ResurFX Laser Review
It’s Fall! Time to erase the signs of summer from our faces. Autumn is prime time for refreshing your complexion by removing age spots because sunlight hours are shorter, so there is less risk of compromising your clinical results with post inflammatory hyper pigmentation. However the autumn months are often the busiest for most people. How can you optimize your results in less time?
For me, a simple microdermabrasion won’t cut it. It’s too gentle. On the opposite end, photo rejuvenation, a.k.a. Intense Pulse Light (IPL) therapy which is the most popular clinical treatments for age spots is not gentle enough! I can’t handle the zap of IPL going over sensitive areas such as the upper lip, underneath the eyes, and around the temples. I always feel like jumping off the bed when the technician says okay tuck in your lips, I’m going to go over area now. Ahhh!
I love laser resurfacing (with numbing cream!), but my social calendar from now until Christmas doesn’t allow for much downtime (mild pinpoint bleeding and flaking is the norm).
So what’s a skin conscious though fragile, time-pressed gal to do? On Monday, I found out when I went in for my Fall appointment at DLK on Avenue. On the cosmetic menu for me was a 3-in-1 ResurFX Laser treatment. Under the supervision of our go-to dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett, her medical aestheticians created a customized program for me with the goal of improving on the results I have accumulated over the past six months – but in a much more time-efficient manner using DLK’s latest toy, the ResurFX M22 Laser. My triple treatment started off with topical freezing followed by a microdermabrasion, then IPL, and finished off with non-ablative fractional resurfacing.
It was my first time getting a combination of skin lasers in one day. You would think that my appointment would arrest my whole day and relegate me on laser lockdown for the next week, but the whole treatment took an hour and a half (including 40 minutes of numbing and paper work) and here I am back at work two days later looking unsuspiciously glowier. (Yes, I’m making that a word.)
What is ResurFX?
Though technically not a true laser, as the M22 is a multi-application platform that uses light energy to provide medical-grade IPL and non-ablative fractional resurfacing to make wrinkles and acne scars less visible without the typical downtime associated with true lasers such as the CO2 or ProFractional laser.
Even as a beauty journalist, it can be dizzying to keep up with the evolution of skin lasers. Here’s how I’ve come to understand it. The goal of laser resurfacing remains constant: Boost collagen production in the dermis (the deep layer of alive skin beneath the epidermis where precious collagen and elastin fibbers reside) without creating too much visible damage on the upper layer of the skin (the epidermis). And getting heat into the skin via lasers and light therapies is the best way to jumpstart collagen-building, as Dr. Kellett once explained to me “Emitting targeted heat is what lasers do. When you produce heat in the skin, it stimulates cells called fibroblasts which generate new collagen.” The result is thickening of the dermis which manifests as plumper, more resilient, younger-looking skin. IPL on the other hand primarily targets dychromias (colour abnormalities like brown and red spots). Thinning the epidermis with exfoliation removes dead skin cells, encourages faster cell turnover which slows down after age 30, and it allows topical products to absorb better. So to recap, to keep your skin looking its best, you want to do things that thicken the dermis, thin the epidermis, and correct colour.
The ResurFX triple treatment combines three proven modalities that do all these things. The bonus is, you don’t feel a thing during the treatment because you’re nicely numb the whole time (huzzah!). Keep in mind that this was customized to what my skin needed, my 9-5 lifestyle, budget, and skin goals. Not everyone will want or even need all three treatments. It’s important to consult with a derm before starting a skin program.
My session with medical aesthetician Kim Whiteford started out like this:
Kim: “The IPL will help to lift them to the surface…but how long have you’ve had them for and what are you using at home?”
Me: I rattled on about my obsessive nightly habit of swiping the Luminate pads across my face and neck. I’ve always had sunspots but lately the eight to twelve brown blobs on the top of my nose where my glasses sit have darken. Most likely exacerbated from my recent Caribbean honeymoon, Kim theorized. Ah, true. Moving on to my other skin woes…
Me: “My T-zone feels slicker and clogged.” I point to the blackheads on the tip of my nose.
Kim: “The microdermabrasion will loosen them up and the heat from the lasers will regulate my overactive oil glands.”
Me: Pointing to my right cheek, “This tiny red dot here popped out of nowhere!”
Kim: The combination of heat from IPL and resurfacing can help reduce facial redness problems such as broken blood vessels like this. “It deflates the vessels and breaks up the coagulated blood in the area.”
Me: “And my acne scars?”
Kim: “The fractional laser should help to soften them.”
Here’s a step-by-step rundown of my ResurFX treatment:
#1 Diamond-tipped microdermabrasion
Purpose: “Topical exfoliation to clear the pores of any debris,” says Kim.
How it felt: Gratifying feeling the gunk being gently scratched and whisked away.
#2 Intense Pulse Light
Purpose: “Heats up the tissue and starts the rejuvenation process – formation of new collagen.”
How it felt: Snappy but not as bad as other IPLs I’ve tried before. There’s a reason for that, said Kim: “unlike most varieties of IPL machines you can see the pulse of light at each pass, which can startle some people and make the sensation of the pulse feel worse. The ResurFX light is fragmented so there is less of a big burst of light. And because you’re numbed from a topical freezing cream, you don’t feel much at all.”
#3 Fractional Non-ablative Skin Resurfacing
Purpose: “The light creates microscopic heated channels in the skin, which helps to break up scar tissue, pigmentation, and re-texturizes the skin. And the heat further helps with boosting collagen.”
How it felt: Little squirts of warmth ushering into my pores.
Right after the treatment, Kim gave me two ice packs to place on my cheeks and forehead to reduce redness and swelling. She put sunscreen on my face and I left the clinic wearing my sunhat and sunglasses to protect my newly sensitized face. My face felt super smooth and tight, and looked slightly red for a few hours – as if I had just finished a hard workout – but nobody, including my husband could tell that I did anything at all (never mind three treatments in one go)! By the time I went to bed, I had actually forgotten I did anything to my face at all. There was zero discomfort. I give it cake status on my personal pain scale…
I don’t usually post treatment reviews so soon after because I’ve learned that it takes time to reap the rewards of non-invasive procedures. Results are usually very subtle and not that dramatic in photos, because well that’s the point, you’re not supposed to look “done.” However I feel compelled to post this now because just after two days, I’ve noticed a difference that have historically taken a week or so for me to notice with other laser treatments.
One day after: I have no signs of post-treatment redness. The blackheads on the tip of my nose and most of the brown spots that accumulated over the summer were gone. Not just faded but completely gone. My acne scars looked slightly less depressed. My skin is overall smoother and even in tone, negating any need for makeup.
Two days after: Skin feels cleaner, pores look smaller, and overall my whole face is more luminous, almost glass-like (glowier!). Some of the scars actually feel softer to the touch, which makes me think that the heat broke up some of the scar tissue (tough collagen) and is in remodelling mode now.
I’m reminded by Kim, who called the next day to follow up, that the results are both immediate and progressive so over the next few days my skin will continue to get better. I may or may not experience light flaking in the next few days and I should expect to see the treatments full benefits one month after. By then my skin will be ready for the next shakedown. Based on my rapid results and comfort level with the ResurFX treatment, she recommended that I do two more spaced one month apart to really optimize my results. For people whose time is of the essence, I think the ResurFX laser treatment is a perfect program option. In response to Kim’s suggestion, I shouted “sign me up!” into my iPhone with an ear-to-ear smile, dreaming about having an even glowier complexion for the holidays (accept the word, folks). Glow on!
Cost per treatment: $1300
Want more info? Here’s The Skiny from Dr. Kellett herself…
December 4, 2014: I got my second ResurFX treatment today with Kim.
April 18, 2015: Today I’m getting my third ResurFX treatment with Lindsay at DLK on Avenue. It’s my spring skin tune-up! I’ve noticed that since my last two treatments, my acne scars are much softer around the edges and lighter in appearance. I actually feel more comfortable these day without dabbing heavy concealer on these spots. I have a date with the hubby tonight and I’m not at all concerned about looking like I had something done, because I know to expect just a bit of redness — as if I just had a workout. Non-ablative resurfacing is so awesome! No downtime!