Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Photofacial Review: Everything You Need To Know About This Gamechanging Procedure

Photofacial review, photofacial before & after, photofacial cost, photofacial benefits
About five years ago my dermatologist told me that one of the best preventative measures I could incorporate into my anti-aging routine was to get photofacials.

Done. Sold. Where do I sign up?

High definition television cameras show every flaw, wrinkle and brown spot. Since then I have had about one photofacial per year. I could easily scale that to two or three per year but I just can't find the time. Without question, in terms of bang for your beauty buck, photofacials are worth it.

RELATED: 5 Content Ideas For Dermatologists & Aestheticians.

The result is gorgeous, plump and glowing skin. Photofacials help reduce fine lines but, for me, their biggest benefit is a smooth complexion. They reduce or even eliminate, in some cases, those brown spots caused by the sun. It can also help with acne scarring. I had terrible scars from the cystic acne I suffered from as a teenager. The scarring I had on my jawline is virtually gone.

Interested other beauty gamechangers? Read my SkinPen facial review, DermaPlane facial review find out about 10 instant beauty treatments that work.

Photofacial review, photofacial before & after, photofacial cost, photofacial benefits
What Is A Photofacial?
A photofacial is a procedure in which intense pulses of light are used to penetrate deep into the skin. This causes collagen and blood vessels below the epidermis to constrict, reducing redness and fine lines. It also helps reduce sun damage AKA those pesky brown spots.

The treatment itself involves a handheld device which an aesthetician slowly maneuvers over your treatment zone. It delivers a hot, light pulse which feels a bit like a rubber band snapping on your face. Even though you will be given goggles to cover your eyes, you will notice the light every time it "snaps".

To prepare for a photofacial, you need to avoid sun exposure about seven days prior to your procedure. You also need to avoid products containing Alpha Hydroxy Acid, Retinol, Tazorac, and Differin. You also need to disclose what medications you're taking to ensure it won't affect your procedure.

This is not an exhaustive list of precautions to take. You need to consult with a license professional before getting a photofacial treatment.

Learn more about the science of photofacials here.
Photofacial review, photofacial before & after, photofacial cost, photofacial benefits
Does A Photofacial Hurt?
Not gonna lie: it's not a pleasant experience but neither is a bikini wax. You just deal with it. Numbing cream is applied to the treatment area to reduce pain. It's not terrible and once you do it a few times, you get used to it. Your face will feel tight following the treatment, like you have a sunburn. You will need to moisturize heavily following your procedure.
Photofacial review, photofacial before & after, photofacial cost, photofacial benefits
Photofacial Side Effects
Beyond the feeling of tightness you will experience, your face will start to peel in about 24 hours. My face first starts to peel in the "goatee" area around my mouth. After that I experience peeling all over my face, cheeks, neck and chest.

The key is letting the skin flake off naturally. Resist the urge to peel it yourself. The first time I got a photofacial, I peeled off a sheet of skin near my mouth too soon. This resulted in some scabbing. I had to apply aloe vera gel from a leaf to help it heal and not scar.

Again: do not peel the skin. Let it flake off naturally. If you need to, take some cuticle scissors to cut off the flakes. Don't peel your skin. 

While your face is peeling, don't use any retinoids or acids. Use mild moisturizers at night (I use Cerave Moisturizing Cream and Elta MD Post-Procedure Laser Balm following a photofacial) and a non-irritating sunscreen during the day (Elta MD UV Daily Tinted Moisturizer is perfect post-procedure).

The peeling is noticeable but not terrible. I have gone on television with peeling skin. I have simply asked the camera operators not to take tight shots of my face. Unless you're a model who makes a living with your face, you can absolutely work following a photofacial.

You can also use a calming cream to help the redness subside. I like Skin Authority's Redness Relief.
Photofacial review, photofacial before & after, photofacial cost, photofacial benefits
How To Make Your Photofacial Results Last
For about seven days following your procedure, you need to be vigilant about avoiding the sun. If you're heading to the beach the day after your photofacial, reschedule. Do everything you can to avoid getting sun on the treatment area: wear a hat, use an umbrella, lather your skin with sunscreen.

To help your photofacial last, be vigilant about sun protection. A strong sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher will help prevent sun damage. Use it liberally on your hands, arms, chest and neck as well as your face. I have listed some of my favorite sunscreens below.

Using a good vitamin C serum on your face can also help maintain those results. Vitamin C helps boost collagen production while reducing brown spots. Learn more about my favorite vitamin C serum here.

The best anti-aging product you can use is retinol. I like prescription Renova as well as over the counter RoC products.

Who Is A Candidate For A Photofacial? 
Just about anyone! Men and women. I have been trying to get my husband and his sun-damaged skin to get a photofacial for years. He won't do it. Wuss.

If you're pregnant, suffer from skin disorders or are undergoing medical treatment, you are not a candidate for a photofacial. Always consult with a licensed professional.

How Much Does A Photofacial Cost?
A photofacial is not the type of treatment you want to "shop for a bargain". I fully believe you get what you pay for in these instances. Treatments vary by region. I have paid between $300-$600 for a single treatment. You can generally get a better deal if you buy a series of treatments.

How To Find A Licensed Photofacial Professional
Tori Smith, who is a registered nurse, has always done my photofacials. I completely trust her with my skin. She currently works at Skincepts Medical Skincare in Dallas, TX. Ask your friends who have had photofacials whom they would recommend. Talk to your dermatologist and get a recommendation. You could also check your local city magazine, such as D Magazine or LA Magazine, for recommendations. Read beauty blogs, ask around. Don't make a quick decision when it comes to someone working on your face or body.

RELATED: Dermaplane Facial, a quick way to get gorgeous skin with absolutely no downtime

RELATED: SkinPen Procedure, dynamic results with little downtime.

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