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I had my active fx procedure done on Thursday,...

I had my active fx procedure done on Thursday, today is day 3 since the treatment. An hour before my treatment, my faced was prepped with numbing cream. I was told by my doctor that the actual procedure would sting a bit like hot sand hitting your face, but an assistant would be blowing cool air during the procedure which should help. My doctor was pretty accurate with his description. He used the hand held deep fx on my cheeks and lower face, and active fx on the upper face. After using the hand-held piece at a pretty aggressive setting, I believe the doctor said he was turning it down to 9? because of some bleeding that was occurring & making a mess on my left cheek and lower face. I'd have to say the treatment itself was slightly uncomfortable at times, but very tolerable. I had to tell the assistant several times to make sur he wasn't blowing the cold air near my nose or mouth. It was literally taking my breath away. It was very cold, made me shiver a lot. They covered me with a blanket per my request at the onset of the procedure, but I still shivered. As the treatment was over, it kind of smelled like burnt flesh...which I guess it should have. I would say the experience ranged from a 4-7 on the pain scale depending on the area he was doing.

I looked very red and beat up after the procedure, but oddly had expected to look worse. They had me apply a coating of aquaphor to my face, and had me do a gentlewave treatment at no extra cost or up to a week after the procedure) to promote faster healing. I drove myself home, and although I looked like a burn victim, I felt well and was thrilled that the experience so far was better than I had prepared myself for. My face was deep beet red, and showcased brown dots on my face from the fx. My chin had some sorer, painful looking spots that actually didn't bother me at all.I think the aquaphor made it look even worse.They had also given me valtrex to take daily from a week since the Tuesday before the procedure. They said the drug would prevent cold sores if in case the virus was in my body dormant

I worked from my home and had no problem working the rest of the day. I had been told to sleep on my back in an upright position if possible to help avoid excess swelling. I used three pillows, and laid face up in a reclining position. After about 2 or 3 hours I woke up with a painful backache. I removed one of the pillows and slept better with just the two pillows.

Day 1: I went into the Doctors Office to get my gentle wave treatment and asked them if I looked like other post active fx patients. They assured me I did. I told them, all in all, I thought the whole experience so far was a cake-walk.

As I worked from home in the afternoon, I started feeling a familiar odd feeling in my face. It brought me back to when I was a child and was stung by a bee (I am allergic to bee stings) I had a violent reaction to the bee sting, swelled up and had hives all over, especially prominent on my face, and had to be rushed into the doctors. Anyway, I thought it was weird to feel this allergic-like sensation, and although it was slightly uncomfortable, at first it didn't interfere with my work. Towards the later afternoon, the sensation continued, seemed to be getting more noticeable, & itching started to occur. I was hopeful that the itching was a sign that I was on the road to healing. Well, the itching escalated to a most uncomfortable level. I was using cold compresses to help alleviate some of it, tried laying down with a fan blowing on me, but the sensation of individual hairs blowing onto my aquaphor covered face added distraction & annoyance to my already stressed state. That night I got 1 1/2 to 2 hours sleep, getting up every 5-30 minutes to apply cold compresses, aquaphor, or just splash my face with water. I felt tired, and agitated with the almost unbearable itching, even my eyeballs itched.

Day 2: 5 a.m. Gave up on sleeping; very itchy. As I washed off all the aquaphor off my face with antibacterial soap &
water, I noticed raised patches of bumps on my face that I hadn't noticed before. The looked like hives, but as they were on my already dark beet-red face, it was difficult for me to distinguish whether it was just swelling areas or indeed hives. I was still going crazy with itching..I can't stop lightly touching my face, or lightly rubbing it with the aquaphor..I couldn't distract myself from all the intense itching at all. I waited until 7 a.m. then called my doctor. He said to use Benadryl or Claritin for the itching and to meet him at the office at 11 a.m. so he could see what was going on. When I ran out to the pharmacy I also picked up a product called Redness Relief by Eucerin. My doctor said some people are sensitive to some of the ingredients (ending in aben), so I only used it once. It was decided that my face did indeed have hives, so the doctor put me on xyzal (prescription antihistamine), a three day course of prednisone, and a few days supply of ambien to help me sleep. Later in the afternoon I noticed hives on my neck, which wasn't touched by the laser, but I later realized was exposed to the aquaphor that had gotten on the same washcloth I was freezing for the cold compresses. The compresses were gradually helping, but I couldn't stop doing them for any length of time before becoming uncomfortable with itching again. The xyzal began taking the edge off the intense itching that made me feel like I was loosing my mind though. I started to have tiny crumb-like peeling. Very little, and had a couple small white heads appear around my chin area. I spoke with my father who is a pharmacist who told me that aquaphor and vaseline actually take moisture out of the skin and was perplexed as to why so many doctors recommend those products after laser treatments and/or peels. I had been taught the same thing when I was in school for aesthetics, but I wanted to get his opinion. I was no longer using the aquaphor any way....Just cold compresses. I wanted the hives to go away before exposing my skin to further irritation. I took my ambien and had a good night. I slept for seven restful hours.

Day 3: To me, my face doesn't look nearly as beet-red,my forehead especially. I think it looks splotchy on the top third, and darker on the bottom two thirds, but my kids say my face looks pretty much the same. The brown dots are prominent on my face, and I still notice an occasional crumb of peeling skin. There is some tightening especially above my right eyelid, under the brow, where I think may be getting ready to peel soon. The intense itching is gone, although tolerable itching remains. Cold washcloths I freeze and use for compresses feel great! There are still hives on my neck, but I feel more like I think I should. I think the horrible itching can be attributed to the allergic reaction to a product recommended and would not normally occur for most laser procedure patients.I feel like every day my appearance will improve as will the slight itching discomfort. During the worst of the allergic reaction, I would rate the intense itching as a solid 9 on the discomfort scale. It truly felt like I could loose my mind at times. Now the itching ranges between a 3-5. Much better!

I hope people that have gone through what I did with the hives and intense itching can share their stories. I also would like to hear from more people who are 7 days-6 months post active fx. Thanks.


Dr William Carter

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