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.