As a beauty director who suffers from uneven skin tone (hi pigmentation and broken capillaries), I have been on the lookout for an affordable, non-invasive treatment that will do a little more than my at-home beauty regimen. I am the first to admit my skin could be a lot worse, but when my ride-or-die became foundation instead of mascara, I knew I needed to do something about it... Enter Cynosure’s Icon Laser.
This particular laser stood out because of the unique hand piece that meant instead of having my entire face lasered (which felt a little drastic) I could treat just the problem areas. It’s also reasonably-priced (you know, for every person who isn’t trialling it as part of their day job). I visited Dr Zacharia in Double Bay, Sydney and was quoted approximately $450 for a full face, $250 for a half face, and $120 for capillaries just around the nose. It's also what I consider a ‘lunch-time treatment’ as it has no down time. A.K.A you can go straight back to work.
At this point you might be wondering why Kate Bosworth is featured as the face of this story and, quite frankly, it’s because her flawless skin has always been my goal. Unrealistic, yes, but inspiring–and to feel like i'm even just a tiny bit closer screams success to me.
Scroll down for my before and after. And my thoughts, of course.
The initial treatment I had was specific to my broken capillaries, as I had been told the results are immediate. The laser was at the lowest setting possible and I had only one or two zaps on either side of my nose. To my surprise, the capillaries immediately disappeared, with no pain, very little heat and short-lived redness. I had the treatment in the morning and at approximately 3pm (when my redness usually starts to creep through my make-up) I didn’t need my usual touch-up. Worth noting: reducing the redness around my nose made a huge difference to my overall skin tone and significantly reduced the look of my pigmentation.
A few weeks later, I went back again and had the remaining capillaries around my nose zapped, as well as those on my cheeks (pictured above). This second treatment picked up my minor pigmentation, too. Pigment requires a higher-level laser, and was slightly painful (like the flick of a rubber band), felt much hotter on my skin, and left me with more redness for a longer period of time. This redness went down the next day, however I did get swelling in one out of the five areas treated. If this happens to you, always consult your therapist. For me, the swelling was because the area had the most pigment, along with multiple capillaries, which required more heat, and subsequently held onto it. Also, as it was under my eye area–notorious for fluid retention–I was advised to take an antihistamine instead of anti-inflammatories. I massaged the area with a face oil to hydrate more than usual, and held a cold compress to it at night. The swelling went down within four days and, as it should, my pigmentation rose to the surface–presenting almost like dirt sitting on my skin. It deepens in colour and feels rough to touch, however do not pick or scrub it off until about a week later. When I gently exfoliated, it dissolved, resulting in clearer, brighter skin.
Always research the risks of any treatment beforehand, and go through them with your therapist, but in short, side effects of something like this can include bruising and even hypopigmentation (where instead of darker patches, you are left with lighter areas of no pigment at all). Avoid if you are pregnant, and don’t do any exercise, or expose yourself to excessive temperatures like spas, saunas, super-hot showers, hot yoga, or active skincare like Vitamin A for about a week. Be gentle with your skin, and keep hydrated.
It's now been approximately six weeks and although I have a few stubborn capillaries that have returned, I am happy with the overall result and recommend starting slow and low, regardless of what your therapist advises. This allows you to see how your skin will react and eases you into it.