What Are MENDs?—Their Role in the Efficacy of Hybrid Fractional Laser Treatment
If you have been assessing how effective hybrid fractional laser treatment is in treating skin for enlarged pores, hyperpigmentation, acne, scarring, fine lines, and other issues, you’ve undoubtedly come across the acronym MENDs. The term is often characterized with descriptors such as “coffee grind nodes,” “sandpaper,” “dark spotting,” “crusty,” “flakey,” “reddened,” “swollen,” or perhaps the more clinical-sounding “epidermal debris.”
This certainly does not come across as very appealing. Especially given that the procedure is for beautifying your skin, not turning it into an epidermal battlefield. However, MENDs represent your body’s core response to the treatment and is a clear sign that the treatment is working. As the MENDs clear, your aesthetic results will emerge. The results will continue to keep improving long after you have forgotten about those MENDs.
Because Tru Glō Medspa offers its southwest Florida-area clients Sciton’s® Halo™—the world’s first hybrid fractional laser treatment—we felt we should provide more clarity about what exactly MENDs are. This will help our clients better understand that these scary sounding side effects are actually part of the natural synergistic healing response that helps lead to younger-looking rejuvenated skin.
So, What are MENDs?
The clinical meaning of MENDs is “microscopic epidermal necrotic debris,” which essentially means small pieces of dead skin tissue. Given that the hybrid fractional laser treatment works by stimulating new skin growth by destroying older skin cells, there is going to be some dead skin tissue that your body will naturally want to remove in order to make way for the new skin. In fact, your new skin is actually helping push the dead skin tissue up to and through the skin’s surface where it will naturally fall off. The amount of MENDs produced by the procedure, as well as the amount of time it takes for the MENDs to clear, are dictated in large part by the extent and depth of the laser treatment.
In general, MENDs begin to appear on the second or third day after treatment. It will show up as tiny dark spots and an overall bronzed appearance to the skin. Crusty areas of the skin can emerge, along with redness and continued swelling. The skin will likely feel tight and, as the MENDs continue to come to the surface of the skin. Its texture will take on the feeling of sandpaper and become very dry. This is all quite normal and will follow quickly with flaking and peeling. This helps slough the MENDs off of the skin.
For facial treatments, it can take up to five to seven days for the flaking and peeling process to remove all MENDs. For other parts of the body, such as the neck, chest, or legs, it can take up to two weeks. Once this process is done, your skin will have a pink, rosy glow that will gradually fade. You should also notice a reduction in the skin imperfections targeted as well as overall improvements to your skin’s texture and tone. Aesthetic enhancement of the skin will continue to improve in the ensuing weeks and months. This is due to the body’s continued response to the treatment.
How to Treat Your MENDs
After your Halo™ treatment your aesthetician will provide you with aftercare instructions that include advice about treating your MENDs. Most importantly, you should not pick at, rub, scratch, or otherwise disturb the MENDs. Allow them to come off naturally. You can gently wash the treated area. Your aesthetician will recommend or supply you with an appropriate moisturizer and other skincare products for your recovery period. This includes a broadband sunscreen, which should be put to use rigorously for up to three months after the procedure. Over-the-counter oral pain reliever can address any discomfort. There is also an oral formulation of Benadryl doctors recommend for itching. Other than sun exposure, once the healing/peeling process is complete, you can resume all normal activities and wear makeup again.