How To Tell When Someone’s Had Too Much Work Done

Original reporting / Adora Wong

Aesthetic procedures have become as common as the flu jab⁠⁠. Even if you’ve never gone for one, you probably know people who have.

They can be surgical (like facelifts and breast implants) and non-surgical (like Botox injections, dermal fillers and chemical peels), and as the term suggests, they’re meant to improve cosmetic appearance. Thus, it shouldn’t be surprising that they can become quite addictive since our looks (or at least what we think of them) can impact our psychological well-being and social engagement.

But more isn’t always more⁠—so how would you know when you’re OD-ing on these treatments? We got Dr Kwan Yuan Dong, a resident physician at DTAP Clinic, to share 10 signs.

1. Tight and thin, waxy looking skin

Many people undergo aesthetic treatments in a bid to achieve smooth, glowy skin. However, a lot of them end up with thin, crepe-like skin instead, often with a waxy sheen to it.

“This is a sign of over-exfoliation. It can be caused by excessive use of chemical peels, acids, exfoliative laser treatments, exfoliative cosmeceuticals, as well as scrubs,” says Dr Kwan.

2. Unnatural facial expressions

No one bats an eyelid at the Botox of mention anymore, and the age limit at which these injections can be carried out has become lower because “preventative” Botox has become the new fad. However, too much Botox can result in a “frozen” face that has unnatural, awkward, minimal or no facial expressions.

3. Highly-arched brows

“Strictly speaking, highly-arched brows aren’t necessarily a sign of overdone Botox, but rather of improperly-injected Botox,” she says.

“This is typically due to an overload of Botox in the centre of  the forehead, and not enough on the sides, which causes the muscles on the sides to pull the eyebrows up.” She adds that because aesthetic preferences are subjective, it isn’t unusual for patients to request for this look.

4. Unnaturally-shaped noses

It’s no secret that unnaturally-shaped noses are a result of incorrect or excessive filler placements. But how? Or why?

“When fillers or non-surgical nose jobs are carried out without following the aesthetic rules of the face, there can be a loss of aesthetic contours. This can result in unnaturally high or sharp nose bridges,” says Dr Kwan.

5. “Flowerhorn fish” forehead

According to her, a beautiful forehead is one that has a smooth, rounded contour and that makes one’s face appear more feminine or child-like. She adds that overzealous filling can lead to the development of an unsightly bulge over the forehead, a condition known as ‘flowerhorn head’ because it bears likeness to a fish of the same name.

6. “Trout pout” or “sausage lips”

As you might have guessed, the “trout pout” or “sausage lips” happen when too much filler has been injected.

“Overfilled upper lips typically lose their curvature and hang down on the sides,” she explains. “Plus, they make the cupid’s bow disappear, which gives rise to the appearance of sausage shaped lips.”

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7. Pillow faces

“To correct the a saggy mid-face, fillers are used to ‘lift’ the fat pads and fill volume loss,” she says. “However, when overdone, it can result in overly puffy cheeks that look unnatural or even inappropriate for the patient’s age.”

She adds that when this happens, the natural lid-cheek junction is often “obliterated” and the mid-face becomes one continuous bulge, very much like a pillow.

8. Cat-eyes

As we age, the corners of our eyes sag and droop downwards. This gives us heavy lids and droopy eyes, both of which result in a tired and haggard appearance.

“Multiple interventions have been used to deal with these effects, including lateral browlift, lid surgery and canthopexy. But when overdone, they can lend an unnatural upswing of the corners of the eyes, giving the eyes a cat-like appearance,” says Dr Kwan.

9. Witch’s chin

She points out that while a well-sculpted chin projects naturally into the jawline, an overfilling in the chin gives rise to a “ball” in the area.

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10. High protruding cheekbones

“There has been an increase in people overfilling the cheekbone area. This has resulted in what is now termed the ‘Maleficent cheekbones’, which derives its name from the fictional witch,” says Dr Kwan.

Much as it’s nice to slow down the effects of ageing and improve our appearances, it’s important that we keep in mind that moderation is key, and that too much of a good thing can f**k us over.