Lifestyle

Four Months Ago, We Tried A Fancy Celeb-Loved Treatment That Promises Glowy, Younger-Looking Skin — Here Are Our Before & Afters


Hi, I’m Ryan! I write a lot about celebs. But on the side, I cover — and try — the treatments, injectables, and procedures they get, too.

And I’m Fabiana! I’m someone who is always trying out the latest TikTok beauty hack or enduring a celebrity workout to say I’ve done it.

First, let’s get into our own personal skincare journeys.

Ryan: I have definitely struggled with acne growing up, and even as an adult. Admittedly, I’m a picker, probably because I’m anxious 24/7, but that’s a topic for another day. I also have some rosacea goin’ on in my cheeks.

Fabiana: And I have learned a lot about skin through the years from my mom who is a skin expert, but that isn’t to say my skin doesn’t have its issues. I always struggled with having sensitive, combination skin that can get irritated pretty easily.

So, we linked up with cosmetic and medical dermatologist Dr. Elaine Kung, MD, FAAD of Future Bright Skin in NYC, who introduced us to SmoothGlo by Lumenis. SmoothGlo is a two-part treatment, which aims to improve tone, texture, and volume.

Celebs like Kyle Richards, Colton Underwood, Jade Tolbert, and more have used the treatment, but we wanted to try it out for ourselves.


EXTRA / Via youtube.com

The only downside was the price tag — which was definitely celebrity-level, too. Dr. Kung charges $1,200 per session at her NYC office, though the cost may vary nationally, and three to four sessions are recommended for best results. (BuzzFeed received these treatments free of charge, but was under no obligation to give a positive review.)

The SmoothGlo treatment was split into two parts. The first part uses intense pulse light (or IPL) to treat discoloration, improve tone, and increase water content in the skin. The second treatment is microneedling — which involves pricking the skin with super thin needles to trigger the production of collagen and facilitate skin renewal. We did both treatments back-to-back, and you can read more about both treatments and their potential benefits on the Lumenis website.

Part I: SKIN ANALYSIS & LIGHT ZAPS

For our first session, Dr. Kung had us come into her office, wash our faces, and take some before pictures using this special camera that reveals a lot of what’s going on underneath our skin. To be honest, it’s pretty jarring to see your skin in this way, but it’s super helpful in seeing some of the underlying stuff that’s going on.

Ryan: As you can see I have acne, some skin texture inconsistency, and rosacea — which, to be clear, is normal and nothing to be ashamed of.


Ryan Schocket



Ryan Schocket

Fabiana: I’m not going to lie, I was extremely nervous going into my first appointment because I didn’t know how my skin was going to react to this treatment. After examining my before pictures, Dr. Kung confirmed that I have sensitive skin, and like Ryan, I have some rosacea in my cheeks.


Fabiana Buontempo



Fabiana Buontempo

After taking pics, we put on some numbing cream and it was onto the treatment! First, the IPL portion. Dr. Kung used a zapper-like device to deliver the light therapy — and we both agreed that while the “zaps” were a bit uncomfortable, it wasn’t anything we couldn’t handle. (Also, the numbing gel helped!)

Ryan Schocket getting a treatment


Ryan Schocket

Ryan: The zapper basically felt like someone hitting your face with a rubber band each time. Dr. Kung made sure to let me know when the pinch was coming, and then I felt it, followed by a camera-like flash. The pain on a scale of 1-10 was a 5 or 6, depending on the area.


Ryan Schocket



Ryan Schocket

Fabiana: Dr. Kung calmed my nerves by explaining that she would use a low setting on my skin since it was sensitive and I was a little bit anxious about the whole thing.


Ryan Schocket



Ryan Schocket

Part II: MICRONEEDLING

Next was the microneedling. The ‘needle’ part made us a bit nervous but Dr. Kung explained to us that trauma to the skin — so long as it’s controlled, like this — can actually be beneficial because it facilitates the renewal of the skin! The idea is — these mini needles make your skin come back stronger and healthier than ever.

Ryan getting a treatment


Ryan Schocket

Ryan: The pain was slightly less for me, compared to the IPL portion.

Ryan getting a treatment


Ryan Schocket

Fabiana: I actually found the microneedling part to be more painful than the IPL treatment and an overall unusual experience.

Fabiana getting a treatment


Fabiana Buontempo

After we got zapped and needled, our faces felt a little sensitive and sore — which was to be expected — but nothing too major. To calm down any redness or stinging we felt, the doctor brought us into a room, where her staff gave us ice packs, cold compresses, thermal spring water to spritz onto our faces, and a cooling fan device in front of our faces.

Cooling fan over Ryan's skin


Ryan Schocket

Fabiana: While cooling our faces, I took as many cold compresses as I could and draped them all over my face because my skin was definitely stinging. This was maybe when my nerves finally calmed down. 😳

Fabiana with cold compresses


Fabiana Buontempo

After the treatment, Dr. Kung gave us this paper with all the post-care info:

post-care information


Ryan Schocket

One thing that’s important to keep in mind is that most patients require three to four treatments, so Ryan went back twice. Fabiana went back only once more for a total of two treatments. The number of treatments we got was based on personal preference.

treatment outline


Ryan Schocket

Now let’s get into some results!

Here are Ryan’s before & after results after one session. As you can see, my skin is smoother, tighter, and less red.

Ryan's before and after photos


Ryan Schocket

Here are results after two sessions:

Ryan's before and after photos


Ryan Schocket

The infrared camera revealed the rosacea is still present, but lessened.

Ryan's before and after photos


Ryan Schocket

And here’s a head-on shot of my results — first day of treatment vs. two weeks post-THIRD treatment:

Ryan's before and after photos


Ryan Schocket

As you can see, I washed my face, so you know I’m not wearing any products that may distort my appearance. 

I found that the SmoothGlo gave my face an overall “smoother” effect. It evened out my complexion and gave it a subtle glow. It didn’t completely eradicate the visible rosacea, as you can see, but it definitely did lessen it.

Ryan's results


Ryan Schocket

Here are Fabiana’s results after one session. As you can see, my cheeks are overall less red and more even.


Fabiana Buontempo



Fabiana Buontempo

I wasn’t expecting miracle results after one session, but I was impressed by how much of the rosacea was lessened in my cheeks, which is usually my problem area.


Fabiana Buontempo



Fabiana Buontempo

And here’s a side-by-side of my final results — first day of treatment vs. two weeks post-second treatment:

Fabiana's before and after photos


Fabiana Buontempo

I think SmoothGlo helped even out my skin and overall made my cheeks less red. Oftentimes in the past, my face would get red even after just taking off my makeup and washing my face at the end of the night. Now post-treatment, my skin rarely looks irritated, and instead, I, too, have a nice subtle glow.

Fabiana's results


Fabiana Buontempo

Since I only did two sessions, I am curious how much better my skin would have looked if I did three or four, but to be honest, I wasn’t super interested in going back since I’m not one to usually do major treatments to my skin like this one, so two was more than enough for me.  

Ryan’s feedback:

What I Loved:

• I truly think that SmoothGlo gave me an overall smoothed look to my face. Multiple friends told me that my skin looked great when they saw me. And I’m from Jersey, so we don’t really do fake compliments. 

• For me, it was relatively low pain.

• The treatments have also been super helpful in preventing breakouts on my forehead, where I used to get them. 

• SmoothGlo felt very modern. The machine isn’t some big, scary device where you have no clue what’s happening. The filter settings are amazing — it’s literally like applying your needs in the form of an iPhone filter.

• There is very little downtime. 

• You can get it while you’re getting injectables and Botox. During some of my sessions, I was fresh off getting filler and botox.

What I Didn’t Like:

• Rosacea doesn’t have a cure, so SmoothGlo wasn’t totally able to eradicate the redness in my cheeks, like I had hoped. It decreased it, but based on sun exposure, I still have it. However, Dr. Kung introduced me to this prescription cream called Rhofade, which constricts the blood vessels in the face, and thus improved my rosacea  

• The cost isn’t ideal in today’s economy, unless you have disposable income.

Final Thoughts:

•  If you’ve got the money and you’re looking to get a step-up from a facial or expensive new moisturize to prepare for a wedding or heavily photographed event, I’d recommend this treatment. I hope this post was helpful and informative, and feel free to DM me with questions about my SmoothGlo experience.

Fabiana’s feedback:

What I Loved:

• Although Ryan and I have different skin types, we had similar results in that SmoothGlo evened out and smoothed our skin. I haven’t gotten treatments on this scale done before, but I’ve tried countless products to help reduce the redness in my cheeks, and nothing has worked like this. 

• As long as you’re good with following instructions, which were simple — use a gentle cleanser, skip any harsh exfoliants, apply a gentle moisturizer and SPF — the care post-treatment is very doable. 

What I Didn’t Like:

• Despite having a high pain tolerance, SmoothGlo definitely felt uncomfortable to me, and I was eager for the treatment to be over with, tbh. 

• Since it is an expensive treatment and ideally you have to get several sessions to truly see the best results, I can’t actually justify the cost for what it did for my skin.

• Final Thoughts:

• Overall, I’m happy I tried the SmoothGlo treatment. I usually am a bit intimidated when it comes to anything that can drastically affect my skin, and I normally take a “less is more” approach to my skincare routine. I was pleased with the results and was even happier that I didn’t have a reaction to the treatment. 

Ultimately, it’s important to do your research on any skin treatment before making an appointment. It’s also crucial to follow the post-care instructions — no matter how simple or involved they might be — if you want the best results. If you have additional questions about my experience, feel free to DM me with questions.

Things to keep in mind:

• SmoothGlo is great for improving your skin, but you also have to protect it. Dr. Kung stressed the importance of always wearing sunscreen.

• The length that results last is based on a person’s lifestyle — sun exposure, diet, drinking, smoking, etc.

• You may have small needle marks for the first few days after the microneedling. It’s totally normal, and people don’t really notice.

If you’d like to book an appointment with Dr. Kung to get SmoothGlo, click here. And you can follow her on Instagram here and TikTok here.

BuzzFeed was given these treatments free for review, but was under no obligation to give a positive review.

If you’d like to follow Ryan on Instagram, click here, and if you’d like to follow Fabiana on Instagram, click here.




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