I am a 39 year old smoker who has spent much of her life baking at the beach and since pregnancy has been plagued by acne. As such, I have hyper-pigmentation, large pores, acne scars, crows feet & smoker's lines around my mouth.
I had the procedure (full face) 4 days ago and today is the first day I have looked in the mirror. I have already noticed that my crows feet are greatly diminished. The fine lines under my eyes are less noticeable even when I smile and not only are the lines around my mouth virtually gone, but my lips seem more defined. As far as the overall texture and evenness of my skin I am still pretty red with browner areas where my hyper-pigmentation & sun damage was more severe. I will give an update as my healing progresses.
My doctor, whom I trust implicitly, is not a salesman so he was honest about what to expect...for example that my deeper lines, small chemical burn scar and chicken pox scars might take as much as 6 months to disappear and may not entirely. So if you are expecting overnight results and/or absolute perfection you must learn to be patient and realistic.
As far as the actual procedure, I started Valtrex (for cold sores and blistering) & an antibiotic the day before and will take them for 10 days following. I arrived an hour early for my appointment so that numbing cream could be applied to my face. After 45 minutes the doctor injected local anesthetic around my eyes, hairline and jawline as well as 4 injections in my mouth to deaden the area. This was the worst part of the procedure. After another 15 minutes he put numbing drops in my eyes (which were so cold I yelped!!) and placed the special contacts in my eyes. The laser itself was pretty much pain free, but I did feel a little bit of the *zap* near my ears and on the tip of my nose. My nose is very sensitive and even simple extractions hurt there so do not be alarmed that the same will happen to you. The entire procedure took 15-20 minutes.
Afterward, the nurse applied a cooling gel & Aquaphor to moisten my skin. A girlfriend who had the procedure last month warned me she was in pain when her anesthetic wore off. My anesthetic wore off after about 5 hours, but I didn't even have to take a single Tylenol. I simply went to bed with a fan on my face and was fine. I did however need a ride home because my eyes were fuzzy from the numbing drops.
Last night the itching started and it felt like little ants marching around my hairline and down my nose. It is nothing I cannot bear though.The aftercare takes about a 1/2 hour or so 3-4 times a day...special cleanser, witchhazel compresses for 20 minutes and reapplication of the Aquaphor. Keeping the area moist is essential during recovery. With each day my redness and swelling lessens, but I scared a small child in traffic yesterday so I am keeping to the house for the weekend...LOL.
Good Luck with your decision and I will update my progress soon.