Fractional Lasers & Skin Resurfacing.

Written by Beauty
Category: Blog
on 01 March 2017
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Blog 3

“Skin Resurfacing”… what is that?!

….once upon a time that statement would have sounded totally bizarre and I wouldn’t have had a clue what you were talking about. It definitely wasn’t something I had ever considered before as part of my non-existent beauty regime, especially as it involved Lasers and even simply looking in a mirror!

Now, though, it’s a totally different story. As a Laser Therapist, I have had to force myself to look into that unfriendly mirror, I have learnt to understand more about my skin and I have become more aware of what my skin is capable of achieving, simply with the added assistance of a little light! ….not just any old light I might add, specially filtered wavelengths of laser light!

One particular wavelength for example, is the 2940nm Fractional Laser which is designed to omit a beam of filtered laser light which safely penetrates the skin and is then absorbed by water (a major component of your skin tissue cells). This absorption causes small columns of thermal damage which then stimulates and triggers the production of fibroblasts and collagen. After treatment, the new collagen filled cells replace the old skin tissue and your skin tone becomes more even, smooth and less lined! Exciting!

Because it is a treatment that I offer my clients, and even though I have tried it before in the past, I thought it would be useful to others if I could document the progress  -  I am even curious to see if and how much I can delay my own aging process!

(Please note: to aid my memory, some sections of this blog have been written from notes which I jotted down at different stages over the week following my most recent treatment session, just in case parts of this blog don’t make sense!)

As you can imagine, as with anything new (or forgotten!), even though I had a fractional treatment session over a year ago, I was still a little nervous. Generally the treatment is described as having some level of discomfort and even though this discomfort is also described as minimal and tolerable, I am a big  wuss and was really not looking forward to it. Luckily for me though, I had a caring technician who was prepared that I might flinch, or jump, or whatever and she talked me again through each stage of what to expect, how it would feel and explained that actually, I would survive and have beautiful skin at the end of it! This helped put me at ease and I am so glad that I tried it, again!

 

Stage One: Patch Test!

Even though I am a Laser Therapist, I still had to have a consultation and a recent skin Test. Not only is this to make sure that I am not on any medications which may conflict with treatment (such as those which make you sensitive to light), the Patch Test is also useful to see how it feels, how long my skin takes to regenerate and also to see if I would have any reactions. Adverse reactions with this treatment are unlikely but it is ALWAYS good practice to Test Patch before ANY type of skin treatment.

The test patch itself is easy, it is on a tiny area of skin in the treatment area. So, in my case, as I have opted for a Full Face Treatment, it’s a small area just on the side of my cheek. The first shot is initially the worst, just because you don’t know what to expect and it’s a LASER! …until you have it done, then you think, “oh, is that it?!” and then you sit there quietly relieved for the rest of the test as it IS actually easy and nothing to worry about! 

After about a minute, you are aware of a slight sting, a bit like mild sunburn in the area. This is absolutely normal, as the skin has been heated so using a cool pack helps to quickly take the sting away and before you know it, you don’t feel like anything has been done. It not until the next day when have completely forgotten that you have had your test patch that you look in the mirror in the morning and notice that you have some small pink dots in a grid on the side of your cheek that weren’t there yesterday! 

This ‘grid’ like pattern is where the laser has a filter and only targets about 20% of your skin with each shot so it leaves the un-affected skin in a natural state which helps speed up the recovery time. I’m my case, the little dots are now areas of dry skin which has formed over night to essentially ‘plug’ the areas which have had thermal damage. I am a little pink in the surrounding area but it is minimal and it doesn’t hurt at all.

After about 3 days, again after completely forgetting about the test, I remembered to have a look and noticed that the dried plugs had mostly flaked off… I was just left with a few little slightly browner-than-my-natural-skin-colour dots which then completely disappeared by day 5.

 

Stage Two: Treatment Day!

I actually admit that again I’m feeling a little nervous today -  I didn’t wake up feeling like I can take on the world so sluggishly went in for treatment, skin clean and moisturiser/ make-up free (which also didn’t help with my confidence!) Ah, did it! 

Actually, that was a lot better that I expected! 1. I didn’t cry, or even feel the urge to cry! Lol. I actually sat quite still throughout the whole procedure, didn’t even flinch, except for perhaps a tiny moment when I had the area around the edge of my eyes done, bit sensitive here so understandably a little more stingy. All the rest was fine but I did feel it start to sting by the time about ¾ of my face had been done and I was happy that it didn’t take too much longer. I was also happy that I had been given a cooling device to use while treatment was being carried out which meant that I could blast a gentle breeze of cool air over my face where I felt I needed it during the session.

The full treatment took about 30 minutes. After the treatment a post laser serum was applied which initially stung some more but then really helped to soothe my face. I had a Single pass over the whole of my face on the base setting then a second pass on a slightly higher setting over my forehead, eye lines and smile lines – this is because I wanted better coverage in these extra lined areas.

Now, I look like a great big puffy lobster! Lol  …I naturally do quite red so have come up a corker today – look!:

    

Here’s a close up of the “dots” showing where the laser has targeted the skin:

 

(Please note, I have treated a variety of clients and I seem to be one of the pinkest I have seen, typical!)

Apart from the initial shock to everyone else (who’s not seen the treatment done before) at seeing how pink I went, I don’t actually feel that bad. I do feel like I have bad sunburn and my skin is tingling all over but it really is tolerable and just gently padding my face with a cool pack is a nice relief! On the way home, I made full use of the car air con and being a genius, I already had dinner planned so didn’t have to cook or face the world with a red face so just chilled (literally) that night at home in front of the telly, drinking lots of water and occasionally cool packing my face when too started to feel warm again. I have also taken some Ibuprofen to ease the swelling and take off the edge.

Also, I must say, this time round I got to use a new After Care product developed by the Laser Company, called Light Soothe, a post laser serum developed to aid with the healing process and it really did help. After treatment you have to be careful not to put anything on your skin until the dry plugs have formed - this is to minimalise any possible risk of infection which can happen if you have dirty hands and if you keep touching you skin or if you get it damp. Your skin does tend to feel quite tight initially with the swelling so it’s really helpful to be able to put something nice on your skin to help soothe it. In the past I had tried 99.9% Aloe Vera which was ok but this was so much better, and over the week I really did notice an improvement in the healing time.

Day 1 After Treatment:

  

Redness is going down! Still a little puffy but much better than the night before. Also, absolutely no discomfort until I touch my face – still a little sensitive about the eyes.

As the dry skin plugs have no formed, I can very gently rinse my face – I just do this with water and some Light Soothe as don’t have any makeup to wash off etc – feels quite nice with the cool shower water and a gentle soft towel pat down to dry (you have to be careful not to re-heat your face with the warm shower steam or use an any old rough abrasive towels!).

Not much else to write today other than I’m having to keep my hair tied back as it keeps catching on the roughness of my skin which is annoying! (oh, and a good point to remember is make sure you have a nice silky pillowcase as the pillow cover can also feel weird if it’s too fluffy!)

Cheesy Light Soothe Picture (btw, you really don’t need a tub this size, the 50 ml pots are more than adequate!)

Day 2 After Treatment: 

  

Back to work today and happy to say the redness has gone down again even more today. (Treatment was done on a Thursday afternoon – today is Monday!)Dry skin dots have dried out even more and now have a golden bronzed appearance and apparently I look like I have a slight tan from a distance so shall make sure I don’t stand too close to anyone today to keep up that assumption as actually I have now started to flake a little! Likewise, as I have now fully “plugged” over, I can moisturise as normal (though I’ve decided to stick with the Light Soothe as like its texture – it’s not oily or greasy) and then applied a light dusting of mineral powder over the top to tone down remaining pink (pictures above are makeup free).

Above = close up of dry skin plugs showing grid like pattern (some have already flaked off and face is starting to feel a bit more itchy)

Day 3 After Treatment:

   

Nothing much new to write other than it’s pretty itchy & flaky! Now there is no tenderness I have been using a nice soft flannel to gently wash and wipe my face with a few times a day, just using water then re-applying Light Soothe.

Day 4 After Treatment:

  

Just a few patches of red left now – I almost look back to normal -  I just look a bit spotty to the untrained eye! Also, itching greatly reduced now J

Day 5 After Treatment:

  

Today, I am even less red, most of the dry skin has sloughed away and my skin is starting to feel much smoother – just a few actual spots so will wait a few days now then post the final stage 1 results – bearing in mind that new collagen production takes about 1 to 3 months to form so I shall post the final “after 3 months” picture at a later date as ideally I would like to have a full course of 3 – 5 treatments to get the maximum benefit on reducing my fine lines and wrinkles! As far as the initial Fractional Resurfacing treatment goes though, I am loving how soft and clear my skin is starting to feel and can’t wait to see the how I look in a few months! Again, I’m glad I’ve had it done and definitely think this is a great time of year to get it done. Not only does it give you a boost in the winter months to look and feel good, you can totally take advantage of the cool air on your skin on after a session!