The best-of-both-worlds technology used by the Halo hybrid fractional laser—delivering both ablative and non-ablative wavelengths—has made it one of the most popular skin rejuvenation treatments at our med spa. Its versatility allows us to customize your after-treatment downtime to your specific needs. That means there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to how long it takes to heal after a Halo treatment.
But we can describe what most patients should expect during the recovery process, as the skin produces new collagen and continues to appear smoother with discoloration fading for several months. You can read about what you should do to prepare for your Halo laser treatment in a previous blog post.
What Is the Halo Laser?
Before discussing what happens after a Halo laser treatment, let’s first look at what sets this treatment apart from other laser skin resurfacing procedures. As mentioned above, Halo is a hybrid laser that combines ablative and non-ablative laser wavelengths. What does that mean?
Ablative lasers target the skin’s outer layer, while non-ablative technology delivers heat energy to the tissue underlying the skin’s surface. Because Halo is also a fractional laser, it creates thousands of microscopic columns in the treatment area, leaving surrounding tissue undamaged. That partial, or fractional, damage shortens the recovery time compared to fully ablative laser treatments.
Halo is an excellent option for patients who want to treat:
- Fine wrinkles
- Age spots
- Uneven skin tone or texture
- Sun-damaged skin
- Mild to moderate acne scars
We also often combine Halo with BBL™ BroadBand Light treatments to enhance the results.
What Should You Expect During and After a Halo Treatment?
The Halo treatment itself is typically fairly brief, taking between 15 and 30 minutes, depending on the size of the treatment area. Before beginning, one of our med spa specialists applies a topical numbing cream to help you remain comfortable as the laser delivers pulses of energy. Most people say the sensation is similar to a rubber band snapping the skin.
Immediately after the treatment, you’ll see some redness and swelling. This is the skin’s natural response to the controlled injuries delivered by the laser. The intensity of the redness and amount of swelling varies depending on the aggressiveness of the treatment. Use a cold compress or ice packs in the first 48 hours to help to relieve the swelling and reduce discomfort. To avoid further swelling, you may choose to sleep in an upright position the first night after the treatment.
First day after treatment: The treatment area will still be red, and you may notice the skin feels somewhat dry, similar to a sunburn. The redness usually peaks about 3 days after the treatment but can last for up to a week (again, depending on the intensity of your treatment.) You may also notice pinpoint bleeding in the treatment area. You can wipe away the tiny droplets with damp gauze.
2 to 3 days after treatment: Don’t be surprised if your skin has a bronzish color with tiny dark spots. These spots are called MENDS (microscopic epidermal necrotic debris). Melanin, which gives the skin color, fills these microscopic wounds and causes the skin to look bronze. They’ll develop thin crusts, which is part of the healing process as damaged tissue is expelled and replaced by fresh skin. It’s important not to scratch off the crusty scabs, even though they can be itchy. Your skin begins peeling on about the third day, which often takes 5 to 7 days to complete (for facial treatments.) Peeling on the neck or elsewhere on the body can take up to 2 weeks.
4 to 7 days after treatment: By day 4, many patients wonder if their skin is ever going to look better. Good news! As the old skin sheds, you’ll start to see rosy, smooth skin that will continue to look better and better with each passing day.
It’s important that you diligently follow our med spa’s post-care instructions to ensure the best possible results. Wearing sunscreen is essential starting on the day of the treatment and continuing for at least 3 months after the procedure. Of course, we encourage everyone to apply sunscreen daily.
When Do the Results Appear?
Even though you’ll notice fresher skin appearing within a week of the treatment (as the old skin peels and flakes off), long-term results emerge more gradually. The results actually appear in 2 distinct phases because Halo delivers 2 wavelengths of light. After the initial results appear within 5 to 7 days, it can take up to 2 months for your skin’s texture to become smoother and pores to shrink.
Of course, if you have any concerns or questions, don’t hesitate to contact FACES Med Spa. This is especially true if you develop a fever of more than 101 degrees or notice pus-like fluid draining from the wounds.
If you want to learn more about the Halo laser or the other laser and light-based treatments we offer, request a consultation using the online form to meet with one of our specialists or call us at (907) 279-8800 to schedule an appointment.