Sun Damage

Being a California girl since birth means I’ve had more than my fair share of being in the sun. I grew up swimming in our pool year round and our family vacations often involved camping at the beach. My parents did their best to apply sunscreen, but, I like most teenagers I didn’t listen. I was worried that I wouldn’t get a tan if I was wearing it. So more often than not, I skipped the sunscreen until it was too late and I was already sunburnt.

I’ve always had freckles, but I noticed over the past few years that I had over double what I used to have, they were darker and showing up all over my entire face and not just my cheeks and nose anymore. But really what it came down to, was that I was worried they were aging me. So I decided to give a photofacial a chance. I posted about it on my social media and I was absolutely blown away at the amount of questions and messages I got from women wanting to know about my experience. So…I figured I’d lay it all out here.

This is a photo 30 minutes before my treatment.

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The process was pretty simple, they applied a gel on my face, then they applied the photofacial machine in very small sections (it’s about an inch long and a few centimeters deep). When they fire off the machine it sends wavelengths of light to target discoloration. It causes photorejuvenation and the collagen and blood vessels below the epidermis layer of the skin to constrict which means you should also see a reduction in redness and fine lines and wrinkles.

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Now that we’ve talked a little about the process, lets talk about the pain level. It felt very much so like someone took a rubber band and slapped it against my skin over, and over and over and over and over….and over again. So it was not highly painful, but definitly no walk in the park. After about 30 minutes of rubber band snaps, and light flashes when it’s close to your eyes, you are done. But that was the least of the pain with the treatment, what came afterwards was a few hours of my face feeling like it was literally on fire. And it looked like it was on fire too! The first photo was after I paid and walked to my car. The second one was probably 30-40 minutes later at lunch (yes I went out looking like this). As the redness starts to fade, the freckles start to look EXTREMELY dark.

I feel like I’ve seen a million times, “Get a photofacial, there is NO downtime”. I wouldn’t say that is exactly true. You are uncomfortable, red and often swollen the rest of the day and for a few days following.

Here is the very next morning and I was extremely swollen, especially since they tried to get so close to my eyes. The swelling lasted about 3-4 days for me.

I also remember reading, “you can wear makeup to cover the dark spots that show up on your skin”….well I tried it and it’s damn near impossible. I had a casting for a big job and I had no choice but to try to cover them. Really it looked like I flung mud on my face and then I tried to cover it up with makeup. I looked ridiculous.

Over the next two weeks the spots slowly started to fall off on their own. I am a major picker, but it is highly important that you DO NOT pick at them. You can cause scaring.

After about a week, most of the spots had fallen off, but I think it took about 2 weeks for everything to be 100% gone. Here is a before and after of my skin, photo taken in the same spot around the same time of day.

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So what I noticed is that some of my darker freckles had faded, and overall I had less of them. But my nurse informed me that any genetic freckles would come back, a photofacial will only get rid of sun damaged freckles permanently. I also noticed my forehead was a lot more clear and some of my fine lines were less noticeable, lastly I was most impressed with the improvement of the color of my upper lip. I hadn’t noticed how dark it became over the years.

Most spas will tell you that you need to do multiple treatments, but for me I am content with my results and figured I would do them as needed because the results were so great after just one treatment.

So the last painful thing we need to talk about is the price tag. I went to a reputable local spa and paid full price, which was nearly $400!!!!! EEEEEKKKKKK! But I know that you can find groupons for them from $80-300 all the time. Just make sure you do a little research on the spa before buying!

Would I recommend the treatment? Well it depends on what you are looking to do, but yes, I would do it again and I would suggest someone get it done as long as they fully understand the recovery process.

Do the results last? Yes, I got my first treatment back in September 2016 and I think I am just getting ready to consider doing another treatment soon, so 6-8 months. If you did more than one treatment, it’s very possible that the results would last longer.

Cheers to looking and feeling young for as long as we can. 😉

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