if a touch-up is necessary. If it is necessary, we do it as part of the treatment itself. If a doctor accepts a patient with a scheduled appearance three to four days after the injection, it’s a guarantee that the result is not going to be good because at that time, the toxin is only in the first stage and there’s no chance for any touch-up or fixing if the patient’s face is not in top shape. Not all doctors refrain from accepting or even warning these patients about this though. It is a sign of a good doctor who is honest and lets his clients know what to expect and when not to have an injection.
Dr. Ho Xuan Vuong. (Medical Practitioner License Number: 10112847 – SCT/BS).
Orient Skincare and Laser Center
244A Cong Quynh, District 1; 3926 0561/62/63/64
3 Phung Khac Khoan, District 1; 3824 4650
64D Truong Dinh, District 3; 3932 5781
945 Cach Mang Thang 8, Tan Binh District; 3970 3674