As more people pare down their skincare routines amid the rise of trends like skinimalism, the idea of adding an extra step back in sounds unnecessary – especially if it involves buying a US$2,500 (S$3,300) device.
But what if this device promises to completely remodel your skin, comes with no side effects and is very user-friendly to boot?
The Lyma Laser, a skincare tool launched in Europe one year ago, has just made its debut in Asia at Joyce Beauty in Hong Kong. It is the brainchild of London-based Lucy Goff.
After experiencing a difficult pregnancy and a bout of septicaemia (when bacteria enter the bloodstream), Goff, a former journalist and public relations professional, set off on a journey to optimal health, which led to the founding of Lyma.
While on a recuperative trip to Geneva, Switzerland, in 2013, Goff met Paul Clayton, a US-based doctor and leading expert in preventing degenerative disease.
Goff launched Lyma, a supplements business, with her husband and Clayton in 2018, and developed the Lyma Laser after Clayton showed up to her London office with a clunky machine that he discovered in Germany.
While using it on a man’s knee to rebuild cartilage, he noticed the skin on that knee looked younger and realised the skincare device market was ripe for disruption.
According to market research provider Euromonitor International, the personal care appliance category (which includes tools such as Foreo, NuFace and the now-defunct Clarisonic), has been growing steadily since 2016 and had a global retail value of US$24.1 billion in 2020.
“The skin device market is heavily based on theatrics and focused on cheap technology, but not on something that can completely remodel the skin without causing any damage [to promote collagen growth],” Goff says.
Low-level laser therapy was discovered in the 1960s and used to rebuild cartilage and heal tendons. The Lyma Laser can be used safely at home, Goff says, and explains that aesthetic centres don’t use low-level laser therapy because it’s not practical for someone to go to the spa every day.
The lasers commonly found in spas instead improve skin appearance by damaging skin cells to trigger a process of renewal that eventually boosts collagen growth, she says.
“You have to use the Lyma Laser every day for three months for anti-ageing because what you’re doing is empowering the skin to behave like it did when you were a lot younger,” she says. “You’re switching on more cells that have died off as part of the ageing process.”
Afterwards, you can do it about twice a week for maintenance.
It took Goff and her team two years to turn Clayton’s clunky medical machine into the sleek-looking Lyma Laser, whose effectiveness has been vetted in three peer-reviewed papers published by Aesthetic Surgery Journal.
“Lyma is a ‘well tech’ company,” Goff says. “We’re natural engineers and optimise the best of science to work inside the body, whether it’s a supplement or a laser. We’ve created a new category.”
Lyma’s health technology doesn’t come cheap, but Goff says: “It’s all about priority and what you want to spend your money on. If you have to make a decision between buying a Chanel bag or the Lyma Laser, it’s up to you what you get more pleasure from. Your body is going to be around a lot longer than a designer handbag, so that’s what you should invest in.”
Goff also points out that, while the laser can do wonders for your skin, it doesn’t have to be the be-all and end-all of your routine.
“Everybody has their skincare routine so we don’t want people to stop that,” she says. “You don’t go to a spa just for better skin but to have some time to yourself; it’s enjoyable and important not to stop doing those things.
''Go to the spa and have a massage and facials, but if you can renew your skin at home in between appointments, your doctor can actually do way more and be far more effective, and your skin will have better quality,” she says.
Goff is a strong believer in preventive health and recognises that nothing can stop natural ageing, certainly not the Lyma Laser.
“I’m very much about building rituals. We need to take control of our lives with rituals that are going to help us and not hinder us,” she says. “Our skin is a visible organ and what people first see when you’re walking down the street, so it’s very humbling. If you have a scar or you’re not happy with pigmentation or a wrinkle you now have the power to take control of your skin in the comfort of your own home.”
If you’re the kind of results-driven skincare customer who doesn’t mind spending on high-end products that actually deliver – think Augustinus Bader The Cream or Skinceuticals CE Ferulic – the laser is a valuable addition to your routine (the starter kit comes with a mist and serum to be applied before use and paired with a moisturiser of your choice).
At the time of publication, I have been using the laser for 20 minutes every day for more than a month and can confidently say that the appearance of my skin has improved.
I’ve always been afflicted with dark circles and while they’re not gone, they’re much less marked. I’m also prone to the odd breakout and the laser has helped heal stubborn spots and pimples much faster than usual.
I have not experienced any side effects, although after about two weeks of daily use I noticed that my lips have got a bit drier and more chapped, so I’ve been more careful when gliding the laser around the mouth.
This article was first published in South China Morning Post.