I’m pretty lazy when it comes to sunscreens or sun protection in general. I am, however, a fan of the great outdoors, so not slapping on my SPF is not the most ideal situation for my skin, both health-wise and appearance-wise. Although it didn’t really bother me, I did start to notice I had some discoloration on my cheeks and nose, which sometimes get redder due to continued sun exposure. Although the unevenness wasn’t, in my opinion, as unattractive as bad tan lines, I thought it would be a learning experience to check out the new Optilight treatment at Facial Care Centre that promised a “Photoshop” for the face. I met with dermatologist Dr. Lee who flew in from Shanyang, China; she is the so-called “laser” expert. Optilight is short for Optimal Pulse Technology and Lee has treated over 20,000 patients in the China Medical University. “Most people are familiar with traditional IPL treatments,” explained Dr. Lee, “but what most don’t know is that there can be an inconsistency in the energy of heat which may result in more damage to your skin. With this new generation Optimal Pulse Technology or Optilight, there is more control during application, no extreme highs or lows; it is much more effective and more safe as there is a way to evenly time out the application of pulse on the skin.”
So what are the advantages of using Optilight over the other treatments that promise “new-looking” skin? “Good question,” chuckled Dr. Lee. “While other treatments target specific ‘concerns’ such as wrinkles, sagging skin, discoloration and acne, Optilight can actually target all of those through regular sessions.” I was also told later on that it is not limited to just the face but can be used on parts of the body like the arms and legs. Age is also not a limiting factor, either, as even infants suffering from skin inflammation have been treated by Dr. Lee. “Optilight can take care of photo-aged skin which is prone to wrinkles, melasma and sagging skin, hyperpigmentation (like freckles), rosacea (redness) and pigmented lesions such as brown pigmented spots and scars,” she shared. In my case, after my consultation, I was to be treated for the sun-induced pigmentation. I was told I would see results after a couple of days, but full effect (an even, almost flawless skin tone) would be achieved after about five to 10 treatments over a course of time.
So how exactly does Optilight work? With a machine that uses the appropriate wavelength and parameters, a spectrum of light is transmitted through a small handpiece that is gently placed on the skin. The light then penetrates the tissue that is absorbed by either the blood or the melanin, depending on the condition being treated. My biggest question though after that explanation was “Would it hurt?” They were going to be zapping me on very sensitive points and, in some areas, very close to the eyes so I was letting my paranoia get the best of me. No, I was told, it wouldn’t hurt per se, but there could be discomfort caused by the heat penetrating the skin. Discomfort sounded okay to me and I allowed myself to be escorted to my room for what would consist of me lying down for 10-15 minutes during the treatment. Sounded quick and easy. A gel was spread over my face as my eyes were covered with cold cotton. The therapist (another dermatologist) told me that my cheeks and my nose would be the target areas and that even if my eyes were closed, I would still be able to see the light. But I was not to be alarmed and should just keep my eyes closed.
There was no pain, but the heat did cause a little discomfort, albeit temporarily since it was over so fast. I don’t think I was there for more than 10 minutes. After an Optilight session, sunblock is even more important so they actually applied some SPF 50 on me before I left the room. I was also advised to wash my face that night and the next morning with a very gentle or mild soap. The next day, my skin felt a little tighter and firmer and after a week, I noticed that the freckles around my nose had gotten lighter. I was told that it would take three more sessions for more “dramatic” results, especially for those with more serious skin problems, but I thought this was pretty dramatic already, considering the treatment was practically painless and didn’t require any downtime at all. And I’ve now made applying sunscreen a daily habit.
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For more information on Optilight at Facial Care Centre call (02) 892 –SKIN (7546) or visit http://www.facialcarecentre.com.ph/.
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