Fredric Brandt, MD, a cosmetic dermatologist, and an associate in his practice, Robert Anolik, MD, met with Sarah in their Manhattan office and decided on a series of treatments with four lasers: the Gemini and the Vbeam, for more superficial spots; the Fraxel Restore, to stimulate collagen production in the deeper layer of skin; and the Clear + Brilliant, to give a polished look. In addition to reducing the appearance of existing acne scars, “the lasers improve any redness or inflammation in the skin, giving it a healthy glow,” Anolik explains.
On her own, Sarah adhered to a new morning and evening regimen that included a gentle cleanser, a Clarisonic brush, two prescription products (Finacea, a topical gel containing azelaic acid to kill acne-causing bacteria, and Differin, a gel with acne-fighting vitamin A), an oil-free moisturizer and, during the day, sunblock. Keeping track of all the steps did take diligence, but a week into her makeover, Sarah was managing well, and her skin was already clearing up.
The biggest surprise came after Sarah’s first encounter with the Fraxel Restore. “It took several days for the dead, dry skin to flake off, which the doctor had told me would happen,” she says.“But when it did, what lay beneath was astonishing, and I do not use the word lightly. My skin tone evened out in a way I had no idea was possible. I went from skeptic to total believer.” The Gemini and Vbeam lasers—which vaporize small blood vessels on the face, thus evening tone—are fixes for the redness but not cures, says Anolik: Down the road, the formation of new blood vessels close to the skin’s surface may require another round of treatment, which Sarah says would be a worthwhile investment. “I’m amazed by my skin’s transformation,” she says. “I never dreamed we would be able to make such a difference and in such a short time.”