Photo Credit: depositphotos.com
Pale skin can be beautiful, but mine wasn’t. Far from the ethereal, creamy complexions of Hollywood A-listers, my facial skin was plagued with redness, acne scars, and speckles of sun damage despite years of pricey spa facials. At 34 years old, I was in that weird limbo where I was still dealing with acne while also noticing the beginning signs of aging like loss of volume and fine lines.
As much as I love a relaxing facial, at the end of the day, no facial can replicate the results of professional, medical-grade laser treatment. When I was offered the opportunity to try the Halo by Sciton laser treatment at Erickson Dermatology in downtown Chicago, I jumped at the chance. Smaller pores, reduced fine lines, brighter skin, and increased collagen production over time? Sign me up!
I researched the treatment obsessively so I knew what to expect and how to prepare. For a month before the treatment, I used Alastin Skincare’s Regenerating Skin Nectar serum morning and night. Even without laser treatment, I wholeheartedly recommend the Alastin nectar. I made sure I had sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or higher, ice packs in the freezer, and a cleared calendar the evening of my treatment.
When I arrived at Erickson Dermatology, I was impressed by both the location (side entrance in the Neiman Marcus building off Michigan Avenue) and privacy. Dr. Quenby Erickson’s office is bright and clean while also setting a calming atmosphere.
I sat down with Dr. Erickson who explained to me that starting the Halo laser treatments around my age, mid-30s, allows for preventative regeneration of the facial tissues. Starting these procedures before obvious signs of aging, less intense treatments will be required over time and one can expect a more natural result.
After my consultation with Dr. Quenby Erickson, whose complexion is enviable, she suggested we also do the Forever Clear BBL by Sciton to address my adult hormonal acne and prevent breakouts following the Halo procedure. She also suggested we address sun damage with the BBL, and with visions of clear, porcelain skin within reach I agreed and was more excited than ever.
My technician for the BBL laser was Chloe who was incredibly gentle and professional. It was my first time getting the BBL treatment, and the laser does not hurt at all. For me, each zap produced a tickling sensation. I felt horrible as my reflexes caused me to jump and wriggle with each tickling application. Chloe assured me that I was not the first to do this and performed the service as quickly as possible before applying a numbing solution to my face in preparation for the Halo laser.
Once my skin was fully prepped for the Halo treatment, I met Emily who would perform the procedure. The Halo produces a different sensation than the BBL, but it’s also not painful. In fact, I was able to stay relaxed. The Halo creates a mild warming effect during the procedure and with the addition of a fan and a cooling pack applied to finished areas, I was very comfortable. Emily ended the session with an application of Alastin nectar. Once finished, I cooled down with their air fan for a few minutes and Emily gave me an extra ice pack to take home.
So here’s some real talk: your face will feel increasingly hot after the procedure. For me, the sensation lasted two hours. I applied a cool pack after a cool pack. Ultimately, I decided to walk my dog in Chicago’s 10-degree winter weather and it felt absolutely amazing. By the time we got home, my face felt slightly warm and within an hour or so, any discomfort disappeared completely.
Day 1 Post-Procedure
My facial skin was pink but it honestly looked worse than it felt. I was completely comfortable. In addition to my pink sunburn-like appearance, years’ of sun damage specks rose to the surface of my skin. I found this part fascinating, as I suddenly saw spots I never knew were lurking below my skin’s surface waiting to appear as I get older.
I followed Dr. Erickson’s care instructions to a T. In the morning, I used a gentle cleanser followed by my Alastin nectar, a rich facial moisturizer, and Alastin’s Hydratint Pro Mineral tinted sunscreen. In the evening, I used a gentle cleanser, my Alastin nectar, and a heavier evening moisturizer. I washed my face,gently to help my skin heal and let the dead skin eventually flake off.
Day 2 Post-Procedure
The pinkish hue began fading but my skin became much drier. I kept my skin moisturized and protected with adequate sunscreen. Dr. Erickson’s team called to check-in on me, but everything couldn’t have gone better. I cannot believe how little downtime such an effective treatment has.
Day 4 Post-Procedure
I noticed a few tiny breakouts, but I was warned that this is common. Fortunately, I had a topical antibiotic I could use to spot-treat. More flaking of dead skin and I anxiously waited to see my renewed complexion in only a few days time.
Day 7 Post-Procedure
I still had a few flakes hanging on but for the most part, my skin felt soft and my complexion was clear. I also starting to receive compliments on my “glowy” complexion. My girlfriends asked what I did and where they can go to get it. I can’t stop looking in the mirror at my new smoother complexion and am completely blown away at how much better the result looks under makeup as well.
Why Didn’t I Do This Sooner?!
I am now one-month post-procedure and I am left wondering… Why did I not do this sooner? Even in my mid-20s, I would have greatly benefited from the Forever Clear BBL laser. It has completely changed my life and I encourage anyone suffering from adult acne or hormonal acne to look into a BBL treatment. While I understand I will not see my final results until the six-month mark, I am very happy with my results so far at the one-month benchmark. I feel like my general appearance looks more youthful and I am absolutely thrilled by how my skin looks when I wake up in the morning.
Now that I’ve experienced Sciton lasers for myself, it has certainly changed about how I think about anti-aging and beauty maintenance. I am very comfortable with the idea of using laser technology to address skin concerns earlier instead of more drastic procedures to correct them later. For women my age who are interested in preventative anti-aging treatments or women of any age, I highly recommend consulting with your dermatologist to determine if you’re a candidate for Halo laser.