IPL Treatment for Broken Capillaries (Cynosure Icon)

IPL Treatment for Broken Capillaries

I’ve had little broken capillaries around my nose for a long time, so when I was offered the chance to try out a treatment with Cynosure, one of the leading aesthetic equipment manufacturers in Australia, I jumped at the chance to be a human guinea pig.

IPL Treatment for Broken Capillaries (Cynosure Icon)

If you’re not familiar with them, broken capillaries (also known as spider veins, or facial telangiectasia if you want to get really nerdy) are little red thread-like blood vessels that are visible on your skin. They aren’t really broken per se – they develop when the walls of blood vessels that lie very close to the surface of your skin weaken and expand, so they become more visible. They’re generally caused by environmental trauma (sun damage, rubbing, extreme temperatures, harsh skincare treatments, irritation) combined with a predisposition towards them forming, which might come from genetics, pregnancy, rosacea or any other number of conditions. I had seasonal allergies at the same time as I was testing out some hardcore irritating retinol products, which led to some broken capillaries around my nose. They’re not super severe, but I do end up needing concealer around my nose to stop it from looking like I’ve just finished blowing my nose violently. (I think part of it is also my skin improving to the point where I’m focusing more on smaller blemishes…)

Unfortunately there aren’t any effective over-the-counter treatments for broken capillaries. Light treatments (laser and IPL) are the safest and most effective way to treat them. The other main options for treating broken capillaries are surgery and sclerotherapy, where a chemical is injected into the vessel to kill it, but these are a bit riskier especially for the face.

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My Masseter Reduction Experience: 3.5 Week Review

My Masseter Reduction Experience

I recently had some “anti-wrinkle injections” done in my masseter muscles at Sydney Cosmetic Clinic in order to reduce their size. This is a really popular procedure in Korea where they’re obsessed with creating a “V-line” face with a soft jaw and a pointy chin. It’s becoming more popular in Western countries too.

Now I don’t have wrinkles in my jaw muscles, and I think you can easily guess what I got injected into my jaw, but since I was invited to get the procedure done, I’m covered by the TGA guidelines which forbid me from mentioning “active ingredients in such products and abbreviations of either the trade or ingredient names”. I’ve discussed how these procedures work in the past, but I thought I’d better explain why I’m not using the word in this particular post because it certainly seems weird.

With that out of the way, here’s my experience!

Why did I get this done?

Mostly curiosity, with a bit of vanity.

I’m a fan of “beauty at any age” and I don’t want the overly fake plastic surgery Barbie look. But I’m self-aware enough to realise that I’m genetically blessed to have reasonably attractive features and am lucky enough to be in a situation where my self-esteem is decent. Because of that, I don’t judge people who get cosmetic procedures, and I can imagine that my feelings towards getting them might change in the future.

(I guess the reason I’m putting all these metacognitive ramblings here is because I find it very weird that lots of beauty bloggers and vloggers get cosmetic procedures done and but few mention them – for fear of judgement, I assume. It’s especially weird when they put their face out there and expect people not to notice…)

I’ve inherited a rather square jaw shape from my mum. Additionally, my body likes to put on muscle (thanks dad!) and I like to eat, plus I grind my teeth a little in my sleep which has caused my masseter muscles to get a bit…swole. My mouth is also on the narrow side. This means that overall my jaw looks more square than average. While I’ve grown to accept this, it’s still one of the first places I contour, and I wouldn’t mind slimming it down a bit.

These injections paralyse muscles, which is why they’re used to freeze “wrinkles in motion”. They can also be used to stop the masseter muscles from activating as much, so they wither down over time. The effects aren’t as radical as for V-line surgery where they shave down and move around bits of your jawbone, but it’s a lot less painful, less expensive and far far safer – and for some people, these injections can make a huge difference, depending on your anatomy.

The nighttime jaw clenching has also meant that I often wake up with a sore jaw. These injections are also sometimes used to treat this, so I figured this treatment could conveniently help on that front too!

The Injections

My masseter reduction injections were performed by Dr George Mayson at the Sydney Cosmetic Clinic, situated in the CBD about 5 minutes from Town Hall station, opposite Hyde Park. Dr Mayson was the first person to start performing these cosmetic injections in Australia back in 1994, and was trained first-hand by Dr Jean Carruthers who pioneered the treatment, so I knew I was in good hands.

I get nervous about needles and injections, so I was feeling pretty jittery in the waiting room. But the receptionist made sure I felt comfortable and answered all my panicky questions cheerfully (“Does it hurt? No really, does it hurt? Are you sure?”). She reassured me that it would be less painful than a vaccine, which I really doubted at the time. I filled in some forms and read a very detailed information booklet on the active ingredients while I waited.

I was led into one of the rooms, where Dr Mayson examined me and marked out my masseter muscles with a pencil. He described what the expected results would be based on my face shape, and talked me through the details of the process.

I received 25 units in each side – the exact amount you get varies depending on what your anatomy is like, and on which brand is used. There were about 16 injections in total, which sounds like a lot but it was over very quickly thanks to the tiny volume of each injection! Each side took around 10 seconds.

My Masseter Reduction Experience

And the receptionist was right – it did hurt less than a vaccine! All I felt was a mild stinging which went away after a few minutes, with none of the tender feeling I usually get after a vaccine. Vaccines use thicker needles (23-25 gauge for vaccines vs the 32 gauge insulin needles commonly used for these cosmetic injections), and a lot more liquid is injected into one spot very slowly (I swear I end up telling the injector my entire life story while the vaccine needle’s in my arm). Since the masseter is a pretty big muscle as well, it’s meant to hurt less than the forehead where the injector can accidentally hit the bone, although this happens very rarely, especially with an experienced injector. The anticipation was way worse than actual procedure!

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How Does Botox Work?

How Does Botox Work?

I talk a lot about topical products, but hardly ever about treatments! Today I’m diving into THE most popular cosmetic treatment: Botox.

What Is Botox?

I’m sure you’ve all heard of Botox – the (sometimes accurate) stereotype of how Botox stops your face from moving and you become an expressionless human mannequin with perfectly smooth skin.

Botox is actually not the name of the chemical that gets injected. It was the first brand of botulinum toxin that was used for these anti-wrinkle injections back in the 90s. But much like Kleenex and hula hoop and jacuzzi and trampoline, people use “Botox” as the generic name for Botulinum toxin (I’ll be using the two terms interchangeably).

Botox is the most toxic poison known to science – just 100 nanograms will kill you if injected. That’s about 1/6 of the weight of a grain of sand! It’s a mixture of proteins produced by several types of bacteria, most notably Clostridium botulinum, the bacteria that causes deadly botulism when you eat poorly preserved canned food. Botox paralyses the muscles it comes into contact with.

What Can You Use Botox For?

While botulinum toxin is very deadly when accidentally taken, it was discovered that tiny tiny amount were actually very safe when injected into a specific muscle.

Botox was originally used to treat overactive eye muscles in the late 1970s, and since then has been used to treat all sorts of disorders related to dysfunctional muscles, including spasms, cerebral palsy, chronic migraines and jaw grinding. In the early 90s, a couple of ophthalmologists noticed that patients who got Botox for eyelid spasms also had less frown lines (glabellar wrinkles) as a side effect. This sparked the popularity of Botox as a cosmetic treatment.

In cosmetic treatments, Botox is particularly good for softening the look of dynamic wrinkles, or wrinkles in motion – folds that appear or get more prominent when muscles contract. In some cases, they can disappear entirely! Commonly treated wrinkles include:

  • frown lines (glabellar wrinkles – vertical lines between the eyebrows)
  • forehead wrinkles
  • crows’ feet (at the edge of the eyes)
  • bunny lines

Botox won’t work on static wrinkles that are visible even when your face is relaxed, since it works by acting on muscles, but it can slow down how quickly wrinkles in motion turn into static wrinkles.

Apart from wrinkles, Botox can also be used for:

  • excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis)
  • turkey neck (platysmal banding)
  • eyebrow shaping
  • lifting the nose tip
  • gummy smiles
  • jawline contouring (masseter muscle injections)

How Does Botox Work?

There are 7 types of botulinum toxin in total, of which two used in cosmetic treatments: type A and type B. They paralyse muscles in pretty much the same way.

Muscles are triggered to clench up or contract by nerve signals. The nerve and the muscle are separated by a small gap (neuromuscular junction or NMJ). The nerve releases a chemical messenger called acetylcholine into the gap, the acetylcholine sticks to the muscle, then the muscle contracts.

Botox stops the nerve from being able to release acetylcholine. Without acetylcholine, there’s no way for the nerve to communicate with the muscle, so the muscle is paralysed.

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My Ultraceuticals RVR90 Skin Brightening Experience

My Ultraceuticals RVR90 Skin Brightening Experience

Ultraceuticals is an Australian cosmeceutical skincare brand with a strong focus on scientifically-backed, effective products. I was invited to take part in their RVR90 program where I had to commit to using their products and treatments for 3 months (fellow beauty bloggers will know how crazy this is). I’m excited to share my results with you today!

Ultraceuticals was founded in 1998 by Dr Geoffrey Heber, a cosmetic physician was the first to bring alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) to Australia. As well as take-home products, they offer in-clinic treatments at a variety of spas and salons around Australia.

RVR90, which stands for Real Visible Results in 90 Days, involves 3 steps. First, you discuss your skin concerns with a skin technician and decide what you want to work on. Next, you receive an RVR90 starter pack for your skin type, containing cleanser, lotion and sunscreen, plus an appropriate serum ($199). Finally, you’re prescribed a treatment and homecare plan to address your specific concerns. Ultraceuticals believes that 70% of results are achieved through homecare while 30% is from in-clinic treatments, so if you don’t like in-clinic treatments you can still get most of the benefits.

I decided to target my hyperpigmentation, since I have some pigmentation happening on my cheeks (yay Asian genes), and the treatment would also help with congestion and acne as well. I was prescribed the Oily/Normal pack (surprise!), and was given the Ultra Brightening Serum to start with, then the Ultra A Skin Perfecting Serum a bit later on.

My Ultraceuticals RVR90 Skin Brightening Experience

I was given three 30 minute Radiance Plus+ in-clinic treatments over the 90 days by Tracey Beeby, the Head of Global Training at Ultraceuticals. This consisted of:

  • Double cleansing with the Ultra Balancing Gel Cleanser and Pre Peel Skin Preparation, using the UltraSonophoresis machine
  • 15 min mask using the Ultra A Skin Perfecting Concentrate and Ultra Brightening Accelerator Mask, which contain 8 skin brightening agents that act on hyperpigmentation, dark spots and blotchiness
  • After removal of the mask, application of Ultra Protective Antioxidant Complex and sunscreen

I was initially a bit skeptical that I’d see much of a difference in 90 days since my skin was already pretty good and the treatments were pretty painless (slight prickling and heat but nothing close to burning), but when I saw my before-and-after photos and skin analysis I was very impressed.

Here are the photos, with Day 0 on the left and Day 86 on the right (I couldn’t make it in on Day 90). I look a bit like I’m going into surgery with the hair net…

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