Clear + Brilliant is a laser skin care treatment from Valeant Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturers of Thermage and Fraxel. Also known as “Baby Fraxel,” Clear + Brilliant is a non-ablative laser treatment, which means that it’s gentler than Fraxel or Thermage, let alone surgical procedures.
Here are some quick facts about this new treatment.
- How it works: Clear + Brilliant uses a laser to make tiny punctures in the skin and stimulate collagen production.
- What it’s good for: Clear + Brilliant is mainly used to treat discoloration, brown spots, and early signs of aging. It’s especially recommended for patients under the age of 40 who are looking for a youthful glow, as opposed to major skin work.
- What it’s not for: This procedure is not recommended for deep wrinkles or more serious skin damage, which require more intensive wrinkle removal treatments like Fraxel, Thermage, or plastic surgery.
- Number of treatments required: 3 to 6, depending on the patient.
- Duration: The entire procedure lasts no longer than 30-60 minutes.
- Downtime: None.
One dons protective eye covers and lies still for 20 minutes while a precise, roller ball tipped handheld laser is swiped across the skin in an upward motion. A patented system ensures that optimal skin contact is present at all times. If the contact is not fully maintained, a beeping noise will ensue.
Patients often refer to the sensation as feeling like: a light scratch, mild shock waves, static rolling across the face, an electric rubber band snapping against the skin, or a tiny needle pricking sensation. The Clear + Brilliant laser bypasses the skin by puncturing it, so the wound and the injury are in the derm. Consequently, these micro injuries force the skin to heal itself by boosting collagen production and generating taut, clear skin.
Afterward, a vitamin C or antioxidant serum and/or a refreshing masque will be applied to the entire treated surface while ice packs are used to immediately cool down the burning sensation. You’ll look as though you’ve acquired a mild sunburn for about 40 minutes because the laser actually punches little holes in your skin. The whole procedure lasts 30-60 minutes, tops.
You will experience some redness to varying degrees but you can be confident it typically diminishes within 12 hours. The day after your skin will feel tight, itchy and much like sandpaper – which is totally normal and part of the renewal process. You may return to your normal make-up routine as soon as one day following the procedure.
- Be sure to apply a good hydrating cream
- Avoid the sun
- Don’t use any harsh ingredients like retinoids and/or at home peels
- Do not exfoliate your skin until 4 days after the procedure
Side Effects and Complications
One advantage to fending off those nasty wrinkles with Clear + Brilliant is that there is next to no recovery time involved. Outside of some mild swelling and redness that dissipates within 12 hours of the procedure — along with the possibility your skin could be a little more sensitive to touch or temperature for a couple of days — there are precious few complications when compared to other popular cosmetic procedures.
At Dr. Sandra McGill’s practice and state-of-the art laser clinic EspaceMD, a single treatment costs $300. Should you opt for a package deal, subsequent treatments are $1,000 for a package of four. A typical treatment is delivered by a medical aesthetician who may or may not apply a numbing cream to your skin for additional comfort.
Increasingly millennials are being encouraged to use Clear + Brilliant and other treatments as a preventative – or “prejuvenating” measure. The thinking goes that if you can start caring for your skin now, it will keep fine lines from forming down the road. And where something like Fraxel would be overkill for younger patients, Clear + Brilliant offers a more mild alternative.