Although I’ve been lucky to skate through 30 with just minimal signs of my age, I am noticing things beginning to creep up. A lifetime of oily skin has left me with noticeable pores, marks from old breakouts and uneven pigmentation. Thankfully, significant wrinkles aren’t something that have plagued me quite yet, so I haven’t been looking to take drastic action. Wearing face makeup every day is a hassle, and I was hoping to find something that let me wear less, or none at all.
Any time we start looking at cosmetic solutions, the trade off for dramatic results is generally cost and downtime. Neither of which were a luxury I could afford, so Clear and Brilliant treatments really appealed to me.
So what are they?
Clear + Brilliant treatments are a step above a chemical peel, and a step below heavier resurfacing lasers like Fraxel. Instead of 1-3 treatments that leave you out of commission for a few days, it’s a series of six that let you go back to your normal activities pretty much right away. It’s great start to laser resurfacing, or awesome maintenance if you’ve had a larger treatment previously.
So what is it like?
I opted to go for a full set of six treatments to get the best result. They were spaced two weeks apart and performed at my dermatologist’s office (Van Dyke Laser & Skin). One of the medical assistants gave me the rundown of the process, asked me if I had any questions, I signed some consent forms and had the doctor gave me the thumbs up and we got started.
First, the MA cleansed my skin and applied a topical numbing cream which sat on for about 30 minutes. The feeling of having a numb face definitely took some getting used to, but I was grateful to keep the discomfort to a minimum.
The treatment itself was done by one of the estheticians in the office, and took about 30 minutes. She put a cold fan on my face where she was treating to further help any discomfort. I wouldn’t call it painful at all- more annoying than anything, but some parts were more sensitive than others. Overall, it was completely tolerable. I would describe the sensation as feeling “prickly”. The esthetician asked me questions and kept the conversation going to keep me distracted, which also helped. When it was done, she slathered me in a soothing cream and some sunscreen. Keeping your skin protected is always important, but it is EXTRA critical after having peels, laser or any treatment done.
After the treatment it felt like I had a sunburn and ice packs helped this sensation calm down pretty quickly. I was able to ice for as long as I needed. Within about 15 minutes, most of the hot sensation was subsided. I looked red and a little swollen, but not like a weirdo. I just looked like I got too much sun.
The next day my skin had a strange rough texture, almost like sandpaper. It was tender, and it felt better to use cool water when I cleansed or showered. I was advised to use gentle products for the first 24 hours, so I used Dermalogica’s UltraCalming Cleanser, Calm After the Storm serum and Safety Blanket moisturizer by MyBody skincare. I found this combination to be perfect during my skin’s healing period. You can also use really plain and gentle items from the drugstore, like Cetaphil cleanser and moisturizer.
Thankfully I was able to put on makeup right away, so there was no time off from work or normal activities. Makeup went on slightly differently, but still looked fine.
After about three days I noticed that the sandpaper texture was going away on my face, but took a little longer to go away on my neck and chest. Neither were uncomfortable at all, though. By the time two weeks rolled around and I was ready for my next treatment, everything was back to normal.
So how were the results?
Great! With treatments like this, you have to have your expectations in the right place. It’s not going to give you as dramatic, practically overnight results as some of the stronger, ablative lasers. I experienced all the things I was hoping for- smaller pores, a more even skin tone, and fewer brown spots. I am very happy with my results, and plan to get another treatment every few months to help maintain them. Plus, I am wearing less face makeup than ever before and that was my ultimate goal! The photo below is after my first treatment and after my last. Unfortunately the lighting is different, but I think you can still see quite a bit of the improvement.
If you want to get Clear + Brilliant treatments yourself, you can go to their website and find a provider in your area. If you’re in Arizona, I totally recommend Van Dyke Laser & Skin. They do a fantastic job and make you feel very well taken care of!