I had and still have some deep depressions from both acne on my forehead and chin, and then just pores enlarging on my T-zone next to my nose. Also, right after pregnancy, I developed melasma like crazy. See my photos. I tried every form of treatment there was to improve all these issues. Everyone peeled my face, everyone photo-facialed me, everyone gave me tons of products. None of it worked...except the photo-facial and that only assisted my melasma and the results lasted only a month before my melasma returned.
So, after every kind of peel and microderm abrasion, I realized that none of that would fix the depressions and it only helped the acne. My melasma also remained prominent and often got worse. I learned that for someone like me with severe melasma, ablative procedures and peels can create even more prominent hyperpigmentation. You really have to learn from what you do and analyze the results. But research beforehand. I always do and I do it like a scientist trying to find a cure for cancer with tons of controlled experiments. So what you hear from me here in this forum is the result of my experiences and my scientific approaches and observations as well as my research. Keep that in mind.
So, this post is focusing on my experience with the Pixel Laser. I paid $2000 for three treatments to take place 1 month apart. I was using the Obagi NuDerm kit-which they don't carry any longer-and 0.025% Retin-A for a month prior to my laser resurfacing. This had already begun to break up a bit of my melasma. For the laser, we did just one pass initially with a fairly low setting. The subsequent treatments were 4 passes each on higher settings. What you see attached here in the photos is amazing as far as my melasma is concerned.
See how awful my melasma is in the first photos. But literally 3 days later after just ONE treatment with the Pixel Laser on a minimal setting with one pass, my melasma was dramatically improved. I used Aquafor to help and they can apply Levelon-a numbing cream-30 minutes prior to your procedure which significantly helps you cope with the pain. As a matter of fact, I felt virtually no pain during my second and third procedures versus the first one without the Levelon.
About 5 days after my first laser procedure, I began using my Obagi kit again and saw even more amazing results! My melasma was not 100% gone, but I would call it 80% to be fair. See the photos for yourself.
The problem on my subsequent visits was that I had requested my asthetician to go harder on my skin and this flared up my hyperpigmentation again. I asked her to zone in on a couple of spots that were marked with acne and when I healed, I noticed that I had no pigmentation at all on those areas and I still don't to this day.
At this point, my melasma is rampant again and I have just re-started Obagi because I found an obscure stock of it with my old dermatologist's office. (They stocked up on it so that is the only reason why they still have it. After it is sold, they will be out forever.) I have used it for two days and already see a difference. BUT, I really appreciated that very first Pixel treatment my asthetician did for me when we went so gentle and my results were so amazing. So, I decided to call her and see if she would give me a package deal such that every 2 months, I go in and get the Pixel treatment done on a more gentle scale like before. She agreed. So we worked it such that I will be getting 6 treatments for $1500 versus the 3 treatments for $2000 that I originally paid! (Between us, I think that as a new business owner at the time, she was feeling out her price-points, so I got charged more than I should have been, but I understand business, so I'm ok with that. I would have done the same thing I think.)
BEAR IN MIND, the Pixel Laser is like the baby of lasers for skin care. It is not to be used to treat deep acne depressions like what you will see in my photos, and if done too aggressively, it can make things worse...like those scars deepening or your hyperpigmentation getting even darker. You can also end up with skin that is entirely devoid of color-albino spots I call them. And I have those due to too much work on my actual skin.
It feels like an elastic is slapping you hard in the face during the procedure. As you recover, you may experience a headache or even heat stroke because your face gets so hot. I definitely did. Ice and motrin help significantly as does staying elevated. There will be grid lines on your face and you will look like you have been pressing your face into a screen door for hours, but if done properly, these marks will disappear within one week to a month. Mine were gone after 7 days. And your skin will slough, not peel off in giant pieces, but it will slough off in tiny bits. DON'T scrub it. Wash gently and allow the process to happen on its own. Yes, this means there is down time and depending on how well you take care of your skin after the laser is done, the less or more down time you will have. I wore mineral makeup to go out after 3 days with no inflammation or irritation. But when at home, my skin was bare and I slathered Aquafor on it always.
People do not understand that there are many different types of lasers and each has its own specific use and results. The Pixel Laser WILL help with acne for certain, although, the Aquafor you put on afterward might cause acne to flare up, it WILL subside. Do NOT pick at it and ice any puss spots that occur. Do NOT try to pop them as these types of zits are actually deeper under the skin and hurt worse than regular pimples...it's all due to the Aquafor from my knowledge.
The Pixel Laser CAN help with pigmentation, but like I informed you, not always. My best advice here is to try it at a lesser strength and with only one or two passes (called stacks). Make sure you prep your skin with a bleaching agent or Hydroquinone (HQ) prescription medication and some Retin-A (also by prescription). Discontinue all skin creams except the Aquafor for the first 5 days of your Pixel treatment and then return to the HQ and Retin-A again for maximum results. Trust me, this will work better than nothing.
Also, if you feel your asthetician is not paying attention to your needs, listening to you or is doing a poor job, stop him/her immediately and address the issue. Pay with a credit card and not cash, so that if they end up NOT performing your laser procedure, you can fight for your money back.
I hope my photos and information help you!