Review: Pigmentation Removal @ Niks Maple Laser Clinic (Part 1)
I have been struggling with hyperpigmentation for over 10 years. No matter how many times I have burnt them off, medicated them away or treated them with expensive skin whitening products, they come back. I heard about the latest non-invasive aesthetic laser called PicoSure available in Singapore and wanted to give it a try. Be warned: This is quite a long article. It is my way of documenting every step of the treatment process, witnessing the transformative changes to my skin and being a real-life example for readers who are experiencing similar skin hyper-pigmentation issues.
PicoSure is the newest aesthetic laser technology available in Singapore that delivers laser pulse measured in picoseconds. Up until now, nanosecond technology is the laser of choice used by most aesthetic doctors. Problems with the old generation of nanotechnology laser include requiring multiple rounds of treatment and can be painful with some downtime required.
Did you know? A nanosecond is one billionth of a second (pretty fast). A picosecond is one thousandth of a nanosecond (omg that is fast!).
PicoSure laser is so fast and powerful it actually changes the way laser delivers energy to the targeted cells. Using photomechanical energy, picosecond laser goes directly to target skin blemishes, benign pigmented lesions, age spots and other unwanted facial markings; and removes them without risking the heat damage to skin (which can occur with nanosecond lasers using photothermal energy). Essentially, it means less discomfort, faster efficiency and zero downtime.
About Dr Ong Fung Chin & Niks Maple Laser Clinic
I visited Dr Ong Fung Chin at Niks Maple Laser Clinic for a consultation. Niks Maple Laser Clinic is one of two aesthetic clinics in Singapore that utilizes this advanced technology of PicoSure. Centrally located on the 5th floor of Orchard Central (MRT station: Somerset), Niks Maple Laser Clinic is not hard to find. When you come out of the bubble lifts, turn left and walk down past Ya Kun Kaya Toast. The clinic will be at the end of the short walkway.
Having met Dr Ong for the first time, she comes across as highly observant with her ‘just have to look at you‘ assessment and motherly with her advice. Before I could get into an in-depth explanation of my skin woes, she immediately pointed out how dry my skin was. Bear in mind, I was pretty happy with my skin up until this point. Sure, I get occasional patches of dryness and dullness, but doesn’t everybody? In fact, I was secretly hoping to get praised for how great my skin looked and go straight into removing my pigmentation with PicoSure. Nope…not going to happen.
She explained how and why I had previously not been able to completely eradicate my spots. One thing about Dr Ong is that she gives it as she sees it. Instead of stroking my bruised ego, she opted to educate me. It may be tough love but it is good for me. She spent a good half an hour answering my questions and patiently repeating everything she just told me so I get get it through my thick head.
She talked me through her proposed treatment plan. Instead of going straight to laser to remove my pigmentation (which we would eventually do), we would KIV the laser treatment and opt for a gentler transition. I was beginning to like her approach.
The Treatment Plan
She suggested I start a customized skincare program for at least a month. During this time, I use her prescribed skincare products with the aim to re-balance my dryness, control any oiliness and even out my complexion tone – existing pigment spots would either fade out or get darker (so we can target with laser later). Though Dr Ong is not an advocate of the word natural or organic in her skincare formulations, she assured me that her products are extracted with pure ingredients and lab-manufactured at the highest standards eliminating any form of contamination or irritation that can be caused on skin.
When I heard the number of skincare products I would be given (total of 7 items) and the specific ways of how to use each of them, panic set in. It does not sound idiot-proof! Then again, if I was looking for a quick convenient fix, this is not the place to go.
I walked out of the clinic with serious information overload and looked like a deer caught in the headlights. Thank god for super nice and friendly clinic staffers. When dispensing the items, they repeated everything Dr Ong just said and even prepared a written instruction list. Something tells me I am not alone.
Within a week of using Dr Ong’s skincare products, it was obvious my skin was looked unusually radiant. Here is a closer look at each of the products she gave me.
Skincare Items: Week 1-4
1. Vitamin A Cleansing Lotion: a cleansing cream that is non-drying and suitable for all skin types. I have never been a fan of cream-based cleansers. After a week of using this cleanser, I kinda got used to it. There is no smell and it washes off easily.
2. Golden Lipid Complex: an oil-based serum that combines sphingolipid and ceramides in a silicone base to mimic and restore the skin’s normal lipid content. This is by far one of my favorite products from Dr Ong. A small amount almost instantly makes my skin feel like velvet. People with dry skin will know what I am talking about.
3. Golden Fade Complex: a preservative-free pigmentation oil of anhydrous formula used to inhibit tyrosinase activity, exhibit depigmenting effect on human melanocytes and induce brightening effect on the skin with photo-protective effect. This is used on targeted spots only.
4. L-Absorbic Acid Brightening Cream (prescription required): a potent vitamin c antioxidant cream that helps to lighten pigmentation and brightens overall skin tone.
5. Hydroquinone Cream (prescription required): a skin lightening cream used to combat hyperpigmentation issues by reducing melanin production in skin. Hydroquinone is a safe and effective active ingredient to be used under doctor’s supervision.
6. Skin Repair Cream: an all-purpose moisturizer to sooth dry and sensitive skin. It penetrates into the skin to boost cellular action and awaken natural processes by revitalizing aged and damaged skin. Most suited for dry skin. This is a thick cream-based moisturizer that took some time getting used to.
7. Retinoic Acid 0.01% Cream (prescription required): a Vitamin-A derivative cream that exfoliates the old epidermal cells, promotes cell renewal revealing younger looking and fairer skin, stimulates collagen production, tightens pores and reduces oil control.
It took me a couple of days to familiarize myself with all 7 products and the different ways of application, depending on day or night use. It sounds like a lot at one go (and trust me, it is) but I got used to the schedule. Seeing my skin’s improvement was a big motivator to continue with this program before my PicoSure laser pigmentation removal.
If you’re wondering how I managed to pile 7 layers of skincare products at a time, especially in this hot and humid Singapore weather without immediately sweating it all off, there’s a couple tricks I picked up:
Only Very Little Is Needed
Apply each and every product in small (very small) amounts. Just enough to cover the face. Excessive cream application can become too thick for the next layer of skincare (don’t forget, there are 7 layers to go) and carries risk of drying out your skin too much.
Stagger The Layers
After about 3-4 layers, I would stop for a few minutes to let the layers of creams absorb into the skin. Then I will come back to layer up with the remaining creams. Don’t stagger too long though. Just a few minutes walking away to brush teeth, make a cup of tea or change your clothes is good enough.
Fan (Or Blow) It Out
Another thing I do is to sit in front of a fan during, in-between or after application. This helps control my body-temp from oozing perspiration beads all over my face and allows the creams to absorb into the skin before applying makeup. I read from another blogger, in order to save time, she blows her face with a hairdryer in cold air mode. Not a bad idea indeed!
Closeup of my pigmentation condition before embarking on Dr Ong’s skincare program and PicoSure laser removal.
Stay tuned to follow my pigmentation removal using PicoSure with Dr Ong Fung Chin at Niks Maple Laser Clinic.
For more information on Niks Maple Laser Clinic, go to their website or call the clinic for an appointment at:
181 Orchard Road
#05-34 Orchard Central
Tel: +65 62359428
Mon – Fri: 9am-8pm
Sun & PH: Closed