Well, fast forward another year, and I'm considered it again, this time because my best friend was going to try it. We live in different states, and both did a lot of research. Even the morning of the appointment, I thought I may end up canceling because I was so scared I was going come out scarred for life.
It was more than I wanted to pay, but also felt good that it wasn't a groupon or something. There weren't any reviews anywhere for the procedure from this particular office, which made me nervous. But, the person doing it was an RN who had been working with lasers for the past 14 years. I asked about past problems and complications, and her knowledge and experience put me at ease. I also researched the laser itself--alma harmony.
Worth noting is that although i am of european background, mostly german, i tan very easily. Before the treatment, she had me use a bleaching cream for 3 weeks.
The procedure went fine-- she used a numbing cream which I would not have lived without! Also, I told her to not get anywhere near my eyes! (Read an article from pubmed abut eye injuries from IPL)
Within two hours face was red.
By the time I picked up my boyfriend from the train station 5hours later, some spots were browning, but the redness had faded and I looked pretty normal.
The 2nd day though... Brown started to appear. The 4th through 6th days were the worst! I expected only the visible freckles to turn dark and scab, but I had a patch on my forehead that completely turned scabby, and I had tons of dark dots on the sides of my face. I would not have feel comfortable going to work at all and luckily I had taken vacation prior to this!
As advertised, luckily the dark spots shed. For me, it also seemed like my entire face peeled some. Around day 7-8, the front view of my face looked great! my freckles and sun spots were gone! BUT, when i turned my face sideways, you could see this dark ring around my face where my previous tan skin was that hadn't been touched by the laser. This ring extended around the top of my forehead too. Looked pretty obvious for a number of days, but by the second week, more skin had peeled, and with scrubbing and sunscreen, the line and difference had faded.
All in all, I'm happy with the results, but the down time and healing was a little more in depth than I expected.
For what it's worth, my friend had her IPL done last week, and she said it didn't do ANYTHING to her skin! Not even one freckle got dark and fell off. I don't know the kind of laser her tech used, but obviously there's a big difference in lasers, techs, and an individuals skin. I'm happy with my results, but I also feel lucky my face wasn't burnt off! If you're going to do this, research your practitioner. Make sure they have a lot of experience. Also make sure their laser is not brand new, incredibly old, or cheap. Good luck!