Happy Friday!!! I began this treatment process one week ago today and it started with a dress. A fabulous dress I bought last month to wear to my son’s wedding in July. Betsy Gallagher at Tootsie’s called and said she had the perfect dress for me. She is always helping me shop with my clients, now it was my turn. I can’t show you the dress until after the wedding but it is off the shoulder and I really liked it until I looked a little closer at the photo from the dressing room!! YIKES!! My back is covered in spots from having moles removed and my chest is a mess of old sun damage. I come from an era of using baby oil and iodine and Hawaiian Tropic oil to get the darkest tan and never used sunscreen until more recent years. Well, there is a lot of cumulative damage that I have ignored because I just didn’t think I could afford any of the treatments and my dermatologist said I wasn’t a candidate because I have olive skin. I knew that two of my clients that I had helped with their weddings last year had someone they really liked for this sort of repair treatment so I investigated. They both loved Sarah Humphrey at Bella MD. Then I found out that my friend and plastic surgeon Dr. Fred Lester sends his patients to Bella MD and they have his Cool Sculpt machine and make referrals to him. Dr. Lester is the absolute best!!! and I highly recommend him. So, I went in for a consultation ($50 that is applied to your services) and met with Sarah. I really liked the office and everyone I met there. Sarah suggested that I have a Photofacial (IPL – Intense Pulsed Light) and a chemical peel since I needed faster results with the upcoming wedding. They usually recommend a series of 4 Photofacials spread over a period of time. I had a couple of modeling jobs so I couldn’t schedule until 4 weeks before the wedding, which made me a little nervous. I am kind of a worry wart and do not do well with unknown procedures. I was really afraid of what could happen to my skin and the possibility of doing more damage than good or not being healed by the wedding. However my friends assured me that it was no big deal. I was also worried about the cost and found that Bella MD is very fair in their pricing.
I went into the office last Friday and I have to admit I was a scared and asked my friend and Bella MD veteran, Melinda Ramsey, to meet me there and take some photos (and maybe hold my hand). I was really impressed with Sarah at my first consultation. She seemed very knowledgeable and confident. Sarah has been with Bella MD for 10 years, since they opened. Kim Kelly, who is one of the partners, wanted to get me started so that she could apply the numbing cream. The office is very comfortable and spa-like and I felt at ease. So first came the numbing cream. Then Sarah cleaned my chest and back and started using the Cutera machine. She warned me that it would feel like having a rubber band snapped on your skin and it does heat up. It is not really painful, just a little uncomfortable. She gave me dark glasses to wear to protect my skin from the light flashes. On my back she used a cool gel because the wand can glide easier. She also did the treatment on my neck, hands and a few spots on my arms. This is pandora’s box of skin damage and the treatment brings the spots to the surface, they turn dark and fall off. I feel like I am in a science experiment.
After the IPL treatment Sarah asked me how I was feeling. My chest was hot and so she decided that we should wait for the peel until Monday which would still leave me plenty of time before the wedding. She gave me some ice packs to put on the treated areas and warned me not to soak the skin or sweat profusely or pick off any of the dark spots!! She gave me some samples of sunscreen and I purchased one Sport version that Melinda had recommended. The worst part was getting into my car. Warning, if you do this in the summer it is really hot outside. My car felt like an oven!!! I went home and applied some ice packs and took 4 Advil!! In about 2 hours the heat had subsided and I never really had any discomfort. I have really become aware of the importance of wearing sunscreen. I do wear it on my face but usually not if I am going to work out, I have stopped wearing a ball cap and I forget about my hands. This is about 30+ years of sun damage so I realize that it will not go away over night. But Sarah also says it will not come back quickly if I wear sunscreen. So my skin got to rest for a couple of days before the peel. I went back to Bella MD on Monday and Sarah applied a combination of 2 peels. She applied a few layers of (TCA) 20% which is Trichloroacetic Acid and Kligman (Retinoid Acid). The process did not take long and she treated my neck, chest, entire back and hands. She said the arms are another process altogether. This acid kind of stings but she gave me a small fan to cool it down for 10 minutes on my chest and back and I never really felt any discomfort. Below left you can see my skin right after the peel. Below center you can see my skin after 3 days when it started to flake and peel. It is really weird and I feel like a snake losing my skin. The most positive benefit besides losing my spots it that your collagen can regenerate and it removes potentially cancerous cells and spots. The dark spots on my back are moles and dark pigmentation from having moles frozen off. What a trade off!!! These procedures do not remove moles and will hopefully lighten the dark spots and peel away damaged skin. Literally on Wednesday my skin was suddenly very flakey. I purchased some wonderful oil called Organic Squaline Oil which is made by Dorey Aromatherapy in Dallas. It is made from 100% organic olive leaf and is a stable oil most like the skin’s natural sebum. It relieves the itching and I love it. I am not supposed to use lotion on the treated areas.
I will have to keep you posted on my progress and will write another post after the wedding revealing the results. I am committed to the process and will continue to take better care of my skin with sunscreen and protective clothing. If I go to the beach or am outside for an extended amount of time I always wear sunscreen and a hat. I am lax when I am just running around town. I will be honest and I do feel like I need to cover up to hide the spots and peeling. I do own 2 summer cotton sleeveless turtlenecks. So if you see me out and about in a turtle neck and jacket, you will know why. The biggest challenge is working out. I was a little freaked out about not sweating but I have gotten beyond that. I did go to The Gap and purchase some crew neck t-shirts that come up pretty high and a couple of work out tops that cover my neck. My husband got a good laugh out of my purchase for a temporary situation!! One of the workout tops also covers my hands. I am really excited about seeing results on my hands. I think they really show age!! I dropped by Bella MD on the way home from the Y today as I thought Sarah might want to check out my progress. She happened to be free and said I was coming along nicely!! I am scheduled to have a HydraFacial with Sarah on the Monday before I leave for the wedding. This will exfoliate and smooth and hydrate the skin. This story will be continued!! I’ll keep you posted!!
6170 Sherry Lane, Suite 100 Dallas, Texas 75225