What is Active Fx really like?
on 10 Nov 2012
I am 40 years old, redheaded, fair skinned (Fitzpatrick 1) -- and I'm in the midst of a series of Active FX treatments for sun damage and some pre-actinic keratosis areas. Unlike most folks, I am not just having my face done, but also my eyes, neck, chest, arms, hands, shoulders, and upper back (pretend I am wrapped in a towel after getting out of the shower, and everything above the towel is getting ablated!) It's a little gross to be able to smell your own burning flesh (and it continues to smell a bit cooked for a few days after), but I have a high tolerance for gross. ;) However, it cracks me up when these doctors who haven't actually had the procedure themselves say that fractional laser is painless and you shouldn't even need a Tylenol -- what a load of crap! My doctor gives me Lortab, Xanax, and a numbing cream before each treatment -- and it still feels as though I am being stung all over by a bunch of bees. The pain afterward is also a lot worse than I expected based on what I had read in these forums (I am self-employed, so I have the luxury to spend about 4 days largely laying in bed, either reading or working on my computer, but trying to move as little as possible after each treatment -- I can't even fathom having to go into an office or trying to go to the gym right away). However, my doctor is taking a fairly aggressive approach and is working on some very thin-skinned areas -- face alone would not be that bad. I am a month out from having my face, neck, and chest done, and just got my arms and hands lased two days ago. My face peeled and healed very quickly (it was looking pretty darn smooth by the time I went in for my 4-day check up), but the other areas take a lot longer to heal (my check and neck were still very red and raw and swollen at day 4). And I experienced a lot of itching on my neck and chest as they healed -- to the point that I had to take Benadryl several times to keep from wanting to claw at my own skin. There is also a great deal of stinging in those more sensitive areas (not so much face, but definitely chest, neck, and hands) -- even a few days after treatment, I would get these weird random sensations that felt something was biting on me, like being zapped with the laser again (all just part of the healing process). And I find myself having to take Lortab once or twice in the night for the first few days after treatment just to be able to sleep -- last night (which was the 2nd night after having my arms and hands lasered) was excruciating. I fortunately have not had problems with the milia, although I did get a pimple about 2 weeks after doing my face, and it was that deep painful almost cystic kind that takes a while to go away (which I've never had before). It's going to take a couple of months for the pink to fully fade, but I can see that it's getting better each day -- it seems that most of the people who complain about permanent hypo or hyper pigmentation are dark skinned. Every time I go back to my doctor's office, the two little med students who have been following my progress are so amazed and impressed with my results -- and when they pulled out the before pics, I can DEFINITELY tell that everything is smoother and more evenly toned. I had some deep neck and chest creases that are VASTLY improved -- although I'm waiting until we hit the maybe 4-month or 5-month mark (when the collagen production has really kicked in) before determining if these spots need a second pass to eliminate them completely. And I'm really looking forward to seeing how my hands look when they heal -- my doctor is expecting the crepey skin to be completely smoothed out. As far as I'm concerned, this treatment is totally worth the down time, but there could be a lot more down time than folks on the web make it seem like. As far as I'm concerned, this is not a "lunchtime" or even "weekend" treatment -- plan at least 7 to 10 days, and possibly more if you tackle other areas besides face.
Your information remains private and will not be posted without your permission.
Don't have an account? Create one now.
By creating an account, you are indicating that you have read and accept the
Already a member? Sign In.
Enter your username or email address and we will send you a link to login.
Check your email. We've sent you a link to reset your password.