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This Doctor is “IN”

Dr. Kristina CuevasReyes of Luminisce Skin Innovations offers beauty that blooms from within.

Beauty is not just skin deep. It is a reflection of how you take care of yourself inside and out. This is the philosophy espoused by Dr. Dr. Kristina “Kaycee” Cuevas Reyes at her boutique clinic Luminisce Skin Innovations.

Aside from administering high-tech treatments for youthful skin, the doctor gives her patients lifestyle pointers to improve their overall health, which, she says, will help maintain that gorgeous glow.

She surmises that this has a lot to do with her background. “Although it was always in my plans to be a doctor, I never saw myself in this type o practice. When I was a kid growing up in a hospital compound in Batangas, I wanted to be a pediatrician.

There was a pedia there who was so pretty and had a lot of patients. I wanted to be like her.”

When she passed the board and went on to residency, she had a big change of heart. “I was at the Philippine General Hospital and couldn’t handle my patients dying on me. It was so hard to have to tell the parents that their child passed away. I love kids when they are well patients, and when I have the sick ones, I feel so attached to them,” she remembers somberly.

She was given a chance to work with the highly-respected Dr. Jaime Galvez Tan, an expert in the field of holistic medicine.

“It was there that I saw the effect of traditional medicine like Ayurveda and Acupuncture.

I decided that when I go into practice I would combine traditional methods and evidence-based into complementary treatments.” She went to London to pursue a Diploma in Dermatology and Master of Science in Clinical Dermatology from King’s College and St. John’s Institute of Dermatology at Guy’s & St. Thomas Hospital.

“At first, I went because I wanted to experience living in London,” she grins. Then, the doctor was drawn to this particular field. “It was hard at first, because my orientation was not in pathologic dermatology. But I realized how everything ties up – that what happen to you internally reflects on your skin. Your lifestyle can cause inflammation, which can manifest on your skin with chronic acne, rosacea, and other skin conditions. It can also trigger diseases like diabetes or cancer. That’s where I saw I can combine what I have learned in traditional medicine and dermatology.” She jokes, “I was so engrossed and so busy that I never had to time to play tourist.” She continued her studies, delving into laser aesthetics in Singapore and Bangkok. By the time she came back, she was ready to set up a clinic.

“I met some people who wanted to put up a center here in the Fort, and I joined the group in 2012. By 2013, they left and I took over by myself and that is how Luminisce started. “In Bangkok and Singapore, I saw the effect of aesthetics, and how it can keep a patient looking young. In the same way that you can prevent pathologic diseases, you can also prevent skin aging. Here at Luminisce, I offer non-invasive procedures with lasers and injectables instead of surgery. This is becoming very popular, and it is what many other doctors are offering now because there is no downtime and no risks that come with an operation.”

For this, she says she uses the latest machines, such as Palomar Laser and the Spectra XT. These target the skin problems common to Filipina skin. “When Caucasians age, they get wrinkles and their blood vessels begin to show. With our skin, the most common problems are pigmentation and larger pores. As we age, our bone structure also changes and the ligaments that hold the fat on our cheeks start to loosen, so it begins to sag. I can use the medical-grade lasers and a combination of other treatments like Botox and an injectable that stimulates elastin and collagen production to lift without using a scalpel."

Live healthy, look pretty

Since she believes in health being a big factor on how a person looks and feels, the doctor also takes the time to talk to patients about a fitting lifestyle. “When I see my patients, I inject a bit of lifestyle coaching into our consultations.

First of all, I tell them to avoid too much stress. If they really cannot avoid stress because of work, I tell them to exercise at least 30 minutes three times a week, alternating highintensity cardio workouts with low-impact exercises such as walking. I also advise them to meditate. It may be something as simple as finding a quiet spot and being aware of your breathing – do this at least 10 minutes a day. We also don’t get enough antioxidants in our daily diets, so I tell them that there may be a need for supplementation.”

When asked about her own beauty regimen, she gives a short laugh. “Sometimes it can be a case of the carpenter living in a broken-down house.” The doctor, who is in her early 30s, reveals, “I had acne breakouts when I was younger, so I try to manage that. What I do is exfoliate every two weeks with AHA. The type of AHA I use also absorbs water, so my skin is moisturized and lightened.

I also apply topical Vitamin C and antioxidants on my face twice a day. I make it a point to moisturize at least two to three times a day, and I apply sunblock every four hours between 9 am and 4 pm.”

She also has a Crossfit coach, as she is trying to lose some pounds. “It helps to motivate me. I have a short attention span and having a coach helps me to focus.” She adds that she tries to eat healthy by avoiding overprocessed foods. “I go organic when I can, but at the least, I avoid foods that have a high Glycemic Index. Ayaw ko na ng masyadong ginamitan ng refined sugars and additives, and instead of sugar, I reach for honey or stevia.”

Keeping in trend

The skin expert says that she never stops learning, attending conferences at least three times a year, and constantly doing research on the latest studies that are available. “I think that this is important in any field of medicine, because there are always new discoveries being made and new technologies that emerge. Even with things like acne, for example, marami pa din ang bagong lumalabas na studies. This is what I can promise my patients – that I am updated with the latest and most effective treatments in this field.”

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