A fabulous week in Japan ended too quickly but Taipei was next on my lecture circuit. I arrived on Friday, with the lecture scheduled for Sunday I had some time to explore. Boom ( a high school friend of my husband) played local guide. He has taught math in Taipei since 1987 and knows his way around. We went everywhere, from the tallest building in Taiwan (the 101) complete with designer fashion boutiques to a night market complete with exotic (to me anyway) things to eat. Admittedly, I did not eat much.
The comparison to Japan was inevitable. Taipei seemed much more western although I could not understand a word. The body language and personal interactions were more familiar. So I was very interested to know if the attitudes towards cosmetic dermatology procedures were familiar also. My recent experience with Japanese cosmetic physicians (Cosmetic Travel Log: Japan, 3/25/09) was not so familiar.
I met with Taiwanese physicians and this is what they told me.
- Cellulite is not such a big issue; and neither is obesity
- Thermage is often used to tighten the Asian eyelid even in young patients (Asian lids are structurally different from caucasian lids. Asian lids have no eyelid crease (single eyelid) which can make one look sleepy. Tightening with Thermage lifts the single lid which gives a more open-eye look. There are plastic surgeons who specialize in creating a crease, so called “double eyelid surgery”)
- Western patients get better results from Thermage than Asian patients. (Interestingly this is the opposite of what the Japanese physicians told me about their patients)
My conclusion? We Westerners seem to have more in common with the typical patient of the Taiwanese cosmetic patient with some interesting differences. I am intrigued and hope to continue my cultural interactions with foreign cosmetic physicians to share ideas and learn from each other.
I gave my lecture on Thermage and Fraxel, no translator needed, the Taiwanese doctors speak excellent English. In fact, as a courtesy to me, the only western doctor present of 100 attendees, one doctor delivered his lecture in English and a second converted his power points to English. I was so warmly received, I was sorry to leave.
My Asian experience has certainly made me a more astute physician. The cultural differences are sometimes huge and sometimes not. We are members of the human race and all different yet the same. A good reminder in a small and sometimes unsettled world.