Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Out damn spots

Okay, here's the initial verdict on what's involved in getting rid of those damn age spots by laser.... I think the best thing is to write about it step by step.

My appointment was at 3:45 on Monday, December 3 – supposedly 15 minutes early to fill out the usual new doctor information sheets where they ask about medications and allergies and surgeries and if I’ve read the patient protection manual. And yes I filled it all out and signed my life away. I was called into the room on time – like most examining rooms except there were a couple of large machines on either side of the narrow high table that the nurse told me to lie down on. She informed me that she was going to apply numbing cream that needed to be left on about 20 minutes before the procedure. That totally caught me by surprise. I asked when I made the appointment how long the procedure would take, and I was told about 15 minutes. I hadn’t been told about that prep time.
So, I lay there trying to hold a magazine over my face and concentrate on reading it – not an easy feat. Gradually I could feel the numbing cream working and after 20 minutes the nurse came back to wipe it off. At no time during this process could I see my face or what was going on. Anyway, she wiped and she wiped and she wiped and when the cream was off, she put on a clear gel and said the doctor would be in, in a couple of minutes.
An understatement. I waited another 15 minutes until he appeared – young (way too young to personally have experienced age spots), slim, and with a complexion like a baby’s. I asked him the question I usually ask before a procedure I’ve never had before – like when I got a tatoo – does this hurt worse than a bikini wax? Of course he’s never had a bikini wax either, but he did say he’d heard this wouldn’t hurt as much.
Another understatement. After he looked my face over and we chatted about what results I was looking for (a complexion like his, of course), he said he’d do a couple of test zaps to tell how much power to use. Those test zaps hurt – a lot. And, then he said he was ready to go for it, and continued zapping one after the other until he covered my entire face. Each zap was like a sharp knife point going into my face.
I began weighing: laser age spot removal or water boarding, water boarding or age spot removal? Needless to say, I’ve never experienced water boarding, but just having the thought gives you an idea how bad it felt. It was not only the pain of the zap, but the constant flashing of high intensity light. I had little goggles on over my eyes, but they barely cut out any of the rays. I definitely felt like I was in a torture chamber, and I was in it at my own choosing. Thankfully, the 15-minute procedure time I had been told was correct.
So, I’m left with this question: now that I know how bad it is will I go back for more? The doctor says I’ll need anywhere from three to six treatments – at $300 a pop – to get the best results. Yet he did say I’d see some change with just one.
Afterward, the nurse came back to clean off the gel and to apply cold compresses, and by the time I walked out of the office I felt like a human being again. My face was a little red and felt mildly burned, but otherwise looked fine. And now after two days, I have some pin-prick size darker brown spots here and there, but those, he said, will slough off in a about a week.
I’ll keep you posted on the results and whether or not I go back. I made an appointment for mid January. Check back with me then.
By the way, the tatoo hurt worse than a bikini wax too.

2 comments:

Rain said...

I have had fotofacials which sounds like this process. I had a series about 6 years ago and touch ups now and then. I had it partly for rosacea and partly for tightening and improving my skin tone. I definitely do approve. It varies how uncomfortable they are. The woman I have now charges less than the first series but she's not working out of a doctor's office. I don't need numbing cream with it as it's not as intense and it's more maintenance. I believe in the process and think it's a natural way to make skin look good without changing face structure.

madeline40 said...

Thanks, Rain, for your input. I'm really leaning toward going back, so, I appreciate your encouragement. And, I'm glad you came by. Hope to hear from you again.