I tolerate pain pretty well, but those sharp twinges really hurt. “It’s actually the ultrasound gel popping,” he tells me. “Like if you put oil in a frying pan, and the oil pops.” I squirm, but I’m determined to be as tough as I can in the name of a firmer jaw line.
Thankfully, the pain lasts only for a moment, and by the time I feel like I can’t take much more of it, he’s moved the laser on to a different part of my face. I’m normally a talkative patient, but even I’m not up to being too chatty. This is new to me.
I know what you’re probably thinking: If you’re going to submit yourself to any kind of pain—what does it cost? The price differs depending on who you go to, but Dr. Dugar says it’s around $800 a session for your face (Exilis laser skin tightening can be performed on other body parts as well). Like with most procedures that recommend multiple treatments, the more you sign up for at a time, the lower the cost. So far I’m just doing one session, but if I notice a visible difference, I’ll consider coming back for more—pain be damned.
Dr. Dugar likens the frequency of visits to when you were a teenager and could go to the gym once a week and stay in shape. Of course, as we age and metabolism slows, it takes more effort to maintain your physique. Dr. Dugar says I’ll see results for a few weeks at least with one treatment. After that, “the key is repetitive treatments”—usually one a month, for anywhere up to six to 10 sessions. It’s costly, but perhaps not much more than if you swap out bi-weekly facials, regular blow-outs, and expensive skin creams.
About 20 minutes later, the whole thing was done. He says he spent eight minutes on each side of my face with the laser, applying the highest intensity of the wattage to treat my jowls and jaw line. This is done in order “to get a little bit more stimulation of the collage to tighten.” My face is pretty red, but Dr. Dugar says that will reduce dramatically over the next few hours.
While Exilis prides itself on no downtime, I also wouldn’t necessarily want to go out to a big event or on a date the same night. If there was ever an excuse to stay in and watch TV, this is it. Still, Dr. Dugar tells me that I shouldn’t be afraid of doing my nighttime skin routine. “You can do everything normal because this is not a resurfacing laser,” he says.
Before I leave, Dr. Dugar applies a gold cooling mask to help calm my skin (which in all fairness, was breaking out pretty bad these last few days). The cooling sensation is so calming I’m tempted to stay here all day. Also, I look like C3-PO.
I say my goodbyes and thank Dr. Dugar and his staff; he says to call or email with any questions, and instead of pushing a second treatment on me, he says to take a few weeks to see how I like the results. It’s up to me if I want to continue for more. By the time I get to my car, I notice the redness in my face has disappeared quite considerably. (I’m still sticking to my plan of ordering in and watching TV, though).
The next day, aside from a patch of red skin near my chin, there’s barely any noticeable trace of the treatment. And if I forgot to mention, once the treatment was done, any sharp pain that I felt was gone. So if you can tolerate a few seconds of extreme heat, you’ll be OK.
By the afternoon, I’ve applied a full face of makeup and as crazy as it sounds, I actually feel that my face is a bit firmer. It looks it, too. I feel like I’ve gone off to some five-star resort and spa for the week, and I honestly can’t remember the last time I said that (or even meant it). In other words, I’m a fan.