The Non-Ablative Laser Healing Process Looks Like This

By on May 27, 2015

I want to age gracefully. I really do. I’m just not exactly sure where the line is between preservation and acceptance. I admire women like Raquel and Jennifer Aniston who have seemingly stayed frozen in time. My future will not consist of a face lift and my present will not consist of injecting toxins into my face so a non-ablative laser procedure seemed to be a good compromise. I had read that non-ablative lasers do not damage the skin surface and I had read that women get this procedure done on their lunch break. Some call it the “lunch break face lift”. Bull shit. There is no way! And this unreasonable, internet induced expectation gave me an absolute panic attack when I saw my face for the first time after the procedure.

Non-Ablative Laser Healing First Thirty Minutes

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In The Car and 2 Hours Later

When we were done with the procedure I was given a cooling roller to rub on my face but what I really wanted was for the ice bucket challenge to make a comeback. My face was on fire! The nurse told me it was time to go and I stood up but I felt nauseous and dizzy and hot. So hot! I told her how I felt and she suggested I use more cooling roller. Good idea.

In the corner of the room was a mirror, I didn’t want to look but something in the back of my head kept telling me to look, to calm myself down. After all, how I felt probably didn’t match how I looked. Women get this done on lunch breaks..remember??? So I looked. I shouldn’t have looked. My face looked like a tomato or like I had gotten really drunk and passed out on the beach…for hours… It made panic. In the end they had to grab the plastic surgeon to calm me down. To tell me I looked normal. I didn’t believe him. I also didn’t get any pictures of this part of the process. I was too busy panicking.

Non-Ablative Laser Healing The Next Five Hours

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Bee Stings – 5 Hours Post

I drove home with the AC on full blast and pointed right at my face. By the time I got home my face looked considerably less red. I grabbed an ice pack and a towel and put it to my face as I was STILL HOT. Lunch break? No way. At about the 3 hour mark my face was no longer one shade of red. Instead it was sort of like a bunch of raised red bee stings. All over. I had not read anywhere that swelling was going to occur and my face my so hot. I started reading on realself.com which gave me another panic attack after reading horror stories. I decided I needed to calm down so I gently washed my face with a 100% natural cleanser, used my Kate Somerville calming Oatmeal facial lotion, took an IB Profin, drank tons of water, and watched reruns of Glee on Netflix.

Non-Ablative Laser Healing The Next Day

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Swollen Cheeks – Next Day

The next day I woke up and ran to the mirror hoping to see my old self. I still had “bee stings” on my cheekbones and some redness. I sent my best friend a picture. Her response, “Better…went from bee stings to bitch slaps”. She was right.

I once again gently washed my face with a 100% natural cleanser and slathered on the sunscreen.

I’m sitting here now 24 hours later and my cheekbones look like they’ve been victimized by some sort of cosmetic filer. I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. The redness is going down but is still there and my face is still patchy. Also, my face feels tight like I’ve been moderately sun burned.

The Point of This Article and Some Laser Tips

I don’t feel like I received a solid education on the recovery process from the net. Half of the people on the internet look like bloody, oozy ablative pictures and the other half look perfect. I don’t think that is a realistic expectation and from my experience a two day recovery time is more realistic than a lunch break. Here are some tips I learned that I wish I would have known before hand…

  • Take Some IB Profin before and after.
  • Stop using any chemicals on your face including retinoids and exfoliants at least two weeks before and after your appointment.
  • Stay out of the sun for at least 3 months before and after your treatment.
  • Use tons of sunscreen.
  • Don’t take a hot shower for at least two days after your treatment.
  • You may look crazy for a few days. Prepare for that.

There may be more and you should definitely ask your doctor. I am not a doctor and my doctor did not advise me well so these are conclusions I came to on my own. Take them for what you will.

I bought a package of four treatments but I’m not sure that I would do it again. It was sort of a come to Jesus moment for me when I realized how stupid and how potentially dangerous these procedures can be. And for what? So that I have 10-30% less wrinkle visibility over the next year. Isn’t that what Photoshop is for?

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