Brisbane has a mixture of ethnic skin types including Asian, Middle Eastern, as well as Caucasian skin types. Providing safe and effective skin rejuvenation for each skin type differs. Ethnic skin and Asian skin care will need more specific and gentle laser treatments. My favored lasers and energy devices are Fraxel, Clear+Brilliant, Picosure Focus Fractional laser as well as the Infini RF with PRP. Skin rejuvenation, pigmentation, acne scars, and enlarged pores can be safely and effectively treated with these devices.

Facts on treating ethnic and Asian skin types

  • Skin rejuvenation in Asian and darker skin types is a Specialist field
  • Treatments such as IPL can cause skin darkening and hence special lasers are needed
  • Skin rejuvenation, sun spots, age spots, freckles, acne scarring and rosacea can all be treated with specific lasers
  • My favoured lasers are the Fraxel and Picosure FOCUS lasers for treating dark skin types
  • Acne scars and open pores are best treated with Infini PRP combinations
  • Asian skin care also involves the use of correct skin products, including lightening serums

What is the difference in treating Ethnic skin types?

Asian skin care and ethnic skin rejuvenation is much harder than treating Caucasian and light skin patients. This is because if energy levels are too high, the result can be worse than the treatment. Ethnic skin has a much higher tendency towards skin darkening- known as PIH or post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. This means that laser parameters have to be gentle and precise. Gentler treatment reduces the chances of PIH. Conversely Ethnic patients will need more treatments to achieve the same result.

Having a Specialist who treats Ethnic skin on a daily basis is advisable, as we can reduce the incidence of side effects, but provide the best outcomes. Dr Davin Lim has worked extensively in Asia – ironically treating Asian Skin Care and laser techniques. 

What conditions are more common in Asian and ethnic skin?

laser asian skin

Ethnic skin is not immune to conditions such as freckles, age spots, wrinkles, poor skin texture and pigmentation. There are however several skin conditions that are more common in Asian skin types. These include-

Skin pigmentation / Melasma– this skin condition is much more common in Indians, Fijians, Pacific Islanders, Sri Lankans as well as Caucasian. Melasma presents are patchy areas of skin darkening around the eyes, forehead and upper lip. Bleaching creams, and Q Switch laser can help reduce pigmentation by 80%.

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Age spots and sun spots – these can also occur on Asian skin. The use of erbium laser, Q Switch laser or Fraxel can reduce pigmentation, rejuvenate skin and improve wrinkles. Fraxel 1927 is my preferred laser as the chances of skin darkening is very low with this machine. The use of specialist creams forms the basis of Asian Skin Care and Ethnic skin care following laser rejuvenation. 

More on Fraxel laser

Vitligo- Vitligo is characterized by white patches most commonly around the eyes, mouth, limbs and trunk. Vitiligo is more noticeable in darker skin types due to the contrast in skin colour. This condition can be treated with anti-inflammatory creams and narrowband phototherapy.

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Syringomas- are tiny lumps and bumps that lie on the lower eyelids. Lumps may also occur on the upper eyelids. They do not cause symptoms but often increase in numbers over the years. Treatment using Erbium laser is the best method to remove these lesions.

What skin lightening and tightening program is best for Asian and ethnic patients?

fraxel for asian skin

Dr Davin Lim has developed the 3C Program- Collagen, clarity and colour for the treatment of ethnic and Asian skin types. This program address the 3 most important aspects of skin rejuvenation with utmost safety and efficacy. This program uses Picosure Focus Laser or Fraxel 1927 to treat pigment, improve skin texture, and decrease wrinkles. Unlike IPL or other lasers, this program is a gentle but deep laser treatment- this reduces unwanted side effects such as skin darkening. Lightening creams also play an important role in Asian skin care and ethnic skin care. 

More on the 3C Program

What lasers are recommended for treating skin of colour?

fraxel skin rejuvenation brisbane

My two favoured lasers for treating ethnic skin are the Fraxel 1927 and Picosure Focus laser. These two lasers are gentle on the skin and heat transfer is controllable making treatments safe with minimal side effects.

Fraxel provides general skin rejuvenation- namely a decrease in skin pigmentation, improvement in fine wrinkles, tighter skin tone as well as increased radiance. This translates to younger, fresher and rejuvenated skin.

Picosure Picofacial can treat specific spots, such as freckles, sunspots and age spots.

I also use an erbium laser to treat conditions that are raised on the skin’s surface, such as age warts. Most Asian patients will benefit from a combination of lasers as well as bleaching creams for optimal results.

Lately I have been favouring the INFINI RF microneedling system with insulated needles, combined with PRP. This is an excellent method for skin rejuvenation, acne scar revision as well as pore size reduction. Unlike lasers, the chances of skin pigmentation following this procedure is extremely rare. 

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How long does it take to recover from laser treatments?

Picosure Picofacial laser treatments have NO recovery time, meaning that you recover immediately. This treatment is ideal for skin pigmentation disorders such as melasma or for gradual laser skin toning.

Fraxel laser takes 4 days to recover from. Best conducted on a Friday, you will recover by Tuesday at the latest.

Fractional laser healing

Asian skin care following laser- day 2 after Fraxel laser. Your skin will heal up by day 4. Fraxel is safe in Asian and ethnic skin types.

Can IPL be used on darker skin types?

IPL skin rejuvenation brisbane

Yes. IPL can be used on Asian skin however the settings and parameters must be exact or skin darkening can occur after IPL. IPL treatments in ethnic skin types must be approached with extreme caution, with a reliable machine that produces adequate skin cooling and replicable power settings.

We see more complications from other clinics such as burns and skin darkening from IPL than with any other device.

How do I approach acne scarring in darker skin types?

Asian skin care, ethnic skin and acne scars

Acne scarring can be treated just as effectively in darker skin types compared to Caucasian patients. There are however key differences, but the end goal is the same.

  • Firstly PIH or skin pigmentation changes are universally seen in darker skin patients if high powered lasers are used or if TCA peels are performed. This is 100% certain, however will fade with prescription creams and sunscreen.
  • Secondly treatments with lasers can be just as powerful, but the ‘overlaps’ are less. Laser treatments must be conservative.
  • To reduce the chances of skin lightening, I usually perform an extra one or two TCA CROSS treatments prior to full laser resurfacing.
  • For laser resurfacing, I always use the Erbium laser and not the CO2 as there is less heat transfer with Erbium. This means quicker healing times and less skin darkening after the laser procedure.
  • Lately from mid 2016 my device of choice for darker skin types is INFINI RF with insulated needles. I often combine this with PRP for faster healing times an better results. Infini uses RF or radio frequency to deliver heat into the deeper layers of the skin. This treatment is ideal for pore size reduction and treating acne scars. 2-3 sessions are required for optimal outcomes. 

asian acne scars beforeasian acne scars after

Acne scars in Asian and ethnic skin types can be treated with Fraxel or Fractional lasers. 3-4 fractional laser treatments are needed for best results.

What is the cost of skin rejuvenation with lasers?

  • Fraxel laser is $1190 per session*
  • Picosure Picofacial FOCUS $890 per session (3-4 sessions ideal)
  • Facial slimming- Korean V Shaping- Jawline shaping ($1400- 1800)

*We recommend the Fraxel package of 4 treatments priced at $2970 as almost all Asian and ethinic skin types will need multiple gentle treatments to prevent side effects.

asian skin care

Dr Davin Lim on treating Asian and ethnic skin types

By Dr Davin Lim
Laser Dermatologist
Dr Davin S. Lim copy

Brisbane is increasingly becoming more ethnic in population with a mixture of Asians, South Americans, Latinos, Middle Eastern and Pacific Islanders. Treating cosmetic concerns such as age-spots, wrinkles, skin pigmentation and sun damage can be challenging. If conventional techniques are employed, skin darkening can occur. Laser treatments have to be conservative, and the parameters precise. The use of hats, sunscreen and sun avoidance post laser is absolutely essential or skin darkening will occur.

My favoured laser is the Fraxel as this gives gentle treatments over several sessions. I often combine this treatment with vitamin A, B and C creams as well as Lytera. Skin rejuvenation including a reduction in pore size, wrinkles, and improved skin texture and tone can all be achieved, however an extra few laser treatments are needed. I also like the 3C Program using the Picosure FOCUS laser- this laser, unlike the Fraxel has NO downtime. Treatments are gentle and gradual, and performed over a few weeks. This is ideal for skin pigmentation and can be used to improve skin texture and skin tone.

The game changer for 2016 has been my combination of INFINI RF insulated microneedling together with treatments such as Platelet Rich Plasma. This gives faster healing times, and together with the growth factors in PRP, the end results are better. This treatment is aimed at collagen formation and is ideal for treating open enlarged pores and acne scarring, especially in Asian and Ethnic skin types. In summary, Asian skin care and the treatment of ethnic skin types is challenging, however with the correct equipment, and procedures one can achieve great results- safely.