Fractional (Ablative) Laser Resurfacing: Mixed Results

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Two weeks ago, I underwent a fractional laser...

Two weeks ago, I underwent a fractional laser procedure on the top half of my face (from the mid-cheek up, around the eyes, and across the forehead to the hairline) using the Palomar Lux 2490 system.  

I had expressed an interest in eliminating/tightening up the wrinkles beneath my eyes and had previously been scheduled for Artefill injections but "chickened out" (all of my online research indicated that Artefill is not intended for under-eye use, plus it totally freaked me out to think about a "permanent" substance that can't be dissolved).  That's when my doctor recommended fractional laser treatment. 

Prior to the procedure, I was prescribed a topical Lidocaine cream for the treatment area (to be used 2 hrs prior and every 30 mins leading up to), Hydrocodone to be taken 2 hrs prior, and Xanax 1 hr before.  I arrived at the clinic fairly "out of it" and still a bit nervous.  The buzz of the machine added to my anxiety, but the first few passes weren't too bad. In fact, the first half of the procedure wasn't terribly uncomfortable.  There was obviously a heated/burning sensation, but it was bearable.  As the intensity was adjusted, it became quite painful... they gave me a couple of sqeeze balls to abuse and kept assuring me, "You're doing great".  But the noise, the sting, the smell (all in complete darkness due to the eye protection) had me totally fearing the worst.  I had been told to expect some bleeding (nothing gory, just spotty), so I had this overwhelming fear that my face was turning to a bloody mess. Of course, it was not.  In fact, I've spoken with a couple of RNs who work at local medi-spas, and both were surprised I didn't bleed. 

The procedure went quickly; I was in the car and riding home in well under an hour.  My face looked like it had been badly burned-- the doc let me look at it before applying the Aquafor.  It looked a lot worse once covered in the clear lotion.  I vomited when I got home (presumably from taking meds on an empty stomach) but otherwise didn't feel quite as rough as I looked.  I kept my face slathered in Aquafor the next 4 days.  On day 2, I awoke with quite a bit of swelling under the eyes but it abated throughout the day.  By day 3, the lasered area was considerably lighter and I no longer looked like Freddy Krueger.  By day 4, it had faded enough to be comfortable going out in public.  I returned to work and over the next couple of days it continued to fade until completely gone within a week. 

The results, I'd say, are "mixed" at this point... overall, my skin is greatly improved!!  The procedure did a lot to enhance skin texture and minimize sun damage/spots.  It has not been the miracle I was hoping for under the eyes-- although I'm told that I will continue to see improvement over the next two months.  Until then, I'm not 100% sure it was worth the expense and pain, but I'll post again when the results are more definite.  

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