My obsession with lasers continues! I was invited to test drive a treatment at CRMC (Cosmetic Rejuvenation Medical Center) in Los Angeles. The med spa is one I’ve driven past many times because it’s in my neighborhood (in West Hollywood). I was excited to see what they were all about!
For a treatment, I chose the Clear + Brilliant Laser – it uses safe fractional laser technology to treat early signs of aging skin. What does that mean? I had a consult with Zara (or Doc Zara as she’s known AKA Doctor of Medicine, Ms. Zara Harutyunyan MSN, AGNP), who is CRMC’s expert injector and leading clinician. She was very nice and made me feel right at home. She told me that the Clear + Brilliant laser is used to reduce hyperpigmentation (age spots, sun spots, acne scars, etc.), reduce fine lines, create a more even skin tone, and reduce pore size. She told me the laser has maximum impact with 4-6 treatments, but I could expect to see some results (and a more “glowy” look) with one treatment. With several treatments, you can even treat melasma and sun damage.
So how does it work? According to Doc Zara, the laser energy creates millions of microscopic treatment regions in your skin, substituting damaged skin with robust, younger looking tissue. Basically, it’s a non-ablative (meaning it goes deep – but doesn’t damage the outer layer of skin) fractional laser. It’s similar to most laser skin treatments – you have to knock things down a bit to get your body to build them back up. The laser stimulates collagen production, which helps to create smoother, more even skin.
I went in on a Tuesday morning, and found the med spa on the second floor of the structure at Santa Monica Blvd and Fairfax Blvd. I probably could have walked there, but we don’t really do that in LA (and also I’m lazy)! I was impressed with the clean, white, modern glam feel of the waiting area. I filled out some paperwork, and waited to meet with Doc Zara. After we met and went over my options, I went to a treatment room where the numbing cream was applied. I waited about 15 minutes or so for the numbing cream to take effect, and while I was waiting, I took several SnapChat and Instagram Story videos and pics to document the experience!
Once I was ready to go, the treatment started! The laser has a very small tip, so it takes 20 minutes or so for the technician to go over your whole face twice. Although I am a huge fan of laser treatments and laser hair removal, my pain tolerance is pretty darn low. At first, I thought – oh this doesn’t bother me one bit. But then, the tip started to heat up more, and I thought – okay I can deal with this but ow! I won’t lie – if you’re a sensitive baby like me, get the numbing cream. There’s no zapping like with laser hair removal – it’s more of a constant buzzing that feels hot. They gave a little more attention to the areas on my face that had darker, more prominent spots. When it was over, my face was tomato red and felt hot (like Kim K level sunburn!). It felt a little swollen, but not bad – just what you’d expect if you had a sunburn. I asked if they could put cortisone or aloe on it, and was told the hot feeling was necessary for the skin to heal itself and that I should put a fairly heavy moisturizer on when I got home (and no makeup for the day). They also told me not to wash my face that night and to avoid retinols and exfoliants while my skin healed. I went downstairs and ordered an iced chai latte from Starbucks to cool down (hey – treat yo’self right?).
The redness chilled out a bit after a few hours, and took about 3 days to go away. The skin felt rough right after the treatment, but the next morning it was like sandpaper (or like the callouses you get on your feet). This is the skin creating scabs to heal all those micro-injuries from the laser – all part of the process. The roughness wasn’t visible – you’d have to touch it to know it’s there. I got a big zit right under my nose the day after treatment. Luckily, I had read the literature and I knew this was normal. I really wanted to put my Jan Marini Benzoyl Peroxide on it, but I didn’t!
My skin was very oily for about 3 weeks after the treatment. I contacted the office and they told me that was part of the healing process. I had done some very low level laser treatments about a month prior to treatment and that may have made my skin a little more sensitive than usual.
After 3 weeks, I looked at the before and after – and wow! It really made a difference in skin texture, pores and it lightened a lot of dark spots and acne scars. It’s hard to get the lighting just right in a before and after pic, but I think you can see that are some major areas where dark spots are lightened and lines are gone. The skin above my lip is dark (I think that may have been a side effect from laser hair removal – or possibly hormones + sun exposure), and I hate it because it looks like I have a mustache! Luckily the Clear + Brilliant laser lightened that quite a bit! I would definitely try more treatments in the future. I’m very happy with the results!