I'm 33 years old and was starting to notice the first signs of nasolabial folds and skin laxity, such as jowling and the 'double chin'. I had read bad things about thermage and did not want to go the injectable route just yet, so after reading about affirm I thought I would give it a try. I had my fourth treatment done (face and neck) yesterday so I cannot speak to long-term effects just yet, as I have read it takes up to six months for the collagen rebuilding process to occur, but I do have some more immediate information I thought I could share.
For my experience, the process was pretty painful and I would not want to go through it without numbing cream. More specifically, the first time I went in for the treatment the receptionist stated I only needed to apply a thin layer of lidocaine, but after getting more lidocaine for my second treatment and applying a thicker layer I learned this was the way to go. Also, I found the lidocaine worked best if it was able to stay on for at least 30 minutes. Applying too thin a layer the first time and not letting the lidocaine sit long enough the second time seemed to increase my pain during the procedure substantially. Additional pain relievers taken before the procedure (if I remembered I would take 3-4 advil) helped out as well.
Burning after the procedure lasted several hours, probably 3 hours on average. My laser technician provided me with refrigerated/frozen gel packs after each procedure for me to take home and she stated that this was "their obligation to us as clients". She also put on this amazing aloe gel and let me use the cooling airflow for a bit after the procedure that really helped alleviate the burning as well. I kept the previous gel packs given to me in the freezer so when I got home I had several to rotate and kept 2 on my face and neck until the burning sensation was gone. Wrapping them in plastic wrap helps them not stick to you face too... Additionally, my technician told me only water-based products should be applied to the treated areas until all the heat had been released as oil-based products would tend to keep the heat in.
Substantial redness and swelling was present the day of treatment, but by the next morning I could basically get away with wearing makeup to cover up most of the redness; some swelling was still present. The next day swelling and redness was even less, and the next day my face was basically back to normal.
My technician told me that lasering should never be done within the orbital area of the eye and that she could pull the skin around my eye slightly down to treat as much area as possible. However, during my first treatment she noticed that one pass under my immediate eye area already caused it to be really red and she thought it might be best to not do a second pass. I agreed. During my initial consultation I had asked her about the frequency and prevalence of bruising, etc. during this procedure and she said it had happened once at their practice and it was because the technician had gone over the area too many times.
My friends say my face look 'glowing' after the procedure but I have not noticed and changes in the nasolabial folds, acne scarring (pretty slight, but still you might see something), pore size, or skin laxity. Maybe that will happen over the next six months...we'll see. My technician told me not to expect any major structural or geographic changes, but I was hoping for the best. Anyways, I just wanted to share my more immediate experiences with the technicalities of pre- and post-procedure.