My Micro Laser Peel
photo courtesy of Jason Poztner, MD, FACS
Last Thursday I tried the Micro Laser Peel at DLK on Avenue, and it took ten years off my face. Ten years worth of sun damage and acne scarring nearly gone!
The treatment, combined with a bit of ProFractional at the end, completely levelled out my bumpy skin and eradicated a stubborn spot of milia that even my Hungarian facialist couldn’t extract. My skin is ridiculously smooth now and glowing because dark spots are lighter and acne scars looked less pitted. This is a transformative treatment you need to know about!
What is a Micro Laser Peel?
A Micro Laser Peel is said to produce dramatic improvements in skin tone and texture after just one treatment. This treatment being referred as “the weekend peel” due to the 3-4 days of social downtime. Over a series of treatments, scars and wrinkles are softened and blotchy pigmentation becomes even.
This skin resurfacing treatment is done with the Sciton laser, which is considered by many dermatologists and plastic surgeons as a reliable, results-proven laser. In my opinion, it is a freaking time machine for your face.
The Sciton laser is also used for ProFractional, a more ablative treatment that treats deep lines and acne scars. I had a full laser peel treatment done first (with two passes), and was finished off with a some ProFractional zaps on a few deeper scars.
The medical aesthetician I saw at DLK was named Helen (fab name, right?). She describes the micro laser peel process with a lawn mower analogy: “The first pass is like mowing your skin to even out the surface, and the second pass is like aerating it to stimulate collagen production in the deeper layers of the skin. This will help plump up wrinkles, lines, and scars.”
Helen adds that for someone with more pronounced lines and scars (i.e. ice pick, acne and chicken pox scars), adding some ProFactional at the end of a Micro Laser Peel will lead to significant improvement.
And boy, was she right.
Granted, I had to hibernate on the couch over the weekend because my face looked like I had slept under the Sahara sun for a week. I looked sunburnt and my skin was scaly and brown, just like my leather makeup bag (watch the video below for a photo). My excuse for being anti-social was that I had a lot of catching up to do with my family, Modern Family. T.V. is your best friend when you’re on laser lockdown.
As with all laser resurfacing, results are often seen faster in people with lighter skin tones since the technician can go deeper with the settings. There are many other variables to consider too, such as the health and tolerance of the skin, so it’s crucial to see a dermatologist for an initial consultation. I had to get a nod of approval from Dr. Kellett beforehand. This is not a treatment you want to get done at a unsupervised medi-spa!
How it felt
Even with numbing cream and Tylenol, I felt each warm zap as it vaporized the top layer of skin. My skin got increasingly hotter throughout. The first pass felt comfortable, but the second pass got a bit more intense since my skin had time to heat up. I felt it the most on my temples and forehead, but it was tolerable overall. When it came time for the ProFractional at the end, I was already so numb from the sensation that it felt like nothing. And usually it’s the ProFractional that frightens me. If I had to rate this combined treatment on my pain-o-meter, I would have to average the sensation from the first pass (close to piece of cake) and the second pass (very close to OMFG ouch) to get…
But it was worth every wincing moment!
If pain is your main concern, my suggestion is to visualize every imperfection that has bugged you for years being flicked off with each pass of the laser. It’s a little pain for a lot of beauty and confidence. Now that I’ve experienced it for the first time, I’m sure my second treatment will be like a walk in the park.
I would do a Micro Laser Peel again in heartbeat. In fact, I’m so impressed by the clarity in my skin that I’ve cancelled all other treatments for next month, and booked myself for my next Micro Laser Peel + ProFractional with Helen. This is the magic treatment I’m sure will yield the results I’m after.
A word about expertise
Helen was fantastic—professional, trustful, and darn fast. “Speed is key to performing a micro laser peel because patients do feel it so you want to move quickly from one spot to the next to keep them comfortable,” says Helen, who has over 20 years of medical aesthetics experience. This is important to consider; I’ve done laser resurfacing treatments in the past with less experienced technicians who don’t quite have that gentle swift hand that comes with real experience. What was also comforting to know was that Helen has done all of the treatments herself–most recently she did an IPL, Micro Laser Peel and ProFractional combo in one session. She was able to describe the sensation and results of each treatment down to the most minute detail, such as the sound of each laser.
I have said this many times before, when people ask me about my opinion on certain treatments, it’s not so much the treatment but the person performing it. Botox, for example, is just the vehicle. Having an experienced driver is what matters. And that’s why I love the experts at DLK on Avenue. They are all seasoned pros and they’re all under the expert eye of a top dermatologist.
My top tips
- Schedule it. A Micro Laser Peel is definitely something you need to plan for because you’re going to look a little “messy” for a solid two days (watch the video below). If you work office hours Monday to Friday, like me, I suggest getting it done on a Thursday evening. On Friday, your skin will look red similar to a sunburn but the browning of the dead skin cells won’t kick in until late afternoon or evening.
- Be sun smart. You can wear makeup, no problem. But be sure to protect your face with a moisturizing SPF 30 to keep the skin protected and moist throughout the day (dryness will kick in). Wear a wide-brimmed hat if it’s very sunny out.
- Go easy on exfoliating. By the second or third day, more thin brown flaky layers will form and eventually shed. To prevent redness, you’re advised not to pick or scrape at it, nor should you use any abrasive cleansers or brushes. Avoid Retin A or AHA products for 4 weeks after, to be safe.
- Use vitamin C. Now is the best time to take advantage an antioxidant serum, like Dr. Kellett’s vitamin C Ferulic booster serum. I learned from Dr Kellett that using a topical medical-grade antioxidant serum can maximize the benefits of a laser resurfacing treatment because when you ablate the superficial layer of skin, your skin is primed to absorb whatever you put on it. Dr Kellett explains that “vitamin C and ferulic acid are powerful antioxidants that can help improve the texture of skin and redness following a laser treatment.” My post-lasered skin gobbled up that serum like nobody’s business and it has never look brighter!
Watch this video as Miriam Denham (my IPL lady!) explains the benefits of the Micro Laser Peel.
For more footage of the procedure and testimonials, check out this promotional video.