In an alternate timeline, Dr Ian might well have been an engineer, a consultant or an investment banker like many of his contemporaries, but the former engineering student at Imperial College had a change of heart two years into his tertiary pursuit. He pivoted to medicine for its participatory, hands-on approach while fulfilling his father’s wishes, who himself started out as a medical practitioner. An inherent proclivity for skincare drew him closer to aesthetic medicine. His determination to make it as an aesthetic physician and a champion of body positivity eventually triumphed over the initial parental scepticism, and with that a flurry of thanks from patients whose lives he helped change for the better.
What are some misconceptions about aesthetic medicine you wish to debunk?
There is so much debunking to do. Where do we even start? Some opine it is not a serious form of medicine. But let's put it this way: Aesthetic medicine addresses a very different concern. People come in, they want to look good. It is not necessarily about being physically unwell, but it is more so on an emotional and mental level. We want to boost their self-confidence, make them feel good about themselves.
How do you manage patients’ expectations?
A patient’s ideals of beauty and objectives have to be aligned with the doctor’s. These days, patients are well-informed and cognisant of what they want to achieve. I like my patients looking natural. At the same time, there are some who are facing an intrinsic issue making them feel that they want more and more, and that they are never good enough. It is our job as a doctor to advise them. It is all about achieving the right balance and maintaining the ethics of a doctor.
What is your advice on time management?
Time management is very important to a doctor. You give a lot of yourself to your patients. We all went through strenuous housemanship and compulsory service with the government. Over the years, I have learned the importance of making time for myself, otherwise you will burn out very fast. I make sure I have enough off days to reset and unwind where I spend time gardening at home. So long as you have enough time for yourself, you can do better for other people.
Ian wears a shirt and coat by Louis Vuitton