What really happened when one editor tried out the noninvasive resurfacing laser treatment called Clear + Brilliant. The cost, the procedure, and the results she experienced, from taut hotness to “Oh, how I glow.”
Procedure: Clear + Brilliant
What it is: A noninvasive resurfacing laser treatment that promises to even skin tone, boost radiance, reduce pore size, and enhance elasticity by drilling microscopic holes in the surface of the skin and kicking collagen into healing overdrive. Clear + Brilliant is billed as being preventative—according to proponents, a series of once-a-month sessions can keep early signs of aging at bay—as well as restorative. Derms love it because it can deliver Fraxel-like results after only a single treatment, patients love it because it doesn’t render them social pariahs for a week afterward.
The cost: $300 and up.
Editor’s take: Laserwise, I don’t think I’m ready for the big guns, but my skin has been looking decidedly blah lately, a result of frequent air travel and a noncommittal relationship with daily sunscreen. I didn’t enjoy much outdoor fun this summer, but a whole coterie of little brown spots have popped up on my cheeks, eager to join the party nonetheless. It’s time for some zapping, so I make haste to Dr. Brandt Dermatology Associates in New York City.
First, a nurse applies a topical numbing cream that looks like cake frosting (but tastes, I accidentally discover, like bitter, mouth-deadening sadness); once it’s kicked in, dermatologist Robert Anolik, MD, begins the treatment, gliding the small Clear + Brilliant handpiece across my cheeks, forehead, nose, and chin. The sensation is weird but not unpleasant—it feels sort of like there’s an electric cat tongue licking my face—and it’s over in about 10 minutes.
Immediately after the session, I look and feel like someone who has been way too enthusiastic about roasting s’mores: My face has the same taut hotness that you get from sitting too long in front of an open flame. After a few hours, the heat dissipates, but the redness, and a very mild swelling, remains overnight. For the next three days, my skin feels sandpapery (although strangely not dry) but looks amazing: The discolorations are already gone, and oh, how I glow. There’s no peeling, no blotchiness. By day five my face is noticeably springier and plumper, clearer and more radiant than it has been in months, if not years. Sold!