I’ll preface this by saying retinol is a gift from god. It’s a nighttime routine’s MVP — you already know this. What I did not know though, was how much of an insane difference the power of a good laser can make in one 5 minute sitting vs. what retinol can in 2 months. Retinol may be more cost effective, but time is money and I’m impatient. Welcome to the way my brain thinks.
I’m no newbie to lasers and I wasn’t convinced they were absolutely necessary until I tried CoolPeel, a new ablative laser with minimal downtime and maximum results. Known for its skin-brightening effects, the laser has built quite a cult following and for good reason. Rachel Hechanova, PA-C at Facile Dermatology + Boutique spilled all the knowledge on why it’s the newest and most exciting laser everyone is talking about.
Before we started, Rachel gave me a quick run down. “CoolPeel is a CO2 fractional ablative treatment that targets the superficial layers of the skin to stimulate new collagen, remove damaged skin, and improve overall texture.”
Since I was strapped for time and love a little beauty pain, I decided to pass on the optional numbing and dive right in. In less than five minutes, and before I was able to fully process what just went down, Rachel blurted out, “all done!”
As the stinging started to subside, Rachel gave me a quick recap on aftercare, which seemed pretty chill. “You should expect to be a little red and feel as though you have a sunburn for the first 1-2 days,” Rachel explained. “Then your skin will have a sandpaper texture and have small little brown dots from the laser treatment.” She assured me that the dots will flake off completely after about 5 days to reveal brighter, healthier, and smoother skin.
Ideal candidates are those who wish to reduce fine lines, sun damage and pore size, Rachel went on to explain. As far as who’s not a candidate, it’s more of a case by case and requires a consult depending on skin goals. “CoolPeel can improve pigmentation and acne scarring, but each patient will need a consultation to evaluate if they need this treatment in conjunction with other treatments to address specific skin concerns. Patients with severe pigmentation are most likely not a fit.”
From that night on, I kept a daily progress diary up until day 10, when Rachel said my skin should “reach full CoolPeel potential.” Here are my honest thoughts.
Day 1: My face feels like sandpaper. I’m all over dry and my skin is very rough to the touch. Scratchy almost. I do as I’m told and layer on copious amounts of moisturizer and keep my routine simple. No fuss no frill, so I pass on the night mask, even though I’m tempted.
Day 2: Redness is gone. Texture is a different story. We’re getting there.
Day 5: The scaly skin is really starting to diminish. Thank god. My forehead and lower cheek area are both still a bit rough to the touch. I’ve become obsessed with touching my cheek in the middle of the night to creep on my skin’s progress.
Day 7: I’m noticing an even tone emerge. I keep asking my husband, “So, does my skin look different yet?” to the point of annoyance and now he thinks I’m obsessed with myself. I might be.
Day 9: Without asking, my husband says, “You know what? Your skin does look really bright.” You can imagine my stupid grin. No further explanation needed.
Day 10: I’m fully healed, no dry patches or peeling in sight. I’m thoroughly pleased, my skin just looks fresh, younger really. Do I even need retinol anymore? Am I a CoolPeel convert?
My first CoolPeel experience and I’m officially hooked. As someone who hides from the sun, I will do anything to reverse those careless teenage years where I laid spread eagle on the beach without SPF and only wore sunglasses as a fashion statement. I’d have a few choice words with teenage me if I had the chance. I’ve got plenty of sun spots to thank her for and some fine lines that won’t budge as a fun bonus.
While those fine lines didn’t totally disappear post CoolPeel, it’s more of an overall improvement I noticed. The brightness is throughout, subtle but noticeable. I can only imagine the results after a few sessions. Rachel suggests, “CoolPeel is ideally meant to be in a series of 4 and then maintenance every 3-4 months.” In other words, the more consistent you, the better results will be — as with anything, right?