Tag Archives: dermatologist

Mole removal in Korea

Health care is very affordable in Korea, so it would be silly not to make use it! EPIK teachers contribute towards a medical fund, making the trip to the doctor, dermatologist or dentist far less painful.

I used to be very bad at wearing sunscreen: during my 8 year scuba diving career I’d use SPF15-20 for the first two days in any new country. The rest of the time I would burn then tan. My face, chest and back were permanently in the sun. I hated sunscreen because using it lead to break outs.  I’ve had a few moles on my neck and chest area ever since I can remember, but one sprouted on my face 5 years ago. That’s around the time I started wearing sunscreen regularly… The possibility of skin cancer always floated at the back of my mind so I decided to face up to the unknown.

I went to my local dermatologist to have my 4 moles removed. I had to present my ARC (Alien Registration Card) to prove that I was paying into a medical fund. The doctor had a look at my moles and surprisingly enough, they were all benign, which meant I had to pay the full treatment price (40,000 won/ US$40) instead of 20,000 won if they were dodgy (malignant).

The procedure was straightforward. An anesthetic cream is applied to the moles and left on for about 20 minutes. The doctor used a laser to burn the moles off. It felt like series of small zaps and I could smell the burning flesh but it was very bearable and over quickly.

I was given clear dressings to protect the wounds and to aid the healing process. I did a little experiment. I did NOT use the dressing on my face and neck but went swimming in the ocean and got sand in and all over my open wounds instead. I DID put dressing on my chest wounds. My chest wounds not only took longer to heal, but they also have more visible scarring although I technically took better care of them. The wounds on my face and neck were pretty much gone within 14 days but my chest wounds took about twice as long. Maybe I have weird skin… I know that next time I’ll probably just expose my wounds to sand, sunlight and seawater again 😉

It’s worth mentioning that getting a mole removed does not mean that the hair follicle is killed off. If you had a sexy, thick black hair sprouting from your mole it’s going to keep on growing  afterwards so don’t throw your tweezers away just yet.

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Fotofacial IPL in Korea

We can thank Korean vanity for making the trip to the local dermatologist affordable. I had 4 moles removed last year and it cost 40,000 won (approx. US$40). I recently asked my dermatologist about chemical peels to get rid of my acne scarring and some sun damage that I’ve accumulated over the years. He recommended Fotofacial RF/ IPL treatment. Treatment comprises 3- 5 monthly sessions after which you should have a top up every 6 months. In the UK, Fotofacial RF/ IPL costs GBP256 a pop (US$420). Here in Korea it’s 150,000 won (GBP85 or US$140) per session. I decided to give this a try since IPL also tackles any pesky hair sprouting that accompanies ageing. What’s that all about, by the way?! Why are hormones so cruel?!!

As an aside, I have never had any treatments like this before and I have notoriously sensitive skin that welts really easily. I went for my first session yesterday and this is my feedback:

– They start by spreading an anesthetic cream on your face which takes about 30 minutes to kick in completely. It starts off as a weird hot/ cold feeling and then your face feels stiff, like a mud pack that’s dried.

– After 30 minutes is up, they’ll remove any residual product from your face and tape some cotton wool over your eyes, followed by an eye protector on top.

– The dermatologist will advise you to raise your hand if you feel any pain during treatment. A cooling gel is applied continuously throughout the treatment. You will experience a  a very light zapping sensation accompanied by an orange flash every time the doctor uses the light pulse. There is also a faint burning smell. It didn’t hurt but it was definitely more noticeable when he treated my chin and upper lip. He treated my face twice and it took about 30 minutes from start to finish.

– After the treatment was over, I was taken to lie down in a recovery room where they treated my face with cold compresses for 30 minutes.

– I was advised that my face might form a crust within a week and the doctor gave me Tremix Revitalizing Antioxidant Complex cream to aid healing post-procedure. I was a bit perturbed by the word ‘crust’ but so far my skin just looks a bit sunburnt.

– My next session will be in 3 weeks’ time. I look forward to seeing the results. I’m hoping that my tendency for extreme blushing will be reduced and I’d like to see some sun damage disappear (I don’t have huge expectations on that front to be honest!). Finally, I would LOVE for my pores to be smaller. For me, having acne, doing sport and being a general sweaty betty has meant having some very noticeable pores on my face. Smoking and drinking alcohol are also known factors in causing bad skin (incl. pore size).

In the meantime, I will also be eating more raw fruit and veggies and drinking more water- the easiest, cheapest skin care solution on the planet 😉

Check out my blog roll to find inspiration on healthy, scrummy food and drinks! (seriously, vegetarians and raw juice people just seem to glow- they look freakishly healthy)

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