Dr Terry Loong , a.k.a The Skin Energy Doctor, is an award winning aesthetic doctor. Although her speciality is hormonal acne (her book The Hormonal Acne Solution is gospel for sufferers) Terry treats women with all sorts of skin concerns with the same motive for all: boosting women’s self esteem. We sat down with Terry to chat how she made it to the top and how she manages it all now she is there...
Why did you decide to specialise in your chosen field?
In 2007, after completing my training as a surgeon and wanting a better work life balance, I decided to go into aesthetic medicine after being told about a course in Botox by an old university friend at a wedding. I thought it would be a simple transition as I was very good with my hands and had an aesthetic eye for beauty . But it was a huge learning curve for me after seeing my first few patients at a local salon - I had to learn about customer service, marketing, business and managing expectations.
I would spend about an hour with my patients, learning about their life and always felt I wish I could do more for them, not just to look great but also to feel great. I lost my mother when I was 19 years old and she was only 46 years old. Her confidence was affected by her bad skin so it inspired me to help as many people as I can. A few years later, I had a health scare. I was diagnosed with early stage cervical cancer at the age of 30 years old. Inspired by alternative health and regenerative medicine, I travelled to the USA to expand my knowledge in functional medicine, hormonal balancing and integrative nutrition. I felt more complete as a practitioner being an integrative skin doctor, as I could help my clients look and feel great, whatever their age.
When was your big break?
Winning the Best New Clinic Aesthetic Award in 2013. It was a complete surprise and it was great to be able to receive the award with my then fiance, Kurt Won. This gave me the confidence to hire my PR agent, Emma Bracey-Wright who helped me to communicate my knowledge on hormonal balance, skin health and positive beauty, via the media.
What does an average day look like for you (if there is ever one!)?
I love what I do because it’s so varied. I’m in the clinic three days a week and the other days, I write, catch up on my patient emails, study work related materials, complete media interviews and speaking and brainstorming on new projects with my team. That way, my creative side is allowed to play and this energises me for when I see my patients. If I’m not in London often I’m travelling for work especially since being appointed Global Skincare Expert for The Body Shop International.
During my clinic days, I get to work at least an hour before my first appointment starts at 10am. My clinic is close to Selfridges and the American Embassy so during that time, it’s great as it’s pretty quiet and I love walking in between buildings, in the park, enjoying the sunshine. If I didn’t have time for breakfast earlier, I would grab a green juice and a small pack of coconut bites from Marks & Spencers.
I love where I work. It’s below a pharmacy so it’s easy for my patients to pick up supplements and prescriptions after seeing me. I love my patients! My patients see me for skin concerns, aesthetic procedures and hormonal balancing. I enjoy optimising a person’s health and skin so they can look and feel great, not just for now, but in the many years to come.
I see a lot of women suffering from hormonal acne and requiring support both internally and externally to clear their acne naturally. It’s not uncommon for mothers to come in with their daughters after reading my book “The Hormonal Acne Solution” or because they have read about me in an article. I have them complete a 15-page questionnaire before their first consultation, which allows me to really explore what’s going on with their skin. After consultation, I either recommend further investigations, supplements, skin products or skin treatments. I love being able to help women feel confident in their skin. I also have many patients present general ageing concerns and would like a holistic approach to staying youthful. I would work with them to optimise their hormones, their energy, their skin and to maintain their youthful features through aesthetic procedures, if desired. My patients often tell me I am able to help them achieve a natural, healthy look and once I educate them about everything, their fears are alleviated.
I love teaching, so as part of my consultation and treatment, I enjoy educating my patients to understand their skin, their faces and their health so they can make better choices and decisions in the future. If I have time in between patients, I will catch a quick lunch, respond to any emails and definitely go for a walk around the block just to stretch my legs, get some fresh air and clear my mind. I give a lot of energy to my patients so I need to make sure I manage my own energy levels so I’m fully present with them. I love being in nature, it inspires me!
I finish work at 7pm. I then head back home to Wandsworth to have dinner with my husband. I love unwinding with him with a good movie or just catching up on our day.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The ability to make a difference in someone’s life. To teach and to inspire. To bring a smile to someone’s face. To make them feel worth it and deserving of beautiful skin, a healthy body and a happy life.
Are there any aspects of your job that you find challenging?
Not having enough time to do everything I want. My work can be energetic and invigorating as well as draining and if I’m not careful, I tend to overwork and fall ill. I just have to be mindful and make sure I schedule lots of rest time in between my busy periods.
What are the most common questions your clients ask you?
How can I maintain my youthful looks without looking different?
How can I clear my skin now and keep it looking good in the future?
How can I treat my scars?
How do I get rid of the dark circles under my eyes?
How do I look less tired?
How do I get the definition of my jaw back?
How do I avoid the chipmunk look?
Can I still go to work tomorrow?
What’s your team “me”? Who do you rely on to keep you happy, healthy and sane?
1. My secretary, Amelia, answers all my enquiries and liaises with patients. She’s a God-send.
2. My PR agent, Emma Bracey-Wright who’s been with me since my big break at the start of 2014 and helped me raise my profile the right way. She’s my eyes and ears in the field.
3. My colleagues in my business mastermind - having a group of business friends outside my industry is great to bounce ideas, get new perspective and deal with challenges.
4. My good friend, Karolina Kaczor who is also my personal trainer who whips me up in the XBody. She is also a nutritionist, life coach and helps me work out my problems if I feel stuck.
5. Hotpod Yoga for some energy cleansing, stretching and breathing.
6. Ledow Health Center in Baker Street - OMG! They have the best therapist if you’re looking for a proper chinese massage. I like a firm hand and the therapists there definitely give the muscle knots a good workout.
7. My family in Malaysia and Melbourne whom I whatsapp a lot with. Photos of my nephew and my beautiful niece always make me laugh - I love them to bits!
8. Lastly, my gorgeous husband who is my soulmate, my best friend, my business coach and my everything.
How is your industry changing?
There is an increasing number of practitioners offering aesthetic services due to the increasing demand from the public. However, regulation is not as tight as we would like and we often hear of patients having bad experience, or worse, complications from under trained practitioners. Before you decide to embark on aesthetic treatments, do your due diligence and definitely get a recommendation. And even then, a good practitioner will not be phased by your questions and will be patient answering your questions to make sure it’s the right procedure for you and they are the right practitioner to support you in the process.
Another change I have been seeing in my industry is the move towards achieving natural looks and not just completely removing all lines and wrinkles. We’ve found the public want to look fresh, less tired and just the best they can be at their age, rather than actually 10 years younger. I’m glad to see more practitioners adopting a holistic approach, advocating good skin health and a healthy lifestyle to maximise the aesthetic treatments rendered.