When I was younger, I had great skin. Really great skin. People used to stop me pretty regularly to comment on my unblemished, ivory complexion. But now that I’m firmly in my 30s, I’ve learned that they call it a “youthful glow” for a reason. Like it or not, mine is fading into skin concerns. I get hormonal breakouts like nobody’s business now, which leave unpleasant discolorations in their wake. I cover them well enough with makeup, but I hate them with this other new thing I’m getting, which I like to call “the bitter resentment of age.”
Still, I had never considered getting a laser skin treatment. Those seemed so drastic, like they were only for serious problems like major skin issues or turning 50. In fact, when I went to Agape, I thought I was going there for one of their fancy facials. But when I sat down with Medical Aesthetician Amy Medeiros for my consultation, wearing no makeup, the horror of my breakout* in full force in the glaring light of day, she had another suggestion: Elos Laser Skin Rejuvenation. Elos, she promised, would improve those dark spots, as well as improve sun damage, dark circles, crow’s feet, future breakouts and the overall elasticity and glow of my skin. Sign me up, I said, and made an appointment to come back for laser skin treatment. (*Ok, I may be overstating this slightly. But two big, yucky blemishes are a lot for someone who didn’t even have that many for the entire four years of high school. Feel bad for me yet? I thought so.)
Here’s how it works: you go in, have your face slathered in a thick coat of numbing gel, and then wait half an hour for the dual purpose of desensitizing your face and letting your mind do its absolute worst with how you’re about to get your skin lasered off and come out looking like an unwrapped mummy in a horror movie. Oh, that’s just me? Weird.
When I was good and numb, Amy came to get me. I was nervous. Really nervous. But she explained that the waiting was necessary. Lasers are hot. They’re made of supercharged light particles. I definitely didn’t want the laser without the gel, she said. And when she applied the first little zap to my forehead and I barely felt anything, I knew she was right. She went over my face, zapping each freckle and sun spot. It was quick and not very painful at all. The whole process took maybe 15 minutes. She explained that my discolored spots would get darker (but that nobody would notice except me, which was completely true) and then come off naturally in about a week. I’d need to come back for one or two more visits to get the full effect.
When I left, my skin was tender for a few hours, like I was getting a sunburn. I could wear makeup immediately, and felt fine by that night. In a couple of days, I noticed the darkening effect, followed a few days later by a noticeable lessening of my freckles. My skin looked nicer, too, and when that time of the month came around, my break-out was much smaller and more manageable than it had been before.
A month later, I went back for my second treatment. This time, I knew what to expect, and Amy did a more serious application on my dark circles. Knowing that it would hurt for a minute but that it would make a big difference in the long run, I was all for it. We did our 15 minutes of blue light zapping. This time, when I left, I wasn’t tender at all, and the after-effect was remarkable. My skin looks like it did 10 years ago, back in the halcyon days of youthful glow. Almost all of my discolorations are gone, my breakouts barely exist, and my skin tone is clear and glowing. To maintain this, I’m willing to put in a few minutes and some zaps every couple of months. It turns out laser skin treatments are much less drastic – and much more of a thing I want in my life – after all.