An interview by RATIONALE Skincare – as featured in RATIONALE Review, Spring 2019 Issue.
What made you fall in love with skin? Why did you choose to go down the path you did?
I’ve always been a bit obsessed with skin – it fascinates me. I find it really interesting how different cultures around the world prize skin in very different ways. I was born in Sri Lanka, before moving to Australia when I was eight years old. Even at such a young age, I was taught to be conscious of the sun. It wasn’t from a ‘sun-smart’ point of view – but rather, having lighter skin was seen as more attractive or beautiful. Growing up in Australia, my friends were all chasing the perfect tan. Such a dichotomy. I’m so pleased that in the last decade, the focus has been on optimising skin health and a shift away from skin colour.
Aesthetic Medicine with a special interest in skin improvement was a natural fit for me. Although I really enjoyed acute medicine, my creative brain and perfectionist personality were best suited to Aesthetic Medicine. The field is ever-changing, vibrant, fast-paced and inspiring. I don’t ever get bored!
Within the scope of our profession, what skin conditions are you most passionate about treating?
My forte is restoring youthful appearance so I’m most passionate about anti-ageing skin treatments. I actually prefer the term ‘positive ageing’. Getting older is such a blessing and should be celebrated – the alternative is dire, isn’t it? For most people, it’s not about looking 20 again – but rather, looking their best at any given age.
Often, our patients seek our help as they don’t recognise their reflection in the mirror or they don’t look the way they feel. When there’s an improvement in a patient’s skin quality, it’s often accompanied by a transformation in their confidence – which has far more of a positive impact on the person’s life than I ever imagined. I’m really humbled that I’m in a profession where I can be part of that journey.
What conditions do you see a majority of and what is your plan of action in treating these?
Sun damage, pigmentation, fine lines and textural imperfections are the most common skin concerns that I see.
Like all great journeys – it all starts with a well-considered plan. Often, the best treatments to start with are non-invasive dermal treatments to strengthen the skin and its barrier function, coupled with prescribed home skincare. It acts as a great prep for future treatments whilst giving the patient an instant ‘skin pick-me-up’. I’ll then introduce light based treatments such as Broad Band Light (BBL) Skin Rejuvenation and BBL Forever Young. These treatments produce dramatic and measurable skin improvements. When we address anti-ageing and skin treatments in a holistic, multi-modal way, impressive transformations are achieved. To maintain the results from advanced light-based treatments, there needs to be a commitment to home skincare routine and in particular solar protection (my ‘non-negotiable’).
How does RATIONALE fit into your treatment plans?
To put it simply – it’s an essential component. We all know that if we ignore taking care of our skin on a daily basis, the results achieved from in-clinic treatments are sub-optimal. But at times, this important message can be difficult to convey to patients. The analogy I often use is ‘booking in for a twice-yearly scale & clean with your dentist is pointless if you don’t brush your teeth twice daily’. Usually, there’s a light-bulb moment when I describe healthy skincare routine as an important part of self-care.
What current piece of research, information or innovation from your professional field are you most interested in? What do you see as the next big thing?
It’s not the most current piece of research, but it is one that I am most interested in – how gene expression is involved in the ageing process. Two long-term clinical studies conducted by Stanford University in 2013 demonstrated the positive effects of BBL Forever Young treatments on youthful gene expression. Re-programing genes to act and behave in the same way they did when they were younger is revolutionary – is it possibly the fountain of youth?
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Perfect your craft.
And what is the one piece of advice you always give to your patients?
Keep it simple – a simple routine with sophisticated products. Our lives are already complicated enough, and our skincare routine doesn’t need to be complicated. Oh and of course, apply a broad-spectrum SPF regardless of rain, hail or shine.
What has been the highlight of your career to date?
Opening my boutique medical aesthetic clinic, COCO Skin Clinic, mid last year. Although I’ve been in the industry for almost 10 years, my business is still in its infancy and it’s been (and continues to be) a significant learning curve.
What are you looking forward to next?
I’m really excited to introduce Halo Hybrid Fractionated Laser Treatments to my patients. Combined with proven anti-ageing technologies such as BBL Forever Young, I think it will revolutionise how people view skin treatments.
When I first started in the industry, we offered non-surgical solutions such as cosmetic injections to avoid surgical face lifts. Now, I’m finding that there is a shift in consumer thinking and patients are choosing advanced dermal treatments to reduce the need for cosmetic injections. Skin is not ‘in’ like a fad – it’s here to stay. And being a self-professed ‘skin geek’, I couldn’t be more excited!