For much of 2020, women across the country have been spending more time at home. We are wearing less makeup and thanks to maskne, we are paying better attention our skin. While sales of beauty products are lower across the board than they were pre-pandemic, the market shows that while we may no longer be purchasing foundations and lipsticks, we are still investing in quality skincare, sheet masks, facial tools and body creams.
“Humans groom themselves. It’s just what we do,” says Doreen Bloch, founder and CEO of beauty data company Poshly. “People are still spending, people are still engaging in the category, but they’re shifting their dollars around.”
While we hope that we won't always have to stay home (sooner rather than later), the focus on good skin health is a trend that is likely here to stay, even when we do move out of lockdown.
At home, quality products and treatments are essential for maintenance and great for when they're your only available option. However, they can only do so much in terms of actually minimizing pore size, correcting years spent in tanning beds, addressing pesky fine lines, and fading battle scars left behind from picking at pimples.
For those reasons, I like to refer to the experts. Dr. Cody Hemsworth and Barb Hemsworth (RN) are the husband/wife, doctor/nurse team, and co-founding couple behind Skin Worthy. Established in 2016, the medical aesthetics clinic in Etobicoke, Ont., is a one stop shop for all of your skin care needs including cosmetic injectables, lasers, and body and skin treatments.
If the name sounds familiar, it’s because it should. Skin Worthy is where we tested out Morpheus8, the newest microneedling device with radio frequency last winter. The results from those treatments were so incredible that when they invited us back to try out one of their most popular and innovative lasers, we were not going to decline. And if we were, the promise of “airbrushed skin” was all we needed to convince us otherwise.
I Can be Your Halo
Halo by Sciton, the world’s first hybrid fractional laser is revolutionizing resurfacing technology. Halo applies tunable non-ablative and ablative wavelengths to the same microscopic treatment zone, giving patients the results they desire without the downtime they would normally expect from a fractional laser.
To simplify, Halo simultaneously delivers two types of wavelengths into the dermis: ablative energy, which precisely removes damage in the skin’s upper layers, and non-ablative energy that penetrates deeper to target specific vessels, deep dermal pigment and stimulate collagen production.
Intelligent energy delivery combined with dynamic thermal optimization ensures precise, even and safe treatments, making Halo treatments highly customizable as well. The hybrid laser can treat a multitude of skin conditions and concerns on both the face and body, and is one of very few lasers that is safe for Fitzpatrick Skin Types I through V.
Halo can treat wrinkles and fine lines, sun damage, scarring, signs of aging, pigmented lesions, and can improve the appearance of enlarged pores. Halo also stimulates collagen production, therefore improving firmness, elasticity and skin thickness. To showcase just how versatile this laser is, we asked two women with very different but challenging skin concerns to try Halo for themselves.
Barbara Aleks is a 49-year-old personal stylist from Toronto, Ont.. Barbara is of Polish descent and what we would consider a skin type II. While she has had both filler and anti-wrinkle injections in the past, Barbara has yet to try any type of therapy that could help treat her severe sun damage and melasma - both of which are her top skin concerns.
Prerna Kumar is a 33-year-old makeup artist and owner of Prerna & Co. Prerna’s familial line is Indian and on the Fitzpatrick Skin Scale, she would be identified as a level V. A 2015 study that looked at the pore size of women around the world found that women of Indian descent tend to have larger pores in higher numbers when compared to other ethnicities. Since pore size is largely determined by genetics, it is understandable that Prerna’s main skin concern is that her complexion is too oily and prone to acne. While working in the beauty industry, Prerna has tested out numerous treatments over the years including anti-wrinkle injections, fillers, medical-grade peels, microneedling, facials, microdermabrasion, and IPL photo facial.
Before a Halo treatment, the majority of patients are only required to stay out of direct sunlight for two weeks and stop the use of retinol products for one week prior. Since Barbara suffers from melasma and Prerna is a darker skin type, both women were asked to apply hydroquinone (4 per cent) once daily for two weeks before their individual appointments. Hydroquinone quiets melanin production and decreases the incidence of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation after laser resurfacing procedures.
Treat Me Right
Upon arrival to a Halo appointment, your skin will be assessed to determine the settings that will be used. A numbing cream is applied and left on for 45 minutes to assist with any discomfort that may be felt throughout the treatment.
The treatment area will then be measured with Halo’s motion-tracking technology. The laser maps and assesses your skin to determine the amount of passes needed to adequately treat each area. For added safety, the laser will beep and automatically stop once the desired treatment level has been reached. The sensation experienced can be a prickly feeling with increasing heat, but it can vary depending on a patient’s pain tolerance and the intensity of the treatment.
Here's what Barbara and Prerna has to say about theirs:
How would you describe your Halo treatment?
BA: It was tolerable for the most part, but at times uncomfortable and zingy. The initial passes of the laser were almost undetectable and then after a few more, the pain would gradually increase.
PK: The numbing cream made the treatment virtually painless. On a pain scale of one to ten (with one being nothing), I would rate the Halo a two.
After your treatment was complete, can you describe how your skin felt?
BA: I chose to add on PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) to my Halo treatment to speed up the healing time and to enhance the results. My skin was extremely hot immediately after the treatment, but the application of the PRP did make it feel a bit better.
PK: My skin was stingy and hot at the end of the treatment. I used the cool air device for a few minutes to help ease my discomfort before I left to drive back home. I would equate the feeling to a mild sunburn.
How long did you experience discomfort after the treatment? What did you do to help alleviate the discomfort?
BA: I took an Advil and some Arnica when I came home after treatment to combat swelling. The burning started to dissipate after about two hours, but my skin still stung and felt sore to touch for a few hours after that.
PK: The heat/sun burn sensation lasted for about one hour post-treatment. I kept icing my face to help. After that, I felt normal and totally forgot that I had anything done until I washed my face at night. There was a tingling/burning sensation when I did my nighttime skin care routine, but the feeling subsided five minutes later.
Down, Out and Waiting to Glow
With most of us working from home, there has never been a better time to undergo a skin treatment that requires a little downtime. Compared to other resurfacing or fractional laser treatments, the healing process for a Halo procedure is significantly shorter and typically lasts only five days.
Many will experience swelling and redness that will peak on day two or three post-treatment, and MENDS (Micro Epidermal Necrotic Debris that appear as coffee grinds) will begin to appear on the skin at around the same time. The MENDS will slough off on their own one or two days later with your new radiant skin starting to appear underneath.
Here's how Barbara and Prerna found their healing process:
How did you find the overall healing process?
BA: The redness and swelling peaked on day two for me and my skin was itchy up until day four. I had a few pimples appear on my chin on day two as well, but was advised that this purge is quite common after any resurfacing treatment. It subsided quickly. By day four, the redness had calmed and the MENDS started to slough off. On day five, most of the MENDS were gone but I’m still a bit blotchy and some areas of my skin still have that sandpaper-y feeling.
PK: For myself, the redness subsided quite quickly and the MENDS appeared on day two. My face felt a bit like sandpaper and by day three it got slightly itchy. I suffer from cystic acne, and while I did not have active acne at the time of the treatment, I do have a small surface breakout on the lower half of my face. I was warned that this may occur and I was permitted to begin my skincare routine on the evening of day three, which aided in the healing process of both my skin and the breakout. By day four, most of the MENDS had fallen off and my new skin felt incredibly smooth.
What are the most noticeable results of the Halo?
BA: My melasma and sun damage is not gone but it has definitely improved. The texture of my skin is smoother, the tone is more consistent and my pores are much smaller than they were before the treatment.
PK: My skin texture is really nice and my pores are noticeably smaller. Being someone that has large pores, that is by far the biggest difference. I also feel like some fine lines have softened and others have disappeared completely.
Having gone through the treatment and the healing process, would you recommend the Halo? Would you do it again?
BA: The healing process took a bit longer than I thought it would but I understand that it varies from person to person. I work from home so it didn’t really affect my day, aside from the fact that I usually hop on IG for videos and I refrained from doing that for the first few days of healing. Being a child of the 70s and a sun worshipper, I do have significant sun damage and melasma, so while the Halo certainly helped, I believe that I am someone who would benefit from doing another treatment. I would do it again, and I likely will. My pores look amazing.
PK: I found the overall healing process was quite easy and it did not effect my daily routine at all. I love the way my skin looks after doing the treatment and even though I did have a breakout, I would definitely say that it was worth it. Who doesn’t love tighter, glowing, smoother skin? For someone with oily, acne-prone skin, I think that a few pimples are a small temporary trade-off.
Before photos were taken prior to treatment. After photos were two weeks post-Halo.
Still a bit red from use of the HQ cream, Barbara's melasma has significantly improved after her first treatment. She will return to improve on these results in a few months.
Before photos were taken prior to treatment. After photos were taken three weeks post-Halo.
Prerna's pore size has noticeably decreased and some of the scarring on her face has lightened. Neither Barbara or Prerna are wearing face makeup. Talk about #skingoals!
The Verdict Is In
Halo exceeded my personal expectations and that seems to be the general consensus for those who have undergone treatment. The melasma on my hairline and above my lip have noticeably faded, and the pores on both my cheeks and forehead have significantly decreased in size.
In the past, I used a blurring primer to help minimize my pores. Now without putting anything on my skin, the appearance is truly comparable; if not better. Skin quality is something that declines as we age. Using SPF, a consistent skin care routine, a balanced diet and exercise as preventative measures can help you appear more youthful, but if you want to give your skin a well-deserved reset, undergoing a Halo treatment is the way to do it.
Exclusive savings offer for STYLE Canada readers interested in trying out Halo at Skin Worthy: Mention “STYLE Canada” when you book your consultation and you will receive $100 off your Halo treatment. Offer expires April 31, 2021.