The Derm Treatment That Gave This Woman the Best Skin of Her Life in Her 50s

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Good news: If you’re ready to advance your anti-aging efforts, there are plenty of noninvasive, preventive procedures available—many of which are now more sophisticated than in years past. At the forefront of innovation: lasers, specifically Halo.

Halo is a hybrid fractional laser, a breakthrough treatment that combines two types of laser to make it one of the best options on the market for creating some pretty stellar results with only a few days of downtime. The laser uses both ablative (they’re more invasive and removes the outer layer of skin) and nonablative (which does not remove the top layer of skin) wavelengths to stimulate collage and elastin production to minimize wrinkles and skin imperfections. “Halo treats both the superficial and deep layers of skin, allowing it to tackle a lot of problems with one treatment,” explains New York plastic surgeon Mark Schwartz, MD. “It improves fine lines, tone, texture and overall pigment, giving our patients a nice glow.”

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While Halo has no age restriction for who can use it, it’s recommended for those with fine lines and pigmentation issues. Knowing this, a 56-year-old woman named Sue Murphy* decided she wanted to give it a try for herself. “After noticing fine lines and extra sun spots on my skin, I wanted more than just Botox and fillers to boost my skin’s appearance,” Murphy explained. “I’m really fond of this laser,” says Dr. Schwartz. “Especially for your specific skin concerns.”

After assessing Murphy’s skin, Dr. Schwartz applied a numbing cream that would stay on for about 35 minutes before starting the procedure. While laying around with numbing cream on your face might seem like something people might want to forgo (time is precious, after all), don’t skip it. This step makes the experience much more tolerable, especially if your skin is sensitive to heat.

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Once Murphy’s face was numb, the actual treatment began. First, Dr. Schwartz treated Murphy’s forehead and immediately inquired about the level of pain she was feeling. “It’s about a three or four on a scale of 10,” she replied, prompting the doctor to keep going. While Murphy claims the treatment wasn’t necessarily a pleasurable experience, it certainly wasn’t as uncomfortable as expected. According to Murphy, fleshy areas of the face like the cheeks were much less painful than when the laser was being directed towards the forehead or nose area, but even those weren’t intolerable. The entire face took about 20 minutes to treat and the patient was handed an ice pack to cool down her face before heading home for the night. “Right after the procedure, my skin definitely stung and felt very hot, but that went away quickly,” Murphy said.

On day two, Murphy’s skin no longer felt warm, but had definitely transformed into something else entirely. “The next day, a thick dryness was all over my face—kind of like alligator skin,” she described, adding that she used Avene’s Cicalfete Repair Cream ($28) and the Alastin Regenerating Skin Nectar ($195) on her face each day to speed up the healing process. Once all of Murphy’s dry skin flaked off about five days later, baby-soft skin was left in its wake. “As it slowly peeled off, my skin felt smoother than ever before. It also looked so much brighter, less red and ultimately younger—I honestly look significantly better than I did before!”

So, while the procedure isn’t exactly as relaxing as a nice spa facial might be, the results are next-level good, making the level of discomfort certainly worth it. With less noticeable fine lines and a clear, even skin tone delivered post-procedure, Murphy says she’s ready for round two.

*Name has been changed.

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