“It’s happening. After years of cursing my sun-lovin’, spot-squeezin’, carefree ways, I’m taking the plunge and doing something about it. Yup, I’m ready to Emerge.” – Ali B, Skindeep Mullaloo Client.
Growing up, a tan took priority over sunscreen, and the thought of being a wrinkly ol’ bag was too far off to care about. Summers in Australia, three years in the Middle East and plenty of hat-free trips to Bali and Thailand were an amazing way to pass the time, and – just like Mum promised – now I’m starting to see the downside.
Not only am I now seeing the dreaded little creases around my eyes and mouth (I’m assuming they are the result of my ‘smoking is bad-ass’ phase), I’m also noticing the scarring from 15 years of zit-picking becoming more prominent. Couple that with redness, dark circles that require a hefty extra baggage allowance, and stress/hormone/insomnia/wine induced spots, and I’m ready to take action. So, that’s why I’m heading in to Skindeep Mullaloo tomorrow to have an Emerge Fractional Laser treatment.
The girls assure me it’s safe, relatively painless, and an effective way to combat all of those things I see when I look at my reflection.
And – lucky you! You get to follow my progress as I write about it and post photos of my mug, so you can ‘try before you buy’, if this is the treatment you’re considering.
The Treatment – Thursday 7pm. D-Day.
After a few weeks of the girls teasing me about Helen’s overenthusiasm with the Emerge gun (wand? stick? whatever!), I’ve filled out my questionnaire form and am pacing the scented foyer of the Skindeep Mulalloo salon.
We mosey on around to the treatment rooms where I’m welcomed into a cosy bed with an electric blanket to have my face cleansed and massaged. Good start!
Helen explains the treatment while we’re there, and gives me the chance to ask questions, which is great. We make our way to the Visia machine, where she takes photos of my skin from the front and sides under natural and UV light, so we can compare them to how it looked before I started my (admittedly on-again-off-again) skincare routine – exactly one year ago today (coincidence much?!). My spots have definitely cleared up and I can see a good reduction in redness and pore size – but I can’t wait to see how I look post-Emerge.
I’m laying down with an fairly impressive piece of technology whirring up beside me, and we’re good to go. Helen applies a gel to my face, which feels nice and cool, and is apparently there to help the head slide more easily and give me a more consistent treatment. Lovely. But the anticipation is killing me! My pain threshold is good, but I’m also a bit of a sook when I wanna be.
The first “pass” is great. A little bit stingy but definitely not painful. Each pass delivers 70 “shots” to the skin, and a decent treatment involves about 500 passes. So that’s about 35,000 tiny little holes in my face with laser beams going down, down, down. Sweet. As Helen’s doing my treatment, she explains a bit about the technology. The Emerge Fractional Laser is a Class 1 laser, and is extremely effective on scarring, stretch marks, pigmentation, wrinkle, age spots, etc. but without the downtime of something like Fraxel, which is a Class 4 laser. The machine delivers columns of light that are about the width of a hair into the dermal layer (the really deep one) to encourage the treated skin to be eliminated over a few weeks, and replaced by healthy, lovely skin. (For more info on how it works, see here)
So we’re about 10 minutes in and it’s starting to get… uncomfortable. The treated skin is feeling really hot, like sunburn, and each pass is a little more painful than the last. Helen is going over my ‘areas of concern’ a few times for maximum efficiency, so that’s great – but it is starting to hurt. Not as bad as IPL though, it’s more like a scratch for 1-2 seconds, then a pause.
The whole treatment takes around 30 minutes, and by the end, I’m pretty ready to get the heck off that bed. I wouldn’t say it was unbearably painful, but the delicate skin around my eyes, upper lip and the bits she went over a few times are feeling pretty raw. My whole face feels super hot, is red and blotchy, and puffy. It’s not a great look. The cooling gel really helps, and I leave that on for 10 minutes. I was advised to book an Omnilux treatment after the session to help with healing, but I thought I’d see how I went. Silly me. could totally deal with laying under a lovely light with someone massaging my scalp right now!
After 10 mins, the girls remove the gel and put on some amazing cherry smelling balm which is so soothing, and advise me to do whatever I can to keep my face cool tonight. Air-con on in the car (or windows open, as it’s 7* outside), and ice packs when I get home. I book an Omnilux for the next day and hot foot outta there to crank the AC.
After a freezing-but-soothing ride home, my dog takes one look at me and scampers when I arrive and my boyfriend gives me raised eyebrows and a concerned “oooooh”. I’m preparing for the worst, but when I check the mirror, it’s more blotchy and swollen than scaring-small-children. I keep the ice packs on, sleep with my head elevated as advised, and pray I don’t scare off my 11am client in the morning.
Morning After – Friday.
Slept well, and have woken up feeling great. Almost forgot about my treatment, but the mirror reminded me.
Blotchy, plump (ok, swollen) and my scarring has gone quite dark. My face feels dry, like three-day old sunburn – it’s quite sensitive and a bit itchy, but after I’ve applied my normal make up, it doesn’t look much different from usual.
I was advised to used sunscreen and mineral foundation if needed – so I used the same as I do everyday, True Solutions tinted SPF and Priori Coffeeberry Mineral Powder. Feelin’ good!
Pics: Left – tinted moisturiser only. Right – full make up. *Note to self: must primp hair before taking photos for the world to see.
Afternoon After – Friday.
Morning meeting’s done and nobody’s run screaming – winning! My face is starting to feel hot, dry and itchy, so I’m bailing out of the office and going to work from home, because I want to take my make up off. To be honest, I didn’t really NEED to go home, but I do feel way more productive in my pyjamas.
I washed my make up off with Aspect Dr Mild Facial Cleanser and applied some of their ‘Redless’ serum, so I smell a bit like seaweed but it feels amazingly hydrating on my face. It’s also taken a bit of the pinkness out of my cheeks.
The swelling has definitely gone down (hello again, cheekbones!) but I’m still pretty blotchy, and the areas that have been heavily treated are pretty dark. Heading in for an Omnilux Revive at 4pm – yesssss….
24 Hours Post Treatment – Friday.
Had a blissful Omnilux with Niamh this afternoon – it was 40 mins of laying rugged up on a bed with an electric blanket on, having a scalp massage.
Another gentle cleanse and the Omnilux Revive was on, my head was being massaged gently, and I was transported to relaxation-town.
After my Omnilux, Niamh applied the incredible DNA Cellular Recovery Serum and the Cosmedix Resuce Balm (the cherry one – YUM!) and I was good to go.
My skin feels lovely, still pretty rough with some darker patches, but it does feel well hydrated and isn’t sunburn-red anymore. Heading home for a much-needed night in with ‘Orange is the New Black’ Series 2 on the TV. Woop! .
Day 2 – Saturday.
Yeah, I’m not going to win any beauty pagents this morning… My face feels rough and dry, and looks pretty yuk. It looks grazed actually, like I’ve had a minor run in with a piece of sandpaper.
The areas that were heavily treated have gone pretty dark, giving me what looks a bit like a five o’clock shadow.
I slather on the Redless serum again which is nice, but doesn’t make much difference to the roughness. A layer of the tinted True Solutions SPF that I use everyday does well to improve the look of my skin, but I can still feel the roughness. A puff of mineral make up powder later and I’m ready to face the day. Boyf assures me that I look absolutely fine (probably the only circumstance I would accept “fine”), so I’m taking his word for it and hitting the road.
In summary, I’m not looking my best, but it’s not enough to keep me away from a beautiful, sunny Saturday. I’ve planned my outfit around wearing a hat, and I’m also taking my sunscreen to reapply throughout the day, to protect my skin which is more sensitive that usual.
Day 4 – Monday.
After a great exuse to be lazy at home over the weekend (I’m in recovery!), it’s all systems go today. My face is still feeling a bit rough, but so much better than the last few days and my tinted moisturiser is enough to cover the darker bits. I’ve had a few spots come up around my chin and cheeks, but they’re not huge ones, so that’s good.
All in all, I’m feeling good and nobody at work has noticed anything different (or said anything, anyway..) so that’s great! UPDATE: At the end of the day, I went to my boxing class and my face felt really tight after I took my make up off. Got home, slathered on the Redless, and it’s feeling really soft and supple now. Some of the flaky bits are coming off (ewww) but it’s revealing baby soft skin underneath. Yesss!
Day 7 – Thursday.
A week post-treatment and I’m stoked!!
My skin is feeling plump, even and really soft – it’s amazing! The bags under my eyes are significantly better and the scarring on my cheeks, although not gone completely, has definintely faded.
Pic 1 & 2, seven days post treatment, no make up. Pic 3, same day with tinted moisturiser, blush and eye make up.
I know it takes longer than a week to see the full results, but so far – I’m a happy chappy! I’m going to continue with my Omnilux treatments again, and am thinking about also trying the Dermafrac treatment at Skindeep – it’s a less invasive laser and Helen has told me it’s a great ‘top up’ between Emerge treatments.
I’ll keep you all updated, so make sure you’re on the Skindeep Facebook page to get the updates and keep checking back on this page to see the progress!Read more about Emerge