May 18, 2016

Pore shrinking in Korea

I went to CNP skin laser clinic for a laser treatment when I was in Korea last month. I had an Intracel treatment that promise to shrink the pores, lift the skin and improve the overall texture. I went to the new branch in Yangjae. As you can see, it's really cosy and professional looking. 


There’s even a coffee and tea machine that I wasted no time in trying, hehe.




I first had a consultation with Dr Kim JaeKyung who by the way, speaks good english and has perfect skin. I told her I didn't like my pores and she recommended the Intracel treatment. She then talked me through the general treatment and healing process. I was informed that the usual recommendation was for patients to undergo the treatment 3 - 4 times with a few months in between for the best results. But of course since I'm from abroad, she told me it's ok to come one year later. Just be informed that the effect would probably (naturally) not be as strong as those who did more frequent treatments. If you're wondering what exactly is the science behind the Intracel treatment, below is a layman’s summary. 


The Intracel is a treatment using radio frequency to destroy matured collagen in the dermis layer of the skin. The radio frequency is delivered from the extremely fine tips of the 49 needles and targets only the dermis layer henceforth, damage to the epidermis layer is kept to the minimal. The heat from the tips will help encourage growth of fibroblast cells which improves the elasticity of skin and help reduce the size of pores. 


Of course I'm no doctor here and can't guarantee the soundness of the medical information. If you're keen to find out more, head over to CNP's website for their explanation. 


After my consultation with the doctor, I was led to another room where a nurse talked through the treatment process again and broke down the cost for me. She asked which areas of my face would I like the treatment to be administered, adding that I probably don't need to do my nose. I quickly disagree and pointed to a huge hole on one side of my nose. I would go on to find out that the more areas I cover, the more expensive the treatment will be (or course, what was I thinking?!) 



In total, I spent 421,500 won for both sides of my cheek and my nose. Below is a breakdown of the cost.


Cost breakdown & Treatment process

Treatment : 350,000 Won

Discount as BeautifulBun’s reader: -10%

Tax: + 10%

Treatment needle (only for you): 50,000 Won

Consultation with the DOctor: 17,000 Won

D3 Repair cream: 18,000 Won
Total: 421,500 Won


After the talk, the nurse led me to the uber pretty and well stocked dressing room.




They also have a locker room with lockers that comes with a charging cable inside; now you can wake up to a fully charged cellphone when you're done with your treatment. The dressing room is fully equipped with all the things you need such as facial cleanser, cotton pads, contact lens solution and case, lotion, hair bands , hair spray and hair dryer etc. Pretty neat eh?




I was given two painkillers to ingest before I was led to a communal room where I was prepared for the treatment. The nurse used a white pencil to draw out the region to be administered and then showed it to me for my consent. After that, anaesthetic was applied in the region. 




After around 20 minutes, they removed the anaesthetic and led me to the treatment room. A nurse disinfected my face and quickly changed over to the doctor. They covered my eyes and the treatment commenced ! 


Picture credit: CNP website


Basically the equipment feels like a flat coin sized rod stamping your face. My research tells me that It has many micro needles on it though I didn't get to see it myself. The micro needles pierce deep into the dermis layer of your skin to create micro wounds which in turns, encourages collagen growth. The doctor will go over the specific region on your face with the equipment, going back and forth on the more problematic areas such as the area beside the nose. Much like how Beauty Blogger, beautifulbuns described it, it feels and sounds like someone is stapling your face. 


Does it hurt? Well, I won't lie and say it didn’t but it's nothing that would kill you. Even with the anesthetic, I could feel the device burning my skin, occasionally feeling even the pricks of the needles. I must however admit my threshold for pain is extremely low and I despise any sort of discomfort which might be why the pain took me by surprise. Of course, the pain is not enough to make me scream or halt the procedure. But just be informed, there is some form of pain. The doctor works extremely fast and I reckon I was out within 15 minutes. 




After I came out from the treatment room, I was back at the communal room and a nurse quickly applied a green mask onto my wounds. The mask is probably used to speedily calm down the skin and disinfect the wounds. It however, didn't mute much of the pain. I was very awake so i continue to feel the sting of the treatment. It wasn't enough to traumatised me but it was enough to feel it.




After peeling the green mask off , my eyes were covered with something and my face underwent a red light treatment.  My research tells me that the red light treatment is supposed to rejuvenate the skin as well as decreasing adult acne. Don't quote me on the terms there though as everything I'm saying here is just based on my own research. I don't exactly have a dermatologist license under my belt you know. On a side note , I think I'm a genius at taking selfies with my eyes closed !


After the light therapy which lasted maybe 10 minutes. Another nurse came in and gently applied some lotion on my face. And that pretty much sums up the entire treatment. 


The nurse who spoke to me earlier then came in with a care package and patiently taught me how to take care of my face. In the care package was 2 ice packs which she suggest I apply to my wound for 10 minutes whenever it hurts to ease the pain. Also Inside the bag was a face mask and a post-treatment instruction. 




I iced my wounds with the given ice pack for a while before moving off. I had the face mask on the entire time even when I was at the airport because the redness was really obvious and I didn’t want to risk the wounds getting infected. Though to be honest, the wound on the epidermis layer was really minimal, the redness mainly came from the wound underneath it. You are encouraged not to wash your face 24 hours after the treatment so I was really glad a big part of that time was spent in either a cold country or an air-conditioned place.


Recovery Period

The recovery took roughly 3 days to a week; depending on your definition of ‘recovered’. I highly recommend you watch my Vlog to watch the entire recoery process.


Below is a picture of my face immediately after the treatment. It’s a screencap from a video taken with the front facing camera of my iPhone 6S so you know what kind of resolution we’re looking at. Yes, it’s very red and still a little painful.




The redness was still pretty obvious at day 3 but everything is slowly healing. The tip of my nose has scabbed and tiny brown dots hinted the points of invasion.



By day 4, the redness have pretty much gone down and the micro scars now look brown. The scabs on my nose have started to fall off when I wash my face.




I like to think I completely recovered from the treatment by Day 7. Apologies for the lack of photos in between Day 5 and 7, day 6 didn’t look much different from Day 5 so I lazed out on that day.





My Skin after

Below are the before and after comparison photo. Unfortunately, the ‘before’ photos were taken in a rush and is slightly off-focus so you can’t really see the full extend of my Pore condition. But if you look at the ‘WIth Make Up’ photos, I guess you’ll know what I started with.  Photos are taken with DSLR.


intracel before and after_leftintracel before and after_right

I understand my pores were not ginormous prior to the treatment. However I’ve always had skin issues and the constant pursuit to rectify them sometimes added more strain to my skin. I used to clean my face with a cleansing brush every day, while it didn’t give me any visible problem while I was using it. I’ve come to realise that the brush was probably expanding my pores and tugging on the skin which in turn, causes premature saging and made the pores looked worse. Of course, other factors like losing facial fats and lifestyle added to the strain too. Because my skin was constanly feeling unhappy either from the cleansing brush or from skin allergies, the skin always looked lumpy while the pores looked big and stretched. On good skin days, the pore condition isn’t as bad but if an allergy strikes, the pores multiple by at least twice *sigh*. The big pores also gave me a lot of whiteheads and blackheads every single day; which was what spurred the use of cleansing brush everyday in the first place.


The difference might not look very obvious in the photographs but my skin became so much healthier! Now, I can barely see the pores on my nose unless there’s a lot of gunk stuck in it haha. The pores on the side of my cheeks have also became smaller though they probably need a few more treatments. At least the next time I undergo Intracel, I will skip the nose area and hopefully save a hundred bucks.


The most unexpected difference was the increase in tautness and the decrease in whiteheads and blackheads. Of course I still get whiteheads and blackheads but they are significantly lesser. Like I’ve mentioned before in the Vlog, I’m not sure if it’s the change in skin care that prompted this or purely the effect of the treatment.


My skin is dehydrated and sensitive and prior to the treatment, I always needed a lot of serum and moisturisers to hydrate it. On really dry days, I’d even top it off with a bit of cream. These days though, I’ve mostly skipped the serum and creams and stick to a simple two step regime – Toner and Gel Moisturiser. I suspect the new Gel I bought from Korea is working it’s magic but I won’t discount the fact that the newly rejuvenated fibroblast cells is helping to boost my skin immunity too. 


Read my review of this gel moisturiser from TheOrchidSkin



My skin is far from perfect. In fact it’s probably not even considered ‘good skin’ because I have scars, pock marks, pores (yes they are still there, though less visible), eyebags, dark eye circles blah blah blah. But I’m happy with the state it is now because it is healthier and in balance. For someone who has uncomfortably sensitive acne prone skin and have been fighting it all her life, this is a BIG deal. 

I’m determined to keep it as healthy as it possibly can and pray it wouldn’t backslide. Of course, the treatment is not a miracle pill but I’m glad Intracel has given this headstart and feel that that alone, has justified the SGD$500 spent.


Should you do it?

Do I feel like the money spent is worth it? Yes! Should you do it too? Well, I’ll leave it to you to make the decision.  After all, SGD$500 is not a petty sum and we haven’t even include the plane ticket and other necessary expenses.


Like I’ve mentioned in the Vlog, doing your own research beforehand and knowing all your options is important. Having an understanding of your skin is also essential to making sure the treatment is the best for your skin. While the doctors and nurses were absolutely professional and friendly, it doesn’t hurt to know more and safeguard your rights.


If you have relatively good skin then I don’t see a reason for you to undergo the pain. For me, I’ve expended all my bullets and needed a game changer. I’ve done everything I could to improve my skin but nothing seemed to be reversing the damage so I decided to try a non-invasive treatment that would speed things up. Like I mentioned, it’s not a miracle pill, but it definitely puts me at the front of my race against my own skin damage. I also happened to be travelling to korea for the Cherry Blossom season so it made sense I try it during the trip.


If you’re interested in checking CNP Skin Laser Clinic out, their contact details are below. The Yangjae branch offers a discount for readers of Beautifulbuns. and that explains the 10% discount in my bill above. I’m not her but well, they wouldn’t know =)


ADDRESS: 3F, SK HUB PRIMO, 240, Gangnam-daero, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Weekdays : 11:00 ~ 20:00 / Lunch : 13:00 ~ 14:00
Saturday : 09:00 ~ 17:00 / Lunch : 13:00 ~ 13:30
TELEPHONE: 82-2-3463-2400
GOOGLE MAP: Click here




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