Asian & Ethnic Skin Rejuvenation At A Glance
- Best Results1-4 treatments
- Treatment Recovery0-4 days
- Procedure Time10-30 min
- Skin SpecialistNurse, Therapist, Dermatologist
- Duration of Results1+ yrs, Variable
- AnaestheticNumbing if needed
- Back to WorkImmediately to days
Asian & Ethnic Skin Rejuvenation
Brisbane has a mixture of ethnic skin types including Asian, Middle Eastern, as well as Caucasian skin types. Providing safe and effective skin rejuvenation for each skin type differs. Ethic and darker skin will need more specific and gentle laser treatments. My laser of choice include Fraxel, LaseMD & Pico laser.
FactsFacts on treating ethnic and Asian skin types
- Skin rejuvenation in Asian and darker skin types is a Specialist field
- Treatments such as IPL can cause skin darkening
- Skin rejuvenation, sun spots, age spots, freckles, acne scarring, and rosacea can all be treated with specific lasers
- My favoured lasers are Fraxel, LaseMD, & Pico lasers for treating dark skin types
- Ethnic profiles require a different methods of dermal filling & anti wrinkle injections
- Skin care is useful for prevention of pigment & wrinkles
What is the difference in treating Asian & Ethnic Skin Rejuvenation types?
Skin rejuvenation in Asian and ethnic skin types is much harder than treating Caucasian and light skin patients. This is because if energy levels are too high, the result can be worse than the treatment. Ethnic skin has a much higher tendency towards skin darkening- known as PIH or post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. This means that laser parameters have to be gentle and precise. Gentler treatment reduces the chances of PIH. Conversely Ethnic patients will need more treatments to achieve the same result.
Having a Specialist who treats Ethnic skin on a daily basis is advisable, as we can reduce the incidence of side effects, but provide the best outcomes.
What conditions are more common in Asian and ethnic skin?
Ethnic skin is not immune to conditions such as freckles, age spots, wrinkles, poor skin texture & pigmentation. There are however several skin conditions that are more common in Asian skin types. These include-
Skin pigmentation / Melasma– this skin condition is much more common in Indians, Fijians, Pacific Islanders, Sri Lankans as well as Caucasian. Melasma presents are patchy areas of skin darkening around the eyes, forehead, and upper lip. Bleaching creams, and Q Switch laser can help reduce pigmentation by 80%.
Age spots and sun spots – these can also occur on Asian skin. The use of erbium laser, Q Switch laser, LaseMD, Pico or Fraxel can reduce pigmentation, rejuvenate skin and improve wrinkles. The 1927 wavelength is my preferred laser as the chances of skin darkening is very low with this machine. I also combine Pico lasers (not the older Picosure laser, but the Picoway)
Vitligo- Vitligo is characterized by white patches most commonly around the eyes, mouth, limbs, and trunk. Vitiligo is more noticeable in darker skin types due to the contrast in skin color. This condition can be treated with anti-inflammatory creams and narrowband phototherapy.
Syringomas- are tiny lumps and bumps that lie on the lower eyelids. Lumps may also occur on the upper eyelids. They do not cause symptoms but often increase in numbers over the years. Treatment using an Erbium laser is the best method to remove these lesions.
What skin lightening and tightening program is best for Asian and ethnic patients?
Rejuvenation addresses collagen, clarity & colour for the treatment of ethnic and Asian skin types. This program address the 3 most important aspects of skin rejuvenation with utmost safety and efficacy.
We employ Pico lasers & the 1927 Thulium wavelength to treat pigment, improve skin texture, and decrease wrinkles. Unlike IPL or other lasers, this program is a gentle but effective as it targets both superficial pigment & deeper collagen.
Why do skin tightening treatments work better with Ethnic Skin types?
Darker skin types have more reactive fibroblasts. This means that ethnic skin can contract collagen easier than age matched Caucasian patients. Additionally collagen bundles are more dense in darker patients. Energy devices such as HIFU & RF (Tempsure, Pelleve, & Thermage) work better in darker skin.
The flip side? Ethnic skin is more prone to hyperpigmentation, hence lasers treatments are much more conservative.
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What lasers are recommended for treating skin of colour?
My two favoured lasers for treating ethnic skin are the Thulium LaseMD 1927 & Pico Lasers. These two lasers are gentle on the skin and heat transfer is controllable making treatments safe with minimal side effects.
Fraxel or LaseMD Ultra provides general skin rejuvenation- namely a decrease in skin pigmentation, improvement in fine wrinkles, tighter skin tone as well as increased radiance. This translates to younger, fresher and rejuvenated skin.
Pico lasers including the latest Picoway can treat specific spots, such as freckles, sunspots and age spots. The Picosure Pro laser is the very latest 3rd generation laser the works betting than the Picoway in the context of Asian skin rejuvenation.
Unlike lasers, this device uses controlled heating to stimulate collagen. Best around the eyes.
I also use an erbium laser to treat conditions that are raised on the skin’s surface, such as age warts. Most Asian patients will benefit from a combination of lasers as well as bleaching creams for optimal results.
How long does it take to recover from laser treatments?
Pico laser treatments have NO recovery time, meaning that you recover immediately. This treatment is ideal for skin pigmentation disorders such as melasma or laser skin toning.
Fraxel & LaseMD laser takes 3 days to recover from. Best conducted on a Friday, you will recover by Tuesday at the latest.
Spectra Laser Toning has no downtime. This laser is best for treating sensitive skin conditions such as Melasma.
Can IPL be used on darker skin types?
Yes. IPL can be used on Asian skin however the settings and parameters must be exact or skin darkening can occur after IPL. IPL treatments in ethnic skin types must be approached with extreme caution, with a reliable machine that produces adequate skin cooling and replicable power settings. We use the Sciton BBL system.
We see more complications from other clinics such as burns and skin darkening from IPL than with any other device.
What are the differences in facial aesthetics- Asian vs Caucasian patients?
There are many unique features in Asian facial structure compared to Caucasian faces. Injectables in Asian’s are adapted accordingly. A few fundamental differences include-
- Less expressive facial movement in ethnics usually means less Botox.
- Broader lower face means more Botox to specific muscles, AKA facial slimming.
- Maxillary hypoplasia (less projected cheekbone) means more medial dermal fillers.
- Broader upper cheekbones means less dermal fillers.
- Broad base of nose means nose shaping with dermal fillers.
- Lip ratio different in Asian & ethnics, means different volume of upper vs lower lip (1 to 1 ratio)
See the section on injectables for a more detailed explanation.
What chemical peels are best for darker & ethnic skin?
Chemical peels are still relevant in darker skin patients, however at Cutis I have limited them to superficial peels only. As a guide-
Salicylic acid peels: great for acne, blackheads, oily skin, congestion.
AHA peels: Lactic, glycolic, mandelic acid for overall skin rejuvenation, wrinkles & pores.
Retinoid Peels: Vita peels are useful for acne prone skin & pigmentation.
For an understanding of what is your ideal peel, book a consult with my clinical team @cutis_dermatology.
How do I approach acne scarring in darker skin types?
Acne scarring can be treated just as effectively in darker skin types compared to Caucasian patients. There are however key differences, but the end goal is the same.
- Firstly PIH or skin pigmentation changes are universally seen in darker skin patients. This is 100% certain, however will fade with prescription creams and sunscreen.
- Secondly treatments with lasers can be just as powerful, but the ‘overlaps’ are less. Laser treatments must be conservative.
- To reduce the chances of skin lightening, I usually perform an extra one or two TCA CROSS treatments prior to full laser resurfacing.
- For laser resurfacing, I use both erbium or the CO2 laser, albeit gentler settings
What is the cost of skin rejuvenation with lasers?
- Fraxel – LaseMD laser from $990 per session (3-4 sessions ideal)
- Pico Laser from $490 per session (3-4 sessions ideal)
- Chemical peels from $98 per sessions.
- Skin tightening with Tempure, Pelleve, Genius RFM, Infini RFM or NuEra, please email for latest pricing.
Skin care specific to skin of colour; why & how?
Skin of colour/ethnic patients require specific skin care as our skin is different;
- We don’t burn easily; hence most of us forget the importance of SPF. This leads to a false sense of security, in turn leading to more pigmentation.
- Pigmentation is a frequent concern as illustrated above.
- Scarring is worse in Ethics, including keloids, acne & PIH scars.
- Combination skin types are more common; namely dry skin (especially during winter) as well as oily T zone skin. We don’t adapt to a less humid environment well.
- Pores are bigger in Asian & Ethnics as this is our way of regulating temperature in the tropics.
- Dermal layer is thicker in Asian & ethnic skin (that is a bonus). We have more reactive fibroblasts, which means better contraction of collagen; the flip side? Easier to scar.
Skin care is thus aimed at-
Pigmentation prevention; SPF 50+ twice a day, no exceptions.
Pigmentation treatment; vitamin C, arbutin, azelaic acid, bearberry, liquorice extract, AHAs & BHAs.
Dry skin management; ceramides, niacinamide, tocopherol, humectants, glycerin, Hyaluronic Acid.
Pore size shrinking: Retinol, retinoids, ascorbic acid, BHA washes.
Acne management: Retinol, retinoids, salicylic acid washes, benzoyl peroxide.
Scar mitigation: early treatment of acne. Silicon gel for scars; Strataderm.
It is important to understand that titration of skin care actives is more difficult in Asian skin types, especially is you have dry-sensitive skin. My suggestion? Book a consultation with our senior nurses or dermal therapist.
*I DO NOT do skin care consults, my work is procedural, namely to cut, laser, deep peel, inject.
Davin’s viewpoint on treating Asian and ethnic skin types
Brisbane is increasingly becoming more ethnic in population with a mixture of Asians, South Americans, Latinos, Middle Eastern and Pacific Islanders. Treating cosmetic concerns such as age-spots, wrinkles, skin pigmentation & sun damage can be challenging. If conventional techniques are employed, skin darkening can occur. Laser treatments have to be conservative, and the parameters precise. The use of hats, sunscreen and sun avoidance post laser is absolutely essential or skin darkening will occur.
My favoured laser is the 1927 wavelength. We have 3 of these lasers, namely LaseMD, Fraxel as well as the Clear & Brilliant. These lasers provide gentle treatments over several sessions. I often combine this treatment with vitamin A, B and C creams as well as pigment inhibitors.
Skin rejuvenation including a reduction in pore size, wrinkles, & improved skin texture and tone can all be achieved, however an extra few laser treatments are needed. Newer generation Pico lasers including the Picoway are much better compare to the older Picosure (first generation lasers).
Pico lasers, unlike the Fraxel has NO downtime. Treatments are gentle and gradual, and performed over a few weeks. This is ideal for skin pigmentation and can be used to improve skin texture and skin tone.
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