to b(bl) or not to b(bl)

yesterday afternoon i finally made it back to see dr  CENSORED of the CENSORED  over at CENSORED. he did my laser peel just over 9 months ago. my laser peel which for a multitude of reasons was a horror-story waiting to unfold. you can read all about it, with pictures from day 1 in the category “my micro-laser peel diary”.

CENSORED’s been calling and asking me to come in so that we could see how he can fix this, but i’ve been resisting (i’m sure the fact that this blog exists has not been good PR for him), seeing that he was suggesting using more laser to fix the damage caused by the first laser treatment. and when you see the pictures and read my account of the first experience, you’ll understand why i’ve been leary.

when i saw him yesterday he was very adamant about doing whatever it took to make me “happy”.”at no charge. of course”.

can i just state for the record that though i’m happy he wants to fix the damage, i’m mad as hell that he caused the damage in the first place.

ok that said. he suggested  3 possible treatments.

  • blending and bleaching cream; i bought it from him when i had the laser treatment (not cheap). didn’t work. alternative. hydroquinone 6% soln mixed with aqueous cream. this worked before, but bleached my whole face.
  • pro-fractional laser treatment.  he mentioned this before, which is why i haven’t been back as i subsequently got this comment from a dr on one of my posts:

The laser used for your peel was the Sciton Contour. It is and ablative erbium laser and with this laser there is a high chance of hyperpigmentation in your skin type. Ablative means that the entire surface of your skin is ablated off and this raises the already high chance of hyperpigmentation in your skin type. The Fraxel laser (or profractional) laser that your doc offered to use on you to treat the hyperpigmentation is also an erbium laser, but it is fractional — meaning the laser shoots scattered dots of laser energy on your skin without ablating the entire surface of your skin. This laser can also cause hyperpigmentation, though not to the same extent because the entire surface of your skin is not being treated. It is especially dangerous in your case because you already have pre-existing hyperpigmentation. I have seen people with type V skin who look like they have a dark dotted pattern covering their face after this treatment. It will do nothing to help resolve your problem. If I were to treat a patient who wants their hyperpigmentation more speedily resolved, I wouldn’t even consider fraxel as option as their are much better lasers available to do the job, but even then, the best and safest bet is not to treat at all.

  • broad band light.

this is the info i’ve managed to find on the different kinds of lasers:

bblvsprofrac

What is ProFractional?

Pro-Fractional is a quick and comfortable laser procedure with little to no downtime, used for improving the overall appearance of your skin. ProFractional dramatically improve wrinkles, scars and sun-damaged skin. Pro-Fractional uses a laser micro-beam to treat thousands of pinpoint areas of your skin. And because only a fraction of the skin is directly treated with the laser, healing time is quick and downtime is short.

What conditions can be  treated with Pro-Fractional?

  • Wrinkles
  • Fine lines
  • Post-traumatic scars
  • Acne scars
  • Age spots
  • Sun spots
  • Freckles
  • Aging skin
  • Sun-damaged skin
  • Stretch marks

How does the Pro-Fractional laser work?

Pro-Fractional uses laser energy to create thousands of microscopic channels in the skinwhich are surrounded by areas of healthy, untreated skin. The zones of untreated skin invigorate the body’s natural healing process, and the treated areas stimulate production of new collagen, plumping up the skin and smoothing out wrinkles, lines, scars and other irregularities.

so i’ve made an appointment to be back later for the first of at least two bbl treatments. i’ve been putting off going back to the doctor because i’ve also hoped that the hyperpigmentation would go away on its own, but after 9 months, i’m reasonably sure that’s not going to happen. in fact, it looks pretty much like it’s here to stay if i don’t do something about it.

my s.o. thinks i’m crazy to go back to the person who scarred me in the first place.

my appointment’s for 4pm wednesday. *am* i crazy? what do you think?

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2 months later – reeling and dealing.

today - playing with ways to hide the scars...

today - playing with ways to hide the scars...

i’ve been on hiatus from shooting this week – the second of the 1-week breaks we get per year –  but unlike most of the rest of the cast and crew who have left town, flown to paris, or cape town or mozambique or some exotic locale, i have been right here in johannesburg, basically doing admin. and i’m almost anxious at the thought of getting back to the grind on monday. urgh!

the end of last week saw me with the start of a rather painful infection in my gum, so i was forced to stop procrastinating and get to the dentist – post haste. i had a fantastic dentist in l.a. – devoree prepsky in woodland hills. i would actually sometimes look forward to going to the dentist- fancy that! she could give an injection with the least amount of discomfort i’ve yet experienced from anyone wielding sharp implements in my mouth. i actually on occasion fell asleep in her chair!  so if you’re in l.a. and in need of superb dentistry, give her a call.

anyway, to get back off tangent – so this week entailed long days of what i can only call “dealing”. dealing with the many things i don’t usually get to when i’m in studio every day. all in all about 5 (torturous) hours at the dentist over 2 different days. printing and faxing forms to l.a., gathering tax forms for the local  accountant to get my taxes done so my american accountant can get those taxes done, taking the dogs to the vet for their recurring kennel cough, at least one extended lunch with shirley, one of my favorite people, taxiing the s.o. to and from work (on the other side of town!) while he waits for his car and yes, another check-up with dr CENSORED to assess how my face is recovering.

it’s 2 months today since my laser peel and i still cannot go out without make-up and 50 spf sunblock. the irony is that the hydro-quinone-aqueous cream solution he prescribed, is generally lightening my face, but the tic-tac-toe striations from the hyper-pigmentation refuse to budge. ok, to be honest, they’re sloooooowly fading, but they’re still very much there and still visible even with make-up on.

i can’t say i was too happy about the half hour i was kept waiting beyond my appointment time, but at least this time round, he finally said that he would “fix it”. at last an acknowledgement that there is a problem. i don’t get being made to wait in doctor’s rooms – why is my time any the less important, or costly, than theirs? maybe i should bill them for making me wait…

anyway, the idea is that after i’ve run my 10k next week, i will go in for (i think he called it) fractal-laser treatment which supposedly will lift the hyper-pigmentation. i’m a little apprehensive to have the laser near my face again, but i’m desperate to be able to go without make-up once again.

wish me luck folks.

today - playing with ways to hide the scars...

today - playing with ways to hide the scars...

laser peel recovery- 7 weeks later

it’s exactly 7 weeks today since i had my laser peel.

ironically, while i was looking at the pix i’ve taken to document this process and thinking about writing this post, i got a call from the office where i had it done to schedule a check-up appointment.

2 days ago i had just gotten into my car and turned on the radio, when i heard them talking about skin procedures and giving out the number for CENSORED. unfortunately, the program was just ending or i must admit, i would have called up and given them my for-inflation-adjusted-2-cents!

a few weeks ago i bumped into wealthy social butterfly, CENSORED while doing the scheb shlep at the “you spectacular”and we had a quick talk about our different experiences. she says she had nothing but positive results.

i cannot say i share her views. i’m exceedingly unhappy with the experience i went through, and the more time passes, the more so. i’m still extremely scarred, my formerly smooth (and taken for granted) skin is still striated and hyper-pigmented and i dare not venture out into the sun without 50spf sunblock and thick foundation – i, who used to not wear foundation except when filming. i use hydroquinone like religion every night and i suppose the lines are fading slowly, but almost 2 months later i should be radiant and flaunting my fantastic results. instead i cannot go without make-up (more like camouflage) and on the rare occasions when i have gone out in public with a naked face, i’ve had to not mind people’s questioning looks or my friends’ horrified exclamations. i cannot resume my running on the track without looking like a weird michael jackson wannabe in pseudo burka as i have to pull my buff all the way up over my face to protect it against the sun.

it’s  been hell and i certainly would not recommend it. really. i’m sure you’ll get glowing reviews from other people, but not from me. consumer, beware. there is a reason they make you sign that waiver form.

a candid no make-up shot from before the peel. look at the quality of my skin.

a candid shot pre-peel

now this is what i'm left with, 3 weeks post peel

+- 1 month post peel

today - sept 25 - 7 weeks post peel