skin maintenance

SUNSCREEN ISN'T JUST FOR SUMMER

I'm a strong advocate for using sunscreen, not only for fighting the obvious - like skin cancer, but also in the fight against premature ageing.

If you were to calculate the total amount of time we expose parts of our skin to the sun during our lives you may well come up with a number that'll shock you. Any amount of time our skin spends, small or large exposed to the sun it adds up, it's not just long days at the beach during summer that ages us.

And if you have any doubt as to whether the small trips to the shop, pegging clothes on the line or your early morning walks with the dog don't affect your skin you just need to compare the skin that never sees the light of day (wherever that may be) to somewhere like your forearms or the back of your hand and compare the difference in wrinkles, softness and overall quality.

In this video below I explain the different types of sunscreen and the best practice for using it in the fight against premature ageing.

Doctor Rachel.

All About Acne

As a teenager, I suffered from terrible acne. I understand how it can create a terrible cycle of self-consciousness and poor self-image. Fortunately, my mother, who had also been an acne sufferer, quickly got me on to medical treatment for the problem and within a year it had cleared up completely. However, this was not without some side effects: nose bleeds, low mood, etc. It was all worth it though, because I have rarely had a blemish since and I was very lucky to avoid the residual scarring sometimes sometime left behind.

What is acne?

Acne is a skin disease where the hair follicle opening becomes blocked by a plug of skin cells from the follicular lining. This prevents oil from the sebaceous gland that attaches to the root of the hair from escaping, leading to a build-up of oil, bacterial growth and inflammation. This manifests as black heads, whiteheads, red bumps, pimples and most severely, cystic acne. 

These can occur on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders, and even the upper arms. Onset is usually during adolescence with increased sex hormones, that stimulate and enlarge the oil (sebaceous) glands of the skin. Acne is experienced by both teenagers and adults all the way through their 40’s. 

How can we fix this?

There is a lot of misunderstanding about how to treat acne. I know of many teenagers who are told to simply stop eating so much chocolate and it will go away. How ridiculous! Whilst a good diet will improve general skin quality, it is not enough to control this disease. At Concept Cosmetic Medicine our goal is to clear your skin, stop future breakouts, reduce existing scars and prevent future scarring. 

Step 1

Skin care at home:

Wash face twice a day with a wash that contains alpha hydroxy acids (eg. Glycolic acid) or beta hydroxy acids (eg. Salicylic acid). Some people find the latter more effective.
At night use a cream that contains one of the above.
If this doesn’t improve the situation after 2 months, speak to your GP about adding a prescription cream containing adaptalene and benzoyl peroxide combination; or a retinoic acid cream.

Step 2

If Step 1 fails, there are two good options next:

Your GP may be able to prescribe oral antibiotics. These are usually a tetracycline antibiotic which are a broad spectrum antibiotic however very effective and commonly used in the treatment of acne. Improvement is usually seen after 2-3 months. It is relatively cheap however, having antibiotics in your system for extended periods can quite often be accompanied with the possible side effects.
Blue light therapy is a good alternative for those who can’t or don’t want to take antibiotics. Like the antibiotics, the blue light destroys the acne causing bacteria on the skin and can significantly improve the appearance of moderate acne in around 6-10 treatments. It is quick (under 15 mins), efficient and painless and there’s no downtime.

It is however, more expensive than oral antibiotics.

Step 3

Treatment Resistant Severe Acne:

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is effective treatment and involves the application of a photosensitising agent to your skin and then going under an Omnilux light to activate the agent. This targets acne causing cells deep in the sebaceous glands, so its’ very effective for cystic acne. PDT treatment requires up to a week of down time. The discomfort could be likened to “sun burn” for the first few days and it gradually improves over the rest of the week. 1-2 treatments are usually adequate for most people, who will see significant reduction of acne lesions and an improved appearance in scarring and skin quality. This is a great option for people who want to avoid the nasty side effects of taking oral retinoic acid for several months.
Oral retinoic acid is a Prescription only medication that’s an extremely effective treatment, but it does have some bad side effects that vary between patients. You will need to be closely monitored by your GP and dermatologist whilst on this medication to minimise any harmful side effects.

If you are interested in Blue-light therapy, PDT for acne or even just want further information about problem skin then please, we love talking about it and we’re only too happy to have a no obligation chat - Simply phone us.

by Dr Phoebe Jones

HAVE YOU LOOKED AT CHELSEA LATELY?

Fractional Laser Resurfacing - “It’s F**king Awesome”: Chelsea Handler.

The secret’s out! Chelsea Handler doesn’t mince her words so when the 41 year old comedian and talkshow host recently shared her experience of having fractional laser treatment on her face and subsequently posted her photos on Instagram, her 2.8 million followers listened - And rightly so.

She was ecstatic: “It’s f**king awesome and no one is paying me to tell you about it.” And who can blame her? Fractional laser treatment is one of the procedures that makes the biggest difference to your skin and is the most popular resurfacing procedure at Concept Cosmetic Medicine, both for celebrities and the not-so-famous.

What Is Fractional Laser Treatment?

Fractional laser (or Profractional Laser as it is known in the States) works to even out skin tone and texture and improve complexion and pigmentation so that you can not only reverse the signs of ageing but sustain the process for 12-18 months. And because we use the Fraxel Repair laser, this can all be done in a SINGLE treatment! This is due to the ablative CO2 technology in the Fraxel Repair laser, which gives better results but less severe downtime than non-ablative alternatives.

Does It Hurt?

Most patients are very surprised by how painless the procedure actually is.  A numbing cream is applied before the procedure and at CCM we use a special technique so that any potential discomfort is reduced even further. 

How Long Does It Take?

The numbing cream takes an hour for full effect and the procedure itself takes about half an hour. So in total you will be with us for about 90 minutes.

What Are The Side-Effects?

The day following treatment you will look and feel sunburnt. The next day that redness becomes a dark “tan”. Over the next 2-3 days, this tan gently flakes off. You should accommodate 4 to 5 days of downtime: think of it as your well-deserved time off to relax and rejuvenate.

Is It Right For Me?

The Fraxel laser is revolutionary in that it can be used safely on ALL skin types. So if you’re looking for more beautiful, youthful skin just in time for all those Christmas parties and other special occasions, then it is definitely something to consider. The results generally last 12 to 18 months. I personally have the treatment once a year so that my skin can stay in a time capsule.

But if you need a star-studded testimonial, U.S talk show queen Chelsea Handler is a glowing example and ambassador of the treatment. Have you looked at Chelsea Lately?

Remember though, not all Fractional Lasers are the same. At CCM, we only use the Fraxel Repair laser and there is a big difference between our state-of-art equipment and that used by the “less certified” providers. Please, be careful of cheap imitations. There’s more information on the comparative differences HERE.

Dr Stefan Lo

SHINING LIGHT ON BETTER-LOOKING SKIN

Our 3rd post in this blog series for better skin focusses on facials . . . “So our skin looks the same or better in 10 years time“.

Traditional Facials - Feel Fantastic Do OK

Laser Facials - Feel OK Do Fantastic

The first 2 blogs in this series concerned skin care and anti wrinkle injections.

This post continues the theme of medical grade skin maintenance with a discussion of “Laser Facials”.

Like anti-wrinkle injections, they can be done just when you want a “buff and polish”. They also can be part of a regular maintenance regime every 6-12 weeks, often in conjunction with a low dose, anti-wrinkle injection top up.

The term “Laser Facial” is a generic one and can mean different things to different practitioners, and different clinics.

Here at Concept Cosmetic Medicine, we use the term “Laser Facial” to describe a process that:

HAS:
- NO PAIN
- NO DOWNTIME

IS:
- WALK-IN, WALK-OUT
- LOW COST
. . . And
- OK to do in parallel with TRADITIONAL FACIALS which feel so good - Albeit at different times.

All 3 Skin layers – Epidermis, Dermis and Subcutis are treated with various laser and topical treatments.

By doing this, people not only feel a “wow” that lasts for weeks/months after, but little by little changes the architecture of the skin to be more youthful.

The regular use of “Laser Facials” also allows to go on regular ‘Blemish Hunts’ where a ‘real life photoshopping’ of capillaries, pigments and barnacles means they don’t ever get out of control.

I recently spoke with Ada Nicodemou, of Channel 7’s Home and Away amongst other TV and movie fame. We talk about the importance of laser facials in the world of HD TV, as well as discuss a more general cosmetic industry overview.

Dr Neal

Anti-Wrinkle Injections, Not Naming Any Names But . . .

The 2nd of this blog series concerns anti-wrinkle injections.

Soft and natural rules!!!

“Stiff and stupid” is just that!

Cranky Lines, Forehead lines, Wolf Lines, Smokers Lines, Brow Lifting, Neck Bands, Jowl Line refining and Face Shaping are some, but by no means all, the domain of Anti-Wrinkle injections.

Together with home skin care (the subject of the last blog), they represent THE 2 KEY things we can do so that our skin looks its’ best both now and over the years ahead.

Highly purified Botulinum Toxin is what is used and there are 3 brands available in Australia.

Doctor’s aren’t allowed to name them by federal TGA laws (but journalists can – go figure!), so suffice to say I will use “BTX” to signify all the 3 brands from Galderma, Merz and Allergan. All three are produced by multinational and highly reputable companies.

At Concept Cosmetic Medicine we have all 3 brands but, all of our Dr’s feel a preference for the Galderma product.

It’s what we use on ourselves and our families. It’s not uncommon to receive feedback saying it works quicker and it lasts longer but also our Doctors feel it gives the best value for money at the moment.

Now while I’ve performed literally thousands of anti-wrinkle injections my key message has always remained the same - LESS IS MORE!

Soft and natural rules!!!

“Stiff and stupid” is just that!

Apart from the “#11” cranky lines between the eyebrows, ALL other areas of the face should be respected and left with enough movement to look and be natural. Any lines in the area treated will progressively soften and over time, will mostly fade anyway.

Think of this as SAME DOSE/SAME COST BUT SPREAD OVER A YEAR.  

The amount of $$$ dependent on you’re your personal budget and skin maintenance goals and desires, but spread over more clinic visits.

No obvious ‘ups and downs’ of too heavy a result followed by too too much of a wear off. Just a smooth consistent result with analogous to hair colouring, never left to leave “GT stripes”.

Scheduled maintenance is the key to deliver a far better and more natural result.

If you don’t have a Medical Practitioner and we are too far away to discuss this more nuanced approach to Anti-Wrinkle injections, the list of Fellows and Members of the The Cosmetic Physicians College of Australasia is a good place to start. 

Next week I’ll discuss “next level” skin maintenance. When and why some may consider, the LASER FACIAL

Dr Neal