Here I am 4 months post procedure. I'm going to weigh the pros and cons I have noticed personally since undergoing the Matrix CO2 Fractional Laser: Pros: I genuinely like the way my skin looks. There were not overnight results, and at times I became impatient, but I can definitely tell my acne scarring has improved drastically. Red scarring left behind from previous acne disappeared completely within the first 2 months. Ice pick scarring unfortunately only lightened up, it did not completely disappear. In other words, I do not have Barbie skin. But, I do have skin I am okay showing other people (I never use to wear my hair up in public)
Cons: For $1500 you'd expect miracle results. But that's not what happens. Kristen told me I will most definitely have to come in, in another 6 months, and do it one more time. It made my skin even more sensitive. I have been using BP 2.5% from this website for the last 5 years. The only time I ever had an issue with the treatment was in the very beginning (it dried me out as it does almost everyone else) But now I can no longer use it. The last time I used BP 2.5% was 2 weeks ago and it turned my whole face bright red. (now I use Tea Tree Oil as a toner and leave it at that) I had to change previous foundations I came to like. Rimmel London foundation is kind to me. But not anymore. Now it makes me break out. What to take from all of this: Don't set your expectations too high. I went in thinking that 6 months later I'd have beautiful celebrity skin and gentleman callers would line up at my door to look upon the most beautiful skin in the land!...That's fairytale stuff. It doesn't actually work like that. For the 1st week you'll look scary. Other people won't want to look at you but hey, you probably won't want to look at yourself either (I didn't want to look at me) Then for the next 4 months you won't notice a change. But, not because there isn't one, but because the skin takes it's time. The changes are subtle. So be patient. To me, personally, I see no HUGE results but my friends and family do. That's all that matters. YOU are your biggest critic so, be easy on yourself and listen to those around you
Last night I slept really well. I didn't wake up in the middle of the night feeling as if I needed to plaster some Aquaphor all over my face. The best part about today is that the bronze color is almost completely gone. I still have a few blotches here and there but hopefully it will all be gone by tomorrow. What's showing now is some very fresh, pink, baby soft skin. I love it! Day 4: Today, is my last day using Aquaphor. Thank goodness. I can't stand putting that stuff on my face. Don't get me wrong, it helps A LOT with the dryness but it's just so thick and greasy feeling it kind of makes my face feel a little itchier than I'd like. I'm also not nearly as itchy today as I was yesterday. If any of you have ever had to wear a cast and there's an itch you can't reach, yeah, try that all over your face and partially down your neck. It's not fun. I'm allowed to go outside today as long as I wear sunblock which is great! Not being outside in 4 days is harder than it may seem. Too bad it's overcast and yucky today Overall: I've made it through the worst. So, from now until my check up in 2 weeks I have to continue to drink a lot of water, resume a healthy diet, cut down on sodium intake, and continuing taking the prescribed antibiotics (I think those are only for 1 week). I'm also not allowed to resume MY personal regimen until they see me (i.e. no benzoyl peroxide, no RetinA) My skin will most likely peel into tomorrow, I can start wearing makeup on Friday (though I highly doubt I will) and they told me at the clinic that i'll be a pinkish tone for at least the the next couple months. That doesn't bother me at all because the clinic gave me a few samples of some tinted sunscreen which I absolutely love!! The last 3 days before the procedure I just started using that instead of putting on any makeup. It's good stuff. It's called Solar Protection Formula: SPF 58. It is rather pricey but still, it's your skin we're talking about. I'll post a picture of it as well in case any of you guys are interested in looking it up.
Day 3: I slept a lot better last night than I did the night before. It didn't feel as uncomfortable to sleep on my face and if I woke up in the middle of the night and my face felt dry I just applied more Aquaphor (It's what my cosmetologist recommended I use for the dryness and itchiness. It's around $5 at Wal-Mart. It has this waxy kind of texture to it) Anyway, I spoke to my nurse, Mary, on the phone this morning because I was a little concerned about the bronze-look I've had since yesterday morning. Most of the Youtube videos I've seen and reviews I've read on this laser appear to make the patients very red, while I am a bronze color. Mary assured me that it was normal and that I should begin peeling later today and most probably a lot more tomorrow. Well, she was right, shortly after lunch time I applied Aqaphor and noticed my skin had begun peeling quite a bit. Overall: For day 3, I'm still a brown color but I can see my skins progress through the intense peeling and itchiness taking place right now. It's definitely uncomfortable and I'm having a really hard time trying not to itch. I feel like I have a very itchy rash all over my face. I've never wanted to exfoliate so bad in my life! Thankfully, a marathon of The Big Bang Theory has really helped keep my mind off of everything The photos: You can see, in the 2nd photo (day 3), that my skin is a lot better today compared to yesterday. The lighter shades of my skin is the area that has peeled off. Therefore it's normal skin tone. My bronze color has also lightened up a lot compared to yesterdays photo (day 2) Day 2: Day 3:
So sleeping last night was a pain in the butt. The cosmetologist instructed me to sleep slightly elevated. Thats extremely difficult for someone like me who is most comfortable sleeping on their stomach. I didn't think a sleeping aid would be necessary but for any of you who are planning on getting this done, buy some equate sleep aid from Wal-mart, you'll want it. I didn't toss and turn last night because I was in pain or anything, it was just hard to get comfortable. I'm suppose to keep my face moist 24/7 but it's kind of difficult when my pillow is absorbing everything and being in a position where it won't is just... omg, I didn't sleep well at all. Eventually I was just like "screw it" and slept the way I wanted to. When I woke up this morning my pillow wad a disaster (probably why the clinic gave me 2 extra pillow cases haha) I had some yellowing on it here and there from my cream and I did notice some little blood spots on it as well. When I looked in the mirror I also noticed I had slightly more pin point blood spots then yesterday. My grandma came in my room to see me and told me I was A LOT darker then yesterday and that my face looks a little swollen. You guys can judge for yourselves. I attacted a photo for day II The good news though, today I get to wash my face! YAY! 3:00pm can't come any sooner (they want you to wait 24 hours after the procedure to wash your face, that's why it's 3:00pm, my laser treatment ended at that time yesterday) But, the rest of my day is pretty much stay indoors, alternate ice packs every few hours, and take the antibiotic. As for pain, I feel none. My face is just really tight, itchy, and dry. A price I think I can afford to pay for skin with NO acne scarring. Lets hope. Keep your fingers crossed for me guys.
Today I went in for my Co2 Fractional Laser treatment at Harmony Laser Center, Colorado. Here's how my last 2.5 hours went: Prepping: I was at the laser center for about 10 minutes when I was then taken to the back by a very nice, welcoming nurse named Mary. While in the back, Mary explained to me what my skin care regimen is going to be for the next 5 days while applying 3 seperate topical numbing creams on my face (they all ended in "-caine") After signing a few quick forms and going over what my next week is going to look like and answering some of my questions it was time to get started (the whole process took about an hour and 15 min) They recommended I take my pain killers before the procdure but I forgot to Anyway, the cosmetologist, Kristen, told me 50% of their patients choose not to take the pain killers. So, that was refreshing. The Laser: When it was time to start, i was instructed to lay down on this very comfy hospital bed. I was then covered in a nice blanket and proceeded to have these little glasses placed over my eyes to protect them. Kristen told me she was going to focus on the areas that needed the most help first (my jaw line, my temples, some cheek area) and then she'd go over my whole face more lightly with the laser. When she started, I was absolutely SHOCKED! I couldn't believe how much it DIDN'T hurt!!! I've read reviews and watched some videos and everyone describes it as "being snapped by a rubber band" To me, if any of you (women specifically) have had your eyebrows threaded, the laser hurts less than that. Around my neck area though and jawline was very tender, i felt it more, but not enough to jump out of my seat crying or ask her to stop. Anyway, she went over my face 2 times. Come the end of the procedure my body was shakey, definitely, from being in shock and my face felt like i had a sun burn (a bad one) But, after Kristen applied some cream on it, it actually feels a lot better. My grandma picked me up and I went home. Day 1: My face hurts a little. It's more warm than anything. It definitely hurts to touch it and I do have to start using my antibiotics immediately. It doesn't hurt enough that I feel like I need to start using my pain killers. Having a fan blow on my skin or being somewhere cool feels 100 times better. I'm not allowed to wash my skin for 24 hours and I have to keep reapplying this gooey, creamy stuff. If you guys have any questions I didn't answer in my last 2 posts please feel free to write me. I've also added a photo to show you guys what fun I'm having. The picture: I'm not smiling because my skin feels really tight and it doesn't hurt but feels weird to smile. My skin looks like I've been tanning at the beach all day so you can see how the laser has burned my skin (my face looks relatively more tan then my neck) But I really have no redness or bleeding for right now.
A few days ago I had a consultation with my local laser clinic called the Harmony Laser Center located in Colorado. The doctor I met with was extremely nice and gave me some really great advice. She began with an introduction about herself, her experience, and her successful patient outcomes. The good news: - In all of her experience she's never had one patient have a PERMANENT side-effect (i.e. redness, hyper/hypopigmentation) - I should be allowed to wear makeup again in just 5 days! - The laser will permanently remove the red marks left from years of acne (to remove ice pick scars completely i'll probably have to do the procedure twice in a time span of one year) - The procedure only costs $1500 with their March special - You're required to use the clinics skin regimen post-procedure. The one I chose is called Epionce. It's for people with sensitive skin. My Dr gave me some samples to try in advance, I absolutely love this brand! The bad news: - The Matrix Co2 Fractional Laser is basically the heavy duty, diamond standard of the laser market so it is painful (but don't worry! I was told I'd be numbed and doped up before the procedure haha) - There's about a 5 day down time (but it really depends on everyones different skin type) - You have to be very precise in your day-by-day regimen that the doctor gives (On day one you cannot wash your face at all, On day two you can wash your face only once, Day 3 you can wash your face 2 times and use lotion....things like that) - My Dr told me that even though long term side effects and any permanent unwanted results are very unlikely, redness and sweeling for at least the first 2 days are normal - You're going to, or will want to, be on pain killers your first 2 days. Anyway, for any of you wanting to do the laser yourself, just follow my blog or follow me on twitter @Tiff_Inc The procedure starts this MONDAY! Wish me luck and if I don't post anything I apologize in advance, I'll probably be a little loopy on my first day