Laser treatment had always been something I thought about doing…but I made excuses to myself because I thought it was too expensive and had too much downtime. But most of all, I wondered whether it would be worth it result-wise. This year I realized that my sun damage was creating a mottled effect on my cheeks that skin care wasn’t effectively addressing. So, I took the plunge at Graper Harper Cosmetic Surgery, and agreed to give an honest review of my experience, AND to show pictures of the stages of post-treatment. An FYI– I personally paid to have this done—although I am thrilled to say I think it was worth it.
Angie Thomas who has been my aesthetician for almost 10 years prepped my skin prior to treatment with a numbing gel to help minimize pain—I also opted for a valium to take the edge off discomfort and anxiety. My eyes were completely protected and Angie got to work. The first thing I noticed was the smell of burning hair—since Halo is both an ablative and non-ablative laser it works both on the surface and below it to address pigment, fine lines, and texture. I did feel some sensation, but it wasn’t outright painful except for a few areas mostly around my nose and on my forehead.
Post treatment, my face was red but not horribly so, and it felt like a bad sunburn. I found I needed ice packs on my face to make it bearable but that was only for about an hour or a little longer afterwards. I had my treatment on a Wednesday and that evening, I really just looked red—but not as much as I would’ve thought and was pretty comfortable pain-wise.
On the second day (Thursday), I was pretty swollen and my face looked peppery with all the MENDS (the microscopic wounds the laser creates which are brownish in color) and felt like sandpaper. I had intended to sleep with my head elevated as suggested but I just couldn’t sleep so well and ended up ditching that idea. My face felt super tight and Angie had suggested no heavy exercise so I skipped my normal yoga class and stayed mostly inside except to attend my son’s basketball game. I felt super self-conscious there—I did put a little makeup on and that helped to lessen the redness, but the texture of your face is so that rough that it only marginally helped.
The third day (Friday) I looked awful. I was swollen. I went from chipmunk cheeks on day two to full-blown bullfrog looking on day three. I could see my own swelling from my cheeks and my eyes when I looked down, but apparently that really varies from person to person. And I hadn’t slept propped upright as suggested ~ I will definitely do that the next go-round.
By the fourth day I was less swollen and my MENDS had started to really slough off. I actually missed seeing Oprah’s Live Tour because I just didn’t feel like being out in public. I did go to a yoga class and to a basketball game without too many strange looks—and best of all, I could tell the worst was past me.
By day five, I noticed my skin looking more even, with less pigment, and younger-looking in the eye area especially, and best of all, over all, I felt like I had more of a glow. My husband who literally is usually clueless about anything I do to myself kept saying how good my skin looked. Not all pigment is gone but I didn’t think it would be, but I am happy to know it really diminished the worst of it. The only part I was slightly disappointed in was a single enlarged pore I’ve had for years that I thought was going to be lasered into submission—alas it wasn’t. It does look some better and I guess I’ll live with that.
Costs vary—my treatment was approximately $1200 and that included my post care products and one follow up appointment for dermaplaning and a general hydration treatment. I took a selfie in the car after that appointment and thought I looked pretty, good even without makeup which I was happy about. I also thought besides the pigment being mostly gone, my face looked well….younger? I thought I looked pretty plumped up and that was exciting. As a chubby-cheeked gal for most of my life, I’d noticed that the volume of my face was really diminished as I’d gotten older. The laser seemed to have fluffed me up in a pleasing way. One month out, I really do feel like this treatment worked for me despite the fact that I’m both a skeptic and a bit of penny-pincher since I have two kids in college. But I’m glad I trusted Angie and went to Graper/Harper Cosmetic Surgery. I can’t imagine doing it with someone who didn’t know my skin well like she does or or someone who doesn’t knows my pain tolerance level. Now, I’m already thinking about when I can do it next year.