First, my history. I'm a few days shy of my 32nd birthday! I have very fair skin (Celtic blood), and have always gotten easily pink-cheeked - embarrassment, hot, etc. I tan easily and well, but I also will start to burn without sunscreen on, after about 30 minutes in the full, Southern sun. I have never been a "sun worshipper," but I did have a nice tan in my early 20s living in Fla (go Gators!). I've had any sort of sun burn maybe 3 times in my life.
I had beautiful skin (thank you, oral birth control!) until I developed slight rosacea when I was in my mid-20s. I had 3 IPL treatments done winter 2012, and my skin was so beautiful that I didn't have to wear any face makeup to have even, glowing skin. Then I switched to the Mirena in July 2013, and my face was like it was someone else's. In November 2013, I developed hormonal, cystic acne that would not go away - until I finally removed the mirena in December 2015. Prior to removing it, I tried: the nuvaring (which I had been on for a few years before the mirena), 0.05% retinol (which helped but didn't stop the cystic acne), spironolactone, and cutting out dairy.
Immediately after I removed the mirena, my cystic acne was gone. In January 2016, I had a round of Isolaz just to make sure my skin stayed clear. I went back on retinol for age-related purposes in April 2016, and started looking for another IPL provider; I've moved since my last treatment. After my skin cleared up, I had redness back on my cheeks and chin in a rosacea-like way, my pores were large when they were invisible before my adult-onset acne, and I have fine lines. I found my current plastic surgeon (Dr Lind) through a Google search for local BBL. He offers BBL and the halo, among other lasers and treatments.
So. DISCLAIMER: according to various medical professionals, I have a "high pain tolerance." Today I had my first BBL, with halo immediately after. The laser professional placed tetracaine+lidocaine on my face for about an hour before the treatments. BBL feels like IPL did: like a tiny tiny TINY needle was inserted just enough for me to feel it, but not to hurt, with every pulse of the light.
Halo: it feels like two little (maybe 1/2 inch wide) rollers, side-by-side, are rubbed over my skin while a more intense, more-needles BBL-type feeling comes from between the rollers. BBL is one-pass, with more passes on the more affected, pigmented areas. The halo is multiple passes, horizontal and vertical, for a few minutes on each area of the face. My treatment was one cheek + that half of my chin and upper lip, the other cheek + that half of my chin and upper lip, my forehead, then my nose. The laser makes a beeping noise when it's been run over that area enough (I don't know how it determines that). It was uncomfortable, just shy of painful.
My laser therapist was AMAZING - she even had halo done last week so she knew what it felt like, and what the recovery was like. She sprayed cold mist on my face between each area, put a cold towel on my cheeks right after she was done with them, and then handed me the "fan" that's on the halo laser module when we were all done. I developed MENDS immediately.
I'm 2 hours after the treatment was done; I feel like I have peppermint oil on my face. It's a little tingly, but not painful. After 20 minutes of the fan, I haven't put anything else on my face.