Dr. Pura Cheng uses science and art for aesthetic elevation
The beauty industry is full of quick but unsustainable fixes, over-promised and impossible claims. The doctor behind DP Place, who specializes in aesthetic medicine, dermatology and surgery, believes these unhealthy industry standards need a change.
Dr. Pura Cheng has a particularly busy day.
The day in question started out a little differently than the doctor’s usual Rolodex of patient consultations, meetings, and procedures. Instead, the day started with her being pulled and pushed for a photo shoot – the one you’re currently going through – while smiling, posing, changing into a second, third outfit, waiting for even more touch-ups, even more posing and , suddenly, it’s 2:45 p.m. His first patient of the day is scheduled for 3 p.m.; the doctor has 15 minutes to rush lunch (his first meal of the day – a soup, if you were wondering, something double boiled and nutritious) and a quick interview.
Like I said, Dr. Cheng has a particularly busy day.
But it’s just a casual Friday for a seemingly superhuman medical practitioner who’s also a proud mother of three, doting wife and almost new business owner — with a skincare line to boot. . DP Place — DP is an acronym for “Dedicated. Professional”, a mantra to which the doctor conforms; DP also conveniently abbreviates the doctor’s profession and first name – was founded just a calendar year ago in 2021, but the reality of its existence? Long, long time ahead. In fact, every step of the doctor’s medical and personal journey has led her to this: to the long-sown seed of success in opening the specialty clinic.
Nestled on the 10th floor of an office building tucked away in Lan Kwai Fong, perhaps Hong Kong’s busiest street, DP Place is the antithesis of what it is. Encompassing the entirety of a single floor, the clinic, which opens from the elevators in a palette of light beige and white, is a soothing oasis of a medical facility where dreams — pardon the cliché — come true.
Long gone are the days when a little nip was reserved for the rich and famous. Aesthetic medicine, the doctor hastens to explain, is not plastic surgery. Nor are they treatments you might get at a beauty salon or spa.
“Aesthetic medicine is a branch of medicine that focuses on altering appearances through minimally invasive procedures,” Cheng explains. “Think of it as art and science combined – or as art backed by science.”
Then yes. It’s Botox. (“Botulinum toxin,” corrects the doctor.) It’s filler. It’s sons. It’s injections. These are laser, radiofrequency, and high-intensity focused ultrasound treatments delivered under theatrical stage lights with large, clumsy machines.
Specifically, Cheng specializes in combination treatments — “a more personalized approach,” she insists — which means patients aren’t rushing for a single shot of Botox with 10 fingers crossed for it to do the trick. affair. The doctor uses wrinkles as an example: “We won’t just relax the muscle, because if it can fix the wrinkled surfaces, it might make the patient expressionless.” Rather than relying on a single method, combination treatments aim to maximize the potency of a desired outcome through the expert use of different modalities, with the end goal of more natural and long-lasting effects.
Now back to that wandering wrinkle. A combination solution could see a route that follows filler, skin-tightening, energy-based treatments, and finally, a muscle relaxant injectable. “There are many reasons for a specific cosmetic problem,” Cheng explains. “So we need a targeted solution for every problem.”
Displayed on the walls of Cheng’s personal office, wooden plaque after wooden plaque, all the evidence of his qualifications in medicine, surgery and aesthetic medicine. Before DP Place, she was a general practitioner with degrees in medicine and surgery, four years of training in family medicine, accreditations in practical dermatology before becoming a doctor specializing in the field of aesthetics. On the same plane of plaster and paint immediately next to patent evidence of the doctor’s professional certificates, photographic portraits of his three children also take center stage.
Cheng’s journey into aesthetic medicine was born out of a deep desire to work on her own terms so she could find more time to spend with her children. “Motherhood has made me more empathetic,” she says. “Everything changed after I became a mother.”
If you were to Google Cheng’s name casually, the results aside from the usual suspects — her website, her LinkedIn, her company — would be a litany of interviews about her home birth experience.
“I guess it’s quite unusual for someone in Hong Kong to give birth at home,” she laughs. “The first time was an accident, actually. I was going to go to the hospital for the last part of my labor, but it just happened.
She had no midwife with her, for her first or second and third home births. She delivered her kids with everything she remembered from medical school and, oh — “Books,” she says. “I learned from the books, then I moved on.” The book was by Ina May Childbirth Guide; the names of her daughters Ina and Mya were inspired choices. (Yet more evidence of that same industrious temperament: Cheng is, as we speak, referring to two A4 pages strewn with notes she wrote by hand on the questions I sent her.)
“I’ve always felt a call to the medical profession,” she says with an easy smile. “Science was my favorite subject at school, and I always felt this call to take care of others; positively impact the lives of others along with mine.
Aesthetic medicine, she explains, is a better use of her skills. Admittedly, a visual and artistic person (“It may be hereditary,” she laughs. “My maternal grandfather was a Chinese watercolourist.”) who enjoys working with his hands, the realm of aesthetics allows him to have space to flex his surgery skills while doing something beautiful. “Symmetrical,” she adds.
Now beauty is only superficial, they say. Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, they say. Much has been said about beauty through the ages; it is a subject with which we are – and it would not be an exaggeration to say it – entirely enamored. Empirically, scientists could say that this is a fact that has everything to do with health, with fertility, with the continuation of our race as it is. Artists, otherwise, might see beauty quite differently, as something to be inspired by; repelled by; seduced by. And we don’t need to ask Dorian Gray what he might think of beauty.
Cheng – who considers herself primarily a scientist, but informed by her appreciation of the arts – sees beauty as proof of a job well done.
“Ultimately, it’s all about trust,” says the doctor. “Aesthetic medicine, combined with my expertise in surgery and dermatology, gives me the tools and technology to facilitate minimally invasive adjustments that give my patients a boost in their appearance and, subsequently, their self-confidence. . And it just might change their lives for the better.
What if Cheng’s standing invitations to the many weddings of happy clients — many of whom, at first, came to her before the big day — so incredibly pleased with the results, is there anything to be said? Lives are changed.
“We are all born a little unbalanced, a little asymmetrical and, through the trials and tribulations of life, a little misshapen,” the doctor says over comparative before-and-after images of a patient. “But it can be adjusted. You don’t have to have this resignation to getting old, to whatever imperfection you think you have to live with.
Beauty, however, isn’t the only candidate on her patients’ wish list. For some, superstition plays a part in their visits to DP Place. The Chinese physiognomy – or feng shui face – details fortune and fate in the slanting features of your face. A sunken temple? There are probably problems in your marital relationship. A thin nose? Wealth will not come easily. A thin nose in tandem with a weak chin? Good luck to you.
“These are not my personal beliefs,” Cheng says. “Beauty is an easier ask for me. But for those who hold these beliefs, I could have a hand in helping them change their mindset, which could change their fortunes. And that makes sense for me. “
Physiognomy places a lot of importance on the face, as do good old standards of beauty. But Cheng is already looking way beyond that.
“A lot of patients come to me for fillers on their hands,” she reveals. “Breasts and scalp too. After all, a youthful face is only a small part of the puzzle. When asked if there were any lifestyle and skincare tips, the importance
of sunscreen application happens immediately. In fact, skincare management also plays an important role for Cheng and his patients, with the doctor’s own line of DP-branded skincare products specifically created to complement his in-clinic treatments at home.
His favorites in the range? The DP professional sunscreen which, unlike the ridged classics on the market; made in an extremely blendable formula, DP Professional Serum B, infused with hyaluronic acid for silky all-day hydration and DP Professional Serum C Stem, concentrated for anti-aging purposes – and it just so happens to smells deliciously of citrus fruits.
“I’ve always wanted my own skincare line,” Cheng says. “We know exactly what’s in each product, so it’s easier to recommend it to our patients.”
Now let’s count: practicing doctor, mother, and ever-hardworking entrepreneur, Cheng — who can never be accused of resting on her laurels — of course has big, big plans for the future of DP Place.
“I want the clinic to grow and grow,” reveals the doctor, currently the only doctor in the practice. “I want DP Place to become an entire community of physicians from different specialties, not just aesthetics, serving a community of patients.”
And what more dream for a doctor-supermom-entrepreneur who has already done everything?
Learn more about DP Place and its services here