I am 40 yrs old. I had the traditional Pearl...
I am 40 yrs old. I had the traditional Pearl procedure 4 days ago on my entire face.
I was pre-medicated with oral Valium, topical numbing cream and injectable lidocaine. Despite the numbing meds, the pain level during the procedure was probably still a 7 on a scale of 1-10. The heat radiating off of my face post procedure was very uncomfortable and a cooling machine was immediately placed that blew cool air on my face for about an hour. This helped enormously with that "face on fire" feeling.
I was not too red initially that day of the procedure. The next day (Day 1 post procedure), I was red and swollen. I did the recommended vinegar soaks and applied Vaseline. Pain level was about a 2-3. Next day (Day 2 post procedure), same thing---my face was red and swollen, pain level about a 2 and skin was starting to itch. Did vinegar soaks and applied Vaseline throughout the day. Day 3 post procedure, I started to peel like crazy and the color of my skin was less pink and more brown but skin was pretty itchy.
Today is Day 4 post procedure. Skin is still pink, mostly peeled, a little tight, itchy and a little blotchy with red remnants of the honeycomb pattern from the laser. My overall impression so far: skin tone has improved, texture has improved, fine lines around eyes and mouth have improved, light brown spots have disappeared.
Great procedure for overall skin quality/tone improvement for someone with mild skin damage caused by the sun (someone in their 20's, 30's or maybe early 40's). However don't expect miracles. If you have deeper static lines or if you have dynamic lines (crow's feet and lines on forehead),the traditional Pearl procedure will not do too much. I did not see any improvement in my crow's feet (I only have the dynamic type of crow's feet---the one that only occur when I smile)or any improvement in the minor lines that were starting to etch on my forehead. I think Botox is definitely the treatment of choice for these type of lines from what I hear and read.
Update: Day 4 post procedure. This for me was the...
Update: Day 4 post procedure. This for me was the hardest day to deal with. It was my first day back at work and the first day without the Vaseline and just applying Cetaphil instead. Just when I thought I was done with the all the peeling---nope:( My skin was still quite pink with grid marks from the laser (which looked like a rash) and since I didn't have any Vaseline applied, my skin was so tight dry, dehydrated and OLD looking. I hardly left my cubicle at work and didn't want to be seen. I honestly felt better on the previous days when my skin was just red and swollen, but moist . That same night, I started peeling a lot again. I was kind of relieved that I was peeling again though, realizing that that tight old looking skin was coming off.
Day 5 post procedure: A MUCH better day for me :) Still was peeling a bit, was much less pink and now my skin was becoming more moist and definitely much less "old" /dehydrated looking and I was very relieved about that. My skin was starting to look really good more moist and plump---skin was more even, pore size diminished, better texture and fine lines have smoothed out. Again, as I mentioned previously, traditional Pearl is not the best procedure for someone with deeper 'static' lines (probably a facial filler would work well or maybe Pearl fractional or CO2 laser for those deeper static lines), For someone who wants to get rid of those 'dynamic' lines that occur around the eyes when you smile or those on the forehead that appear when you raise your eyebrows---they say Botox is definitely the best treatment for these 'dynamic' type of lines. A small amount of Botox is the next step for me since I have some of those dynamic lines around my eyes when I smile.
All and all---Pearl is a good procedure with about a week of downtime for someone whose goal is to even out their skin tone and texture, reduce pore size, eliminate light brown spots and soften fine lines :)
Update: After my follow-up appointment with...
Update: After my follow-up appointment with my physician, I'm scheduled to have a second traditional Pearl treatment on my entire face with a Pearl Fractional treatment around my eyes and on my forehead in the same session. This will be in April. The fractional treatment should really target the eteched in lines better :)