Skin Feels Rough After Laser "Face Lift" - Pink and Blotchy

There were no pros. I feel that I was completely...

There were no pros. I feel that I was completely mislead by the doctor. I was told that I would have softer, smoother skin - with an overall tightening. I had the Titan procedure done before and was happy with the results....was told this was "bigger and better".

It was painful, and I looked like a burn victim. The recovery has been agonizing.

This is post 2 months out and I am still pink, blotchy with that pebble feeling to my face. I have not seen any improvement and wish I had not done this.


Updated August 29, 2009

Pros: none at this time. Cons: MANY! It was painful, prolonged recovery, no visible results, pink blotchy skin, "pebble" feel to my skin, extreme sensitivity!! I would not recommend it at this point.


Updated September 12, 2009

I had a laser facelift done about 10 weeks ago. I see no benefit to my skin at this time. I did not have wrinkles per se, but did so for firmness. I am told it takes 4 months to begin to see benefits. My problem is my skin now is rough ("pebble feel"), pink and blotchy. This was a non-ablative treatment (Starluxe 2940). How can I return my skin to being smooth again? Will microdermabrasion help this? I cannot wear liquid foundation now as my pores are too pronounced. How do I get rid of the residual pink blotchy skin? Thank you for your help.

Painful treatment. I see no benefits at this time. My skin feels worse; pink in appearance (after almost 3 months!) and feels rough to the touch. No noticeable lifting to the skin. Would not recommend.

What is the longest period of time you have seen to recover from the pink blotchy skin? I'm still very pink (red when I work out) and feels grainy. My doctor said this will not be permanent - but I'd like to know how long it can take to completely have the pink blotchy skin go away??

Name not provided

I was not fully informed that this procedure had such a long period of recovery. Who wants to wait 6 months to see results?

2 out of 5 stars Overall rating
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Hi Hudson, I sent you a pm, please let me know if you got it!
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I am so happy that you found a resolution!!! Best wishes!!
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Hi Bowman, I actually sent you a personal e-mail. I guess you didn't get it. Well, I'm here now. It took quite a while, but what helped me a lot was dermaplaning. It's a procedure where the technician uses a scalpal blade to remove the dead skin cells and follows it up with either a lactic (recommended) or glycolic (not for sensitive skin) wash. After a few treatments, your face will feel smooth and soft. I do have residual redness after exercise or if I use an exfoliant. I do use Retin-A nightly followed by Argan oil (soothing to the skin). You can find dermaplaning at any good spa or dermatologist's office. It's about $100.00 and should take 4-5 times to get rid of the scratchy, large pores. There is hope - but my skin will never be the same as it is sensitive and flushes easily. The end result was "good" but not worth the pain and down time. Boston has many dermatologists who perform this procedure and have no clue what they're doing! Healing time varies from person to person. I also think Zinc and a good vitamin regimen is beneficial for healing. Don't use alcohol (flushes the skin)........though it's tempting to do so given the level of frustration with this procedure. Hope this helps! You're sweet to ask me for an update. Any time!!!
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Now that it has been over a year, please give an update!! Have you found any resolution to your issues?
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(Correction to my previous comment) Hudson- I just realized you DID mention the type of laser you had in one of your updates...
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Sorry for my delayed reply, Hudson. To answer your question: the laser they used on me was the Smoothbeam, which is non-ablative and not supposed to affect the outer layer of the skin- it allegedly targets & heats up water deep UNDER the skin, thereby promoting new collagen growth. However- my outer skin DID react in a bad way (almost as if it's allergic to something)- but other than that nothing else happened. In all fairness, though- I'm aware of the fact that just ONE treatment won't generate any results (as far as collagen growth or tightening), as you're supposed to get about 4-6 treatments (some may even need more)- so I'm not expecting anything good at this point since I cancelled all further treatments... The thing is- I would have been fine with NO results whatsoever, but what I find very hard to deal with is that my skin is now having problems I did NOT have before ! Although my skin was oily, my pores were not big and 'raised' before, and my skin texture was actually very nice. Well, not anymore. It now looks and feels like reddish sandpaper- very irritated, rough and super sensitive, to the point where I can't even tolerate the skin care products I used beforehand ! (By the way- you never mentioned which laser was used on you, Hudson. I'm not sure what a "laser facelift" entails...) Regarding Retin-A: why is it that some people seem to recommend using Retin-A after laser, yet others say NOT to use it ?? Unlike you, I've never used Retin-A beforehand, and I'm now so sensitive I cannot imagine that my skin would even be able to tolerate it... However- I would like to know what the final say is on this product: CAN it be used after a laser treatment, or should one stay away from it ? Is there anyone out there who knows the answer to this ? In the meantime- I wish both of us and ALL others who are equally affected that we'll find some kind of solution (product or treatment), or that somehow our skin will recover by itself... If you notice any changes for the better, or if you find out about a product that might be helpful, please post that here (and I shall do the same)- we can all use some hope !!!
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Actually, I have met MANY aesthetic doctors who like to boast that the patients others screw up end up coming to them to be fixed. It seems to me that many of these doctors WANT to meet people like you who posted here. I wonder if the issue here is the same one I just had - a message to me from a RealSelf poster went to my backup email box and got lost with the hundreds of mass-emails I receive in that box. It took me 10 days to send out a response. Certainly, a lot of doctors also are seeing a major downturn in their volume of treatments, so they should be eager to take calls from people like you, Hudson and Ivana. Keep calling more offices, and you will find some nice helpful doctors eventually.
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Hi, 'HB162'- what an odd coincidence that you added a comment to THIS review (from 'Hudson')- because I ('Ivana 2010') actually sent YOU ('HB162') a private message a couple of weeks ago when I first started to look for answers on !!! I had read some of your other posts, and it seemed like you knew a lot of "fix-it-derms" (you even offered another user to send her a list of some in New Jersey...), so I thought that you might know of some dermatologists and/or laser specialists in the NYC/Long Island (or even NJ) area who might be willing to look at someone who incurred damage- but sadly, you never responded to my message. I thought initially that you were ignoring me, too- but now I see that you are still posting and you seem very, very helpful and knowledgeable- so I'm wondering now if perhaps the message I sent you through "Realself" did not go through- or might have landed in your junk box or something... So let me try again: please- if you know of ANYone (whom you trust, of course) in the NY / LI / NJ area I'd VERY much appreciate it if you could mention their name(s)- it would spare me a lot of knocking on wrong doors... Thank you so much in advance !!! Ivana 2010.
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Hi Hudson and Ivana,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I can understand your frustration, though admittedly I have not been through anything like it myself.

I once heard a doctor mention - on the subject of fixing other people's mistakes - that it's very hard because they don't know exactly what was done, at least not to the level that they feel comfortable going in and trying to fix it. This was said in the context of plastic surgery but it makes sense for lasers as well, since they don't know what's going on with the skin underneath the surface, or what has been done to it aside from whatever medical notes are provided (and I am assuming if you had a bad doctor, they took bad notes). This is in no way defending the doctors you've tried to contact, and I'm very sorry you've found that doctors are hesitant to help you, on RealSelf or in "real life". But that's the way it was explained to me once, for better or worse!

Anyway, I hope you're eventually successful in finding doctors who can help you both. They are out there; some of our worst "nightmare" stories have since found doctors they can trust. I hope you're as lucky as they have been in getting help. :)

BTW, if you have any ideas for ways we can improve what we're doing here at RealSelf, please stop by our RealSelf Feedback thread and share your opinions. We'd love to hear from you.

Sorry for rambling but I wanted to join in the discussion as I think it's an important one to have about the role of "revisionist" docs in the cosmetics field.

All the best,

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Hi Ivana, You are EXACTLY correct in your assessment of this "Real Self" board. The M.D.'s answer generic questions, or those who show interest in a procedure (to generate even MORE business!). We, as patients, take the time to write our complications down, our questions, share in our anxieties - and to be ignored by those who are supposed to be here to help us is an insult. I am NOT impressed with the laser. I cannot use Retin A, or even a Vitamin-C serum as they are both supposed to awaken dull skin, and my skin is post-procedure 3 months and healing. It is also so sensitive to anything but Philospphy cleanser and Pyratine XR cream. I was shocked to hear that you could not get another opinion from another plastic surgeon. My advice - try a dermatologist. I did get some answers in that area from a good Boston dermatologist. Unfortunately, he did not know how long it would take for my skin to heal or what to expect as far as results. Even practitioners who perform this procedure - are still surprised at the varied reactions from patients. We all heal at different paces and there is no "text book" outcome. I wish I had never done it. I hate the enlarged pore look and the pink line of demarcation. At this rate, it will be another 2 months of healing (total of 5 months!). I am so angry and felt like a snake oil salesman fooled me with phony promises. May I ask - what laser did you have performed? What was your outcome? How long has it been for you? I wish us both good luck!! Hudson
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One more question to you, Hudson- WHY do you say that you cannot use Retin-A anymore ? You've used it for 7 years prior to your laser treatment, so clearly your skin was able to tolerate it well beforehand. Is your skin too sensitive to handle it now, or were you told NOT to use it ?
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I have noticed the same thing- not ONE doctor responded to my questions or review- even a NY (LI) dermatologist who has answered NUMEROUS miscellaneous questions on this site for everyone else has completely ignored me ! Next to this 'Realself' doctor's profile picture, there's a box that says: "Request info from this doctor". Well- I saw that he was located close to where I live and he HAD used the same laser that ruined my face for several years (he even wrote the following : "I have worked with this laser for 5 years now and am less than impressed" )- so knowing he was familiar with the exact laser that caused my problems, I contacted him via this 'Realself' box (I even made it quite clear that I was interested in making an appointment with him if he thought he could be of any help)- but I NEVER heard back from him !!! Meanwhile- he's posting replies to other people's GENERIC questions all over this site- people that don't seem to have BAD outcomes, just questions about procedures or treatments in general ! A simple "Thank you for your inquiry, but I don't think I can help you" would have been nice ! To be IGNORED by these doctors after we try to explain with great detail what happened to us, and even wanting to PAY them to see us in person is really rubbing salt into our wounds !!! I also contacted a well-known NYC laser specialist (not on this board) for a consultation, and when the receptionist asked what the reason for my wanting too see him was, she flat-out REFUSED to give me an appointment !!! She said they would ONLY see someone if the complication happened at THEIR office !!! I was stunned !!! Is there ANY doctor out there who is willing to see someone who was DAMAGED by (or had a bad reaction to) a laser ??? Here's a business idea to all you derms and doctors out there: some of you should actually SPECIALIZE in trying to help people that were left with adverse effects after laser treatments- I bet you could make a KILLING and your practice would BOOM !!!!!!
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Interesting the doctors on this site are so "rah-rah" about these treatments - that not one of them ever addressed me in my quest for answers. My questions have never been posted, nor has any doctor addressed me on this site!! They address people interested in the procedure but not after the damage has been done!!
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Hi Ivana, I don't have good news. It has been 3 months and my "pebble" skin still feels the same. I don't feel it has improved or healed over time. They say it's from the pin-prick marks from the laser. The doctors SHOULD give the side-effects before they ruin our faces!! I am still blotchy pink and rough skin. As far as I am concerned, it ruined my face. I cannot use my old skin routine - Retin A is out! There is no way I can use any products except the Pyratine XR. Even with that cream, I have noticed no difference what so ever. Nothing has been of help to me. I am told in time I can have light therapy (healing tx) or microdermabrasion. Not sure I even believe that will work. I wish I had seen this site BEFORE I made the biggest mistake of my life.
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Hudson- I feel your pain. I, too, was left with this rough, pink, blotchy 'pebble-stone' (I called it 'sand-paper') skin- with VERY enlarged, raised pored ! You mostly mention that you're still pink now- but did your ROUGH skin texture improve at all in the last 3 months, at least a little bit- or is that still the same as when it first appeared ? And what was your post laser skin care regimen so far (before you ordered the Pyratine)- did you use the Retin-A again, or if not- what have you tried ?
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Thank you april. I appreciate that. I ordered the Pyratine lotion. I was on OBAGI, Retin-A, and Vitamin-C serums for 7 years prior. It did nothing to aid in my slow healing. It has been 3 months and the pink is fading, but there is so much "blushing red" after exercise, washing my face, etc. I did not realize that you have to wear sunscreen every day - regardless if you are in the sun or not. WOW, interesting. I believe that the laser resurfacing is a fad, not fully explored, has too many side-effects for sensitive skin and is not as effective as Titan. What's done is done though at this point. I would NEVER do it again. Thanks!!
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Did you try the Prylatine XR? Have you been able to go back on Retin A/Vit C?
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Hi Hudson,

I think klm may have been talking about Pyratine skin care products, which are marketed to reduce photo-aging (sun damage, redness) but not necessarily for people who are recovering from laser treatment.

The redness after laser resurfacing usually goes away as your skin heals, but it is important to protect your skin in the meantime.

Here is some input from the doctors on RealSelf:

Skin care after laser resurfacing


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Thanks for your help. I am not able to find Prylatine XR anywhere. Is it easy to buy? do you need a doctor's Rx? My skin is down to pink, but still need something to fade it.THANKS!
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I tried prylatine XR and my redness & texture improved within a week. You can order it online on their website, I, too, feel that fraxel repair is not worth it - at least not for everyone. I wanted it for poor size & lifting - it did not shrink my poor size & only really lifted my skin around my eyes --- very good for the eye area.
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