going under the laser

Whew, its been a hot minute since my last post. I guess marriage, adopting a dog and work just gets in the way of my writing time!

Anyways, for the majority of last year I had some self-confidence issues with my skin. For anyone reading this that knows me well, you may think I am crazy and say that I have never had skin problems, but I disagree. I am convinced that using foundations and being addicted to all those glorious acne, “fixers,” effed me up really good.

I also know a lot of people love that Rodan and Fields stuff, but good lord did that mess my face up. My esthetician went on and on about how I should have never used it and should never use anything like that again. Dove soap and Cetaphil are all you need ladies. In fact, since switching to just that my face is so happy – hardly any pimples aside from that lovely hormonal time of each month!


For the majority of last year, I would get massive flare ups in terms of acne. I really went through a phase where I struggled with my skin and was completely unhappy with how I looked without any makeup on. It sounds silly, but over time I felt like I was using more and more makeup, and not only that – I was constantly SWITCHING what I was using thinking that was going to magically fix things – DUMB.

After talking about it with my husband, I decided to seek a consultation with an esthetician.

Right before my wedding in December, I went in for that consultation at Sona Med Spa in Huntersville, North Carolina. After analyzing my skin, the esthetician recommended profractional laser treatments to 1). clear up my acne and 2). fade existing acne scars.

Which leads to why I am writing this post, because after sharing one of my favorite blogger’s (Paleomg) post on her profractional treatment, I got bombarded with questions about my experience(s), so I thought I would lay it all out there…

To be 100% honest, during the first trip in for the profractional treatment I was so, so anxious. Prior to the treatment you complete a sheet that tells you different complications that could arise – like skin discoloration, swelling, bleeding, pussing and a bunch of other gross stuff that is quite intimidating. Also, prior to treatment you are given a topical numbing cream that you put on your face an hour prior to treatment which helps with the heat of the laser.

Walking into the appointment with the cream on I was like, “Oh hell, what have I gotten myself into.”

As the procedure begins, your face is washed to remove the numbing cream and metal goggles are put on your eyes to protect them from the laser. Then they turn on the laser (which is loud) and walk you through where they are going to start with the laser at (typically your forehead).

The laser hurts a little (depending on your pain tolerance) and feels like a rubber band whipping you in the face. As the esthetician works across your face, you find it hurts worse is different areas. For me it hurts the most in my temples and under my eyes – under my eyes get the most work too, due to deep scars there from the teenage picking phase of my life.

Usually they say I do a great job of just laying there. I’m not sure if that means I handle pain better than others or if they are just trying to be nice and keep me calm during all of that – so the pain part may vary depending on the person that you are.

Overall the procedure takes about 20 minutes and after you are given an air tube that blows cool air on your face while the esthetician puts Aquaphor on your face. Usually the Aquafor burns a little, but I imagine that is because 1000 holes have just been lasered into your face.

After my first treatment, my face burned (literally) like when you put alcohol on a wound for about 30 minutes following. This experience has held true for each time I have had a pixel done (which so far is three out of six times).

Roughly an hour after the treatment, the heat subsides and I start to feel more normal. My face starts to get red and doesn’t get the fullest of red until the next day when the skin /scar tissue starts to scab. (I know that sounds gross).

Each time after I have had a pixel done, it hasn’t really kept me from doing anything I normally do.

Generally its recommended to keep the Aquaphor on overnight, but after my experience during first treatment, I take it off before bed and simply put on my Cetaphil lotion, which makes my skin burn at first. When I had my first pixel, I kept a lot of Aquafor on overnight and woke up with several acne flare ups (which totally freaked me out). Flare ups during pixel happen, especially the first time, because it purges your skin of the long-lasting $hit under the skin – but my skin also doesn’t do well with that thick healing ointment (it likes to breathe).

When scheduling a pixel, I have done all of mine on a Friday so that I have three days to heal before really needing to put much makeup on.

Overall, the pixel process hasn’t kept me from doing anything I normally do, but depending on your comfort level you may want to schedule it when you don’t have to go anywhere. I personally have gotten to a place in my life where I know what I am doing is great for my skin and I do not care if I look like a freak of nature for two/four days in public. After my first pixel I went to target with my husband – red-faced and covered in Aquafor, so it’s really up to you.

I will say the pixel process is confusing each time, solely because your face looks pretty scary at first until the healing process really gets going. Expect to be the beast for a few days, but the beauty that follows is well worth it, as it changes your skin for the better.

Here’s a glance of how it breaks out day by day:

  • Right after the pixel, your skin is hot for about an hour and then starts to normalize.
  • By night-time, it starts to get its full-effect of redness and your skin starts its healing process (the laser damages the skin to produce new collagen). I also usually notice my skin pussing in certain areas that were worked on harder for deeper scars. (Aka they spent more time with the laser in those areas). Yeah, it’s gross. Generally at this point my husband is like WHAT DID YOU DO (even though I have done it three times now).
  • By day two the skin is tight and starting to form scabs. This is when it starts to look ugly, but you have to think beast before the beauty.
  • By day three, my skin is starting to peel and is super dark/brown. I think day three is by far the worst day, because your skin is peeling in an almost uncomfortable way – think bad sunburn on your face and how the skin peels then.
  • Day four the peeling continues by you start to see the smoothness in the new skin thats revealing.
  • Day five, most of the healing is done, but you still have some peeling.
  • Day six and onward, the healing is primarily complete, but you keep seeing your skin change for the better (I can’t stress that enough).
  • Day 10 or so, you’re looking fab and your skin is much smoother than it was. This is usually when my husband then says WOW YOUR SKIN LOOKS GREAT, which is funny because he just a week ago was questioning my life decisions…

Here are some images of my most recent treatment, and yes I look ridiculous with my facial expressions and yes its kind of graphic.

I should also mention that since doing pixel the only makeup I wear is BareMinerals. I use their powder foundation, some blush, eyeshadow and mascara. I usually find myself wearing NO makeup several days a week now too.

Day 2 after my second pixel treatment.
Roughly 30 minutes after my third treatment.
Day 2 following my third treatment with BareMinerals makeup on (to cover the redness).
pixel 1
Day three after my third treatment. My skin is starting the peel and you can really notice the scabbing/grid texture.

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