Beauty review: Diary of my Pearl Fractional Laser procedure

I’ve made no secret of it, I have always been fascinated by medical advancement in skincare and procedures.

So, it went without saying that I’d have Pearl Fractional Laser when offered to me by my fabulous doctor, Stephen Lowe (after I had done extensive research – this is my face after all and I am a tad anal about these things).

Why was I so excited to get this treatment? Because I wanted to address my pigmentation, fine lines and the texture of my skin and to help with elasticity.

The Pearl Laser is more a surface procedure, so it’s great for brown spots, and very fine lines and gives your skin a lovely glow. The Pearl Fractional is more for deeper lines and skin elasticity, while giving you great texture and that all important glow. I had a combination of both. Your doctor will be able to advise which is best for you.

Here is my detailed diary of my Pearl Fractional Laser experience with Dr Stephen Lowe from Muse Clinic in Chatswood, Sydney; before, during and after. I hope you find it helpful and informative.

Procedure day

I have had pearl laser before with Dr Lowe, so knew what to expect, but never fractional so I was a tad anxious and nervous. I’m sure my doctor thinks I am a fruit cake, the first thing I ask for is a sedative! Thank God he has the patience of a saint! Because while I have had this before, I have never had fractional.

Right from the start, Dr Lowe and his team made me feel looked after, comfortable and confident in the treatment I was having. They explained what would happen, the expected outcome for, during and after the procedure. I found this very reassuring (honesty is always the best policy).

Before starting, I was given a sedative to calm my nerves, a medical grade numbing cream all over my face, and a dental block around the sensitive mouth area (a must).

During the treatment I feel comfortable, and to be honest can’t really feel any pain (thank you pain medication). Dr Lowe explains what he is doing, which makes me feel much more comfortable. For me, there would be nothing worse than silence during the treatment. The unknown makes me nervous.

The Pearl laser feels like elastic bands being pinged onto the surface of your face, hot bands, but strangely it wasn’t uncomfortable (the numbing cream helped). The fractional laser felt more like a jack hammer with heat, but didn’t hurt (I had a dental block, without this, I probably would have jumped off the table). The pain level was 2/10. I could feel heat, but it wasn’t painful. Make no bones about it though, without the pain relief it would not be comfortable at all.

The procedure only took an hour (two hours total with prep time), and afterwards I had a LED light treatment, which helps speed up the recovery time, and is super relaxing, I think I actually fell asleep.

My husband picks me up and is a tad grossed out by the seeping plasma and blood on my face (which you aren’t allowed to touch). Looking back at photos I look a fright (don’t say I didn’t warn you). It does look a lot worse than it felt – I promise you.

laser procedure
Directly after my procedure. Worse where I had Fractional Laser. Looks horrific, but not sore at all.

Next day

Last night I had a great night’s sleep (must have been the sedatives). This morning face is throbbing a bit, but not painful, just annoying. Last night I placed a protective pad over my pillow – as this helps keep my face clean, but also if you get any seeping (which I did) it contains it.

My face has some blood on it, and plasma (all normal) and is starting to go red. I am not alarmed at all, as this is normal. I start my vinegar and water baths and smoother my face with the stratacel cream, as it soothes and keeps my face moist and less tight. It is recommended you do 3-4 vinegar and water baths a day. I do about 8-12, as it soothes my face.

I have to go back to the clinic each day for photos, so I do go out, but park right outside the clinic – because there is no way I want anyone seeing me. I look a fright! Let’s not make any bones about it, you do not want to go out in public. This morning I also have a red-light treatment – which helps speed up recovery time and is relaxing.

Two days later

I didn’t have a great sleep last night, okay, I had a crappy sleep. My face is so tight! I want to stretch my face out to crack it and release the tightness/tension. It’s similar to when you put on a peel mask, and it gets so tight you just want to rip it off – but you can’t! You have to leave it and wait for the peeling process to start itself, DO NOT TOUCH IT. I am not going to lie, it’s torture – it really is!

Day three (two days after treatment) was always going to be the hardest. My skin is so tight it’s difficult to eat or drink (thank god I have straws in the house). It’s not painful at all, just very uncomfortable. I woke up at 5.30am and went straight into the bathroom and did a water and vinegar bath, which offered instant relief. It made a difference for an hour. Today I am going to be doing a lot of water and vinegar baths. Hopefully tomorrow I am peeling. Today I am having another light treatment, which I think is working and helping with the recovery process. Today I actually feel a bit down, but I knew I would (from last time) so its not a surprise, but if you are getting this done for the first time, don’t be alarmed, tomorrow will be better.

By late evening my face is throbbing. I have taken painkillers. Day three – a nightmare!

Three days later

I am a lot more comfortable today. My face is starting to peel (sloth) which is making life a lot more bearable, the tightness is slowly going. My advice – do as many of the water and vinegar baths as you can, it honestly helps with the tightness and healing time and I think helps you peel quicker. Today feels like a walk in the park compared to yesterday. I did take a painkiller this morning, just to take the edge off, but as the day goes on, my face feels better. Today I am still very red, but it’s a lot more bearable. I am finding bits of dead skin on my clothes (gross) but that’s a good thing, it means my skin is healing and doing what it should be. Tonight, I am washing my hair – it’s been a few days and I can’t bare it. I just have to be very careful not to get any products on my face.

Days 2, 3 and 4 post procedure. Very red and skin is tight.
Four days later

I have turned the corner, hallelujah, today I feel normal. I am still red, especially where I had the fractional laser, but I have peeled. It will be at least another three days until I can put sunblock on and makeup. So, I am still confined to indoors, but it will be worth it. I head out for a walk when it’s dark, because being housebound is driving me nuts. I can go out during the day, but just need to put on a massive hat. I prefer not too, as I don’t want to risk any sun getting on my face while it is healing.

I had another light treatment today – these are working really well and have helped speed up the recovery time. I can see a massive difference in the healing time compared to my treatment eight months ago. The LED light treatments have made a big difference. AND, I can see beautiful, fresh new skin, which looks dewy, soft and shiny. It makes day three all worth it.

Five days later 

My skin is 85% healed. I am still red where I had the fractional part of the laser. Today I head into the clinic for more photos and another light treatment (which I swear by). I also head out today to get my hair cut, and to get a few things from the mall. I think I look great (compared to what I did a few days ago) but I fail to acknowledge that not everyone walking around has seen my face a few days ago, and my still red and a little raw lower face is getting a bit of attention. Barry from the our building asks what the hell have done to myself, when I run into him in the elevator and a few kids in the shopping centre give me a double take. I really don’t care though, it’s no biggie for me. However, if you don’t like the odd stare and scaring young children, I suggest staying in until you can cover your face up (which I can do in a few days).

Six days later

Today my lower face isn’t as red. I feel great but have decided to say in and give myself a little more time to heal completely. I spend the day getting some work done, updating social media and doing mundane house things. The only area still red is the part I had fractional laser done to, this is because fractional is harsher than just the Pearl laser, but it gives a slightly better result, due to going a bit deeper into the layers of skin. It is however fading as each day goes past. If you are having fractional to your whole face, I suggest taking 10 days off. The areas of my face I had Pearl are looking incredible. The skin is smooth, looks fresh and is glowing. I am very happy so far.

face procedure
Days 5, 6 and 7 post procedure. Feeling so much better and new skin coming through.
Seven days later

I am 95% healed, which has taken a week. Back into my normal routine. I can put light makeup and sunblock on. I have stopped my vinegar and water baths and feel really good. My skin looks fantastic.

laser procedure for face
Days 8, 9 and 10 post procedure. Skin is healing and will continue to get better over the following months.

Would I recommend this treatment – YES 100%.

Please note that this treatment continues to improve as time goes on. It is now eight weeks post my second laser treatment and my skin looks amazing. You will notice changes directly afterwards, but it’s not until a few months after that you start to see the full results, and even at six months post (last time) I noticed my skin was still improving. It is imperative to look after the skin after laser. You must use sunscreen, keep your face out of the sun, use good products and I  also eat well and take care of yourself, because a healthy body and diet will help with your skins appearance.

laser procedure
Left is eight months ago before my first treatment, right is today eight weeks after my second treatment
No makeup, no filter and I am in shock at the difference. I couldn’t be more happier.

Tips

Downtime: For Pearl Laser allow 5-7 days. For Pearl Fractional Laser allow 10 days. When I say downtime, you can still work but you probably won’t want to be seen in public, especially during days 1 – 4 after the procedure.

Preparation: Eat well, exercise and do anything you can to ensure a quick recovery after your procedure. A healthy mind and body will always heal faster. Give yourself as much opportunity to make this a good experience. Being in a good mental state of mind is imperative. There will be days where you wonder ‘what the hell have I done’, but that’s usually on day three. Make sure you also have supplies in the house, just in case you can’t or don’t want to go out. (especially if you live alone).

Choosing your doctor: Go to someone you trust, someone that has been recommended by someone you trust, always look at reviews and credentials. I went to Dr Stephen Lowe from Muse Clinic in Chatswood, Sydney who I highly recommend. Dr Lowe is professional, caring, particular (a must) and treats every patient differently. It’s not a ‘one size fits all’ here. We are all unique and our needs are unique. This clinic is owned by Dr Lowe, which means unlike some clinics you can receive the highest quality of care and pain management if needed.

Pain factor of Pearl/Fractional Laser: A 2/10 with a dental block, medical grade numbing cream and a sedative if you feel you need it and painkillers – talk to your doctor prior to the procedure. This is from my experience, but I may have a high pain threshold. I also suggest having painkillers for a few days after.

Cost: Pearl Laser $1250, Pearl and Fractional Laser $2400.

Impact on normal activities: I could still work, I just worked from home. I could go for a walk at night (I did it under the cover of darkness) as I still wanted to get some fresh air and light exercise.

Low point: Day three – by far the worst. I wanted to shoot myself. Your face will feel tight and very uncomfortable, but it’s only one day and you will get through it. Do lots of the water and vinegar baths – it helps smooth the skin and lessen the tightness. Just be prepared, this day will be tough. I always say expect the worse, and be pleasantly surprised.

Try not to stress: You will look a fright, and some of you may wonder what the hell you’ve put yourself through, especially when your face goes all red, brown and tight. BUT it will be worth it. Your skin will be pink for up to a few months (for me it was only a few weeks) and in time your skin will look and feel great. My skin tone has improved, I have lovely fresh glow and my pigmentation and fine lines improved. On day three, I thought my skin would never return to its normal colour, but it does! Be patient and know that it’s a process. You have to be prepared for the worst, and hopefully be surprised it’s not as bad as it is. Don’t go into this thinking it’s a walk in the park. It’s not. The results are more than worth it.

Skin care: You need to ensure you take very good care of your skin while out in the sun. Always keep it covered and use good protection. You must keep your face out of the sun, especially after a laser treatment. Failing to do so may lead to darker pigmentation developing.

Look ahead: While you will see good results after your skin has healed (ensure you have before and after photos taken so you can see the difference) the skin will continue to improve over time. For me, I saw the optimal results at 4-5 months after the procedure and my skin continues to improve to this day.

In summary

Is it worth it – YES. I recommend Dr Lowe from Muse Clinic in Chatswood. I am beyond happy with the results. I had someone come into my office that I hadn’t seen for four years, and the first thing she said was “you look younger now than before”. She didn’t know I had laser either. I have witnesses (our Art Director was with me – so she can attest to this happening).

This treatment is not be suitable for all skin types. Please see a professional if you are interested. Do your research, ask questions and go into it with all the knowledge you can. My experience was a good one, and based on that, I highly recommend it.

I want to say a massive thank you to the incredible team at Muse Clinic. Dr Lowe and his wonderful team were so good to me, they were professional yet friendly, helpful, kind, put up with all my questions, and treated me incredibly well from the moment I stepped into the clinic until the moment I left (and also kept in contact to see how I was going throughout the process).

My results speak for themselves. It was a process, but 100% worth it.

Feel free to email me on jo@50sowhat.com.au if you have any questions, or call the team at Muse Clinic direct, (02) 9904 7279.

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