To say that my journey of living and dealing with acne has been an inconvenient and unfortunate one is perhaps the biggest understatement I can say about my skin. Anyone with chronic acne will know what I mean when I say that the success of any given treatment is measured in number of days of good skin afterwards. For me, three to four days of good skin after a treatment before it reverts back to its usual unpredictable self with a mind of its own is what I’ve found, through my decade-long experiments with various acne treatments, to be an industry average.
I’ve had acne since the onset of puberty. Back then, they were concentrated around my cheeks — leaving deep-set scars behind. And now, (I’m in my thirties), acne is still breathing down my neck (and quite literally too, if I might add). In the past two years, there’s a bout of cystic acne has been resident to my jawline.
There are many things you can do to treat acne — drugstore offerings, creams and serums from expensive skincare brands, dermatologist-formulated skincare regimes, and medi-spa products like that of local clinic, Caring Skin‘s. Been there, done that. A couple of years back, I even succumbed to popping Accutane pills for half a year, knowing full well that it may be damaging my liver. But then again, desperation can drive you to the extremes.
Likewise, I’ve been to numerous facials targeted at troubled and acne-prone skin types. And Dr. Edwin Lim’s medical aesthetic clinic in Changi City Point was my latest conquest. To be specific, I went through two acne laser treatments in one sitting. Considering the sheer number of years I’ve been struggling with acne, I’m always up to try any form of recommended treatment that comes my way.
Duration: 10 minutes
Dr. Edwin Lim attends to every consultation personally. For me, I have combination skin that is volatile and prone to breakouts. We’re talking about new zits flaring up every two weeks — some of which may be angry and cystic. It doesn’t help that I have sensitive skin — meaning that many potent acne-clearing formulas may worsen my condition.
After listening to my woes, Dr. Lim decided on the Aquapure medi-facial (from S$108) interspersed with a Quadrostar Pro-Yellow laser treatment (from S$150) and walked me through the steps. Friendly and reassuring adequately sums up this experience.
Duration: 20 minutes
After that, I was quickly whisked into the treatment room where a therapist kicked off the treatment with a cleansing session followed by a peel with the help of a suction machine (you’ll feel a gentle suction, like when your leg’s caught in the vacuum cleaner). That helps to life the dead skin and dirt that’s settled on the surface of your skin.
And then came a surprise — extractions. The therapist conscientiously squeezes all that gunk, white and black heads from congested pores all over your face. As with most extractions, it was irrefutably painful, leaving your skin sore and red. Yet, it was necessary — your face has to spanking clean prior to laser treatments.
Duration: 20 minutes
At this juncture, the therapist ushered me to the laser room, where Dr. Lim was waiting. From the moment I laid down in the chair, he got into action.
With the laser jet in one hand and a device jetting cool air (to combat the heat from the laser) in another, he beamed the Pro-Yellow laser on my forehead with a low frequency — just to ensure I’m feeling alright with the heat. Slowly, he amped up the dosage and went around the entire face before ascending at the cystic acne around the jawline. There, he went down with a high dosage just to get in deeper into the skin. This was, perhaps, the most intense part of the entire treatment — as if fire ants were biting into my skin. Even so, it was a manageable pain.
As he explained earlier in the consultation, this particular frequency of yellow laser primarily serves to kill all that bacteria that’s responsible for acne. It, too, helps to heal all that red pockmarks left behind by acne—a sign of dilated or damaged blood vessels in that specific spot.
Duration: 3—5 minutes
After the laser came what Dr. Lim called electroporation. It’s basically a technique to help increase the absorption rate of your skin — so ingredients and products used can be promptly delivered right into the epidermis and deeper dermis layers. The ingredients in question was designed specially for Dr. Lim’s use — a whitening Vitamin C serum.
It’s then important to note that from here on, Dr. Lim doesn’t do the rest of the treatment personally. The therapist who took over basically ran a wand around the face. There’s a built-in timer in the machine. When time was up, it beeped, and she moved on.
Duration: 3—5 minutes
Later, the therapist picked up a ReFa-like wand and rolled it around the face. Micro-currents in the device runs through your skin and, in the process, encourages collagen growth.
You’ll feel a tingling sensation, as if someone were tapping her fingers on your skin.
Duration: 5 minutes
That was not the end. As with most facials, the treatments ended with a mask — specifically an antioxidant-packed, hydrating and brightening mask picked out by Dr. Lim. It’s supposed to promote healing for your post-facial skin.
Duration: 3—5 minutes
And the final step: a cooling stamp. This is, perhaps, one step that you don’t usually get in other commonplace medi-spas — at least in the many years I’ve been facial-hopping, this was the first time I’ve tried a cooling stamp.
Guess what? It was a bliss. The therapist runs a flat-ended, cold wand around your face. And it reduced the redness from my skin dramatically post-extractions, lasers, and micro-currents.
I walked out of the clinic with immediate glowing, brighter skin. My pores were visibly smaller (extractions well done). And this good state of skin followed me for the week ahead — five days to be exact — before the pores enlarged and the complexion lost its newfound lustre once again.
To be fair, Dr. Lim disclaimed that for anyone to observe a long-term change in their skin, they’d need monthly facials. And he’s really not upselling, he’s just about right. When it comes to acne treatments, it’s never an ad-hoc affair. You need a facial schedule — consistency is key when it comes to acne management.
Visit Dr. Edwin Lim’s medical aesthetic clinic at Changi City Point, 5 Changi Business Park Central 1.