It has been another six weeks since my last treatment and it was time to go in for another session. If you are interested to read about my journey since day one, click here to be directed to a page where all of my treatment posts are logged. Just like in all of my other posts, I will be updating the post at the end of each week, or as needed.
Updates every Wednesday.
Today’s treatment was HELL. The pain was so bad that the treatment took almost 20 minutes instead of the usual 5 because I kept needing to take breaks between sections. I also ended up sitting with a cold air “fan ” (it was a tube that blew cold air) on my face for an additional 10 minutes to sooth the burning. The settings were the same as always according to my esthetician and my skin didn’t look like it got burnt… then again, my face was as red as a tomato so it would have been hard to notice. There wasn’t any bleeding, scabbing, or any pink flesh showing. My technician told me that the pain is most likely a result of my hormones, which does make sense.
Long story short, I was using Nexplanon for 10 months (October ’12) and had no period for six months after having it put in. However, in April ’13, I started a period that lasted every day for a month and a half. At that point, I consulted my gynecologist, who then instructed me to take birth control pills while also on Nexplanon. The pill I was taking was Levora (generic for Levlen/Alesse). It stopped the bleeding for about a week but then the bleeding started again and the periods became incredibly heavy. I waited another couple of months before contacting my gynecologist again, who told me to take double doses (helped but Levora caused more side effects than it was worth to stop the bleeding). I finally got Nexplanon taken out on 8/26/13 and started Ortho Evra (birth control patch) the next day. As of right now, I don’t have a noticeable cycle so I need to use the patch for a month before my body will regulate again.
I assume my hormones are out of whack right now, so I’ll believe what my technician said about hormones contributing to the pain felt during the laser treatment. However, I’ve never been one to have menstrual troubles such as headaches, nausea, stomach pains, mood swings, etc. So it would be weird for my body to be so significantly impacted by the hormones that suddenly my pain tolerance has gone out the window.
This time around, EVERYTHING on my face hurt (cheeks, neck, sideburns, chin, upper lip, lower lip, between eyebrows, and what should have been just the stray hairs on the forehead). It felt like I was getting shots with burning medicine stabbed into my face repeatedly. By the end of the procedure, my face was on fire and it turned bright red. My technician let me rub a layer of cream on my face and intended to let me walk out of the office without looking like Santa this time, but my face was so red even after blowing air on my face that she made me put a second layer of cream on, and instructed that I put another layer on when I got home.
The most disappointing part about this third procedure (aside from the unexpected pain) was that the technician shaped the tops of my brows with the laser instead of just zapping the stray hair on my forehead above my eyebrows. I’m pretty mad about that since I know I’ll want thicker brows as I get older. I’m hoping I can get it to grow back using some home remedies for hair growth. I’ll be going to a different technician next time and will be very clear for her to keep the laser at least 1cm away from my brows, or maybe I’ll just have her stay away from my forehead completely.
My appointment was at 12:00pm and it is currently 12:45am. My face is still very hot and there are a lot of “welts”/bumps from where the laser penetrated the hair. My face also feels incredibly sensitive. It doesn’t matter how long I ice my face either. It still feels scorching hot. I used regular olive oil to wash my makeup off today instead of a cleanser and then did a quick 5-second wash of my face using an Olay facial bar. My lotion of choice tonight was Nutriganic’s Face Lotion by The Body Shop (98% natural at least). I have noticed some blackening around my neck. It feels ultra tender so I can safely assume the top layer of skin got barbecued. Hopefully some pure vitamin e oil will help a healthy layer of skin to form.
I know it’s not the end of the week yet but I thought it was worth updating today. My face is still covered in the welts/bumps (folliculitis) from the laser and my face is incredibly itchy now. I have also confirmed that the laser burnt my skin on my neck. The skin turned darker and is starting to turn into scabs, which is really unsightly (but thankfully my long hair can hide it). My face is still really sensitive and there are places on my face that have darkened a bit in pigmentation. I couldn’t wash my face properly again today and I skipped shaving anything. I also avoided using a moisturizer and used Bio Oil on my face instead in hopes of evening out my skin tone in the next couple of weeks.
I’m definitely irritated at how this third treatment is turning out. Burns, laser treatments where I didn’t want them, excessive pain – it’s a lot for my poor skin to endure.
I decided to tweeze and clean up the appearance of my eyebrows and noticed that there were burn marks along my forehead, eyebrows, and my temples! It wasn’t just my neck that got burned. I’ve also noticed a HUGE change in my skin. It’s acne galore everywhere on my face. I haven’t had a breakout this bad since I was 13 years old (I’m currently 22). As of right now, it’s hard to believe that my esthetician was telling the truth when she said the settings were the same as the first two treatments. I can understand the laser hurting more than usual, but I don’t understand why my skin is burnt in multiple patches across my face and I don’t know why my skin suddenly broke out as badly as it did the day after treatment.
I tried shaving today and it hurt a lot to shave my face. The bumps are still there from the laser and the acne is still there. Despite my super sensitive skin, I still had to force myself to shave completely because there was visible stubble, and the stubble stood out even more because of bumpy skin. I also ended up exfoliating with a really good, coarse exfoliator (Derma E Microdermabrasion Scrub) to hopefully even out my skin tone and break all of the acne bumps that suddenly formed. I later moisturized with my Tea Tree Lotion from The Body Shop since it is actually more of a mattifying lotion than a moisturizing lotion.
This update is coming two days late (apologies). Good news first – the burns are gone. The bad news? I still have bumps on my face. The acne was definitely linked to the laser hair treatment rather than my birth control or diet. My diet has actually been pretty terrible the past few days, I’ve been wearing makeup, sweating from exercising and keeping the makeup on for a few hours even after sweating, and am still dealing with side effects from my birth control (and it’d be weird for there to be a burst of acne for two days only). My skin hasn’t broken out at all regardless of how I’ve treated it lately. The folliculitis is still there as well, though it is going down. I have tried shaving and noticed a few hairs shed but the bumps make it hard to shave.
I’m alternating between three scrubs that I use daily – my trusted Derma E, Michael Todds True Organics Charcoal Scrub, and The Body Shop Coconut Body Scrub. At night, I use my Avon Dramatic Firming cream. In the day, I use my Tea Tree Lotion from The Body Shop. My face has been sensitive to my normal makeup so I’ve been using mainly a discontinued Maybelline foundation and the Elf Acne Fighting Foundation (the discontinued Maybelline foundation is extremely similar to Elf as far as looks and feel go; ingredients not so much). I tried to use MAC’s Face and Body foundation but it accentuated all of my bumps and didn’t provide enough coverage. My Elf Studio Tinted Moisturizer was okay but didn’t provide enough coverage. My Rimmel 25 Hour Foundation gave great coverage but it felt really heavy thanks to the excessively oily skin, so I’ve been avoiding this foundation as well. Elf’s Acne Fighting Foundation keeps my skin looking matte, it feels lightweight, and it’s helping to banish those horrid bumps.
Overall, my skin is healing and clearly up but it still has a ways to go. As far as the hair growth goes, I haven’t noticed any major changes which is why I didn’t really make note of it earlier in the update. I shave two times a week but that’s about what I was doing before the third treatment. It doesn’t look like the hair has decreased, In fact, I actually can’t tell if the previously treated hairs that shed are starting to grow back or not.
Not much has happened this week. I shaved my face and a lot of the hairs shed along my sideburns and neck. The hair growth isn’t noticeable at this point. My face is pretty smooth overall and I don’t really feel the need to shave. The bumps have pretty much gone away.
Not much has changed. My chin doesn’t grow much hair except for a few patches. My neck, cheeks, and sideburns are all pretty smooth. The hair in between my eyebrows has stopped growing completely which is great. I haven’t noticed any peach fuzz on my forehead which is great, but even if it does start to grow back, I’m leaving the hair alone. I don’t care if it’ll look a little silly having peach fuzz on my forehead while the rest of my face is smooth (hopefully).
My eyebrow hairs haven’t been growing much so I’m pretty angry about that. I’ve been using a vitamin e serum to help regrow the hair and I’ve stopped plucking my eyebrows unnecessarily. I only pluck the underside of my brows but for the most part, I’m hoping to grow them out so I can see what kind of damage has been done by the lasers. I’ll probably grow them out to the point of having “Asian” eyebrows (thick, full, natural looking).
The only places that are growing a decent amount of hair still are my upper lip and lower lip. I still feel the need to shave those areas every few days.
Weeks 4 & 5
Nothing new to report.