There are so many lasers devices on the market, all claiming to be the best. So, I have taken yet another journey into skin rejuvenation.
This time my focus is on my sun damaged and hyper-pigmented chest, some fine lines and pigmentation on my neck and the vertical lines around my mouth.
Since my facelift, I have noticed the fine lines around my mouth more, the uneven skin tone on my neck and my blotchy chest with vertical limes from all the years of sleeping on my side, scrunching up my décolleté area.
My first area of attack.. my décolleté. I believe that I damaged my chest by having too many microderms on this delicate area, and not being diligent with sunscreen. After consulting with my dermatologist, Dr. Sonia Badreshia-Bansal, We decided the best course of action would first be a series of IPL treatments,( Intense Pulse Light) to get as much red and pigmentation removed before we went to a more aggressive stage. Light pulses target the melanin in the skin’s surface which heats and destroys melanin to remove the discoloration. It also targets the red-pigment (haemoglobin) in the blood which heats and destroys the pigment without affecting the skin or other tissues. There are many IPL machines on the market that basically will do the same thing. Effectiveness depends on the settings and the expertise of the technician.
After a series of 4 IPL treatments on my chest, my discoloration and vascular lesions looked much better.. but I still had the vertical lines, uneven skin tone and redness. Next step.. Laser resurfacing on my chest..Since I would have down time for my chest I opted to have the perioral area (around my mouth) and my neck done at the same time.
Three years ago I had a MiXto SX® laser treatment on my whole face. A micro fractional CO2 laser. The physician at the time was training on the laser and was not very aggressive with my treatment. My first treatment showed great results, my skin looked much smoother, pore size diminished and my sundamaged lesions were less.. However, I did not see much improvement in fine lines. My second treatment 8 weeks later showed little results and I was quite disappointed. Laser should build collagen over the next 6 months,however, I saw little improvement from this laser.
My hyperpigmentation returned less than one year later. In all fairness, my poor results my have been due to an inexperienced physician, who perhaps became more aggressive and comfortable with subsequent treatments. There is a learning curve with these devices. Lesson here… if you are part of a “study ” with an inexperienced laser MD/ medical technician, manage your expectations. DO NOT PAY FULL PRICE!!
This was over three years ago.. Since then after several chemical peels and using medical grade skin care, my skin looks great. Except for smal vertical lines above and around my mouth and redness on my chin. I did not want a lot of down time – yet wanted results. So we decided on the Pearl Fusion by Cutera. The world of lasers is very confusing. There are CO2 lasers, Fractional, Erbium, Nd:YAG laser to name a few. CO2 Lasers are more invasive, go deeper and require more down time. They are an excellent choice for someone with extreme sun damage, deep wrinkles and more mature skin. Some plastic surgeons will combine a CO2 resurfacing treatments with a facelift. However, I do not need, nor want such an invasive treatment.
The Pearl combines a fractional ablative with non-ablative factional laser called the Pearl Fusion. It is one of the new generations of lasers. Downtime is less and the risk factors are minimum compared to CO2 lasers. My goal is to remove the fine lines around the mouth area, improve texture and pigment on my neck and chest.
Discuss your options with the doctor, including down time and risk factors. Above all DO YOUR OWN HOMEWORK.
Remember there are several key laser companies out there and they all market themselves as the best. Laser are costly and many practices only have one. Larger practices may have several different laser options. Also many physicians are trainers for laser companies and will only recommend those. You as the consumer, should ask questions and get several quotes. Cheap is not best!! Laser prices range can range from under $1000 for a small area to over $5,000 for face, neck, and chest. Laser treatments are invasive and should be medically supervised.
I was given an anti-viral medicine ( to prevent herpes- routine) and an antibiotic to take 2 day before, plus a Rx for itch. ( the worst part)
The day of the procedure
I showered at home with an anti-bacterial soap. Upon arrival I had my pre-procedure pictures taken and lots of gloppy Lidocaine to numb the areas to be treated. Jeff is the RN, and an expert laser technician. No worries here.. He gave me a dental block around my mouth area so that he could be aggressive there.
The first area was my chest and he used the non-ablative Pearl setting first and did one pass over my entire chest. It felt like little pin pricks. Not too bad. Tolerable – some spots were more sensitive. Then he treated my mouth area one pass, however he went a little deeper on this area. Then he switched to the factional ablative Pearl. This was a little more uncomfortable and he needed to add more numbing cream.. The cool air helped the pain. Still not too bad.. He then attacked my mouth area with 2 passes. I was pretty numb here, but still could feel it. He got real close to my lip line. Next, my neck. I was more nervous about this area, since my skin is thin. He used a milder ablative setting and did not go as deep on my neck as elsewhere. Last we zapped my frown lines, 2 passes… perhaps I can save on Botox injections!! 🙂 We are done!! Jeff slathered me with a copper-peptide cream … told me to stay out of the sun and keep the area moist with cream and rest. The treatment took about one- hour after prepping.
As the day progressed, I looked like a character from a horror movie. I used cold gel pack throughout the day and re-applied the cream often to keep it moist. My husband said I was crazy and refused to look to at me..He does not understand why anyone would put themselves through this… 🙂
I sleep on a slanted foam pillow- I had from my facelift.. knew it would come in handy again…. took a Xanex and had a restful sleep.
Day 2 – Woke up looking bloody, but as I washed gently it all came off. I started my vinegar soaks to start the healing process. 4- 6 times a day. Took a couple of showers and kept the area moist with cream. The bleeding is gone the color is redder. It does not hurt thought it does feel hot in areas.
Day 3- I can see the areas start to crust especially around my mouth. It feels tight!! My chest area is still red and not crusting yet. My neck is only mildly red. I expect this. Should have gone deeper.. perhaps.. we’ll see. I also had a red LED light treatment today to speed up the healing process and will have another on Monday. I am starting to itch.. which will drive me crazy.. Yea for Atarax.
A few tips: Wear old clothes they will get greasy. Pull you hair back and wash it the day before. Buy 4×4 gauge pads for the white Vinegar soaks. They are softer than a wash cloth and disposable. Use straws if you have your mouth area treated. And a soft diet the day of the treatment. Plan on not going out for several days and if you have your chest area treated.. Tops are challenge due to all the cream. I cut up an old cotton tee shirt to wear.
You can see from the last picture the color is darker. The color will continue darken to a brown then peel off. Underneath will be pink smooth skin.
I will report again in a few days.