Hello everyone, and welcome to another of my reviews. In this article, I’ll review my experience at the local aesthetic chain Gangnam Laser Clinic.
As its name suggests, Gangnam Laser Clinic specialises in laser treatments for a variety of skin issues. It has two outlets, with its flagship outlet located in One Raffles Place (the other is in Harbourfront Centre). I decided to swing by to try out its Pico laser treatment – let’s see how my experience went.
Gangnam Laser Clinic – the Brand
Gangnam Laser Clinic first started out in 2015, and is actually a local brand that’s currently part of the Aesthetic Healthcare Holdings group, which also owns other aesthetic chains such as The Chelsea Clinic. Its unique selling point is simple – Gangnam Laser Clinic partners with Korean aesthetic doctors in Gangnam, who help “train, guide and mentor [their] own team of doctors in the current techniques and latest Korean beauty trends”. The idea is for its clients to achieve the Korean “glass skin” many Korean actors and singers possess.
Gangnam Laser Clinic – the Experience
And who wouldn’t want skin like Song Joong-Ki? The clinic’s Korean differentiation intrigued me, prompting me to visit its One Raffles Place clinic.
I have to say, Gangnam Laser Clinic has one of the nicest and most upscale interiors that I’ve seen. The renovation is tasteful, and I liked how even the signs on the door are in Korean. It’s not the biggest clinic for sure, but it’s certainly one of the most atas that I’ve been to.
I’ve previously consulted with Dr. Daniel Khaw, and relayed that I would like to alleviate my facial and back acne scars. Given that I’ve previously done Q-switch laser treatments on my back (though not the face), Dr. Khaw (more about him here) recommended a combination of the more robust PicoSure laser and Rejuran skin booster for around 2-4 sessions for maximum effect. I’ve never tried Pico laser or Rejuran before, so I decided to give Dr. Khaw’s suggestion a try.
The procedure starts with a facial cleanse by the clinic’s therapist, who cleanses my face of any dirt/oil/grime that may have built up throughout the day.
Thereafter, the therapist applied a numbing cream on my face in preparation for the laser and skin booster procedure to come. The numbing cream stays on the face for around 15 minutes.
The last pre-treatment step would be the painkiller and anti-histamine pills – the former to further reduce any pain that might be felt during the treatment, and the latter to prevent any potential allergic reactions afterwards.
After taking the pills, I was shifted to the actual treatment room. The room is quite spacious, with the bevvy of different laser devices available being a testament to the clinic’s name.
I was provided with a kimono to change into, as well as a hair net. Dr. Khaw greeted me in the treatment room, and promptly proceeded with the preparations to start the Pico laser treatment.
There are a few Pico machines on the market – namely PicoSure, PicoPlus, PicoWay and PicoCare – with the main differences being the technical details of the machines. For example, PicoCare has 4 different wavelengths available, which is double the wavelength of PicoSure, making it a more versatile device that is therefore able to treat a wider variety of conditions. At Gangnam Laser Clinic, Dr. Khaw opted for PicoCare.
Specifically for acne scars, Pico laser creates air bubbles within the outer layer of the skin, which helps lifts the depressed scars and stimulate collagen and resurfacing over time.
In terms of pain management, the PicoCare treatment definitely feels more noticeable than the Q-Switch laser that I’ve done previously. The Q-Switch laser feels like a rapid series of light taps, while Pico laser feels more like someone flicking your skin at a moderate pace. It’s still very tolerable, though that’s definitely aided by the numbing cream and painkiller that was provided beforehand.
Once the face was done, I flipped onto my back. While the PicoCare was meant to treat my depressed acne scars on the face, for the back the main concern – as visible in the photo above – is the hyperpigmentation. Eagle-eyed readers will spot that Dr. Khaw increased the energy setting accordingly, demonstrating the versatility of the device.
As compared to Q-Switch laser treatments that I’ve done previously on my back, Pico laser has a shorter pulse width that is theoretically able to break up pigmentation more effectively and reduces the risk of hyperpigmentation as well. As such, it’s actually also a viable choice for tattoo removal due to its potency in shattering pigmentation.
After the laser treatment, the therapist applies a layer of moisturiser on my back. It is important to continually moisturise the skin after doing laser treatments, as laser dries out the skin substantially. And while I’m legally not allowed to post before/after treatment photos, it is clear from the photo above that the Pico laser did have an immediate effect in reducing pigmentation – my PIH (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) marks are noticeably lighter as compared to before.
After the Pico laser treatment on my face and back, we proceeded with the skin booster treatment, which Dr. Khaw recommended as a “combination” treatment. The procedure involves using a needle gun that delivers rejuvenating serum deep into the skin. Although there are several options on the market, Gangnam Laser Clinic uses Rejuran Healer for its skin booster treatment. Unlike more common (and cheaper) hyaluronic acid skin boosters, Rejuran Healer is made of Polynucleotides (PN), which actually derived from the DNA of salmon. It can be applied throughout the entire face, and provides numerous benefits such as increased skin hydration, reduced pore size, and stimulating collagen growth. As such, it’s especially effective when paired with Pico laser for acne scar treatment.
As compared to the PicoCare treatment, the skin booster procedure was noticeably more painful. After all, it involves needles penetrating the skin. I definitely winced every time the needle gun was triggered, though the therapist do help to reduce the discomfort with a cold massage. At this point, this was where the “counselling” side of Dr. Khaw kicked in. In an attempt to distract me, he shared more about himself, revealing that he used to be a psychiatrist before transitioning to aesthetics. That did divert my attention slightly, as I asked him about his intriguing career switch. He relayed that the switch made sense to him, as both mental and aesthetic care revolve around helping the patients feel better about themselves and boosting their self-esteem. That thread was enough to lead to a full conversation about his medical career, and before I knew it the procedure was completed.
After the treatment, there was considerable swelling and bruising on the face. The circular red marks – medically known as petechiae – are a side effect of the Pico laser treatment and are caused by broken blood vessels. On the other hand, the raised bumps and swelling are aftereffects of the skin booster procedure. Dr. Khaw told me that the former will take around 3-5 days to fade, while the latter should resolve itself within 24 hours. As aftercare, he provided me with a tube of Fobancort (a topical steroid with antibiotic) to calm the inflammation and instructed me to moisturise the skin regularly to speed up the healing process.
Gangnam Laser Clinic – Post-Treatment Downtime
As I couldn’t find similar articles on post-Pico downtime on the internet – not on Asian faces at least – I decided to chronicle my recovery process.
24 hours after- the red spots are noticeably obvious, though the swelling (a side-effect of the skin booster) has mostly calmed down.
3 days after – the swelling has completely dissipated. The red spots have faded slightly (as compared to the above photo), but are still conspicuous enough that I chose not to leave home.
5 days after – the red spots have faded significantly. The marks are still noticeable, but I was comfortable enough to go out, albeit with a mask on.
7 days after – the redness has completely faded. The marks can still be seen, but I would say they are no longer that conspicuous and I was comfortable enough to now go out without a mask on.
2 weeks after – the marks are mostly gone, and I would say the recovery process is now complete. The staff at Gangnam Laser Clinic did inform me that my skin texture will continue to improve as my skin cells replenish themselves (the skin cycle is 28 days), so I look forward to providing an update to this article in the future.
Conclusion – so Gangnam Laser Clinic PicoSure and Skin Booster “shiok” or not?
The PicoCare and skin booster treatments were definitely different from the previous aesthetic treatments that I’ve done. The Pico laser treatment was definitely more effective in treating scars and pigmentation, but its aggressive nature also means that the downtime is significantly longer than Q-Switch lasers. The Rejuran skin booster is also an effective treatment (Dr. Khaw told me that the effects last for 6 months) but involves substantial discomfort during the process. In my opinion, whether the treatments are “shiok” depends on whether the pain is worth the gain personally. If it is, then I believe Dr. Khaw at Gangnam Laser Clinic is a good option for laser combination treatments. He’s a friendly doctor whose heart is in the right place, and the clinic itself is upscale with a variety of equipment available to treat a myriad of skin conditions.
Readers who are interested in trying out Gangnam Laser Clinic can enjoy a promotional trial price of $118 for the Pico Laser treatment. Should you take up a package afterwards, you can still quote “WAHSOSHIOK” for 10% off the package price, and on other treatments such as the skin booster procedure (for new customers only). Simply book via the hotline at: 6536 8393 | 9727 8421 (WhatsApp) for One Raffles Place, or 6275 3381 | 9727 4541 (WhatsApp) for Harbourfront Centre to enjoy the discount.
View the full range of Gangnam Laser Clinic’s treatments here.
Gangnam Laser Clinic’s locations: One Raffles Place, #05-10/11, S048616 and HarbourFront Centre, #03-55, S099253.
P.S: Check out The Shiok Store here – it serves as a curation of my favourite products from my favourite brands.
P.P.S: Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wah so Shiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!
P.P.P.P.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.