Not Worth It - Skin is a Blotchy Mess

I have been wanting to have my faced sloughed for...

I have been wanting to have my faced sloughed for about 10 years.  I am a 40 year old woman who loved tanning and tanning beds, wearing no protection of course.  I am of Meditteranean descent, so I handled excessive sun very well, hardly ever burning....but, by age 30, I started seeing the abuse on my skin.  I started Botox and wearing sunscreen which did wonders.  As I was closing out my 30s, I needed something more invasive.  I decided to go with Active FX.  I wanted my dark spots gone, my acne pocks removed, and wrinkles reduced.  A little tightening too!  My only concern was the fact that I am 100% Greek, and I have read in many journals that Europeans could develop pigmentation issues....which is why I used the lightening cream for 3 weeks prior.

I had my procedure done yesterday.  I have been using a hydoquyonine cream for the last 3 weeks, and I have stayed out of the sun for the past couple of months.  I arrived thrilled and ready to get on with things.  I was seated in a chair where they applied a numbing cream for about an hour. I had filled a prescription for Adivan and Tylenol 3, and I was told to bring them to office.  I took two of each when I got there.  The doctor came in an hour later and begin sticking more meds into my face with a needle.  Bearable.  Then he started with the procedure.  I was very uncomfortable when he inserted the contact lenses... I felt like there were two heavy plungers bearing down on my eyes...  He used the Deep FX on my entire face.  It mostly hurt around the eyes and perimeter of face.  He told me I was responding  very well, since I was not bleeding.  He then switched to another handle, not sure which one... Now this hurt... scale of 1 to 10... a nine.  I asked for two more pain pills.  Got more injections.  Going over the same places with more laser...ouch.. not sure how aggressive he got considering I could not  bear the pain.  It was like getting 10 wasps stings at once on your face.... stopping for about 2 seconds to get 10 more.... and so on....OUCH!  When it was over, he gaveme a  shot of an antiinflammatory in my arm.  I then asked for some Perlane to plump my lips....  Why not? Right?  :)

I slowly started to get up.... and they said I needed a wheelchair...I told them I would run to the bathroom to prove my point that I was ok... But they were right.  I stood up and instead asked for a bucket.  I puked  a bit....  Sat my happy bottom in the chair and was taken to the bathroom.  I was then given Acquafor and Cetaphil... that is it.  Wash with Cetaphil .... apply Acquafor... 2x day.

Now, let me give  a word of caution, and I can only say this from my own experience.  DO NOT DRIVE YOURSELF home.  I have a high tolerance for pain, and I thought, if my husband can't take me, I will just drive home myself.  DONT DO IT>  I could not even sit up.... I had to hold a barf bag .... and used it again on the way home....  sorry to gross out... but if you think you can drive, you can not.  I know I had pumped myself full of meds....but still...

Last night, I slept fine.. thanks to Xanax...  Woke up fine.  DOnt feel much pain at all...which worries me..  All these threads about needing ice packs, etc...  I dont need any of it.  I have not taken any pain meds today.  Feel good.  My face is scaring my children, and my husband I am sure... but again, I was expecting worse.  I look tan with red freckles all over...little spots of blood the size of a needle head....  I can see some places where the skin has flaked off...and it is white underneath.  My lips look fantastic...hope they stay like this.  Very plump.  I will post pics of yesterday and today.  I unfortunately do not have befores.  I will ask my doctor to send me them.  If you have any questions, please contact me.  I will be posting each day until the desired result.  Wish me well.  Thank you!


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Today is the 2nd day after procedure. The...

Today is the 2nd day after procedure. The highlight of the day is when I can wash my face. I do it twice a day with the cetaphil and then I apply the acquafor. It feels so good to wash my face, and I would love to be able to gently rub the washcloth over it.... It is very tempting, but you are not supposed to rub at all. My face is extremely swollen still and very pinkish brown. Quite honestly, I do not see an improvement at all with yesterday. I don't have my postop appt until Tuesday ( in two days)... at this point, I can't imagine being healed enough to be seen in public. I look horrible, and there is alot of discoloration in my face. Some parts are raw and pink, others are brown, and others are white. I can see traces of the laser, especially along the perimeter of my face. I have no idea how I am faring, and I am anxious to see what my doc thinks..


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Hi, I am going to have this done in October and would like to know how you like it. Thanks for posting your pictures also. Now I have an idea on how it looks after the procedure.
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Wow... 3rd day after procedure....lets just call...

Wow... 3rd day after procedure....lets just call it ....  " A Molten Mess"...  or how about "Reptilian Rapture"..  I have been shedding skin all day long..   Last night I could not sleep, so I got up at around 4 to take a shower....  From then on, I have been peeling like crazy, and Just when you think  you have reached the end of your ugliness....  it just keeps going .....  I do not feel human today.  I was not expecting all this dead skin to be coming off.  About a quarter of my face has peeled right off.  The other three quarters is in various stages of treatment...mostly crusty skin waiting to shed.  Like I posted earlier, it is very tempting to want to rub a washcloth over my face and just force it off, but I will be patient.  Today is more of the same...mostly hiding out and waiting for the improvement to be seen.

4th day:  I was supposed to go to doctors office today.  No way.  I called to reschedule.  Very supportive staff.  They said that I sounded like I was right on track....but look at me, I will not be seen in public.  Again, last night I got out of bed at around 4 to shower.  Tonight, I will definitely take something to sleep through the night.  I need rest to heal better.  My skin is about half way peeled.  I was told to shower and let the water run over my face for a few minutes to help with the peeling.   I wonder when I will be able to be seen in public.  Tomorrow does not even look promising.   Still hard to say what the results will be.  Skin looks good under peeling, but what will skin do over the next few days/ weeks?


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Looks great ! Good luck take care.
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Just make sure you don't pick at the peeling skin at all! You're looking good so far. Good luck :)
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Day 5 after procedure....  This procedure...

Day 5 after procedure....  This procedure took 5 days for me to go out in public, and I am not so excited about that.  am 100% done peeling, and I am off to see my doc, and I am going sans fancy hat and scarf....  Dont think a baseball cap and huge shades will do the trick... but it is what I have.  I will tape a paper bag to my window to try and block out some of the sun as well.  I have not used Acquafor today, nor did I get up in the middle of the night last night to shower.  I feel like I should apply some sun bock, but I will wait to see what doc says.  My skin underneath is pretty blotchy.  I am concerned about that.  I will post what my doc told me tomorrow.


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Went to see the doc yesterday.  He was...

Went to see the doc yesterday.  He was extremely supportive and optimistic.  He said he passed over my skin with both the active and deep, and even tried a third pass in problem areas.  The setting was on 3.  He said my skin looked as good as it could at this point. 

I went into see him without any suncreen or acquafor, and I regretted not putting something on.  I wanted him to see my face bare.   My face was beet red, and I was pretty self conscious about it.  Today, my face is a teeny tiny bit less red, and I have noticed a couple of broken capillaries.  My forehead shed last, and it has some broken capillaries as well as my nose.....My guess is that I let my skin dry out too much yesterday.  SO, for advice, I would say that make sure you have purchased a good sunbock and a good post treatment creme.  I am going to go to Sephora today to find these two things. 

I put a bit of acquafor on my face today.  I am posting pics of today.  My skin does look better than it did before procedure, and each day it gets better.  Main improvement I see is the dark spots are gone.  I still have some traces of my acne visible, and I am not sure how much of an improvement there is.  As for wrinkles, it is still hard to tell because my face is still swollen.  My skin is smoother.  Skin does glow, and the ruddiness is gone.  I am blotchy and hope like crazy that it will all even out.  As for my lips....  geez, I just need to get used to them.  They are huge.  I will keep posting....not so much daily... but maybe weekly.

What I am taking away from this experience ...

1.  Be Prepared.  I gotta wonder about the validity of some of these reviews.  People who just write about what a great experience they had.....have to be full of it.  This is not a cake walk.  It was not easy.  It is not a procedure on Friday, back at work on Monday deal.  (Unless you are casted for horror flick).  Take a week out of your life.  You will look hideous for days.  Swollen and Scaly.  I could not even look at my husband or myself for that matter, and my kids were scared they would catch it....On average, by the 5th day after treatment, you can go out in public....semi-comfortably.  Prepare with plenty of food, your meds, and cremes (postop, too).  If you dont have someone to take care of you, you may struggle a bit.  Enlist some help, especially if you have children. 2.  Stay hydrated before, during, and after treatment.  Skin needs water/nourishment. Be sure to rest. No alcohol.  Eat right.   I also took Arnica 3 times a day, and I can't say if it helped or not.

3.  Be patient.  Let the shedding occur naturally.  I took two showers a day.  One in the middle of the night, and one in the middle of the day.  You will feel a bubbling feeling.... and when I could not stand it anymore.... I got into the shower.... Now if I see a lizard shedding its skin, I will relate....Let the water soak in...do not rub face.  When I got out of shower, I patted a wash cloth all over my face, and lots of dead skin just came off.  I did not force any off.  Let it run its course. Slathered on the Acquafor.  I would also recommend silk pillowcases.

So, we will see.  If you would like to email me privately, please do.  I would love to help in any way that I can. 


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Hi There! Today is 9/8/08....how have you been doing? Please advise on your progress and please post a picture...I'd love to see the progress. Thanks! ~Mayra
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Hello there. Thanks for the updates. So what's the latest?
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Today is Day 11.  I went to see my doctor...

Today is Day 11.  I went to see my doctor again.  I stopped using the Acquafor about 5 days ago (per doc's instructions), and my skin really started to dry out.  I have tried a multitude of moisturizers.  I even bought one from the office called Vivete.  I did not like it.  I switched to Aveeno... then Eucerin (the one that "soothes redness").....  Nothing is moisturizing enough.  My skin is very dry/rough to the touch...to the point that if I wear makeup...it cakes...yucky.  The day I stopped using Acquafor, my skin was supple...  Makeup glided on, and I thought....wow, this was worth it....  I could cover up the redness with some concealer, and I was good to go.  Now, I prefer being without makeup which I really don't like doing.  I wasn't a big makeup wearer before... but,, I would at least like to cover up the dark circles under my eyes and the redness.   My skin is blotchy, too.  The doctor assured me that I was progressing beautifully, and once the redness went away, my skin would be the same uniform color.  I definitely see an improvement in my skin as far as it looking clearer...pore size smaller and darker spots gone.  Acne scars less noticeable...I think (hard to tell since I am stil swollen a bit).  Will probably have procedure done again in 6 months for further improvement.  Not sure about wrinkle reduction either.  The swelling is going down more and more everyday, and until that is complete, I won't know about the wrinkles either....which is the least of my worries.  So, we will see....  will keep posting.


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Thank you, Thank you, Thank you... for posting a photo diary of your results!!! So many do not, and I suppose I can not fault them. I always said when I have it done, I would do the same as you have. Photo's help us know what is good and what is not...like Thermage.
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Yes, I would love that too! Thanks!
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Is it possible you could send a before image, to make a comparison with the results? Thanks!!!
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Ready to update again.  Day 24.  Not...

Ready to update again.  Day 24.  Not happy with results.  Since swelling has significantly decreased....  What I once thought was maybe some wrinkle reduction/acne scars improvement, has turned into my skin looked a bit plumper due to swelling.

 I would recommend that  IF you have this procedure done....DO NOT DO FILLERS WITH IT!  I almost got Botox when I was there...and  I would have had no idea what improvements were due to Active FX...

I have my old skin back.  My skin is a blotchy mess. Hyperpigmentation.... hypopigmentation... you name it..Stripes.... I've got it going on.  Remember the TV series "Alien Nation"....  That is what my skin looks like.  I can not be seen without makeup since I have a striped/blotched face.... I have parts that look like a honeycomb mainly around forehead...  Still have dark spots that I had before around eyes

OVer three weeks later... been using hydroquinine cream again...  see no improvement.  This procedure HAS NOT BEEN WORTH IT! Maybe if it cost $100 .... I could see paying for it... You have to think all that shedding got rid of something...  Maybe it would be worth it if in two/three months, my skin has a uniform color...  which I highly doubt.  I am VERY concerned that these problems I have are permanent.

An interesting thing to note...  I remember the doctor going over my skin ONE time.  He tried to go back over it again.....  I could not bear the pain.  He says he went over it two times, and he tried to go over it a third time.   Any doctors listening?  Is it possible he tried to go over skin a third time?

Anyway....  it is your decision... believe the posts with pics over the ones just gloriflying their doctor....  do not throw caution to the wind...this is a serious procedure with serious downtime.  3 weeks and counting... and for the first two....you are not in a good place...definitely not one where you want to be out in public.  DO NOT SCHEDULE anything importance for months after procedure....like weddings, vacations...etc...

Took pics outside... hoping the camera would pick up the extent of the issues....but it did not.  The redness is muted..  The red streaks, spots  should be darker...and I have dark spots that are not seen.... sorry. 


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Seems like you shouldnt be standing out in the sunlight taking pictures!
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do you have a before picture Thanks so much for the detailed info . How do you look now ?
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this is one reason that I don't recommend the procedure in the summertime,because it's difficult to avoid sun exposure,which compromises the result.Also,you will need to use hydroquinone for 3-4 months at a minimum and possibly need 3 or more IPL treatments to improve the overall appearance.
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Photo Update

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Hi I had active fx done to my face and neck 2011 and I was thrilled with results I am now 56 and had it repeated on Tuesday I started taking an anti biotic two days prior to treatment and will continue for a further 6 days after - precaution against infection. I am at day 3 now and peeling away as explained to me, I rinse my false 5/6 time throughout the day and replenish my skin with Vaseline I am a little itchy and face is red and swollen but this is what was explained to me I am hoping by Saturday I will be able to return to my own daily skincare routine and were makeup to cover up on patchy parts will check back with you on Saturday bye for now Mary.r
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This is a very old post. I've recently had FX CO2 and I believe my face is ruined. The texture is horrible. I'm so scared I'm practically going out of my mind. Can someone respond?
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I would be happy to see you in my office. I have been using CO2 lasers for 20 years as well as Erbium and IPL.Call 281-655-8200 for a complimentary appt.
Joseph Perlman MD FACS
Antiage Institute- Dr. LeConey

Dr stands behind his work. He will do whatever it takes to make you happy.

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