What is a MicroLaser Peel?
On a cold January morning, I finally decided to get a Sciton MicroLaser Peel. A MicroLaser Peel is an ablative skin resurfacing / rejuvenation procedure that goes a step further than microdermabrasion (a mainstay of the beauty industry) and can be customized to penetrate the skin layers from very superficial resurfacing to a more deep procedure.
For more information on different skin laser treatments, read my earlier blog post here. Otherwise, keep reading.
What can a MicroLaser Peel treat?
The MicroLaser Peel is mainly used to treat damaged skin. It can provide excellent results for superficial sun damage, fine lines, and wrinkles. Various areas can be treated including face, neck, chest, and hands. The depth of the peel can be targeted very specifically and adjusted to focus on certain areas which makes it more customizable than a chemical peel.
How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments required varies depending on the size of the area treated and the amount of damage you want to address. Often times, a single treatment will be enough.
What does recovery look like?
Healing time will certainly vary from patient to patient. The deeper the layer of the skin treated, the longer the recovery will take. Most are able to return to work within 3 days, however. Certain skin care products can speed up the healing process. Ask your esthetician for advice for your skin.
In any case, I avoided this appointment and rescheduled it twice. I don’t think that reading online accounts helped my case either. Things like “face” and “on fire” kept popping up. But I’m not one to be scared of a little sting, so in to the clinic I go. If you follow my stories, you might have noticed that I visited the Skin Artisans office near me. I want to give them a little shout out. Superb office and superb staff. On to the story.
What Happens First?
After more talking and agreeing on the amount of microns to apply (a very moderate 10), my aesthetician removed makeup and other residue from my face. Following this, she applied the numbing cream all over.
The numbing cream took some time to take effect. Meanwhile we went over all the necessary pre- and post-procedure instructions. My provider handed me a tote with three little clear jars. The first one contained a vaseline-type balm I was supposed to apply at least twice per day for the next 2-3 days. Then there was a barrier cream for day 2 and after. I also received a gentle facial cleanser I was to use starting the next morning.
Next, my clinician went over all the risks, expectations for healing, and precautions about sun exposure. Then she handed me an anti-viral to prevent cold sores. These treatments can lower your immunity shortly and cause a flare-up. The anti-viral helps.
Once we covered all the important information, my provider inspected my face. I got a second round of the numbing cream. I have to confess, I found the numbing cream to be very slightly stinging. She proceeded to remove several whiteheads and blackheads that have frankly bothered me for a while. Am I the only one who secretly enjoys this procedure?!
Is My Face Burning?
Then it was time for the actual laser. We covered my eyes to protect them from the laser. Though the numbing cream stung a little bit, it was nothing like the actual laser. I wouldn’t say it hurt, exactly. It felt like tiny flickers of fire grazing my skin every time the laser would make a pass through. Not exactly a pleasant sensation, but nothing I couldn’t take. I definitely felt the heat. But it was temporary.
At this point I realized I’m sort of shaking slightly. I can’t tell if it was from the adrenaline rushing through my body or the pain or both. It could also have been that I needed to eat something as I ran over 7 miles that morning and had yet to feed myself. So take that with a grain of salt! The shakes stayed with me until I had my first meal shortly after getting home.
The whole procedure took maybe 5-10 minutes. The areas that I felt were most sensitive were around my eyes, my lips, and closer to my ears. I distinctly remember the smell of smoke. While the laser is making a pass-through, there was a little fan on the same area of skin to cool it down. That was a nice contrast to the heat of the laser itself.
Yes, it did feel like my face was on fire. But, thankfully, it didn’t last…too long.
Once the MicroLaser peel was finished, my provider placed a cooling silicone mask on my face to cool and moisturize the skin. Next, I was sent on my way. Yes, I walked out of the office wearing a paper silicon mask. I got a few quizzical looks on my way through the elevator and the lobby for sure.
At this point I would like to say that my face was feeling like it was on fire! I felt like the cooling mask did not make it any better when combined with the cold January wind, as I made my way through the parking lot. I have NEVER driven home faster just so I could immediately swallow ibuprofen. This was probably the most agonizing hour of the whole process.
Once my medication kicked in, I was able to remove the mask and apply the balm which made my face rather shiny. At that first moment, I probably looked like an over-ripe tomato and definitely felt like a boiled lobster. But that was the worst of it. By that night, I was actually able to step out into the public as both our kids had a swim class.
…I probably looked like an over-ripe tomato and definitely felt like a boiled lobster.
I took one more ibuprofen right before bed, slathered on my vaseline-like balm and went to bed. My instructions were to stay off my face and sleep elevated if possible. So not the most comfortable night. Not that we are ever supposed to sleep on our faces, but that’s a story for another day.
Few Days After Sciton MicroLaser Peel
Day 2 my skin turned from red to a shade of light pink (not unusual for me.) It was still very shiny because of the balm I was applying. I am happy to say I have been pain free by this point. I was even considering venturing out for a workout. Alas…that did not happen.
Day 3 and Day 4 roughly went the same way. I was peeling. And when I say peeling it was not the mild peeling you get from staying out in the sun just a bit too long. This was like snake-shedding-its-skin type peeling. But let’s not be overly dramatic about it. I found that a hot shower and steam were the secret ingredient to help remove the dead skin cells. In fact, I even used a Clarisonic brush a few times and it made all the difference. I have a Mia 2 that’s a few years old, but this is their best selling new model. I think a warm wet cloth in the shower would give you a similar effect. Just don’t over do it.
Grateful for the Weekend
Alas, I was still unable to wear makeup and hide the peeling. Thank goodness after Day 4 came the weekend. I had ran out of the barrier cream and the balm by then. At this point I did not feel that I needed it, however. I returned to my mostly regular skin care routine.
For make-up application I found that less is more for the next week as well. I knew that I overdid it with my finishing powder if my skin got that alligator skin look. This was especially obvious around the nose area.
Ten Days Post MicroLaser Peel
All in all, however, 10 days post treatment I noticed the following:
- My skin tone improved pretty dramatically
- The texture of my skin had also improved
- I did not get any breakouts (I normally do not, but thought I’d mention)
- Some dark spots that had bothered me for years got much lighter in appearance
To summarize, I would recommend this treatment to others who want to improve skin texture and tone. It’s a fairly quick procedure, slightly uncomfortable, with quick results. I feel that the short-lived discomfort was worth it. I plan on coming back for another treatment in a year.
Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts on skin lasers and if you’ve ever tried one. And if you want to read more on skin lasers, check out my other blog post.