Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Skin condition - Steatocystoma multiplex

Few years ago, small bumps started appearing on my chest area. Physical appearance wise the bumps resembled acne and blocked hair follicles.

I showed the bumps to my beautician who proceeded with extraction on the largest visible bump, (a decision I lived to regret because the extraction was not done thoroughly hence leaving behind an unsightly scar of about a bubble tea mini-pearl size), expression of the bump contents produced pus substances similar to those from acne. When the wound didn't heal like how a normal pimple would, I was left with a sizeable reddish spot.

After some research on a suitable skin clinic, I found myself at Nxxx Mxxxx Clinic, hoping to treat the spot and at the same time find out what condition this is so I can stop the bumps from multiplying. The doctor mis-diagnosed the condition as Folliculitis and prescribed me a day cream, a night cream and an antibiotic for the red extracted spot. As with any private skin clinics, I expected a hefty bill but fortunately the expenses at Nxxx Mxxxx came up to less than $200.

The red extracted spot did not recover but instead left it's mark on my body as a permanent scar. Needless to say, the creams and antibiotics prescribed did not deliver any results.

Last year, I felt the urge again to treat the condition which was why I ended up at Dr. Cxxxx's Medical Aesthetics Clinic. This proved to be a futile trip because Dr Cxxxx also mis-diagnosed the condition as Folliculitis, again I was given the prescription of a day cream, a night cream and a mask to apply 2-3x weekly. But this being an aesthetics clinic, Dr Cxxxx offered laser treatment for scar removal, but spending $800 - $1,000 for a scar the size of a bubble tea mini-pearl just felt like unnecessary spending because after all, the area is normally covered by clothes.

The bill came up to around $300-500, which burnt a larger hole in my pocket. I expected results with the prescriptions, yet, despite diligent applications, there were NO improvements whatsoever. Imagine my disappointment and frustration, this was again money thrown down the drain.

Few weeks ago I noticed the bumps have multiplied somewhat considerably hence causing some panic for myself. I went to the company clinic Fullerton Healthcare @ Gethin-Jones to get a referral to the National Skin Centre (NSC). Dr Wong at Gethin-Jones saw me. The night before I took a photo of my condition which I showed to the doctor but he wanted to take a look for himself.

I was not prepared for what's to come. After seeing with his own eyes, he actually claims that the bumps are not visible (and the actual condition was nothing like the photo I showed him, sorry but is he implying that I am trying to fool him?!). Dr Wong also added that my condition couldn't be Folliculitis because the bumps should not just disappear overnight. For the record, the bumps are there! That was when I started doubting his credentials as a GP or he could just be visually impaired. He didn't advised further action on such conditions because he believed that since these are not life threatening and do not cause any discomfort or inconvenience in my daily routine, I should not seek further action or treatment.

Not surprisingly, Dr Wong mis-diagnosed my condition as Keratosis *slow clap* and reluctantly penned a referral to NSC. I was particularly peeved with this particular doctor because he was absolutely apathetic to my condition, not forgetting his visual impairment when examining my condition. Society places high regard and respect for doctors because of the work they do, the knowledge they possess and the social good they are capable of. This Dr Wong however, unfortunately, absolutely disgusts me.

At the same time, I decided to pursue a perhaps more expensive channel by dropping an email with a picture of my condition to Dr Joyce Lim Skin & Laser Clinic. Hoping that someone somewhere can offer me the insight of the exact condition I am suffering from.

To my surprise, Dr Lim replied -

"these looks like steatocystoma multiplex
you need to remove surgically
no creams (to help stop the growth)"

21 Jan I went for the appointment at NSC and saw Dr Chua Sze Hon, this time round, finally the good doctor gave the right diagnosis of Steatocystoma Multiplex (exactly like what Dr Lim has diagnosed). There is unfortunately no topical creams to stop the growth. The invasive approach to removing existing growth is via extraction (inserting a needle to draw out the pus) or surgical removal. However the size of the cysts on me are too small to warrant such aggressive approaches. Furthermore, surgical removal not only produces a even larger and unsightly scar, it also does not help to stop or prevent future growth.

I had barely warmed up the seat and Dr Chua had already sent me out the door because there are no treatment options available. I left NSC feeling utterly disappointed because I could not believe that in this day and age, medical technology has no solution available. Consultation fees was $106.

Based on Dr Lim's last response, I queried whether she treats Steatocystoma Multiplex at her clinic and what are the fees expected. Another surprise from Dr Lim again -


i need to see exactly what it is first before deciding whether a procedure or laser is needed

con fees $130
preocedure from $150

laser from $350"

The first question that popped up was why Dr Chua at the NSC did not offer me this option? Was it because it is a government hospital? While I am elated to hear from Dr Lim, I also have to manage my own expectations after the 2 failed attempts at Nxxx Mxxxx Clinic and Dr. Cxxxx's Medical Aesthetics Clinic. I am still sitting on the fence whether to see Dr Lim or just live with it, because truth is the bumps are here to stay and is it really worth spending thousands of dollars just to fix an area which is usually covered by clothes? I am still considering...

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Review of lash extensions at HighBrow (part 1)

Bought the Groupon deal at $42 for Full Eyelash Extensions + Touch Up. Arrived punctually for my appointment and I was promptly whisked off to start my lash extensions. Therapist kindly informs that I have to pay $3 for the eye masks which is necessary for them to proceed with the lash extensions.

Extensions done up nicely, in my opinion, thicker and longer than my prior extensions done at Dreamlash and Lolita The Beauty Studio. I was very impressed at how much more awake and alert I look with the lash extensions, not to mention my "zhng-ed" eyes definitely appeared more lively than it naturally is.

Before leaving, therapist reminded me of the steps to take care and prolong the lifetime of the extensions, most importantly being to avoid oil-based make-up removers. My usual remover from Biore is oil-based, later on that evening I purchased a water-based cleanser from Sephora, hoping that my efforts at taking care of the lashes will help to maintain it at its optimal condition.

Dipped cotton buds into the water-based cleanser and painstakingly started removing the eyeliner I had on like how the therapist had instructed. Even when showering, I avoided pointing the shower-head at my face. Unfortunately, right after showering I noticed the extensions on my right eye has fallen off significantly, such that there was a noticeable "hole" along my lash line.

The following day, I contacted HighBrow because I was bewildered at how the extensions could have detached themselves so quickly in less than 24hrs from my lash extension treatment, without hesitation they offered me a free touch-up as part of sales recovery (impressive service!). I was genuinely taken aback and very delighted. The touch-up restored my extensions back to its glorious form.

Unfortunately, my happiness did not last long as the extensions started falling off within days, at one week old my extensions already appear sparse and in dire need of a touch-up. Needless to say, I am looking forward to the touch-up session on 21 Jan!

Photo taken fresh after the extensions were done (7 Jan)

After shower. Look at where the red arrow is pointing (7 Jan)

After touch-up (8 Jan)

Extensions at 1 week old