Here’s the only problem: laser season tends to coincide with cold and flu season, so for a myriad of reasons I never got to try and test everything I would have liked, but I may have reached my peak early. The Moxi laser combined with BBL – a resurfaced skin punch from medical and aesthetic laser company Sciton – has revolutionized the way I look and feel my skin. Here is everything you need to know about this procedure.
First step: BBL
BBL stands for broadband light, and this type of laser has been around for decades. It is used to help with the appearance of acne scars, rosacea, and sun damage, and it reduces the appearance of these things using phototherapy for those with lighter skin. However, since phototherapy works by looking for more pigmented spots on the skin — think redness or the ghost of a past pimple — and removing them, it’s not a good option for people with lighter skin. rich in melanin. Instead, people with darker skin tones should opt for a non-ablative laser, such as Clear and Brilliant.
“BBL gives us a multitude of different wavelengths,” says Sharon Grasso, esthetician and founder of Permanent Touch Cosmetics. “It goes from a 420 nanometer wavelength, which…can kill bacteria and kill acne, up to an 800 nanometer wavelength, which is a wavelength that uses light. infrared light energy to firm the skin, and then everything else.”
By using lasers consistently over time, you can also activate the collagen pumps in your skin. We lose one percent of collagen every year starting in our twenties, so finding ways to replenish that can help make our skin appear plumper and more lifted. “One or two treatments can remove surface pigment, but it takes cumulative treatments to penetrate deeper into the skin. The message sent to our body is: ‘Reproduce collagen…send new collagen cells. “”
A study of the JJournal of Investigative Dermatology found that repeated BBL light therapy treatments help promote gene expression typically associated with younger-looking skin. We don’t have a big vocabulary to talk about it at the moment (and there’s nothing wrong with aging or gaining wrinkles), but it essentially means that the skin remains intact and unaffected by biological processes that slow down as our body takes in time (i.e. the production of collagen and elastin). And having this type of robust gene expression can help fight skin-related diseases while living a long and happy life.
As the beautician runs the laser over your face, you feel small traces of heat on your skin. It does make your skin feel a little warm to the touch, but otherwise there’s little to no downtime.
Second step: the MOXI laser
After the BBL laser, Grasso treated my skin with a new laser called Moxi. It is a fractional, non-ablative laser that can be used on all skin tones. According to the brand, it was created as a “prejuvenation” tool. It really is a preventative tool that helps resurface hyperpigmentation, texture, or uneven skin tone.
The Moxi laser operates at a frequency of 1927 nanometers and creates channels in the skin that help erase the damage we sustain over the years of life. “We have five layers of epidermis, and in those first five layers there’s a lot of pigment and large pores,” Grasso explains. “With Moxi, we can treat all of these things by drilling thousands and thousands of tiny, microscopic channels into the skin, without ever breaking the skin.”
In doing so, the skin responds by creating collagen and also plumping, and it can also be customized in three levels depending on your ultimate goals. “The first is almost like polishing the skin,” says Grasso, while levels two and three target deeper issues in the skin.
To get Moxi, you need to have a numb face, which can be a weird feeling. The laser works by looking for water in the skin, and since our bodies are pretty much made of this stuff, the sensation can sting. (I found it felt like PacMen brushed my skin). Another thing to remember is that Moxi can be combined with different treatments, like BBL, so it gets you where you want to go faster.
What to expect after treatment
When you hear “no downtime from lasers” it doesn’t exactly mean that you’re going to jump to the ball immediately after your treatment. All lasers work by creating wounds in the skin, and your skin then responds by producing collagen to “heal” those wounds. The results you get depend on this process.
When I woke up the day after the treatments, my face was more puffy than it had been for some time. I was told to ice my face to help reduce some of the minor swelling, and within a day or two I was back to normal.
The following week, my skin was like sandpaper. Seriously, I could have refinished your kitchen cabinets with my face. But every time I washed my face over the next few days (with a gentle cleanser, which the pros recommend post-treatment), it went away. By the end of the week, my skin looked brighter and healthier than it had in years.
After any laser treatment, your skin is raw and more sensitive to the elements, which means you are at a higher risk of further sun damage after the appointment. With that in mind, be sure to schedule the treatment for a time when you won’t be outside for long periods of time. Also, don’t forget to stock up on sunscreen and apply it liberally and often.
Want to learn more about what lasers could do for your skin? Check out this episode of Dear Derm with Mona Gohara:
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