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A session with Dr Shane

NOVU Genesis, the flagship concept of NOVU Medical Aesthetics, is thrilled to have on board Dr Shane Abucewicz-Tan, who has had a long-standing interest in the field of medical aesthetics.

Born of Polish-Chinese descent, the Singaporean doctor’s mission is to make a meaningful impact through his profession.

We recently had a cosy session to find out more about the doctor’s personal interest and peeves. 

Have you always been interested in the medicine and surgical field since young? If not, what got you interested in this field as you grew older?

I was actually more fascinated with the intangibles – math, astrophysics, space exploration – till my late teens. The choice of medicine and surgery appealed only slightly later while in junior college as it appeared to be an amalgamation of the values I came to appreciate over the years. Plus, the work and results are more immediately palpable and impacful, and so appeared more fulfilling a role in life. 

With your parents being percussionists, have you considered exploring the field of music? If so, what would be your instrument of choice?

My dad was a violinist and mum an… Everything-ist (though principally a percussionist), so naturally we did learn the piano and violin for years. Being the rebel we were, however, my twin and I settled for the drum and guitar respectively (much to our mums disapproval!). If I had time now, however, I’d love to take up the saxophone.

With your frequent travels to Seoul, what are some effective skincare trends you’ve seen in Seoul that you think the Singapore market has yet to pick up on?

I function on principle rather than trends, so I tend to recommend certain medical routines in a patients best interest. With respect to trends, however, Singapore does not take too long to respond and adopt the ever-changing trends that Korea seems to innovate.

With your frequent travels to Seoul, what are some effective skincare trends you’ve seen in Seoul that you think the Singapore market has yet to pick up on?

I do have a fixed routine, and most people should have a simple fixed routine depending on their skin type; too many skincare brands tend to complicate the affair and end up causing more issues than solutions. 
 
The first important step is always proper, gentle exfoliation, and I prefer acidic toners to actual physical scrubs which cause too much trauma for regular use. Alpha hydroxy acids are better for pigmented skin, and salicylic acid toners for oily and acne prone skin. 
 
The next step involves the use of products to rejuvenate the skin, and this involves vitamin c serums and vitamin a products, like retins or adapalene. Moisturisers are not essential for everyone – if you have oily, non dry skin, you can afford to pass on this step. 
 
The last step is a must in sunny Singapore – sun protection. A good sunscreen need not be of excessive SPF 30 ++ is sufficient. Just make sure it contains physical reflectors like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. 
 
One point worth noting is that skincare. Can be delivered in different mediums – serums, gels, creams, ointments. If you must moisturise but have oiler skin, going with a fast absorbing moisturising serum or gel will moisturise without too much clogging. The skin is dynamic and you will have to adapt your skin routine over the years. If it gets confusing, speak to your doctor for some quick advice! 

Between you and your wife, who do you think has better skin? What is her skincare routine like and what are some of her favourite treatments by you?

Definitely my wife – she was blessed with good skin. I fought with acne for years – all the way to my mid 20s – and then the scars that came with it. Thank heavens for treatments I had available to myself over the past few years! 
 
Her skincare routine is very different – she usesight toners, heavy cream and even oil moisturisers. As I mentioned, the skin is a living organ and differs from person to person. 
 
She always bugs me for the regular skin brightening laser, botox and occasional PDRN Rejuran doses to maintain her skin. 

If you had to choose only one skincare product to use for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

I would go with Adapalene, a product similar to the Retins but with better efficacy. 
 
These vitamin A analogues are pretty much the wonder component for facial rejuvenation – it basically:
  1.  Speeds up cellular turn over, promoting healthier skin and removing dead dull skin
  2. Promotes collagen growth and produces a thicker, more supple dermis
  3. Prevents acne
  4. Helps with most pigmentation over the long run
  5. Doesn’t break the bank
It started off as an acne management tool but its rejuvenating properties have been well studied over the past few years and is now used routinely for aging skin for the above reasons

What are some of your guilty pleasures when it comes to local cuisine and what do you and your wife usually indulge in when dining out??

I never could really answer this question – I love all food. 
 
It did get a bit more complicated over the past 2 years however, as I’ve become pescatarian (except as social gatherings) and have a much smaller dietary option. 
 
Of late, my interests lie in vegetarian and fish related dishes – there really are so many alternative ways to cooking what we already eat that allows us to eat more sustainably and that to me is something comforting. 

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