I am currently 8 months past my last laser procedure and it has been a roller coaster ride both mentally, emotionally and physically. I look at myself today and can't remember what I looked like before, but I know I didn't look like this. I wanted to write this post to let people know that it is possible to heal. I have seen improvement in my skin and am optimistic that I will continue to improve. Although there are days like today where I think "uh I think I'm getting worse" when yesterday I thought "oh my, my skin looks the best its' been in awhile". It's amazing how your emotions can change from day to day even from hour to hour. There are days where I look in the mirror and think, "wow, I really have improved" and then later in the day I feel like I look run down and worse. I wanted to post what has helped me heal but I wanted to share first what I went through the first 8 months.
First 6 weeks post laser - skin looked great, but I noticed dark circle starting to form under my eyes and a slight loss of volume. At first I thought I was dehydrated, nothing more.
2-3 months post laser - dark circles are more like hollows under my eyes and I feel panicked that this is definite laser damage. I start doing research and find this website and others that are experiencing the same thing. I begin to have a sensation under my eyes, not really a pain, almost like a tugging or numbing feeling. Almost as if I could feel the damage happening to my face.
3-4 months post laser - I start researching on how to heal my face. I know now that this is definite laser damage and I need to try and stop this from continuing. My face starts to breakout horribly. The worst acne I've ever had in my life.
5-6 months post laser - I am starting to be convinced that the damage has at least stopped from the products I have been using (will get to this later). My face is starting to clear up slightly, but at a snails pace. I'm starting to see that the dark circle are not as dark. Sometimes I feel that volume has filled under my eyes slightly. For one month I experience twitching every time I sneezed. It eventually went away.
7-8 months out - dark circle are improving, volume has filled in slightly 20-30%. acne is mostly clear.
Products I used:
The first couple of months were the worst. My face was so sensitive I couldn't even put water on it without it turning red. I used Cerave foaming cleanser with EltaMD AM Therapy. These products helped calm my face down immensely but I am convinced that the Cerave was the cause of my breakouts.
After the first few months, I was able to go back to my Serious Skin Care Glycolic Cleanser and continued to use the Elta MD AM Therapy. My face started to clear up. I began using Psoria Gold under my eyes both morning and night and to this day I am convinced that this is the main product that stopped the damage from continuing under my eyes. Probably 2 weeks after using the Psoria the pain in my face began to subside. I also noticed that when I stopped using the Psoria, the pain would come back. It has not done anything to improve the texture or volume in my face. I use it mainly to hold back the continued damage/inflammation. I believe it works. I continue to use Psoria once a day at night to this day. I also did research on red light therapy and found an article on how NASA used red light therapy to heal, so I purchased a Baby Quasar Red Light. It was an expensive purchase, but to me well worth the cost because I believe it has helped heal my skin. I used it 5 days a week under my eyes. It helped lighten my dark circles and hide the broken capillaries under my skin. It took about 8 weeks before I was convinced that yes this is working. I continue to use it 5 days a week to this day.
5-6 months out - I start using Retin-A .25% once a week. The bad acne I had experienced left me with bad scars and marks. I feel that the Retin-a has helped soften the pores, minimize the acne marks and continues to help my skin. I started to get greedy and wanted to use it more often, but just found it too be way to strong for my face. I started to get red and very flaky with dry skin. I decided to stick with the once a week. I started to take supplements. I took Vitafusion Womans Multivitamin, Alpha Lipoic Acid, and Turmeric (Curcumin) with 3 black peppercorns (black peppercorn helps curcumin to absorb in the body)
6-7 months out- I feel like I'm reaching a plateau on my improvement. I do more research on antioxidants, vitamins etc. I begin taking the following after reading Dr Perricone's Top 10 supplement recommendations.
No longer take Vitafusion Womans Vitamins but take GNC Hair Skin & Nails (2 tablets a day)
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Evening Primrose Oil
Vitamin C Chewable
Vitamin B Complex
Month 8 to today - I feel that I have improved immensely. I am still doing research on what can help me heal. Not only have I seen improvement in my skin, but I feel I have more energy and am more alert. I used to get headaches often (unrelated to laser) and I don't have them anymore. I work out when I can (winter makes it hard). I worked out a lot during months 4-6 during warmer weather and I feel that it helped my mood and circulation. I try and eat semi healthy, but don't adhere to any strict diet. I try and drink as much water as I can, but sometimes it can be hard for me, and when I don't, I can see it on my face, especially under my eyes. I want to continue to find ways to improve myself and might start a healthier diet as well as considering taking Pycnogenol and Grape Seed Extract which I read a great antioxidants. The most important thing is to remain positive. Celebrate any small victory. I lost quite a bit of weight at the beginning because I was very depressed, but now that mentally I feel better, I've gained weight and I feel like I look healthier.
I wanted to say that everyone's journey is different and I wanted to share mine. I felt it was important to break down when I started using what because I feel that certain things helped at different stages. My story may not help you or it may help others, but I felt it was important to share. God speed and I hope all of you find some peace. Thanks.