Jenna Dewan Tatum came out singing the praises of Coolaser, and naturally, everyone wants to know what it is, what it does, and how to get it. Much love to JDT (her skin is a force to be reckoned with), but this laser treatment was also popular long before Tatum got on board. In fact, it basically has its own Instagram account, and celebrities have been crediting their flawless skin to it for quite some time.
So what is it? In short, it's a skin-resurfacing treatment that uses a fractional laser. I reached out to Laura Dyer, a physician's assistant and clinician who's renowned for her work in clinical and aesthetic skin care, to go deeper. It just so happens that's exactly what a fractional laser does.
Unlike nonlaser treatments such as a chemical peel or microdermabrasion, a fractional laser targets the deeper layers your skin, essentially encouraging it to create new skin. "It's actually poking tons of tiny little microscopic holes into the tissues, which allows for a much faster healing time [than traditional laser treatments]," says Dyer. It can treat everything from acne scars, stretch marks, and birth marks to brown spots and wrinkles.
However, start Googling derms near you who offer Coolaser and you'll be bummed to discover that it's only available at one office in the country. It's safe to say that its exclusivity probably lends to its popularity. Luckily, Dyer let me in on a little secret. Coolaser isn't the only fractional laser treatment out there. "Every single dermatologist and most plastic surgeons have one in their office," she says. When you pay for Coolaser specifically, you're paying for the name. It's all branding.
Just ask your dermatologist about Fraxel or mention a fractional CO2 laser treatment, and they'll be able to hook you up — though "hooking you up" is probably the wrong term, considering it will still run you between $1,000 and $1,500 per treatment. Still interested? Here's how the treatment typically works.
Numbing cream is the first step. "The laser itself, whether it's Fraxel or Coolaser, they all hurt," says Dyer. Remember, they go pretty deep. Once the laser starts to work its magic, numbing cream in full effect, you're looking at about an hour-long treatment process. "It feels warm. It can feel prickly — like a pretty major sunburn during the treatment — and then you may feel like you have a minor sunburn for one to two hours after the treatment."
It can work wonders for heavy scarring, wrinkles, and pigmentation issues like brown spots. However, you will be rocking a pink face for a couple days and it can take anywhere between two to five days of social downtime before you're back to normal. There's redness. There's peeling. And it's best to avoid makeup. You'll want at least five days off work — sometimes more, sometimes less — depending on the level of treatment. So put your feet up, queue up your latest Netflix favorite, and get ready to binge.
Avoiding sun exposure is a must. In fact, Dyer says to continue avoiding the sun for four weeks after the initial five days of recovery. For that reason, wintertime is generally the best time to schedule your visit. You may see some residual pinkness in the weeks following the treatment, but for the most part, "totally worth it" will probably be at the top of your vocab list.