I freaking LOVE lasers. Something about how the human race has harnessed the very power of light itself, and we choose to use it to make our skin look better is both hilarious and awe-inspiring. I love that there’s different types. I love that it involves crystals and electricity. I love that it’s scientific. I love that its warm and fun and just feels like Serious Skin Business. Sign me up for all the lasers, literally. I’ve tried Laser Genesis, and now it’s time for an upgrade: Clear + Brilliant.
I recently rejoined my skin rehab bandwagon and set off on an IPL journey. After speaking to my nurse at that last appointment, we added a course of laser to the list to help me realistically achieve my skin goals.
About the Clear + Brilliant laser itself
Clear + Brilliant utilises a 1440nm diode non-ablative fractional laser. That means it’s a medium-depth laser beam, which does not burn the surface of the skin, but instead rapidly heats beneath the surface in a grid-like dot formation. That formation means the laser can be more powerful while simultaneously avoiding total skin carnage.
The effects on your skin
Clear + Brilliant is a skin-perfecting laser, meaning it’ll take your skin from so-so to pretty nice. It won’t be able to save heavily damaged skin, and if you don’t have a nice routine it won’t give you that glow your at-home products can. One of the key strength of the laser is the removal of subtle pigmentation like freckles. Expect an improvement in overall redness and texture too. It also boasts minor fine line smoothing as deeper down, collagen stimulation thickens the skin, leading to better volume. There have also been reports of reduction of about 17% in pore size, and tightening of the skin as it heals from the micro-wounds. Sick.
My experience getting the laser & the healing process
The session for this laser is considerably more involved than with many other procedures like IPL, thanks to the need for numbing cream. That’s right, they lube you up with lidocaine and then you have to sit for around 30 minutes while it sets in. During this time, my face totally blanched white and it felt really odd and uncomfortable.
When it came to the laser itself, thanks to that numbing it was really quite comfortable. Even more so I’d say that Laser Genesis, which doesn’t come with numbing. It was, however, a very strange feeling. There was a distinct sensation of pressure, and it seemed like the nurse was takingon a slightly spiky roller and rolling it across my face. No pain at all, until we approached the outer borders of my face and in my eyebrows, where the numbing wasn’t applied as thickly. Then I could feel the sharp hot crackles of the laser.
Each quadrant of my skin, starting on the left side of the forehead, was treated three times in a row with strokes of alternating directions. The entire treatment was done in about 15 minutes.
My skin was surprisingly not very red right after. But I could feel it – my face was super hot. By the time I had walked back to my car and took a look at myself in the mirror, I saw the swelling set in. Where the laser has been was distinctly raised and pink. I could see teeny tiny white raised dots all over, where the laser’s fractionated beam was focused. Nobody would have really noticed except me, so you’ll be fine getting yourself back home without scaring anyone.
By that night, those little white dots started to feel really dry and leathery. The next morning, I woke up to a dark red sandpaper face – yikes. It felt super dry and tight, like stretching my mouth wide open was a struggle.
This continued into the next day, where by the evening I started to notice the first signs of flaking. By Day 3, the redness was beginning to calm down and slowly the grittiness made way to extremely fine flakes coming off when I washed. That meant that by Day 4, I had managed to rub away nearly all the grittiness. My skin was very clear as it seemed any active acne had been basically blasted away. By Day 7, I was feeling totally back to my old self.
How I look now 1 month later
Unfortunately, I felt *right* back to my old self. I wasn’t noticing any huge improvements to my face, except in what I can only assume was a placebo effect where after a week of gravel-face, I finally felt soft and smooth again.
I have only received one Clear + Brilliant so far, and unfortunately about a week after healing I had a very bad flare up of a condition I’m in the middle of getting to the bottom of. So results are difficult to compare. Looking at my skin on a good day before the treatment and now, on a good day a month later, I don’t see a massive difference. What do you think?
What I did find frustrating was that I expressed a desire to treat my light freckling and a specific cherry angioma to my IPL nurse, who recommended Clear + Brilliant. When I went in for the Clear + Brilliant, a different nurse saw me and suggested that my sun damage was too minor to see much difference, and that the laser wasn’t suited to treatment vascular conditions.
Now, I love lasers anyway and I wanted to go ahead and see what would happen, but if my money or time was more tight I would have been even more frustrated about the run around.
I think I’m still dealing with a few too many major issues to really appreciate the subtle improvement this laser makes. Plus, the fairly long downtime was a bit of a pain with fit into my work schedule where I need to be public-facing pretty frequently.
The cost of a Clear + Brilliant session
That’s all not to mention the sticker stock. For IPL, Clear + Brilliant laser, and an LED session all in one appointment, I paid $650. By itself, I believe the laser retails for around $400 – quite the spend! And certainly not something anyone can just go and get on a whim.
Do I recommend the treatment?
As with any skin care investment, there’s a lot to weigh up here. I recommend exploring the Clear + Brilliant results on their own website and Real Self, but also consider a consultation for the treatment. It’s often at a small cost that can be applied towards to laser if you decide to go ahead with it, so there’s not a lot to lose. And you can find out for sure whether it’s something that might work for you.