Here’s what a Clear + Brilliant treatment is like
I have a handful of friends who are dermatologists, and I often go to them for skincare recommendations. While they differ on their preferences on which brand of sunscreen is most effective, they universally agree it should be worn year-round. Another area where there is virtually no disagreement is that Clear + Brilliant is one of the easiest and most effective ways to maintain a youthful appearance and address skincare concerns. The laser treatment (commonly referred to as mini-fraxel) can address everything from fine lines to dark spots, all through a relatively painless 15-minute process. Here’s a step-by-step guide to what it entails and how it works.
Step 1: Schedule strategically
Though Clear + Brilliant is fairly gentle so far as lasers go, it still involves resurfacing your skin, so you need to schedule at a time when you can avoid significant exposure to the sun in the two weeks leading up to the treatment and in the days that follow. While Clear + Brilliant can technically be done year-round with the proper precautions, many refer to fall through spring as “laser season” because they find avoiding the sun during these months easier. Given that Clear + Brilliant works best as a series of treatments (often a few upfront followed by sessions for maintenance), kick off a package in the fall, and you’ll look great for spring. I started my sessions in mid-September this year.
Step 2: Prepare your skin
In the week or two leading up to your treatment, wearing sunscreen religiously is essential – even if it’s cloudy outside. You don’t want to get a laser treatment with a sunburn! Similarly, you should stop using retinol as well as harsh exfoliants or anything that’s rough on the skin. If you have facial hair (like me), you should shave a couple of days before your treatment and not the day of. They won’t run the laser over facial hair, so it’s important to be clean-shaven if you want to treat your whole face and neck. (Because I have facial hair year round, I don’t mind the laser missing areas like my chin). It’s also essential to speak to your doctor or dermatologist in advance of your treatment if you get cold sores, as Clear + Brilliant can cause them to resurface.
Step 3: Arrive at LaserAway and numb
When you arrive at LaserAway, your face will be numbed with topical numbing cream approximately 30 minutes before your treatment. While the treatment isn’t painful, it isn’t exactly comfortable – and the numbing cream you’re given helps alleviate that discomfort.
Step 4: The actual Clear + Brilliant treatment
Once your face is numbed, the clinician performing your treatment will hand you some eye goggles and lie you back to begin. Depending on the type of Clear + Brilliant you select, they will do four to eight passes across your face. The clinician typically starts with the forehead and works their way down. The nose and neck are the most uncomfortable for me, but they’re never unbearable. Someone described the sensation to me as “a cat’s coarse tongue licking your face.” That said, everyone’s pain tolerance is different.
Step 5: Aftercare
After 15 to 20 minutes, you’ll be done. You’ll notice your face is warm and red immediately after. That appearance can last anywhere from a few hours to a day or so. After two to three hours, my flush goes again, but I look sunburned for a day or two. Keeping the skin moisturized is crucial as it heals and ultimately sloughs off. I apply a vitamin C serum three times a day (to prevent dark spots), a thick moisturizing cream, and tons of sunscreen, of course. It’s also important to wash your face with a gentle cleanser – nothing exfoliating. Over the next week, your skin will feel incredibly coarse, like sandpaper to the touch. It may be tempted to exfoliate, but don’t do it! Just let the process happen – you won’t regret it.
After a week, your face will look and feel brand new. While the pictures illustrate how effective the treatment is, the most dramatic effect for me is always how my skin feels – so smooth to the touch, younger and more supple. I love getting the treatment a couple of weeks before an event, and I commit to getting it about six times per year. So, if you’re thinking about getting Clear + Brilliant at LaserAway, don’t hesitate!
Khalid El Khatib is a Brooklyn-based writer and marketer who tweets too much.