My Halo Laser Treatment Review – The Experience: Part 2 of 3
Before you lie down on that table for a Halo Laser Treatment (or any treatment), the most important decision to make (after you’ve decided what kind of facial rejuvenation treatment you want), is who will perform the treatment. It is the skill of the technician as well as whether s/he clearly explains to you what the treatment can or cannot do for your skin (in its current condition) that will determine your satisfaction with the results, for the most part. My doctor, Dr. Mark Schwartz, is a skilled and experienced with the Halo laser (read his bio and get contact information in Part III).
Prepare for the Treatment: There may be prep work. I received a call asking about medications I might be taking, and asking me to get take Valtrex the day before the Halo laser treatment. Valtrex is used to treat infections caused by herpes viruses, including genital herpes, cold sores, and shingles (herpes zoster) in adults. I’ve never had any of these, but apparently lasers can trigger them and this is something all Dr. Schwartz’s patients are required to do, so I did it. You also shouldn’t drink alcohol or take aspirin due to bleeding issues.
The Day of the Halo Laster Treatment: I’ve done plenty of treatments for advicesisters.com but I’m always a bit nervous about them when lasers are going to be used on my face. However, Dr. Schwartz’s office environment was professional I was confident that Dr. Schwartz was more than qualified (read: Choose the Right Doctor in Part III). Any treatment has risks and Dr. Schwartz asked it I had questions. Unlike some doctors, he took whatever time I needed to ask questions. He and showed real interest in my goals as a person, journalist and patient, not just “let’s get this over with I have other people to see.”
Afterwards, Dr. Schwartz’s assistant did a Visia scan to reveal where my skin might have issues, such as sun damage, large pores and discoloration. The results showed my skin was quite good, and Dr. Schwartz offered two options: a less aggressive treatment or a deeper one which would give me even better results, but with more redness and peeling. In the hands of a skilled expert, Halo can eliminate years of damage with deep dermal rejuvenation and surface epidermal renewal, but the more aggressive the treatment, the more your skin will react. “You’ll look like you have a bad sunburn, your face might feel hot for a few hours, and there will be some flaking or peeling,” said Dr. Schwartz. He showed me some photos of some patients after the deeper scan and it didn’t look terrible, especially since I’d already lived through Fraxel. I opted for maximum effect in minimum time. Depending upon your skin, your goals, and your budget, you can decide to have multiple treatments that are less aggressive to achieve a similar goal over a longer period of time.
Once we agreed a plan of action, Dr. Schwartz’s assistant handed me a headband and applied numbing cream on my face. She also offered me pain medication (Valium and Percoset). You can’ do the treatment without it, but once the treatment starts it’s a bit late to wait for drugs to kick in, and most lasers aren’t all that pleasant without a “little something” in my personal opinion. It’s optional, however. What isn’t optional are the googles you wear over your eyes during the treatment as the laser is focused on your face.
By the time I was on the table, goggles in place, I wasn’t nervous anymore. The actual Halo treatment was easy and fast. I chatted with Dr. Schwartz about little things, and he kept asking me onwhat my pain level was. I was really surprised that it almost always was close to a 1 never got past a two at any point. The only thing that I really noticed is that the laser is hot, you so you can smell burning. That was unsettling, but there is a cooling unit going as the laser is functioning, so the experience is something like sunbathing, you don’t really feel the effects, until afterwards.
Immediately after the laser stopped, I received cool compresses and a cooling “fan” to hold over my face. I had no idea what my face looked like and wanted to get to a mirror. After about five minutes and then I felt ready to go. My face felt hot, like I’d been in the sun, but not painful. When I looked in the mirror my face was red, but not really bad (see the photo above). On the way out I received a bag of products from Dr. Schwartz’s line of skincare that he generously offered (along with some other products) to help me deal with the after-effects of the treatment. These will be covered in the last part of this feature, Part III.
I felt fine and excited! I went shopping, then had lunch with a friend, and then went home feeling very positive about the Halo laser treatment.
I didn’t know what the next days would bring…..