I deserve no sympathy for this

Yesterday I did something scary yet entirely unimpressive (because it proves just how vain I really am).

I got an IPL photofacial to remove sun-damaged spots on my face. Why was this scary? Because I knew what to expect. As I sat in the dermatologist’s waiting room, amid people waiting to find out if their moles were trying to kill them, it occurred to me that worrying about a somewhat unpleasant cosmetic procedure makes me both really blessed and a bit shallow. This realization did not make me any less jittery.

Here’s how it went: a small paddle administered a shot of bright light that, despite the topical anesthetic, felt like a half-dozen tiny bees stings. Corrine, my nurse practitioner, moved the paddle across my face bit by bit until she had blasted all my freckles. Then she iced my face for a couple of minutes (note to self: anything requiring a break so you can ice your face involves pain). After that it was time for a second pass with the paddle to make sure she hadn’t missed a spot.

Sometimes I flinched.

A set of protective stickers plus a pair of goggles protected my eyes. But I still saw horizontal red lightening with each jolt. When the paddle was near my eyes, I was terrified. My brain knew that my eyes wouldn’t melt in their sockets, and that Corrine was not a psychotic just waiting for the opportunity to burn someone, but I still wanted to RUN. There may have been whimpering.

Sometimes I smelled something burning.

After the procedure my face was shiny, swollen and red. I looked a little…frightening. I stopped by Target on the way home, and more than one person glanced at me only to look quickly away. So that was fun.

The formerly beige spots have all turned a deep brown, as they are supposed to.

Me with my dark freckles

After a week the nearly black freckles will fall off, revealing skin that matches the rest of my face. My children are eager for this to happen. They don’t enjoy my new look.

Corrine suggested I come back in six weeks for another appointment. Apparently, some little dots escape the stinging paddle of vanity. I thought, there is no way I am doing this again.

We’ll see what I say after my little dots fall off.

Told you it wasn’t impressive.

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22 Responses to I deserve no sympathy for this

  1. I love reading perspectives from the hot seat! It looks like you are going to get a great result! Be careful to use vitamin C and sunsreen every single day or those little suckers will come right back with a vengence.

  2. That’s totally impressive. It sounds way more scary than my colonoscopy was! Be sure to show us the after picture!

  3. Going back again in 6 weeks would definitely be brave after what you went through this time around. Can’t wait to see the after picture.

  4. notquiteold says:

    Does it work for age spots?

  5. My freckles are here to say. Don’t know about those little wrinkles though.

  6. winsomebella says:

    Ouch. I’ve wondered about that procedure but don’t think I’m brave enough. Glad to know what to expect if I do ever do it. Thanks.

  7. addielicious says:

    Ah, this gives me more reason not to brave that path down to a derma clinic.

  8. speaker7 says:

    Undergoing any surgery is brave, especially after I saw a segment on Today show about a woman getting a mole removed and half her face was burned off from a random fire in the operating room. Probably good that I said this after your surgery.

    • Yes, your timing is impeccable. Although I couldn’t help worrying that Corrine would either make a stupid mistake or decide to teach me a lesson for being so vain. Did you ever see Logan’s Run? How plastic surgeons used the lasers on his face? I’m happy I left there with my face intact.

  9. I was thinking of attempting this but I don’t think I want to wait a week for the results. I’m glad you were brave enough to test this 🙂

    • They say that the spots can fall off in as little as 3 days, so it might be less for you. I had a test spot done last month and that took a week. Guess my spots are a little reluctant to sever ties.

  10. workmomad says:

    Anything that involves lasers and pain, unless it involves a life-threatening condition, is definitely outside of my comfort zone! I’m sure you’ll get the look you were going for and it is brave to try something new. I’m not sure if going back in six weeks would be brave or foolhardy, but that is each individual’s call!


  11. Whoa! I don’t think I would be tough enough to go for that one. I’ve considered laser resurfacing for my half-dozen minor acne scars, but then I totally lose my nerve. Thanks for the POV on this one!

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