The Clear + Brilliant laser
Last spring, I tried the Clear + Brilliant laser at Gidon Aesthetics in Toronto where it is dubbed “the mini Fraxel.” Created by Solta Medical, the makers of Thermage and Fraxel, this treatment is meant to stimulate collagen and improve texture.
As the nickname implies, the Clear + Brilliant is not meant to be as aggressive as the Fraxel, as Dr. Gidon explained to me via email: “It is a non-ablative fractional infrared diode laser with a wavelength of 1440 nm. There is 24 hours of mild redness and some puffiness and make-up can be applied immediately. The skin then appears normal for the next four days, but feels rough and then exfoliates. It improves texture and tone, and skin is then smooth and radiant. All of our patients have loved it and do more treatments for maintenance. It can be used on any skin type.”
When I arrived at the clinic, I met with Dr. Gidon (she’s so kind!) and her lovely medical aesthetician Mei-Lana (pictured on left), who was going to do my treatment. They went over my treatment history and current expectations quite thoroughly, and I appreciate their honesty. They told me that this treatment, even a series of them, is not enough to get rid of my hyper pigmentation and depressed acne scars. Mei-Lana explained that “the Clear + Brilliant is not aggressive enough to break up the tough scar tissue in deep scars, but it does stimulate enough collagen to refine and re-texturize the skin.” The exfoliation that follows a few days might help spots and scars look less apparent. But the main benefits of the Clear + Brilliant are:
- Stimulates collagen production
- Improves tone and minimizes pores
- Increases luminosity in dull skin
Total time: 45 minutes, including the 15 waiting time for the cold numbing gel to set in.
Mei-Lana started by gliding the roller ball tipped laser across my forehead; then did verticle passes over it so that the area gets two passes, horizontal and vertical. After the forehead, she did this horizontal/vertical pattern along the left side of my face starting, then repeated on the right side.
How it felt
Imagine someone rolling a small remote control toy car across your face. Each time it touches your skin, the wheels emit a tiny shock wave that feels like an electric rubber band snapping against your skin. Because the movement of the laser is continuous throughout the whole treatment, I felt very uncomfortable. Luckily Mei-Lana sensed this and gave me an extra blanket and a stress ball to squeeze on to stay warm and calm. I squeezed the rubber out of that ball when she worked on my forehead! It hurt the most on my forehead. I kept thinking OUCH OUCH OUCH. Other sensitive spots included the side of nose (nook of nostril) and upper lip; I flinch with any lasers are used in these areas. My face felt hot and tight with each pass. Overall, it is tolerable, but if you’re a baby (e.g. never had a bikini wax before) you’ll find it shocking (pun intended).
When I left the clinic my face felt hot and taut and it looked like it had a nice rosy flush. The cool spring air felt especially nice against my skin! I was directed to use just a basic moisturizer at night (no active ingredients like retinol) and sunscreen with titanium dioxide during the day. While my face felt like sandpaper for the next few days, it had this really nice glow to it. Almost like a mild tan.
After a week, I had to go into the clinic again for a follow-up with Dr. Martie and Mei-Lani. I reported that my skin felt tighter and definitely looked more even-toned and radiant. However, I don’t think the pain is worth the price tag of $400 if you’re looking to fade spots or scarring. I would say that The Clear + Brilliant laser is best for those who already have decent skin, a high pain tolerance, and just wanted a MAJOR glow boost.
~ Pain-O-Meter ~