They say beauty is only skin deep and that beauty is pain. This is especially true if you go for Erbium laser skin resurfacing. You see for the last couple of years I have declared war on premature ageing. I refuse to “age gracefully” and I have successfully managed to keep a seven year distance between my perceived age and my real age. My arsenal in this war includes my oils of delay, regular Botox treatments, the odd minor cosmetic surgery and most recently, laser skin resurfacing. Consequently, I have no frown lines on my face, no wrinkles and no sun spots and I intend on keeping it that way.
For a couple of years now I have had Botox treatments and absolutely love how it works. Emotional expressiveness on your face is highly over rated and who could not benefit from a brow lift and looking mildly surprised. Botox is like having had a little vacation in your lunch break that lasts four to six months. It is relatively painless, takes only a couple of days to start working and if your doctor knows what she is doing you will still be able to move some muscles in your face and look natural. Besides the anti-ageing benefits of Botox and it also hides one of my tells. You see whenever I am in a meeting and someone is boring me or talking bullshit I tend to frown. It’s involuntary and now with Botox I no long can do it either involuntarily or voluntarily.
Recently I noticed sun spots developing on my face. They were like freckles, but freckles on steroids. They were scattered all over my forehead, cheeks and multiplying like sex starved bunnies. So in my last consultation for my Botox maintenance the doctor recommended Erbium laser skin resurfacing. It’s a procedure that takes roughly 30 minutes and only requires three days down time. She promised that this will remove the sun spots, smooth out my complexion and fill in any frown lines and/or wrinkles that I may have. It doesn’t take a lot of convincing to fix a problem on my face or body if it falls within my budget or price range, so I booked the appointment.
Three days prior to my appointment I started with my pre-procedure medications, purchased the skin numbing cream that I had to apply an hour before the procedure and pain medication for just in case. Whenever any person in the medical profession uses the term or phrase “It may cause mild discomfort” it means it is going to fucking hurt. Besides if your whole face is going to be penetrated with a laser for a half an hour you'd be silly if you do not expect some pain or "discomfort" as the professionals phrase it.
On the day of the appointment I was rather excited. But as the time drew closer my excitement turned into a nervous tension. “What if it doesn’t work and I am horribly disfigured?” I remember thinking when I washed my face at the office. Just as I was about to leave the office and applied the numbing cream I thought “What if this is the last time I’ll ever be pretty because of some really bad reaction from the treatment or from some nasty infection?” When I arrived at the consulting rooms I checked in at reception and made a dash to their restroom to apply another thick coat of numbing cream “Better safe than sorry” I tried to reassure myself.
I waited ten minutes and then I was ushered into the laser room by my doctor and her assistant. I took off my coat, got onto the examination bed and shot up a little prayer “Please don’t let this hurt too much!” Then the treatment started. Three short burst per area, a slight stinging sensation and the smell of burnt hair filled the room. The doctor explained that it wasn’t my skin that was burning but rather the hair follicles in my beard that were being scorched. Half way through I was asked if I wanted a ten minute break. But being brave and believing that I had a high pain threshold I asked her to finish. This was a mistake.
When the second part of my face was being treated it hurt like a motherfucker. But just as I thought I could no longer handle the pain it was over. Like any self-respecting homosexual I asked if I can smoke a cigarette, for a ten minute break and a cappuccino before the second and last laser treatment was done and the repair lotion was applied. At that stage my face was burning and I looked like a pale Brit who fell asleep on a South African beach and woke up just moments before his sunburn turned into blisters. I looked and felt like a burn victim. The burning sensation lasted about an hour and then completely went away.
The next morning I woke up to find my face red and some mild swelling around my eyes, mouth and cheeks. I managed to wash my face which was rather sensitive and noticed that already pieces of skin were starting to peel off. To my amazement my sun spots was being wiped away every time I used my cleansing lotion and it seemed like a miracle. The treatment was working! The worst part of the laser was not the actual procedure, the burning sensation directly after or the swelling. The worst part was the not being able to shave for 7 days. I hate facial hair on myself and I was starting to look like I had an emotional breakdown and was turning into a recluse whose greatest enemy was sunshine and people.
Needless to say, I didn’t venture into public for four days. Unfortunately for me Sunday was father’s day and hubby and I were hosting it at our house. Still red and peeling I thought "What the hell it is family after all". Also, it’s not like I was keeping this a secret from anyone. When the in-laws arrived they noticed something was amiss with my face but it took some time before the reason my face looked the way it did was discussed. My sister-in-law (who can be a bitch sometimes) in her not so diplomatic way, said “I do have my opinion on your cosmetic procedures, but it is your money. If you want to do it and can afford it who am I to judge you.”
On Monday, I didn’t go back to work. Not because of my face but because I hurt my back. I ventured into public for the first time for an injection and flurbiproven plasters and nobody noticed anything funny with my face. My skin already started to clear up on Sunday night and returned to a semi normal color. I still have three more days to go before I am allowed to shave my beard and it seems like an eternity. As for the results? Four days after the treatment and I can already see a 75% improvement and I believe the full effect will be visible in the next fourteen to sixty days. Maybe now I can extend that seven year distance between my perceived age and my real age to ten years.
Till next time.