Complimentary services provided for review.
I love everything relating to beauty: Hair, makeup, skin care, you name it! I’ve always paid attention to anti-aging treatments, but since hitting 30, it’s been on my mind a lot more. So when my fellow PDX blogger friend Carol Jones let me know that Dr. Bohley Cosmetic Surgery was partnering with local bloggers to try out a new laser treatment, I jumped at the opportunity. Dr. Bohley shares an office with Dr. DeMars, who has taken great care of Carol, so I thought this would be the perfect place to get a consult and see how this new treatment might work for some of my skin care concerns.
Outside of watching Dr. 90210, I had no idea what to expect at a cosmetic surgery office, so I brought Jai along with me for the consult because I was a little nervous. Since the beauty industry is known for capitalizing on people’s insecurities, I was a little afraid that whoever I met might take one look at me and gasp, “Oh no, your face looks so old! You’ll need to spend thousands on all our treatments to fix it!” 😉 So I wanted to have someone else there for perspective.
Fortunately, all of those fears were completely unfounded. During my consult I met both Dr. Bohley and Robin Prusse RN, a trained laser specialist. I arrived with no makeup on so that they could see exactly what they were working with, and the reaction I got really surprised me. Both Robin and Dr. Bohley commented that my skin was beautiful and that I had done a great job taking care of myself. I’ve always been religious about using sunscreen, and apparently that has paid off as I got high praise for a job well done keeping my skin looking youthful. I really wasn’t expecting to hear that!
Robin asked me what areas I’m concerned about, and I told her that I’ve never liked the lines on my forehead. She told me that those lines were not caused by anything that I did – everyone has those from a very young age (which explains why I’ve noticed them since way back in my 20s), and the only thing that gets rid of them is Botox; no moisturizer or routine will make any difference there, and it’s not an area that the laser can address. I asked her about my skin care routine, since I always feel adrift in not knowing what I should be doing. If you’ve read any of my previous moisturizer reviews on here, you’ll see that I try to dig into the science of products as much as I can to figure out what really works over just being snake oil, but it’s really hard to get much clarity.
Robin told me that they have a wonderful line of moisturizers and skin care products that they offer patients, however, they wouldn’t be necessary for me until I hit my 40s. Because I have done a good job using sunscreen, Robin told me it would not really be worth it for me to invest in those product until I’m older. Robin explained that some of her younger clients in their 20s do use that skincare line because they’ve spent a lot of time in tanning beds and have premature aging to deal with, but for my situation, she recommended I continue with what I’m doing and use simple drugstore moisturizers for the rest of my 30s, as my main area of concern would simply be continuing to use sunscreen. The fact that Robin advised me to use a $7 drugstore product over a $155 RX moisturizer that they sell in the office shows me how honest they are and makes me feel like I’m finally getting some straight advice on skin care personalized to me, rather than someone just trying to sell me something.
We then discussed the two different laser treatments on offer: The first was Halo by Sciton, the first and only hybrid fractional laser that targets concerns such as sun damage and signs of aging as well as discoloration/uneven skin tone. The second treatment was Forever Young BroadBand Light Treatments, which addresses concerns including firmness and elasticity.
Dr. Bohley did 4 years of research before determining that Halo was a great treatment and investing in the machine for his office. Robin explained how it worked and what to expect, as well as some of the techniques Dr. Bohley uses to get even better outcomes with it. The fact that his practice is so concerned with research really gives me great confidence in them. When it comes to skin care treatments, all I care about is science and factual outcomes, and I’ve always disliked how the industry is so full of vague promises. Dr. Bohley’s practice is a perfect fit for my needs and approach.
Since I was now confident in the safety of the laser and knew it could potentially get rid of some fine lines and promote collagen production, I decided to go for it and book my appointment. Robin was really helpful working with my schedule, patient in answering all of my many safety questions (I am extremely detail-oriented and try to plan for every eventuality, to a fault), and provided me with products to use at home for a month before to prevent any discoloration due to an (extremely unlikely) medication contraindication.
After my consult, something I noticed was that I immediately felt better about myself and more confident. Robin gave me a little bit of a reality check and helped me realize that I’m not aging horribly like I thought. We are all our own toughest critics, and I see my own face much more closely than anyone else’s, so it was great to get some perspective. That alone was so invaluable and an immediate result! I’ve been searching for answers on my skin routine my whole adult life, so to get such great advice was another incredible benefit that I received right away. Now that I know what to do with my skin, I can stop worrying about it and stop wasting money on gimmicky products. It seems so silly, but I felt bad for years because I felt like I was aging prematurely because I wasn’t doing a good enough job caring for my skin or using the right products. My experience with Robin has relieved me of that misplaced regret and made me feel so much better.
At the end of March, I headed back to the office, ready to get my face lasered! Doesn’t that sound like something out of a comic? I brought Jai along with me again, this time so that he could snap pics and videos. It was time for the major laser! Robin started first with a brief BBL treatment – BroadBand Light Phototherapy. The first run-through of BBL was targeting some areas of redness/rosacea, and the second run-through targets brown areas such as freckles. Robin had been very honest with me at the consult about what the process would feel like, before and afterwards, so I was prepared for process.
She did a few initial zaps to let me feel the laser and know what to expect. We all wore goggles to protect our eyes, and I could still perceive the bright flash of light through my covered eyes. The first zap was pretty intense and felt like hot pins going into my cheek – I described it as a taser for the face. Robin could tell I was a little too uncomfortable (although I was trying to downplay it, because I knew what I had signed up for), so she actually changed out the head on the BBL to a smaller one which was less painful. She also gave me a cold air fan to hold towards my face and made conversation with Jai and I to distract me, so after the initial shock I did start to get used to it.
Next up was the Halo Fractional Laser, which is a lot less intense that the BBL. It’s still uncomfortable and can get a bit more stingy and sharp around sensitive areas like the eyes and nose, but it wasn’t as sharp of a sensation and was closer to a tickling feeling at times. Robin was laser focused (pun intended) on her task and paid great attention to detail – you can tell by her level of focus how seriously she takes her job, which both Jai and I noticed and appreciated.
Once the treatments are complete, you sit under the cooling blower for a few minutes and take some ibuprofen with cold water, then you are done and ready to go. Here’s a timelapse video of the whole procedure:
For the first hour, your face feels extremely hot, and you have the same sensation that you might when getting a small burn while cooking, but spread all over your face. I was given an ice pack and we cranked the A/C in the car to the max, which helps. It’s definitely painful, but I also knew that the intensity only lasts for an hour after the treatment, and I can deal with discomfort when I know there’s a time limit on it. It’s been described that the sensation wears off like turning off a switch at the one hour mark, but my experience was more that the pain tapered down after about 30 minutes and just got more and more manageable, with me being able to turn the A/C off maximum blast after the hour mark. I do recommend bringing a friend with you to the procedure; I knew I wouldn’t want to drive 2 hours home by myself, and having Jai there to distract me with conversation was helpful, not to mention helping me gathering my things and exit the office, since I was hurting right after the procedure.
We arrived back in Seaside after about 2 hours, and I had blocked out the rest of the day just to recover, since we had just traveled over 175 miles and I knew I would be tired and in discomfort. Initially, my face felt pretty hot, and when I went to apply moisturizer maybe 3 hours after the procedure, my face was so sensitive I could barely touch it. The discomfort and redness eases off rapidly and by 9pm that night, I would put moisturizer on without that pain. By the following morning, my face was looking so much better and had the same appearance of getting a really bad sunburn on your face. However, the day 2 sensation was a mild hotness on my cheeks – it was a little sensitive to move my face from the swelling, but I was really not too uncomfortable. I was impressed by the rapid recovery, especially since I have such sensitive skin and was afraid I might be looking like Freddy Kruger for a while.
After the procedure, you are advised to stay indoors for 3 days to avoid any sun. Since I work at home, this was not a problem for me since I could schedule my work accordingly. There is also a skin care regimen that must be followed with a vinegar solution applied 3-4x daily and moisturizer as needed; I was given a starter kit of these products to take home from the procedure.
You’ll also have peeling for about 2 weeks, so all of these things should be factored into your schedule when booking this treatment. I really babied my skin during the healing process, avoiding the sun and going over and above to follow the skin care instructions – like I said, I’m prepared to a fault! I documented the whole process in this series of photos:
If you’re wondering why I look so greasy after the treatment, it’s because I was slathering my face in Aquaphor – like I said, I really took great care with my skin afterwards! 😉
I’m just over 2 months out from the procedure now, and everything has healed; there was a small amount of peeling around my jawline that lasted past 2 weeks, but nothing that was a problem. I am being extra vigilant with my sun care routine, as that is necessary up to 3 months after the procedure, and that’s all been fine. Since I don’t have the type of sun damage/discoloration that is typically targeted with these lasers, my goal for getting this treatment was more preventative; having the opportunity to stimulate collagen production seemed like a good investment to me. Robin advised me that the maximum skin “Glow” from the HALO comes through roughly 4 months after treatment – which was timed perfectly, since I had the treatment at the end of March and my wedding is in August. I’ll post an update with photos after the wedding! They took a detailed, James-Bond-style 3D scan of my face on a computer at the office before the laser treatments, so if I can, I’d love to go in after the wedding and get my face scanned again to see the skin close up post-treatment.
I really feel like I have gained a lot from this whole process. I feel so much more confident in how my face looks – not because of a physical change, but because of a mental change in perspective after the feedback I got. I certainly didn’t expect to leave a cosmetic surgeon’s practice with more confidence in my natural appearance, so that was a really pleasant surprise! I feel that foundation is less necessary now – I went to a yoga class a couple of weeks ago with just a quick dash of concealer under my eyes, and two of the ladies there started talking to me about how beautiful my skin was.
Aside from that, finally getting guidance on how to care for my skin was totally priceless, and has removed the uncertainty and dread that I should be doing something different. I now know I’m doing everything I need to do to have the best skin for as long as possible, and that’s a great feeling. And because of the pre-and-post-treatment skin care routines I was following, I formed a lot of good skin care habits that are staying with me. Plus, I feel like I took a preventative step against future aging by having the laser treatments performed, so the whole process was far more productive than I expected. Yes, the procedure hurts and requires some forethought, but Halo has reduced downtime from other laser treatments, so if you decide this is something you want to pursue, I’d say it’s the option to go for. This treatment wouldn’t be for everyone, but for the right person, it can be an overall fabulous experience.
I am so thrilled to have been introduced to Dr. Bohley Cosmetic Surgery. Being able to find such a great provider in my own backyard is amazing, and this experience has given me the confidence and trust to know that I can (and definitely WILL!) go to them with all my future skin care needs. You don’t have to fly down to Hollywood to get A-list cosmetic treatment – you can stay right here in Portland! I’d highly recommend them to anyone in the Pacific Northwest. If you’re not sure what treatment would be best for you, my advice would be to book a consult with Robin and lay out your concerns. She can advise you if Halo and/or another treatment might be appropriate for you, and give you solid recommendations on how to care for your skin.
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