When I first received an email that Skin Laundry added to its menu of skincare treatments, I was intrigued. I'd always really loved the results of its first treatment, the Signature Laser + Light Facial, as it cleans out your pores and leaves your face super bright and toned. But I have to admit, I would always leave the treatment room wanting more. More results, more anti-aging, the works. It was a great first step in the process, the cleansing and detoxing, but I wanted even more visible and substantial results.
Well, seems like you get what you wish for, at least in this case. Enter Skin Laundry's Ultra Fractional Laser Facial, a treatment that's no longer available but offers similar results to other fractional laser facials. When I heard about the treatment, it felt like the facial gods had heard my prayers and offered me this gift. I made an appointment that day.
Keep reading to see how the ultra fractional laser facial went down.
What Is a Fractional Laser Facial?
A fractionated laser treatment offers the benefits of laser skin resurfacing and mid to moderate skin-tightening, without the downtime and recovery often associated with traditional resurfacing lasers. Fractional lasers are often used to target fine lines, scars, dark under-eye circles, and enlarged pores. "It may be also used to improve textural irregularities in the skin, such as acne scars," says S. Manjula Jegasothy, MD, a dermatologist and founder of the Miami Skin Institute, who utilizes the Fraxel fractional laser system in her own office. "It can be used safely on delicate skin areas such as the eyes, neck, chest, and hands. It may also improve some skin-colored stretch marks."
Benefits of a Fractional Laser Facial
- Increased skin hydration
- Reduces hyperpigmentation
- Improved texture and tone
- Decreased pore size
- Reduces fine lines and wrinkles
Let's start by diving into the details of the facial. It's a non-ablative, fractional resurfacing laser treatment ideal for those seeking greater laser and light intensity, faster results, and enhanced color and texture correction.
Safe and effective for all skin types, the 30-minute $250 treatment would result in the following benefits, according to Skin Laundry's esthetician: a significant reduction in brown spots and unwanted pigmentation (which, unfortunately, pops up on my skin every summer), reduced photodamage with a more even tone, fewer keratoses, better overall skin hydration, and improved texture. Then, with repeat treatments, a decrease in depth and length of fine lines and wrinkles and an improvement in pore size.
How to Prepare for a Fractional Laser Facial
Not much needs to be done in terms of preparation (though, if you're using any strong topical treatments, such as a retinoid, it's a good idea to limit your use the week before the fractional treatment, to try to avoid excess redness). Otherwise, just show up to your appointment with a clean, dry face.
Fractionated lasers produce thousands of "tiny, but full skin-thickness microscopic zones or 'drilled holes' invisible to the naked eye that cause collagen to regrow in treated areas," says Jegasothy. It certainly sounds painful, but only requires a topical anesthetic—or none at all, if it's a particularly mild treatment.
What to Expect from a Fractional Laser Facial
I couldn't wait to get on the table and get things going. The first step was a YAG laser, meant to deliver energy to the deeper layers of your skin—stimulating collagen, targeting stubborn pigmentation, and vaporizing unwanted material from both your skin’s surface and deep down in your pores. It felt almost entirely painless, save for a few zaps I'd compare to the snap of a rubber band, and left my skin feeling really smooth and primed for the next step. Following the YAG laser was the fractional resurfacing laser, which is specifically meant to rapidly target pigmentation, reverse your sun damage, and improve your skin’s texture by stimulating collagen production. Because of its fractional pattern of energy delivery, the laser creates microscopic channels in your skin that are meant to allow for improved penetration of key hydrating and anti-aging ingredients. This was a bit more intense but still completely manageable.
The last and final step (remember, this is only a 30-minute ordeal, and I got it on my lunch hour) is a hydration boost treatment. It utilizes pressurized oxygen meant to deliver hyaluronic acid (my skin's favorite thirst-quenching ingredient), antioxidants, and peptides into your skin for an instant plumping effect (seriously, I looked visibly suppler and my skin was undeniably bouncy). It also applied a deep infusion of anti-aging ingredients to fill in any unwanted lines or wrinkles. I can't stress enough how happy I was when I first held a mirror up to my face post-treatment. I noticed some mild redness for a few hours following, sure, but the results were pretty magnificent. I looked glowy, smooth, even, and hydrated. As the days went on, the glow didn't disappear. I received compliments from co-workers and friends almost every day the following week, asking what I was doing differently to my skin.
Try applying a thin layer of cortisone cream to help reduce any post-facial redness and irritation.
Because your skin will likely be more sensitive than usual after undergoing a fractional laser facial, you'll want to liberally apply sunscreen. Over the following days, moisturizer or face oil—and, again, sunscreen—will also come in handy.
Even with a dermatologist-conducted fractional laser, most patients will see little more than redness, flaking, and possibly a little swelling. Jegasothy says there is "very little downtime associated with the treatment, roughly one to three days," though it could take a while longer to see results. "Results are most commonly seen one to two months after a treatment, and can be repeated yearly for maintenance."
The Final Takeaway
My advice? Go get a fractional laser facial. It takes no time at all, and the results last for weeks. It's especially perfect for a post-summer, pre-fall skin reset, as it really does zap out those mild discolorations and hyperpigmentation. I'm thrilled, and you will be too.
Preissig J, Hamilton K, Markus R. Current laser resurfacing technologies: a review that delves beneath the surface. Semin Plast Surg. 2012;26(3):109-116. doi:10.1055/s-0032-1329413