“She came into the clinic and had this laundry list of things that she wanted done to her face. So, I was trying to find out why. Eventually, she told me that her boyfriend had ended a long-term relationship with her for someone else and in that distraught emotional state, she wanted all of that work done to look like the new girlfriend.” Dr Rachel Ho is sharing an anecdote with me, describing the work she does at La Clinic and the importance of getting to know the patient.
Here, Dr Ho gently turned her away by telling her she should seek a second opinion with another aesthetic doctor. The doctor never saw her again. “At La Clinic, we treat the entire user experience seriously, from the point you walk in to when you leave. We spend a lot of time with each patient and figure out your story and your motives, which we feel is an important part of the process,” Dr Ho explains. She’s turned down many patients if she feels their intentions aren’t right.
On the flip side, she finds joy in restoring the confidence of her patients. “I think many women now recognise that their looks are an important part of self-care. It’s not vanity, but empowerment. There are women who are approaching 50 or who have just gone through a divorce and come to me at a really low point in their lives. Their self-esteem comes back when they leave the clinic,” she smiles.
An expert in facial reconstruction, Dr Ho joined La Clinic after residencies in public hospitals and obtaining her master’s degree in otolaryngology surgery. Her interest in holistic beauty started from young, influenced by her mum, and the clinic gave her a platform to pursue minimally invasive aesthetic treatments such as face thread lifts, dermal fillers, Botox and lasers. She also appreciated its relationship-based nature; many clinics in this field usually commoditise beauty.
She’s glad that beauty trends have also become more inclusive. “In the past, makeup counters only had five different shades of white, and sunscreens would cast a shade of grey on dark-skinned people. A lot of the minorities I spoke to struggled with this. I’m glad that this has improved. There’s still more that we can do, though. For example, I’ve met some Muslim women who struggle with scalp acne because of the headwear.”
For Dr Ho, education is the key. The flexible nature of her work gives her the opportunity to head down this path. She writes extensively in her blog about beauty issues and contributes as much knowledge as she can to the media. The freedom also allows her to nurture her creative interests. Besides blogging and content marketing, Dr Ho has consulted for multiple beauty brands, including FOREO and Dove. Uniqlo Singapore even approached her to be its face for the new range of ultraviolet protective clothing.
“I want to build a brand name for credibility, reliability, knowledge and education in the holistic beauty sphere.” There’s still a lot more to be done in the space, and Dr Ho is happy to lead the way.