I've had a series of birthmarks on my...
I've had a series of birthmarks on my legs since birth. I believe they're called cafe au lait. They're flat and brown in color and, since middle school, I've grown increasingly self-conscious and depressed about my birthmark. I don't expose my legs. I'm currently a 17 year old African American. My skin tone isn't very dark, as seen in my profile picture.
It's taken me years to convince my mother, but this past summer I've had the opportunity to take an initiative to actually remove my birthmark. For a number of months, I've been seeing Dr. Ella Meyering, free of charge, about laser treatment to remove my birthmark.
The thing that concerns me is the fact that there aren't any reviews about her establishment in regards to laser resurfacing. Hair removal, I believe there's one, but to remove birthmarks, no.
I'm using my own money to pay for this intended procedure, and the price that Dr. Meyering offered, was favorable.
About 3 months ago, in September, Dr Meyering conducted a test area to see how my skin would react to the laser. A low dosage was treated. It didn't hurt at first, but then started to feel hot. It scabbed over and, despite her warnings, I used a band-aid to cover the scab because when it rubbed against my clothes, it hurt (Not a good idea, but I can be impulsive at times, which works to my downfall). I know it must have contributed to the current, square shaped and slightly dark area that, three months later, I have on my leg from the test spot [[pics attached]]. The dark area is from the band-aid, and the light area inside of it is where my actual birthmark was. It looks like it's going to eventually get dark again. I'm extremely concerned if I get the procedure done on my entire leg, that my birthmark [[left and lower right leg]] will end up being super light (like the pic, where it's pink and doesn't match my skin tone) , and eventually return to it's usual dark color before the laser surgery, especially because I'm African American.
I'm also concerned about Dr Meyering herself. Perhaps, because I'm young, I'm being arrogant, naive or just plain ignorant, but I'm pretty sure that my birthmark categorizes under cafe au lait. She said it wasn't, but pictures on the internet describe cafe au lait birthmarks to be a coffee color.
Also, I'm currently using these lightening wipes on my birthmark for my next appointment (Dec 12,2013) before we conduct another spot test. She says that the wipes tells the cells to stop making melanin, but I'm completely skeptical about that comment. Perhaps she said it because since I'm "young", it would make sense in my mind, but I'm pretty sure that the DNA structure of my dead skin cells can't be told what it can or can not be told...
(Really long, I'm sorry!) Basically, I don't know if the after results from the test spots are normal. I've wanted this for so long and have saved years worth of money for this. I just really need some help and feedback. Thanks.
December and January Appt. Update
I've had two more appointments since my last update. In December Dr. Meyering gave me skin lightening pads, costing me $97 dollars. I was a bit skeptical using them because I don't want to spend the rest of my life spending hundreds of dollars a year on pads that may barely even have an affect. She gave me a stronger dose than the last set. I may have seen slight results on my birthmark, especially since my skin is healing on its own (from the prev laser treatment).
In my most recent appt, Dr Meyering did just a check up. She asked if I needed more skin lightening pads and she saw some improvement on my upper right thigh (and made some comments about how terrible my skin has gotten, and she's right! But it's still not the more favorable thing I want to hear haha). I made an appt in April to treat the birthmark on my left leg for $75. Late March I'm going on a cruise and I'm afraid of my birthmarks darkening in the sun... let alone showing my legs! I also have pictures shortly after the laser treatment (months prior) of my legs that I will show.
Spent about $115 for more lightening pads and koboji cream (i believe thats the name) to lighten birthmark. In April i will be going through another laser treatment.
My skin has become tender from the pad use and I'm still skeptical about the effectiveness of the skin lightening treatments. I'm planning for this to be the last time I purchase these pads. However, I'm anticipating the April treatment. I've been waiting 6 years for this! Concerned about Summer and the sun (and my boyfriend has all these plans about going to the beach and amusement park.. He doesnt know about my birthmark. I conceal it pretty well)
March Update Photos
I wish i had more comments about other's experience and advice!
April 1 2014 Procedure
II just had an appt. yesterday where i had treatment on my left leg. I was waiting for literally an hour, which was a bit of a nuisance, but complaining about it wont get ny anywhere... Right before the procedure I received an injection to num my leg through a needle. The needle didnt hurt.. The fluid to num my leg, did! I felt queesy because of the needle situation, but it did the trick. I felt no pain throughout the procedure.
Currently the treated spot is bandaged up. Driving home wasnt bad and over 12 hours later I'm just barely feeling any pain from the laser treatment. I paid $75.
April 14th I have a check up appt. and most likely another treatment.
Btw during my cruise, I tanned a lot on my legs and didnt use the lightening pads or cream(thought it'd be a waste, esp. when it causes sensitivity to sunlight, and the cream I got makes skin darken in the sun) , but i still used sunblock. I will continue use now that it's over.
(Post note. I'm basically just continuing this review to help other people.. Lol I don't think I'm going to receive any advice, recommendations or help!)
August 18, 2014 Update
Since April, I haven't had another appointment. The sun has been brutal in summer and Dr Meyering advised waiting until fall for more treatment.
I've continued to use the kojic product on my birth mark but I don't trust it's effectiveness. Honestly, I don't know if I should continue treatment in the fall. Starting college, money will be tight... yet I'm reluctant to stop because I've wanted my birthmark gone for so long and have gone through unconventional methods when I was younger (like bleaching) and emotional pain wishing it so.
Going out, I use makeup in an attempt to hide it, still.
I'll post pictures of how my bm looks as of this day.
Aug 18,2014 UPDATE
I forgot to include the fact that I've been religiously using a healing creme called Cu3 Intensive Tissue Repair Creme on the treated spot from April. I use it often on the test spot from Sept. too.
Keeping it brief: I just had another appointment a few hours ago, happy and satisfied with Dr. Meyering. I honestly feel more comfortable there. The second treatment took so long to finally receive since the dr was ill for a few months. She also gave me a free face treatment for my business! Ive been suffering with some bad acne lately. Overall, i paid 75$ (shes going to start charging my for the numbing injection she injects into my skin before using the laser though...) and will definitely refer someone. Hoping to see more progress with my leg. Its lightened up in a few spots in the middle of the mark. Post pics in a few weeks.
I'M STILL HERE!
Over a year since my update and i've had one more treatment done on my leg earlier this year. The summer has been hot and sunny here in CA. I'm 19 now. My square-shaped birthmark is spotty with pigments of my normal and darkened skin.
Update on my upper right leg where test spot was conducted: Birthmark is basically nonexistent! There are about 3 spots where my skin is darkened but I forget I ever had a mark there.
I plan to go back to Radiance after summer's end. Dr Meyering informed me early spring she may retire and sell her business... so I'm crossing my fingers that she'll still be there. She also informed me that the numbing injection won't be free of charge anymore Which sucks! My next visit will be 90-100 dollars. I just purchased my first car, too... and with tuition and a mediocre pay from work, it's not the best thing I'd like to hear! haha