Acne, scars, sun damage, stretch marks—no matter your age or stage in life, these types of skin issues can impact how you look, and how you feel about yourself. With a passion for helping people to put their best foot forward—not to mention, live life in their best skin—Dr. Tatyana Hamilton at Hamilton Cosmetic Dermatology in Victoria, B.C., offers a number of innovative and highly effective solutions using innovative and cutting-edge Cutera devices, including AviClear for acne and Secret RF for skin revitalization. We spoke with Dr. Hamilton, whose team, collectively, boasts an impressive five decades of experience in medical and cosmetic dermatology (wow!) to learn more. —Noa Nichol
Please tell us a bit about yourself and your clinic, Hamilton Derma, to start. What makes Hamilton Derma special, and why are you passionate about what you do? What do patients say about you?!
We are a medical and aesthetic dermatology clinic in Victoria. I am a Canadian board-certified dermatologist. I also hold a PhD in biochemistry and I am involved in medical research. There are two staff dermatologists—myself, and Dr. Christensen—operating arguably one of the busiest, if not the busiest, dermatology clinic in Victoria. Together, we serve well over 15,000 patients. We assembled a highly skilled and very experienced team of medical office assistants, nurses and laser specialists. Collectively, we have more than five decades of experience in medical and cosmetic dermatology. We believe in a holistic approach to rejuvenation, combining injectables, such as Botox and filler, with laser procedures and high-quality skincare, and we take pride delivering the results that are very nuanced and natural looking. We also have the most comprehensive, best-in-class and up-to-date energy-based devices to treat a wide variety of medical conditions and aesthetic concerns. We love to make people feel and look their best. Our favourite product is the success of our patients.
Today we’re talking about Cutera and the aesthetic solutions, namely Secret RF and AviClear, offered by your clinic. What are Cutera devices, and what makes them cutting edge/unique?
We entered the laser space with our first device—excel V+. This is a gold standard vascular laser produced by Cutera and treats a wide range of vascular conditions such as rosacea or spider veins. We decided to have it in our clinic out of frustration about the lack of medically effective treatments for these common problems. We really enjoy working with Cutera because the engineering team, based in California, works in close collaboration with dermatologists and uses their input when designing new laser technologies which certainly puts them at the cutting edge of innovation.
Let’s talk first about AviClear, which we understand you were one of the first clinics in Canada to offer! What is it, who is it for, what are the benefits/results that it offers? What does treatment look like/involve, and what sorts of results have you seen, personally, in your patients? Is there anyone out there who would NOT be a good candidate for AviClear?
Yes, we are excited to be one of the first clinics in Canada to offer AviClear—the first and only FDA- and Health Canada-cleared device to treat mild, moderate and severe acne. In Canada, it has also been approved for treatment of acne scarring. AviClear can treat mild, moderate and severe acne. Practically anyone who has acne is a candidate for AviClear. We haven’t had any sufficiently effective alternatives to Accutane for about 30 years, so this new treatment is revolutionary, and may change how we treat acne. The treatment course consists of three 30-minute sessions, given a month apart. The treatment is very well tolerated and does not require a topical anesthetic. There may be a snapping sensation, but a built-in cooling system makes the treatment very comfortable and there is no downtime after. It has efficacy comparable to the efficacy of Accutane, but without the baggage of harsh side effects of Accutane, the need for frequent blood work or visits to a dermatologist. The treatment is safe for all skin tones, and no reportable side effects were observed. So, without exaggeration, anyone who suffers from acne is a candidate for AviClear. A small proportion of people may experience a recurrence of acne, but the episodes will be much less intense and much more infrequent. 92 per cent of patients in clinical trials experienced a long-term reduction and improvement of their acne, with nine out of 10 patients reporting feeling very satisfied.1,2
Moving on to Secret RF: who is it for, how does it work, what are the benefits/results that it offers? Is there anyone out there who would NOT be a good candidate? Have you seen any incredibly dramatic results, personally, in your patients?
The second device we introduced in our practice was Secret RF. This radio frequency microneedling platform is wonderful for revitalizing the skin from the inside-out. It is great for the appearance of lifting, tightening, the treatment of scars, refinement of pores, stretch marks, it’s almost like a non-surgical face lift alternative. I believe we were one of the first clinics in Victoria to have it, and have been getting excellent, and sometimes, exceptional results. What is also very attractive about this treatment is that there is no downtime. Practically everyone can be a candidate for Secret RF.
When it comes to skin issues like acne, scarring, sun damage, stretch marks, large pores and general signs of aging related to skin quality, texture and brightness, why do people come to see you? How do these conditions affect them, physically and mentally, and why are they seeking treatment? Do you find that they have sought treatments in the past that simply haven’t worked and, in coming to learn more about Cutera’s offerings, are hopeful for better results?
Acne is one of the most common problems that we treat as dermatologists. About 85 per cent of the population experiences acne at some point in their lives.3 Acne is not only physically disfiguring, but it also profoundly affects one’s mood, self-esteem and confidence. We call acne “a physically and emotionally scarring” condition. It is incredibly important to treat acne early, to help avoid permanent scarring that acne produces. Why do people come to see me? As dermatologists, we know skin. We are skin specialists, and no one understands skin to the extent that we do. This is a sub-specialty of internal medicine that takes five years, in addition to four year of general medicine training, to master. Many patients that I see have been struggling with acne and suffering from it for many years. Many of them have not had any form of active therapy. I also see a lot of patients who have had one, two, three courses of Accutane, and are still having breakouts. There are those who carry their acne into adulthood. In fact, one in three women continues to have acne into her 30s, 40s, or even 50s.4 I would sometimes see a teenage patient with acne, and Mom would also still be having acne, too. There is always a subset of patients who either have contraindications to Accutane, are unable to tolerate the side effects of Accutane, or simply do not wish to start it, given the need for frequent visits, bloodwork and potential side effects. All these patients now have a safe and effective treatment alternative with AviClear that we have all been long waiting for.
If someone has questions about Cutera (AviClear or Secret Pro) or wants to consult with you about whether these treatments are right for them, what steps can they take?
1 Cutera, Inc. Data on file (12 months after final treatment session)
2 Cutera, Inc. Data on file3 Bhate K, Williams HC. Epidemiology of acne vulgaris. The British journal of dermatology 2013;168:474-85.
4 The prevalence of acne in adults 20 years and older. Christin N Collier 1, Julie C Harper, Jennifer A Cafardi, Wendy C Cantrell, Wenquan Wang, K Wade Foster, Boni E Elewski