Imagine having to entertain a houseguest, oversee home renovations, renegotiate your rental contract all while working on a project with an impossible deadline, and then having to fly to Bombay for a funeral. Or as I call it October 2017.
Given the stress I was under, the sleepless nights, flights and general exhaustion, I should have looked like a particularly unattractive zombie. Under normal circumstances, my skin would have gone extremely dry, dull, and I’d have broken out. Instead, here I was at a funeral and people were telling me how great my skin looked. That’s because I’d just done four sessions of EstheClinic’s Urban Skin Remedies in September.
The Urban Skin Remedies are a set of treatments that are a combination of IPL (intense pulsed light), LED (light emitting diode) and RF (radio frequency), and are chalked up depending on your needs. Taking into account that I had some congestion, a couple active breakouts and some marks from previous breakouts at the time, and am an ageing skin type, a combination of IPL and LED was chosen for me. I was to do four sessions in all over the span of two weeks.
Let there be light
The first session was for LED photomodulation. My skin was first cleansed, toned and a proprietary serum applied after which eye-protection goggles put on and the LED turned on. Panels containing numerous light emitting diodes are placed right above your face. These expose the skin to a precise sequence of light pulses which our cells have the ability to absorb and use to stimulate increased cell activity – similar to when the cells were new or younger thus rejuvenating the skin.
LED can be used to tackle stretch marks and scars, and even calm acne-prone oily skin depending on the colour of LED light used. It is a much gentler way to stimulate skin than my usual at home peels, acids and retinoids; is completely safe and has no side effects. Also, deeper skin absorbs light better and results are seen quicker.
Given that my skin had a few marks and is showing the first signs of ageing with fine lines and a few wrinkles, red and yellow LED lights were chosen for me. Red LED light has the ability to penetrate the skin to stimulate collagen and elastin while also helping to strengthen the skin to make it more resilient. Now you know why I didn’t break out even though I was travelling and stressed. Red LED light also helps reduce inflammation and speed up the healing process – which was great for my active breakouts and marks left by previous ones. Amber LED on the other hand is calming, soothing and helps boost lymphatic flow, detox the skin of toxins and boost cellular growth. It works best when combined with red LED light.
The treatment lasts about 20 minutes and is completely painless. After my session, moisturiser and sunscreen were applied and I was on my way.
It’s not hot in here
A few days later, my next appointment was for a combined session of IPL and LED. I would first do a session of IPL, for which my skin was cleansed, toned and a cooling gel applied. Here too, I was given a pair of light protecting goggles before the treatment started.
IPL lasers cause “controlled damage” to the skin (it’s absolutely painless, I assure you, and requires no down time) prompting collagen regeneration. It also allows better retention of dermal water to plump skin (great news for my dry skin!) and helps tackle expression lines, pigmentation, scars, visible blood vessels on the surface and sagging skin.
Anyone who has done IPL usually anticipates the pinprick of heat shooting through your skin. As I waited for the shot of heat, I felt nothing. As my therapist moved on to the next area of my face, once again, nothing. It was completely painless. This is because EstheClinic uses machines made by the parent company in France, which focus on giving you the best results minus any discomfort.
Once my session was done, the cooling gel was cleansed and I settled in for my LED treatment, which was a repetition of the first session. In the coming week, I was to repeat the same process – one appointment for an LED session, followed by an appointment for IPL and LED. During my sessions I was advised to stay out of the sun, and stop using AHAs and BHAs I usually do and be really gentle with my skin, using only hydrating and nourishing skincare.
By the third session I could see results from the controlled damage and resulting regenerated cellular activity. The acne marks had faded and my skin was even toned and bright. Nasolabial folds were less deep and the 11 between my eyebrows was gone. The slight sag around my jaw line, gone. The best part of the Urban Skin Remedies is that your skin stops looking like you haven’t slept; or have been chained to your laptop and it undoes all the damage that pollution and exposure to UV rays have wrecked on your skin, minimising pores and unifying skin tone. And because IPL and LED together help firm your skin, I looked younger as well.
And it wasn’t just me who noticed. People who met me told me I looked different – in a good way. Let me tell you this is the best kind of “work” to have done. Where people notice how great you look, but can’t put their finger on what you’ve done.
The thing is, EstheClinic Urban Remedies is not just a great way to deal with skin that is already stressed. It’s also a brilliant way to stress-proof your skin. When I did my IPL and LED sessions in September, I had no clue October was going to hit me in the face with a giant bat. And I am glad that my skin could cope thanks to the regenerative and strengthening benefits if IPL and LED. What I went through in October could happen to any one. There’s always some deadline to deal with, commitments to fulfil, travel – not the vacation kind – and our general urbane lifestyle of not eating right or getting enough sleep that slowly degrades the skin.
As I write this, I am acutely aware of the impending late nights, rich food, G&Ts and stress of travel not to mention kaypoh (read busybody, inquisitive) aunties and uncles I’m going to meet at family lunches and dinners. The thought of that is enough to make me look into booking my next appointments for the EstheClinic Glow to Go treatment which is only 20 to 30 minutes, and uses IPL to deliver an instant glow along with all the other anti-ageing benefits!