In Chinese culture, it is widely believed that a hairy birthmark is a sign of great wisdom and prosperity. In our culture, however, there are no such beliefs. If anything, birthmarks or any aberrations on the body or skin are considered a bad omen and something one should hide.
Born with a big hairy birthmark on her face, Shifa Mehnaz, a Dhaka-based working woman and a mother of two, always wondered what it feels like to have spotless skin. After 33 years of living with it, she finally underwent laser treatment.
"I got bullied for my birthmark all my life, starting from kindergarten, where my classmates were hesitant to sit beside me. With time, I had come to accept my skin condition, but I never stopped dreaming of perfect skin. With support from my husband, when I finally got the chance of availing laser treatment, I did not think twice," Shifa said.
Many people suggested Shifa not go for this 'expensive' treatment, and that too, at this stage of her life. But Shifa believes self-love does not have a timeline.
For men and women alike, beauty is a source of confidence and self-love, which is why we see people going above and beyond to keep their skin and body healthy.
Fortunately for us, instead of trying to figure out the science of our skin ourselves, we can now depend on professionals to bring safe and substantial avenues to reach our skin goals, such as anti-ageing treatment and aesthetic modifications.
CosMedica Laser Clinic: A one-stop solution
Top-notch clinics such as CosMedica Laser Clinic utilise modern technology and imported medicine to provide services such as laser treatment, botox, fillers, thread lifting, face lifting, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) for face and hair, and skin-brightening treatments.
Dr Farhana Islam is the Chief Consultant and Managing Director of CosMedica Laser Clinic and a Consultant in Dermatology and Aesthetic medicine. She completed her MBBS from Dhaka University, DPD from Cardiff in the United Kingdom, and received her Diploma in Dermatology from the United Kingdom.
She is also a Board Certified Physician of the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine and is the first Bangladesh Board Certified aesthetician in the country. She has worked in the field of Dermatology and Aesthetics for around 13 years.
According to Dr Farhana, one common misperception is people think laser treatment is only useful for superficial beautification. But that is not always the case.
"We often have patients who come to recover from a bad experience at parlours or beauty technicians. The only solution left to them, sometimes, is laser treatment," said Dr Farhana.
Furthermore, laser treatments are far more time-efficient than traditional treatments. Depending on the treatment, laser treatment results can be instantaneous, permanent, or just something you cannot achieve with creams and serums.
For example, traditional anti-ageing skincare can take many months to show results. On the other hand, dermal fillers - injections that plump up wrinkles and smooth lines on your face - only take around one hour.
"Dermal fillers, one of our popular services, takes about an hour. 40 minutes is spent on applying anaesthetic cream, and it will take me 15 to 20 minutes to apply the fillers. We also provide the best quality dermal fillers, which last between 12 to 14 months," she elaborated.
Even though the clinic has only been in operation for one year, they have made a huge impact on people's lives.
Aesthetic procedures can provide patients with instantaneous results in removing birthmarks, moles, and unwanted hair with lasers. The best part of it all is that it is virtually painless.
"For a mole removal, a surgeon would require many instruments to remove it surgically. However, with laser treatment, the process is not as complicated, and there won't be any bleeding either," said Dr Farhana Islam.
Furthermore, laser treatment can be a gift for those suffering from PCOS and who feel insecure about their body hair.
"Many women throughout Bangladesh suffer from PCOS. Due to hormonal imbalance, they grow a lot of body hair. Laser is an excellent way to remove the hair permanently," commented Dr Farhana.
Botox in particular can be used to treat migraines and muscle spasms. Furthermore, after accident victims have recovered from their wounds, aesthetic treatment can help them recover from lingering skin issues, such as skin tightening.
The pioneers in the industry
Dr Farhana Islam was actually inspired by the work of Dr Jhumu Khan, who had unfailingly worked towards spreading awareness about aesthetic medicine.
"Dr Jhumu Khan would regularly spread awareness through media such as TV, as it was the only way to do so back then. Now we have social media, which makes things a lot easier," she said.
She had also watched her mentor, Dr Sarker Mahbub Ahmed Shamim, work hard to build awareness about the industry. She mentions, "I worked with him for 12 years and I would see him constantly planning and writing for newspapers."
Dr Farhana Islam has also contributed to this endeavour tremendously with videos on social media, breaking down the process of different treatments and explaining their benefits. These videos have become a way for people to separate their fear of treatment from reality.
However, there are quite serious setbacks for which doctors have had to fight with for a long time. Several years back, people were a lot more hesitant to approach such treatments as they believed them to be painful with long-term side effects.
"People used to be scared of laser treatment and aesthetic procedures, but are more confident in approaching treatments now. It took us almost ten years to make people understand how these treatments can help people," commented Dr Farhana Islam.
The hard work of figures such as Dr Jhumu Khan and Dr Farhana Islam is reflected in the volume of demand today. The demand for aesthetic treatment has increased significantly over the past eight years.
Misconceptions about aesthetic procedures
Even though more people are willing to approach aesthetic treatments today, there are still many misconceptions about the field. One of many questions patients have is if these treatments have any long-term effects.
"Laser treatment does not affect the skin or organs surrounding the targeted area," commented Dr Farhana Islam, adding, "There is no long-term effect of laser or botox," answered Dr Farhana.
Many of the treatments at CosMedica Laser Clinic are fairly simple and painless, but most importantly, are being conducted by a healthcare professional who has had over a decade of experience.
On top of that, the clinic has five to seven employees who are Bangladesh board certified. Yet, Dr Islam conducts the procedures herself so that her clients receive the best care.
In fact, customer loyalty and CosMedica Laser Clinic are proof of Dr Islam's outstanding work. Even if she goes abroad, her clients wait till she returns so that they can receive treatment from her.
The biggest struggle for the industry is its lack of accessibility for everyone. Due to the nature of the treatments and medicine, many procedures can become expensive. But this is an issue Dr Islam acknowledges and feels passionate about. One of her wishes is to make aesthetic medicine more accessible to people throughout the country, and CosMedica Laser Clinic is her first step towards that goal.
"I try to keep the prices low at my clinic compared to other clinics. Hopefully, as the clinic expands with time, I will be able to offer more services as well," she said.
Address: House 4, Road 24, Block K, Banani
Contact Number: 01797-022246
Price: Tk5,000 to Tk500,000, depending on the skin condition.
The benefits of botox and lasers are multifaceted and more than just for beauty purposes.
Botox in particular can be used to treat migraines and muscle spasms. After accident victims have recovered from their wounds, botox can help them recover from remaining skin issues, such as skin tightening. In Botox treatment, botulinum toxin is injected into the muscles in one's face using a very fine needle. You'll need injections in different places, depending on the area being treated.
A filler treatment is a cosmetic dermatological procedure that is used to minimise the appearance of facial lines and wrinkles, to restore a youthful look. There are several types of dermal fillers. In this treatment, your own fat is harvested from another area, typically using liposuction. The fat is then purified and injected into the face to help restore volume to the cheeks, temples, lower eyelids, or other areas.
A thread lift is a type of procedure wherein temporary sutures are used to produce a subtle but visible "lift" in the skin. On the other hand, a face-lift is a cosmetic surgical procedure to create a younger look on the face. The procedure can reduce sagging skin. It can also help smooth folds of skin on the cheeks and jawline.