Sep 11, 2008

Lifestyle - Smoke & coverup with laser therapy

Lip lightening latest rage among women to zap away the tell-tale signs
MUMBAI: Shakira might have crooned hips don’t lie, but Mumbaikars know lips don’t lie either. So, after puffing away, they are now rushing to remove the signs of excesses.Making a beeline for dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons are women smokers who want their lips lightened with laser therapy.“Patients, mostly smokers, develop dark lips, which they feel look unsightly. That is why there is a huge demand for lip lightening through laser treatment,” says dermatologist Dr Apratim Goel.Though laser treatment and other skin lightening options have been around for a while, it’s only now that targeted laser therapy for specific areas is gaining ground. Besides lip lightening, armpit, groin and elbow lightening are also sought after.“Seven years of smoking had taken a toll on my lips. I heard about this treatment from a friend who had opted for it,” said Ami Ghosh, 35 a fashion designer. Cosmetic surgeon Dr Purnima Mhatre says she treats over 15 patients, mostly smokers, a month. The treatment, of course, comes at a price — nearly Rs1,500 per session. Dr Goel says the therapy requires seven to 10 sessions with a one-week interval between each session. Explaining the procedure, she says topical anaesthesia is first applied on the lips, as they are sensitive to any kind of treatment. The lip is then treated with a special laser. “It’s a 15 minute-procedure. The lips look bee-stung for a few days after treatment. But the effect can be seen in a fortnight,” says Tanya Rodrigues, a chain-smoker who has completed three sessions. “Skin clinics already offer a variety of options for skin lightening — from laser photofacial to chemical peels, microdermabrasion and skin polishing treatment, laser lip lightening is just another advancement,” says dermatologist Dr Aniket Mishra, adding that though he has been offering laser treatment for over eight months, it is only now that demand has picked up. Besides smoking over a prolonged period of time, doctors says several other factors such as spicy Indian food, cheap brands of lipstick, exposure to the sun, heavy application of lipstick, drinking tea or coffee in excess, allergy and dryness could also cause darkening of lips. “Sometimes haemoglobin levels and even heredity have a role to play in how dark your lips can become,” says Dr Mhatre.

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