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The HALO laser in action. (Image: HALO/Sciton)

Worth It? I tried a $1,500 laser skin treatment and didn't leave my house for 4 days

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My skin is glowing.

You want to know my secret? I had a Halo Laser Treatment on my face. I also didn't leave my house for almost four days.

Getting older sucks. I'm so over aging with grace - if there's a quick pick-me-up, I'll consider it. Cue the experts at the Larabee Plastic Surgery Center in Seattle, one of only a handful of places offering HALO in the PNW.

When I first heard about a this "state of the art, anti-aging, non invasive Halo treatment" my interest immediately piqued. And when I heard phrases like "less down time", "break-through treatment", "one-of-a-kind" and basically "better than Botox" I was sold - SIGN ME UP!

So what's all this hype about? To get super technical - the Halo Laser Treatment uses a hybrid technology of a non-ablative laser and an ablative laser. Non-ablative lasers heat up the underlying skin tissue without harming the surface of your skin, while ablative lasers remove that top layer of your skin. So basically, HALO does both. Depending on your skin type and what you've chosen, the "zones of coagulation" that the treatment reaches stimulates new collagen, and essentially evens out the overall tone and texture of your skin.

A lot of big words, we know. Here was what caught our attention the most:

  • This type of laser treatment offers less downtime than others (five days to be exact - at least for me)

I knew I wanted to invest in my face (HALO treatments start at $1,500). I knew I wanted to target wrinkles on my forehead and pigment spots that I got during pregnancy, but honestly I had no idea what to fully expect. Leading up to my treatment I was advised to use plenty of sunscreen (even avoid the sun if possible) and moisturize my skin twice a day to prep for an entire month.

The night before my treatment I found my self googling Halo treatment images - I found it both a bit terrifying and exciting.

Day of treatment

I arrived at the Larabee Plastic Surgery Center and was welcomed by a handful of experts who took great care of me. First things first, we took some before pictures and I was given a run down of what to expect. I was told that it would hurt, "manageable pain - but it would hurt." I was also told that redness is normal and expected. Redness generally increases in intensity the first few days after treatment with day three or four being most intense. Pinpoint bleeding may occur and swelling is common and expected. Use of a cold compress or ice packs will help to relieve the swelling - but often times this can make the 'burning sensation' more intense for a bit. I was also told to avoid strenuous exercise and sweating until after skin has healed.

The nurse lathered my face with numbing gel to dull the pain and twenty minutes later - IT WAS GO TIME.

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As you can see by the strain in my face, it hurt more than I anticipated. But on a positive note, it doesn't last long. The entire treatment was done in fifteen minutes. It felt like a million little, hot rubber bands snapping my face. Immediately following the treatment a nurse used a fan to cool down my skin, and it felt like heaven. My face felt hot and looked red and to be honest, I questioned my decision. Why on earth would I do this to myself? But again, the pain didn't last long and an hour and a half later max (with the help of an ice cream cone and pain reliever) I didn't feel a thing. Not so bad after all.

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One day after treatment

Red, that's it. Not painful at all. A bit dry and just really red. It felt like a sunburn and my skin felt really tight.

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Two days after treatment

The second day after treatment, I noticed tiny dark spots on the treated areas of my face. This is called the MENDS (microscopic epidermal necrotic debris). In individuals with heavily pigmented skin, or in areas where sun damage has produced pigmented lesions, these microscopic wounds, contain large amounts of melanin. Because there are so many MENDS, they can make the skin look bronzed and small areas appear crusted. This is part of the healing process where treated tissue is working its way out of your body as new fresh skin is regenerated. So basically this is a great sign. The MENDS look like freckles and I embraced them - they were fun to look at but fair warning - DO NOT SCRATCH THESE OFF!

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Three days after treatment

OK, now I'm starting to get itchy. Dry, itchy and covered in MENDS. My skin is super dark - the most red yet. Did I mention it was itchy? Because, DANG.

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Four days after treatment

The old skin is shedding - big time. This was the first day I left my house, and I was super nervous about sun exposure so I applied 75 proof sunscreen religiously and didn't leave until the evening. My face looked the worst on day 4. Peeling, super red and blotchy. I was so over it at this point.

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Five days after treatment

Ok, dang girl! I see you! The HALO glow popped through and the texture of my skin felt so soft and amazing. I was told that after the peeling process is complete, your skin will have a rosy, pink glow that will gradually resolve and it did. Typically after the peeling process is complete, makeup can be worn.

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My skin only got better and a week later I noticed a dramatic difference in the overall texture of my skin, my dark spot on my forehead was lighter and people were commenting on how good my skin looked (constantly!) I continued to moisture my face often and not even think about leaving the house without applying a good amount of sunscreen.

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If you're considering a HALO treatment, here are some additional post care tips.

  • Cleanse the skin two times a day with plain, lukewarm water and a gentle cleanser (beginning the morning after the treatment and use your hands to gently apply the cleanser and water and finish by patting dry with a soft cloth. DO NOT rub, scrub, use an exfoliate)
  • Moisturizer should be applied generously over treated area and reapplied whenever your skin feels dry.
  • Sunscreen is a MUST and should be used daily beginning the day of treatment and used vigilantly for up to 3 months post procedure.

So how much is this treatment? At the Larabee Plastic Surgery Center in Seattle the starting price is $1,500. Depending on your skin type and severity of treatment - on average only one treatment a year is needed.

Would I do this again? If you asked me on Days 2 through 4 - I would have say most likely not. But now that I'm two weeks out and I'm loving the glow and texture of my skin, my answer would 1000 percent HECK YES I would do this again. My skin continues to glow and improve by the day - for me it was worth it.

Disclaimer: While some products, services and/or accommodations in this post were provided without charge, all of the opinions within are those of the author and the Seattle Refined editorial board.