Thursday, February 22, 2018

Beauty at the speed of light


DEMONSTRATING: Joe Hurley of Aerolase, the makers of the LightPod Neo, demonstrates treatment on a female patient with both unwanted and ingrown facial hair, during a recent visit to the clinic. —Photos: ROBERTO CODALLO

Mark Fraser


CONSULTING: Dermatologist Dr Neil Persadsingh interviews a young man with ‘Barber’s rash’ at the back of head, during a free consultation.

Mark Fraser

WHAT’S the beauty woe that’s got you hiding in the dark—blemishes, ingrown hair, sagging jowls?

Then it may be time to step into the light.

The laser light, that is.

Long-hailed as the future of beauty, laser therapy in one of its current top forms is now available in Trinidad and Tobago from professionals at The Ultrasound and Laser Integrated Practice (TULIP) in El Dorado.

Nestled in the foothills of the Northern Range, the clinic is located in a quiet community, offering a serene atmosphere and complete privacy.

During the Express’ recent visit to the clinic, the waiting room was packed with both men and women.

Most were there for hair removal or the treatment of ingrown hair, with a few individuals looking to remove their tattoos.

The laser employed at TULIP, the Lightpod Neo, is considered a uniquely versatile aesthetic tool and TULIP’s is the only one of its kind in T&T.

The Neo targets unwanted hair, ingrown hair, spider veins, angiomas, rosacea, age spots, sun damage, blemishes, scars (including acne scars), acne pustules and is also used for skin tightening and photorejuvenation of aged, loose skin.

The Neo’s primary difference is that it is delivered to the skin in shorter energy pulses (0.65 of a millisecond) than traditional lasers, which are projected in bursts of three to 30 milliseconds.

The shorter duration of laser exposure means less heating up of the epidermis - the after-effects of which include swelling, flaking and inflammation—and a lot less pain during treatment.

The laser is applied to cleaned skin without the need for gels and creams and the hand-held aspect makes it easier to treat private areas of the body.

“This is the start of a new generation of aesthetic lasers,” said Joe Hurley, head of international sales at Aerolase, the New York, USA-based manufacturers of the Neo, during a recent visit to TULIP.

Hurley was on hand for practical sessions with the dermatologists and aestheticians at TULIP, as it is an Aerolase requirement that the product be administered by trained professionals.

“The Neo is showing a tremendous success rate with all of the above problems.

“One of the most sought-after treatments in the US is photorejuvenation. “Commonly done on the neck, jawline and chest, the laser heats up the deeper layers of the skin, with minimum exposure to the upper dermis, and stimulates the production of new collagen. The result is a tighter, younger look to the skin and this is often accompanied by an improved look to sun damage.”

Lasers were already regarded as being the safer alternative for treating coloured skin and the Neo has raised this safety bar, Hurley said.

“There is a risk associated with the use of lasers and chemical peels on coloured skin,” Hurley explained, “In that there is a possibility of hyperpigmentation, which is the recurrence of too much melanin, or hypopigmentation, which is a noticeable absence of melanin on the spot that was treated. The Neo has greatly minimized these risks.”

But in T&T, the most sought-after treatments have so far been for unwanted and ingrown hair, in men and women.

Medical name Pseudofolliculitis Barbae (PFB), this condition ranges from a few bumps to skin that is inflamed in every hair follicle, often resembling acne and collectively showing darker colouring.

African men who shave their heads and faces appear to be most prone to this condition. They are also susceptible to a ‘rash’ at the nape of the neck, where the hair has been shaved by a barber.

Both conditions are notoriously difficult to treat and long-term ingrowns can also give a pock-marked appearance to the skin.

Both this condition and the pitted scarring of acne can be improved with the Neo.

“Most of the men who come in are looking to treat this problem,” said Dr Neil Persadsingh, also a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology (FAAD) and TULIP’s consultant dermatologist from Jamaica.

“The Neo is showing unparalleled success in this area. It is also highly recommended for permanently removing hair from the underarm, particularly where other methods of removal, such as shaving, have resulted in an embarrassing darkening of the underarm.”

Speaking on the general use of lasers locally, Dr Persadsingh was also concerned that safety is not always a priority at some salons.

“I was appalled recently to hear one patient’s story of being treated with a laser without being given safety goggles to protect the eyes while the laser was on,” Dr Persadsingh said.

“Patients visiting any clinic or aesthetician must be aware of the safety requirements of laser use and demand that they be met. Anyone present in a room with a laser on must be wearing protective covers and eyewear.”

Mirrors are also not allowed in the treatment room, so as to avoid reflected laser activity.

Dr Persadsingh is the author of two best-selling skincare books, The Hair in Black Women and Acne in Black Women, and is also the author of over 300 articles on dermatology, many of which are available on the internet.

But beauty treatments are not TULIP’s only attractive feature. Pregnant women are also encouraged to utilise it’s offer of free ultrasounds, while non-pregnant women are also afforded free pelvic ultrasounds.

TULIP offers free consultations on all procedures and can be reached at 678-9999 or 645-2223.