Removing Dark Pigmented Birthmark on Leg (African American) at Radiance Cosmetic Center - Riverside, CA

Background: I've had a series of birthmarks on my...

Background:
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.

Current Situation:
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.

update photo

March Appt.

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.
Dr. Ella Meyering

Dr. Ella Meyering has a friendly disposition. When I first walked in for a free consultation, she greeted me and my guest well. At first she made remarks that I took offence to, and then solutions that promoted the services that she provides to fix them. Sometimes she goes on tangents that I don't want to hear or have the patience for, such as she talks about Calico cats (two-colored cats), how we're a combination of colors, how the birthmark that I want to remove reflects one color of my mom and another of my dad, etc.. I honestly don't want to hear it. I've never seen more than two to three other patients at a time, which concerns me. I've seen a patient, a few times, leave when I'm waiting for my appointment, or come in when I'm leaving. However, during actual treatment, I don't have any complaints. She's professional and quick. Whether I'd actually recommend her is still debateable. I'd have to wait and see if my treatment is successful.

Was this review helpful?

Comments (7)

It looks like it's almost gone....are any of those photos with make up?
  • Reply
There is no way you will permanently lighten or completely remove the birthmark, You are wasting your time and Money, big time. You havent even gotten another opinion on this skin condition. Ask a responsible dermatologist.. they will concur. Have you googled this laser... is it guaranteed to remove birthmarks.."" NO!! because the COLOR goes too deep into the skin... just live with it, dermablend makeup can help too. Save your money and stop playing around with your skin
  • Reply
If I may ask, with what authority and/or knowledge do you have to make these statements of yours? With what experience do you have to say that I should accept something of my body that I've never ever liked? Do you have any knowledge or justification to assume that I'm just "playing with my skin"? Please. Inform me. Better yet, enlighten me as to why you're making statements about me when I've only shared a few words regarding only a part of this resurfacing process im choosing to share.
  • Reply
My uncle was a dermatologist, and so is my cousin. With dark skin, hair etc I have had many birthmarks, moles, etc. So did my daughter. We have been to other drs too, some dark spots just go too deeply to be removed. Some drs will give you hope, take your money, laser and zap you... and nothing really happens. Each of these marks has a name, Find out the exact name and read up on it to see if it can be removed. Dont just believe a dr who does laser , creams,nitrogen or whatever. You can try, but dont waste your money. thats all
  • Reply
ABOUT THE BAND AID: im incorrect. The bandaid did not cause the square darkened spot from the upper right thigh treatment in September. The laser had that square shape to begin with. It's the laser's reason why it occurred (which is extremely concerning bc it's been 6 months and it still hasnt gone away!)
  • Reply


Thank you for sharing your review, great information :) So did the band aid cause the skin to stick and scar?


  • Reply
The band aid covered the birthmark and helped the treated area from rubbing against my clothes (thus peeling the scab that eventually formed).Since the band aid covered it as it was healing, I'm pretty sure it got in the way, but I'm not that concerned with particularly the band aid situation, at the moment, but more of the light mark that it left. I dont know if there are many success stories about removing birthmarks for people of color, how long it'll take for the melalin to return to a normal amount and of any experience w/ removal with Dr Ella Meyering
  • Reply