Our definition of beauty has evolved rapidly over the last decade or so. Today, “thin is in” as the image of a fuller body has been relegated to dusty old paintings. The desired shape of the eyebrows, lips and even nose has changed over time and often varies in different cultures or races. But if there’s one thing that remains a constant, it’s good skin.
We are all born with soft and smooth skin. Unfortunately, with the passage of time, damage from the sun, poor dietary habits and lack of care, our skin is prone to show signs of ageing, and often earlier than we’d like. Slight pigmentation, fine wrinkles, enlarged pores and dull skin tone are not difficult to detect. There are many creams and potions over the counter that promise you miracles but often fall short of expectations. The key is in selecting the right ingredients as well as making the correct choice of products for your skin — oily and acne-prone skin reacts well with products containing salicylic acid, retinoid, tea tree and lactic acid; dry skin benefits from a good moisturiser with phytohormones, lecithin, fruit oil and dimethicone to lock in the moisture.
While topical skin-care products are useful, they are not adequate to reverse the signs of ageing. One of the most effective treatments available is laser. Laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. There are many types of laser in the market created specifically for the beautification of the skin, and one of the latest is Clear & Brilliant from Solta Medical — the maker of the famous Thermage and Fraxel.
The main aim of Clear & Brilliant is as its name suggests. It uses a gentle laser at the wavelength of 1,440nm to refresh your skin from inside out by creating millions of microscopic treatment zones in your skin. This triggers the cells to repair and replace aged skin with healthy and younger looking skin. I’ve had the privilege to help test the laser before it was launched officially in Singapore and across Asia. The results were very good and I decided to make it available at my clinic for my customers.
Clear & Brilliant is suitable for all ages. For the younger set, it helps to delay the onset of signs of ageing. I also notice that it is a brilliant laser for treating acne although it is not one of the intended indications. I have a number of patients who have difficulty managing their acne via traditional methods, but respond very positively to Clear & Brilliant. The mild redness experienced after the treatment may last from a few hours to a few days depending on the intensity of the treatment and one’s skin condition.To reduce the downtime, one may prep the skin by applying a prescribed medication topically for a few weeks before the appointment. We usually recommend repair masks and creams to help speed up the healing process.
Depending on your skin type and condition, you should notice improvement in your skin tone, pores and texture after just one session. Sustained visible results are usually achieved after four to six sessions. It works well with other aesthetic procedures such as Botox and fillers, Thermage and Ulthera to achieve optimal skin improvement.
For those with acne scars, a more intense laser is required. A Fractional CO2 laser is able to improve acne scars without the prolonged downtime of a resurfacing CO2 laser. To achieve a better result in some cases, we may need to combine the laser with subcision or excision of the hardened fibrotic acne scars.
Besides affecting our skin texture and tone, ageing also causes our skin to sag. Short of getting a surgical facelift, most treatments currently require multiple sessions and provide only temporary results lasting no more than a month or two. The latest treatment approved by US FDA is Ultherapy. It is a single-session treatment that lasts up to two years. Ultherapy uses a patented Deepsee (TM) ultrasound technology to visualise the various skin layers and treat the deep tissue at the same time. By creating multiple treatment spots at the muscle and dermis layer, Ultherapy gives immediate skin tightening and at the same time, triggers cellular repair and regeneration to produce better skin texture and smaller pores, with longer lasting results. Beautiful and youthful skin can be a reality with a good skin-care regimen, coupled with a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Clear & Brilliant is available from S$300 to S$800 at EHA Clinic and Skincare (260 Orchard Road #05-05, The Heeren). For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.eha.com.sg. To make an appointment, call EHA Clinic at +65 6235 3325 or EHA Skincare at +65 6235 3025.
Dr Elias Tam is a fellow of International College of Surgeons, and one of its 30 Additional Governors.