A few months ago I went for my annual check-up with Dr Webster and he told me about the latest innovation in laser treatments: the Clear + Brilliant laser (CBL). The CBL is a non-ablative fractional laser* that is considered to be one of the most gentle fractional laser treatments on the market (*non-ablative means that there are fewer side effects and minimal/no downtime, but that more treatments may be required to achieve results. Ablative fractional laser treatments yield quicker results, but you will need a few weeks off to recover). What makes the CBL unique is that it can either be used to treat the early signs of ageing, or for the maintenance of more mature, sun-damaged skin.
Dr Webster explains: The treatment is performed using a precisely controlled hand piece with a small disposable roller which moves over the skin producing microscopic treatment zones. These micro-columns of laser then penetrate through the epidermis into the dermis, thereby stimulating collagen and generating healthy, radiant skin. Normal skin remains between the micro-columns created by the laser, allowing for faster healing time. There are two hand pieces for this laser: The Original and the Perméa. The Original penetrates deeper into the skin, thereby stimulating the production of collagen. This is recommended for more mature, sun-damaged skin. The Perméa creates wider, shallower lesions which are more superficial, and focusses on enhanced tone, texture and reduced pore size. It also lightens brown spots, enhances product permeability and improves skin radiance.
Dr.Webster states that the ideal candidate for the CBL is someone with mild to moderate photo-ageing, who is wanting to treat the early signs of skin ageing. It can, however, also be used by those who are wanting to maintain good skin health. It has been designed for clients who want to take control of the ageing process but don’t want to commit to the downtime often required by laser treatments.
Dr Webster very kindly offered me three complimentary CBL treatments, which I (obviously) happily accepted. My experience has been extremely positive and I’ve seen really fantastic results, so I wanted to share this post with you to provide you with some more information about this innovative new treatment.
The treatment procedure:
The treatment is administered by Dr Webster’s aesthetician, Sarah Stringer. A numbing cream is applied for 30 minutes prior to the treatment – this helps to reduce any pain or discomfort.
My first treatment was with the Perméa hand piece, and the pain was manageable. It feels like static rolling across the skin, accompanied by the sensation of prickly heat. The most painful areas were definitely underneath the eye (the roller runs right underneath the lower lashline) and the area between the top lip and the nose. For my second and third treatments, I opted for the Original hand piece, knowing that my skin didn’t really need it and that it would be more painful (the things I do for you, dear reader). Whilst it was definitely a step-up in terms of discomfort, it wasn’t severe enough to deter me from a) having the treatment again and b) readily recommending it (also, bear in mind that pain thresholds vary from person to person).
Directly after the treatment:
The skin will look sunburnt and will feel hot and tingly, but this dissipates after two to three hours. I also experienced swelling around my mouth, as you can see in the picture above (which made me feel like I looked a bit like Homer Simpson). After the treatment, an antioxidant serum (SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic) and a calming masque (SkinCeuticals Photo Corrective Masque) are applied, as well as some medical grade CC cream if you need to go back to work like I did (it is recommended that traditional foundations are avoided on the day of the treatment). The CC cream is incredibly effective and cancels out the redness almost completely – I went straight back to work after all three of my treatments, and nobody noticed anything:
After my second and third treatments, I noticed that my skin was still quite red after I removed the CC cream at the end of the day. That Original hand piece sure does pack a punch!
Sarah will provide you with a skincare kit for the week following your treatment. It is important that you use gentle cleansers (Cetaphil) and avoid any retinoids until your skin is completely healed. The skincare kit contains antioxidants (SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic for the morning and SkinCeuticals Reservatrol BE for the evening) and creams containing growth factors (SkinCeuticals Metacell Renewal B3), as well as a comprehensive SPF to prevent pigmentation (Bioderma Cicabio SPF 50). After a day or two the skin starts to feel rough, like sandpaper, and it slowly starts to crumble off. Luckily the skin doesn’t look as rough as it feels, so it is unlikely that anyone will notice the texture – that was my experience, anyway. Once all the skin has crumbled off (about a week after the treatment), you will be left with the most radiant, even-toned complexion of your life. I honestly couldn’t believe it – my face was so soft, smooth and glowy that I actually didn’t need to apply any kind of foundation/tinted moisturiser (unprecedented). I felt more confident in my skin than I had done in years. There was a particular improvement in the clarity and radiance in the areas on the sides of my nose/cheeks, which had been troublesome for me to treat with product alone. The general redness in my skin calmed down a bit, and my pore size was definitely reduced (I already have relatively small pores, but after these three treatments, I feel like I can’t see any in certain areas anymore…thanks, science!).
Approximately R2,500 per treatment, although the cost may vary according to which clinic you visit. It is recommended that an initial course of three treatments is undertaken (spaced four to six weeks apart), with an annual treatment for maintenance purposes.
If you can, do it. Even if you can only afford one treatment, I promise you it will be worth it. You will see a marked improvement in the texture, tone and clarity of your skin, and the CBL’s collagen boosting abilities ensure that you will continue to see results for months after the treatment.