Look as good as you feel 

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Laser centre appealing to visitors as well as ‘weather beaten’ locals

Years of exposure to mountain elements can change the make-up of anyone's face.

Now the new laser centre in town is offering ways to transform leathery, weather-beaten skin back to its former glory.

"Many people, especially in Whistler, are very fit individuals but their outward appearance may not reflect it due to past exposure to the sun and various environmental factors," said Dr. William McGillivray.

The Whistler Laser Centre, which has just taken up office space in the Creekside Medical Centre, is introducing a photo rejuvenating procedure to combat the effects of photo aging caused by sun exposure.

McGillivray said this procedure involves an intense pulse of light, applied to the face and upper chest in order to reduce pigmentation and minor vascular changes.

The centre also offers other non-surgical cosmetic treatments like laser hair removal, microdermabrasion to exfoliate the face, botox injections to smooth out wrinkles on the upper face and artecoll and restylane injections.

"Nobody else in Whistler is doing these procedures," said McGillivray.

In fact, the artecoll and restylane injections have yet to be approved in the U.S. and this, combined with the value of the Canadian dollar, brings many U.S. patients to McGillivray's medical clinic in Burnaby, he said.

The doctor expects there will also be a demand for these types of cosmetic services in Whistler.

The appeal of the new Whistler Laser Centre isn't just for the locals who have been exposed to the harsh mountain elements or who would like to get rid of unwanted hair.

McGillivray also wants to market his services to the visiting crowds that flood into Whistler during the winter months.

"There are a large number of international visitors who are interested in looking good as well as feeling good and I think we can provide those services," he said.

As many visitors do not ski, McGillivray sees an excellent opportunity for those guests to use their vacation time to rejuvenate themselves at the laser centre.

He said the best things about the different procedures are they are safe, relatively quick, with minimal discomfort and very little recovery time.

He also stressed that the services offered in Whistler are state-of-the-art.

The laser surgery involves a leading-edge laser that is FDA approved, he said.

Before laser surgery each patient gets a complimentary consultation with McGillivray or one of the trained laser technicians on staff. During that time the patient can decide what area of their body they would like to focus on.

At the Burnaby clinic, McGillivray says his patient's range in age from roughly 22 to 55 years old. While many of the patients are women, he said a lot of men come in for laser hair removal as well.

The Whistler Laser Centre prices are comparable to those in Vancouver, he said, but the price for laser hair removal in each patient is determined on an individual basis depending on the size of the area.

For example, a small area like the upper lip would cost approximately $100 for each visit and would take approximately 5-6 treatments.

Whatever the cosmetic procedure, McGillivray also considers part of his job to be the protection of the skin.

"I consider a lot of my job educating people in terms of prevention of problems," he said.

There are a number of things that people can do to prevent the early onset of aging conditions or environmental effects that are detrimental to the skin.

He points to using sunscreen, not smoking, nutritional factors and moisturizing the skin when it gets dry.

Over the past four years, McGillivray has been actively researching procedures like laser hair removal as it has become available and he finds his job very rewarding.

"We are able to make people look as good as they feel," he said. "We are able to restore a look they had previously."

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