Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Acne Skin Lasering

My sister just got married, and thanks to a week spent in the Tennessee heat without washing my face, I had the worst breakout since my teen years. Luckily, thanks to a slightly bullying mother and a family friend who is an MD and laser technician, my prayers were answered and I had the solution to my skin problems with almost instant results. That's right, I willingly had my face lasered, for free. And it was worth it.

It's called an acne zapping laser. It's attracted to red pigment in your skin, and it works to reduce the redness by targeting red zones and emptying out the pores. First they strap on metal goggles, not all together different from goggles worn in tanning booths to protect your vision from the laser light. I'm not going to lie, this comforted me a little bit, like my old friend the tanning booth who I can no longer visit was there to hold my hand. Then they smooth a clear jelly over your entire face, and run a little glass disk over your entire face. The laser passes through both of these surfaces, but stays icy cool from the glass and the ointment. It feels like a targeted static electric pulse, not exactly painful, but uncomfortable definitely, especially at the top of your forehead, on your nose, and on any blemishes. Those it zaps extra hard.

At first I was ambivalent. I mean the wedding was two days away, and I've heard that laser treatments can be harsh on the face to say the least, and extremely abrasive at their worst, and I have extremely sensitive skin. I've heard of people being swollen for two weeks from a harsh treatment. And here I was, offering myself up to the mercy of the laser doctor only 48 hours before millions of pictures would be snapped of me carrying my sister's train, making a toast, and flitting around in my maid of honor gown. What can I say? I was a little desperate. Turns out that people with very fair skin, like me, are the best candidates for acne lasering, as it is attracted to pigment and there is the least risk since we have the least pigment in our skin, and I was in good hands.

After about 10 minutes of stinging and sweeping with the laser over my entire face/neck area, and 5 minutes of reassurances before starting the procedure, I was done. I looked in the mirror, and my blemishes were gone. Poof. They had just disappeared. My skin looked smooth and refreshed. However, my tan disappeared with them, a small price to pay. Yet a full four days later some are back with a vengeance. Instant, though impermanent results.

Would I do it again? Hell yes. Would I pay full price and undergo several costly treatments? Probably not. Would I make sure to choose a qualified and experienced physician every time for any laser treatment? If I didn't want permanent scarring, definitely.

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