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After doing A LOT of research for months and...

After doing A LOT of research for months and looking over reviews, different types of lasers, doctors etc. I finally made the decision to get this done (today!). Luckily, I have a friend who is in the skincare business who knows pretty much everything about every different type of procedure, product, etc. for skin, and she guided me on who to choose.

I decided (after consultations) to go with the UltraPulse™ Fractional C02 Laser full face procedure that combined Deep FX and Active FX settings.

I went with Dr. Paul Ruff's office (which is very nice, upscale, clean and friendly). Their Nurse Practitioner, Lori Ward (who also does all of my friend's injections), did my consultation and procedure - she is absolutely lovely, educated and awesome, I highly recommend her (as well as the rest of the staff at this office, everyone is competent, caring and top notch). I was given prescriptions to pick up at my pharmacy to start taking 2 days before the procedure and to continue until 5-7 days after; the various meds were: Valacyclovir, an anti-nausea drug, an anti-biotic and a pain killer (hydrocodan). The actual procedure was uncomfortable, but didn't hurt necessarily, it was more like a much more intense IPL session (and felt better and worse depending on which part of the face).

Well, I am now resting and waiting for the next week to unfold so I can see how my skin is behaving and recovering. So far, so good! Side Note: the hydrocodan made me so nauseous that I ended up vomitting all afternoon and just until I started writing this review. Besides that, I would say everything went off without a hitch. I also got an IPL session on my chest after the CO2 face procedure.

Day 1 after procedure (the day after)

Still red, and my eyes feel swollen and the most sensitive. There's less of a burning feeling all over (unlike right after the procedure), but skin is starting to tighten and raw skin is turning into skin that feels like its healing (not a scab but definitely no longer a raw skin feeling).

Day 2 after procedure

I have been religious about my vinegar soaks and cleansing regimen (since day 1): I wash with Bio2 Azulene cleanser at 9am, 1pm, 5pm, 9pm and do vinegar soaks after each wash. Then I apply Bio2 recovery ointment.

Day 3 after procedure

The dead skin becomes so soft during cleansing/vinegar soaks, and I do see that I am peeling much more around my nose and mouth today. During cleansing, I gently rub the cleanser on and some skin came off. I look very uneven (red patches of new skin with the whiteish dead skin lingering). I will say that I am getting a little discouraged as the skin that did peel reveals shiny red skin but with a bumpy texture (which I didn't have before) - not sure if this the laser lines left over that will heal (hopefully soon) or pimples ready to sprout (dreading this if that is the case). I have been drinking at least 80 oz. of water a day with coconut water and I have also been juicing and not drinking any alcohol (I usually like a glass of red wine nightly), and I have been loading up on veggies. I have also been taking Hyaluronic Acid pills daily. My procedure total cost included 2 aestitichian visits where she basically gives me some time of oxygenated facial (the person who did my CO2 said it would speed up recovery and felt really nice to get cleaned up). I meet her tomorrow and then 1 week after my procedure (this coming Thursday).

Day 4 after procedure

Skin is itching and peeling off, but I look less red :) Definitely not good enough to go back to work or have a social life, I still look like a swamp monster haha, I see the aesthetician today, hooray!

1st visit with aesthetician & Day 5

The price of my CO2 included 2 visits (1 on the 4th day after the procedure, the 2nd on the 7th day after) and she was absolutely amazing! She cleaned my skin up (removed a lot of the lingering dead skin) then applied oxygen all over my face in a mist form for about 5-10 minutes, then sealed it with a coat of Bio2 ointment (the same stuff I've been using all this time). She gave me a new skin routine to follow until Thursday (my next visit with her), where I wash with a foamy anti-redness cleanser (the Plastic Surgeon's brand), then spray with Avene thermal water spray, then this blue gel, the a layer of the Bio2 ointment - I do this am/pm and every hour spray the Avene thermal water spray all over my face. I must say my skin is looking so much better since I saw her yesterday!! I am pink, but that's to be expected especially since I have a lot of pink undertones naturally in my skin. Both the aesthetician and Lori, the Nurse Practitioner who did my procedure said I couldn't look any better at this point and my skin is healing perfectly (what a big relief)! Lori also said I can most likely start wearing makeup around Thursday/Friday (this means my social life will be back, hooray)!! Also, on Thursday they said I will switch to using Avene ciculfate and no longer the Bio2 ointment. So far I haven't seen any bumps or break outs but was warned that they could creep up a week or so after the procedure, so fingers are crossed!

Day 6

I left the house for the first time (to go to CVS) and I only got a couple of weird stares haha, my face is healing still and the skin is still slightly peeling, and I am definitely still pink. My skin feels almost normal again and not super dry, I feel like I could put on regular moisturizer and be ok, can't wait to see how powder and makeup will feel...I'm hoping I can start wearing some Friday so I can go out and do things this weekend :) I definitely notice redness on my neck where the CO2 was done which is being a bit more stubborn to fade (it looks like red bumps).

Day 7 - the holy grail

I feel and look so much better, I'd say today is really the first day you feel like yourself again, I even put a little makeup on (eyebrows and eye makeup, no face makeup). I had my 2nd aesthetician appointment today, she said my skin looked really great and was responding beautifully to the laser and post-op care. Definitely do everything they tell you to to the T post-op its very important. For the 1st 4-5 days, I drank at least 80 oz of water, and some coconut water, juiced (carrots, celery, cucumbers, apples, ginger, kale etc.) and ate pretty good, I didn't have any alcohol or caffeine and the aesthetician said that makes a big difference. If you're going to do this procedure and take the time out needed to heal and spend the $ it cost, then do everything right :) I included my skin regimens for Days 1-4 above, and attached 2 screenshots of my care for Days 5-7, Days 8-14 (or for the rest of April). I have an appointment to go back to the Dr. office on 4/17 to get LED light therapy.

Products list I've been using

The entire Bio2 line (I used 4 of these products):
http://www.oxymist.com/skin_care_products.html#

Avene products I use:
http://www.dermstore.com/product_Thermal+Spring+Water_6792.htm
http://www.dermstore.com/product_cicalfate+restorative+skin+cream_11454.htm?gclid=CNq57KLds70CFS1eOgodWFUAeQ

Day 8 - Makeup!! :)

I finally put on makeup (I used Physician's Formula Talc free green powder after my AM skin care regimen, it doesn't look cakey or bad, it actually looks quite dewey. I still have some pink and blotchiness but you can't really notice if I put some powder on. Oh, and I got some breakouts on either side of the corners of my mouth, boooo! Oh well, I'm sure those will go away in a few days if I can resist the urge to pick. So far, so good I think my skin is healing nicely and the laser lines are almost all gone except for forehead. I tried to capture my skin in different lighting so you can see the skin's texture with a light dusting of powder.

3 Month Mark

I went for my 3 month follow up last week and they said my skin looks great. They took "after" photos to compare with my "before" visia photos and you can see quite a difference in oil glands, freckles/dark spots, and redness in my skin has diminished (since before getting this even), so that is amazing. They were shocked when they could see a lift in my lips from the before/after pictures. I use the same cleanser still and then use the Bio2 Amino plex spray, then the Phyto-C Icy blue serum (http://www.phyto-c.com/Moisturize_Icy_Blue/#) then followed with the Phyto-C O-Live Serum (http://www.phyto-c.com/new/O_Live_Serum/) and then my moisturizer. My one scar on my right lower chin area hasn't changed really at all and the Dr. said they could go back over that spot to get more results when Fall comes, but I'm not sure I'll do it. My marionnette lines look a lot better as well!

5 Month Mark

My skin looks great! I do see an improvement in the scarring (except for the largest scar I had, which the person who did my CO2 said I could get just that spot done and it would reduce in severity much quicker). Overall, my skin looks like velvet and is very smooth and even toned. You just have to stick with your skin regimen, not pick your skin and give it at least 4-6 months before you really start to see the benefits of the CO2.

My Daily Skin Regimen (at 5 months post)

In case any of you are wondering, here's my daily regimen...

In the morning:

1. I cleanse with Vivant's 3-1 Mandelic Acid Face Wash.
2. Then I apply Phyto-C Superheal O Live Serum (and let it dry/absorb).
3. Then I apply Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46 moisturizer.

In the evening (before bed):

1. I cleanse with the same Vivant face wash (as above).

* Every 2-3 days I'll use Vivant's Buffing Grains after the face wash.
* If your skin is breaking out, try this after the face wash:
Use Himalya pink salt - mix it with a little bit of water and put it all over my face (like a thick salt mask) for about 10 mins. then wash off and moisturize.

2. Then I apply either the Phyto-C Superheal O Live Serum (if my skin is breaking out, but this stuff should keep that at bay most of the time), or I'll use Vivant's Mandelic Acid 8% Serum.

3. Then apply a moisturizer, I use Phyto-C SuperHeal O Live Cream.

*For pesky blemishes, I dab Calamine lotion on them at night after the above steps (I use a cotton swab) and make sure the Calamine has zinc in it.
Lori Ward

Lori Ward is the Nurse Practitioner at Dr. Paul Ruff's office in DC (2440 M Street NW). Everyone who works there is absolutely the best! Top-notch front desk (Cody), medical assistants (Sharanda), aesthetician (Renee) and of course my favorite person, the Nurse Practitioner Lori :)

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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