How a pearl laser treatment helped me get my glow back

pearl laser treatment

Like most people of my generation we spent long days outside playing without adequate sun protection.

It was a fantastic lifestyle and a great way to grow up, but unfortunately it hasn’t been too kind to my skin. I had many brown spots, uneven skin tone, fine lines and the texture wasn’t great. Product tended to sit on my skin, not sink in (rending it pretty much useless) and when I am spending a lot of money on great products, I need them to work and be as effective as possible.

pearl laser before
Before treatment I had dark brown spots and uneven skin tone and rough texture.

I was told about Pearl Laser by my Sydney-based doctor, Dr Stephen Lowe. I was very hesitant at first, but I couldn’t have been happier with this procedure and would highly recommend it to those who are suitable candidates.

I hope you find the below helpful and please don’t hesitate to get hold of me if you have any questions at

Day 1

Today I am very nervous. I didn’t sleep well last night. It’s the unknown for me; will it hurt? will it go wrong? will I end up scarred for life? will I have a panic attack? So, with this in mind, I have requested a sedative: dental block, numbing cream and gas (if needed). But neurosis aside, I have also done all my research on the treatment, so feel confident about the actual procedure and very confident with my doctor.

I am at the clinic, everything has been applied and I am feeling very calm (it’s the sedative – mental note, must use more often in these situations). Dr Lowe explains everything to me, which puts me at ease and makes me feel secure. He starts and to be honest, I don’t really feel much. I do feel a slight hot sensation, and maybe a very light pinching, but that is it. It’s actually very relaxing – until the very last part of the treatment when I think the dental block has worn off, that hurt a bit and I was well over it by then. However, the overall pain was a 2 out of 10. What on earth was I so worried about!

Directly after the treatment, my face is red, feels a little burnt (like a sunburn). Today I got the train into the clinic, as I didn’t want to drive while on painkillers and sedatives. I was more than comfortable taking the train home again, even with a bright red face.

Once home, I had to start with aftercare, which is water and vinegar soaks to help keep the skin clean, then followed by cream to keep it moist. This is done four times a day, or up to seven – the more the better.

The number one rule is to keep your face clean! Wash your hands, sleep on a special pillow protector and stay away from sunlight.

All-in-all, day one has gone a lot better than I anticipated.

day one pearl laser
Immediately after treatment. Pink, tight and a little swollen.

Day 2

I had a great sleep, but did notice on my pillow I had a discolouration from some seeping from my face. Today I am very red, brown and don’t look great at all. The worst part is around my chin and mouth area. I will definitely not go outside as I would seriously scare people. Today I am soaking in the vinegar and water solution about six times during the day, and reapplying the cream after each soak.

I am not going to lie, today I look dreadful! I am not in pain. My skin feels very sunburnt and only slightly uncomfortable.

Today I have a Panadol to take the edge off.

day two pearl laser
Day two. Very red and tight.

Day 3

After thinking this was a ‘walk in the park’ (just a tad premature of me!), today is by far the worst day (also, last night my face was throbbing!).

My skin feels really tight, itchy and uncomfortable. I am still extremely red, but now crustier looking and slighter browner in colour. I can see the skin starting to peel off in small areas, but nothing too major at this stage. I am going back to the doctor today to get some more Stratacel cream (film-forming wound dressing) as I have run out.

I have been putting a lot of the Stratacel cream on my face, to help with the dry tight feeling. I have also been doing a lot of the vinegar and water soak on my face, as this relieves the dry feeling (for a short time). I am finding it hard to talk and to eat today, as the skin around my mouth is very tight.

Apart from heading to the doctors in the car, I am in hiding again today, and don’t think I will be fit for public viewing for at least another three days. Today will be the same routine of vinegar and water soaks and Stratacel cream. I feel a bit down today, but that’s because I am usually out walking in the morning, catching up with people etc. I find it very hard being couped up. The husband is also away for work, so it’s just me and my very scary face. Thank god for Netflix!

I have been assured by Dr Lowe that all of this is normal and he is pleased with my progress (very reassuring).

day 3 pearl laser
Day three. My face feels extremely tight and is starting to go brown.

Day 4

I am not going to lie, last night I had serious doubts. What on earth had I done, have I ruined by face? It’s bright red (will this go away?), it’s like snake skin, and so tight it is uncomfortable.

I have to keep reminding myself that this is a cosmetic procedure and not to be taken lightly. I also remind myself my doctor would not have performed this if I wasn’t going get a decent result, or if I wasn’t a good candidate (I keep repeating this to myself!). Day three was the WORST.

This morning I have woken up and feel so much better. The minute I wake up I do a water and vinegar bath for my face, I soak my face for about 10-15 minutes as it helps soothe it and take away the tight feeling and straight afterwards I smoother my face with the cream provided by Dr Lowe – this keeps everything moist, which is imperative.

Today I am peeling which is rather gross but such a relief as it takes away the tight uncomfortable feeling. I am finding bits of skin over the bed (disgusting!) but hey, that’s part of the process. I am hoping most of the skin peels today. The biggest thing (and hard) is NOT to peel it, let it come off by itself. The last thing you want is scarring. So as frustrating as it is, do not pick at the skin.

As soon as the peeling starts it becomes more bearable.

day 4 pearl laser
Day four. Peeling has started which is a big relief and is much more comfortable.

Day 5

I can see light at the end of the tunnel and am definitely past the worst of it. I was starting to get a little worried my face would be red forever.

Most of the dead skin has come off, my forehead seems to be taking longer to peel. I still don’t feel that comfortable going out, so will not return to work until day seven (although I did go to the chemist today and nobody batted an eyelid – in fact the pharmacist new what I had done and was fascinated – she had had a friend do it with great results, which was reassuring to hear).

My skin feels much better and is definitely getting lighter – more pink than red. I am still doing the vinegar and water baths and using the cream from Dr Lowe.

day 5 pearl laser
Day five. I am starting to see and feel changes.

Day 6

Much more improvement today. The peeling has nearly finished. I will start to wear sunscreen today, and tomorrow will go back onto a gentle cleanser and a very gentle moisturiser for the next few weeks, then start on my normal products (with active ingredients) which will help maintain my skin texture. Redness has gone down considerably today.

pearl laser day six
Day six. Much improved and peeling nearly completed.

Day 7

I can see the new skin – which looks great. Brown spots have gone, the texture on the side of my face looks great, and a few of the fine lines have gone too. To say I am happy is an understatement.

pearl laser day 7
Day seven. A great improvement. My skin feels dewy and soft.

Day 1 to 10 comparisons

The treatment process from day 1–10. A vast improvement, which will continue over the next six months. After just 7 days my brown spots have improved, texture is much better and my skin has a glow (which it hasn’t had for a long time).

It is still pink, which it will be for two weeks. I feel very happy to date. The best part is, my skin will continue to improve over the next few months.

pearl laser comparison one
The first three days.
pearl laser comparison two
Days five, six and seven.
pearl laser comparison three
Great results after eight, nine and 10 days.

My top tips

  • Only have this procedure performed by a doctor, who has experience and is continually trained, who has references, before-and-afters and who you have been personally recommended to.
  • The water and vinegar face baths are a must, they help the skin heel. I did at least six of these a day.
  • Take the week off.
  • Make sure you keep the skin moist. Never let it get dry out.
  • Don’t pick at the peeling skin – it will scar. As frustrating as it is, let it peel away itself (and it’s hard to do!).
  • Day three will be the worst.
  • Do not do this procedure just before going away or before big/important event. Make sure you leave at least eight weeks. Also, you will need to limited your sun exposure or cover up really well after this procedure, or you risk getting hyperpigmentation (which will totally negate the reason for going through this).
  • I suggest getting this done in winter.
  • Be patient. On day three you will think ‘what have I done’ but I promise you by day 6 or 7 you will be feeling a lot better.
  • Last, but not least, don’t expect miracles. This procedure won’t make you look 10 years younger, it will make you look fresher, your skin tone will improve, fine lines may improve and sun damage will improve. For some people a further treatment may be needed. For me after one treatment the difference in my skin was immense. My skin looks dewy. I really love the results.

I went to Dr Stephen Lowe from Total Face Group in Chatswood, who I highly recommend. The cost of this treatment starts from $1250 for Pearl Laser (approx. cost at time of writing). Please feel free to contact Doctor Stephen Lowe

The co-founder of 50SoWhat has been in publishing for most of her working life. She was general manager of successful boutique media publishing house in New Zealand for several years and boasts an impeccable sales, marketing and management background. When she’s not road-testing the latest cosmetic procedures, or investigating the hottest lifestyle, travel, fashion and beauty trends for over 45’s, Jo is often back home catching up with family and friends, or working on her golf swing!


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