[By Lucille King]
With the explosion of aesthetic treatments on the market, these days there seems to be an ever increasing overlap of available remedies for similar beauty concerns. If you, like me, am confused by al the beauty terminology used at clinics and spas, then join me as I decode the jargon to get the lowdown on the plethora of beauty treatments out there.
I speak to Dr Tan Wang Theng and Dr Kenneth Lee from The Sloane Clinic as well as Vanessa Dickens, a freelance beauty therapist as they help me shed some light on the most appropriate treatments for specific skin concerns.
What is the difference between…
Facial scrub vs microdermabrasion
Vanessa: Facial scrub is essentially a skin exfoliant which removes surface dead cells. This is useful for people as an additional step for clients keen on doing a home facial for themselves every fornight.
Dr Tan: There are many different types of microdermabrasion around. At The Sloane Clinic, we use crystal microdermabrasion which uses spherical crystals to polish the skin. As these tiny crystals are sprayed across the skin at high speeds then sucked off the skin surface, patients find that their clogged pores are minimized and their skin feels smoother after. The effects are deeper than a normal facial scrub and may be suitable for people with problem skins or open pores.
Verdict: If your skin is blemish and acne free, then a facial scrub may suffice. If you have clogged pores, oily or pimple-prone skin, a microdermabrasion at the doctor’s office may boost your chances of achieving clearer skin.
Waxing vs Laser hair removal
Vanessa: Waxing is popular among women and increasingly men as well. The upside is that unlike shaving, it does not make the hair regrowth appear thicker. It involves strips of warm wax applied onto the skin, when the wax is peeled off, it removes the underlying hair follicles. Waxing also results in longer hair-free periods in between sessions compared to traditional methods such as shaving. The hair removal is not permanent though and you will need to keep coming back for repeat sessions as long as you want to maintain hairless.
Dr Lee: Laser hair removal results in a permanent reduction of hair. It uses a laser light to target the hair bulb, causing its destruction. A series of sessions is needed for optimal results as with all other treatments though a permanent reduction in hair follicles can be seen from the first session. On average, my patients will go for about 6-8 sessions, after which they are unlikely to need to wax or shave again thereafter. The important thing to remember is that there are many laser and IPL hair removal devices out there. Dark skin types should take care as they are more prone to skin burns with the wrong laser device. It is important for your doctor to select a device that is suitable for your hair and skin type. Having said that, we have treated dark skin individuals such as Indians effectively with our lasers, so there is hope for dark skinned individuals as long as they select the right laser.
Verdict: If time is not an issue or if you are dark skinned individual, waxing is a reasonably efficient method to keep your skin fuzz free. If you don’t mind the initial investment, laser hair removal is certainly the way to go as it requires no maintenance thereafter. The only downside is the cost and for people with dark skins, you will need to select a doctor with the expertise and the appropriate laser to treat dark skin types safely yet effectively.
Weight loss vs Coolsculpting
Dr Tan: Weight loss is an effective method to slim your body down. There are several methods to achieve successful weight reduction, starting with first and foremostregular exercise and a healthy diet. If our patients find difficulty in achieving their ideal weight despite the lifestyle measures above, we can aid them with some meal replacements, a customized diet plan and even appetite suppressant medications. It is important to remember that weight loss cannot help you target a specific body part but is useful for your general health and overall body weight.
Dr Lee: Coolsculpting is useful for those who have a healthy diet and lifestyle but are still left with stubborn fat bulges in certain parts of their body that just won’t go with exercise. For those who shun surgical options such as liposuction, Coolsculpting is a non-invasive no downtime alternative to help you trim the specific flabby areas you hate.
Verdict: If you are overweight, get your weight under control first. If you are left with specific areas of localized fat bulges such as your tummy and thighs, then consider the FDA approved fat reduction treatment Coolsculpting.
Botox vs Fillers
Dr Tan: Botox is a muscle relaxant, which means that if you have expression lines caused by muscular contraction such as your frown lines, then Botox can help you ease these unsightly lines away. Botox cannot fill static lines which are lines that are already on your face at rest. Static lines are not a result of muscle contraction and will be better treated with other methods such as fillers. Of late, Botox has gained other popular uses such as facial slimming by reducing the size of hypertrophic jaw muscles.
Dr Lee: Fillers as the name suggest simply fill out areas where there are hollows and depressions. In the past, we mainly fill the nasolabial lines which are the lines running between your nose and mouth. Recently, the use of fillers have expanded to other uses such as bringing facial harmony to your overall facial appearance. This include enhancing your cheeks, defining your nose and chin, and even lifting your skin to help you achieve an overall rejuvenated appearance.
Verdict: If you want to get rid of lines caused by your facial expressions, then go for Botox. If you want to volumize your face or plump up certain deep lines on your face, then fillers is the answer.