Should I put laser to face?
January 1, 2019 12:45 AM   Subscribe

About to turn 30 and wondering how many of my skin problems are “treatable.”

This is my skin. I’ve had large pores like this on my nose and cheeks since puberty. I’ve developed some deeper wrinkles and skin roughness throughout my 20s. I use SPF every day, apply AHAs and BHAs before bed, and Vitamin C serum in the mornings. My skin hasn’t had a “glow” for a long time which I’ve always attributed to genetics or growing up in houses full of secondhand smoke. I also have mild ketosis pillaris on my face (I forget the term for the facial type) which I “treat” with glycolic acid and plain old moisturizer and that typically works for me.

What I’m wondering is what an aesthetician or dermatologist or both could do for me. How much could they help? What are the steps to get either one of them to help me? And how much would it cost?

Special notes: I have no clue how to see a dermatologist, and I live in San Francisco if anyone knows derms/aestheticians out here. Assume I’m willing to pay pretty handsomely but am not a rich celeb and I’m not really interested in like, fillers or Botox.

Bonus, if you’ve found regular products that do well for my types of skin issues, feel feee to recommend. I also realize that I am going to be 30 and can’t look young forever, I’m just kind of assessing myself at this moment and aiming to look and feel as good as possible as I age.
posted by stoneandstar to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Also I realize I made that imgur public and I’m getting roasted for it, shrug whatever!!!
posted by stoneandstar at 12:46 AM on January 1, 2019 [15 favorites]

Best answer: Your skin looks like mine (did). When I turned 40 last year (first time saying ‘last year’ in 2019 whooo) I put a bunch of money into prebooked appointments at a skin clinic. I’ve been going 1-2 times a month since April and it’s great. I’ve done facials, peels and laser therapy. I think the laser therapy has been the most effective but ymmv.

So, I’d save up and while you’re doing that, do the research, and then try a few things and see what makes you feel good and is effective. I haven’t lived in SF Bay Area in 9 years so can’t help you on the recommendations.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:17 AM on January 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I can't speak for your specific skin type because the only skin I'm an expert in is my own but this question seems made for r/skincare addiction.

I'm also in Europe so can't speak to the process in the US for getting laser and other treatments but I will say this:

I had laser around 4 years ago for rosacea and I have been very pleased with the results. I probably need to get one or two top up sessions now but then I'm sure I'll be good to go for another few years. I went for the treatment because I was at the stage of not wanting to leave my house without makeup and now I don't care. And the good condition of my skin is regularly remarked upon by friend and strangers.

I found my laser therapist by word of mouth and she was fantastic. Had a philosophy of only using treatments clinically proven to work and suited to the clients skin type. You could try doing some research and asking around to find similar practitioners in your area.

For pores I bought Mastic Must in the Deciem Black Friday sale and have been impressed with the results. When drying afterwards with a hairdryer it leaves my skin looking airbrushed. (I don't have a particular issue with my pores and probably wouldn't have bought it full price but having seen the results I will probably add it to my staple products.)

(On preview i agree with previous comment that laser has been the most effective treatment type I have tried.)
posted by roolya_boolya at 2:23 AM on January 1, 2019 [3 favorites]

I've had IPL on my face - it was expensive and painful. I would say $300-ish and it was three treatments. It worked well on brown spots, not as much on red. I'm glad I did it, but I disliked the pain aspect of it enough to not want to go back. It did nothing for pores or other issues I have with my skin.
posted by 41swans at 9:38 AM on January 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Hi fellow Bay Area person! You should go to Skinworx on Union in SF and talk to Cheryl. She's so good at what she does, and very sweet. I've gotten several treatments from her, including IPL laser for burst capillaries -- it took one treatment and worked great. It does sting a bit but it doesn't last long. You can ask her about Fraxel, though she'll probably have a less intense solution for you.
posted by ananci at 12:23 PM on January 1, 2019

Well, I really don't see any problem with your skin. I think places like r/skincareaddiction can breed a certain obsessiveness about this stuff. I'd take a step back before shelling out for laser.
posted by noxperpetua at 2:37 PM on January 1, 2019 [11 favorites]

Based on your description I expected your skin to look really bad, but your pic looks...completely fine and normal?! I'm not even sure what it is you're trying to fix! Enjoy your nice skin and save your $$$.
posted by sunflower16 at 3:32 PM on January 1, 2019 [7 favorites]

If you plan to get any professional skincare services done, go first to a dermatologist. It's good for you to have an annual skin cancer check anyway, and a good dermatologist will be able to diagnose any skin problems and explain the methods and limits you have for treatment. If needed, a dermatologist/doctor will be able to prescribe you drugs like retinoids, hormonal birth control, and azelaic acid that are much more powerful and with insurance less expensive than similar over-the-counter products. A derm can also be very handy for determining whether you have the skin problems you think you do. (For example, I spent two years throwing various acne treatment products at what I thought was a stubbornly recurring patch of whiteheads; after one doctor visit, it turned out to be a skin staph infection that cleared up after a week of oral antibiotics. AAAGHH.)

All that aside, your face looks smooth and fine and normal to me. Seriously. The pores and sebaceous filaments on your nose are average-sized at most. This masking process (BHA + clay mask + oil wash) has been helpful for me in temporarily degunking sebaceous filaments, but as the blog page notes, it's temporary, because our pores naturally fill out again, you can't "shrink" pores, and rubbing at your face too harshly can give you permanent damage like burst capillaries. (The blog post also uses much more expensive products than I do. Stridex pads + Queen Helene Julep Mask + plain jojoba oil or mineral oil all the way for me, baby.)
posted by nicebookrack at 7:40 PM on January 1, 2019

IANAD & This Is Not Medical Advice average person observation: between AHAs and BHAs every night, and Vitamin C serum every day, and extra glycolic acid for your KP, it sounds like you're using a LOT of strong and potentially drying acids on your skin without much in the way of extra moisture or rest for the skin. Could the lack of glow you perceive be from skin that's under-moisturizer or over-exfoliated? You might try alternating AHA and BHA use, or using acids only a few days a week, or cutting them entirely for a few weeks before adding them back in slowly. You might also benefit from your own version of the /r/AsianBeauty skincare routine(s), like those promoted in Japanese and South Korean beauty, that emphasize layering multiple thin layers of moisturizing products.

But! This is all stuff to discuss with a dermatologist.
posted by nicebookrack at 8:00 PM on January 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

A cosmetic dermatologist can help you out, but I second the suggestion for you to ease off the acids prior to that. It's a little hard to tell from the photo but I think aside from your pores (which look normal, seriously! Everyone has pores up close) I think some of the roughness you mention might be what r/skincareaddiction terms "orange peel skin", which is a texture that happens when skin is overexfoliated. This can be shockingly easy to do, especially since it can happen without the dryness and discomfort you might commonly associate with dehydrated/distressed skin.

Before you head to the derm, it might make sense to give your skin a rest from the actives. I think the moisture barrier layer of the skin takes about 21 days to fully repair itself, so maybe discontinue the acids for three weeks and see where that leaves you. Think of it as an elimination diet for your skin. That way, when you do head to the pros, they're starting fresh, so to speak.
posted by superfluousm at 1:11 PM on January 2, 2019

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