While everyone is talking about how “the future is female” (which it is, duh) I’m over here preaching “the future is lasers.” Loved by every celeb from Kim K to Chelsea Handler, lasers are the anti-aging breakthrough of the last decade — just ask any doctor. Done regularly, treatments like Clear and Brilliant or Fraxel can minimize the need for more aggressive treatments later in life. After reading about these treatments for years, I finally tried Clear and Brilliant— the baby Fraxel, ideal for people between 25-45. Here’s what you need to know.
First thing’s first: ALWAYS make sure you go to a well-trained physician — an untrained provider can cause major, and even permanent damage. I saw the lovely, and highly skilled clinical esthetician Meredith Brown from Russak+ Aesthetic Center in midtown Manhattan. When it comes to dermatological treatments the saying “do it right or don’t do it at all” rings very true. Trying to scour the Internet for Groupon deals isn’t the right move here.
PRE-PROCEDURE: I use Bioloque Researche products but I didn’t use P50 the day before, just because it’s strong and I didn’t want to exfoliate too much before this procedure. If you’re using retinol products you should discontinue use 2 days before. Here is what the lovely ladies at Russak Dermatology shared with me before my treatment
Meredith numbed my face for about 30 minutes, during which time we chatted about what this treatment does. Clear + Brilliant treatments can help: prevent the signs of aging, improve the look of fine lines, improve skin tone/ texture, and minimize the appearance of pores.
Now for the treatment: I read online and heard from a friend (ahem, Danielle) that it doesn’t hurt. I have always vowed to be honest with you my dear Rouge 18 readers so I’m going to tell it to you straight: it f***ing hurt. Maybe because I went in thinking it would be painless (the internet loves to spread fake news!) but I did not expect to be in this much pain. So moral of the story is: keep your expectations realistic–it’s a laser after all, and you’ll be fine. Was it unbearable? No. Was it very very very uncomfortable? Yes. Right after the treatment, Meredith gave me a cooling sheet mask and a mini fan.
I left feeling SUPER hot. I wasn’t overly red (it looked like I had a sunburn) but I could feel the heat on my face. I grabbed lunch with a friend and by the time I was heading home, I looked more or less normal. Cut to that night, my friend asked me if I’d even done the treatment because I looked the same.
I followed a super simple routine post-treatment. The key things to note are you must stay out of the sun for 2 weeks and you can’t pick at your skin as it flakes.
DAY 1: Skin felt rough (like sandpaper) but I looked normal.
DAYS 2-4: Skin still felt like sandpaper but in increasingly fewer areas with each passing day. My nose and forehead were the last part of my face to return to normal texture.
DAY 5: At this point, my face felt more or less totally healed except it was still a little flakey in some parts. I started using P50 again and resumed my normal routine.
DAY 6: No flaking. 100% back to normal.
RESULTS: Meredith told me the best results are seen after three treatments but that I’d notice a difference after one. She was 100% correct. My pores already look smaller. My skin is smoother. I’m getting more compliments on my skin than ever. I am embarking on another 2 sessions, so I will report back with more detail on the longer-term results. For now, I can say that the one treatment provided enough initial results that I’m actually super excited to go back and get my face painfully zapped for another 10 minutes.