I opted for a lighter treatment with the SmartXide...
26 Apr 2013
Day of treatment
I opted for a lighter treatment with the SmartXide DOT CO2 Laser. I was afraid of extra downtime going with a deeper treatment, and scared based on the fact I have no experience with the laser - or any cosmetic procedure for that matter. I am sure my results would be more dramatic with a deeper treatment.
Now that I have had it done, I wonder if this was a good time of year for me to do it. It is spring time and the weather is warming up. This means more outdoors time. The Dr. told me as long as I wear sunscreen and hats it should not be an issue. Mental note - always wear my sunscreen this summer! Not sure how this will work into my triathlon schedule, but I will do my very best to reapply reapply reapply.
My treatment was complete before 10 AM today. It wasn't bad. Topical numbing cream was applied prior to treatment. A few spots were more painful than others - especially the upper eyelids. Dr said he had to treat those because I would be very pleased with the results around the eyes. He just couldn't see me pass up the option to improve that area. I few uncomfortable zaps around the eyes and I was done. I had no bleeding. My face felt immediately tightened. Dr handed me a mirror and I had tiny white dots of burned skin all over my face. I was told to not put anything on my face for 1 hour to let the heat dissipate. And it felt hot like a bad sunburn!
An hour after I got home I put on the ointment I purchased in his office. It is much like Crisco/Aquaphor in consistency. He recommended staying away from Petroleum based products and preferred Crisco to Aquaphor if I chose to purchase my own ointment.
I noticed tons and tons of freckles all over my face at this point. And I was rather red on top of it. I don't know if the treatment makes all my faint freckles show up intensely or if it is small patches of burned skin that resemble freckles. I read another reviewer who stated this all sloughs off around 3 days, so no worries. Whew!
At 8 hours into it I have a lot of tightness and if I open my mouth to take a bigger bite of something I feel like my face will crack. Similar to a bad sunburn feeling. Painwise over all on a scale of 1 - 10, I am at a 1.
I ventured out to a couple stores today
Today is 24 hours post procedure. Woke up swollen,...
Today is 24 hours post procedure. Woke up swollen, just as predicted. My face freaks my 8 yr old out because i don't look like me. I expect to look puffy today and(Saturday) again tomorrow (Sunday). Hope to look semi normal come Monday. Freckles look the same. Face was crusty this morning.
I could start washing my face today, so my first wash removed all the crusties. Some areas more crusty than others (chin & nose). A little painful to wash around the eyes, but not bad on the rest of the face. Felt a little pain when the air hit my face after washing, but as soon as I reapplied the ointment all was well again. Will start the vinegar/water soaks every 2-3 hours today. Will add photos from today.
Sunday - 45 hours post treatment. Woke up with...
Sunday - 45 hours post treatment. Woke up with swelling just as the day before. Both days slept with extra pillow under my head to keep it propped up and slept on my back. No crusting from oozing this morning. Skin felt very tight and as though it would crack if I smiled to big. I now know how a snake feels when it needs to shed it's skin!
Swelling went down with in an hour after getting up, including showering, washing face and getting dressing. I put an ice pack on for about 15 minutes to assist. I think the massaging of the skin while washing the face helps the most with decreased swelling. Upon my 2nd washing of the day - about hour 49 post treatment - I noticed the skin is starting to slough off. Third washing of the day I had more slough off. Yeah, this is progress! I'll take a photo at the end of today and post it because this morning's photo looks identical to my 24 hour photo.
Monday: Didn't take a photo Sunday night, but the...
Monday: Didn't take a photo Sunday night, but the skin was starting to come off by the end of the day revealing bright red skin underneath. Lovely. In the shower this morning I did some more sloughing - about 10-15 minutes worth of gentle rubbing. I wanted to go to work with as little of that ugly brown spotting skin on me as possible.
After the shower I slathered on the Ceravu lotion and mineral powder to tone down the sever looking sunburn. I don't traditionally wear make up, so I felt like it was really caked on, but was probably a normal amount for a traditional make up wearer.
At work my face really felt dried out and as though it would crack. I really wish I had one more day at home to lotion it up before returning to work. I made it though ok. I did put some chapstik on the corners of my mouth to alleviate the cracking pain I had there.
After lunch I discovered a nice cold sore has sprung up on my middle bottom lip despite the prescription to help prevent that from happening. I'm really prone to getting them - so it really doesn't surprise me. Hopefully the medicine keeps it small.
As soon as I got home I cleaned my face and slathered on a layer of Ceravu and Ointment on top of it. Ahhh. The feeling of a cracking face was now gone. Have tender spots on the scar below my bottom lip, the scar along my chin/cheek line, both where I received deeper treatment. Really red in the face, but the swelling in going away.
2 weeks post treatment. My face is basically back...
2 weeks post treatment. My face is basically back to normal. All my sun spots and enlarged pores are coming back day by day. Rather disappointed. I even feel my scare is more visible as it has whitened. My eyes feel like the skin is ripping every time I tug even the slightest on the skin. I can not wipe lotion across the lids, I can only lightly dab the skin. I am sure this is because the tissues are still healing an in another week or two this will go away. You can see the swelling is gone now, the redness is gone now, and my only hope is that my eyes will see some improvement with time.
The only reason I tried this procedure was because it was offered on a Living Social Deal for the bargain price of $99. I thought it would be an excellent way to finally get rid of the blotchy sun spots on my face. Doesn't appear that it worked as they have visibly begun reappearing at before even reaching 14 days post treatment. I'm very happy I did not spend the normal price for the procedure.
Forgot to mention I have been wearing sunscreen...
Forgot to mention I have been wearing sunscreen daily. If I am outside I wear spf 30 or higher and a hat & sunglasses.
5 weeks post laser
Wow, I don't know where the time has went but it is now 5 weeks since the laser. No improvement in the brown spots that have taken over my face. I'll add some photos of me taken today and I am wearing makeup - which can't even hid the blotches. Sigh. I've starting putting on Ambi to see if it will fade all the brown spots. I almost look like I have a tan there are so many.
Still wearing the Titanium and Zinc sunblock daily. Eyes feel better. No longer having that ripping/tearing skin sensation when I try to apply lotion/sunscreen.
Nearly 4 months post procedure
19 Aug 2013
4 months post
Now that about 4 months have passed I want to provide one more update. I still apply sunscreen daily, but I have been doing that for years, so it's not different than before only now I always apply zinc/titanium based sunscreen as opposed to other chemical based sunscreens. The only place I can really see an improvement of any kind is a lessoning of what wrinkles I had around the corners of my eyes. This is the only area I would ever recommend anyone get treated. It is also the only area that did not experience any type of hyperpigmentation. The twice daily application of hydroquinine cream has reduced the appearance of the hyperpigmentation splotches and I am happy to have some relief from that, but not happy that I have to do this. I had experienced some under eye swelling that eleminated the under eye circles I've had my whole life for about 2 1/2 months and I did like that, but that small amount of swelling has since subsided and I have my old dark circles back.
I've had issues with pimples since having this procedure. My pores have not reduced in size, but are back to their original size pre-procedure.
To sum it all up, I'd only try this in the eye area, no where else on the face.
9 month post procedure
1 Feb 2014
10 months post
It's been 9 months since my laser treatment. I think my face looks like it did before the laser treatment. All the hyper-pigmentation is now gone. I'm relieved that it has faded over the last several months. There was some tightening of the skin for several months while I dealt with the hyper-pigmentation, but that has all since relaxed and again I feel that I look as I did right before I had the laser done.