I’m no stranger to cosmetic procedures. I started young, by having laser hair removal on my upper lip in 2006 at the ripe old age of 13. It wasn’t until Nov. 2018 that I decided to dip my toes back into the world of minimally invasive cosmetic procedures with microneedling, which I wrote in detail about here. I was floored by the results. Since then, I have done a number of different things including more laser hair removal, Secret RF, BBL Forever Young, TruSculpt iD and some minor lip enhancements using Botox/filler.
BRINGING OUT THE BIG GUNS
Last Tuesday, I underwent the most invasive procedure to date. I had a combination of treatments designed to get rid of my existing acne scars. First Jen performed a BBL (Broad Band Light) to address the red pigment in the scars, followed by a MicroLaserPeel to remove superficial irregularities and finished with ProFractional to stimulate collagen remodeling through deep fractional ablation.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
Let me break down each treatment, so you can understand what it does and why it was part of my custom treatment plan.
BBL is the world’s most powerful IPL (intense pulsed light). Jennifer is able to use BBL to address a number of different skin concerns, from acne scars to sunspots and wrinkles and everything in between. The light energy delivered by the BBL gently heats up the layers of your skin. The heat absorbed by the targeted areas will stimulate your skin cells to regenerate, which restores your skin to its natural beauty, making it clearer, smoother, vibrant and younger looking. The BBL is a really quick procedure and isn’t painful at all. It also doesn’t require any downtime! I’m not a doctor or an esthetician, so take my recommendation with a grain of salt, but I think everyone could benefit from having a BBL.
A MicroLaserPeel removes a thin layer of damaged skin in order to improve texture and overall appearance of the skin. The MicroLaserPeel’s beam is scanned over a treatment area to remove a very thin layer of the skin. Removing the top layer eliminates some of the damaged cells that can give skin a tired, aged look. As the skin heals, fresh cells grow and resurface the treated area. The result is healthier-looking skin, often with reduced wrinkles and improved color evenness. Patients often say that it looks like their skin went from looking tired to vibrant. This isn’t painless per se, but it also isn’t painful. I would rate it maybe 2/10.
Like most of the laser treatments that Jennifer offers, Profractional can be tailored to your specific skin concerns and for your desired outcome. I think that laser treatments (and microneedling, for that matter) are so cool because I love the science behind them. Profractional uses a tiny laser beam to treat thousands of pinpoint areas in your skin. Because the laser creates thousands of little wounds, your body responds by producing collagen, which adds firmness and resilience to the skin.
My treatment was at 1 p.m. last Tuesday. Before the treatment itself, Jennifer put a numbing agent on my face and let it sit for about 30 minutes. After I was good and numb, we started the actual procedure. All in all, I would say the treatment from start to finish (not including numbing) probably took about 45 minutes to an hour. This is what my face looked like immediately after the treatment. As you can see, my cheeks were the only area we treated because that’s the only area I have/had scarring on.
I had very specific instructions on how to care for my face. Following my appointment, Jennifer instructed me to apply the ointment every two hours to make sure that the wounds didn’t dry out. If my face were to dry out, it would scab over which would really mess up the healing process. I ended up setting alarms for every two hours nearly around the clock to make sure that I was following my care instructions to a T.
Jennifer told me that there was really no way to know how much downtime I would have because everyone’s bodies respond differently. My face continued to bleed and ooze serous fluid for nearly 48 hours post-op. It was gross, yes, but it’s also a totally normal response to injury. I was also slightly swollen, but nothing crazy.
That being said, I woke up on day two feeling a little panicky. In fact, I was that person and insisted on going into the medical spa and having Jennifer reassure me that everything was normal. She had done that via text message, but I needed in-person reassurance as well.
I feel like it’s important to note that my face didn’t hurt at all. I know that it looks like it would be extremely painful, but it wasn’t. It just looks gross. I spent all day Wednesday working from home on my couch, religiously applying healing balm to my face every two hours. I also started using Saint Jane’s Luxury Beauty Oil on my face on Wednesday, because it’s specifically formulated to be anti-inflammatory & healing. I really think it played a big role in my quick recovery.
I had been advised to gently run water over my face on Tuesday night and I tried doing it, but it was quite painful so I gave up. When I took a shower on Wednesday, I did let the water run over my face and then gently patted it with my hands. It ended up making a big difference in getting some of the crusty stuff off and my face ended up just looking red after. This is what it looked like by Wednesday evening.
Not only was Wednesday the worst day of healing, I ended up adding insult to injury by making myself sick with my own cooking. I didn’t get much sleep that night and I had a legislative hearing to be at on Thursday afternoon. Between my raw-hamburger-meat face and with my intense stomach pain, I didn’t think I would be able to swing it. I did.
I ended up looking a lot better after showering on Thursday morning, but still didn’t feel comfortable going to a client meeting with a bare face. I had no issue going to work and having my coworkers see my like that, though.
I ended up putting some mineral makeup on so I didn’t scare my poor clients, and it covered the redness surprisingly well.
I didn’t really want to be putting makeup on an open wound, so as soon as I was done with my client meeting, I ran home, washed the makeup off, and reapplied my care products.
My face was definitely no longer oozing or bleeding in any way by Thursday, and this was the first day that I didn’t sleep with a towel on my pillow!
I was surprised by how much better my face was looking on Thursday and I was floored by how much it had healed by Friday morning.
I still didn’t wear makeup to the office on Friday because I wanted to give my skin the time it needed to heal. While it looked good in comparison to Tuesday/Wednesday, I still felt a little self-conscious walking around looking like this in public. At the end of the day, I decided that I don’t owe anyone anything and I don’t have to look any certain way. I wore a bare face and reapplied my serums and creams when I had to, including at the office.
By Saturday morning, you could hardly tell I had had anything done to the left side of my face. If anything, it looked like I had a sunburn—which was good because I was going on a quick road trip with some friends and was hoping I wasn’t going to look like a crazy person.
I wore makeup this day, and was so impressed with how smooth my skin is! I realized that my only regret was not having it done to my entire face.
My skin looked great and I had a great time in Traverse City. Andrea and Courtney and I talked about skincare products and cosmetic procedures while we drank wine and ate cookies. Those are my kind of people.
It felt like every day that I woke up and looked in the mirror I was surprised by how good my skin looked—especially in comparison to what it looked like just a few days ago.
By Saturday I was no longer using the thick healing ointment they gave me, but was still using the Saint Jane Beauty Oil every night (I use it every night normally anyway) and was also using a gentle moisturizer with it.
Today is officially one-week post-op. I cannot believe how good my skin looks. Right now, what I’ve noticed is that the deep, crater-like scars are looking much more shallow—and I will continue to see results for the next 4-6 months.
I looked crazy for a few days but it was SO worth it. Jennifer told me that it would be and I trust her unequivocally. If you’re looking for an esthetician, I can’t recommend her enough. You can book an appointment or consultation with her here.
What’s the most intense cosmetic procedure you’ve had? Let me know!