By self-admission, I am a serum junkie. I wasn’t one in India, until I opened Pandora’s Beauty Box in Malaysia and my world tilted on its axis. But with gifts come discipline, yes?

As a long-term fan of Vitamin C being my regular skin fix, I have adopted a disciplined morning routine and night routine involving lengthy preening sessions at the mirror as I massage, coax and woo assorted serums to photoshop the sunspots on my skin. Most times, I’m smiling, because a happy mind leads to happy, healthy skin. But as all generals know, you have to prepare yourself for that one loose cannon that might upset the whole battle strategy with a curve ball. In particular point here, the erratic weather this sunshine side of the equator in Malaysia that simply has a mind of its own. Now, rain, now sweltering sunshine, now sudden thunderstorm! But, how do you beat God, right?

As my serum cabinet threatens to crack with acid overload despite all the fail-safes applied to my beauty regimen, I decided I really needed external help to tackle one irritating skin spot that annoyingly felt like the errant MIL that just won’t let you win. Not the one to call it quits, I took my problems to the plush side of BSC Bangsar’s M∙A∙C∙ Clinic to understand what was really going on with my pigmentation spot. By the way, did you know Asian skin tends to have more melanin than Caucasian skin, and as a result, Asian skin is more prone to skin discoloration? Blimey!!

Dr Ong Yang Ying (MBBS, (MAS), Postgraduate Diploma in Dermatology, (UK)) sat me down to address the issue at hand.  But first reassuring me that it was no biggie and could be handled. With more than eight years of post-graduate experience in Emergency Medicine, Dermatology and Aesthetic Medicine field, Dr Ong Yan Ying is well known for her keen aesthetic eye and believes that the best cosmetic outcome is from a holistic approach backed by proven personal experiences in treatments suggested to any of her patients. But first, a quickie session on knowing types of pigmentation to determine which one I was dealing with. Knowledge is power, people!


Melasma: Characterized by brown or grey-brown patches, often on the face, melasma typically occurs due to hormonal changes and sun exposure.

Sunspots/Freckles: Resulting from excessive sun exposure, these small, flat, brown spots appear on areas most exposed to the sun, such as the face, shoulders, and arms.

Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation: Dark spots or patches that develop after skin inflammation or injury, these can range from light to dark brown and often fade over time.

Vitiligo: This condition causes loss of skin colour in patches, occurring due to the immune system attacking the skin’s melanocytes (cells producing melanin).

As Dr Ong and a M∙A∙C∙ assistant settled me into the clinic’s treatment room to treat my Sunspot with precision targeted PicoSure laser treatment, I eased my worries knowing I was in best safe hands. Fifteen minutes later skin rejuvenated with nutrients left me glowing the day and week after, I promised Dr Ong I would discipline myself to use sunblock as regularly as every day.

Dr Ong Yang Ying (MBBS, (MAS) at The M∙A∙C∙ Clinic


Wanting to understand my skin and how to take care of it even better, I asked Dr Ong my questions. Skin care is a commitment to good health and is to be taken seriously. Read on:

Ethel: Malaysia is every boho chic’s sunny beach weather destination, but a skin pigmentation nightmare. Give me seven fail safe solutions to enjoy the sun and yet have flawless skin.

Dr Ong: Here are seven fail-safe solutions to enjoy the sun while maintaining flawless skin:

  1. Apply sunscreen: Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Re-apply every two hours, or, more often if swimming or sweating.
  2. Seek shade: Especially between 10.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
  3. Wear protective clothing: Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  4. Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated from within.
  5. Use antioxidants: Incorporate skincare products with antioxidants like Vitamin C or E to help combat free radical damage from sun exposure.
  6. Use a gentle cleanser: Choose a mild, non-abrasive cleanser to wash your face, as sun exposure can make the skin more sensitive.
  7. After-sun care: Use soothing and moisturizing products designed for after-sun care to help replenish and calm the skin.                                                                                                                     

Ethel: Three must have-must include skin serums for a year-round skin glow.

Dr Ong: Opt for serums with active ingredients, such as:

Vitamin C serum, Vitamin B3 serum/niacinamide, Glycolic Acid serum.                                   Ethel: What are the must-eat foods to ensure internal body health that contributes to how our skin behaves, renews, ages?     

Dr Ong: Consume skin-healthy foods: Incorporate foods rich in antioxidants, such as berries, leafy greens, and nuts, which can help protect your skin from sun damage. Not to forget, hydration is key to achieving healthy skin, so drink plenty of water.

Ethel: Machine aided facials v/s traditional facials. What’s good to take away from both beauty rituals.

Dr Ong: Machine-Aided Facials incorporate advanced technology to precisely target specific skin concerns, such as acne, wrinkles, or pigmentation. In addition to that, the use of machines can ensure consistent application of skincare treatments, helping to deliver reliable results. Lastly, these facials can be time-efficient, often providing quicker results compared to traditional facials due to the advanced technology used.

Having said that, traditional facials have their own pros as they provide a relaxing experience that often involve massage and manual application of skincare products, providing a relaxing and pampering experience for clients.

Ethel: How do I ensure my skin continues to support good health even as I grow wiser with years.

Dr Ong: Here are some useful tips to ensure graceful aging:

  1. Sun protection is crucial for preventing premature aging and reducing the risk of skin cancer.
  2. Establish a consistent skincare routine that includes cleansing, moisturizing, and using products tailored to your skin type and concerns. This may involve the use of antioxidants and anti-aging ingredients like retinoids.
  3. Healthy lifestyle choices: Maintain a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins, as well as staying hydrated. Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, and prioritize regular exercise for overall well-being.
  4. Professional guidance: Consult a dermatologist/ aesthetic doctor for personalized advice and treatments tailored to your skin’s changing needs as you age.
  5. Adequate sleep: Ensure you get enough quality sleep, as this is essential for the body’s natural repair and rejuvenation processes, which also benefit the skin.
  6. Mental well-being: Manage stress through relaxation techniques, hobbies, and mindfulness practices, as stress can impact skin health.

Remember, consistent skincare practices, sun protection and seeking professional guidance can significantly help in managing and minimizing pigmentation issues, promoting healthier and radiant skin. I’m often complimented for my skin, but it takes regimented discipline. Every. Single. Day. Like Beyonce sings in `Pure/Honey‘ `It cost a billion to look this good’ 🙂 🙂

Get yourself a skin consultation pronto at The M∙A∙C∙ Clinic, S117A, 2nd Floor, Bangsar Shopping Centre (BSC) Bangsar. You can thank me later.

Appointments at +603-2093 6136. Mobile: +6012 321 2931.



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