If there’s one beauty lesson I wish I would have learned as a young girl, it would be to apply ALL THE SUNSCREEN and STAY OUT OF THE TANNING BED. As I get older, I am constantly reminded of those mistakes when I look in the mirror. I remember having great skin, you guys. Then, my 30s hit and cystic acne and sun spots/hyperpigmentation started to appear. How did I get through my teems with barely a breakout only to be cursed as an adult? Oh, hormones!
Until this point, I’ve tried a ton of affordable skin care options to get things under control, but it’s time to get serious. We only get one skin and I want to do what I can to erase my mistakes and prevent any further damage. Enter, SkinDeep Medi Spa. This Cleveland-based skin care clinic has the latest in laser technology, including the only PicoWay Laser in Ohio. This revolutionary laser is a miracle for both tattoo removal, hyperpigmentation, and anti-aging. Thanks to SkinDeep I have begun a series of laser, SkinMedica Vitalize Peel treatments, added a host of new products to my life, and I’m taking you along for the ride to see how my skin improves.
PicoWay Laser and SkinMedica Peel at SkinDeep MediSpa
During my consultation with SkinDeep, it was determined that my best course of action to reduce the brown spots on my face, acne redness and fine lines was a series of three PicoWay laser sessions for pigmented legions and overall hyperpigmentation, with a SkinMedica Vitalize Peel in between. My consult with Deborah was really thorough, addressing all my skin concerns and explaining the technology involved.
The PicoWay is a fractional laser, that has different handles depending on skin condition being treated. It’s heavily marketed as a tattoo removal laser given its fast results and minimal downtime, but it was discovered that the laser also benefits the skin by encouraging collagen production and reducing hyperpigmentation. The lack of downtime is a huge benefit! I’ve seen videos of people recovering from other types of lasers that had scabbing or crazy redness for weeks after treatment. That doesn’t happen with the PicoWay.
The pic above is right after my first laser treatment. During that session, Dr. Kelly Becker used the handle for pigmented legions to concentrate on the worst of my brown spots. She also covered my forehead and cheeks. The process isn’t painful. It feels as though someone is lightly dragging the end of a paper clip on your skin.
As you can see there is some redness, but it was all but gone by the time I went out that night. And whatever redness remained was easily covered with BB Cream. That’s what I love about this laser. It does all the work under the surface of the skin, so you don’t see results until 6-8 weeks after treatment.
Two weeks later, I experienced my first medical-grade chemical peel. I’ve had peels before, both at-home and spa versions, but nothing to the level of the SkinMedica Vitalize Peel. Vitalize is the middle strength of the three peels the brand offers and claims to reduce fine lines, wrinkles and roughness.
If you’ve never had a chemical peel before, the discomfort varies, but I didn’t mind. A medical aesthetician applies the different solutions and uses a fan to minimize any excess heat on the skin. It feels a little scratchy when the retinol is applied, but it dissipates quickly. I felt a slight tingle for about 20 minutes after and that was it.
Right after the treatment, my skin had a crazy glow. Later that night, and the next day, my skin felt tight, like a sunburn, but I just applied more moisturizer and it subsided.
Two days later, the peeling began. I woke up to find my chin peeling and it just exploded from there. I’ve been told that the level of peeling varies from person to person. I peeled like CRAZY. For EIGHT DAYS. Though, I think my skin really needed it because when I finished peeling my skin looked fantastic.
The main thing is to keep the skin moisturized, use gentle products, and make sunscreen your new BFF. Even on cloudy days! Though the peeling process was rough, as long as I kept my skin moisturized, I was able to go out in public without it being too noticeable. It was like peeling after a sunburn. Similarly, the worst part is the hairline. Since you have to avoid picking or rolling the shedding skin, waiting for the skin to fall from the hairline is pretty annoying.
Post-Treatment Skin Care
One of the major takeaways from my visits to SkinDeep Medi Spa is that the treatments are only as good as the at-home maintenance. Using quality products help maintain the results.
After the treatments, I was worried about using my Clarisonic. Even though I use the gentle brush, it can be a bit much at times. I decided to give the FOREO Luna Mini 2 a try as an alternative, and I’m into it! The pulsing rubber points are so much easier on my skin and I feel just as clean after using it.
I even did a test, using the Luna Mini 2 with a full face of foundation and patting dry with a white towel. Not a trace of makeup left! My only complaint is that it doesn’t beep when it’s time to switch spots on the face. The pulse signals are really subtle and can be hard to detect.
I was warned during my peel that products with retinol or alcohol would be irritating to the skin, so I tested all my moisturizers to find one that wouldn’t cause a problem. The only one that got the job done… IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream™. I’m obsessed with this cream. In fact, I’m on my second jar. It’s so moisturizing and gentle, but packs a skin care punch with its combo of collagen and hyaluronic acid plus IT’s own Anti-Aging Armour Regenerative Concentrate™. Also, the faint citrus scent is delicious. This combined with my Cetaphil face wash got me through the post-peel days.
I’ve also added a new moisture booster to my regimen, SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator. The serum includes five types of hyaluronic acid that boost hydration and smooth the skin, thereby decreasing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. I apply it under my moisturizer and it dries like a matte primer, leaving my skin feeling silky.
In between treatments, I’ve added a skin-lightening product to boost to the effect of the laser. SkinMedica Lytera® Skin Brightening Complex includes a blend of ingredients, including retinol, that help brighten and even skin tone by reducing the appearance of dark spots. It has an odd smell, but used in conjunction with HA5 I’ve seen a noticeable improvement in the condition of my skin on a day-to-day basis. I just make sure not to use it in the days before and after treatments, since retinol can irritate the skin.
Also, I’ve been on the hunt for a mineral sunscreen that wears well under makeup and my sun protection guru, Nancy from Beauty411, directed me towards SkinCeuticals Physical Matte UV Defense. This sunscreen is so light, I barely feel it, with a matte dry down that allows my makeup to easily glide over top. I’ve worn it under both BB cream and foundation with no issues.
Before and After: Round 1 of Treatments
These pics were taken before my first laser treatment and six weeks later. I had one chemical peel in between. I’m already seeing a major reduction in redness and a reduction in my most problematic brown spots. The ones on my cheek in the second picture are the ones I struggle most to conceal, so seeing those become lighter is huge!
***GIVEAWAY ALERT*** I’m giving away TWO SkinMedica peels at SkinDeep Medi Spa to my Instagram and Twitter followers. If you can travel to the Northeast Ohio area and want to give this treatment a try, head on over and enter.
I hope you enjoy going on this skin care journey with me. I’ll be back with updates on my other two treatment cycles. In the meantime, have you tried any laser or peel treatments? What targeted skin care have you tried for hyperpigmentation? I’d love to hear your stories.Disclosure: Services are provided by SkinDeep Medi Spa. Product samples were provided by reps for FOREO, IT Cosmetics, SkinCeuticals, SkinMedica. Affiliate links may appear in this post. When you purchase through an affiliate link, you help support this site. For more info view my Disclosure Policy.