When Dr Z met Dr Aivee- By Maripet L. Poso
The moment you see them step into a room, you would know right away that they have good stories to tell. They have that certain mettle, that spunk, which will make you look twice, trying to place what it is that makes them tick. No, they’re not celebrities, but they make people look like one, not only in Singapore but in the Philippines, as well.
Dr Z and Aivee Teo may look like your regular young couple (except they’re more svelte and stylish), but both have already carved their own niche in the aesthetic and dermatology industry both in Manila and Singapore at such a young age. Owning not two, but six clinics in both countries, this power couple certainly knows the business of beauty inside out.
Chic Dr Aivee Aguilar-Teo holds a license in dermatology and is a sought-after celebrity dermatologist in the Philippines. However, with her ever present pair of YSL stilettos and Gucci punch, you would think she easily belongs in the fashion world. When she’s not pampering her patients at her own posh French-inspired clinic at The Fort in Manila, or doing pro-bono services in public hospitals in the Philippines, she’s spending time with Dr Z and their two kids in Singapore. Suave and boyish-looking Dr Z Teo, on the other hand, can certainly give any Asian boy band member a run for their money. He, in fact, plays the guitar in a band and has the looks for it, but he’s got a medical degree with specialisation in aesthetics medicine to boot, tucked under his trendy belt.
Ezyhealth & Beauty caught up with the stylish power couple at Z Medical Aesthetics Clinic in Paragon and learned a lot about the A to Z of aesthetic medicine. Dr Z’s interest lies in aesthetic anti-ageing medicine and surgery with special interest in non-invasive facial anti-ageing and rejuvenation. While Aivee’s expertise is in the use of non-invasive treatments like botox, fillers, ulthera and lasers for skin rejuvenation and anti-ageing.
A marriage of science and the arts
Ezyhealth & Beauty: Share with us how you guys got to where you are today.
Dr Z: We started our practice in our respective countries (myself here in Singapore and Aivee in the Philippines) just before we got married. After getting married, it was diffi cult for us to give up either of our practices as both were doing well. I told Aivee that we had to fi nd a way to make it a win-win situation. We ended up shuttling back and forth Singapore and Philippines every fortnight.
It helps that our practice allows our patients to wait for us,as there are hardly any emergencies in aesthetic medicine and dermatology. As our practices continued to grow, as well as our family (we have two young boys now), it became more and more difficult to manage. However, with meticulous time management and determination, we have managed six clinics in both countries with 40 staff altogether. And yes, we are still shuttling back and forth every other week. It is tiring at times but hugely fulfilling to be able to conquer the geographical and logistical difficulties.When there is a will, there will be a way.
EHB: What inspired you to choose aesthetics, and Aivee dermatology, over other medical fi elds?
Dr Z: I have always been more inclined towards the arts. I play the guitar in a band, and have always gotten high scores in my humanities subjects in school. I was accepted by the Law faculty of NUS after college, but my father wanted me to follow in his footsteps and take over his chain of GP medical clinics. I turned down the chance to study law and headed to Glasgow, UK, to study medicine instead. After graduating, I tried doing general medicine for two years, but it became increasingly obvious to myself that it was just not what I wanted to do. There was a restlessness inside me that would not go away. Aivee’s fi eld is very much synonymous with beauty. When we got married, I became exposed to this fascinating fi eld of beauty and technology – the combination of arts and science.Optimal results are achieved by a marriage of the two elements.
A keen aesthetic eye with a fi rm foundation in science is the key to natural and beautiful results. For me, it was a match made in heaven (laughs).
Dr Aivee: The path I took was a similar one. I did medicine because my father wanted one of his four daughters to take care of him when he grows older. I, too, completed two years of internal medicine and decided that it was not for me. Dermatology in the Philippines was home to the most beautiful and stylish female doctors of the cohort and I found my way into the specialty. I can make patients look young and beautiful. I can talk about beauty, fashion and make up. In a way, my husband and I have similar paths and similar inclinations. I guess that is why we understand each other (smiles).
Passion for beauty
EHB: What do your jobs as an aesthetician and cosmetic dermatologist entail, respectively?
Dr Z: It is actually very similar. We see patients from all age groups who have specifi c concerns about their skin, ageing skin and insecurities about their bodies. We address these problems one by one and give them the best possible solution, from the non-invasive to invasive options.
EHB: What are the common aesthetic/dermatology procedures patients visit you for?
Dr Z: My passion is getting fi llers done when my patients come for facial contouring. Many patients come to me for a liquid nose lift, lips or chin. I also do a lot of botox and ulthera noninvasive face lifting. I enjoy lipo sculpting for patients as well.
Dr Aivee: I see many patients for acne, acne scars, pigmentation, botox and fi llers.
EHB: You see a fair share of men in your line of work as well. What are the popular aesthetic procedures and beauty concerns amongst the men?
Dr Z: Yes, more and more men come for aesthetic treatments these days. Men usually have problems with acne scars, hair loss, stubborn fats, love handles and tummies. For these problems, we usually have laser treatments for acne scars, medication for hair loss issues. I also see a lot of men who play golf and have pigmentation problems because of the sun. For such problems, we use the Cosmelan Depigmenting System or laser.
EHB: And the ladies?
Dr Aivee: The ladies come in for botox for their wrinkles,fillers for their deeper lines and Cosmelan for pigmentation. An increasing number of ladies are also coming in for liquid nose lifts, lip fi llers and cheek fi llers. Weight loss and body contouring have always been a hot favourite as well.
EHB: What’s your advice to patients who are considering aesthetic and dermatology procedures?
Dr Z: I would advise patients to pick their doctor very carefully. Different doctors will do the same treatments very differently. Though price is a factor to consider, it should not be a most important factor. What is most important is honesty, sincerity and a desire for the doctor to give his patients the best. I feel angry sometimes when I see patients who have had unnecessary treatments done, along with unrealistic expectations given to them.
EHB: Any post-aesthetic care tips patients should know?
Dr Z: Bruising is sometimes unavoidable when you do injections. Taking pineapple does help because it contains bromelin which speeds up the healing process. It is important to apply sunblock after having a laser treatment or chemical peel done. Otherwise, hyperpigmentation could result.
EHB: Apart from injections and fi llers, what are the few health and beauty secrets the both of you swear by?
Dr Aivee: A good night’s rest, a clear conscience and a happy smile – they go a long way.
EHB: Any plans for further expansion of Z Medical Aesthetics?
Dr Z: At the moment, we have our hands full with six clinics in two countries. But well, never say never (laughs).Up close and personal
EHB: Share a little on how you guys met. Was it love at fi rst sight?
Dr Z: Yes, it was love at fi rst sight… at least for me (laughs)! I met Aivee when she was doing a 6-month fellowship training at the National Skin Centre in Singapore. I was doing my rotation there as well. When I fi rst met her, I followed her around and courted her till she agreed to be with me.
Dr Aivee: When he went back to Glasgow, UK, for three years to complete his training, we continued our long distance relationship. That was a difficult period for us because of the difference in time and the long distance. However, we persevered.He eventually moved back to Singapore to be closer to Manila.Since then, we have been shuttling back and forth for six years.
EHB: You are happily married with two adorable sons.How do you find time for family and loved ones?
Dr Aivee: In our main clinic in Manila, we have a playroom at the back for our two boys and other kids who come along with their parents. This way, the kids are with us all the time, be it Singapore or Manila. We have homes in both countries so we have made it a point to take the kids wherever we go.
EHB: Any hobbies both of you share?
Dr Z: We both like to travel. We try to visit as many places as possible. We just came back from Las Vegas and we will head to Paris in December.
EHB: Where do you see yourselves in 10 years’ time?
Dr Z: I really don’t know .The beauty of our story is that we never plan ahead. We go where the wind blows and enjoy the moment. Maybe in 10 years’ time you can ask us the same question, and we’ll have another exciting story to share (smiles).