The SKYN® Guide to Dark Circles Under the Eyes

WHY DO WE GET DARK CIRCLES?

One of the most common aesthetic concerns of all ages is dark circles. As we age, fat and collagen naturally deplete in the face creating drooping, lines and you guessed it – dark circles. However the causes are diverse and can be complex, ranging from (but not limited to) low iron, poor sleep hygiene, smoking and even extensive screen use.

 

Unfortunately, there is no permanent solution to ageing but there are numerous methods we can use to lessen the appearance of dark circles – both natural or medically prescribed.

 

SKYN® RECOMMENDS

THE BASICS

Let’s start with the basics. Good sleep hygiene – this means getting quality sleep and staying off your phone when it’s bedtime. Blue light from your phone is known for disrupting sleep patterns as well as putting a strain on blood vessels around your eyes. Similarly, if you’re stuck in front of a computer screen all day at work. Blue light filter glasses can help reduce strain on your eyes. Even iPhones have a setting to automatically reduce blue light for use in the evening!

 

At night, sleep with an extra pillow to help keep fluid from building up in the problem areas in your face. In the morning, massaging the face in an upwards motion can help stimulate circulation and reduce fluid build-up that is known to cause puffy eyes and dark circles/shadows.

 

SKINCARE

Hydrating the area around your eyes can lessen fine lines and creases that can cast shadows, darkening around the eyes. Drinking enough water during the day as well as switching to products that contain hyaluronic acids and Vitamin C, which can help brighten and even out purple/blue skin tones. Cosmedix Opti Crystal is one of our favourites to protect and soothe stressed eyes!

 

THE LONG TERM FIX

TEAR TROUGH FILLERS

Tear trough fillers are made up of a synthetic, biodegradable and biocompatible hyaluronic acid (HA) gel that restores your skin’s natural supply of the substance. This rejuvenating substance repairs damaged tissues while restoring moisture and nutrients to the skin cells.

 

Tear trough dermal fillers are a semi-permanent way to lift and re-volumise the skin under the eyes. However, their renowned strength means that they will continue to work for 6-12 months after the treatment has been applied, keeping you looking rested and revitalised.

Ready to get started?

For a consultation, or to book in for a treatment, call SKYN 08 9389 9022 or book online.

THE RESULTS

Wrinkle Relaxers: What’s the difference between Type B, Type D and Type X?

Two commonly asked questions about Anti-wrinkle injections: What is the difference between types of Wrinkle Relaxers? And which one is right for me?

It is understandable you would want to know about the different types of Wrinkle Relaxers when trying to determine which product is best for you. All three are effective treatments that originate from the same source bacterium, clostridium botulinum. They are synthesized as botulinum toxin type A, the paralyzing agent or neurotoxin that is administered.

 

All three have been consistently proven in clinical trials and then worldwide application. The result is almost always the same: each injectable temporarily paralyzes the targeted muscle areas on the face to relax and ease out the appearance of wrinkles. Due to their proven abilities, each is often paired with dermal fillers which can result in dramatic facial rejuvenation.

 

Type B, Type D, and Type X are all TGA approved and aesthetically designed to smooth and diminish wrinkles. The most common areas treated are crow’s feet, forehead, frown lines around the eye area and brow lifts. However, other areas are becoming more popular with clients including smoker’s lines around the lips, masseter reduction and underarm sweating.

 

When Allergan’s Type B was originally approved for anti-ageing benefits over ten years ago, it was the only brand of its kind on the market. Type B is a leading cosmetic treatment that drastically reduces the appearance of crow’s feet, lines on the forehead and frown lines. With the approval and the launch of this revolutionary anti-ageing product, millions continue to turn to Type B as part of their aesthetic regimen.

 

However, two other companies have entered the market since then, and are having tremendous success: Type D and Type X. Type D allowed us to give clients a choice in neurotoxins when it became available. Noted benefits of Type D include that it spreads more than Type B and clients who have stopped responding to Type B commonly use it. It is also injected at different strength and affects a slightly larger area than Type B and Type X.

 

Both Type B & Type D contain an accessory protein to carry the botulinum toxin. As the body has the ability to build up antibodies over time, they can cause the results to diminish after continuous usage. Merz’ Type X contains no accessory protein, making it a “pure” version of the botulinum toxin and reducing the risk of natural resistance. This solitary agent migrates further and faster to effectively work upon all facial areas upon injection.

 

In comparison, Type B and Type D are considered ‘heavier’ because they contain added proteins. These proteins are for protection and are clustered around the botulinum to enable them to last a little longer. However, the clinical argument is that these protective proteins may also shield the active part of the neurotoxin thereby minimizing product effectiveness. Type X is the most similar to Type B when measuring units to units, whereas Type D requires more units at a lower cost per unit. Both Type B and Type X require up to two weeks for full treatment and in most cases, Type D has a much quicker onset for those clients wanting faster results.

 

All three neurotoxins can last from three to six months, per treatment, varying from client to client. It has been reported that Type D typically takes two to three days until the effects of the treatment are seen. Type B takes seven to ten days, while Type X takes five to six days. Type D may be the best option in areas where several injections are needed because of its easy spreading to cover a greater area on the face. In the areas where the spread needs to be minimized, Type B may be the best option to concentrate on deeper wrinkling.

 

Over time with different Type B, Type D and Type X injections, clients begin to favour which treatment works best for them. When initially deciding on which neurotoxin to use, consult with our highly skilled and experienced injectors to find out which product is best for you. Type B, Type D and Type X differ in administration technique and injection skills are necessary to determine the proper dosage in order to achieve the best result. SKYN offers all three options to our clients with different needs.

 

Due to Medical Advertising regulations, we cannot name the brand of products on our website. Please contact our Aesthetic Concierge for more information on Type B, Type D and Type X Wrinkle Relaxers. 

Ready to get started?

For a consultation, or to book in for a treatment, call SKYN 08 9389 9022 or book online.

Why do Non-smokers get Smoker’s Lines?

Do You Have Smoker’s Lines, But You’ve Never Smoked?

Chronological age and biological age are two different things. The process of ageing is only remotely connected to your true age. Your physical appearance is sometimes an indicator of your biological age, which sometimes can be deceptive especially if you have smoker’s lines.

 

Smoker’s lines, lipstick lines or vertical lines – whatever you call them, are one of the signs of ageing. These stubborn wrinkles may appear around the lips and mouth. Smoking is the leading cause of smoker’s lines. In 2016, 15.6% of Australian adults or nearly 3 million people still smoked tobacco. After a steady decline in smoking in Australia for several decades, smoking rates have stalled and did not change significantly from 2013 -2016.

 

Regular smoking constricts blood vessels and reduces the oxygen supply to different body tissues, making them age faster and contributes to the development of smoker’s lines. However, you do not have to be a smoker to get smoker lines. In fact, smoker lines mostly affect females whether they smoke or not. The exact cause of the higher incidence in females is not known but they may be related to several factors such as the following:

  • Light skin: People with light skin are prone to higher level of sun damage, which can accelerate the development of wrinkles such as smoker lines.
  • Genetics: If your parents develop wrinkles or smokers lines earlier, your chances of developing it are significantly higher. Sometimes it’s just the actual mimicking of parent expressions that is the cause of these lines.
  • UV rays: Sunlight can damage the elastin (helps to keep skin flexible and tight) and collagen (helps in firmness, suppleness and constant renewal of skin cells) in the skin. People whose jobs expose them to the sun for extended periods of time are at a greater risk of developing wrinkles, smoker’s lines and other skin impurities.
  • Facial expressions: People who repeatedly pout usually develop wrinkles and smoker lines earlier than others who do not express emotions often. Interestingly enough, we only see female smokers with these lines. Male smokers tend to purse rather than pout. Approximately half of the females we see are non smokers and hence we can conclude this expression is one of the few expressions predominantly in females. Each time you use a facial muscle, a groove forms under the skin surface. When you are young, the skin springs back, but over time it loses its flexibility to spring back and becomes harder, resulting in permanent wrinkles.
  • Sleeping: The way you sleep may actually result in the formation of smoker lines. No matter how soft your pillow, it puts additional pressure on your face. Over the years, this can create lines in your cheeks, chin or forehead.
  • Dieting: According to experts, yo-yo dieting (losing and gaining back a large amount of weight) can damage the skin. This is due to the repeated stretching of the skin when you gain or lose weight, which damages the elastic structure of the skin.

 

These lines, know as peri-oral lines are difficult to treat when they become deep, so early treatment is recommended.

So how can I treat my Smoker’s Lines?

  • Botox: This procedure uses Wrinkle Relaxer injections into the muscles to relax them and stop the development of facial wrinkles.
  • Dermal fillers: Premium Dermal Fillers can be injected into the target area to fill-in lines, define the appearance and replace lost volume.
  • PDO threads: PDO Threads use a fine needle with special dissolvable threads made of Polydioxanone (PDO) to be injected into the skin to stimulate collagen and elastin production.
  • Retinol: Skincare with Retinol thickens deeper skin layers and thins out superficial layers to relax smoker lines and make them look smoother. For long term results, use retinol creams that contain collagen-boosting ingredients.

Ready to get started?

For a consultation, or to book in for a treatment, call SKYN 08 9389 9022 or book online.

References:

Smoking in Australia:
https://www.athra.org.au/smoking-in-australia/

Smoking & Tobacco Use:
http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fast_facts/. Accessed November 27, 2015.

Tapley, D. (1994). The Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons Complete Home Medical Guide, page 125.

Lees, M. (2012). Skin Care: Beyond the Basics, page 463.

Perry, A., et al (1997). Are You Considering Cosmetic Surgery?, page 7.

What is a Lip Flip? Experts Weigh In

Everything you need to know about the low-key injectable procedure.

In a rapid-fire round of beauty word association, Wrinkle Relaxers will most likely conjure images of smooth foreheads and vanishing wrinkles. Since the OG Tox was approved by the FDA for cosmetic use in 2002, Wrinkle Relaxers have become the go-to injectable treatment for combating wrinkles and fine lines. But lately, it’s also gaining popularity through a subtle procedure in the lip augmentation family: the lip flip.

 

WHAT’S A LIP FLIP?

As Lara Devgan, a top board-certified cosmetic surgeon in New York City, explains it, lip flips are a procedure in which neuromodulators (Wrinkle Relaxers) are injected in infinitesimal quantities at the corners of the mouth and near the Cupid’s bow. All in all, a standard lip flip procedure takes less than ten minutes. Over the following weeks, it gently unfurls thin lips to make them appear large and full.

 

HOW ARE LIP FLIPS DIFFERENT FROM LIP FILLERS?

Lip fillers inject a high viscosity filler into the lip to add volume. Lip flips enhance the upper lip’s appearance by relaxing a muscle around the lips: the orbicularis oris, a circular muscle that almost acts like a purse string. “The idea behind the lip flip is if you use [Wrinkle Relaxers] to slightly soften some of the tensioned areas of the purse string, then you can cause a little bit of relaxation of the pink-white border of the lip,” Devgan says. “So that vermilion border flips out a little bit and it gives you a very subtle improvement in upper lip show.”

 

Wrinkle Relaxers can sometimes conjure images of frozen lips that struggle to wrap around a straw, but there’s little risk of immovable lips with this procedure. Lip flips involve highly strategic injections administered in teeny-tiny quantities—and if you’re seeing a board-certified professional, it’s unlikely that they’ll overdo the injection.

 

HOW DO I KNOW IF I SHOULD GET A LIP FLIP?

If you’re eyeing a dramatic lip augmentation, a lip flip may not be for you. “It’s the right procedure for someone who is interested in fuller lips but feels a little bit apprehensive and wants a baby step before they commit to lip filler,” Devgan says. Lip flips only roll the upper lip out, making thing lips appear fuller; they don’t add volume. Additionally, the procedure only lasts for about three months.

 

HOW MUCH DOES A LIP FLIPS COST?

Devgan tells us that lip flips can range anywhere from [AUD $150] depending on the person and the practice. And if you like the results, you’ll expect to spend the same amount again on a return visit when the it fades in 90 days.

 

HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR A  LIP FLIP?

All the health requirements you’d need for another injectable procedure—say, cheek fillers or lip fillers—are standard for lip flips too. Devgan also advises that you don’t have any active cold sores. To reduce swelling, refrain from alcohol, aspirin, and other blood thinners for a few days before and after any injectables.

Ready to get started?

For a consultation, or to book in for a treatment, call SKYN 08 9389 9022 or book online.

The Best Treatment for Pigmentation

To be honest, we’ve spent many, many hours scrolling through Instagram this year. Usually, it’s a pointless habit to pass the time while we’re waiting for our morning cappuccino. But every now and again, we stumble across a post that disrupts our mindless scrolling.

Sydney-based facialist Melanie Grant is a wealth of skincare knowledge. A skincare expert to the stars, Grant has treated everyone from Zoe Foster Blake to Lara Worthington. And, fortunately for us, she often uses Instagram as a medium for sharing skincare-related advice.
Grant’s latest Instagram lesson? How to get rid of pigmentation.

WHAT IS PIGMENTATION?

In her first post, Grant gives an in depth explanation of what pigmentation is:

“Hyperpigmentation—brown patches, marks, splotches—can be caused by excessive sun exposure, hormone imbalances, inflammation and injury to the skin. It most commonly appears on the face, neck and décolletage. It’s also notoriously difficult to treat.”

“Before you can treat your pigmentation, you need to know what type you have. Those with fair skin are more prone to sun-induced pigment and people with olive complexions can be more susceptible to post-inflammatory pigment. Women who are pregnant, who take the oral contraceptive pill, or who are on hormone replacement therapy or IVF are more likely to suffer from hormone induced pigmentation, aka melasma or chloasma.”

Hyperpigmentation will often appear as we become older as our melanocytes (the cells that produce pigment) increase in size as we age. Younger skin can be at risk of pigment from sun damage—that cute spray of freckles across the nose and cheeks can become more dense, causing uneven tone and darkness to the face, and melasma caused by the pill is very common in younger women.”

THE BEST IN-SALON TREATMENTS FOR PIGMENTATION

As one of Australia’s most well regarded skin experts, Grant knows a thing or two about in-salon treatments:

“If you’re serious about clearing up your pigmentation, I’d recommend the following,” she wrote. “For sun-induced pigment I favour lasers such as Fraxel (or Erbium)  and IPL.”

“For hormonal pigment there’s no cure as such, however it can be managed with a good skincare regime and in-clinic treatments such as laser or depigmentation peels, I find Cosmelan and Dermamelan are super effective.”

“For early onset or minimal pigment, I like to combine low level, gentle peels with light therapy to gradually break down the pigment, brighten the complexion and unify skin tone.”
“Unless you want to end up right back where you started, there’s no use booking in for clinical treatments if you continue to skip the SPF. Diligent sun protection is vital in managing all types of hyperpigmentation, this is where it starts! Some women even choose to stop taking the pill to ease the side effects of melasma.”

DERMAMELAN DEPIGMENTATION

The Dermamelan Peel is a rapid medical treatment for all types of pigmentation. Dermamelan provides extremely effective results for this problem that will return the skin to its natural even colour and complexion and involves very little downtime. It is an express depigmentation treatment that is effective in all types of pigmentation problems, even in resistant cases that have failed all other types of treatment.

It can be applied in any season and is compatible with all types and shades of skin. It is completely safe and the pigmented patches will usually disappear in a short period of time.

Results you can expect

There are minimal side effects (only slight redness and flaking) and there is a stabilisation of sebaceous secretion resulting in a reduction of any excessive oiliness and improvement of any acne problems. The skin becomes bright, rejuvenated and abnormal pigmentation starts to fade, with results starting to show in just 10 to 14 days.

From the first day after treatment, make-up can be worn, if required, without any problems. Suitable for all skin types this Dermamelan treatment can help reduce pigmentation marks by up to 95%.

Before and After

THE BEST PRODUCTS FOR PIGMENTATION

As Grant explains, there are plenty of pigmentation fighting products that you can add to your everyday routine.

“Look for brightening serums that feature ingredients such as vitamin C, niacinamide, bearberry or liquorice extracts, and azelaic acid,” she says.

Dr Joseph Hkeik, from All Saints Skin Clinics in Sydney, agrees that vitamin C is one of the most effective ingredients for treating pigmentation, along with other signs of ageing. (Win, win.) “Vitamin C is great because it brightens the skin and it’s also good for exfoliation,” Dr Hkeik told ELLE.

“People that have pigmentation, people that have sun damage—these are the things that we use vitamin C for. It’s a wonderful brightener and I think this is probably the reason why it’s been thrown into a lot of products.”

SKYN PRODUCTS FOR PIGMENTATION

1. Tyrosinase Inhibitors

are amazing at addressing unwanted pigmentation in the skin. They act by blocking or sedating the enzyme responsible for the overproduction of melanin which causes your skin to have dark spots. This is a great prepping ingredient if you are considering undergoing laser treatments, IPL, chemical peels or invasive skin treatments as it reduces the risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Cosmedix Simply Brilliant

ZO Brightalive Skin Brightener

2. SPF

SPF is also an absolute MUST for pigmentation prevention.

3. Retinol / Vitamin A

Retinol / Vitamin A is also good for pigmentation caused by sun damage as it increases cell turnover which has an exfoliating effect, so dull, damaged cells are brought to the surface to make way for brighter more even-toned skin.

ZO Retinol

Cosmedix Serum 16

Great for people who find they “react” to retinol.

Cosmedix Define  & Cosmedix Refine are also great!

Ready to get started?

For a consultation, or to book in for a treatment, call SKYN 08 9389 9022 or book online.

Chrissy Teigen Just Got Wrinkle Relaxers in Her Armpits to Stop Sweating—Here’s How That Works

“I can wear silk again without soaking woohoo!”

Chrissy Teigen is known for being totally candid about the personal aspects of her life. From getting real about postpartum depression to her vaginal steaming routine, she’s definitely not one to hold back. But her latest beauty treatment may just be one of her most honest.

Last night, Teigen shared a video of herself receiving anti-wrinkle injections (Wrinkle Relaxers) in her armpits as a way to combat her “excessive sweating.” In the video, she gives a shout out to Jason Diamond, MD, a Beverly Hills-based plastic surgeon, while calling the procedure the “best move” she “has ever made.”

While Teigen hasn’t revealed an exact diagnosis (she could simply just sweat a lot—feel that, girl!), excessive sweating can be a symptom of hyperhidrosis—and anti-wrinkle injections in the armpits are often a common treatment for the condition.

“What’s happening in hyperhidrosis is the nerves that send signals to sweat glands to sweat are way too chatty, and we don’t really know why that is,” Adam Friedman, MD, associate professor of dermatology at the George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences, previously told Health. Medications and anti-wrinkle injections work by blocking those nerve signals that are responsible for activating the sweat glands, he explained.

The good news? Anti-wrinkle injections aren’t specifically meant for those with a hyperhidrosis diagnosis—even if you just want to rock a silk dress, sweat-free (like Teigen), you can go ahead and opt for the procedure. “You can absolutely get anti-wrinkle injections under your armpits, even if you don’t have hyperhidrosis,” Debra Jaliman, MD, a New York City–based dermatologist and author of Skin Rules, tells Health. “Some people may be allergic to antiperspirants, so for them, this is a good—and safe—alternative.”

As for the pain that might come with the procedure, Teigen said she didn’t feel anything. “Truly didn’t hurt at all” she wrote in a tweet later to a fan asking about the pain. “But I also do laser hair removal there so my pain tolerance might be quite high,” she added.One small drawback: anti-wrinkle injections only prevents sweating in the area that it is specifically injected, Dr. Jaliman added. That means if you’re just getting the treatments in your armpits, you can still sweat other places (hi, underboob sweat!), so one round of anti-wrinkle injections won’t solve all of your sweaty summer woes. Plus, the procedure only lasts about six to seven months, says Dr. Jaliman, so be ready to make multiple appointments to keep your underarms dry for good.

Ready to get started?

For a consultation, or to book in for a treatment, call SKYN 08 9389 9022 or book online.

Gwyneth Paltrow: ‘You can’t be in a bubble where you’re never going to encounter something that’s not clean’

When actress-turned-Goop founder and CEO Gwyneth Paltrow introduced the broader concept of wellness to women around the world, she arguably redefined modern beauty standards. Paltrow is often credited as being a first adopter of emerging trends; clean beauty, crystals and ashwagandha have all become more mainstream, thanks to Paltrow and her greater influence. Last week, she may have done it again. On Thursday, Paltrow announced her partnership with Merz Aesthetics’ “pure” injectable Wrinkle Relaxer X.

Paltrow has never been the global face, much less an ambassador, for a cosmetic aesthetics company, especially since she publicly swore off Botox after her 40th birthday. But Paltrow’s relationship with Merz represents the duality of the beauty industry today, one that encompasses cosmetic treatments, clean beauty and wellness. Below, she discusses with Glossy what made her take the plunge with Wrinkle Relaxer X, what the future of beauty looks like and what’s on deck for “The Goop Lab” season two.

What made this partnership with Merz Aesthetics interesting to you?

“I think it kind of goes along with my philosophy that life is a balance, and also that women should feel completely empowered to do the things in their lives that work for them and make them feel better. Obviously, I’m very into clean products and clean beauty, but basically, the story goes like this: When I was 40 — I was panicking about turning 40 — I did full anti-wrinkle [injections], the whole thing. And I [looked like] a monster. It was crazy. I honestly want to show you a picture of my face; it was nuts. I was like, ‘I’ll never do this again.’ ‘I’ll never touch my face again.’ But of course, I went along and I felt good [on the] inside, but maybe you’re noticing more wrinkles. I was getting really pronounced frown lines. My really good friend is a plastic surgeon in Chicago, I’m always asking him, ‘What are women doing?’ “Is it to early for a face lift?’ ‘What’s the laser [to use]?’ — and he told me about Wrinkle Relaxer X. He was like, ‘It’s just for right here [Paltrow points to the area between her eyes], and you need just a little drop.’ And I was like, ‘No, I had a really bad experience with an anti-wrinkle injection.’ He said, ‘Just trust me, it’s a purified version. It’s very you. It’s the cleanest version of this possible.’ He gave me a drop of it, and really, it was fantastic.”

How important was the “clean” aspect, given that you are such a proponent of clean beauty and wellness?

“It’s one of those things you have to balance, because it’s still a neurotoxin. But the fact that it’s uniquely purified — there’s not other stuff in it — made it more palatable for me to try. I’m so passionate about what we put on our skin — moisturizer, or whatever body oil, cream or exfoliants. Your skin absorbs, transdermally, like up to 70% of what you put on it. Over 10 years, as I’ve learned more and more about clean beauty, [I’ve found] some conventional beauty products that are considered luxury products have antifreeze in them.”

So, what is your take on conventional beauty products?

“You can’t be in a bubble where you’re never going to encounter something that’s not clean. I have really dry, color-treated hair. I cannot use a clean moisturizer. Clean conditioner in my hair doesn’t work. I would like to make [a clean conditioner] one day, and we’re trying to work on one, but there’s a balance. I think women should feel free to explore whatever they want to — eyelash dye, hair color, it is what it is.”

You’re known to spot the next big thing. Is there anything you have your eye on?

“I thought it might be a good time to do a chemical peel to get rid of sun damage [because of staying indoors], but I haven’t found one. There are so many mixed reactions. I’m still gathering research about that one. People say, like, ‘What are your beauty hacks?’ Besides my GoopGenes moisturizer, which I’m obsessed with by the way, [they include] exfoliating, sleeping, breathing, meditating — [and] basic things to reduce stress: sweating, exercising, eating good nutrients. Those are all considered wellness [to me].”

How is that going to come to life in season two of [the Netflix series] “The Goop Lab”?

“Season two is really about relationships, intimacy and sex. We’re focusing on that. We just started filming, so we’re still putting it all together right now.”

Ready to get started?

For a consultation, or to book in for a treatment, call SKYN 08 9389 9022 or book online.

My Laser Tattoo Removal Journey

My laser tattoo removal journey with SKYN®. Why I got it, how it feels, how it heals and progress after two sessions.

 

Getting your partner’s name tattooed on you – aka the kiss of death. I thought I had beaten the system, vying for the safest option. My tattoo was in a hidden location – my upper thigh. I also swerved the use of their name, using my boyfriend’s logo (he was a musician). I deduced that no matter the future outcome of our relationship, it would be out of sight and I could live with a weird little worm (see pictures).

 

Spoiler alert: we broke up, and it was messy. While it may not be his name, unfortunately, the image is a daily reminder of a person I don’t want to think about, ever, permanently on my body. 

 

My strong advice would be to avoid getting someone tattooed on yourself, no matter how you feel toward them. Don’t just take it from me – a UK poll in 2018 showed tattooed names was the number one tattoo regret (unsurprisingly). Closely followed by tribal designs and Asian characters.

 

However, if it’s too late, there is a solution. Laser tattoo removal. SKYN® use the Lutronic Spectra Q-Switched Laser – one of the most effective laser machines on the market. (Read more here). It’s a little painful, but the results are worth it.

 

I am two sessions deep and I am elated to finally see my ex fading from my life.

 

The First Session

 

I was nervous going into my first session. I had been warned that it can be painful, and I’m sure I have a fairly low pain threshold. On top of that, I was told it would be approximately nine sessions until complete removal. Could I handle the process nine times? 

 

The nurse, who was incredibly kind, covered the area with numbing cream. After about 15 minutes I took a deep breath, put on my safety glasses and was ready to go. 

 

I won’t lie, it wasn’t comfortable. I have read the process being likened to being continuously flicked with a rubber band and yes, that’s exactly what it feels like. However, I found it manageable, and it was over in about 15 minutes or less. Anyone that’s had a tattoo knows they aren’t particularly comfortable either, and nowhere near as speedy.

 

The laser itself is gratifying to watch. The ink pigments absorb and chemically react with the emitted light, causing a white frosting. 

Before laser tattoo removal with the Lutronic Spectra Q-Switched Laser

The Healing Process

The day after removal, the tattoo was very red and sore to touch, similar to a sunburn. There were moments of soreness and itchiness, but nothing too dramatic. Don’t be alarmed at redness, blistering or scabbing. Two weeks after the first session, the tattoo was looking a little dry, but on the way to recovery.

One day after Laser Tattoo Removal with Spectra Q-Switched Laser

Two weeks after Laser Tattoo Removal with Spectra Q-Switched Laser

*After roughly eight weeks I can confidently say the tattoo removal was entirely healed and already I was seeing noticeable fading. I tried to keep the area clean, away from the sunlight, moisturised (later in the process) and breathing. If you want to speed the process along, SKYN offers the Healite II™. This can be used in conjunction with laser treatments, increasing blood flow to the tissue, and therefore assisting wound healing.

 

*The healing process may be faster for other clients as I have an autoimmune disease which affects my body’s ability to heal.

 

The Second Session

 

The second session fared similarly to the first in terms of the session and the healing process. It felt a little more sensitive than the first time, however, this is where there has been a vast improvement. It’s important to note that my removal journey has also been a little bit different. 

 

I have opted to guinea pig a technique where half of the tattoo has been treated with the Erbium Yag Laser, prior to using the Spectra Q-Switch. Basically, this pokes little holes in to let gas escape, which should be more effective. The other half of the tattoo has only been treated with Spectra Q-Switched. 

 

After the first session, I hadn’t noticed a huge difference between the halves, but now I can see portions of the tattoo that has dropped (almost entirely) where the Erbium Yag Laser technique was used. In saying that, I’m stunned by how well the only Q-Switched laser area of the tattoo removal application has developed.

Above the line: Combination Erbium Yag Laser and Spectra Q-Switch
Below the line: Spectra Q-Switch Laser only. See the lines of the eyes!

 

I can happily report that I will be continuing this journey. I am unphased by the discomfort and based on how well the tattoo has taken to the treatments so far, I am convinced it will be much less than nine sessions!

How to Safely Treat Patients with Darker Skin Types

Earlier this month Dr. Suzan Obagi explained her thoughts on why she is not afraid of causing PIH in darker skin types. She offers her expertise and personal approach to understanding and treating pigmentation issues, below and via https://www.aestheticauthority.com/view/fillers-for-post-fat-grafting-finesse

It is not unusual for me to see a patient in consultation for skin concerns only to find out that they were referred by their dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon because of fear of treating their darker skin complexion without risking more pigmentation issues. While I am thankful that the physician referred the patient if they were concerned about treating their skin safely, it makes me wonder how many patients out there are being turned away from treatments based solely upon their skin color.

I think we have been taught, rightfully so, to be concerned about post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) when treating darker-skinned patients, but there are steps we can take to prepare the patient’s skin well so that we can safely treat them.

First, let’s look at the difference between ephelides (freckles), lentigines (sunspots), PIH, and melasma. Patients may have a genetic predisposition to forming ephelides, but that gene varies racially. Biopsies show increased pigmentation but not increased melanocytes; however, ephelides have a predilection for sun-exposed skin. This suggests that there is an overproduction of melanin by melanocytes. Solar lentigines, on the other hand, arise in areas where repeated sun exposure induces mutations, resulting in increased melanin production and abnormal pigment retention by the keratinocytes. In these lesions, there is a mild increased number of melanocytes as well as evidence of photodamage in the dermis.

PIH is a temporary overproduction of pigment in response to an epidermal injury or trauma. Usually, this injury is thermal but PIH can be seen in patients that excoriate their skin or that have had inflammatory lesions in the skin. Rarely, severe inflammation can cause melanin to drop into the dermis and to be engulfed by melanophages. PIH is worsened by sun exposure.

Melasma, on the other hand, is a much more complex disorder that may have a genetic predisposition. Melasma arises mostly in women of child-bearing age but it can be seen in men and older women. In melasma, some unknown trigger has induced melanocytes to overproduce and distribute melanin to the keratinocytes. Sometimes, this pigment can drop into the dermis and be taken up by melanophages resulting in dermal melasma. While the trigger may be elusive, there is certainly a link to things that worsen melasma. These include ultraviolet light and certain visible light wavelengths, hormones (pregnancy, oral contraceptives, hormone IUD), and certain topical agents (chemical sunscreens, fragrances and certain botanical agents), heat (spas, saunas, hot yoga, cooking). Once these melanocytes are sensitized and over-produce pigmentation, it is challenging to quiet them down or to clear the melasma fully.

 

Evaluation & Diagnosis

When I see patients with dyschromias, it is important to assess the following:

  • Diagnosis of condition: ephelides, lentigines, PIH, melasma
  • Is this strictly epidermal or is there a dermal component?
  • What has been tried, what has worked and what has failed or worsened the condition?
  • For melasma, is the patient exposed to exogenous hormones such as oral contraceptives, excessive soy intake or the presence of a hormone IUD?
  • How motivated the patient is to follow an aggressive skincare regimen?

Patients with ephelides and lentigines can be safely treated with light peels and non-ablative fractionated lasers, Q-switched lasers, and broadband light (BBL). However, the darker the patient’s complexion, the longer I pretreat with a comprehensive skincare regimen before performing any of these treatments. The risk of not doing so is that you will induce PIH during the healing process.

Patients with PIH — the dreaded complication — are actually easy to treat. It may resolve with proper management in one month, three months or six months, but in the end, it all resolves. Patients that develop hyperpigmentation in response to acne or oven burns are at risk for PIH from any face procedure. PIH is not permanent thus it does not scare me if it arises, but I try my utmost best to minimize the risk of PIH and to treat it preemptively. Any patient at risk for PIH should be pretreated with a comprehensive skincare regimen, and once they have healed after a procedure, the patient should quickly resume the topical regimen. If, despite this, PIH develops, the patient must be diagnosed quickly and started on a series of 30% salicylic acid peels at two- to four-week intervals until the PIH resolves. Being more aggressive with peels, or by performing a laser (heat trauma), will only aggravate the condition. Lasers have no role to play in treating PIH.

Melasma is the one condition for which I do not over-promise the results. If the patient has eliminated all their contributing factors (hormones, heat, certain topical agents) and they have used their comprehensive skincare regimen faithfully, epidermal melasma should show considerable improvement by six weeks (one skin cell turnover cycle). If at six weeks the patient is doing well, I then see them back at three months. However, if at six weeks, they are not improved despite using their products correctly, I add light peels to their regimen with 30% salicylic acid every four weeks. At three months, I reassess their skin. If it is considerably improved, I continue the skincare regimen unchanged for one year. The light peels can continue. If the patient is only moderately improved, I might add a non-ablative fractionated laser combined with a salicylic acid peel or Jessner’s solution peel. However, if there is little change at the three-month evaluation, it may indicate that the pigmentation is dermal. If so, I may proceed with a medium-depth trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peel to try to eliminate some of the dermal melanophages. I do not use more than a 24% or 25% concentration TCA peel, as higher concentrations can cause an inflammatory reaction in the skin. Of course, once the patient has healed, they resume their topical skincare regimen immediately. It is important not to let the melasma rebound.

Clearing up the Confusion; Skincare vs Clinical Treatment and IPL vs BBL

Deciding between skincare and clinical treatments

It’s the decision many of us struggle to choose between when it comes to deciding how to best combat our skin woes. The highly coveted ingredient Retinol is often a popular consideration due to its reputation in treating a range of skin issues, however, is it always the most effective choice? Depending on the intensity and the type of each skin issue, should determine the skin journey you choose to embark on. For instance, those stubborn dark spots and dynamic wrinkles that have graced us with their presence due to factors such as over sun exposure and repetitive muscle movements; the need for clinical intervention is required, if serious results are desired. Wrinkle relaxers are the most effective treatment when it comes to reversing the appearance of deep skin folds. They work by temporarily paralysing the targeted muscles which results in a relaxed and smoothed appearance. The results take about two weeks to appear and will last three to five months. Other clinical treatments such as the laser resurfacing ACTION II, can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and moderately deep wrinkles.

Skin tone inconsistency from acne scarring and pigmentation from brown sunspots and red blood vessels are ideally treated with IPL laser treatments such as SOLARI™. Whilst the SkinPen® works its magic to target acne scars, pigmentation, and more, by creating controlled micro-injuries that stimulate the body’s natural process to heal itself when wounded.

 

Other skin grievances such as mild pigmentation, acne, and static wrinkles can often be prevented and maintained with medical-grade skincare, with the additional help of occasional individualised treatments. Static wrinkles are those not caused by repetitive movement but rather through genetics, lifestyle factors, and the natural process of decreasing collagen. Ingredients such as Vitamin C, alpha hydroxy acids, Hyaluronic Acid, and yes, Retinol are likely to contribute to making a difference, the extent of the difference you wish to see should help in determining your personal skincare journey. Allow skincare a couple of months to start to see effective results on such skin issues, if then you are not satisfied, clinical treatments are generally the next best point of action. Amongst your skincare routine, occasional treatments such as the incredible Hydrabrasion, known more commonly as Medical Microdermabrasion is incredible for combating those frustrating blackheads, pimples, and cysts are all caused from a build-up in the pores. Whilst regular dates with the Healite II, will make a significant improvement in eliminating acne-causing bacteria, acne scarring and collagen production and skin rejuvenation.

  

IPL and BBL – is one really better than the other?

Truth be told, there is actually not much difference between the two. BBL stands for Broad Band Light, and IPL for Intense Pulsed Light. The main difference is in the way they have been marketed.  Both are very effective light therapy treatments that work by delivering a constant, non-invasive steady stream of light energy and heat.

Both IPL and BBL technologies have the following benefits and features;

  • Use contact cooling ensuring a comfortable procedure
  • Work through the use of a range of light waves that target haemoglobin and melanin and heat the skin to stimulate collagen production
  • Ensure results in reducing fine lines, acne scarring, appearance of freckles and sunspots, hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone and texture
  • Use non-invasive light waves to rejuvenate skin
  • Treat skin on any area of the body

 

Some like to argue that BBL offers more effective results through a higher intensity of light to better heat the skin, however, the two offer the exact same benefits and functions. The number of treatments required for maximum benefit for both treatments varies on the individual patient. The SOLARI™ is a guaranteed safe and effective IPL treatment.

 

 

 

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