Gold Photothermal Therapy at The Clifford Clinic: An Unconventional Solution to Stubborn Acne

Six months have passed since the wearing of face mask was made mandatory by our government for everyone venturing out of their homes. If your skin still hasn’t been reacting well to the increased humidity behind the mask while being at the mercy of acne, you are not alone. Almost every day, my jawline, chin or cheeks would be greeted with pustules or whiteheads after donning a mask for nearly 12 hours in an environment without air-conditioning. These pesky flare-ups lingered even after they had healed, leaving fresh red marks on my newly-treated skin.

Image from Freepik

Image from Freepik

While acne treatments are aplenty, the nature of my day job forbids me to take a few days off to recover from any downtime that follows. Therefore, when The Clifford Clinic introduced their latest localised treatment for recurrent acne that promises no downtime, it honestly felt like my cries for help were finally heard 😩 The new kid on the block is none other than Gold Photothermal Therapy (or Gold PTT) which, from its name alone, already sounds superior than whichever existing treatments for mild-to-moderate acne. The Clifford Clinic is also the pioneer of this novel approach in treating acne at its root.

But why gold? Apart from potentially giving clients a taste of opulence (I mean, it doesn’t get any fancier than having gold infused into your skin 🤩 bling bling!), the key component in Gold PTT is, duh, gold nanoparticles which are chosen for their biocompatibility with human tissues and ability to penetrate easily into the deeper layers of the skin. That said, the gold nanoparticles are also specially engineered to enable them to be precisely and accurately delivered into the pores and glands of the skin via ultrasound sonophoresis (a type of drug delivery) before heating them with a dermatology laser to activate their function. This process is only possible because of the efficient light-to-heat conversion of gold nanoparticles, which allows local therapeutic hyperthermia of tissue.

My first stop: cleansing room!

My first stop: cleansing room!

During the treatment, my face was thoroughly cleansed by an aesthetician before an ampoule containing the gold nanoparticles was carefully applied. As someone with highly sensitive nose, the pungent smell of the ampoule hit me hard at first but thankfully, it got better with every ragged breath I took. Other than that, the whole cleansing process was nothing short of soothing and calming – I only wished it lasted a bit longer!

The little bottle containing the gold nanoparticle-infused ampoule

The little bottle containing the gold nanoparticle-infused ampoule

Applying gold onto my skin..

Applying gold onto my skin..

Spot my whiteheads!

Spot my whiteheads!

Pulsing the gold particles into the oil glands

Pulsing the gold particles into the oil glands

Pulse some more..

Pulse some more..

My skin is so basic, it couldn't handle the opulence of the gold nanoparticles so it broke out in a rash! Luckily, most of it went away towards the end of the treatment

My skin is so basic, it couldn’t handle the opulence of the gold nanoparticles so it broke out in a rash! Luckily, most of it went away towards the end of the treatment

Once the application stage was completed, I was led to another room where Dr Ee would massage the gold nanoparticles into my skin using Bellasonic, an ultrasound machine imported from South Korea designed for skin treatments, before performing the rest of the photothermal therapy.

A picture showing my entire face slathered with cooling gel that was taken during my second session!

A picture showing my entire face slathered with cooling gel that was taken during my second session!

The cooling gel allowed my face to cool before laser application took place...

The cooling gel allowed my face to cool before laser application took place…

At this juncture, a specialised long-pulse diode laser was used to heat the nanoparticles to break down the sebaceous glands in targeted pores, thereby reducing their secretion permanently. This heat also kills Cutibacterium acnes (the bacteria responsible for causing acne) so the risks of inflammatory pustules and papules forming on my face would have likewise been greatly reduced.

Last step: laser treatment to heat up the gold and the oil glands

Last step: laser treatment to heat up the gold and the oil glands

The most uncomfortable part of the procedure because I could feel some tingling sensation.. but it was bearable.

The most uncomfortable part of the procedure because I could feel some tingling sensation.. but it was bearable.

Although the final part of the treatment has been said to be painless, I could still feel a tingling sensation (somewhat like snapping a small rubber band on my face, but the pain is certainly nowhere near the agony I experienced during AGNES, inarguably the mother of acne treatments) with every zap of the laser. Due to the minimal discomfort of this procedure, anaesthesia is not required.

Post-treatment

Post-treatment

Another one without those shades.. My face looks a bit red here but it subsided very quickly

Another one without those shades.. My face looks a bit red here but it subsided very quickly

In addition, the Gold PTT is a highly-tolerable procedure. Unlike other lasers used in dermatology, the diode laser administered in this treatment only interacts with the gold nanoparticles instead of the skin directly. This allows for a highly-localised treatment where healthy skin is left undisturbed so there will not be any drying or irritating effect on the skin. The leftover gold nanoparticles are also inert – they will not react with skin tissue and secretion, and will eventually be shed off together with dead epidermal cells.

A total of three sessions (including the first) was scheduled over a 5-week period for me (it could have been shorter if not for work), each treatment lasting no more than an hour. Even so, noticeable results could already be seen after the first session as the areas where my acne would usually appear have remained as clear as day – even at time of writing (that’s two months after my last Gold PTT session)!

The day after my first session! Still some visible blemishes but they weren't there for long!

The day after my first session! Still some visible blemishes but they weren’t there for long!

All in all, this acne treatment fulfilled its objective of pulling the plug on my pesky acne. However, this might not be the most ideal treatment for those suffering from severe acne. For that, perhaps AGNES would be a better option ☺️

Have you heard of Gold PTT before? What are your thoughts about it and would you consider it if you’re suffering from recurrent acne? Let me know your views in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

The Clifford Clinic · 24 Raffles Place #01-03 Clifford Centre Singapore 048621 (Exit A from Raffles Place MRT) · Tel: 6532 2400 / 8318 6332 (WhatsApp) · For more information about AGNES, do visit Their website or Like them on Facebook and Instagram.

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for bite-sized beauty updates!

IN MY DNA: What GeneLife Generations Told Me About My Ancestry Through Genetics Testing

The variation among human faces has always intrigued me: how is it possible that all human faces look so different from one another since the beginning of time in spite of the fact that everyone is born with the same face parts? Furthermore, we seem to be able to distinguish the ethnicity of people – even those of similar skin colour – just by looking at their facial features, especially the eyes (or the windows to the soul as some would call them).

Three pair of female Asian eyes: can you tell which ethnicity they belong to just by looking at their eyes? (picture decolourised as the differing picture quality may be a distraction)

Three pair of female Asian eyes: can you tell which ethnicity they belong to just by looking at their eyes? (picture decolourised as the differing picture quality may be a distraction)

Three pair of male eyes belonging to both Asian and non-Asian of similar skin tone: can you tell which ethnicity each of them belong to?

Three pair of male eyes belonging to both Asian and non-Asian of similar skin tone: can you tell which ethnicity each of them belong to?

But in many instances these days, there tends to be more to one’s ethnicity than meets the eye due to global migration, an increasingly common phenomenon. While it would be obvious that a person is of mixed lineage if he/she was born out of an interracial relationship, it wouldn’t be an easy feat for those who are unable to trace their family history (either because they were adopted or surviving relatives simply haven’t the slightest clue of it) to determine if there is indeed foreign DNA in their blood.

The furthest back I could trace my lineage was my great-grandparents who hailed from China (of which I had no idea where exactly), and that barely told me anything about my ancient ancestors. Since then, that fire of curiosity had been burning within me – who actually am I? Discontented with the limited information available about my family tree (which is strange given how unusual my Chinese surname is), I turned to yet another at-home DNA testing kit from GeneLife in an attempt to unveil the mystery of my ancestry.

Click here to read about my first D.I.Y. DNA test experience!

Why GeneLife Generations?

My interest in DNA testing was first piqued by larger players in the market such as AncestryDNA and 23andMe. But reviews on these firms revealed that they were mostly caucasian-centric with a relatively small Asian pool that lumps all Chinese into a single category (i.e. Chinese would be generalised as Han Chinese), so reports generated on any Asian ancestry would not be as comprehensive as hoped.

Apart from that, those residing outside the states or countries where these firms have offices would have to engage a forwarder to import the kit. That’s not all – outside help (via Airfrov, for example) might also have to be enlisted to mail the DNA sample to the laboratory from the same country stated in the order. All of these point to considerable additional expenses that the user has to incur on top of the cost of the kit – in US dollars. Hence, I had been sitting on the fence about getting a DNA ancestry test until GeneLife finally rolled out their own in July. In fact, Singapore is one of the two countries (the other being Taiwan) selected for this soft launch! Yay!

Image courtesy of GeneLife.Asia

Specifically developed for the Asian population, GeneLife Generations aims to bring users on a personal journey through time to discover what their DNA reveals about their ethnic mix and lineage. Their reports will shed light on the origins and possible migration routes of both their maternal and paternal lineages from approximately 150,000 to 270,000 years ago, as well as comprehensively predict the shared genetic composition of their ancestors. Ethnic groups in their database include, but are not limited to: Chinese Dai, Northern/Southern Han, Singaporean Malay, Vietnamese Kinh, Filipino, Thai, Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, Punjabi, Taiwanese, etc.

View the complete list of ethnicities your DNA would be tested for!

The collection process and steps involved in processing the sample for this ancestry-focused test kit are the same as its predecessors (e.g. Genesis 2.0). You would first need to create a GeneLife account on their website (for first-time users) and register your kit (which returning users would only need to do after logging in).

The packaging

The packaging

Expires roughly 1 year from month of purchase

Expires roughly 1 year from month of purchase

The unnoticeable seal

The unnoticeable seal

Unboxing the kit

Unboxing the kit

Everything in the box

Everything in the box

All the paper work

All the paper work

On the box

On the box

Once the aforementioned steps are done, spit in the test tube provided until the secretion reaches the black mark indicated on the instrument before shaking it. Finally, enclose the sample (sealed in a small ziploc bag provided) in the pre-addressed prepaid envelope with the completed consent form and post it out to GeneLife headquarter. Easy peasy lemon squeezy 😝

The cap at the bottom would be used to close the tube later on

The cap at the bottom would be used to close the tube later on

After spitting into the test tube..

After spitting into the test tube..

Mixing my saliva with the solution

Mixing my saliva with the solution

Ready to mail!

Ready to mail!

Lo and behold, my DNA results are in!

As anticipated, GeneLife constantly updated me on the progress of my sample via e-mail throughout the four-week wait. However, my results could only be viewed on the GeneLife 3.0 app this time ’round.

Some disclaimer you’d have to sit through before being able to access your results

More disclaimer..

What greeted me the moment I accessed my results! *shocked Pikachu*

What greeted me the moment I accessed my results! *shocked Pikachu*

The majority of my DNA - couldn't say I wasn't surprised! I'm pretty sure most Singaporean Chinese fall under this category too.

The majority of my DNA – couldn’t say I wasn’t surprised! I’m pretty sure most Singaporean Chinese fall under this category too.

My minority DNA. Any other Dai Chinese around? Hit me up!

My minority DNA. Any other Dai Chinese around? Hit me up!

More information about my ancestors' possible migration route

More information about my ancestors’ possible migration route

The "maternal" tab showed a rather detailed write-up about where my ancestors could have potentially travelled

The “maternal” tab showed a rather detailed write-up about where my ancestors could have potentially travelled

Oh, bummer! Perhaps my Dad could take the test.. 😆

Oh, bummer! Perhaps my Dad could take the test.. 😆

To be honest, a tiny part of me had wished that there was mixed blood somewhere in my family heritage (because exoticism is so cool) so the results were rather disappointing to say the least. Oh well, facts are facts, and I now fully embrace my pure Chinese DNA!

That said, since testing with different genetic companies can yield contrasting results (as they depend on how extensive the customer bases of these companies are), perhaps using multiple kits would offer fresh insights into my genealogy and origins (#neversaydieattitude😝). Therefore, if the opportunity arises for me to take other DNA ancestry tests, I will not hesitate to go through the process all over again.

Get GeneLife Generations

Keen to learn more about your ethnic roots through GeneLife Generations? Great news! GeneLife has kindly offered a special rate of S$129 (U.P. S$199) for my readers! Simply enter fionaseahgs as the promo code upon checkout to enjoy the discount 🤩

And because holding back awesome deals isn’t something I’d do, here’s another way to score GeneLife Generations at an even lower price (sort of at my expense because I don’t get any benefit out of this. But meh, good deals are meant to be shared!) – from GeneLife’s store on Shopee! Be sure to keep a lookout for it at the Flash Sale section and utilise the shop vouchers 😉

What are your thoughts about GeneLife, or any other at-home DNA test kits for that matter? Let me know your views (and how accurate your results are if you’ve taken one) in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

GeneLife Generations is available on GeneLife.Asia and SHOPEE.
Product was supplied by GeneLife.Asia for my editorial consideration. All opinions expressed are my own.

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for bite-sized beauty updates!

REVIEW: NALC Moisturizer All-In-One Gel for Tone-up, Wrinkle and Acne Care

Hello everyone!

With more sectors of our economy allowed to resume operations progressively, it is only a matter of time before our borders reopen and we are able to jet off again (though probably not as extensively as before), or, at the very least go on a staycation; hence perhaps it’s about time we gear up with all the travel necessities so that we would be ever-ready for an impromptu getaway, especially once the restrictions are finally lifted.

Don't we all miss finding out our boarding time and gate in front of the FIDS? (Image by Jan Vašek)

Don’t we all miss finding out our boarding time and gate in front of the FIDS? (Image by Jan Vašek)

Much as my wanderlust itch is dying to be scratched, there is always this one small First World problem that makes travelling a little less enjoyable for me, and that is packing. As one who prioritises vanity, I mean, spares no effort on the upkeep of my appearance, my toiletries usually take up a lot of room inside my luggage, and this exacerbates if my destination is experiencing the height of winter, thereby leaving a limited amount of space for other essential items, and adding unnecessary weight to my precious load. For my trip to Japan last December, for instance, I had to pack my facial cleanser, toner, exfoliator, moisturisers (one for outdoor use) and acne treatment on top of my shower products (my sensitive skin doesn’t quite jive with some of the body wash provided by hotels so I tend to bring my own) into my luggage. And let’s not forget about the unpacking after everything is done and dusted. Oh, so lazy…

Thankfully, all this is about to change with the All-In-One Gel Moisturizer (also known as Three Protect Gel) by NALC, a Japanese unisex skincare brand that was previously featured here for their amazing waterproof sunscreen.

NALC All-In-One Gel Moisturizer (S$45)

NALC All-In-One Gel Moisturizer (S$45)

Touted as a handy all-in-one medicated gel that replaces your regular facial serum, moisturiser, cream and leave-on night mask altogether, it helps to tackle three major skin issues – wrinkles, acne and discolouration – with ingredients that lock moisture in the skin (i.e. ceramides and hyaluronic acids) and maintain its supple texture (i.e. collagens and amino acids). Dipotassium glycyrrhizinate, an active ingredient in the formula, prevents acne, heat rash, frostbite, chapping and cracked skin under extreme weather conditions while tranexamic acid suppresses the production of melanin to reduce the appearance of spots and freckles.

Protective seal

Protective seal

Ingredient list

Ingredient list (click here for complete list)

The tube

The tube

You might also be interested to know that this is actually a quasi-drug (approved by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan) which ultimately means that the ingredients are recognised as effective, or more so than cosmetic products.

Medicated, another way of saying quasi-drug

Medicated, another way of saying quasi-drug

The "医薬部外品" label is what you need to look out for on the packaging to check if the product is a quasi-drug

The “医薬部外品” label is what you need to look out for on the packaging to check if the product is a quasi-drug

Moreover, it contains several natural ingredients such as white fungus polysaccharide, artichoke extract, scutellaria root extract, soybean extract, almond extract and bilberry leaf extract to promote better skin health.

Clinically proven to be hypoallergenic, this gel moisturiser is formulated without ingredients that are known to aggravate the skin (i.e. alcohols, fragrance, mineral oils, petroleum-based surfactants, artificial colouring, and parabens), therefore making it suitable for sensitive skin. In fact, this product is so gentle on the skin, it can also be applied on children of at least 7 years of age, and the elderly!

[First try] Didn't read the directions before I applied it for the first time. You only need 1/5 of this amount!

[First try] Didn’t read the directions before I applied it for the first time. You only need 1/5 of this amount!

[First try] But since it's already on my hand, let's not waste it :) Look how clear it is once it's been spread out!

[First try] But since it’s already on my hand, let’s not waste it 🙂 Look how clear it is once it’s been spread out!

[First try] Ta-dah! Barely noticeable! You wouldn't know it's there until you touch the area where you applied the moisturiser!

[First try] Ta-dah! Barely noticeable! You wouldn’t know it’s there until you touch the area where you applied the moisturiser!

This unscented gel moisturiser has a light and slightly milky consistency that spreads easily on the skin. A little goes a long way, so you would only need a small amount of it (less than 1 cm in diameter) to cover the whole face. Otherwise, you may run the risk of having to deal with the tackiness it leaves behind. However, you can dispense a larger amount (about 1.5 cm in diameter) if you intend to use it as an overnight mask (but do be prepared for any product to transfer onto your pillow).

Okay, now, trying it out on my face. This is how much you need. No kidding!

Okay, now, trying it out on my face. This is how much you need. No kidding!

Simply dot it on your forehead, cheeks, the tip of your nose and philtrum. There's seriously enough to go around!

Simply dot it on your forehead, cheeks, the tip of your nose and philtrum. There’s seriously enough to go around!

Then, spread it out! Be sure to spread it outwards, like how you should when you apply other products on your face, to prevent premature sagging and wrinkles ;)

Then, spread it out! Be sure to spread it outwards, like how you should when you apply other products on your face, to prevent premature sagging and wrinkles 😉

All done!

All done!

Having tried the moisturiser in the day and at night for a week already, the whitening effect seems to be the most noticeable on my skin because the hyperpigmentation left behind by maskne has lightened quite a bit. Granted, it did not really do much in preventing blemishes from me wearing my face mask for an extended amounts of time (this can’t be help, can it?), but it sure expedited their healing process. Within the third day, the zits had more or less flattened and the redness had also reduced drastically. While I can’t attest to its effectiveness in combating wrinkles (because I am lucky enough not to have any visible ones.. yet 🥺), I am confident that this moisturiser would do an equally great job at banishing those fine lines!

Most importantly, this, too, does not cause any irritation to my sensitive skin.

Before (taken on 30 June 2020) and after (taken on 7 July 2020) using NALC All-in-One Moisturizer!

Before (taken on 30 June 2020) and after (taken on 7 July 2020) using NALC All-in-One Moisturizer!

What are your thoughts on this all-in-one gel moisturiser? Let me know what you think in the comments below or take a quick poll!

Thanks for reading!

NALC All-In-One Gel Moisturizer is now available on SHOPEE. For more information on NALC, follow them on FACEBOOK or visit their official WEBSITE.
PRODUCTs WERE SUPPLIED BY NALC FOR MY EDITORIAL CONSIDERATION. ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED ARE MY OWN.

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for bite-sized beauty updates!