Skin Rejuvenation

Treatment Diary: Firsthand Account of a Clear + Brilliant Treatment at LaserAway

What’s a Clear + Brilliant treatment like? Here’s my experience

The last time I laid back for my Clear + Brilliant treatment at LaserAway, the nurse performing the procedure asked me how I liked it. “It’s great,” I said, “People also say I look young for 38 years old, and I give Clear + Brilliant a lot of credit.”

“38? I thought you were in your late twenties!” Even if she was just being nice, the nurse seemed genuinely taken aback by my age. Yes, I am fully committed to sunscreen every day, which is the most important way you can take care of your skin. But I’ve also been doing Clear + Brilliant several times a year for the last few years. The laser treatment, often referred to as “mini fraxel” because it’s effective when it comes to resurfacing with very minimal pain and little downtime, is great for easing concerns such as fine lines, enlarged pores, and dark spots.

The last time I had my treatment, I wrote down some thoughts on my experience to help anyone decide if it’s for them and what it’s like.

Step 1: Schedule Strategically

Though Clear + Brilliant is fairly gentle so far as lasers go, it still involves resurfacing your skin. Hence, you need to schedule it when you can avoid significant exposure to the sun in the two weeks leading up to the treatment and in the days following. Many people refer to fall through spring as “laser season” because avoiding the sun during these months is easier. Given Clear + Brilliant works best as a series of treatments (often a few upfront followed by sessions for maintenance), kick off a package in the fall and you’ll look great for spring. I started my sessions in mid-September this year.

Step 2: Prepare Your Skin

In the week or two leading up to your treatment, wearing sunscreen religiously is essential – even if it’s cloudy outside. You don’t want to get a laser treatment with a sunburn! Similarly, you should stop using retinol as well as harsh exfoliants or anything that’s rough on the skin. If you have facial hair (like me), you should shave a couple of days before your treatment and not the day of. They won’t run the laser over facial hair, so it’s important to be clean-shaven if you want to treat your whole face and neck. (Because I have facial hair year round, I don’t mind the laser missing areas like my chin). It’s also essential to speak to your doctor or dermatologist before your treatment if you get cold sores, as Clear + Brilliant can cause them to resurface.

Step 3: Arrive at LaserAway

I love that LaserAway has multiple locations in New York City, including one just 10 minutes from my apartment. Not only is this incredibly convenient, it’s great when you’re leaving with a red face! Almost immediately after I arrived and was greeted, someone took me to a private waiting room and applied numbing cream to my face. This stays on for approximately 30 minutes. While the treatment isn’t painful, it isn’t exactly comfortable – and the numbing cream you’re given helps with alleviating that discomfort. I spent the downtime reading the new Britney Spears memoir.

Step 4: The Actual Treatment Itself

Once my face was numbed, the nurse performing my treatment took me to my treatment room. She laid me back on the table and took several photos of my face on an iPad for before and after pics (this is where she said I looked young!). She then handed me some eye goggles. Depending on the type of Clear + Brilliant you select, they will do four to eight passes across your face. They typically start with the forehead and work their way down. For me, the nose and neck are the most uncomfortable, but it’s never unbearable. Someone described the sensation to me as “a cat’s coarse tongue licking your face.” That said, everyone’s pain tolerance is different, and you can always ask your nurse to do fewer passes if it feels like too much. After 15-20 minutes, you’re done, and my nurse helps my face cool down with a cooling sheet mask.

Step 5: Aftercare

My face feels warm and looks red immediately after. That appearance can last anywhere from a few hours to a day or so. My flush goes again after two to three hours, but I look sunburned for a day or two. Keeping the skin moisturized is important as it heals and ultimately sloughs off. I apply a vitamin C serum three times a day (to prevent dark spots), a thick moisturizing cream, and tons of sunscreen, of course. It’s also important to watch your face with a gentle cleanser – nothing exfoliating. At LaserAway, your nurse will lay out everything you need for aftercare on a table in your treatment room – a thick moisturizer and sunscreen. Over the next week, your skin will feel incredibly coarse, like sandpaper to the touch. It may be tempted to exfoliate, but don’t do it! Just let the process happen – you won’t regret it. It’s also important to avoid exercising, heavy sweating, saunas, etc., in the couple of days that follow the treatment. It can be a lot to remember, but you’ll get a reminder email and/or text from LaserAway with aftercare instructions.


After a week, your face will look and feel brand new. While the pictures illustrate how effective the treatment is, the most dramatic effect for me is always how my skin feels – so smooth to the touch, younger and more supple. I love getting the treatment a couple of weeks before an event, and I commit to getting it about six times per year. LaserAway makes it easy to schedule and has lots of affordable packages, and since all of their procedures are performed by registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician associates, I know I’m in good hands!