When I first got acne, I just assumed I'd grow out of it.
I thought that it was a puberty thing. An age thing. A hormonal teenager thing.
As the years have passed, I have unfortunately come to realise that age just doesn't have anything to do with it.
I've tried everything from extreme facials and the contraceptive pill to extortionately expensive topical products and oral acne medication. I'd totally excluded dairy from my diet upon recommendation from a dietitian and dermatologist. But nada.
I'd pretty much given up all hope when I read a magazine article about IPL laser for your face which claimed to speed up cell turnover and collagen production and in turn battling acne and reducing scarring.
I did some research and found a salon in Dublin that was offering Q Fractional IPL.
My first trip to Anne McDevitt Clinic on Wicklow Street, I really wasn't sure what to expect...
The machine looks a little bit like this:
And the laser head looks like this:
If you've ever experienced laser hair removal - I can assure you it feels absolutely nothing like that.
They apply a thick, protectant cooling gel to the skin before gently passing the laser head over your skin in patches, eventually covering your whole face.
The machine makes a shock/click noise, there'll be a flash of light and you'll feel warmth deep in your skin - and then it's over in a matter of minutes.
Your face will feel really warm after and you might experience some redness but for me it faded within an hour, max two.
I'm telling you - it's virtually painless, and that says a lot coming from someone with a very low pain threshold.
Results-wise, I really didn't know what to expect at all but even after my first treatment I noticed my skin was clearer of blackheads, blocked pores and small random bumps.
It felt really soft and smooth, and more plump which I really wasn't expecting.
However, I still had some angry, under-the-skin cystic acne, which my therapist at Anne McDevitt had explained would take a bit longer, and a few more sessions to tackle.
Just under two months later, I went back for my second session. My skin remained pretty clear on my outer dermis side of things, literally no blackheads or blocked pores but I still had large, sore spots under the skin.
Again - the second sesh was painless, and they increased the power but it was really slight, warm shocks.
In the following week, I didn't notice much of a change but then the cystic acne just stopped appearing and the texture of my skin just felt so much smoother, like no impurities at all.
It's still a work in progress but I'm wearing less makeup and feeling more confident on a daily basis.
I think I'll keep up the laser and see where it takes me based on the results I've experienced so far, it can only go up from here.
It's not the cheapest treatment in the world, but when it comes to your skin - the body's largest organ - it's worth investing in.
Prices for facial Q Fractional treatments start from €135 for one treatment, or €370 for a course.
You also have the option of getting your neck, chest and hands lasered.
Things to note before Q Fractional IPL treatment:
- No sun exposure/sun beds four weeks prior
- No exfoliation 2-3 days either side of treatment
- No fake tan on treatment areas on the day of
- SPF 30/55 must be worn on the area ever day
- No glycolic acid products one week prior
- No saunas/steam room/heat treatments for 24hrs after
Steps to follow after:
- No sun exposure/sun beds four weeks post-treatment