I wasn’t planning on another update on IPL until I had finished all 5 of my treatments but I think that my 3rd session warrants an update.
Long store short: my skin reacted BADLY to the 3rd session. 😦
I went into the 3rd session thinking it would be a routine treatment like the previous 2 sessions – a little zap and then some redness, then smooth skin and maybe more flaking of spots. Boy, was I wrong! The 3rd session was the most painful one. I guess I was visibly flinching when the esthetician zapped me with the wand because she asked if I was ok a few times. I said, yes, I’m fine, continue! Even though it stung really badly. The sensation was like someone poked me with a hot curling iron! She continued with the session, passing over my face a minimum of 3 times, going over my more troubled areas like my cheeks and temple. For some reason she also focused around my jawline and upper lip area (this is the same esthetician I’ve had all along).
My face got zapped like this! 😮
I thought my face would be beet red but I looked in the mirror immediately after the session and it was just a slight blush. That evening, I already started to see a few of my freckles darkening – a sign that they will likely scab over and fall off. I applied gentle skincare on my face that night (the Mizon Snail Recovery Gel Cream). The next morning, a couple of my spots were raised, like small blisters (but not filled with pus… sorry, that word is gross). Several areas of my face had red splotches, slightly raised areas that looked like hives. Overall, my face looked a bit tender – nothing that some concealer and foundation couldn’t mask.
However, by that evening, my face took a turn for the worst. I had raised bumps and red welts covering about 30% of my face. They didn’t hurt, but they were itchy and sensitive to touch. At first I couldn’t tell if they were just allergic reactions or actual burns from the laser. I had read some horror stories about laser treatment burns. I honestly looked like I had bad patches of acne but without the whiteheads. Luckily for me, the worst of the bumps were around my jawline and temple so I was able to hide them with my hair. However, I had a patch of reaction right above my lip that was impossible to hide – concealer can only do so much, it can’t hide skin texture! I had several people at work ask me what the heck happened with my face… some people just stared awkwardly at the bumps. My SO thought I had permanently damaged my skin (and for a brief moment I worried that I had too!). And of course, wouldn’t you know it – that week I had to give a presentation in front of a lot of people! Ugh. 😥
I googled “skin allergic reaction” and this photo best represented how my skin looked (source).
I was hesitant to use anything strong on my face since I didn’t know what the reaction was, so I used my trusty Bioderma Cicabio Creme to help calm the redness and itching. On the 4th night, I used a clay-based mask (Consonant DHE mask) to help draw out any impurities. Finally, by day 5 my skin started to look more normal – the bumps reduced and redness faded. My non-medical conclusion is that I reacted to the heat of the laser – my skin is sensitive to heat and cold, and exposure to any extreme temperature causes my skin to break out in hives. I suspect the concentrated laser was on a setting that was too high for my skin and it wasn’t able to tolerate it. One positive thing came out of this: a few of the most prominent freckle / dark spots I had flaked off and my skin is quite smooth now. 😐
So, will I continue with IPL? Yes, I will. I do not fault the esthetician – she did ask me if I was ok but I claimed I was fine. Here’s what I’ve learned: if something feels off, speak up! I guess some part of me associate pain with “it must be working”. I knew that the pain level was not the same as my previous sessions but, in my mind, stronger means better results, right? 😕 Well, we all have limits and now I’ve discovered mine. I have my next session in early April and I’ll be sure to advise them of my experience and request that they revert back to the previous setting!
My skin is finally back to normal now! Have you ever had a bad reaction to skin care or facial treatment?