Expert Skincare Advice from a Top Expert Dermatologist

If you thought you were in an expert’s care simply because the clinic’s name states so, you’re in for a surprise: according to the renowned and award-winning specialist dermatologist Dr. Ritu, “In Australia, the only specialists in skin, hair and nails are those with the letters F.A.C.D. after their name — that means you’re a fellow of the Australian College of Dermatology. Without those credentials, the practitioner has not done any specialty skin training.

Photo courtesy of Jamie Nelson

Um… yikes, right? Here to clear the air (and your skin), the brilliant and highly accomplished doctor shares some sound advice below.

On who to trust your skin with: 

You’ve only got one skin, and you don’t want to take chances on it. You want to be in the right hands of a specialist. There is a lot of misconception about specialists — for example, skin cancer clinics’ doctors are not dermatologists. They’re GP’s who might have done a weekend course; they haven’t done any specialty training. You’re far, far better off going to your regular family GP and getting referred to your dermatologist if your GP is unsure. This is an important public information message! The information available can be very misleading. Once again, look for those letters: F.A.C.D.

From a cosmetic point of view, you’ve got a whole lot of people practising in this space. The only practitioners to trust with any lasers or injectables are dermatologists or plastic surgeons. Check who will actually be treating you. When I treat a patient, it’s not about what I see; I’m going to see every line, every blemish, because I’m trained to. It’s about what they see and what worries them. From there, I can explain what the options are, and together, we can develop a tailored program to suit their skin colour, budget and time.

On dermatologist-approved ways to improve skin:

When it comes to lasers, the beautiful thing is there are so many different treatments! The most common laser treatment I do treats broken facial capillaries, brown marks that come with sun exposure, and benign moles or age warts. It’s incredibly satisfying, as often people have no idea they can treat these conditions; they think they’re just stuck with them. So it’s great to say,” No, this is what we can do,” and make a program.

For things like pigment, it usually only takes two or three [laser] treatments. You’ll also get some collagen remodelling at the same time, so you’ll see some reductions in fine lines, too. In terms of injectables, in my practise, I’m the one actually giving the injections. There are so many bad filler jobs out there. You can almost guarantee those people haven’t seen a specialist. If I think a treatment is not appropriate or will not suit the patient, I say no to them and don’t perform it-it’s a professional code of ethics, too.

You want to look refreshed, but you don’t want people thinking, “Oh, what’s she had done?”. I do feel in the non-specialist cosmetic industry a real sense of reality has been lost. There’s been a loss of perspective of what looks normal. I really enjoy the cosmetic side of things, but my passions are real, normal people who don’t want to look tired or angry or like they haven’t had enough sleep, or the 30 or 40 year olds who wake up and suddenly see wrinkles that weren’t there before. It’s really about making the best of what you’ve got. And you’re still aging; you’re not going to look 15 years younger, you’re going to look 15 years fresher.

On the next generation of skin smoothing technology:

For skin tightening, the best modality we have for this type of treatment is ultrasound. To a large extent, it’s taken over from radio frequency treatments like Thermage. What we use [in my practice] is ultrasound skin tightening, and it works very well. It’s excellent for the neck, fantastic for lifting up the jowls or the cheeks, great for the crepe-ness around the eyes, and even really good for preventing that crepey-ness around the eyes and upper lip. It’s also a great option for people who are starting to see fine lines, but don’t want to have a muscle relaxing injection. It does work, but again, it’s all about how it’s done [in the hands of an expert].

On Body Sculpting: 

We do body sculpting with fat freezing. It selectively kills the fat cells, as they freeze at a different temperature, and it works wonderfully well. More often than not, it’s a single treatment, and the results are long lasting. It’s not for people who are obese, it’s for people with a normal body weight who have a few bulges they can’t shift no matter what they do. It doesn’t really have any downtime, and only takes an hour. We offer a complimentary consultation for this. It’s great for many different parts of the body like saddle bags, the belly, or arms. It’s very much about having an eye for sculpting, because you need to make sure there’s a sense of symmetry and that it looks natural. You don’t want to freeze the fat in an unusual place

On the best thing you can do to keep skin healthy: 

The most important things for the skin are no smoking, sun protection, sun avoidance and regular SPF application. It would be negligent to treat someone and not emphasize those things, or they’re wasting their time and money and putting their health at risk. And skin health maintenance is a bit like the gym, you can’t just go once — it’s not one and you’re done. It is about maintaining.

Maintenance treatments are certainly helpful. If you were on holidays, caught some sun and a see a few new brown spots or broken capillaries upon return, the collagen remodelling which occurs with maintnenance lasr or broad band light treatments will cause those fine lines to soften, too. The device I use is shown has been shown to cause a reduction in the activity of the genes that control aging which is an incredible advance. Patients often have a single treatment every 3 months as studies over 9 years have shown it really turns back the aging clock.

On her expert advice of which laser treatments to get where:

Lasers are just a method of light delivery; there are thousands of lasers. Another point of difference to note is that specialists like me often use lasers that are much, much stronger and more powerful and targeted and more tuneable. They’re very precise, I can adjust them down to the milimeter, so I’ve got incredible control. There are a lot of other devices that are operated by people with limited training and may with only two settings. That’s something to be aware of. I think the public think clinics and technicians are all the same, especially with the cosmetic physicians.

A bit of public education is very important. Unfortunately for the patient and consumer, it’s a  a minefield out there. Really, what you want is to be in the hands of a specialist who has been appropriately trained. I do a lot of GP education. I’ve done a lot of teaching about this, and it’s something I feel passionate about. It’s really important people are getting the right information and make an informed decision.

Dr Ritu’s special areas of interest are cosmetic dermatology, management of acne and scarring, skin cancer detection and treatment and medical and surgical dermatology. Her goal is to provide excellence in medical care combined with a caring and holistic approach to the patient and their healthcare.

To book and appointment or to make an enquiry please call Dr Ritu and her team today on 80146500 or email