Let My Messed Up Face Be Your Warning If You Are Considering Getting an IPL (Laser) Treatment

My freckles are a part of me. There was a brief time I hated them when I was in middle school, but we hate just about everything in middle school, don’t we? For the most part, I’ve embraced my freckle-face because it is what it is and frankly, I’ve felt like they make my face me for much of my life.

But what I haven’t embraced are the age spots that have been showing up as I get older. Damn age & sun damage. In particular, I have some ones near my eye that have been really bothering me as I get older. In recent years, I’ve taken to putting sunglasses on for photos or making sure the “other” side of me shows. So I was hard pressed to find a before photo but here’s one that points out the size of the age spot:


I wanted to find a way to minimize it or have it removed. A friend told me about IPL Photofacials, she had been having them done for awhile at a local spa where two friends had previously gone and had a good experience. It was going to be a way to help remove some of my age spots and even out my face.

A photofacial, or fotofacial, is a 30-minute procedure in which intense pulses of light are used to penetrate deep into the skin. IPL photorejuvenation then causes collagen and blood vessels below the epidermis to constrict, reducing redness and age lines.

I got a Groupon and went on over. The first time I went, I actually walked out without having it done because she told me I couldn’t be in the sun for 10 days after and I was about to go on a beach vacation just a day or two later.

I returned two weeks later, 10 days after I had been in the sun (with sunscreen).

The procedure itself hurt. I had read that it would hurt a little, but while I was having it done, I felt like maybe I was being a wimp because it REALLY hurt. I toughed it out. It felt as though someone was whipping me on the face.

Here is my face on Day 1 – the first few hours after having the IPL done, April 26:

And here is my face a day or two later. The angry redness went down but I still had red marks and all of my freckles went really dark (which is also within the realm of normal)?

And then, one week post-treatment. You can see that things scabbed up:

Sadly, here is how my face healed up once everything peeled off. I ended up with these white stripes about two weeks after the treatment. I was SO UPSET. Basically the IPL worked in the spots it treated (those white ones shown) and striped out all the pigment in my face so I was left with freckles in some places and completely white skin in others.

The good news is that this isn’t white scarring – it’s just literally places on my face that no longer have freckles but it’s of course very strange looking.

As I didn’t want to go back to the place I originally went, I went to my dermatologist, which is where I should have started in the first place. She was quite shocked at my face and along with a beautician who works out of their office, they have assured me that they can fix my face but that it’s going to take months.

I’m trying not to be too upset about it.It’s strictly cosmetic and I’m healthy, and my family is healthy, so that’s what counts. But I would be lying if I didn’t admit that it’s hard to look in the mirror sometimes. It doesn’t help when random acquaintances (and even strangers, if you can believe it or not!) ask what has happened to my face.

Two weeks ago I started with a peel at my dermatologist. The peel was meant to take another layer of skin off and hopefully make things more even. It helped a little — but not a ton.

I’ll apparently need a few of these going forward which is going to cost me upwards of $1k by the time I’m all said and done.

This picture below was me over Memorial Day weekend. I have to be a crazy woman with the sun now. I always wore sunblock but I’m now loaded up with sunblock, a hat and an umbrella and/or shade where I can.

And so you guys can see where I’m currently at, I took this photo at my desk yesterday with very little make-up on. (I have a very tint bit of tinted moisturizer and eyeshadow.) It’s obviously still very clear I have something up with my face. Friends who see me regularly assure me that it’s getting better but I’m not so sure that they aren’t just saying that to make me feel better. Still, I’m going to try and be patient and give the dermatologist some time to get my face back to normal.

I waited awhile to share this but I felt I finally should because I wanted to share my experience with you guys so I can hopefully help prevent this from happening to someone else. I had never really heard of IPL until I had a few friends do it and because they had decent experiences, I went for it. I didn’t ask a doctor or test out a part of my skin which was all really asinine of me when I look back and consider that I did it.

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