My skin hasn't always had my back. For context, I had fairly predictable skin throughout high school but when A-Levels arrived so did my first bout of acne. I panicked. I flitted from stringent, stinging toners, drying lotions labelled up as acne-busting skincare, 'acne friendly' diets, medication, holistic remedies, DIY hacks, you name it, all in the name of clear skin. Whether it was a prescription cream my GP recommended or simply my hormones settling into a complexion-friendly rhythm I'll never know, but eventually my breakouts became less frequent. Three years on, though, my acne has begun to make periodic comebacks, as is the post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) - scarring.
With my winter wedding on the horizon, I decided to take matters in hand. Skincare experts and dermatologists the world over will tell you that when it comes to locking down your best skin yet, we should all be taking a 360º approach: focusing on a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water (no, it's not going to clear up your breakouts but it is an intrinsic bart of a holistic approach to skincare), and a streamlined yet hardworking skincare routine. Taking things to the next level involves treatments, ones selected specifically for your skin type and concerns. In my case, this meant getting acquainted with lasers.
The popularity of laser treatments has seen a real uptick in recent years thanks, in part, to social media - a vehicle through which 'come with me'-style appointment reviews can be consulted and results can be showcased. There are a broad range of laser treatments on offer, each designed to tackle specific concerns ranging from rosacea, uneven skin texture, fine lines and acne scarring.
I made a play for the latter. For the past eight months I have been visiting the skincare specialists at the award-winning, London-based D.Thomas Clinic. I booked in for a course of bespoke laser treatments designed to calm my active breakouts and reduce the appearance of my acne scarring.
My Laser Prescription
DNA Laser Complete Grade 2 With D.Thomas Clinic
After my initial consultation and patch test in the clinic's South Kensington branch, my laser technician Cindy prescribed a course of the clinic's DNA Laser Complete Grade 2, a customised fusion of 'state-of-the-art technology, groundbreaking techniques and specially-formulated products,' according to the brand's website literature. The signature treatment works to calm a number of conditions including acne, compromised skin barriers and rosacea.
The DNA Laser works by 'activating your skin cells at all levels, including the deepest layers where collagen and elastin reside'. My specific course featured a bespoke blend of non-ablative (meaning less invasive, non-wounding treatments that don't require much downtime) lasers including: ADVATx Yellow Laser with a 589nm wavelength to deliver short, single pulses of laser to blitz acne and calm inflammation; Fotona Piano Mode 1064nm wavelength to help strengthen my skin and improve its overall health and Fotona Versa Acne Mode which uses bursts of superficial heat to reduce oil production and bacteria within the skin.
The clinic's signature DNA treatments are customised to meet the specific needs of each client and are based on clinic founder and laser specialist Debbie Thomas' knack for laser mixing, where therapists mix different lasers, for different concerns within one treatment.
Laser Hair Removal With D.Thomas Clinic
During my consultation, to my surprise, I was also recommended laser hair removal as part of the treatment. According to the team, this would also have a positive impact on my acne. This was the first time I had heard of facial hair removal as a means of limiting the frequency of breakouts, but the theory makes total sense: blemishes occur when hair follicles become clogged with excess oils and dead skin, so it stands to reason that removing the hair clears up space in the pore and prevents a degree of clogging.
Moxi Laser With Dr Maryam Zamani
Over the last eight months, I have only received one intensive skin treatment. After a consultation with Dr Maryam Zamani, I was prescribed a single Moxi™ treatment to give my skin a glow boost. The industry-approved treatment uses a 1927 nm laser energy to trigger the skin’s natural repair process and enhance collagen and elastin production and features a gentle, fractional non-ablative diode resurfacing laser to improve skin texture, reduce pigmentation, and the appearance of fine lines and pores.
Dr Zamani points out, 'It is a wonderful laser for all skin types. This is unusual because there is risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or post-inflammatory erythema with darker skin types. Yet, Moxi is considered an entry level laser, and can be used on younger skin types as well as older patients as frequently as monthly. I particularly love using this treatment to help improve the appearance of melasma.'
Eight months on from my first ever laser session and my skin has settled. My active hormonal breakouts are few and far between and the visibility of my post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation has been significantly reduced. My skin feels firmer and more radiant.
There's no one-suits-all policy when it comes to skincare, nor will everyone feel the same way about their skin. Some may look in the mirror and forever focus on a bugbear concern that I wouldn't clock in a million years. Others may never give a patch of pigmentation a second glance, let alone even consider spending the cost of a course of laser treatments on minimising its appearance. I can only speak to my own experience and say that for me and my sense of wellbeing, the time I dedicated to investigating laser treatments ahead of my winter wedding this year was entirely worth it.