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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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

laser peel recovery update

today it’s been exactly 3 weeks since i had my periorbital resurfacing and laser peel. i’ve waited for time to pass before making any pronouncements about the merits or demerits of the procedure, but as the days go by i’ve come closer to forming an opinion and today i can truly say, i’m pissed!

i’m startled every time i see myself in a mirror when i’m not wearing make-up. my face is hyper-pigmented and marked with dark striations so that it looks like i’ve flown face-first into a grid. when i’m wearing make-up, it’s ok, but i, who am used to going without foundation whenever i’m not working, now do not dare leave the house without what is essentially a mask to hide what feels like disfigurement. i’m beginning to feel really angry and resentful at the doctor who did this. this is not what i expected. it’s not what i signed up for (though i suppose in a way i did. there’s a good reason they get you to sign a waiver before the procedure).

i’ve had the odd spot of hyperpigmentation when i’ve done tca peels before, but this looks like i’ve had lines tattooed all over my face! i’m not against tattoos, but i’m not maori and i wouldn’t choose to mark my face. i mean, my face, and keeping my skin in good condition, is a huge part of how i earn my living!  if you think i’m exaggerating, here are both a before, and an after pic. you tell me if you’d spend a fortune to go from what i looked like before, to what i look like now.

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

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

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

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

when i went to see the doctor on friday, he said it looked “fine”, it would go away.  then he gave me a prescription for hydroquinone. when i asked why one side extends so much farther than the other, below my chin, he paused for a moment, then said, i suppose meant facetiously, “because i can’t measure!”. excuse me?!

i’m prepared to give the recovery a little while longer, but right now, i certainly wouldn’t recommend this. maybe i’m being impatient, but i feel  angry and resentful and pretty damned stupid too boot, especially when i’m so ambivalent about whether one ages gracefully or “rages against the dying…”. however, even in my ambivalent inconsistency, i’d say, if one is going to opt for some kind of expensive procedure, it should really be an enhancement, not leave one scarred and disfigured. and i’m certainly feeling scarred – in more ways than one.