Friday, December 5, 2014

Intense Pulsed Light {IPL} Treatment @ Phoenix Medical Group with FAQs + Promo Code

Perhaps it's due to age, or stress, or our 2-weeks trip to Australia but when I returned, I found that my skin felt rather "bumpy", plus looked kind of dull and patchy. I've always had sensitive skin but it seemed to have worsened. Maybe because of the cold, dry weather in Australia and also because we'd been in the sun and swimming even more than usual.

I don't like to wear tons of make-up so having a fresh, blemish-free skin is pretty important to me since I go around bare-faced so often. One of the sweetest thing the boy says to me is that I look beautiful, even without any make-up on... and I plan to keep it that way even as I grow old. Yup, I want to age gracefully, but that doesn't mean that I wouldn't want to stay young and fresh as long as I can ;) However, taking care of the skin now is not as easy as when I was younger and I need help now!! 

Medical-grade Etherea IPL machine used at Phoenix Medical Group
After seeing that even with my monthly facials my skin condition didn't improve, I went back to Dr Kang {same aesthetics doctor I did my Restylane dermal fillers with} at Phoenix Medical Group and he suggested that I start an Intense Pulsed Light {IPL} treatment to rejuvenate and calm my red, sensitive skin.. as well as do laser treatment on my prominent age spots. Those spots have been bugging me for a while now and I've tried {some pretty expensive!} topical creams but they don't seem to work at all :( 

IPL machine hand piece filters
I've heard of IPL before but never really much looked into it. I know it's used to remove unwanted hair but Dr Kang explained that IPL is a non-invasive treatment that uses high intensity pulses of visible light to also improve the appearance of skin problems such as age spots, freckles, and skin discolouration. A series of treatments is needed to achieve the desired result, and after that yearly follow-up treatments may be necessary to maintain the results. It is not a miracle treatment, but more like a long-term beauty maintenance thing. He also noted that there's no down-time after treatment.

IPL machine hand piece with ice-cold tip
I asked him if it would be better if I just did the skin laser treatment on my whole face since IPL is not a one-off thing, and the results are not as fast and obvious as with skin laser treatments. However, since I have such sensitive skin, Dr Kang said that if I did that, it might cause more redness and an even worst break-out. Eeks! 

I'll talk about my skin laser treatment in a later post {totally impressed with how it treated my spots!!}, but will elaborate more on what I'm currently doing with IPL treatment. It has two-prong approach - firstly to gently rejuvenate my skin by improving collagen production and decreasing the appearance of lines and wrinkles, and secondly to calm my already sensitive skin by causing the blood vessels below the surface layer of my skin {epidermis} to constrict and produce a smoother and more even-toned skin.

Also, although IPL machines in general are very powerful, the one Dr Kang is even more so. It is medical-grade, meaning only medically-trained professionals can use it, and is much more powerful than those used in beauty salons, which would lead to better and faster results. For example, hair removal at a beauty salon might take 10 - 12 sessions, while those done at Dr Kang's clinic will only take around 4 - 6 sessions.

Watch the video to see what goes on during a typical session. If it's not working, watch it here on my YouTube channel.

For the past month or so, I've gone for weekly IPL sessions. During each session, Dr Kang checks my skin and update his photo records, then his nurse will cleanse and prepare my skin for the treatment. There's no need to apply any numbing or cooling gel because the machine he uses has an ice-cold tip to cool the skin and make the treatment more comfortable. This also means that no energy is loss through the gel and goes directly to your skin for better efficiency.

He will then use the IPL machine to zap around my face twice - once for skin rejuvenation, and once for skin calming. Each round he uses different energy levels and changes the filter for the different purposes.

After-treatment care: Restylane Recover Cream & PCA Skin Sun block
After that, the nurse will help me to apply a layer of Recover Cream & sunblock. The whole process is very efficient and I'm usually out in about 30 minutes. There's a small kids area inside the clinic for Lil Pumpkin to play at while I'm having my treatment so she's happy to wait a while for me there :)

The IPL treatment itself is not painful, but slightly uncomfortable. Feels kind of like a few rubber bands snapping on your face, and the light is very bright so that "jolts" me a little with each zap. Dr Kang will always do a test shot before he begins though to check if I'm all right with that energy level {he usually increases it for each session as a higher energy level would lead to better effects}, and talk to me throughout the session to let me know which area he's covering next, how he thinks the progression is etc. Very reassuring since my eyes are completely closed and I can't see what he's doing :p

Before and After 5 treatment sessions
The above photos were all taken with #nofilter and I'm not wearing blush on my left photo. That's my natural redness before I started my IPL treatment. Right photo is totally #sansmakeup!

After the first session, I immediately noticed that the tiny bumps on my face, mainly in my lower cheek area, disappeared!! The boy was really, really impressed with that. These bumps can't really be seen in pictures, but I could feel them when I run my fingers across the affected areas. After the session, those areas felt smooth again #happiness

I was a little busy after that so only managed to meet Dr Kang about 10 days after my first treatment, and a few bumps had reappeared again by then :( It's recommended that you go for weekly treatments for the first 3-4 treatments. I subsequently tried my best to keep to my appointments and met him on time heheh.

So far after about 5 treatments, I feel that the tiny bumps have completely disappeared, and for more visible results, my skin is slightly less red and patchy {see area in red box}. Skin tone seems slightly more even too. After battling with red, sensitive skin for so many years {which makes me look like I'm blushing even when I'm really not!!}, it's very satisfying to know that I'm on the road to finally have it under control.

The results are not as immediate as I hoped them to be, but improvement can be seen and definitely faster than any topical creams I've used. I guess I need more patience to see it through more treatments to see even better results. Now, we're going to taper to having a session every 2 weeks and work on improving the skin further and trying to maintain it. I'll update again on the results in after a few more sessions.

You know how hard it is to find a good hairdresser? Well, finding a good aesthetics doctor is might be even harder and I think if you have one, you need to hold on to him tightly! And that's why you won't see me trying out or recommending every Tom, Dick or Harry aesthetic centre or treatment. I won't go as far as to say that I make money off my face, but it is still pretty important that I don't "disfigure" myself by going to some random place which turns out to have dodgy practices :/ Hair can grow back even if you get a messed up hair-cut but if you get a messed-up treatment on your face....

If you've been reading my blog you'll see that I've known Dr Kang for about 4 years already and have worked with him on a few instances. It's really based on this good, trusted relationship that I'm happy to recommend him if you ever want to try any aesthetics treatment, like the IPL treatment I'm having now or the dermal fillers I had before. They are all carried out professionally and he has always been very patient in explaining the whole process to me and making sure I understand exactly what I'm getting myself into. I also appreciate him being ethical enough to not sugar-coat any of his analysis to give me false hopes about any procedure or result like saying my sensitive, red skin can be "cured", when in fact it can be only kept under control.  

Also, as a medical professional, Dr Kang can assess my skin condition holistically to ally any underlying problems rather than just give text-book treatments to symptoms. So let's say my skin condition is due to a diet problem, he's able to diagnose that and treat it too because at Phoenix Medical Centre, it is a one-stop medical practice that provides physician-guided customised treatments ranging from skin care, to hair loss, anti-aging and even weight management under one roof. There is no hard-selling or pushing for packages.. if not, I wouldn't tell my friends to go for sure!

I've compiled a list on FAQs based on my experience of my IPL treatment with Dr Kang which I thought will be useful to anyone thinking of doing it. If you've other questions, you can leave me a comment or contact Phoenix Medical Group directly.

Promo Code: Quote "Sakura Haruka" when making an appointment to get 15% OFF Intense Pulsed Light {IPL} treatment and consultation with Dr Kang at Phoenix Medical Group. No expiry date.

Phoenix Medical Group
1 Seletar Road #02-11, Greenwich V / 4 Hillview Rise #02-2, 0 HillV2
Tel: 6555 3512 / 6710 7157

Frequently Asked Questions {FAQs}

1. What are the benefits of IPL?
IPL is beneficial in many different ways - calm red skin, remove fine hair, stimulate collagen regeneration, minimise pore size, remove pigmentation etc.

2. Is it painful?
There is some slight discomfort, but nothing too unbearable. It feels like a rubber band snapping on your face and the pain level really differs on your individual pain tolerance {mine is quite high}, condition being treated & treatment settings {skin calming setting was more comfortable than skin rejuvenation setting}. 

3. How many treatment sessions before you see a visible result?
1-2 sessions, depending on nature of problem.

4. How long would the effects last?
For rejuvenation and it's anti-inflammatory treatments {which I did}, it's important to keep up with it as part of maintenance. How long the effects last depend a lot on the individual. Dr Kang recommends that we do the first few treatments a bit more intensively - weekly/fortnightly for 3-4 times, followed by monthly for maintenance.

5. What's the frequency of IPL treatment?
Weekly for the initial 3-4 treatments, and subsequently monthly or on a regular basis for maintenance. As with all things in life, skin when neglected, will slowly deteriorate.

6. Are there any side effects?
I did not experience or notice any, but there can be a bit of redness post-treatment, which usually fades within a few hours.

7. Any food restrictions?

8. Can I go for facials after treatment?
Best to avoid any sort of facial treatments that involve exfoliation / microdermabrasion or application of any acidic products. However, you can immediately use your usual beauty products and wash face, wear masks etc., but avoid any acidic products - which tend to use the terms: for 'clarifying', 'whitening' etc. Hydrating products would be best post-treatment.

9. Does Dr Kang charge for first consultation?
Usually S$55 for the first consult and S$25 for reviews but quote "Sakura Haruka" for the exclusive 15%  discount off the treatment and consultation fees for my blog readers.

10. How much does each IPL treatment cost?
IPL rejuvenation treatments are S$270 per session or S$1,360 for 6 sessions but quote "Sakura Haruka" for the exclusive 15%  discount off the treatment and consultation fees for my blog readers.

11. Any skin conditions where IPL is not recommended?
Those who have a history of keloid scarring {overgrowth of scar tissue}, an active herpes infection {cold sores} or with other skin infections. If you have a dark complexion, or recently tanned skin, the treatments have to be used with caution too. Best to discuss further with Dr Kang.

12. How long is the whole procedure?
About 15-30 minutes to cover the whole face. Some office ladies even come in during their lunch breaks for treatments! There is no need for application of any numbing cream with his clinic's IPL machine.

13. What's the recommended age or minimum age requirement?
No recommended age or minimum age requirement as IPL is used to solve various skin problems and depends on skin conditions.

14. How to care for my face after IPL treatment?
A proper skincare regime comprising of a cleanser, toner, moisturiser and sunblock will be sufficient. And more sunblock, sunblock, sunblock :) Phoenix Medical Group also sells appropriate serums and skin-care products if you require them.

* Disclosure: Intense Pulsed Light {IPL} Aesthetic Treatment was provided by Phoenix Medical Group for review. All opinions are my own. The content is not presented by a qualified healthcare professional and is for informational purpose only. Your experience and treatment results may differ from mine. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, please seek medical advice first before trying.



Stacy said...

You have problem skin? Would never have guessed, you look fab. :) Hope this IPL thingy helps!

An Apel a Day said...

There is a noticeable difference. It's great you have a list of questions and answers.

Theresa Mahoney said...

You can definitely see the difference! I am doing an at home IPL treatment and it is taking forever to get results. I mean, they are there, but I am so impatient I want results now! lol

Unknown said...

It's a very informative post and the FAQs at the end are a great idea. I had IPL a few times to get rid of spider veins and it did the job!

Masshole Mommy said...

You can definitely see a difference. I have always wanted to try this.

Rina said...

Feels like few rubber band snapping your skin? that defines painful to me :D Ai your skin is perfect girl I didn't see anything wrong! But anyway, yes you can see the difference. Hmm...I think I should try this IPL..

Grace said...

I've never had IPL treatment. But these days, I haven't even had time for a simple facial *sigh*
Your skin looks fantastic for it! x

Anonymous said...

Hi,would like to know if this Dr Kang is still available at Phoenix Medical Group-Greenwich?

Anonymous said...

Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular post!

It is the little changes that will make the
most important changes. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Keep this going please, great job!

Anonymous said...

Great post.