Ever since I was a child, I loved to make people feel and look beautiful.

My Before & After Experience and The Do’s and Don’ts of Peels & Lasers

Check out before & during photos below! (after photos to follow)

I was recently on a mission to get rid of some sun damage that nothing I’ve tried has gotten rid of. And when I say that, here is what I got done or used in the last year…

  • Cosmelan – got rid of melasma just fine!
  • Groots #2 formula – kept melasma at bay
  • IPL – helped a lot with melasma, was not done strongly enough to target sun damage (3 treatments). One of the sole reasons… my skin tone is very odd….It’s able to withstand high lasers, but according to my sun tolerance report, folks tend not to use strong lasers on me. It’s been YEARS since I’ve gone in the sun… I haven’t worn a swimsuit in…. um… 5 years? Thank baby jesus… anything wedged or soaked whilst on my bod can go to hell! So my skin is certainly not used to the sun anymore, but my face tends to be SUPER susceptible to it. I actually get hypopigmentation (white spots) on my legs, but hyperpigmentation (dark spots) on my face….So it seems to keep doctors hesitant which I can appreciate. However, when I am able to convince a higher laser frequency, the melasma pulls out, but I’ve never said, ‘Hit that sun damage on the lower sides of my face like you’ve never done before’… So I think I can safely say that with a very strong IPL frequency, the sun damage is able to pull out and a very strong IPL is what I had just recently. This is a personal trial for me, so it’s good for y’all to start slow until you and your doc’s know how your skin will react.

It wasn’t until I started birth control at 14 or 16, I can’t remember, that I started seeing changes in pigmentation. I remember in high school using a ‘whitening’ face wash that my mom’s skin doctor suggested for me and it helping a lot (of course have never been able to find it again). However, my body would tan sooo easily. That REALLY changed as I got older and began avoiding the sun. Heck, as I got older, I began seeing heat/sun rashes EVERY TIME I would go out in it. I really don’t know if it’s physically possible to get LESS used to the sun, but that’s what I’m going with… Have I gone on long enough? My god…. Moving on….

  • PRP – focused on the eye area, not meant to address any sun damage or melasma
  • Botox/Filler – not meant to address any sun or melasma damage

So during my mission for less melasma, less sun damage and less wrinkles…. I was finding that the recent use of a hair removal laser (which my doc swears did not cause the stronger appearance of my sun damage and melasma, so I’ll believe her since she’s the professional, but damn it’s ironic) and the oppressive heat were really doing a number on my skin and I needed the BIG GUNS!

So I went into my doctors prepared for a C02 laser and I came out having done:

  • Laser hair removal (my last one of 6 sessions, of course my hair is still there, but hell, maybe it’ll work…)
  • IPL
  • Clear & Brilliant with Permea wand (Their NEW melasma specific wand!!!!!!)
  • Cosmelan compound

Cosmelan is NO longer shipping their products to Arizona because Arizona has apparently banned some ingredients or the percentage of certain ingredients within the product. So my doc had to create her own compound. Dr. Rubbani is one smart woman! (Side note: If your doc can do it in a compound, it’s SO much cheaper!!!!!)

The Treatment(s)!

Laser Hair Removal

Purchased 6 treatments (Poobears birthday gift to me, LOL! Was he tired of seeing me with shaving cream on my face when he had it on his face too! LOL, I can’t. Man is a saint!) that were scheduled 4 weeks apart. No tweezing, pulling, etc. of hairs, only shaving. I didn’t start to notice some hair removal until about treatment 4. After treatment 5, I was definitely still shaving my face and having a hell of a time with my upper lip area. It definitely was growing at rapid speeds. Then with this last laser treatment, I really can’t comment because my face is so red and splotchy, I don’t know what’s hair and what’s a dark spot. So I’ll keep you in the loop with how it worked.

IPL 

Caused coffee ground look.

We just recommended this treatment to a Cheeky! Not everyone who has melasma has had luck with this treatment, but my skin seemed to love it the first time I did it and ESPECIALLY loved it recently. I’ve never had so many dark patches before. My doctor said to me, about 6 months ago, that it is a new machine so coffee grounds won’t always show up because it’s a ‘softer’ laser, but I think with a high enough frequency, the dark spots are in their glory & pop up out of nowhere! You’ll see my results below.

Clear & Brilliant

Caused skin to feel like sandpaper.

Okay…. so this one I had to be convinced of. I’m pretty sure I’ve not written about this laser because the before & after’s just don’t show a damn thing. My dermatologist always recommended this to me and I’m thinking like ‘Why? It doesn’t work!’. The Clear & Brilliant that my derm recommended was solely for wrinkles, which I now know, but I was most interested in my melasma and the C&B helped with it, but it was most targeted towards wrinkles. So there was no way I was spending $1,000 for 3 treatments that helped with the melasma, but didn’t do much!? I dunno… it blew my mind. I wanted to ask if they saw the same before & after’s in their waiting room as I did.

Fast forward to my current doctor, Dr. Rubbani…. When I came into the office, she suggested C&B. I was like ‘God no!’, cause I can talk to her like that… LOL! And I said, ‘Those dang before & after’s don’t show anything’. And she said ‘Oh I know, why do we even have that in our waiting room?’ She said those photos are not showing the before & after’s using the Permea wand!!! YASSSSSS!!!! Do tell, I thought!!!

‘The Perméa handpiece utilizes a 1927 nm wavelength that has a significantly higher absorption coefficient than the Original.

Non-ablative: Though the stratum corneum remains intact, the Perméa handpiece creates wider and shallower lesions causing greater superficial disruption, which increases skin permeability. Topical application immediately post treatment allows the topical to penetrate deeper in order to maximize its benefits. In clinical studies, when C E Ferulic® (by SkinCeuticals) was applied immediately after theClear + Brilliant Perméa treatment, patients reported earlier resolution of redness and swelling.*

Superficial (170 µm): Since the Perméa handpiece depth is fixed at 170µm, it effectively treats the tissue where melanin resides. Perméa is also safe on all skin types because it targets water, not other chromophores such as pigment.’

SOLD!!!!!!!!!

outside (for most honest view) & yes, the same robe… absolutely no judgement please…..

Concerns: Melasma & sun damage on the sides of my face

The side with the nose ring was the worst.

A little zoomed in shot… the melasma on the cheeks & especially lower cheeky. I wanted to highlight a photo with makeup to show how that specific dark spot can’t be covered with concealer.

The Healing

No judgement on these photos either… What the hell is happening with my hair…. 

Day 1: Morning after treatment

Whew! This is a doozy! I feel and looked like I got hit by a pick-up truck! However, I’m writing this on day 4 and I feel like it’s worse…. As in pain, itchiness and dryness. During this time, my face just felt raw and really irritated. I’m actually quite SHOCKED about how MUCH melasma pulled from my face…. I didn’t have dark spots where you can see dark spots now. Thanks, skin… you’re a turd!

Routine – 

  • Washed face
  • Applied a SkinMedica vaseline-type product that is no longer made and a Cheeky and I could not find it online, anywhere.. so I would recommend using a very heavy moisturizer like an Aquaphor or Vaseline. But you can always use just a heavy cream moisturizer and apply an emollient or Neosporin to the most ‘wounded’ spots.
  • Used a very heavy sunscreen (not my usual one) and I mean heavy as in texture, so I wouldn’t recommend it… It’s all I’ve got and since leaving the house would be INSANE, I’m just gonna use it. It’s got SPF 50, so I’ll stick with it until I can’t stand it anymore.
  • Washed face mid-day, I couldn’t stand how heavy my face felt with the vaseline-type
  • Kept re-applying SkinMedica product
  • Kept re-applying sunscreen every couple hours
  • Added a very thick blanket to hang over the drapes that I work near so I wouldn’t get any risidual sun
  • Hung out in our bedroom which is the darkest area of the house – we have so many damn skylights and windows, it’s like you’re outside, and we all know how I feel about sun and heat here, so needless to say, I needed SHADE!
  • Washed face before bed and applied SkinMedica product

I washed my face ‘too’ many times here than I would personally recommend, but if your face is itchy or just driving you mad, washing your face won’t kill you, it just won’t help it heal faster I’d imagine…

Day 2: Morning

Total shit show today….. Puffy, swollen, so dry I have literally become the Tucson landscape in the dead of summer…. Shall I go on? Needless to say I’m feeling and looking rough. God forbid that I smile…Seriously god forbid….The puffiness is the worst and the areas of my mouth are definitely starting to crack… oh and did I mention how RED I am? The lobster called, he too wants his pigment back! It’s pretty painful and I’m starting to be over it.

Routine – 

  • Washed face
  • Applied a SkinMedica vaseline-type product throughout day
  • Applied SPF 50 sunscreen throughout day
  • Used an ice pack for MULTIPLE hours….. my chin area was kicking my ass. It did help with the swelling a lot though.

At the end of the day, I was pretty rough… face was super hot, ice packed just practically laid on my entire face all afternoon. Spent time in the dark bedroom and relaxed.

  • Decided that I would use a GIANT tub of Cetaphil Moisturizer and use that instead of the SkinMedica before I headed to bed. I was really over the texture of the SkinMedica and I decided to let my skin ‘breathe’ and do it’s peeling thing….

I would not recommend using ANY heat on your face.

Day 3: Morning

Can you tell I’m over it!? The second picture showing the left side of my face… that’s where I had the most melasma and sun damage, actually it’s really just sun damage. (Driver’s side sun damage I’m guessing, from 16 years old until I was 29 when I got the sun shade which I would highly recommend). So you can tell it’s a lot ‘worse’ than the other side. And side note: Seemingly I needed a very ‘strong’ treatment to get rid of the sun damage, vs. the melasma… just an observation. Melasma tends to pull out pretty easily (comes back pretty easy), but it’s like you really gotta zap the sun damage (sun damage really shouldn’t re-appear in dark spots, your texture may be different, but it shouldn’t come back).

Face is very itchy, clearly red, but the dark spots are beginning to peel off. Still swollen like a damn champ!

Routine – 

  • Washed face
  • Applied a little vitamin C oil (sort of stung…)
  • Put on cetaphil moisturizing cream
  • Added neosporin type product to the red/dark spots
  • Re-applied moisturizer every hour or so, super dry today
  • Re-applied sunscreen every couple hours

Poobear asked me to go to the movies today – I love that man….he knows that I have to be in the dark and not out in the sun… he even agreed to dropping me off and picking me up at the entrance so I wouldn’t have the reflection off the blacktop (off my hat), getting all up in my face.

Day 4: Morning

Getting back to myself again! Even though it’s red and still swollen… the forehead has also not peeled yet. But everything is looking and feeling MUCH better.

The spot nearest my ear is a zit (lovely!!!!)…. I have started adding in my Aczone treatment to keep zits at bay. And shit, what more could go wrong LOL!

Routine – 

  • Washed face
  • Applied a little vitamin C oil
  • Put on cetaphil moisturizing cream
  • Applied to sun screen & re-applied every couple hours
  • Added neosporin type product to the red/dark spots

Day 5: Morning

MUCH better… still a little red and swollen, but things are going swimmingly! Face is not as itchy, it’s not sore, still a little dry in patches but nothing that I can’t combat. Skin is looking a lot clearer. Poobear said he is seeing a HUGE difference in my skin. Oh and forehead finally peeled away.

Routine – 

  • Washed face
  • Applied a little vitamin C oil
  • Put on cetaphil moisturizing cream
  • Used sun screen & re-applied every couple hours
  • Added neosporin type product to the red/dark spots
  • Utilized bandaids on the deeper areas

In this photo, I wanted some of those deeper spots to heal really well, so I put on a neosporin-type ointment with zinc in it and added bandaids… not only speed up the healing process but also to ensure it heals PERFECTLY! I wouldn’t use neosporin for too long though. It doesn’t moisturize your skin, so you’ll need to bring back in the lotion when you feel confident with any potential scarring. The areas covered below were my ‘worst’ areas as far as sun damage & melasma goes so I want to be really protective of those spots. Nothing has really changed with the spots healing process except for the redness is much more toned down than yesterday. They appear to be healing just fine! I don’t want to jinx myself, but that one dark freckle is NOT there anymore…. so fingers crossed.

UPDATE:

I’d say it was a GREAT success. I’ve never been able to get rid of those darn sun spots and this treatment did the trick. I’ve gotten a second Clear & Brilliant laser just a week ago, so I’m a little red from it still in those spots, but as you can see there is no more melasma OR dark spots.

Do’s & Don’ts

  • If you are getting a laser treatment done for melasma and use a hydroquinone based product, my doctor recommended stepping up your game in use, prior to the treatment, for added benefits.
  • Hydrate your skin with a thick emollient the first few days of your laser & then taper off to a darn good moisturizer. Sometimes if you give your skin too much heavy vaseline-like moisture, it won’t begin it’s peeling process.
  • I personally believe you should use vitamin C in your recovery process because it’s going to soak in the product that much more – will definitely help with melasma & dark spots.
  • Apply sunscreen every couple hours and use 50+ SPF, UVB/UVA broad-spectrum with zinc sunscreen.
  • I often would get a laser treatment and stay cooped up till I healed but then yell FREEDOM when leaving the house on day 5… this time I’m not doing it. I’m gonna stay inside as long as I possibly can to help with healing… so I would say 10 days is what I’m shooting for. Don’t worry, I’m still showering 😉
  • Obviously do not pull, pick or peel at your dry skin.
  • Avoid the sun & heat at all costs.
  • Wear a hat anywhere you go & especially 6 months after your treatment. We of course would recommend a UPF rated hat which I’ve brought out to aid in my healing (for when I had to go to the movie the other day).
  • Stay away from windows & any possible sunlight shining into the house. We have god damn sunlights in every freaking room, including the master shower…. so as you can imagine, I’m either cursing or covering my face when a normal person should feel liberated….. (We rent so I feel like my angst is warranted, LOL)
  • I most certainly would not use anything hot on your face and I would keep your body at ‘room temperature’ for a couple weeks. No since getting your body warm while it’s in the initial phases of healing.
  • I personally would recommend using sheet masks towards the end of your healing process. On day 6, I began using a couple moisturizing sheet masks & it really gave my skin a perky feel. I stuck them in the fridge to help cool my skin when applied! Felt awesome.
  • Do not use any products that are strong or astringent-ish during your healing process. Honestly, I would wait about 10 days before slowly adding in your previous skincare regime
  • Do not, I repeat, do not use a magnifying mirror… just don’t.
  • I recommend using an ice pack on a regular basis and get into the habit of doing it – it can only help!

LifeWheel Plush Hot/Cold Therapy Facial Mask & Eye Mask (two in one)

Don’t wear this at night and creep around…. could be rather frightening! 

Leave a Reply