Beauty and the Beat
Pearl Laser Procedure
As part of my 2011 Revitalization theme, I decided to take on my pesky stubborn sun spots with a Pearl dermatological treatment- ablative laser procedure. My fair skin and days spent swimming, and the sun has left me with sun dammage, pre-cancerous and stubborn brown spots. After exhaustive research, I decide to undergo a laser treatment at the suggestion of an extremely experienced, board certified plastic surgeon.
Day of- All day I am so nervous, loose my keys, snappy, generally not pleasant- The nurse applies the numbing cream and 30 minutes later, I'm advised to take my 10mgs of Valium- no problem, Nurse, down it goes.
My sun spots are so prevalent, my doctor decides to blast the spots first with an IPL laser- then, he tells me that the procedure "won't be easy" but he will help me through it-
Yikes . . . the nurse gives me a small fan to blow on my face to help w/ the skin-scorching feeling. The Doc begins the laser passes on my forehead, where the numbing cream is least effective- The laser sounds and feels like rapid fire bullets hitting my face complemented by the acrid smell of burning flesh. YOW- ZAH, this hurts, big time! I try to block out the pain with lamaze like breathing, but it is WAY intense, and sadly, unlike natural childbirth, an epidural is not an option. The doctor makes two laser passes over my face, followed by "touch ups" on my spotty cheeks and forehead- by the time the procedure is finished, I am shaking and my face feels as if I had gasoline poured on my face and lit a match. Hopefully it will be worth the results, I am truly doubting my sanity/vanity at this point.
The nurse shows me my laser-mutilated face in the mirror, ouch. As the nurse applies a white cream on my crimson face, she tells me that the worst pain will be now for the next 30 minutes- at this time, It is truly so painful, my body is shaking, and I almost faint upon standing. What happened to the valium?
My husband arrives to take me home. As hcompletely startled by my mummy-esque face. Fortunately it is cold outside, which helps the pain subside, somewhat.
My home care of the next several days consists of Cetaphil Cleanser, Aquaphor, and soaking my skin with a vinegar-water solution.
Upon arriving home, I wash my face with Cetaphil cleanser. The cold water feels heavenly on my skin- next I am to apply Aquaphor on my face, followed by a vinegar/water combination.
I soak 2 4x4 gauze pads in this vinegar solution and apply one to each side of my face. Oddly, it does not burn. The vinegar allegedly neutralizes the stinging and helps accelerate the peeling & heeling process.
Afterwards, it's another layer of Aquaphor to keep my skin moist. It is about an hour post-procedure, and I am thankfully not in much pain, I just feel swollen.
I have a bit of dinner, drink a ton of water and decide to take one of my prescribed pain pills in order to sleep through the night.
Day 2- The next morning I wake up a gooey mess- Again wash my face, aquaphor, vinegar soaks, more aquaphor- This morning I am a bit more swollen and very red- I can see the laser marks dotted on my skin like an arcade shooting gallery.
Fortunately my son is home from college and can navigate car pool, etc. for me, thank God. So I have the entire day to rest and recuperate-
Being a shut in -
I spend the day catching up on bills, correspondence, packing away Christmas decor. A friend stops by to see what I've done to myself- I can tell she's silently horrified and quickly leaves me with a 2 pound box of See's dark chocolate . . . uh oh.
In the evening, my skin begins to peel around my mouth and chin. My skin is so red, just call me Franken-face. My husband asks me repeatedly if my skin is supposed to be so red- thanks, not helping.
After my second cleanse & soak session, I remove the gauze pads to find that most of my ablated skin has peeled away to reveal Schiaparelli pink clear skin, no spots!
1 week later-
Am amazed at the texture & complexion color- Having to wear major sunscreen and am reapplying every few hours.