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About 10 years ago, I tried an earlier version of Thermage for a media trial/review. Minutes into the treatment and with just a couple of shots fired from the radiofrequency handpiece on my face, I begged the doctor to dial it down to the minimum because it was hot and painful both on and inside my skin. I felt like my flesh was being steam-ironed and hence I also asked for the treatment to be shortened as it was pretty unbearable. 

Fast forward to now, I recently tried the latest new and improved version of Thermage, the Thermage FLX – which stands for Faster ALgorithm EXperience. I was convinced to give Thermage another shot by Dr Calvin Chan of Calvin Chan Aesthetic and Laser Clinic, who told me that FLX is now faster, more comfortable and more effective for skin tightening. And he should know. He has done the treatment on himself.

Dr Chan trying out the Thermage FLX on himself

Thermage FLX facts:

  1. This Food & Drug Administration (FDA)-approved radiofrequency (RF) treatment just got a speed upgrade with a handpiece tip that covers a larger area, so the treatment is about 25 per cent quicker.
  2. The technology is also more effective as the tip that comes into contact with skin now automatically tunes the RF energy before every pulse so each shot of energy fired is calibrated to optimally treat a particular area for predictable results.
  3. And for added treatment comfort the handpiece now emits multidirectional rather than focused vibration, which is supposed to diffuse or distract from the sensation of heat on the skin.
  4. It is also the only non-invasive skin tightening procedure for upper eyelids approved by FDA.

All these coupled with the fact that I am 10 years older than when I last tried Thermage and obviously have more signs of ageing (my droopy eyelids in particular were getting to me), I found myself at Calvin Chan Aesthetic and Laser Clinic at Wheelock Place ready for the treatment review.


It started with a consultation with Dr Chan where I shared my greatest areas of concern such as heavier jowls and droopy eyelids. After explaining the procedure to me, I was whisked off by the clinic staff to have my makeup removed and skin cleansed before numbing cream was applied on my face and left on for about 15-20 minutes. A temporary grid was applied on my face which would give the doctor visual reference of where to place the Thermage handpiece.

Thermage FLX is a machine that can only be used by a trained doctor. Thus, Dr Chan came in when my face was properly numbed to start the treatment proper. 

Cooling gel was applied on my face and the first shots were delivered without a hitch. I felt barely any pain as the handpiece’s vibration did a good job to distract from the sensation of heat. However, at some areas, namely near the corners of my mouth and along my jawline, the shots stung a little. But thankfully the treatment was very “interactive” as Dr Chan spoke to me throughout and even dialed down the intensity for areas that I felt were more painful. The handpiece tip also came very close around my eye area to firm up those sleepy-looking lids, however, it wasn’t painful. 

Photo: Unsplash

After about three or four passes over each area, the treatment was done. My face and neck took about 40 minutes to treat and I was told that with the previous Thermage machine would have taken about an hour.

There was absolutely no sign that I had anything done to my face immediately after the treatment. I was advised, however, to stay away from prolonged sun or heat exposure as my skin was “rejuvenating” from the inside out. 


Photo: Unsplash

Now at three weeks post treatment, I can see and feel a difference on my face and neck. My cheeks are firmer and the skin on my neck is no longer as loose. But perhaps the improvement that I’m the happiest with is that of my eyelids and eye area. I no longer look so tired and sleepy because there’s a marked improvement in the droopiness of my eyelids, the skin is more taut and my eyes look more awake.

Dr Chan says I can expect results to gradually improve over the span of two to three months post-treatment and that the anti-ageing and lifting benefits can last up to two or three years, which is great news because the treatment doesn’t come cheap at an introductory price of $4,500 per session.


Thermage FLX is available at Calvin Chan Aesthetic & Laser Clinic, #05-11 Wheelock Place, tel: 6732 4981. For more info, visit