My first experience of a laser facial and why you should try it

laser facial illustration

Whilst wistfully browsing the skincare goodies in Harvey Nick’s last weekend, I was asked if I wanted to try a 15 minute “laser & light facial” free of charge, courtesy of Skin Laundry.

I hadn’t heard of the brand before, but on doing some research, it was set up in LA by a woman called Yen Reis. Reis struggled with skin problems for years and whilst living in Asia, had found a laser and light therapy that really helped. On moving to LA and not finding anything comparable, she set up Skin Laundry.

What’s a laser and light facial when it’s at home?

Was a question I asked myself after enthusiastically signing up (because like the average person I’m a sucker for free stuff). According to the company’s website, the treatment would use a YAG laser to vaporise bacteria, followed by IPL (intense pulsed light) to stimulate collagen, with short-term results cited as a brighter complexion and smoother, cleaner skin.  Long-term results could apparently include reduction of the appearance of pores, reduction of redness and wrinkles, the evening out of skin tone and clearing of acne, among other benefits. YES PLEASE.

What was the treatment like?

I went back to Harvey Nichols the next day, with no make up, in jeans, trainers and a rucksack (I was planning to go to the gym), feeling like a total imposter as I ambled past the glamourous staff and more regular clientele. At 27, I feel like I should really be comfortable enough in my own skin to not let these things bother me, but if I’m honest it did a little bit. 

After filling in a few medical details (the usual “could you be pregnant”, “have you got any allergies” etc, I was also asked to sign a couple of waivers (not the usual), essentially accepting any side effects from the treatment, such as skin break outs. Brilliant, I thought to myself, my love of free shiz has now got me signing my life away. But to be fair to Skin Laundry, I guess they do have to cover their bases.  

A therapist took me up to a treatment room and talked me through what would happen, answering any questions and speaking to me about my skin, before giving me a pair of goggles and a headband. The first part of the treatment was the laser, which felt like a weird, prickling sensation all over my face. She explained that it would prickle more where there was more bacteria, which seemed to be the case based on the extra prickling around my oily T-zone. I wouldn’t say it was painful, but it definitely wasn’t a pampering facial if that’s more your bag. 

Next the therapist applied a cooling gel to my face which was lovely, and pulsed light into my skin – the only sensation you feel here is the machine gently pressing your face, and a red glowing light, which you could still see with your eyes closed. After that, she removed the goggles and used a few products to moisturise my skin.

Any immediate results?

My skin did feel instantly tighter and a bit brighter, as well as feeling seriously clean. In terms of long term results, I suspect I’d need a few treatments to start seeing noticeable changes.

Show me the money

This free facial was the full, normal treatment and Skin Laundry are offering it to everyone. If you live in Leeds, London or Bristol you can go to Harvey Nichols and sign up there. I’m guessing they’ll roll it out further if it takes off, Of course, they do sell to you at the end of your session – for another facial of this kind I was told that it would cost £60, or they offer “bundles” so you can save money by buying a few up front. You get further discount if you book any of these bundles on the same day as your freebie. Admittedly, £60 for 15 minutes is not cheap and isn’t something I personally could afford to do anytime soon! However, given the nature of the technology, I don’t think it’s unreasonable, particularly as having had the first treatment free, you know what you’re getting. If you’re interested in skincare and want to try something that’s advanced but not surgical, I’d recommend it! 

p.s. I was advised not to go to the gym for 24 hours after the treatment – now that’s an excuse I haven’t had before. 

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