You wouldn’t know it by looking at me today, but I’ve had a rocky skincare journey. In high school, I was plagued with terrible acne, which eventually cleared up by the time I entered university only to have my chin sprout vicious hormonal acne at the age of 25. I consulted multiple dermatologists and aestheticians in Melbourne (my then-home) but it wasn’t until I did my routine trip back to Seoul and visited a clinic here that my skin started to heal again.
The truth is, while you may think Koreans are just blessed with perfect skin, having a family dermatologist in Seoul is like having a family doctor—it’s essential. The dermatologists here are some of the best in the world and are equipped with the most advanced technological tools money can buy. If you can’t make a trip over to Korea, you’re in luck—I visited one of the country’s top dermatologists, Dr Lee Kyuyeop of Hushu Clinic, to get his recommendations on five common skincare concerns and how you can start working towards having a complexion like a K-actress’. (Most of these treatments are available in Singapore too!)
According to Dr Lee, it’s important to identify the root cause of your acne. If it’s very obviously hormonal and you have an imbalance in androgens and progesterone, it may be worthwhile taking contraceptives.
If the acne is hormone-related but is not able to be solved through this method, try to get to bed before 11pm, reduce your stress levels, and cut down on processed foods. This alone can go a long way in balancing your hormones.
If you just happen to have overactive sebaceous glands and you’re producing a lot of sebum, you should consider regular treatments of V-beam lasers, Photodynamic Therapy, or Thermage. To treat active acne that just doesn’t seem to go away, Kobayashi Bif Night Patches, medicated sheets to treat acne, are also an excellent option, but they won’t help with prevention.
If you’re like me, your main annoyance with pimples is the annoying mark they leave behind. However, when it comes to acne marks, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. For years, I thought my marks were permanent because my laser sessions weren’t making an iota of a difference but as it turns out, I had just been using the wrong type of laser! Here are Dr Lee’s recommendations based on the type of mark you may have.
- Reddish-hued marks: V-beam perfecta laser accompanied by a prescribed ointment
- Brownish-hued marks: Laser toning and an Aladdin Peel are the way to go.
To kill two birds with one stone, the Fraxel Dual Laser is a great solution to both red and brown acne marks.
When it comes to reducing the appearance of frown or laugh lines, the traditional method of botox is the most popular, but there are many other fantastic options, including Platelet-rich Plasma injections, which many call the Vampire facial—you know, the one Kim Kardashian did? This is one of the more extreme type of treatments as it involves taking a few vials of your blood (yes, it does sound a little Dracula-esque), and then separating the platelets from the rest of your blood. These platelets are then reinjected into your face, which stimulates collagen production and promotes healing. Another effective treatment is the LDM (Local Dynamic Micro-Massage). In Korea, the hydration injection is also very popular to give a youthful, dewy look to aging skin.
If you have large pores and skin texture unevenness from acne scarring, you should consider Fraxel, ECO2, Erbium YAG Laser, PRP and subcision.
If you have large pores, an oily complexion and blackheads, Dr Lee recommends aqua peels or secret RF treatments.
If your pores have gotten larger with age and your skin shows signs of sagging, you would benefit from ultherapy, Secret RF, DNA injections and Thermage.
Redness and rosacea
If the redness is due to skin sensitivity, Dr Lee recommends LDM, Thermage and Secret RF Micro-needling. If it is related to your blood vessels, V-Beam and Secret RF are preferable.
Text: Kelly Im