I have seven pretty obvious freckles on my face. No alot, but they are fairly big and make my skin look, well look less fresh and old. I like to call them freckles, but in truth they are ‘age spots’.
I’ve been on Retin A for about a month. While there was a great response in skin texture and color, the freckles were unchanged. According to the medical literature, it can take 1-2 years to fade these brown clumps. At my age, I just can’t wait 2 years to wait for improvement. For fast results, I needed the help of technology– namely I needed to fry my freckles with a laser.
Because I found my first experience with a laser ( with hair removal) so painful, I was really scared of more laser work with a more powerful laser. Starting an hour before my appointment , I slathered my spots with a lidocaine numbing cream, repeating it every 15′minutes. Sitting alone on the examining table next to the laser, I seriously considered sneaking out. I was glad I stayed.
Dr Marmur of Mount Sinai pointed the YAG laser at my freckles ( aka age spots). It was an ablative laser which means that the rays alter the surface of the skin. She covered by eyes with tape and talked me through it as she worked. And it didn’t hurt! The laser did not have to go as deep to burn off a brown freckle as it did to kill a hair follicle. The result? Lasers used to remove pigmentation are far less uncomfortable than those for hair removal.
After Dr Marmur quickly vanquished my seven freckles, she found a few more where I did not use a numbing cream. The level of discomfort so far had been so mild, I told her to go for it. In fact, there was hardly any difference in sensation between the skin which had been numbed and those areas which were untreated.
Right after the proceedure, the spots looked white and raised. Dr Marmur applied Aquaphor to soothe and protect the treated skin. The skin burned a bit and I hurried out to find a taxi home. By the time I had reached my building ( less than 30 minutes) the spots had turned a dark red. It was not my best look. In the elevator a toddler stared at me for a moment then started giggling. ” Clowny” he chortled pointing a tiny finger at me. I was just glad he wasn’t frightened.
Within two hours, the slight burning sensation had faded. My friend Lisa came over to take some pictures ( see photo above) and try out my new recipe for hot artichoke spread. By the time she left around midnight, Lisa noticed that the spots were already calming down and the healing had begun.
Next post: The day after the laser
Matrixyl is a brand name for a peptide that resembles a fragment of collagen. Manufacturers of this patented ingredient believe that Matrixyl stimulates the skin to produce new collagen. They have not published their research which makes many doctors wary of its anti-aging powers. On the other hand, matrixyl is known to be an effective moisturizer with anti-oxidant properties — all good but not quite enough to make it your front line wrinkle buster. In other words, I would use it with Retin A rather than instead of it.