July 24, 2019

A Sit Down Q and A with our Cosmetic Physician, Dr Christine

Written by Dr Christine

Our next team member in the “meet team YL” series is the wonderful Dr Christine.

We are proud to have Dr Christine as a Cosmetic Doctor here at Youth Lab as her approach, service and skill set aligns perfectly with our values.

Q) What Inspired You To Become A Doctor?

I am so incredibly fortunate to be in such a wonderfully unique profession.

It feels like pursuing a career in Medicine has always been the only natural choice. I’ve been told that as young as age 3, I would respond with “a Doctor!” whenever I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up.

In my early high school years, I was actually gearing towards university studies in Law and Commerce as I really did excel in subjects like Accounting, Legal Studies and English Literature – in addition to my science subjects. However, there was quite a distinct moment late in year 12 when I knew that the ONLY profession choice for me was Medicine and I really wouldn’t know what else I could possibly be happy studying.

I participated in some voluntary work experience in medical practices during my school holidays and I realised that I felt a lot of care towards patients, a strong desire to build relationships and overall felt that I could understand and empathise with each patient that came in for a consultation.

At the same time, I found out I was actually a little faint at the sight of blood(!) and was told that maybe I should rethink becoming a Doctor. But, as with all things, passion has completely changed this. I’ve been in many operating theaters, assisting in surgery, and for almost the last 10 years I have pretty much always had a needle in my hand, injecting and performing a procedure on some part of the body.

To me, Medicine is more than just science, diagnosing and treating a medical condition. It’s about people, relationships, being able to care and empathise and the opportunity to impact on another’s life…this is really what inspired me into Medicine.

The opportunities are wide and unique, I mean who would have thought I could be an experienced Gastric Band Doctor at the same time as a Cosmetic and Laser Doctor? I have truly been able to pursue what I am passionate in and to have the chance every day to make a small difference in someone’s life is truly rewarding beyond words

Q) What Is Your Approach To Cosmetic Injectables?

The popularity of cosmetic injectables has increased markedly over recent years and almost everyone would either be having treatments themselves or know someone who is having wrinkle relaxer or dermal filler treatments.

Along with this comes the likelihood of knowing or having seen someone who looks “overdone”, perhaps with a “trout pout”, “chipmunk cheeks”, “frozen” look or similar. It is therefore completely understandable that a first time injectable patient is worried about having an overly noticeable result.

My approach (#facebydrchristine) is definitely one of providing natural looking enhancements that are only detectable in the manner of you looking less tired, fresher, a little more youthful, but still you. I approach every treatment first as a Doctor. This means that every patient visit starts with a thorough consultation and I feel that sometimes this is more important than the cosmetic treatment itself and the reason why I very rarely start with your visit in the treatment chair.

My medical undergraduate training, as well as my Family Physician Fellowship, has shaped my art of consultation over the years. It is so important to be able to understand what you, as the patient, are concerned about and what your expectations are for your treatment.

I feel I need to listen and discuss all your options with you and make a plan in order to aim to achieve the best outcome. Many patients don’t realise that there are medical considerations surrounding cosmetic injectables and so a full medical consultation is really a must.

When it comes to your injectable treatment, it’s about considering lines, shadows and contour. We generally want to prevent or minimise our lines and wrinkles, have less shadowing fall across our face and have the contour and profiling where it counts. There are well known angles and ratios that stipulate what “beautiful” is. I like to use this as a guide but also see you as an individual and what suits you rather than following a set rule book.

Less is certainly more and I like to use the lowest dose possible to give you your results when it comes to wrinkle relaxers and for dermal fillers, strategic placement as well as correct product choice to help gain the results you are after.

A combination approach to treatments is also paramount as we can’t fix everything with just anti-wrinkle injections or just filler. Often the best results are a combination of cosmetic injectables, dermal therapies, energy-based treatments and at home skin care.

Q) What Do You Love Most About Being A Cosmetic Doctor?

Every patient is beautiful in their individual way and every one deserves to feel confident in their own skin (#aestheticsforconfidence).

I started in cosmetic medicine as an adjunct to my weight loss and bariatric medicine practice. I saw numerous patients lose weight after surgery and with this weight loss I witnessed first hand how patients wanted to match what they saw in the mirror with how they felt on the inside.

Despite a patient potentially requiring a surgical face lift to help address changes to their facial volume and skin elasticity, a simple treatment of wrinkle relaxer was enough to provide a patient with renewed freshness, feel beautiful and most importantly, more confident in themselves. This is really the power of aesthetic treatments.

I also love that I am in such a special position in being able to share a snap shot in time with each patient consultation and treatment. It’s almost like a little window into a patient’s life and we may have just met for the first time but there is an opportunity to get to know my patient on a more personal level.

Sometimes it’s just what is happening on the day for him or her, or a story shared about family life or often I get to share in the journey of celebrations like weddings, milestone birthdays, anniversaries, holiday prep and even work, career and personal relationship changes. We share the highs and lows of life sometimes and I love that patients generally feel good after having a treatment. Even before the wrinkle relaxer has kicked in or before the collagen stimulation has started patients feel better already.

There are many reasons for why patients seek cosmetic treatments. I aim to match the stimulus for treatment with the desired outcome and this is what gives me so much respect for the role that I am in. I feel that it is so important to understand where a patient is coming from, determine and define their expectations from their treatment, then do my best to work artistry with my needle to provide the desired outcome.

With so many heavy external influences now in printed and digital media as well as no one wanting to take a photo without a filter, I feel that my responsibility to practise ethically and utilise my medical acumen is the utmost importance.

Q) What Is Your Favourite Injectable Concern To Treat And Why?

My favourite injectable concern to treat would have to be the one that a patient is no longer troubled by after having their consultation. If an injectable treatment results in a patient changing their outlook on themselves in a more positive light, helps them to feel brighter and more confident in their outward appearance, then this is what truly lightens my heart.

Q) What Is Your Favourite Injectable Treatment To Perform And Why?

There are far too many to choose from! I have many favourites based on the type of treatment itself whilst others are because of the results and some for their medical benefits. If I may list a few of my super top (current!) favourites…

Wrinkle Relaxers

When it comes to Wrinkle Relaxers and medical based uses – Masseters & Hyperhidrosis.

Fancy words for treating jaw clenching and grinding, which also has the upside of facial slimming/changing your lower face contours and treating excessive sweating in the under arm area, scalp, hands, feet..almost anywhere.

With a treatment that is relatively quick and simple, the results and benefits can be quite transformative not just aesthetically but from a quality of life point of view.

Dermal Fillers

For Dermal Fillers it has to be Cheeks and Chins and the “Liquid Facelift”. Lost volume in our cheeks can cause our side profiles to be flatter, create dark shadows and hollowing under our eyes and generally result in us looking a little over-tired.

As we age, we also start to see heavier areas in our face such as the nasolabial fold between our noses and mouth, marionette lines, jowls or what most patients describe as “my face dropping” or when you start to want to give your skin a “little pull” upwards whenever you look in the mirror. With the “Liquid Facelift”, filler is placed in strategic areas to help give a sense of lift, sharpen your contours a little and provide overall freshness again.

Chins are often a forgotten area and I often get a surprised look from patients when I mention placing some filler in their chin. Giving the chin a little hightlight in the appropriate patient helps to balance the profile and contour the jaw line.

What I love most about dermal fillers is the instant results that a patient can see immediately after I have performed their treatment and it is really such a pleasure to see a patient’s joy when they catch their first glimpse in the mirror after treatment

Fat Dissolving Injections

Fat Dissolving Injections will also always remain a favourite. The product comes in the smallest of vials that takes years to manufacture but this treatment really packs a punch. It continues to be increasingly popular and we perform a lot of these treatments at Youth Lab.

It’s no wonder that there is a current world wide shortage of this product! To me, it is well worth its cost and it is pretty much the only cosmetic injectable at the moment that has permanent results.

PRP – Platelet Rich Plasma

Lastly, PRP – Platelet Rich Plasma – for a “natural” cosmetic injectable.

What better than using the healing and rejuvenating properties of your own blood and stem cells to improve fine lines and wrinkles, thinning and crepiness of your skin (especially the under eye area), help regenerate hair growth and stimulate your skin’s own collagen and elastin production for firmer, more youthful and plump skin.

Q) You Are Well Known For Your Skills And Experience With Lasers. Tell Us Why You Are Passionate About Using Laser Technology To Deliver Results?

As with anything I think knowledge is power. Whilst we can achieve a lot of things with cosmetic injectables, we should always approach our skin with a combination approach. This is what I feel will potentially give patients a better outcome. It’s almost like having a toolbox of options. If there is only a single tool in the box, we are left to try our best to achieve everything with the one tool. However, with multiple tools, I can assess each patient individually and devise a tailored plan to suit.

Lasers can add a whole new dimension to a patient’s treatment. Whilst we do a lot of preventative prejuvenating injectables, there are patients who present who have never had a skin treatment before or who have never really had a proper skincare regime. As well as this, the harshness of our Australian sun is evident on many of our faces.

Lasers can help to treat skin concerns like heavier lines and wrinkles, more aged and sun damaged skin, pigmentation, sallowness or yellowing of the skin as well as acne or post-surgery scarring and even be used in women’s intimate rejuvenation. They have the ability to resurface to reveal a fresher layer of skin and stimulate deeper collagen and elastin production.

Q) What Products Are You Using On Your Skin At The Moment?

I am a Mum with a super active toddler so my skin routine needs to be simple and quick. I don’t wear makeup pretty much ever so my aim is to really have as clear and flawless skin as possible. I have access to so many beatiful products so I rarely get to the end of a tube or bottle of anything, and I tend to rotate frequently between products.

Most days I literally just have sunscreen on my face and at the moment this is MediK8’s Physical Sunscreen which I do reapply during the day if I am out and about. If I have time, the Medik8 Hydr8 B5 Serum or Cosmedix Hydrate+ sits underneath my sunscreen. The fresh citrus scent of Hydrate+ is a lovely addition in the mornings. Add to this Cosmedix Enhance-Lip Plumping Mask or The Beauty Chef Flora Fix Balm for my lips. And also a little Strataderm to my right brow to help a scar from a recent encounter with a gate!

At night, I have recently been lathering Mesoestetic’s Hydra-Vital Face Mask due to my extra winter dryness. My other night products are Ultraceuticals Ultra Replenishing Mask or Medik8 Overnight White Balance Repair as well as Cosmedix’s Illuminate and Lift.

Eye cream wise it’s the Ultraceuticals Ultra Moisturiser Eye Cream but I really do need to step up on this one.

My cleanser is pretty basic and changes between a Japanese Hyaluronic Cleanser, Mesoestetic’s Hydra Milk Cleanser and on occasion Ultraceuticals Ultra Brightening Foaming Cleanser.

There are no shortcuts with achieving good skin but sometimes I need a little superboost and my go to has to be the Mesoestetic ampoules.

Lastly, a little internal help with The Beauty Chef’s Body Inner Beauty Support, Inner Beauty Boost elixirs and as much fresh fruit and vegetables in my daily nutrition intake.

Q) What Treatments Have You Had Done This Year? How Can We Get Skin Just Like Yours?

I have a whole wish list of treatments! But between work and mum life there is limited time for in clinic skin pampering.

In the past year I have had my go to Hydrafacials – hands down my favourite when I need my skin cleared, rehydrated and glowing, without any down time and the upside of 30 minutes of relaxation and a catch up with my lovely dermal therapist.

Then I have also managed to squeeze in a Mesoestetic Lactic Peel as well as a Mesoeclat Peel coupled with an LED Healite.

And of course a little sprinkle of wrinkle relaxers to my no longer existent frown and a little in my forehead and central crow’s feet.

I think I am largely blessed by my Asian heritage in terms of my skin not quite looking its age of almost 40(!) But I have grown up in Australia and didn’t really use sunscreen until about the age of 30 due to lots of skin sensitivities to most sunscreen products. In addition to the above I am wishlisting an AquaGold Fine Touch treatment, PRP to my under eyes and of course a HAlo Laser.

Q) What Is Your Favourite Thing To Do Outside Of Work?

I love to lead the simple life.

Give me family time, coffee and food and I am happy. Two years ago I would have said time on the tennis court, frequent travel with my husband and lining up for the latest food craze or restaurant. Nowadays, my time away from the Lab are mostly spent with my little one. There’s lots of the Wiggles, Mega Blocks, Lego, books and stories, slides and swings. I love to cook as well so we are often also making a mess in the kitchen.

Q) What Is Your Favourite Part Of Working At Youth Lab?

I remember when I first walked into Youth Lab. I saw a gorgeous pot of tea brewing in the waiting room and immediately I felt that THIS was my place! Apart from wanting the waiting room furniture in my own home and ALL the artwork, Youth Lab feels as much as work can be to home.

Jon, our MD, knows I love my Matcha Lattes – even though it’s sometimes reserved until the end of my injecting list to enjoy and I’m the cheeky doctor who brings in the occasional (shhh..) sweet treats for us to enjoy guilt free.

I feel that beautiful spaces create beautiful experiences and the Lab (as I affectionately to refer to) really is that. A big part of what we do is artistic and the environment really supports this for me. It is a privilege to work alongside Kate.

It is very comforting to know that we approach our patients in the same manner of the utmost medical diligence and ethics and with the level of care that we would provide to our own dear friends and family members. There is a consistency and drive for excellence and the desire to want to be our best – and then some – and this is shared across all of us and I think our patients really do see and experience this reflected in our care.

We are at the forefront of what we offer from the first to bring the HALO Laser technology to WA right down to the quality of clinical imaging we provide and of course the tea and post treatment elixirs.

Q) What Treatment Do You See Becoming Popular This Year?

Again I have too many! But really, without a doubt, it has to be the HALO Laser. There isn’t anything like it in Perth presently. The results and that HALO glow is really proving popular.

Cosmetic Injectables – PRP is truly a favourite as a unique natural rejuvenation with great results and so many areas of application.

Q) What Is The One Piece Of Skin Advice You Wish All Your Clients Would Follow?

Yes, Yes, Yes to Sunscreen.

Additionally, I would really love for my patients to have better knowledge of the treatments that they are receiving. I think almost 90% (or even more) of my injectable patients who have had treatment elsewhere prior to coming to the Lab actually don’t have a clear idea of what product was injected, how much and sometimes even where it was injected.

In addition to your aesthetic outcome, your safety and health are still my number one priority so really don’t be afraid to ask your practitioner more about your treatment.

xx Dr Christine