Looking physically good is a wish list for most of us and a reality for some. The field of aesthetic medicine has helped Malaysians in fulfilling those wish lists with the added bonus of self-confidence and esteem. Introduced in the 1990s, aesthetic medicine has grown from its original purpose of making one look good into various specialized fields. The aim of helping people in their quest to improve their physical outlook has been a major factor for one of the leading aesthetic physicians in the country, Dr Sutina Nordin, to enter the industry. Dr Sutina speaks on her success story in building one of the top five Malaysian aesthetic medicine practices, the challenges in establishing the industry and future diversification plans.

The field of aesthetics was a niche field that caught the eye of Dr Sutina Nordin while she was doing private practice in a clinic in Kuala Lumpur in the 1990s. A mother of two boys, Dr Sutina was looking for a business idea that suited her working and non-working hours. After graduating from University Malaya in 1991, Dr Sutina worked at the Hospital Kuala Lumpur for four years as a surgeon before seeking out a more balanced opportunity.

Coming from a family of five siblings and parents who are government parents, traits such as responsibility, discipline and schedules were second nature. “Father was in the education field and mother was the country’s matron. It was just natural that we were ingrained into structural thinking, being decisive and taking responsibility for our actions,” recollects Dr Sunita.

The traits have helped shaped her business ventures, the risks undertaken and the depth of involvement in gaining exposure, training and experience. “I have immersed myself into this field to the extent that we have successfully created our own association, helped formulate policies and have been a supportive force towards the growth of the industry in Malaysia,” she says. The petite and affable Dr Sutina radiates a high-level of energy and is quite a winsome person with her wit and humour to boot.

Her business started out temporarily with aesthetic treatments given to friends and family including those working at a television station. The idea dawned on Dr Sutina that this was a suitable practice for her as it fits in with her schedules, was a niche field and most importantly there were lots of happy customers. “I decided this was a field I wanted to get involved in as it met all my expectations,” she says.

“My husband and I went to Korea to explore the idea further. We found aesthetic establishments around every corner and that gave us the confidence to start a similar outfit here. We ended up purchasing a RM180k laser machine,” smiles Dr Sutina. The business has since flourished with two well-established practices in place – the En-hanze Medical Aesthetic and MediSpa Centre in Petaling Jaya and the LUMINOUS Aesthetic and Regenerative Clinic at the Pavilion in Kuala Lumpur. The centres are acclaimed as one of the top five aesthetic centres in the country.

The mantra of ‘happy patients, happy doctors’ has come to pass for Dr Sutina by ensuring that customers’ requests are fulfilled without compromise.  Managing a team of 15 people have been equally successful with the ‘good ones’ staying on. “My tendencies to micromanage have been tempered quite a bit,” laughs Dr Sutina and adds, “as it was not good for my ‘chi’.” The work-life balance hinges on a supportive husband but there are the occasional weekend trips and bonding times that make up for it.

Having excelled in the field of aesthetics, Dr Sutina plans to widen the scope of services towards a holistic framework of health and well-being therapy. The five areas of services she have in mind are related to women’s health, men’s health, metabolic diseases such as diabetes, aesthetics and joint pains that will focus on issues impacting everyday living. The medical expertise will consist of local and overseas specialists. She also has plans to go into cellular therapy in collaboration with European partners.

Dr Sutina’s long-term vision is to transform aesthetic medicine into a specialised professional medical practice. Her advice for those keen on entering the industry is to prioritise their professional expertise which will help their careers and the industry.