Chelsea Handler, is raving about a beauty treatment using what’s known as a “ProFractional” laser to smooth and clear skin. But at least one scientific study has raised some red flags.
Handler’s before and after selfie posted on social media appears to show improvement, and she’s sold on it.
“Its f*cking awesome and no one is paying me to tell you about it. Bam!” wrote the 41-year-old comedian in the caption.
The first so-called fractional thermolysis (FT) process was performed in 2004. Since then, numerous FT technologies have been introduced, according to the authoritative Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Cosmetology.
The article’s author, Michael Gold is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and School of Nursing. He also owns several Nashville skin care centers.
He says it’s critical to understand that “all FT devices are not the same.”
“With so many devices now available with numerous claims of clinical success, deciding which FT device to use can be confusing,” he adds.
The procedure is by no means cheap. Treatments have been reported to cost as much as $1,100 a session and typically more than one session is required.
Still, a number of testimonials have been published on the Web touting the procedure’s effectiveness in treating scars, blemishes, sun damage, acne and facial lines.
The first laser skin treatments were introduced in the 1990s and relied on a a continuous laser beam that removed all of the epidermis and a portion of the dermis beneath it, according to the Journal.
The treatment, however, was prone to side effects such as chronic pain, edema, persistent redness, infections and skin discoloration that lasted as long as two years.
FT skin treatments do not remove all skin and are repeated over and over again, creating tiny injuries. As they heal, the treatment promotes improvement in the tone and texture of the skin.
Small columns of thermal injury to the skin, caused by the treatment are known as microthermal zones (MTZs), Gold writes. The MTZs can vary from device to device.
Once injured, the skin begins a very rapid process of repair and dead tissue will flake off for up to two weeks or more. During the time between the treatment and peeling, the skin will also look blood red.
But one of the big side-effects is scar formation; the other is patchy skin darkening, especially in people with darker skin.
One woman who had a treatment for acne suffered both scarring, dark spots and “terrible track marks” from the laser a month after the procedure.
“Please PLEASE PLEASE think twice before doing this laser. I am writing this to warn you guys,” she wrote on the site realself.com.
It’s a month post-laser. I look like a freaky clown. Dark spots and orange spots. I am so depressed,” she wrote.
Gold noted in his 2010 study that more clinical research on the technology is needed to establish the “legitimacy of FT devices.”
“As clinicians, we should demand the science behind medical devices and not rely on the so-called ‘white’ papers laser companies are eager to make available,” he added.