Everything you need to know about the celebrity and dermatologist-praised Clear and Brilliant laser treatment

The Clear and Brilliant treatment has been on the market for eight years, a short time in the skincare world, but there's a reason it continues to be one of the leading anti-aging devices around the world. Beloved by celebrities (hi, Drew Barrymore and Christie Brinkley!), dermatologists and patients alike, the laser boasts a myriad of beauty benefits -- including elasticity, collagen production and glow -- all within a half an hour appointment, with no downtime. 

"It’s my go-to for everything. I do it to myself once a month," said dermatologist Dr. Marnie Nussbaum to AOL Lifestyle, who has been using the laser on her patients since it was approved by the FDA in 2011. “It’s a great treatment for someone who wants to start laser surfacing but doesn’t want to go too [extreme]."

We caught up with the Manhattan doctor to get the 411 on the Clear and Brilliant treatment, the science behind how it works and all things skincare. 

What are some of the biggest concerns your patients come to you for? 

A lot of patients come to me for an anti-aging routine, hyperpigmentation on the face, sunspots as they got older and usually they just want a more clear tone and texture.

Can you talk about the science behind Clear and Brilliant? What makes it so effective? 

The Clear and Brilliant is what we call a mini Fraxel laser, so it’s a great laser treatment if you don’t want a lot of down time. It’s basically creating these microscopic columns of treatment zones that new skin will then form into those columns and push out the dead skin cells.

So, you’re going to push out the dead skin cells and create newer collagen and elastin which is the basis of your skin. It tightens, it firms and then it helps with the penetration of any products so that you can get a more glowy complexion.

Photographs courtesy of Solta Medical Aesthetic Center

Who are the optimal patients for Clear and Brilliant? 

The great thing with Clear and Brilliant is there is no optimal patient. Anyone can do it starting at any age. Really, when you’re younger in your 20s, you’re going to do it for [everything including] pigmentation to decrease pore size to take off the dead skin cells. When you're in your 30s, you’re starting it more for fine lines to increase elasticity. In your 40s and 50s, you’re doing it for fine lines, wrinkles and to have a more even tone and texture.

How does it compare to other technology on the market? 

This is one of my favorites because you really do get results in minimal downtime. You’re basically red for a few hours, like a sunburn, and then you’re scaly, but you don’t really see anything for about four to five days. Basically, what’s out on the market, I would say everything has more downtime or less results.

This really has been my go-to.

What do you suggest to patients post-treatment? 

I put on a Vitamin C serum and you can use that every day post-treatment or whatever products you really want to penetrate. And a gentle cleanser twice a day, moisturizer and sunscreen are imperative.

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Beauty Tips: Hollywood's Best Celebrity Makeup, Hair and Skincare Tricks
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Beauty Tips: Hollywood's Best Celebrity Makeup, Hair and Skincare Tricks
Beauty Tips: Hollywood’s Best Celebrity Makeup, Hair and Skincare Tricks

Beauty Saboteur: Sallow Skin

The best antidote to a tired-out complexion is cream blush, says Rea Ann Silva, celebrity makeup artist and creator of the famed Beautyblender sponge: "Just a touch makes a huge difference!" Want to replicate a look similar to Christina Hendricks's? "To apply, first find the apples of your cheeks by smiling. Then, using a makeup sponge, apply a dab of the blush, blending the color upward toward your temples until the edges are diffused. This results in a natural-looking rosy glow."

By: iVillage (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Beauty Saboteur: Dry Skin

A supple complexion like Rachel Bilson's might feel like an impossibility for sufferers of severely dry skin. "Many women with the condition resort to thick, chemical-laden creams", says renown dermatologist and VMV Hypoallergenics founder Dr. Vermen M. Verallo-Rowell. "But these formulas can irritate and sting. Instead, try organic virgin coconut oil, an ingredient that prevents water loss and contains fatty acids that are native to human skin, so it goes so far as to help replace skin's lost natural oils." Bonus: A tub of the stuff rings in at under a ten-spot at your local natural foods store.

By: iVillage (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Beauty Saboteur: Under-Eye Circles

Feeling envious that celebs like Nina Dobrev manage to look perpetually well-rested no matter how busy they are? When even the most stalwart concealer in your makeup arsenal can't keep you from looking tired, it might be time to give your skin a vitamin boost. "Massage topical vitamin C into under-eye area. When used in an eye cream, this ingredient has been shown to assist with capillary repair, constricting blood vessels under the eyes to make dark circles appear less noticeable," says Renee Rouelau, who recommends a product like her signature Vitamin C Eye Serum. "When applying it - or any eye cream - use circular motions to stimulate stagnant blood flow that can contribute to darkness. Over time, the area should appear lighter."

By: iVillage (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Beauty Saboteur: Travel-Savaged Skin

Jet-setters like Kate Bosworth have mastered looking fresh-faced, however long their flight. "Traveling can be torture on the skin, so it's really important to stay hydrated," says Benefit's Maggie Ford Danielson. "On long flights I always take a small plastic bag with some essentials for the flight: travel-sized eye cream, travel-sized face mist, moisturizer and tinted lip balm, and slap them on as much as possible throughout the flight. Also, skip the alcohol, which depletes moisture levels."

By: iVillage (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Beauty Saboteur: Thin Lips

As we age, our lips lose volume, but there's a way to turn back the clock hidden in your spice cabinet, says Physicians Formula celebrity makeup artist Joanna Schlip. "I like to add a bit of cinnamon to my lip balm," she reveals of a natural way to keep pouts as full as Diane Kruger's. "Cinnamon's essential oils increase blood flow and imitate the mucosa of the lips to temporarily plump and turn out the lips, which is why the ingredient is used in expensive lip plumpers."

By: iVillage (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

 

Beauty Saboteur: Sleeping in Makeup

Whether it's a red-carpet event or a long work day, exhaustion can leave some of us so beat that we sometimes head straight to bed without washing our face. If this sounds like you, try this tip for changing up your nighttime ritual. "Leave your cleanser by the kitchen sink instead of in the bathroom," advises beauty expert Annie Ford Danielson. "That way, taking off your makeup will be the first thing you do when you come home rather than the last thing you do before you go to bed."

By: iVillage (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Beauty Saboteur: Moisturizer That Won't Sink In

Applying flawless makeup like Miley Cyrus's is virtually impossible if your cream or moisturizing oil hasn't fully absorbed - but sometimes you just don't have time to wait. "To speed up the process, lie on your bed and tilt your head all the way back while you massage the cream into your skin," says Annie Ford Danielson. "This increases circulation, which in turn helps absorption."

By: iVillage (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Beauty Saboteur: Mask-Like Foundation

Nothing kills skin's natural glow like overdosing on foundation--something fresh-faced celebs like Blake Lively are well aware of. "To ensure you don't use more than you need, apply concealer before liquid or powder foundation and you'll find you won't need as much," says Maggie Ford Danielson. "I dab on concealer wherever I want coverage, let it settle into skin for a few minutes, then sparingly add a bit of foundation if more is needed."

By: iVillage (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Beauty Saboteur: Makeup that Slides Off

Two extra little steps can add hours to the longevity of your look, whether you're heading from event to event like Kim Kardashian or simply don't want to have to reapply after work. "Prep is key if you'll be out 'til the wee hours," says Annie Ford Danielson. "Using both a foundation primer and a shadow primer will really help skin grip onto the makeup and stay true to color all night long."

By: iVillage (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Beauty Saboteur: Flaky Makeup

"To avoid flakes, you want to exfoliate often -- but gently," says Renee Rouleau. "Just one use of a facial scrub can give you instantly smoother skin by removing dry, surface skin cells - but too much exfoliation can create irritation, inflammation, and dryness, negating the positive effects you saw in the first place." The perfect dose for flake-free skin like Zoe Saldana's? "Use a mild facial scrub two to three times a week," says Rouleau.

By: iVillage (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Beauty Saboteur: Splotchy Skin

Sheer, luminizing foundations and tinted moisturizers may be popular right now, but Laura Geller, makeup artist and creator of the eponymous cosmetics line, recommends skipping them if you are trying to cover up redness or rosacea in your quest for skin as flawless as Reese Witherspoon's. "When you want to color-correct your whole face, it's best to use a thicker, more putty-like formula. The more matte it is, the better the foundation will cling and conceal."

By: iVillage (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Beauty Saboteur: A Pimple You Can't Hide

"Blemishes notoriously show through concealer, negating the whole point of cover-up," says Urban Decay Cosmetics creator Wende Zomnir. One red-carpet trick that works wonders in replicating spot-free skin like Carey Mulligan's? "For better camo, dab an eye shadow primer, like Urban Decay's Eyeshadow Primer Potion, on the blemish as your very first step. Then apply your concealer, which will cling to the primer and stay put."

By: iVillage (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Beauty Saboteur: Too Much Blush

Going overboard on blush is easy to do - and the results can be aging, not to mention garish. But you don't have to start all over if you've applied too much. "Press some loose powder into the cheek with a soft puff," suggests L’Oreal Paris consulting makeup artist Collier Strong of back-tracking to a softer look, like Jessica Chastain's. "This will dilute and soften the color without removing your foundation."

By: iVillage (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Beauty Saboteur: Slapdash Sunscreen Application

Most celebs are clued into the importance of protecting their skin from the sun, especially when they're fair like Kirsten Dunst. To ensure an even layer of SPF protection from your facial sunscreen, apply it with a nylon-bristle foundation brush instead of your fingers! "Foundation brushes are designed to help products absorb into skin, making them perfect for sunblock," says Dr. Gervaise Gerstner, consulting dermatologist for L’Oreal Paris and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. The technique: Simply stipple and swirl.

By: iVillage (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Beauty Saboteur: Insufficient Cleansing

"While face wash wipes are popular, they're generally not effective at removing makeup and cleaning pores," says celebrity makeup artist and facialist Wei Lang, who owns the Wei Lang Spa at Devachan Salon in New York. "That's why I always do 'double cleansing' at home and at my spa. "Use a wipe or cleaning oil first to remove makeup, then follow up with a gentle nonstripping gel cleanser to deep-clean." The intended result? Skin as smooth as January Jones's.

By: iVillage

Beauty Saboteur: Sunburned Skin

As any doctor will tell you, sunburns cause skin damage down to the cellular level, especially in fair complexions like Emma Stone's -- but you can minimize the effects by taking immediate action. "First, head indoors right away," says VMV Hypoallergenics founder Dr. Verallo-Rowell. "Then, as long as you're not allergic, take two aspirin to reduce inflammation. Next, wrap the area with damp towels cooled in the fridge or cold compresses, which will prevent swelling and reduce blisters."

By: iVillage (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Beauty Saboteur: Dull Skin

To add warmth to skin and get an effect like Jessica Alba's, Joanna Schlip recommends bronzer - but not just any formula. "Use a multidimensional bronzing powder that has multiple shades in one compact. It will read as more natural than a one-dimensional shade. You can also start with a matte bronzer in key areas, and then use a slightly shimmered bronzer all over the face for extra luminosity."

By: iVillage (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Beauty Saboteur: Heavy Foundation

Create a clean natural looking glow like Selena Gomez

Beauty Saboteur: Shiny Skin

Getting dewy skin like Rihanna's is all about skipping powders that will dull your glow--while still combatting shine. The secret? "Oil blotting papers, [which] remove the oils off the skin to give you the feel of freshly washed skin," says celebrity esthetician Renee Rouleau. In a pinch? "The type of paper used for toilet seat covers in public restrooms is similar to expensive oil blotting papers. Tear off a piece of this and press firmly on the skin. Voila!"

By: iVillage (Photo Credit: Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)

Beauty Saboteur: Unflattering Hair Color

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