Nov 1, 2017 - Things to Do

I got two lasers to the face for beauty – the price, the pain and the payoff

(Criswell & Criswell Plastic Surgery is an advertising partner with the Agenda. They wanted us to review their Halo and BBL Lasers, so I stepped up to the challenge to try it out and review for all of you. Enjoy!)

About me

Hi, I’m Lizzy! I’m 23, and was a virgin to any kind of procedure like this. So when asked if I wanted to test out light therapy treatment with Criswell & Criswell Plastic Surgery, I jumped at the opportunity. I love everything about the beauty and health industries – the products, the treatments and any kind of solution to my skincare needs.

Here’s what my skin’s like so you can properly compare your potential experience to mine:

  • Skin type: Combination to oily
  • Acne levels: Serious to medium acne breakouts – all hormonal/stress-based. Needless to say, I had plenty of acne scars.
  • Other issues: I have very manageable eczema (basically dry skin that I treat with topical steroids as needed), and, what I believe to be, minor rosacea on my cheeks.
  • Discoloration and freckles situation: Medium on my forehead, nose and cheeks

Here I am bare-faced and with a full face of makeup. I’ve included both to show how full coverage my makeup generally is, aka how much I feel I need to cover up my skin’s flaws.

*Please excuse my creepy smise – taking a million selfies without smiling was too hard

Items I was hoping to see a big change in: broken capillaries along my nose, discoloration throughout my face, and my sunken under eye area.

About the lasers

Criswell & Criswell used two lasers on my face – one to address the surface (mostly dark spots and discoloration) and one to treat underneath my skin to promote collagen production (aka to make my face firmer).

The first laser used was for the BBL treatment. During my treatment, this was used to address my surface-level imperfections. The medical esthetician (a hyper-qualified skin expert) used this to get rid of my redness, uneven skin tone, freckles and broken capillaries. For one treatment of your full face, this laser will run you $400.

The second laser used was for the Halo treatment – I called this the big daddy laser because it was used to treat underneath my dermis (the top layer of skin). Its main purpose is to inspire growth of new collagen and elastin, but it also addresses overall even skin tone and texture, improves fine lines and wrinkles, and more. For one treatment of your full face, this laser will run you $1,500.

BBL and Halo both treat brown spots and discoloration, just with different forms of laser. The Halo can wipe out pigment by itself, but depending on the patient, it can be beneficial to do one or the other. But in most cases, both lasers together is the gold standard.

Here’s the laundry list of symptoms that these lasers can treat when used together:

  • Rosacea (generalized flushing or redness)
  • Vessels
  • Sun spots, age spots, brown spots, freckles, and hyperpigmentation
  • Fine lines, wrinkles, crepey skin
  • Tone and texture
  • Acne scarring and other scarring

The process

The appointment was relatively short and sweet for the amount of work they got done. To start, I signed in, had a quick consultation about my skin and what about it bothered me, and finally, before pictures. Then the laser awesomeness began…

The BBL treatment

Time: ~30 minutes
Purpose during my treatment: Treat surface-level imperfections (discoloration, redness, etc)
Laser pain level: 5/10
Post-procedure redness: 5/10
Post-procedure pain: 3/10

My fabulous esthetician, Marjorie, put the gel used for ultrasounds all over my face and strapped on steel (yes, steel) tanning goggles. Pro tip: these things suck, but are necessary (you know, because lasers) so just be prepared.

She then took the laser and would place it on an area she was aiming to treat. She’d count to three, zap me with the laser, and I’d feel the same pain you feel when you get snapped by a rubber band. Stunning, but quick and not long lasting. She went around my face a couple times, then the process was complete.

I had redness and slight irritation afterward, but overall the procedure wasn’t too bad.

The Halo treatment

Time: ~40 minutes
Purpose during my treatment: Inspire growth of new collagen while also targeting discoloration or textural anomalies on the surface level
Laser pain level: 0/10  6.5/10  8/10
Post-procedure redness: 10/10
Post-procedure pain: 7/10

Following the BBL treatment, Marjorie put numbing gel all over my face for an hour (I wasn’t lying when I said this was going to be the big daddy laser).

After an hour of waiting with water, up-to-date magazines (which are highly underrated in a waiting scenario), and plenty of snack offers, my esthetician came back to start laser #2.

Marjorie made sure my face was 100% numb, then she measured my facial dimensions and input that data into the laser to determine how long the laser would treat each section of my face. From there, she rolled the laser along all four section of my face (both cheeks, forehead, and chin and nose).

This is where the pain came in. The first five minutes of each section was fabulous – no feeling and pretty relaxing. Then, the numbness would wear off, and a burning, needle-y sensation would set it for the last five minutes. This pain was somewhat tolerable until she hit my nose and chin.

Marjorie (who was my guardian angel) essentially coached me through the last five minutes of the Halo laser. I won’t lie – it hurt pretty bad. But beauty is pain, right?


Immediately after the Halo laser, I was handed a cooling wand (aka my saving grace). This wand blew out cool air onto my freshly laser-ed face that was BURNING (and the brightest red I’ve ever seen my face look). It was intense.

Following that, I was slathered with lotion, handed two ice packs for my face, and equipped with moisturizer and a 50 spf sunscreen.

Side note: you won’t be able to use anything on your face except this moisturizer, sunscreen and a gentle cleanser like Cetaphil. This wasn’t great for my acne (I use a specific medication to keep mine at bay), but again – worth it.

*god bless these ice packs*

Day 1

I remained incredibly red and had what the esthetician called a “coffee ground” look. This meant that it looked like I had coffee grounds spread all over my face.

This was the crazy part – the “coffee grounds” were all the pigment that was either on or below my skin, lifting to the surface and getting ready to peel off. I can’t emphasize this enough – it was so bizarre to see years of sun damage rising to the top layer of my face in order to peel off later.

Day 2

I call this period “the great swell.” I looked like a legitimate balloon, which AGAIN, was crazy. My face swelled to probably twice its size and began to go down by day four.

Days 3-7

Get ready to peel – a lot. My entire face began to flake off. I was literally getting a new version of my face as I watched my old skin fall off throughout the course of a week.

Pro tip: I’d suggest limiting your public appearances during this entire healing process. I had to go out in public a lot because I didn’t plan properly (aka scheduling a video shoot for day two of recovery), and was pretty self conscious the entire time. Also, your skin will be extremely sensitive to the sun, so wear a hat when you do leave the house.

The results

The BBL treatment: I began to see results immediately when all my face’s pigment came to the surface. This will be where your immediate results will come from. After peeling, I was left with way less pronounced broken capillaries and zero freckles or dark spots. I was shocked.

The Halo treatment: Even though this laser takes about three months to show its full effects, I’ve slowly begun to see a glow showing up. I’ve also noticed my under eye area being far less hollow thanks to that collagen boost.

Check out the results for yourself

The color difference you’re seeing is a legitimate glow from the laser treatments. I took the same style photo with the same lighting every day throughout this process.

Was it worth it and should you try it?

I’ll be the first to acknowledge that these procedures are expensive and relatively painful. However, I did see results. Before the procedures, I was really uncomfortable leaving the house without a full face of makeup – foundation, concealer, powder, etc.

Now, I don’t even think twice about it. My skin’s unbelievably even-toned and looks as if I always have tinted moisturizer on. I also do have that “halo glow”, so I don’t need the color that bronzer and blush normally provide.

Overall, I’m incredibly happy with the results of the BBL treatment and am starting to see great results from the Halo laser.

Because I know you came here for a straight answer, here’s what I’ll say. If you have similar insecurities to what I was feeling (aka a huge discomfort with leaving the house bare-faced), I’d highly suggest these treatments. You’ll see results and a pretty immediate improvement in the appearance of your skin.

Some parting advice from the experts at Criswell & Criswell Plastic Surgery

To wrap this up, I wanted to provide some insightful feedback from the Criswell team on why they use and suggest BBL and Halo treatments for their patients:

Q: How did you come to determine BBL and Halo’s effectiveness for your patients? Are there other lasers or treatments that produce the same results, or is this the only option?

A: Yes, there are other types of lasers that do similar jobs. But, we love these because with one treatment, you’ll get a result that takes most lasers a minimum of three treatments to get.

Q: Who is this treatment meant for?

A: Anyone – Halo and BBL are safe for all skin types. You’re also never too young for preventative measures. You won’t get the result of a face lift, but you will see rejuvenated skin and a “halo glow” afterwards.

Q: Why is this something a Charlottean should invest in?

A: Health and fitness (and overall wellness) is a big priority in Charlotte. If you’re focusing on your physical health, this is the next step to make sure your skin is looking its best as well. Laser rejuvenation is the best path to repairing skin, especially when people here are experiencing Southern summers and sun. These lasers pair really well with an active lifestyle as well since there’s not a lot of downtime or repeat doctor visits.

And finally, some feedback on my results from the pros

We were thrilled to have Lizzy in our office to experience the Halo & BBL laser treatments. She had a great result with overall skin brightening and has a more even skin tone and texture.

Patients who have had other types of lasers consider the Halo treatment considerably more comfortable in comparison to other lasers on the market today. While Lizzy experienced more significant discomfort, most patients we treat rate the discomfort a 4 to 5/10.

However, we know every patient’s experience is different. We always take this into account and can customize treatments for comfort and results. This laser is arguably the best laser in the world for comfort, results, and downtime!

Interested in trying these procedures out?

You can find more information about the Halo treatment here and the BBL treatment here, and schedule a consultation with Criswell & Criswell Plastic Surgery here.


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