A week ago I went to visit my good friend Jordan Harper who did laser treatment + microneedling on my face. I want to tell you what all I had done but first let’s talk about why. First off, I used to go to the tanning bed. And I played soccer and tennis year-round. Oh yeah and I was a lifeguard every summer. And when I wasn’t lifeguarding I was laying out. With baby oil. Then on the days I wasn’t playing sports in the sun, working in the sun or bathing in the sun I was on a boat or a shore somewhere. To make a long story short me and vitamin D go way back. Me and sunscreen….. not so much.
Then came spring of 2009. Zach and I were at the Masters spending the day watching our favorite golfers, indulging in egg salad sandwiches and getting our fair share of sun. We parked it at the 1oth green and watched the leaders play through. I was wearing sunscreen and huge sunglasses but the sun was so harsh that my cheeks took a beating. It was the first time in my life I remember getting sunburned. As in my skin was red, then painful, then scabby and then peeled. It was horrible and I’ve spent the last 8 years trying to right my wrongs. Pregnancy made it worse as I battled every form of melasma and hyper-pigmentation known to man. And just when I thought I had found the perfect combination of hydroquinone or retin-A or retinol I have one random day in the sun without a shield on my face and boom… there they are again. Dark spots on my cheeks, dark skin on my upper lip and random dots and splotches all over my face.
Over the years I’ve grown increasingly more and more annoyed with trying to cover up these dark spots and I finally decided I was ready to do something about them. My friend Jordan has long been my health guru, vitamin guru and skincare guru and after my 4,372nd question she finally said why don’t you come down to my practice and see what we need to do. I’ve been interested in getting laser treatment for so long but deep down I was terrified that my skin would be burned off, that I would have scars or that it would be too painful. I talked myself out of it saying it’s too expensive, I don’t really need it or that it could mess up my skin.
Truth be told there is a legitimate fear with having the most seen thing on your body worked on because you aren’t the one doing it. What if someone messes it up? What if you pay all of that money and you aren’t happy with the results? That is why it is so important to find person that you trust at a reputable place. Only one week in I am already so happy I visited Sweetgrass Plastic Surgery to let Jordan work on my skin!
LASER TREATMENT & MICRONEEDLING: THE PROCEDURE
Before & After This is before and one week after the treatment. My skin will still peel (think get dry and flake off as I wash my face) and then I won’t see full results for 4 weeks. It is already such a noticeable difference. Also, I am in no way trying to mislead anyone with these photos and I tried as hard as I could do have the same lighting conditions, etc. There are also no edits at all.
Did it hurt? Left is right after the laser treatment, middle is right after the microneedling and right is on the way home. That is not my face oozing but rather a TON of moisturizer and a mask that I’m wearing. The photos look painful but it didn’t hurt. They applied a numbing cream to my face before treatment and afterwards it felt like I had a sunburn because my face was warm and tight. During the laser treatment it was like little warm strokes on my face that would increase in intensity. I went in thinking it would pop like a rubber band for some reason and that wasn’t the case at all. The microneedling was a little more uncomfortable I think simply because I had just had the lasering. However, whenever she would go over places on my face that were sensitive she would just turn down the tool.
Left is before treatment, 2nd photo is 2 days after, 3rd photo is 4 days after and the right photo is one week after treatment. After the first day I was able to wear makeup. I didn’t look like my “normal” self by any means because my skin was very rough but at least I was able to go to work! I used this cc cream and this concealer set with this setting powder.
Here is an closeup of the worse it looked (two days after), when I started to turn a corner (4 days after) and one week after the treatment.
Now I thought it would be helpful for you all to let Jordan Harper answer some questions since she is the professional and knows exactly what to say. I took all of the questions you submitted and asked her the most popular ones. (She answered these on a plane on the way to Bali so they are short and to the point).
Lasering / Microneedling Results and Q&A with Jordan Harper:
What all did we do?
First we did light Smartskin treatment (a CO2 micro ablative laser) to heat up the tissue and target hyperpigmentation followed by microneedling which targets texture/tone/finelines/
Why is it good for your skin?
As we age (yes even in our late 20//early 30s) our cellular turn over slows down and the sun damage from our teens starts to appear, your skin can start to look dull and the fine lines start to creep in. By maintaining skin integrity and stimulating collagen the skin aging process can be dramatically slowed down. These procedures are good for your skin because by slightly damaging the skin the body’s natural healing response kicks in and that stimulates significant amount collagen production.
Is Microneedling the same thing as a vampire facial?
Microneedling with PRP is the same thing as the vampire facial and when you include Botox and fillers with that it is called the vampire facelift.
What is the down time for both treatments?
Downtime for Microneedling: redness (like a sunburn) x2-3 days. You can wear make up the next morning after the treatment. Downtime for laser is 4-5 days and the your skin ‘flakes’ off at about a week post treatment.
How often should you have it done?
Doing a series of 3 treatments four weeks apart is the best. We don’t even sell one treatment packages because it takes the full 3. Takes about 4-6 weeks post treatment to start seeing results.
Once you have a series of treatments do you have to do it again every year? 5 years?
Doing maintenance treatments every 3-5 years would be great.
Do you do give botox? Can you do botox along with the laser?
Yes, I give Botox and fillers. I prefer a very subtle not overdone look. You can do Botox and laser the same time if you want. Laser is first followed by Botox.
Do you suggest treat hyperpigmentation / melasma first with topical products then laser to make it not as bad or peel/laser first then treat?
Melasma( hyperpigmentation that happens during pregnancy or post partum can be a tricky thing to treat as there is a hormone complement. I do generally prescribe a hydroquinone/tretion combo that you could start before or around your treatments to achieve optimal results.
Does it hurt?
Topical numbing is applied 1 prior to procedure eliminating most of the discomfort.
How long does the process take?
The actual hands aspect of procedure takes about 30 min.
What do you do after the treatment to help it heal?
Avoiding sun exposure is crucial especially for the first 2 weeks. We give you a post-op kit to use for the first few days. Keeping your skin hydrated is very important. Post skin care management includes a retinol ( you can start 10-14 days post rx). If you have hyperpigmentation as well you would do a combination topical prescription. Apply a vitamin C serum in the am followed by a good sunscreen.
Should you always do lasering and micro needling together when are they good separately?? If you could only afford one which one would you pick?
If you can only afford one…it would depend what your skin looks like now, your skin type, your age, what your skin goals are. If a lighter skinned and darker skinned patient around 26 years old both came in with acne scarring, large pores, and early development of fine lines (under eyes or around mouth) I would recommend microneedling. If either one of those people came in and wanted to treat hyperpigmentation as well, I would use the laser on the lighter skin type and possibly microneedling on top to further address scarring. On the darker skin type only microneedling as the CO2(smartskin) it not great with darker pigmented skin. Every person has different skin management needs so it would be best to have a face to face consultation to see what you are a good candidate for.
Speaking of prices, how expensive it is?
While doing both together is more expensive, the end results will be more dramatic. The treatments range from $2,500 to $3,200 for a series of 3 treatments given 4 weeks apart. There is a discount if you book the package and we will also give any of your readers 20% off of either the lasering or the microneedling. We also offer packages that include smartskin/microneedling/prp (plasma rich protein)-where your own blood is drawn then spun in a centrifuge, the plasma is extracted from the tube and placed on the face post treatment and stimulates 5-7 times more collagen that just the microneedling and smartskin alone.
If you are seriously considering getting any type of face treatment done and are within driving distance to Charleston you need to call Sweetgrass Plastic Surgery and book a consultation with Jordan. I promise you won’t regret it! Even if it isn’t that close everyone could use a little mini trip to Charleston every 4 weeks, right? I hope that I answered all of your questions!