I had three treatments covering my entire face, neck, and chest. I'm 32 with type 1 (super fair redhead) skin, some sun damage but not a ton, no acne. I decided to get it because I wanted to see some improvement in my large pores, freckles, fine lines, and some generalized redness (I don't have rosacea but I have very thin,delicate skin that is extremely prone to flushing).
I think my results were good but not extremely dramatic.
1. Reduction in redness - this definitely did happen to some degree, I would have liked more, but even friends have noticed now I wear less foundation because I just don't need it as much. I have also noticed my chest area is much less red and I like that a lot.
2. Reduction in pore size - I am quite pleased with this, I used to have some really big pores on my nose and they've shrunken a lot.
3. Freckles/age spots - I had a lot of freckles before and have pretty much none now.
4. Reduction of fine lines - I have to admit I cannot notice any improvement here. But to be fair, these treatments took place over a period of a few months and according to the nurse it can take a few more months to see full results...it's possible I just am not properly gauging the level of improvement because it was so gradual that it's hard to measure.
A comment on the pain level - for me it was very bad, as in at one point I started crying, even with applying 2 rounds of numbing cream plus a large glass of wine. I would NOT describe this as "like a rubber band snapping your skin". I would say more like a lit cigarette being pressed to it. What makes it bearable is that it's over very quickly so if you can get through it, it's not like it goes on for hours or days. I think you would be a fool to try this without numbing cream. The pain I had might be partly because with very pale skin they can use a hotter setting on the laser, which is more effective but more painful.
In terms of downtime - it varied from treatment to treatment. In all cases my face was pretty red for the rest of the day, like a sunburn. Then afterward my freckles turned from the pale golden brown they are normally to super dark brown so I looked very noticeably speckled, and in a few spots I had what I guess were *mild* burns, similar in severity to what you get if you accidentally tap your neck with a hot curling iron. The burns were completely gone within a few days, the freckles took about 2 weeks to come off.
I definitely did not have any lasting bad side effects. The way I looked while healing wasn't awful, I could go to work, but I'm glad I didn't have a hot date or a wedding planned. This is definitely not a quick fix treatment like Botox, it's something that will cause gradual improvement over weeks or months.