I was admittedly a little anxious about getting this procedure done. I’ve witnessed plenty of SkinPen® procedures, and I noticed that most people reacted as if they were in quite a bit of pain. I numbed up with BLT (benzocaine, lidocaine, tetracaine) first for about 30 minutes. My face was extremely numb when we started the treatment.
I awaited the touching down of the needles not unlike I do when I get a tattoo, but I must admit all of the anxious feelings leading up to that moment were for naught. I literally couldn’t feel a thing but the pressure of the SkinPen on my skin.
I will definitely, in the future, request that my upper lip be treated before anything else so that it’s at its peak of numbness. That was the only part of the entire treatment that was painful, and it wasn’t just a tiny bit uncomfortable. I had to use my deep breathing to keep from moving away from the aesthetician performing the treatment! I am very aware after having had permanent makeup application on my lip show sensitive that area is on me, but it’s always an interesting wakeup call when I experience that type of pain in that area. I thought it was even more interesting that I could feel pain there and nothing elsewhere.
It was a fairly quick treatment. Total time being about an hour, numbing included.
One of the really great things about SkinPen is the lack of downtime. I went right back to work, literally, after having the treatment done. I was still pretty numb, but I realized after the numbing started wearing off that my skin felt a lot like it does after a chemical peel. It was tight and there was heat emanating from my face. It was very much like a sunburn which is how we describe it to clients to set the expectation after their treatments of what they might feel like.
Day 1: On my way home that day I couldn’t apply sunscreen as the channels created in the skin stay open for 24 hours after the treatment. I made sure to use my mirrors in the car to shield myself as well as possible. It wasn’t much of an issue as my car tends to be shaped in a way that my face wasn’t getting direct sun.
I will say since I’m a stomach sleeper that night was not the most restful of sleep I’ve ever experienced since I couldn’t sleep on my face! It did feel like a bad sunburn, and I accidentally touched it and woke myself up multiple times in the night (probably trying to roll onto my stomach!). The next morning my face was just a little pink. I was testing out both the PCA Post Procedure product kit and the SkinFuse postSkinPen product kit to see if I could tell a difference in healing and overall appearance of my skin. Within the first 24 hours I only used the Calming Complex from SkinFuse because that is part of their protocol(SkinPen’s), and I wanted to make sure while those channels were open I wasn’t using anything that would compromise the healing process.
Day 2: In the morning when I woke up, I used the wash from SkinFuse to cleanse my face. I am committed to the side-by-side comparison, but I draw the line at cleansers. I am not going to take the time to wash my face with one and then the other because I get in and out of the shower as quickly as possible. This girl gets ready in less than 30 minutes, always. But back to the issue at hand! Day 2 my skin wasn’t as red as it felt. My skin was putting off some serious heat. I used both brand’s products, and it was interesting as the day went on to see that both sides were drying out at the same speed. Granted, the two products for “calming” in the kits were what I used in the AM, and I used the SkinFuse Shield which is their 21% zinc, tinted sunscreen all over as I didn’t want one side to be tinted and one not. So…true comparison? I know, it was difficult. I can say that I enjoyed the way both of the calming products felt on my skin that morning knowing that I was still a little tender.
By the end of the day I was still really warm and starting to get itchy. I slept much better on day 2 than the previous night, and woke up barely even pink the next morning!
Days 3-5: This is when my peeling started!! On Day 3 I started having the type of peeling around my mouth I would expect after a mid-depth peel. The more I moved my face throughout the day the more skin started lifting. I really wasn’t expecting this type of reaction especially because it took me a long time to reach the end point of erythema during the treatment. Apparently, I have strong, resilient skin!
I could already tell as the skin started to peel that I was going to like what was underneath. Already a week later I have glowing, more evenly textured skin which is exactly what I was looking to achieve. The other problem area for me that I was hoping would be affected by this treatment was my chin area where I had issues with breakouts and hyperpigmentation from said breakouts. I am really impressed with the overall texture of that area. The scars themselves have also lightened some. I can see how a series of 3treatments would be the most effective course of action because each time your baseline is improved.
Review of Post Procedure Products:
Here’s what I have to say about my side-by-side product usage. I really love the setup and easy-to-follow directions in the PCA Post Procedure kit. The Facial Wash is a nice, gentle cleanser that made my skin feel like it was getting clean without any dryness sometimes associated with cleansers that sud (not really foam). The Clinicalm 1% has hydrocortisone and was really helpful as I started to become less inflamed and itchier from the healing process. I enjoyed putting it on my skin (left side of my face) after cleansing.
The other products contained in the kit are the ReBalance moisturizer and the Silk Coat heavy moisturizer. I am a big fan of both of these. They feel wonderful on my skin with no irritation. I sometimes experience stinging with products so I was glad when these didn’t affect me that way. There is also a sunscreen in the kit. I did not use that sunscreen on a daily basis because I used the SHIELD Zinc Oxide21% SPF 30 (highest percentage on the market I’m told) from the SkinFuse kit.
Let’s discuss SkinFuse! I was really excited to get to try these products because I think there’s something said for using the products that were used during the SkinPen studies for efficacy. After my first treatment the rep was interested in seeing how it would do in a head-to-head trial with the PCA kit and I was totally on board. I used the SkinFuse cleanser which is called PURIFY Cleansing Complex. It’s also gentle and very similar to the PCA Facial Wash in the way it felt and even smelled. I was a little surprised by that.
After cleansing I used a Calming Complex product that is very similar in viscosity and feel to the Clinicalm from PCA (starting to see a trend?).
I applied SkinFuse on the right side of my face for this trial. After cleansing and using the CalmingComplex I applied the corresponding product depending on time of day. Talk about easy to use…the box all of these products come in has a day-by-day breakdown of what to use and when. It is fool proof! The effort that went into the packaging was definitely noted. I really appreciate things that take all of the guessing and anxiety out of using new products, especially for my clients. The FORTIFY Vita C Serum isthe day treatment of which I’m a fan. It isn’t as oily as my regular vita c serum. I would describe it as more of a gel than an oil. At night it had me use the RECLAIM Hydrating Support which is very moisturizing. It helped to calm my skin after it taking the abuse of my every day schedule. I followed both with SHEILDZinc Oxide 21% SPF 30 over my whole face only because it’s tinted, and I didn’t feel like rocking a one side-only tinted look!
I am kind of obsessed with this tinted sunscreen. I would equate the tint effect to the tint I used to use from Origins for years. It’s glowy and gives a great amount of coverage. So much so that I don’t mind being bare faced during the day. I will continue using this sunscreen for sure. Did I mention it’s also moisturizing? Yeah, I’m definitely on board with this product.
This activity in skincare was not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison as the PCA kit is a 7-day supply and the SkinFuse is a 3-month supply intended to be used during the duration of your 3 SkinPen treatment per series. The other difference is that the PCA kit is just post-procedure and the SkinFuse products are more treatment products (see vitamin c serum). That being said, I felt like both sides of my face had very similar reactions throughout the day. I didn’t feel like one was more moisturized than the other. I didn’t have redness or irritation on one side and not the other, etc. I guess what I’m getting at is if I was grading on feel and overall product appreciation I would say that PCA was just as beneficial post treatment as SkinFuse was for a fraction of the cost. And I do mean fraction, but keep in mind it’s 7 days as opposed to 90 days.
The real kicker would be what my results after 3 SkinPen treatments and a 90-day supply of both kits would reveal. For now I can tell you I would definitely recommend either kit depending on the treatment being performed. I love that SkinFuse has been tested specifically with SkinPen in trials so we have the data to back up why we would be recommending those products, and there’s less chance of anything going wrong when you follow their protocols. That’s why I waited the 24 hours before I used anything else just so that I didn’t create an issue with the efficacy of the treatment.
So I guess I’m not going to say one was “better” than the other. Even if it was an apples-to-oranges comparison, I really enjoyed both lines, and I feel like my results 1 week out from my SkinPen experience have been excellent on both sides of my face! I think this just really highlights how important it is to use quality products, and it’s not always that one is significantly better than the other as long as you’re providing effective products that create changes in the skin. Using quality products is really the key to healthier skin. It will always be imperative to keeping your skin at its best and providing the most impressive results in combination with other treatments. If you’re willing to pay for a procedure likeSkinPen, you should invest in products that will support the procedure!