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Extremely Disappointed with Results.

I had fine lines and wrinkles on my face,...

I had fine lines and wrinkles on my face, especially around the eyes (Crow's Feet) and forehead (Frown Lines), loose eyelid skin, brown age spots, uneven skin tone and acne scars.

I had the Active FX procedure done in January, with high hopes. Unfortunately, it's now April and I see no improvement whatsoever. I still have the brown spots; in fact, I seem to have more than before the Active FX (like it brought some out that weren't visible before). The wrinkles are exactly the same, the acne scars are exactly the same, my skin tone is still uneven and my eyelid skin is still loose. Also, I experienced some extreme pain when I had my Active FX. My cheeks and forehead were not so painful but I had to be held down so I wouldn't move on the doctor when they did around my eyes and mouth. I try to always be an optomistic person and look at the bright side of things and so I hate to have to report this bad experience. The Doctors and their staff were very nice. But, I spent $2,000 and see no improvement at all.

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I had the procedure done a month ago. My doctor said I would see a dramatic difference in my skin. I'm 29 years old. I have some chicken pox scars, some fine lines and a scar from stitches I had when I was 4 on my forehead I wanted addressed. I have no improvement also from this procedure except for the scar from the stitches isn't as hard as it once was. I also now have DEEP wrinkles all around my eyes. I'm freaking out about it! I also still have brown dots all over my face. I haven't peeled in weeks. I also have avoided the sun. They also told me it was dead skin which is a bunch of bull! I see Dr. Robbins on the 3rd. I'm fearing he is gonna tell me to fork over more money to fix it and I don't have more money to do that. My eyes are ruined. I now look like I'm 45 years old. I still have all of my fine lines and my best feature, my eyes, look like that of a Much older woman. I don't know what I'm gonna do??? :*(
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A question for Laserdoc.First,thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions on what I am sure is a very busy schedule.I am a 51 year old male who had the ActiveFx treatment done on my upper and lower eye lids.The attending physician held eye protection over my eyes during the procedure.It has been 10 days now since my treatment.My concern is that since the treatment my vision has been very blurred.At first I thought that it was due to the swelling,but since the swelling has subsided,the blurred vision is still there to the point that I have a constant headache.
Will my vision return to normal or am I experiencing a more serious problem.Thank you very much.

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Hi. I just found this site and would like to ad my experience. I had 3 Titan procedures and a active fx full face. I started this in Dec of last year and to date 11-01-09 the only improvement is smoother skin. I still have the sagging and wrinkles that I was assured would lessen by 60% accouding to my consulant.. this cost 3800.00 I am so dissapointed at times I cry.. and my down time for the fx treatment was over 2 weeks, my face was swollen, peeled and smelled like dead skin, my husband could hardly be near me.. would I do this again??? NOPE !!!
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Dear Dr. Howlin, first of all many thanks that you take the time to give your advice here! I already posted my case somewhere else in this forum but maybe you can answer my questions or give some advice? Here is a link: Everything came back! review
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Dear Golden111, Good luck! You'll do fine. You really can't hurt a light caucasian. If the doc gets "too" aggressive, you'll end up with one extra day down time and yet better results.
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How many days of downtime are there really? From your own experience. :)
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Dear Golden111, Fair skinned people are much easier to treat with this laser as they don't have the problem with hypopigmentation that darker skin types have. Also, we can turn the laser up much higher for better results. Hyperpigmentation in light skin types generally can be easily bleached or IPL treated. My recommendation is to ask the treating physician about your own specific case. I suspect I would use Active FX with a strong setting. Good luck.
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Thanks again Dr. Howlin. Your insights are so greatly appreciated. Wish me luck!!!
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Dear Golden, The little German wrinkles will go away nicely with Active FX. I have the same coloring as you and genetic background and it did the trick nicely. You won't get an area of demarcation where the lower eye area ends. But I'd treat myself to the entire face because the crow's feet area and rest of texture and tone will benefit. I like the Skin Spa Med practice in Northern Dallas area. But I'm uncertain if they're doing Active FX, but you could ask their advice. There is a newer competitor to Active FX that is by the Medsurge advances in Texas that I am looking at. Their phone 972-720-0425. Maybe they can give you a practice lead. Good luck. Dr. H.
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Thank you so much for the info Dr. H. I'll be looking into your recommendations unless I find myself up your way. Then, I'll be coming to see you. Oh, one last question...would you suggest doing Active Fx under the eyes or Deep Fx or Total Fx? Not sure if Deep Fx or Total Fx would be too strong for the fragile under eye skin, but I'm afraid if I go too weak I won't see as much of a result. Also, what setting do you use for that area vs the rest of the face? And do you find fair skinned people fair better with this procedure especially with hyperpigmentation issues. Sorry, that was 3 questions. Thanks in advance.:)
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We get it from a compounding pharmacy in Florida. It's a petrolatum base with some phenylphrine which seems to make it work longer. Their name is Custom Scripts Pharmacy in Tampa. (800)-226-7094. Our formula is Lidocaine 15%, Prilocaine 5%, Phenylephrine 0.25% in 30 gm tubes. We did split face studies using other brands and the patients always preferred this one. Good luck, Diane Howlin
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Hi Dr. Howlin, Thank you so much for making yourself available to all of us interested in Active Fx. I have a couple of questions for you if you don't mind. I am a 36yr-old female with fair skin, blues and blonde hair. My biggest complaints are my "little German wrinkles" under my eyes due to slightly loose skin. Will Active Fx help diminish these wrinkles that are directly underneath the eye? Also, can I have just the eye area treated or would there be some kind of demarcation between the treated and untreated areas? Lastly, sorry, are there are specialists in the Dallas, TX area (or anywhere in TX for that matter) that would you recommend? I want to be extra careful when choosing a doctor and since you're so far away I thought you might be able to help with a suggestion. Thank you so much for all your help and info.
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Excellent results. Thanks for the update. Regards, Dr. Howlin
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It will improve on its own over 1 year. The IPL can hasten it. I'm not aware of any disasters with IPL causing hyperpigmentation and have been doing them for 5 years. My face resolved from the hydroquinone and I haven't gotten around to an IPL for that yet. If you can get the practice to get you some 8% hydroquinone for 1-2 months, that can speed it up. Good luck! Diane Howlin
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Hi Doctor H., A quick update. I had a "test" IPL about 10 days ago. They just did one small part where the hyperpig. was dark on one side of my face. I think the setting was 2.8 or something with a 2 and an 8. She did it one time and then thought it was ok to go over the area again. It turned dark almost immediately, and flaked off about 6 days later. No bad side effects, pain or anything similiar to Active FX. 95% of the hyperpig. is gone. It's barely noticeable, so I'll probably have my whole face done soon. It's a very promising treatment for those suffering from the hyperpigmentation issues of Active FX.
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Hi Maxine, I just came upon this website since having the Active Fx done 5 weeks ago. I too have hyperpigmentation in the treated areas. Doctor gave me 10% hydroquinone to apply 2x a day. He said everything will be gone within 3 months. I don't think so. My question to you, since it's been 4/5 years for you, did you ever resolve your hyperpigmentation issues? I appreciate any information, thanks.

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Hi Doctor H., Once again I'd like to thank you for your prompt and helpful responses. According to my doctor I am a type 2. It's been four months and although the hyperpigmentation has lessened I'm still not at the point where I can go without any makeup, which is why I did the Active FX to begin with. I'm still using the hydroquinine and I'm starting to get cold feet as far as the IPL treatments. The thought that something could go wrong and something worse than the hyperpigmentation show up on my face, is giving me second thoughts about doing IPL. Do you think the hyperpigmentation will go away on its own or improve at the stage I am at, or will it take IPL to get rid of it all? You mentioned your face has gotten to the point of not needing makeup. Is this from IPL or did your problems just resolve on their own?
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That's very individual, depending on the person's skin type and how deeply pigmented it became. 3-5 treatments would be typical though I've seen more and less. I'm a type 2 and hyperpigmented from Active FX. But now I look even and tanned with healthy skin. So I figure I'm just not needing any foundation or artificial color. Regards. Dr. Howlin
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Hi Maxine, We have people stop the retinol 2 days before IPL and continue the hydroquinone straight through. If you use the retinol straight through, you get a more robust (redder) response to the IPL. Good luck! Dr. Howlin
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Thanks Doctor H. How many IPL treatments does it usually take to correct the hyperpigmentation from the Active FX?
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Hi Doctor H., I'm almost at the 3 month mark of using the hydroq. and unfortunately I still have too much hyperpigmentation to not do something about it. I will be having the IPL treatment soon. Is there anything I should do before that such as stopping the Retin or hydroq. or is it okay to be using these up until the IPL? Thanks
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Dear Kenai, Thanks for your informative comments. Everyone's pain threshhold is different. We definitely find the healing rate to be directly related to the condition of a person's skin and their general health as well as adherance to the post op instructions. When patients don't like something, it often is put on the doctor when sometimes the patient hasn't been diligent in post op instructions. And since they have spent considerable money on the procedure, a comment like "I don't notice a thing" is hard to take. We feel bad. So, managing expectations is crucial in cosmetic medicine and pre op education is paramount to a satisfied patient. Yours is going to turn out great. All the best, Dr. Howlin
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Dear Medstudent, First, congratulations on your medical school achievements. It's always nice to welcome the next generation of physicians. I wrote you a long note yesterday and somehow it did not get posted. So I'll paraphrase it. Regarding your freckles: there are several ways to treat. Your physicians don't want to get rid of freckles as we're so sternly warned about the one that could be malignant. You'd probably have to sign off on them (and get a good derm checkup prior). First, I'd try IPL for your freckles. This works well and is inexpensive and has no down time. You'd need several monthly treatments, depending on how dense and deep the freckles are located. Active FX could do the trick, depending on how deep they are located. The newer Deep Fx handpiece could go deeper to get them. Another viable option is Fraxel's erbium laser. It goes deeper than the Active FX and has the FDA's allowance for melasma, which is also a pigmentation condition. It takes many treatments like the IPL and costs more. Once the freckles are gone, the only way to keep them away is sunscreen. I wouldn't use hydroquinone on a longterm basis as the Europeans and Asian countries have banned it for potential malignancy. In the US, we use it short term without any problems though. Neither treatment is more durable in results if your skin responds. One final comment: many of us find type I fair freckly skin with red hair very beautiful! It just needs TLC with sun protection. Good luck.
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Dr. Howlin, Thanks so much for your advice and input. I sincerely appreciate it.
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Hi Doc H., It's been 6 weeks now since the Active FX. I do have major hyperpigmentation, but overall my skin has healed. Even though I'm having to wear a lot more makeup to cover the hyperpigmentation than I wore before, many people have complimented me on my skin. I'm using the hydroq., Retin A, and occasionally the Desoximetasone .05% on some spots. I haven't really seen that much lightening from the hydroquinine yet, but my face feels healthier and almost back to the condition that it was before the procedure. When I use the hydroq. I'm trying to just hit the spots where the hyperpigmentation is, but since it is so pervasive, I'm wondering if I will also be bleaching out the skin that isn't hyperpigmented?
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