I may not look like it now, but I was once just another kid in polytechnic who cut her fringe to hide her bad acne (which of course, made it worse). After several years of trying everything to get rid of it — creams, pills, diets, you name it — I guess I’d finally done my time and the acne cleared up.
I am however, still left with some of the scars (physically la, not emotionally), which is why I jumped at the chance to try the new Discovery PICO laser treatment.
Discovery PICO isn’t specifically meant for acne scars, but is used for Skin Rejuvenation, Pigmentation Removal and Tattoo Removal. It’s a laser treatment that basically breaks up the pigments in your skin, lightening the affected area in the process, and I figured the marks on my cheeks could do with some help.
The Discovery PICO treatment is available in several clinics in Singapore, but I got an appointment for mine at the Ageless Aesthetic Medical Centre in Upper Thomson. I was introduced to Dr Lam, who was more than happy to walk me through the process.
This was my first time having any kind of laser therapy done, so I didn’t really know what to expect. The assisting therapist started by asking me to remove all my makeup so that she could carry on with something called Microdermabrasion.
To normal folks like you and I, that essentially meant having something stone-like and rough dragged across my face as a form of exfoliation. I later found out that it was made up of non-allergenic crystals used to remove the outermost layer of dead cells on my face.
It sounds painful but it really wasn’t and I actually found it quite satisfying. So far so good!
Then I saw the laser. Now, I’ve heard some horror stories about the pain associated with these kind of procedures, but I was assured that one of the features of Discovery PICO is that it’s almost painless.
A good amount of numbing cream was slathered all over my face and Dr Lam broke it down for me.
The majority of aesthetic clinics in Singapore currently use the traditional Q-Switched lasers that break down pigmented particles into granules, as seen on the left side of the diagram. The Discovery PICO laser works in Picosecond pulses, which is why it’s able to fragment the same pigmented particles into thin “dust” instead (as seen on the right).
Dr Lam explained that this makes it easier for the body to eliminate the broken particles through the immune system, lightening the area in the process. So in my case, the dark spots would appear so much lighter after a few sessions.
Discovery PICO is also gaining popularity as the laser of choice to carry out tattoo removals, because the laser directly targets the tattoo ink pigments without affecting the surrounding tissues. The claim that it’s a lot less painful is also definitely a plus point.
Speaking of pain, I honestly hardly felt any. I don’t think I have that high a tolerance for it, and as someone who’s never done it before… well, you can trust me. Dr Lam zapped away at different areas of my cheeks, and it was like having a tiny rubberband hit the skin each time.
The actual zap, zap, zapping only took around 10 to 15 minutes, and was pretty comfortable, save for the slight burning smell which apparently is normal.
Now to the not-so-comfortable part. Dr Lam had warned that I would need a few days of downtime, which is how long it takes for the skin to recover. I was warned that there would be redness and swelling for the next couple of hours, but was given a cream to help with the healing.
I’ll spare you the photo but let’s just say that this was probably not the ideal thing to do before heading to a crowded hawker centre for dinner. I’d suggest clearing all plans for the rest of the day and heading home to hide from the world.
Dr Lam thankfully mentioned that I could cover up with foundation and makeup the following day, as long as I lathered on the given cream and sunblock beforehand. I’m glad to report that Gollum did not need to make an appearance in the office.
As I’d only been for one session, my results weren’t obvious at all in photos. In real life though, I could actually see a tiny bit of improvement and felt that my makeup set more easily on my now smoother face.
I was told that it would take about six sessions in my case to see some drastic improvements, and I don’t doubt that.
The results are more obvious when it comes to tattoo removals, but I unfortunately (or fortunately) didn’t have any of those that I wanted gone.
Laser treatments don’t come cheap, so I wasn’t surprised when I found out how much a session would set me back by. That being said, if I pooled together all the money I have spent over the years trying to fix my face, I’d probably easily surpass any shocking amount.
My point is, if you, like me, took a knock to your self-confidence during puberty and still have the scars to show for it, this is something that you might want to consider. Or if you’re scared of pain and desperately want to get rid of that Hello Kitty tattoo you got when you were drunk in Bali…
Price: Treatment starts from S$800 per session