In the Quest of Beauty – Carbon Laser Peel & Cosmetic Fillers
Who wouldn’t be tempted by a face of beauty? In our times, beauty is made so accessible to us that it becomes almost impossible to ‘not look pretty’. From arrays of clothes lined up in malls to beauty products (and thanks to the advancement of medical science) to aesthetic treatments / enhancements, the concept and pursuit of beauty continue to shadow us everyday. And, if we have an easy choice, which of us wouldn’t like to look good?
I have always been rather skeptical about aesthetic enhancements. No, I am not entirely against the idea of that ‘quick fix’ beauty, but I think the longer I can put off to not rely on them, the better it would be. No doubt this idea of ‘beautiful without the downtime of a complete facelift surgery’ is very tempting, and with all the competition of the available choices out there, these ‘change the way you look in 15 minutes’ methods certainly have their lure.
A while back, I was contacted by The Chelsea Clinic (link) to receive a free session of carbon laser peel and facial fillers. I contemplated for a while knowing that once I start myself on such treatments I may get addicted to them. I may not look like a convincing candidate for such treatments, but my laugh lines around have been bothering me for a while now. Thinking they are part hereditary, looking at my mom’s deep set nalosabial folds stress me a fair bit. I have tried many skincare products that promised to ‘plump’, anti-wrinkle creams, to drinking lots of water in the hope that my face will ‘puff’ slightly, nothing really worked. A skincare aesthetician did advise me a while back to start treating the problem at its earlier stage, as the longer I delay, it might be harder to reverse them once they are too deep set.
An appointment was made with The Chelsea Clinic and its founding director Dr. Ewan Chee, attended to me while I visited. On first meeting, Dr. Chee came across as a really caring and gentle doctor. He made sure I was comfortable by asking me before doing a detailed checkup of my skin. As I am very physically active and thus perspire a lot, acne started flaring up on random areas of my face. Dr. Chee recommended the Carbon Laser Peel as it would help with the clogged pores issue I have. Having expressed my concern on my laugh lines, we agreed on just a small amount of fillers down the sides of the mouth to ‘pump’ up from under those lines. My concern was to make sure the procedure would look absolutely natural on my face, as I did not want to leave looking like a changed person. During my time there, Dr. Chee was extremely patient in answering all my queries. He made sure I was perfectly comfortable before starting the procedure.
The carbon laser peel, medical term Nd:YAG laser, is a non-ablative laser that will not cause any break in the skin tissue from continual usage of the treatment. It is recommended for me to reduce the acne scars that were caused by the continual outbreak, treating the active acne as well as the open pores skin condition. Dr. Chee said that it will help with wrinkle reduction as well! This procedure took a mere 15 minutes to complete.
First, a carbon (charcoal) lotion was applied on the entire face to enhance the effects of the laser, in aid of unclogging and cleaning out the pores, killing the bacteria trapped within. Eyes are protected by wearing goggles. Once the procedure started, there was a slight ‘burnt’ smell and you could hear a light zapping sound on the skin. There was hardly any pain – pretty similar to snapping the skin with a piece of rubber strip. I do not have a high threshold for pain, and this felt like nothing to me. The laser pulse reacted with the carbon lotion to break down the dead skin cells, leave one with nicely exfoliated skin.
The heat from the laser is said to penetrate straight into the dermis without affecting the surface layers of the skin. This helps to weaken the pigmentation cells, lightens any existing acne marks and stimulates new collagen growth from within. With frequent sessions, it is touted to improve skin tone, texture, tightens the skin as well as reduce wrinkles.
I was lucky as there was hardly any redness and I looked exactly like how I would after a normal facial. In normal cases, patients can return to work immediately after, with probably slight redness for some people. Pigmentation spots may darken first and takes another 1-2 weeks before getting lighter.
Next up was the fillers injection. I was really apprehensive initially as I did not want to develop reliance on injections to keep my youth, and making sure I look natural and ‘just like before’ is key for me. Dr Chee took note of my concerns and injected only small tiny amounts on the spots that require the attention. The filler used was termed ‘ Juverderm Ultra Plus filler’ and this was injected into the skin using the cannula method. Traditional needs work just like needles – piercing right into the skin, and if the doctor is targeting to reverse the laugh line folds using traditional needles, this might require multiple injection puncture spots.
The cannula method, however, is a round tip thin tubular needle that actually does not pierce through the skin. A small hole is made with a needle first to create the ‘opening’ and the cannula is sent through the hold into the skin. As it isn’t sharp edged, it pushes away the important skin structure underneath, hence resulting in lesser trauma and bruising. This method is less painful and is said to have a lesser down time as compared to the traditional method.
The entire procedure only lasted 15 minutes or so. Dr. Chee was extremely nice as I was feeling uneasy and I believed he was trying to be gentle so I wouldn’t feel any pain. In total there were 6 injection spots on my face – 4 on my nalosabial folds and 2 on my inner under-eye areas. Dr. Chee used the balance from fixing my laugh lines to plump up my under-eye area so I would look less tired. Pretty hard not to get addicted, as just within minutes, my folds were lifted and I looked more refreshed, instantly!
To date, it has been 1.5 months since the procedures. I had no bruising and experienced zero down time from the session. The 6 needle puncture sites took, however, a little longer, like more than a week to fade off. There were no other side effects experienced.
It is recommended to do the Carbon Laser Peel regularly to maintain good and healthy skin, though I did not follow up because being in between jobs and I want to be more conservative with my spending.
For filler maintenance, it is recommended to do once every 6-12 months depending on how well your skin ‘holds’ on to the content of the fillers.
The prices are as follow :
A package of 6 Spectra Carbon Laser sessions cost S$1800.
One syringe of Juverderm Ultra Plus cost $750.
All prices stated are inclusive of Doctor’s fees.
Verdict : The Chelsea Clinic is highly professional clinic for your aesthetic fixes. I highly recommend Dr. Ewan Chee as he is really patient and attentive. He listens to your specific requests and recommends on what is needed, and not trying to push for more services. Clinic observes high level of hygiene standards, and it is really very relaxing to receive treatments there.
The Chelsea Clinic is conveniently situated in 3 locations – Wheelock Place, China Square Central and Rochester. Click on link for directions.