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    Monday, 25 November 2019


    Over the last year or so, I've been attempting to take better care of my skin. As a teenager (and also in my early twenties) I was very much guilty of going to bed without taking my make-up off - or lazily dragging a face wipe across my skin rather than actually taking time to have a proper skincare routine.

    I've been fairly lucky too because I've managed to avoid having major break-outs - but what I have always struggled with is oily skin and enlarged pores. It's my biggest skin complaint and one that I've taken a keen interest in trying to fix over the last few months. I recently met Elisbeth, a fabulous Canadian lady who owns a aesthetic clinic in Marlow and she peaked my interest in a brilliant laser resurfacing treamtent to really help get my skin into its best shape.

    A little about Marlow Face + Body Clinic...
    It's a gorgeous luxury clinic based over in Marlow - offering high-end face and body treatments. The owner Elisabeth is super passionate about all aspects of aesthetics and skincare and really puts 100% into her clients. The clinic itself is stunning - decorated with luxury hints of gold and deep blue and has a really premium feel as soon as you walk in. They offer a whole host of treatments - including everything from body contouring and fat freezing to dermal fillers and laser facials. While chatting to Elisabeth, she recommended the iPixel Laser treatment to me - and explained it would really jump-start any skincare routine I was about to embark on.
    What is iPixel Laser Resurfacing?
    Made by Alma on the Harmony XL Pro machine, iPixel is a fractional ablative laser treatment which works by penetrating little tiny microscopic holes into the skin. Following the treatment, the tissue between those holes will contract and tighten, before forming little scabs which over the next week or so will fall off, revealing silky smooth skin underneath - essentally resurfacing your whole face. It's great for large pores, pigmentation, fine lines, wrinkles and can be used on the body.
    Prepping for the treatment
    Before your appointment, you'll need to make sure your face is completely slathered with numbing cream. Elisabeth gave me a tub of Lidocaine which I rigourously applied all over my face and left it for at least an hour before our treatment began. This step is SO important because the laser will essentially fry your face so you need to make sure that it's appropriately numb so there's no discomfort during the procedure!
    The actual treatment
    The whole process only takes around 20 minutes or so to complete. I was given safety goggles to wear to protect my eyes from the laser and then Elisabeth used the Harmony Pro machine to work her way around my face, moving the laser in paths to ensure my whole face was covered. As mentioned above, the laser essentially burns tiny holes, deep into the skin to help stimulate collegen production and repair. Each area of the face will be covered at least once, but if there's any areas of particular complaint - these can be gone over several times.

    Does it hurt?
    I won't lie - the procedure isn't very comfortable. Despite applying the numbing cream, you can still feel a very warm sensation on the skin - especially in areas where you need to have more than one pass. The worst parts for me were the sound (almost like an elastic band snapping) and the smell - because it is essentially burning skin. Elisabeth had a fan which I could direct towards my face which really helped to keep my skin cool and also counter-act the smell which some people might find quite uncomfortable.

    The most painful part of this process is definitely immediately afterwards, you will feel like you've got really very severe sunburn (see photo below!). As soon as Elisabeth had finished running the laser across my face, she applied a cold flannel to my skin to help take some of the heat out - I can't stress how much this helps! You really need to keep the face as cool as possible in the hours following the procedure to speed up your healing time.
    Is there any down-time?
    Oh yes - do not underestimate the length of time that you'll need to heal from this treatment. If you're planning to have it done, you'll need to make sure you keep the next two days following the treament clear so that you can heal properly - and definitely do not make plans for the same day! As soon as I got home, I put a cold compress on my skin and kept a fan on it for as long as possible to take the heat out. I was quite lucky as the hot feeling subsided after around two hours following the treatment but some people find sleeping difficult so it all depends on how your skin reacts to burns.

    What to expect during the healing process
    The first thing I noticed the following day was that my skin had started to feel like sandpaper. The scabs form in an almost grid-like effect on your skin so you need to make sure that you keep your skin super moistured to aid the healing process.

    You also need to be really strict on what you put on your face so read the label of ingredients on your moisturiser to make sure its super simple and doesn't contain anything harsh like salicylic acid which will aggrevate your skin. Your skin is so fragile right now so putting any harsh ingredients on could cause long-term damage! Here's a look at how my skin healed over the days following the treatment...

    Day One - still very red & starting to peel in places. You can see the darker areas where the scabs have already started to form on the surface of my skin.

    Day Two - Still slightly red and the scabbing is really starting to show. You can clearly see where the scabs are forming into the grid pattern - my skin feels really rough to touch.
    Day Three - Most of the redness has gone down by this point. Scabs on my cheeks have started to slough off already - I could put make-up on if I wanted to go out but I don't want to clog my skin so have stuck to minimal products and a really simple moisturiser.
    A Closer Look At The Grid Formation Scabs
    One Week Following Treatment - As you can see, my skin tone has returned to normal and almost all of the scabs have healed and dropped off revealing clearer skin underneath. My skin feels SO soft to touch and my pore look smaller too - overall really pleased with the result!
    How much does it cost?
    It all depends on the size of the area that you want to treat. Prices start at £150 for the crows feet area and increase to £1200 if you wanted your whole abdomen treated. For a full face (like I had) Marlow Face + Body charge £600.

    Would I do it again?
    100% - it was SO worth the slightly uncomfortable process and down-time. My skin is so much clearer and feels so soft - making my make-up application an actual dream! It's actually something which I'm considering doing again next year - as a yearly treatment to help rejuvenate my skin. 

    Massive thanks again to the lovely team at Marlow Face + Body Clinic for making the whole process a really lovely experience. If you're interested in trying the treatment for yourself, you can find all the details over on their website:

    * My treatment was complimentary
    Opinions are my own and honest