What is it like to get your face lasered?

Ebrium Fractional Laser vs Alexandrite Laser

Do you want to look younger, get rid of wrinkles, pigmentation and build new collagen? With new technologies all of this is apparently possible – with lasers. They have been around for years now but the cost used to be huge and many did not want to stay at home with a burnt face to get the results. But with newer technology lasers are now affordable AND with hardly any down time at all.  But it seems every man and his dog has jumped on the laser band wagon and lasers can be very confusing with; laser resurfacing, ipl, fractional and fraxel just to get started.  It is hard to figure out what is going to make you beautiful, waste your money or even permanently burn you!

The quality and cost of lasers differ dramatically and you can now have a treatment done to your face down at your local beauty clinic or (or even nail salon) for around $100 but the staff will often seem untrained/young/unknowing. And if you research lasers on the internet there are so many horror stories that you will be put of lasers for life.

Lasers can do wonders for the skin, as I have found but you should be picky when choosing your salon. Make sure you feel comfortable with the technician, ask to see training certificates and ask the type of laser they will be using as this makes a big difference to the type of results you will get.  Some clinics use cheap or old lasers that will give you poor results and waste your time and money. Once you know the qualification and laser – GO HOME AND RESEARCH THEM! The qualification may sound good but it may in fact be a short course. Ensure the laser is new and suits your needs, some are better suited for wrinkles/collagen building and some are better for pigmentation removal.  I did this with a few clinics and found that in most I did not feel comfortable with the training of the staff (they didn’t seem to know what the laser did, or the type) before I found one I wanted to use.

In the end I chose one that was a laser clinic and they used the  Q-Switched Alexandrite Laser.  In my google search I found this laser worked on the improving pigment issues in the skin which was my main concern (melasma, brown pigment). The Alexandrite laser goes deep into the skin, it hits the pigment, and the pigment absorbs the laser light. The pigment then begins to break down and your bodies natural defences take over and elimaente the pigment from your body. This is seen over about a week period as the pigment rises to the surface of the skin as brown crusts or dark freckles and then flake off leaving behind clear skin. This laser also rejuvenates the skin and helps with fine lines and wrinkles.

The whole process takes around 15 minutes from start to end and is painful. You do not have any numbing cream.  The technician moves over your face in sections stopping when you need a break.  When it is over you look awful. Your whole face is very red and burnt, and your face feels very raw. I had to walk through the mall to my car in the car park and people looked at me with slight shock.  Over the next 7 days you look slightly burnt and as the pigment rises you get brown scabbing. I just carried on my normal activities and no one really look at me. THEN once the pigment flakes off your skin starts to look amazing!  You will be so pleased with the results. I was. Everyone commented on my beautiful skin. I had nice skin to start with but did not like the melasma but this made my whole skin texture much better and gave me beautiful skin. You normally need two treatments, three if you are very sun damaged. After ten days I had another treatment which was not as bad as the first one. Not as much scabbing either as I did not have much pigment left.

Lasers can not permanently fix melasma as t is too deep under the skin and will always lay dormant waiting to return if it is exposed to hormones ( the pill, pregnancy) or the sun. But they will fix sun damage. If you are prone to melasma they make a huge difference and you can avoid the pill and the sun or get top up treatments if you plan to get pregnant or want to stay on the hormonal pill.  After almost a year I have noticed some melasma   below my eye so decided to get one more tretment but this time decided to go for fractional as it is supposed to make dramatic changes to wrinkles and lines as well.

Alexandrite and Fractional lasers work in a different ways. The fractional laser goes deeper into the skin affecting both the dermis and the epidermis.The laser destroys thousands of microscopic columns which triggers your body to produce new healthy collagen and tissue to replace these columns, leading to a more youthful and plumper look. This is considered one of the best lasers to use with the best results as it goes deeper then many other lasers such as the alexandrite, yet has less down time then a Fraxel laser which has great results but a long healing time.

After the big google I decided on fractional with the Ebrium laser. It was not cheap! The cost $1500. And it is recommended you get 1-5 treatments to get the best results, but my skin is good and at that price I was only getting one. When you arrive they put numbing cream on your face for half an hour (you need numbing cream with fractional as it goes much deeper into the skin) then a technician lasers the face in the same way as the Alexandrite, but with much less pain. After the procedure they put ice cold cloths on your face for half an hour and you can feel the heat coming from your skin. After wards I look slightly sun burnt but hardly noticable and not too painful (no where near as bad as Alexandrite). I look normal in the morning. My skin becomes sandpapery over the next few days and dry feeling but nothing major. I do not notice any changes in my skins texture/appearance and the pigment is exactly the same. Not the best $1500 Ive ever spent.

To summarise the two:

Alexandrite:

  • You look pretty unattractive for nearly a week.  Face looked red and raw for 2 then had scabs for 5.
  • The pain was tolerable  (just) during procedure but was painful!
  • Cheap…Cost was only $240 per treatment, two needed.
  • Results = amazing.

Ebrium Fractional

  • There was no.  I went shopping straight after procedure and had a head ache but my face looked fine. During week had dry skin with rough texture.
  • The procedure takes a lot longer because they put on numbing cream and cooling cloths, but the pain is very tolerable.
  • The cost is expensive at $1500, especially as it is recommended up to 5 treatments.
  • I saw no results.

I will have Alexandrite again but at $1500 for no results I would not have Fractional again.

Day two after Alexandrite Laser procedure. Face is raw and burnt looking.

Day two after Alexandrite Laser procedure. Face is raw and burnt looking.

Source: Face after Alexandrite
You can see the pigment scabs on the skin. Face does not hurt at this stage.

You can see the pigment scabs on the skin. Face does not hurt at this stage.

Source: Day four after Alexandrite Laser

Source: My skin one month after
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