FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Christa Smith prepares her face for a treatment she's never needed before.
But hours and hours spent underneath layers and layers of PPE have taken a toll on her once, smooth skin.
"I started noticing these painful bumps," she said. "I just had bumps all over my face and I never really had acne before."
The Kingsburg nursing student became an RN in the spring of 2020, so all she's known professionally is the pandemic.
At the hospital where she works, she continues to wear an N95 mask, a surgical mask over that and a face shield for 12-hour shifts, keeping COVID out but bacteria in.
Her "maskne" erupted just as she's about to have all eyes on her as a bride.
Christa tried almost every cosmetic and over-the-counter remedy on the shelves, but nothing worked until she found Dr. Uma Rao at Modern Aesthetics in northwest Fresno.
Dr. Rao invested in the Stellar M22. His video provided by the maker, Lumenis, illustrates the state-of-the-art machine that can function as Intense Pulse Light therapy or a skin resurfacing laser.
It's a one-stop-shop for patients like Christa, whose complexion correction is now more than skin deep.
"It's basically killing it at its source and it's very quick, so there's a lot of satisfaction for patients because they're going to see quick and often times very surprising, nice results," Dr. Rao said.
The M22 is equipped with four technologies for skin rejuvenation, tackling some of the most common but challenging conditions, including texture, pigmentation, vascularization such as leg veins, acne and even hair removal.
"The machine puts different treatments literally in the doctor's hands. Dr. Rao simply switches out handpieces to address different skin conditions with a variety of filters."
"It can treat up to 30 different skin conditions," she said.
Dr. Rao begins Christa's treatment by applying a gel so the wand can glide over her skin, delivering powerful but tolerable pulses of energy. Everyone in the room must wear heavy-duty goggles to protect the eyes from the intense light.
Christa will need four to six treatments to clear up what mask-wearing left behind.
The cost is typically $250-350 per session, but Dr. Rao says packages are offered to cut down on the overall cost.
Christa is already noticing a difference.
"I notice less inflammation, I notice blackheads are disappearing and the big, painful acne is not flaring up as much," she said.
Now, she's more than ready to enjoy the results as she looks forward to being a blemish-free, blushing bride.