DOT Laser Diary

I am so glad to have found this forum...Wish I...

I am so glad to have found this forum...Wish I would have found it prior to my DOT laser treatment to have a bit more realistic idea of what to expect.  I want to record my experience here for the benefit of anyone looking into it.

My main goal in having this done was to treat the smoker's wrinkles around my mouth.  I  quit about 3 years ago, and this year, for my 61st birthday, my four daughters gave me the gift of this treatment.  Luckily I am in good health, but very self conscious of those deep lines.  Also have some skin laxity,  large pores, old acne scars, and a few brown spots.  In addition to the DOT, I wanted a small ice pick scar removed, (just a term for a deep pit scar) which requires a surgical cut through the center and a couple of stitches.

Found a doc highly recommended by many sources.

My proceedure was yesterday at noon.  First thing in the morning I took my first of a 21 day prescription for Methylprednisolone 4 mg.  This was to help with swelling.  I was a bit reluctant to take these, and thought at the time I may only take just that one if my swelling wasn't bad.  They also prescribed Valtrex as a preventative for the possibility of cold sores after the proceedure.  When I questioned the doc he said even people who have never had cold sores can get them after DOT.  I did some research on the drug and decided I did not want to take it.  Let's hope this decision doesn't come back to haunt me! 

After checking in, I sat down with the nurse and went over the recovery process.  She likened the whole thing to a bad sunburn.  Shudder.  I avoid the sun because I absolutely hate the feeling of burned skin.  She had a little bag for my post proceedure care with soap, moisturizer and hydrocortisone ointment 1.0%.  She then slathered my face, neck and upper chest with the numbing cream and covered it all with saran wrap.  Then I just waited for about an hour for it to become completely numb. 

First thing done was the ice pick scar.  No big deal.  Then the laser.  While I can't say it was pain free, it wasn't so bad.  While one doc did the laser, another held a hose which blew cold air (had a bit of an alcohol smell?) over the area.  Nasty smell of burning hair. As he worked he conversed with the two fellows (docs in training) present about the proceedure.  At one point, about the time the first area treated was beginning to throb, he was talking to them about the pre-op preparations for the DOT, and mentioned the numbing cream and the valium and vicodin.  I asked when do I get the valium and vicodin, and he stopped and said I should have gotten them when I first arrived.  Offered to stop the treatment if I wanted to take them and wait while they took effect, but I thought the numbing cream would be wearing off during that period so told him go ahead.  A bit further into the process I asked for the vicodin.  The whole thing took about 30 minutes or so.  Pain level of proceedure not that bad but burning sensation increasing quickly.  Hoping the vicodin will kick in soon.

Finally back home. Getting more uncomfortable by the second.  I consider myself to have a high pain tolerance but I really don't like this feeling.  My face isn't that red, mainly notice the swelling arount my mouth and eyes.  Throbbing and hot. 

I spent the rest of the day on the couch with my daughter waiting on me.  Feel very tense - my whole head feels clenched and tight.  Mixed up some organic aloe juice and water in a little spray bottle which cools and comforts me but still cant relax.  Daughter offers me a Vicodin and I accept.  This is really hurting.  My face continues to redden and swell, even a bit of blood on my chin.  Did not expect this level of discomfort but I don't regret doing it.  I believe the results will be worth it. 

Another daughter brings me an aloe plant .  I begin applying that and feel a bit soothed.  Instructions warn not to let the skin dry out so I am constantly spraying and fanning and moisturizing. 

Took another vicodin and finally fell asleep around midnight.  Sleep fitfully, on my back.  Body chilled, face and neck hot.  Not a great night. 

Day 2:  Woke this morning with tight swollen skin, red as a lobster.  I can feel small bumps (blisters?) all over.  Decided to continue taking the prednisone prescription.  Pain a bit better but can't seem to unclench my jaw.  Writing this to take my mind off the discomfort.  I feel like such a baby...everything I read said this was like a bad sunburn.  Do others go through this like a breeze?  Thought I was tough.

Post instructions say to use cold compresses a few times a day.  I would advise finding some lightweight gel packs and eyepacks for this.  I'm surprised they dont develop a face pack to cool the skin.  Wish I had thought about this before hand.  Daughter is looking at the drugstore  for something. 

Hoping this will be the roughest of the recovery period.  I look bad, and would never consider going out at this point.  Wonder what I'll look like on Christmas day!

Just called the doc's office to inquire about getting some pain pills.  Also worry about the instructions to not let the skin dry out.  That is proving to be difficult!

I will update as things progress. I want to say, I am not writing this to scare anyone off the DOT therapy.  I feel very hopeful that this will have a wonderful result.  I do wish I had realized the possible reactions - I would have waited until after the holidays to have it done.

Best to all!


Denver Plastic Surgeon

would not recommend this doctor or the treatment

2 out of 5 stars Overall rating
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Comments (43)

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I am on day 3 post procedure and I have to admit its a bit rougher this morning. I am most sore under my chin/neck area that they lasered to blend. I would describe the discomfort as a medium/severe road rash. I did not use Retina A there so I am wondering if that is why it is more tender than the rest of my face. I am a bit puffier and the peeling has started this morning as I was informed it would. I still appear red and my skin feels very tight. I started itching last night so I took a Benadryl to help with that. I am not a fan of Benadryl as I always wake up hung over when I take it. I uploaded pictures of day 1 and 2 but not sure where they show up.
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I just underwent the dot laser this morning at 8am. It is now 4pm and so far so good! I had a valium prior to the procedure and the numbing crème. I thought the procedure was fairly painless. Did smell burning hair but the whole time I thought, good its getting zapped! LOL The physician assistant/laser specialist that performed the procedure slathered me with Aquaphor and sent me home with some. I have slept off and on through the day but do not have any pain. My face seems to be red with a lot of brown patches. I did take some Aleve to head off swelling and did ice my eyes a bit. I have reapplied the Aquaphor a few times on spots that seem dry. I have to say it feels like a mild sunburn and is very tolerable. I plan to sleep in a recliner for the first few nights to help prevent swelling. My post op instructions include Aquaphor morning and night for the first 2 days and Benadryl if I get itchy. On day 3 I will start with the Obagi Regenica post procedure serum that is suppose to speed recovery. I don't know if it made a difference, but I was instructed to use Retina A 4-5 times a week starting a month prior to my procedure. I discontinued use 2 days prior to today. I will keep you posted on my progress!
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Hi all, I am thinking on having this partial dot and it is one time treatment. After hearing results I am not to sure. I had thought I would get a mini face lift and now have this to think about too. I have a friend that had CO2 laz done and she was put to sleep and looked like hamburger face! she had to scrub her face several times a day. Not for me. so this partial sounder ok until I cam here. Thanks for starting this bolg
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Month+ later. Face looks same as before the laser. Not having the second one till I see. Some change. I'm told about 3 mod.
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Well its been a while. Ten to twelve days face looks totally normal. Skin looks great. Smooth and all dark,light,or red disciple is gone. Wrinkles exactly the same. We'll see after a few months. So far not worth it.
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Today is the first day I would go out in public. When they say two days don't believe it. SIX days. I'm still red and bruised in places but today I don't look so bad people would stare. Some skin looks smooth, like baby skin. Still is a little tender, not as tight. Peeling a little, mostly my neck.
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Aug 1. Today I look a lot better. My neck still looks purple and blotchy. Face still feels tight and a little sore. I hats all this grease on my face it gets everywhere. Today my face is peeling. Most of the brown is gone.
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July 31 brown spots are starting to sluf off. Still purple bruises. Face still itchy. Neck is still purple blotches. If I wasn't so greasy I might go out today but instructions say never let it dry up. I won't have the follow up laser done unless I see results worth going thru this again. I guess I'm impatient. Still feels tight like a sunburn. Face still feels like sandpaper in spots and smooth in other spots. Still can see the grid marks from the laser. I can't post pica from my kindle sorry. Hopefully tomorrow it'll be better.
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Today is July 30th. I am really tired of greasy face hair bedding uhf! Today I look like a purple blotchy neck and face uhf! I wont be seen in puplic today. Face feels tight like sunburn and itchy. I have a few bleeding spots when I wash my face which is only once a day because it is uncomfortable. Hoping tomorrow is better.
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Well today my face looks like a bad sunburn peeling. Pretty awful. Hoping it clears in a couple days as we á big famiily reunion in a week.
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Cont from above... after hurt worse than procedure. Went home took advil lathered more aquaphor on my face. With in one hour my face felt tight but no more pain. Hard to sleep last night not used to sleeping on my back. This morning it was tender when I washed felt a little like sandpaper. Slathered on the aquaphor feels greasy but no pain. Face looks a little red but doesn't look abnormal at all. More tomorrow.
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Your treatment sounds like you will be fine. I have consulted a burns expert for mine and have to put silicon strips and cream on it for six weeks and then will review as to what has to be done to fix scaring. my face was done on 21 and my chest and hands 18 apparently!!It has certainly taught me a lesson and thats to go with your gut feeling. I have had quite a few other procedures and have felt quite comfortable going into them but this one I didnt. you seem to get a lot more after care over there than we do here, well more than what I got anyway, Im sure here in Australia theres alot of good practioners that carry out this procedure, just not the one I got. :)
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OMG I sure hope the silicon strips work for you. Is it chest and hands? Or face too? My husband thinks I'm going to look like this forever. He didn't want me to do it. Say's. I look fine the way I am. But I did it for me not anyone else. He's a pretty good guy we are retired and on a fixed income he could of said we can't afford it but he let me have my way. I feel I'm on the right track to heal. I'm hoping one week out I'll feel comfortable going out. I have no idea what settings my Dr used. I guess I should of researched more and ask. Good luck to u and I'll say a prayer for your speedy recovery.
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I will try to post pica if possible
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Am having dot laser tomorrow with Dr Grossman. I will let everyone know my results. After reading all these blogs I am a bit nervous. I have researched this and Dr Grossman is one of the best. I will post again tomorrow.
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Yes, Jane...true that we all have a different experience. I'm sure much of it is based on skin type. One thing I don't think I've ever mentioned...My doc, although I never would have requested it, did my upper chest/neck area. This was such a sensitive and difficult area to heal, I would never recommend it to anyone, especially the upper chest. Now, that entire area is amazingly wrinkled and dry. I'm not sure why - maybe something to do with the lack of fatty tissue in that area, but it is pretty bad - and was never a problem area before. I hope you are happy with your results :-)
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Hi Annie, how is youe skin now a year on, and was wondering if your chest ever recovered. I had dot laser here in Australia 16 days ago and still very red chest and my hands are purple sometimes, they actually hurt after for a very long time, like there was no circulation getting to them, am starting to wonder if they and my chest will ever be normal again.
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I think everyone has a different experience.
My eyes looked like I had a black eye and were that way for 2 weeks. My doc did more aggressive passes over my lower lids for loose skin.
It was pink but also slightly swollen I think. my under eye area looked worse for ages too. The swelling made my folds look deeper.
Definitely not a "weekend" laser if high settings used.
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It's been 5+ months since my proceedure. I am curious if anyone out there has had any skin bumps (for lack of a better word!)? The last few weeks, I notice my skin seems to be prone to getting these under the skin eruptions...not at all painful, but quite big. Reminds me of when I was a teen and would get a zit under the skin, but these don't hurt, nor do they discolor the skin. Just bumps. Usually go away in a few days. I know another reviewer here mentioned having skin eruptions after the laser, so thought that might be one of the unmentioned possible side effects of this hugely overrated and way to expensive proceedure.
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Are you still getting the skin bumps?
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Yes...I still get the bumps and it's August 2011. Wish I had my money back because it sure was wasted on this proceedure :-)
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Reading about a couple of women's experience getting the cold sores, I wanted to suggest the use of organic expellar pressed coconut oil on your face during the healing phase. Studies have proven it to be anti viral. I chose not to take the prescription for preventing cold sores, due to the toxicity of the drug, but used a concoction of coconut oil and aloe on my face and lips the first few days, and never had any problems in that area. Could be I wouldn't have had those issues either way, but you never know. And both the coconut oil and aloe vera are very soothing. My daughter bought me an aloe plant, so we just constantly applied the fresh goo and rubbed the coconut oil in with it. Just be sure to find an organic cold pressed oil - easy to find at any health food store.
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I just had my SmartXide Dot treatment here in Portland, Ore. I have had 2 treatments previous in Costa Rica. the two treatments I had in CR were NOTHING like the one I had here. In CR, they do not use numbing crean, lightly use the laser on your face and send you out with a water balloon full of ice to rub over your face. You get a mild sunburn, then go out to lunch and by the next day your skin looks normal. Probalem is, the results are minimal. They encourage you to do 6 to 8 treatments over the course of a year so, you can imagine my surprise when I went to the dr here and he put numbing cream all over my face for about 30 minutes, I have a very high pain tolerance so I thought he was just being cautious. Well, all I can say is OUCH! another guy was running some kind of vac either blowing cool air or putting out the flames. I could smell that horrible scent of skin burning all around me. The procedure took at least 30 minutes, just long enough for me to yell "Uncle" I was chilled, hot and shaky and when I saw myself in the mirror I was shocked. I was so swollen, deep dark red and burning. They threw a cold towel over my face and had me hold a tube blowing cold air onto my face. I could still smell my skin burning away. I actually drove myself home which I don't have much memory of, got home and took a pain pill and a Xanax and thought "what the hell just happened to me"? I was fried for the first 4 days and could not go out of the house. lots of pain, swelling and scary looking white blisters with dots of bleeding. Parts of my face have turned very brown and crusy feeling. I took the anti-viral meds the day before and got the biggest cold sore from my lip up into my nose that I have ever seen. I think I also got one on my chin but I can't tell since it was so brown and fried. I am on day 6 with minimal pain as long as I keep my face loaded with Acquaphor,,if I let it dry out it feels like it's going to split and I feel pins and needles everywhere. The texture of my skin in places is very smooth and in some it's very blotchy, mottled and welted along with bumps. I see the dr tomorrow so i'm anxious to hear what he says. I chose Smartxide because it was my experience there was little to no down time, but it seems like doctors have become a lot more aggressive with the treatment so ou don't have to come back 6 or 7 times. personally, i would rather go back a few times than be housebound and in pain unless the results are more dramatic. and it is too soon to tell for me. i'm just more worried at this point if there is any permanent damage to my skin. oy!
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I just had DOT Tuesday 2/24. I had a lot of anxiety so I took a lortab and also had the numbing creme on. It was still pretty painful. I regretfully did not fill the prescription for the anti-viral. I have never had a cold sore of any kind so I thought "I dont need to take any medication." Bad choice because last night I started getting a painful spot by my bottom lip and today WOW! I have a cold sore and it hurts. I went straigt to Walgreens to fill my prescription and hope that it will help it go away. I am still peeling a little and a bit red. I think its still too soon to tell if its done any good...
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It's been 2 months since I had my Smartxide treatment and I do love the results. My skin is tighter, less blotchy, texture is finer and scars are lighter. I agree with Annie--it was a good 5-6 days before I looked half-way normal. You really do need about 10 days if you want to avoid looking like a burn victim out in public! It was definitely worth it for me & I will do a second treatment in March.
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