Dr Dana Elliott from The Aesthetics Clinic has worked in a number of disciplines including obstetrics, gynecology, geriatric medicine and palliative medicine at various hospitals. His foray into aesthetic medicine began more than two years ago and was inspired by the wishes of his patients to feel good about themselves and be motivated to stay healthy. He is currently the honorary secretary of the Anti-Aging and Aesthetics Medicine Society of Singapore.
Q: What is the difference between a facial peel and a laser treatment?
Dr Elliott: A facial peel uses modified-natural occurring acids to exfoliate the superficial layers of the skin, and this will enable new skin to grow faster from below. There are a few laser types for aesthetic treatments. They fall on a spectrum from a mild to the more intensive. These laser treatments also enable new skin to grow faster. The two methods differ in that the facial peels uses a chemical reaction means, while the lasers uses light physics for their effects.
Q: How do I choose which one is best for me?
Dr Elliott: It depends on a few things. Firstly, the current condition of your skin. An older person has a worse skin condition than a younger person because of the simple reason of longer exposure duration to the environment, if you have not been taking care of your skin before. Secondly, your lifestyle will depend on which treatments are best suited for you. Thirdly, it depends on your preference of which treatment is comfortable for you. You will want to choose a treatment that you feel most comfortable so that you can benefit from it in the long run.
Q: I have done facial scrubs, extraction and massages, etc at spas but they don’t help the dark spots on my face. What can I do?
Dr Elliott: In that case, let me introduce to you two methods of reducing pigmentation. One is a facial peel and the other, laser treatments.
Q: Are these laser treatments harmful to my skin?
Dr Elliott: Any treatment to your face or body has potential problems if the treatments are not done in a safe manner. This is why for the facial peels, we use light concentrations of acids and for the laser treatments, we have a treatment plan that ensures safety for any skin type. Should there be any complications from the treatment, we will ensure that they are kept to the minimum and reversible.
Q: How effective are these laser treatments?
Dr Elliott: These laser treatments are effective so long as your skin is able to follow through the treatment plan. Also, the duration needed for reduction of the pigmentation also depends on the type of pigmentation that you have. Most pigmentation are caused by sun exposure. These are the easy ones to treat. For pigmentation that is caused by hormonal changes, these can be more difficult to treat. The more intensive the treatment, the better the results.
Q: I want my pigmentation to be removed by the next week. Can this be done?
Dr Elliott: Based on the recommended treatment plan, the interval between laser treatments is two weeks. Subsequently, the interval can be lengthen to one month. At a later stage, when we recommend you to go on to the more intensive laser treatments, the interval can further lengthen to between three to six months. This will be the maintenance phase.
Q: Can I start out with the more intensive treatments?
Dr Elliott: Yes, you can, provided if you know that you did not have any complications from other laser treatments of lower intensity. What I recommend for anyone who has not done any laser treatments before is to start off with a laser treatment that is comfortable for you and build up from there.
Q: What other benefits can these laser treatments have?
Dr Elliott: These treatments, as we progress to more intensive ones, can also help to minimize open pores, tighten lax skin, get rid of fine lines and scars.
Q: Will doing laser treatments thin the skin?
Dr Elliott: That is not true. This is because the healing process of the skin will regenerate the growth of new skin. It is this healing process that gets rid of the pigmentation and fine lines of the skin.
Q: If I decide to stop my laser treatments, will my skin condition get worse than before?
Dr Elliott: If you do not start any laser treatment, your skin condition is guaranteed to get worse. What any of these treatments do is to slow down the degeneration of your skin. If you decide to stop at a later stage, your skin can only be as bad as what you started out with. All patients will have better skin than when they first started out with, provided the treatment plan is being followed.
Q: Why do I need maintenance treatments?
Dr Elliott : Just like exercise, you will need maintenance treatments to upkeep the results that you have achieved from the treatment plan.
Q: Can I continue with my facial treatments while on your treatment plan?
Dr Elliott: I encourage all to carry on with other treatments at the spa, so long as they are not done on the same day. Give yourself at least two weeks after any peel or laser treatments before doing any treatments at the spa. It is actually more beneficial to have both treatments as they complement each other