Let There Be Light (And Laser): We Tried Clear + Brilliant

My skin may be young (I’m 24 years old), but that doesn’t mean it’s problem-free. From adolescent acne to eczema, and now adult acne (it just keeps getting better, right?), hyperpigmentation, scarring, and reoccurring blemishes are always on my list of skincare concerns to tackle. When I learned about Clear + Brilliant, a gentle laser treatment that evens skin tone and boosts radiance with no downtime, I was ready to sign up like a new bride at a wedding expo.

Clear + Brilliant is a non-ablative fractional laser that’s considered the most gentle option of all resurfacing lasers, but four to five sessions are recommended to see full results. I’ve been receiving my treatments at Russak Dermatology, New York City, and am currently on session three. Thus, I’m eager to share my Clear + Brilliant laser review with all.

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How It Works

The treatment is performed using a laser device with a small roller attachment. The attachment is outfitted with tiny plastic bumps that push into the skin and allow the laser to make tiny injuries to the skin.  These micro-injuries force the skin to heal itself, boosting collagen production and generating clear, healthy skin.

Once the laser treatment is finished, which takes about 20 minutes, your skin’s permeability is greatly enhanced, which is why protocol calls for SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic, $157, to be applied immediately, delivering a potent cocktail of antioxidants deep into your skin to calm redness and nourish new regenerating skin cells. Following that, a relaxing, hydrating mask is applied, promoting healing and reducing redness.

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How It’s Done

Before the Clear + Brilliant is performed, a numbing cream is applied to the skin. Christina Biscardi, the practice’s celebrated aesthetician and Charlotte’s Book approved skincare expert, explained that the numbing cream eliminates any pain that the laser treatment could produce. Thanks to this, I never felt any discomfort during the treatment, but only the faintest feeling of static rolling across my skin. After the numbing sets in, Christina gets to work on your face. At my last visit, I told her, “Beat me up!” She responded with an affirmative and repeatedly went over the areas that desperately needed a jumpstart to the regenerative process, namely my cheek which was discolored by blemishes and riddled with clogged pores.

Christina doesn’t miss a spot, getting the hairline (where women often break out from sweating or hair care product residue), the jaw line (another problem area from talking on the phone or resting your face on an unclean hand), and the blackhead-prone nose area. Following a thorough canvassing with the Clear + Brilliant laser, she applied SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic, $157, followed by the restorative mask.

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Charlotte’s Tips

Your skin will look slightly wind-chapped afterwards, but the calming mask that tops the treatment off takes care of most of that, allowing you to leave the office with a rosy glow. However, don’t schedule any events for the night of your treatment as you’ll want to delay putting on any makeup, thus allowing your skin to soak up the antioxidant-rich solutions applied post-procedure.

The next day, your skin should look completely normal and you can return to your regular makeup routine. You may notice a sandpaper-like texture to your skin, which is a result of the tiny scabs covering the micro-injuries made by the laser. Be disciplined with your skincare in the following days, especially with moisturizing, to continually nourish and hydrate the new skin that is forming. Christina suggests using a granular exfoliant a few days post-procedure to slough off those micro-scabs and reveal the healthy skin underneath. Also, avoid skincare products that contain acids or retinol for three days after treatment to avoid irritating your skin.

You may experience an unexpected breakout, but don’t think that means your skin didn’t benefit from Clear + Brilliant. Because the treatment tightens pores, it essentially squeezes out trapped sebum or congestion, causing it surface in the form of a pimple.  Schedule a facial a week or two after a Clear + Brilliant treatment to expertly clean out any congestion for overall healthier and more radiant skin.

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The Bottom Line

I’ve seen significant improvement in my acne and my skin is noticeably clearer and more even-toned. I even go without foundation on most days (a big step for me). While blemishes do pop up, the lifespan of the breakouts has been greatly reduced. My blemishes are less cystic, red, and noticeable. While a difference can be seen with just one treatment, for ultimate results, try Clear + Brilliant for the full run, and you’ll be singing its praises soon as well. For more details on this treatment, read the full Clear + Brilliant description in The Treatments.

WORDS: Gloria Cavallaro

READ NEXT: Lasers vs. Peels – What Is The Best Way To Zap Away Dark Spots?

Experts Mentioned In This Feature—
Dr. Julie Russak and Christina Biscardi of Russak Dermatology

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Comments

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  • Summer King

    This treatment sounds pretty good. I’ve had facials and even tried micro-needling, but I haven’t been brave enough to branch into lasers yet. It sounds like this one doesn’t have too bad side effects though, and I’m relieved to hear it is actually painless! My dermatologist is Dr. Ava in Santa Monica (www.avamd.com) and while I definitely trust her I’m just nervous about having lasers on my face! I think I’ll take the plunge soon though, my skin needs it!

    • Nicole

      Hi there,

      I’ve done this procedure as well as micro needling. Micro needling actually hurts worse and has more down time (longer redness, bleeding etc.)

  • Catherine Jones

    This sounds interesting, and a perfect way to combat problems from the start rather than after ageing has started to show. I really like the charlottes tips section for reassurance of the side effects. Thanks, sounds brilliant.

  • Linda Lewellen

    Very helpful. I have been wanting to try the clear and brilliant treatment but due to the cost and possibility that the recovery experience was understated by doctors, etc. I had been hesitant.

    Now I feel I can move forward on this with confidence.

    • Mary

      Do you know how much the clear and brilliant costs??

      • JodiLev

        If you get them one off it usually costs $600-$900 (in NYC) range depending where you go… some doctors do packages so you can make it cheaper per session if you want to do a series.

        • Hank

          You are high.. It’s only $350. And the redness and downtime is REAL people. Expect 3 days till your face looks somewhat normal.

          • Kendra Lainey Evans

            yep! I paid $300 in northern CA. Dr. Seline! She is amazing. I had numbing cream and it still hurt, not as bad as micro-needling though. I went to my daughters school play immediately after and looked pretty red and puffy. But not freaky. Skin was still a tad swollen day after and a bit rough. Its not easy to cover because the skin feels rough. Its the perfect weekend in procedure! with flaking coming day three or so…

          • Debra Berry

            Dr. Selene’s (Roseville, CA) website posts $500 or $350 if purchased in a series. How did you only pay $300?

          • Kendra Lainey Evans

            Hi Debra. She was running a holiday special. I’ve been going to her for Botox for years! She’s fabulous!! It was $300 just one treatment. Plus i get discounts for referring her lots of people and I have had Botox parties at my work place before. I think it’s normally more.
            It’s day three now and I’m looking pretty dry and slightly brown in some spots where she knew I really wanted her to be more aggressive. I can already see the beautiful new skin under the spots that have begun to slough off!! Love it!!!

          • Debra Berry

            I just got 2nd round of botox from her! I’m thinking of doing this or Chem peel. Have you done a chem peel?

          • Kendra Lainey Evans

            Hi Deborah. I’ve done the Obagi Blue radiance peels. This is stronger than those. Which is a pretty mild peel. This is the most aggressive thing I’ve done. I’m definitely peeling today. And I broke out on my chin which is where I often break out anyway and I know this is common after a laser or peel. Seline is amazing!! I think anything she does is way better than any other service you could get elsewhere because she is so skilled at what she does!!

      • Linda Lewellen

        Hi. Depending upon where you go, it should cost between $500 and $800.
        Good luck and enjoy your results.
        Linda

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