My Laser Skin Treatment Experience: Part 2
How getting laser for my acne was my biggest regret |
Previously, I discussed my laser treatment experience for acne and how the first two months went after I got the treatment done. So, what happened to my skin after 8 months? Surely over half a year would be enough time for my skin to recover from such a negative laser experience, right?
Here's what my skin was like 8 months after my laser treatment and what it is like today:
8 MONTHS POST-LASER
Eight months after laser, my skin was still somewhat pink-looking. The red color was a little better, but if I didn't wear foundation, my face would be a shade redder than my neck. And unfortunately, it was a very obvious shade of red. On days I was too lazy wear makeup, I would repeatedly get asked "Why is your face so red?" or "Did you get sunburned?"
The Skinoren (azelaic acid) helped clear up all the nasty pimples from the laser, but my skin was still a mess. Even without the post-laser induced erythema, I still had tons of red marks and pock marks (from the deep cysts I got after the laser), but thankfully, my acne downgraded from moderate/severe back to mild (what it was before I got the laser!).
Even though the Skinoren helped a lot, I was still getting tiny breakouts all the time. I didn't figure out how to completely prevent my acne until many months later.
3 YEARS POST-LASER
As of today's writing, my skin is a lot better than before. You can see my acne before and after pictures here, but the pictures I took of myself during my laser experience were lost when my computer crashed.
My biggest skin issue now is no longer acne, but skin tone. Ever since I got the Black Doll laser treatment, my skin has not been the same. It's nowhere as pink as before, but without makeup, it still looks as if I've knocked back one too many drinks. It also flushes easily and turns red when I apply plain moisturizer. I've tried lots of things to try to reduce the redness - Rosacea products, cooling products, light therapy, KTP lasers for superficial blood vessels - none of which have done anything at all.
I used to be obsessed about my acne and when my acne cleared, I grew obsessed about reducing redness in my skin. Now, I think I've come to terms with everything. I can deal with having pinkish skin (it can add a "healthy" glow), but I will always wonder what my skin would be like had I not elected to get laser.
So, what did I learn?
1 laser treatment + 10 days of downtime = 5 months of severe breakout city + n months of pink-toned/scarred skin + lots of self-regret and emotional distress.
Not worth it.
I really regret getting this laser treatment because it made my skin so much worse when it wasn't even that bad to begin with. I was trying to get rid of my acne, but I successfully angered it and made it multiply and divide, sending out both ground troops and air combat forces. There are no short-term fixes for acne and whatever short-term fix you think will help, will most likely bring you disappointment.
I also regret it because I really should have done more research and asked more questions before getting the treatment. Had I known what I know now, I would have waited until my skin cleared before getting laser. It kind of sucks though because the dermatologist I went to see was one who got really good local reviews.
After I got the laser done, I did some online research and discovered that lasers can indeed cause serious acne eruptions. Lasers remove the surface layer of your skin, so whatever clogs you have can sprout up like uncontrollable weeds. However, the post-laser antibiotic ointment could have clogged my pores. Your skin is also extremely sensitive and vulnerable to infection after a laser treatment, so that could have contributed to my massive breakout as well.
I actually don't think lasers are bad. My mom, for instance, has had good luck with using lasers to remove age spots, sun spots, and other pigmentation issues on her face and hands. I have also had good luck with lasers for mole removal, but I just don't think lasers are suitable for young, acne-prone skin, especially skin with active acne.
My current dermatologist says laser treatments are often marketed towards acne patients. However, acne-prone patients should never expect their results to be as good as the before-and-after pictures. Another friend of mine, who works at a skin spa, told me big procedures like laser resurfacing are better tolerated by older women. I don't know the reasoning behind that, but I suspect maybe older skin tolerates things better than younger skin or maybe older patients see better results because they look to laser to reduce surface wrinkles and age spots versus acne or acne marks.
For those considering laser, I advise pencilling in a week or so of down time and stocking up on moisturizers (ex. aloe vera gel, hyaluronic acid) and healing products you know will not break you out. It's also important to keep your skin moist post-laser to increase healing. Whatever you do, make sure you ask your dermatologist as many questions as possible and look up as much information you can about side effects and what to expect. Please, please don't make my mistake!
It really sucks that I didn't have good results with laser because I got it done at a well-known, everyone-gives-it-awesome-reviews type of place and was really expecting something great to happen.
Hopefully my experience will help those of you considering laser treatments.
Last updated: January 21, 2011
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