I was informed before my appointment that numbing cream would be used to minimize the discomfort and I could also select a couple of other options. The first option was taking a valium to help me relax. But then, someone would have to drive me home. The other option was a local anesthetic injected around the most sensitive areas; my mouth and eyes. Because I’m not a big fan of needles, I opted to use only the numbing cream, especially since I was promised the valium and/or injections if the laser was uncomfortable.
Wednesday – It took about 20 minutes for the numbing cream, cool and slightly tingly, to take effect. A couple of test spots were treated to make sure the machine was properly set to my skin. Then I experienced a series of warm sensations that felt like mild pops or stings. It was very tolerable; I’ve had photo facials that were very similar. After the procedure, aloe gel was smoothed over my skin and I left the office with a red, Shiny face and a couple of prescriptions; one to minimize swelling and another to prevent infection. By the end of the day, my skin was red and looked like I had spent a day on the beach without sunscreen. The treated areas felt very warm and were slightly swollen, particularly under my eyes. As instructed, I greased my skin with petroleum jelly to keep it moist. Before bed, I took a Tylenol to counteract the mild stinging sensation and a slight headache.
Thursday – Upon awakening, I immediately peered into the bathroom mirror to assess the damage. My facial skin was a splotchy red and brown with mild swelling that was most noticeable under my eyes. My forehead was the least discolored; my neck and chest were bright red. In the past, I’ve experienced significant swelling with just about any skin treatment so I believe the medication was an important preventive measure. The stinging and headache were gone so no Tylenol was necessary. I remained thoroughly greased and discomfort from that time on.
Friday – This day was uneventful except for some subtle color changes and a reduction in swelling. Some areas of my facial skin began to flake off. I was still a victim of voluntary quarantine because I had taken vacation days off from work, was enjoying the solitude and felt self-conscious about my red, greasy appearance. I stopped taking the medication to prevent swelling because it was no longer needed.
Saturday – I went out to get groceries wearing a shirt that didn’t show my peeling, splotchy red and white neck and chest. The color of my face was normal except for some brown patches on my jaw and nose. My chin was still red and there were flakey areas on my face. My forehead was the most interesting area because it was stiff and rough-textured. All swelling was gone.
Sunday- Almost four days after my procedure, my face looked normal although a few flakey areas still remained. My neck and chest were pink and peeling while my forehead continued to feel stiff and a lot like fine sand paper. My bangs camouflaged that part of my face so there was no problem resuming my usual social activities.
Monday – I went back to work with a normal appearance except for some pink/white discoloration on my neck and chest and rough, flakey skin on my forehead.
Tuesday – All peeling is complete and my skin color is normal with the exception of a few small patches of pink on my neck and face. At this point, no one would notice anything different about my skin except that it looks softer and more youthful.
Results – My experience with the C02 laser resurfacing was very positive. I’ve already recommended it to several people. Discomfort is minimal and the recovery in only mildly inconvenient. I elected to stay home for a few days after my procedure, but that decision was based on my own self consciousness rather than any physical symptoms. In my opinion, my skin is smoother, more youthful and has a better texture than it did before the procedure. I like this method of skin resurfacing much better than other methods I’ve tried. The recovery is easier and faster than a chemical peel; the result are better than a photo facial. I plan to have this type of resurfacing on a regular basis to keep my skin healthy and looking good.