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Fifteen minutes isn’t a very long time, and that’s precisely the point at Skin Laundry. The skincare company is a bit of a beauty unicorn in the sense that it’s doing what nobody else in the industry is: providing quick, in-and-out laser facials to people who don’t want to mess with hour-long sessions or recovery times, but still want results.
This all sounds great, but can a 15-minute laser session truly make a difference in the quality of your skin? (According to The Real Housewives of Orange County alum Lydia McLaughlin, it can!) And can it ever replace a full-scale laser session? To answer those questions, I tried Skin Laundry out for myself by attending one or two sessions per week for a month. I also spoke with two non-affiliated dermatologists for an unbiased DL.
Benefits of a 15-Minute Laser Session
Skin Laundry utilizes a combination of YAG (a crystal laser that’s made from yttrium, aluminum, and garnet) and IPL (intense pulsed light) laser therapy. Each session involves two quick passes of the YAG laser followed by two quickly passes of IPL.
“With even a quick 15-minute treatment with this combo, we can see modest benefits in skin hyperpigmentation from sun damage and red spots from sun damage or other causes,” says Dr. Arash Akhavan, a board-certified dermatologist and the founder of NYC’s Dermatology and Laser Group. “The benefits are mild compared to more robust laser treatments, but they are often safer.”
Immediate results include skin that looks a little brighter and more rejuvenated. It also deep cleans your pores and stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, which can breed clearer, firmer skin over the long run. Also, because it’s less potent than traditional laser sessions, Skin Laundry's 15-minute sessions can be incorporated into your “maintenance routine.” Whether that means once a week, twice a month, or bi-monthly is completely up to you and your skincare goals.
Another benefit that’s worth mentioning is that a 15-minute laser facial is much more comfortable to receive compared to a longer, more potent treatment. If you have highly sensitive skin or don’t do well with discomfort/pain, Skin Laundry could be an excellent alternative for you.
Potential Drawbacks & Considerations
In terms of overall skin tone and texture, Dr. Akhavan says that noticeable benefits won’t occur unless you receive consistent treatments over an extended period of time. Depending on your skin, this may require weekly or bi-daily treatments for months or even years.
Dr. Debra Jaliman, a board-certified NYC dermatologist, agrees.
“I don’t think once a week at 15 minutes a session will give the results that most of my patients look for,” she says. “You will have to go so many more times to see any good results. This will, in the long run, cost you more money because you will need so many more sessions.”
That said, in cases of moderate to severe hyperpigmentation (such as melasma or acne scarring), it might be more advantageous to receive a full-blown laser session at a dermatologist’s office, and then use Skin Laundry for post-treatment maintenance in the weeks and months to follow.
Another drawback to consider is that, because of the deep cleaning provided by the YAG laser, you may experience some mild skin purging after your first couple of sessions. For that reason, we recommend beginning treatments at a time when you don’t have important events coming up.
My Experience with Skin Laundry
Considering the fact that I’ve never had any part of my body lasered, I didn't know what to expect at my first appointment. I was told that that there would be super bright lights involved and that it wasn’t the most comfortable feeling. This turned out to be 100% accurate.
Each session began with the laser specialist applying a headband, putting a pair of laser goggles on me, and cleansing my face. From there, they’d complete two passes of the YAG laser. This is, by far, the most uncomfortable part of the session. It doesn’t last long, but the laser feels warm and prickly as it passes over your skin, almost as if your face is falling asleep. It makes a zapping noise while it works and there’s a distinct odor, as well. It smells kind of like burning hair, but is actually oil and gunk vaporizing from your pores. Gross or cool? You decide.
Immediately after, a cool gel is applied. This serves two purposes: to soothe your skin after the YAG laser, and to prepare it for the IPL laser. The IPL is brighter than you expect, but it doesn’t last long either. Afterward the gel is removed, and the specialist applies a moisturizer before sending you on your way. In my experience, the sessions are truly 15 minutes long — sometimes shorter — and even though I could still feel a tiny hint of lingering heat, my skin didn’t look red or bothered.
I repeated this process five times within a month. After the second appointment, Skin Laundry “upgraded” my laser potency to the next level. This was a noticeable shift, and it was slightly more uncomfortable.
My primary goals were to reduce old acne-related hyperpigmentation and to improve the overall quality and texture of my skin. I did experience some noticeable skin purging after the first three sessions, which was kind of a bummer, but once that cleared up I did notice that my skin was slightly brighter and more even in complexion. And yes, the old acne scars are slightly less prominent than they were before.
In the end, my favorite part of Skin Laundry is the short appointment times, the fact that there’s zero downtime, and the noticeable “boost” of radiance and softness that lasts for several days afterward. Also, I like knowing that it’s working some magic over the long term.
I’d recommend this service for someone seeking a quick, simple way to improve their overall tone and texture, especially if they have mild hyperpigmentation, fine lines, or acne. I would not recommend it for people who want to quickly treat melasma or severe hyperpigmentation. Instead, it could be a great maintenance option following a more potent laser treatment that addresses those issues.
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