What The Frac is Laser Collagen Stimulation Therapy?
Photos: LA Perfection, Polly, Pinterest
“Aging is a fact of life. Looking your age is not.” – Dr Murad
Like many women, I used to think I’d never interfere with mother nature and have seen enough Hollywood horrors to avoid plastic surgery. I eat well, have moisturised daily since pre-teens and am a self-confessed sporadic gym bunny due to a love hate relationship with exercise.
I’ve mentioned before how I hit forty and suddenly started having skin issues from breakouts to enlarged pores and really dry skin. Facials only seemed to make me feel pampered rather than eradicating the problems, vitamins helped a little (more with my nails than skin) and lots of skin creams later I was still doing what seemed like a battle with my once translucent skin.
This all changed when I bumped into a beauty salon owner friend who had just had Fractional Laser Collagen Stimulation Therapy. Also in her naughty forty prime she explained how it helps to bring a dewy glow back to her skin by stimulating collagen and reduces sun pigmentation. It was handy that she had the treatment the day before so I could see some patches akin to that of a lightly grazed a knee.
Listed Benefits Are:
Reduces wrinkles and fine lines
Rejuvenates tired, dull skin
Improves stretch marks
Smoothens skin surface
Reduces acne scarring
What is Fractional Laser Collagen Stimulation Therapy?
The treatment delivers “non-ablative fractional rejuvenation with minimal downtime. Micro-epidermal impact initiates a strong wound healing response in the dermis whilst minimizing the damage to the epidermis. Skin responds by producing collagen, which thickens the epidermis, reducing wrinkles and smoothing the surface of the skin”. The treatment eliminates old epidermal pigmented cells and deposits heat deep into the dermis to stimulate collagen production. Surrounding tissue is unaffected. The fractional approach allows the skin to heal much faster than if the entire area was treated. This treatment impacts 5% of the epidermis compared to 10-20% with ablative fractional lasers. This means that we are effectively heating the dermis to stimulate collagen production, without seriously impacting the epidermis”.
What it is not
Fractional Laser Therapy is not plastic surgery and isn’t like botox or chemical peels that I feel are too toxic sounding for me. It is in fact the same laser used to remove tattoos by breaking down the ink sufficiently beneath the skin that white blood cells can eradicate the particles naturally.
Excited to give my skins natural function a boost and get rid of unsightly age spots, I made an appointment at LA Perfection for a couple of days later. After a lengthy consultation to make sure I wasn’t preggers, under 18, taking roaccutane, suffering from lupus or cancer, been on a recent holiday, sunbeds or wearing fake tan, a course of 6 treatments was recommended. The procedure was explained, how it would feel and that my face would initially be red and swollen like sunburn.
What to Expect – During Treatment
I’ve had IPL hair removal before, so I understood the notion of using light cosmetically and the little electric shock sensation of the procedure. So after a little test area off we went. Holy cow, I honestly thought this must be what being tasered feels like, repeatedly…in the face. It was like having elastic bands pinged on your skin for around 20 minutes, so whilst bearable like waxing, yes it hurt, and you are glad when it’s over even if it is for the greater good of youth and beauty (tongue firmly in cheek). The weirdest thing happened when the laser went near my eyebrows, I had the overwhelming impulse to jiggle my legs and couldn’t resist the compulsion! Something to do with the nerves apparently.
What to Expect – Post Treatment
I was told to expect some redness and swelling immediately after the treatment which would subside within 2-3 days, followed by some mild peeling/flaking of the skin between day 3 and 5 as the skin cells regenerate. By day 7 the skin will look refreshed and glowing. The full effect can be seen by 3-4 weeks after the treatment as the new collagen becomes stronger, thickening the epidermis and smoothing the skin.
I was nervous of what would happen, despite seeing first-hand my friends face. What if I have an adverse reaction and my face ballooned, or the healing and peeling took much longer than usual?
Immediately after my face felt hot like sunburn (see my photos below), but not bad sunburn. A soothing gel (Lynton Light Soothe) was used which calmed the heat pretty much straight away. I purchased some to use rather than risk using a cream at home that may inadvertently irritate. I’m so glad I did, as any sense of heat was instantly cooled. Once home I applied a cold facecloth for about an hour.
By the evening most of the redness had gone with only a slight puffiness evident, but not that obvious so I had a friend over for dinner. Overnight I applied a cold facecloth and didn’t sleep brilliantly (with my head raised on pillows as recommended) because an occasional attack of itchiness would wake me. The gel relieved this.
At the time of writing it’s day 6 and my skin has barely flaked, no scabs and it definitely looks better than before the treatment – endorsed by my hubby who just returned from skiing – with not a spot in sight. The pigmentation has darkened, but I was told this would happen initially. My next treatment is in March so I’ll upload more photos as I go through the process.
Good To Know
- Get a grocery shop in and clear your diary for a few days
- Take sunglasses and a light scarf to wrap around your head and face like a demure siren. More likely you will look like Bridget Jones when she’s whisked off for a frisky weekender by Daniel Cleaver, but hey, keep the illusion in your head.
- Don’t apply creams, make-up or perfume to the area before treatment.
- Sun exposure (including sunbed use) is not permitted for the month prior or after treatment. SPF30 minimum must be used daily between treatments to protect the skin.
- Avoid heavy drinking, saunas, hot showers/baths for 24hrs
- Avoid applying make-up for approx 48hrs
- Do not pick skin whilst regenerating (use Lynton or Vaseline)
- Expect to pay around £200 per treatment
It’s really important to make sure the practitioner is experienced and well-trained because the laser can cause burns and damage if not used correctly. Non-surgical cosmetic procedures including laser skin treatments fall into a grey area in the UK. There is no registration scheme for businesses offering cosmetic treatments and laser procedures, which means they are unregulated.
British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) (That’s funny!)
LA Perfection, Oxfordshire
This blog post is designed to supply useful information from personal experience, but is not to be regarded as advice specific to any particular case. It does not replace the need for a thorough consultation and anyone considering this or similar procedures should seek the advice of a suitably qualified medical practitioner. Curious Coco accepts no liability for any decision taken by the reader in respect of the treatment they decide to undertake