WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT LASER TREAT­MENTS

Dr Vanessa Phua, who is based at The Chelsea Clinic in Sin­ga­pore, used to be an oph­thal­mol­o­gist per­form­ing com­pli­cated eye surgery. But for the past 14 years, she’s been ap­ply­ing her gift of pre­ci­sion to aes­thetic laser skin treat­ments. She shares with us

Herworld (Malaysia) - - CONTENTS -

Dos, don’ts and what you can ex­pect.

WHAT DOES A LASER TREAT­MENT DO?

“Lasers gen­er­ate in­vis­i­ble light en­ergy that can span hun­dreds to thou­sands of nanome­tres (a nanome­tre is one bil­lionth of a me­tre). Lasers can treat a va­ri­ety of skin prob­lems, from acne, rosacea, eczema and hy­per­pig­men­ta­tion to skin­re­newal con­cerns and even hair and tat­too re­moval. There’s no such thing as one-laser-fits-all. I ad­just the laser wave­lengths based on the pa­tient’s skin con­di­tion – the longer the wave­length, the deeper the laser pen­e­tra­tion into skin.”

WHAT’S AN ASIAN-SKINFRIENDLY LASER?

“The En­lighten Pi­cosec­ond is more suit­able for Asian

skin be­cause it pre­vents hy­per­pig­men­ta­tion from com­ing back. It’s a green laser emit­ting low en­ergy, which makes it more pro­tec­tive. It won’t in­jure the sur­round­ing skin. So it’s safer for those with deeper skin tones who are more likely to suf­fer burns from tra­di­tional laser ma­chines, which tar­get the en­tire face in­stead of ar­eas with pig­men­ta­tion prob­lems.”

IS LASER TREAT­MENT A GOOD IN­TRO TO AES­THETIC TREAT­MENTS?

“It’s a good start as it can work on all skin con­cerns. There are two cat­e­gories of lasers. Non-ab­la­tive lasers – such as ND:YAG, En­lighten Pi­cosec­ond, and Dual Yel­low Cop­per Bro­mide – are more com­monly used on younger skin to even out skin tone, smooth rough­ness, treat acne scars, en­larged pores and su­per­fi­cial pig­men­ta­tion, and re­duce fine lines. Ab­la­tive lasers – such as those used in frac­tional skin resur­fac­ing – are suit­able for peo­ple in their late 40s and be­yond who re­quire more skin tight­en­ing and lift­ing, and want to treat deep wrin­kles.”

WHEN CAN ONE START US­ING LASER TREAT­MENTS?

“Some­one as young as a 16-year-old with acne can start such treat­ments. And the signs of age­ing be­come more ob­vi­ous from your mid-20s, so a preven­tive ap­proach is bet­ter than a re­ac­tive one. Treat prob­lems such as fine lines, the ap­pear­ance of en­larged pores, un­even skin tone, dull­ness, and rough­ness be­fore they be­come more prom­i­nent and deep-set.”

CAN IT EVER BE TOO LATE FOR LASERS?

“There’s no such thing. My old­est pa­tient is 81 years old, and she only started see­ing me when she was 67. Pig­men­ta­tion prob­lems were her main con­cern, so I started her on lasers to treat her melasma and su­per­fi­cial sun spots. We did all the aes­thetic pro­ce­dures in a way that wouldn’t show up as ma­jor changes on her face. Her skin is cur­rently brighter and more even-toned, with fewer vis­i­ble wrin­kles.”

WHAT DOES A TYP­I­CAL COURSE OF LASER TREAT­MENTS EN­TAIL?

“Treat­ments are done at least once a month over a six-month du­ra­tion if we’re deal­ing with acne and longterm melasma caused by hor­monal dis­tur­bances.”

IS THERE A WAIT­ING PE­RIOD BE­TWEEN TREAT­MENTS?

“Laser treat­ments are gen­er­ally done once in three to four weeks, as the skin needs that amount of turnover time.”

HOW MUCH CAN I EX­PECT TO PAY?

“It’s about RM1500 a month on av­er­age, but take into con­sid­er­a­tion other ex­penses such as skin­care, boost­ers and add-on treat­ments too, sub­ject to your skin type.”

WHAT SHOULD I EX­PECT TO SEE AF­TER THE FIRST SES­SION, AND BY THE END OF THE COURSE?

“Gen­er­ally, af­ter the first ses­sion, you can ex­pect your skin tone to be more even, dull ar­eas to be slightly re­duced, and an over­all brighter com­plex­ion. By the end of the course, you can ex­pect a min­imised ap­pear­ance of pores, acne scars and dark spots, con­trolled oil pro­duc­tion, and bet­ter skin ra­di­ance.”

WILL LASERS FIX MY SKIN PER­MA­NENTLY?

“Skin will age, and it will re­vert to show­ing the nor­mal signs of age­ing if you go com­pletely laser­free. The treat­ments can be once ev­ery two or three months, but you’ll need to com­mit to life­time main­te­nance for healthy­look­ing skin.”

CAN PEO­PLE TELL IF I’VE HAD IT DONE?

“Not with a skilled and ex­pe­ri­enced doc­tor. It might take an av­er­age of three to five days for your skin to heal and for the red­ness to sub­side if you have just done an ab­la­tive laser treat­ment, but af­ter the down­time, the re­sults are very nat­u­ral.”

DOES IT MAKE MY SKIN THIN­NER?

“That’s a mis­con­cep­tion. In fact, your skin be­comes health­ier and more re­silient since laser treat­ments en­cour­age skin to pro­duce more col­la­gen.”

IS THERE SUCH A THING AS OVER­DO­ING IT?

“If you overdo it, your skin might not have time to re­cover and may be­come sen­si­tive, which could pos­si­bly give rise to other pig­men­ta­tion is­sues. But an ex­pe­ri­enced doc­tor will not go over­board with the laser wave­length.”

WHAT ABOUT THE PAIN AND DIS­COM­FORT?

“For pa­tients un­der­go­ing more in­tense laser treat­ments, we ap­ply a top­i­cal anaes­thetic cream. Other times, we use a cold com­press to help re­duce dis­com­fort, but most laser treat­ments gen­er­ally do not re­quire any form of numb­ing.”

SHOULD I EX­FO­LI­ATE MY SKIN PRE-TREAT­MENT?

“I usu­ally ad­vise my pa­tients not to ex­fo­li­ate for at least one week be­fore the treat­ment. This is be­cause ex­fo­li­at­ing causes the skin to be more sen­si­tive to the laser, which means you might feel the sen­sa­tion of heat slightly more than you usu­ally would.”

WHAT ABOUT WHEN I’M ON MY PE­RIOD?

“It won’t neg­a­tively af­fect the out­come of the treat­ment, but some women may be more sen­si­tive to heat-in­duced pain dur­ing this time.”

DO I RE­ALLY HAVE TO AVOID OUT­DOOR AC­TIV­I­TIES OR SUN EX­PO­SURE POST-LASER?

“Yes, and it is even more cru­cial for you to do so if you’ve just com­pleted a frac­tional skin resur­fac­ing laser treat­ment, which treats more se­vere skin dam­age and wrin­kling by re­mov­ing mi­cro­scopic col­umns of skin while leav­ing the sur­round­ing tis­sue un­treated. This prompts the body’s nat­u­ral heal­ing process to cre­ate new, healthy col­la­gen to re­place the re­moved col­umns of skin. This ab­la­tive treat­ment leaves skin es­pe­cially raw and vul­ner­a­ble, so it is highly rec­om­mended that you avoid swim­ming, div­ing and over­ex­po­sure to the sun for at least two weeks.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.