2nd Session: IPL Photofacial

3 weeks ago I tried my first ever IPL Photofacial, thanks to Groupon. I was told to expect darkening of the freckles, and that they would gradually fall off.

No dice. Nothing happened. Nada.

So today, the nurse upped the power from 15 to 20. I definitely felt more discomfort, but it was still bearable, thanks to the generous amount of cooling gel applied to my face.

Again, I was told to expect darkening of the spots over the next 5-7 days, until they gradually slough off and fall from my face. That’s the desired outcome, at least.

Here’s what my skin looks like now, with nothing but SK-II Cellumination Essence on. I generously slathered the serum on after the treatment, to help combat dryness from the intensity of the laser.

The spots are definitely darker than when I first went into the medspa this morning, and there’s some redness as well. Thankfully, I don’t feel any pain. I’ll definitely follow up with a facial mask tonight to replenish moisture, plus a generous dose of Hada Labo moisturizer!

I hope it works… Fingers crossed and we’ll see what happens in a week.


1st try: IPL Photofacial

Fresh from our recent travels, I’ve been paying extra attention to my skin. So of course, Groupon kickstarts the year with a slew of beauty/fitness deals, and I buy, on impulse, a package for IPL Photofacials, hoping to help arrest the worsening freckles/sunspots after our extended beach vacation.

Today I had the first session, and I’m glad to report that my skin isn’t any worse for wear, and I had nary any redness!


This machine was quite loud, surprisingly, though it didn’t hurt too bad. I had a cooling gel slathered all over my face to help minimize discomfort.

I was informed that over the next 7-10 days, my freckles/spots may begin to darken to the color of coffee grounds before gradually flaking off (!!!!), so I need not panic. Here are some do’s and don’ts that the doctor shared with me:

– Cleanse as usual, but do so gently
– Moisturize!
Use sunblock dutifully

– Do not use a cleaning brush or washcloth to scrub your face
– Do not pick at the “scabs” (darkened spots waiting to fall off)
– Stop using intensive whitening products
– Avoid facials / microdermabrasion etc

This is how my skin looks today after the treatment, without any make-up on. The spots and specks are quite obvious.

I found my face seemed really dry after cleansing, so after toning with Neutrogena’s Alcohol-free toner, I put on a paper mask (foreground), part of my Christmas gifts from the lovely Miss Dressy:

The mask was very well absorbed, as I patted the residual toner onto my face (count to 100 while doing so and it will dry to a slightly tacky finish).

I smooth 2 drops of Cellumination Essence onto my face and my skin, probably parched from the lasering, lapped it all up. Then I added a thin coat of moisturizer.

Let’s hope nothing too crazy happens to my skin over the next few weeks. My next appointment is at the end of the month, and I sure am excited to see if this really works to downplay the appearance of these spots!

Resolution in Action

During my recent visit to the SK-II Boutique Spa in Singapore, the consultant did not mask her horror when she learned that I only used a BB Cream with SPF 30 as sun protection. “You need sunblock.” She said bluntly and absolutely.

I closely examined my skin yesterday, paying it extra attention after the long trans-Pacific flight, and was rather horrified by the sun-caused pigmentation. My freckles have grown significantly, some even merging to form big brown spots. Sigh. I could not disagree with the SK-II consultant.

And so I bought this: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid sunblock.
Unfortunately, this was in a sealed pack, so I couldn’t test it nor return it. In retrospect, I like the matt texture of the Neutrogena Clear better, which I managed to test. Sad… The one I purchased seems greasier and leaves a shinier finish. Sigh.


Either way, in this new year, I resolve to wear sunblock every day.

Review: SK-II Spa Singapore

My recent beach-centric vacation has left me with a killer golden tan, but alas, also worsened the pigmentation and freckles on my cheeks. So today, seeking some respite from the hectic visiting of the past week and taking advantage of a $50-off promo for first time customers, I headed over to the newest branch of the SK-II Boutique Spa for some literal face-saving.


I arrived and was warmly welcomed, given a tour of the facility, and served a delicious hot lemongrass tea drink. In Singapore where customer service is often lacking, I certainly had set my expectations pretty low, but I was wrong.

I then spent the next half hour having a skin analysis done, where the consultant seemed genuinely interested in addressing my key concerns, providing patient counsel, and also took time to understand my lifestyle and home skincare regime. I was surprised at how candid she was about what SK-II could and couldn’t do for me, and in discussing other possible aesthetic procedures with a dermatologist, she even offered suggestions on complementary SK-II facial treatments & products.


I found a very cozy SK-II robe cinched with what looked to be a Hermes twillys, and laid down on the truly comfortable “Senzational bed”, covered with a goose-down duvet. Unlike the usual spa beds which are just utilitarian, these beds were indeed fluffy enough for a good night’s sleep. Mmmmmm….


The facial itself was pretty good, including the most painless extraction I ever experienced. The 90 minutes flew by, and I was certainly dismayed to know that it was over.


There was a small vanity area that, surprise surprise, had SK-II cosmetics! I realized that these aren’t even available on the SK-II USA website! There was the powder foundation infused with Cellumination Essence, and also (pictured) is this UV loose powder. Of course, I tried them out, though they didn’t feel any different than regular make-up products.

Ending the session with more lemongrass tea and some cookies which I didn’t try.

I was extremely impressed that my facial therapist was very thorough in the “post-mortem”, answering my myriad of questions on SK-II products, coming up with a detailed home regime plan WITHOUT pushing products on me, and laid out a proposed skincare plan.

My skin was very soft, and for once, the usually enlarged and visible pores around my nose were completely gone. I was shocked, because I never thought that could be possible. There was a definite glow & radiance about my skin, thanks to the copious amount of SK-II products meticulously massaged into my skin.

I was surprised that I even went home with a generous range of samples, which I certainly was thankful for, because, after experiencing some of the wonders of SK-II, I’m seriously considering acquiring some of their products! (OH NO!)

I highly recommend the SK-II Boutique Spa, as a veritable splurge, a decadent indulgence. It’s definitely worth the expense!


Now for the sad part: There’s no SK-II Boutique Spa in Los Angeles! (And if anyone has good facial recommendations in LA, please let me know!)