Friday, January 1, 2021

Facial Laser Treatment - BBL and NanoLaser by Sciton

One of my self-care goals for 2021 is to establish a good skin care routine and get some laser treatments for my skin to get rid of some redness and "older" skin. In November, my plastic surgeon had a special day where he was discounting services offered at his office. I ended up buying a package that would have me receiving regular facial treatments in 2021 so that I could establish a good baseline for my skin. After that, I'll just have to receive these same laser treatments every 6-12 to maintain my baseline.

I am choosing to have two different Sciton laser treatments. Neither of these treat the surface skin directly, but use heat and light therapies to go deeper to where problems can start. I started both of these treatments about two weeks ago. 

The first one is called BBL (broadband light) therapy. "BBL treats a wide variety of conditions. For skin rejuvenation, Forever Young BBL removes age spots, freckles, redness, small vessels and more. Forever Young BBL can alsobe used to reduce unwanted hair and control active acne. All areas of the body can be treated."  I wanted to remove redness, small blood vessels and darker spots. The treatment didn't take long. Side effects include initial redness and swelling. The redness went away in about two hours. The swelling decreased more and more each day with all swelling gone in a week. I had my treatment on Thursday and was still a bit swollen on Monday. I am having two treatments, one month apart. My 2nd treatment is mid-January and then I'm done with BBL for a year. My doctor has offered free BBL to treat the redness in my neck so I may have a 3rd treatment, if needed.

The second treatment I am having is called NanoLaser. "It uses light energy to instantly remove the top layers of the skin at a depth that also accelerates the skin’s own renewal process by activating special messenger cells. Microdermabrasion and chemical peels often don’t get deep enough and other lasers leave a layer of heat-damaged cells that interrupt the ability of these messenger cells to communicate with deeper layers of skin. Only the NanoLaserPeel from Sciton has the precision to work at just the right depth, creating beautifully smooth, luminous skin." This is not a chemical peel or dermabrasion, so there is no change to the surface of the skin. Only real side effect is some peeling. 


BEFORE TREATMENT - no makeup or filters 


AFTER TREATMENT - 1 hour


AFTER TREATMENT - This is about 2 hours after and you can see the redness is disappearing

The BBL treatment was uncomfortable for me. Numbing cream is not generally used with this treatment, but I do believe it should be offered. I am going to ask my esthetician if she will use it for the next treatment. (I've had SkinPen microneedling and Excel-V and it felt similar to both.) Each zap feels really hot and like a rubber band snapping your skin HARD. Cheryl made up to three passes on each area (only 2 on my nose and chin as she said they looked pretty good) with each one getting more intense. She was great though and told me what she was doing every step of the way and let me take a breather if it was getting too intense. This treatment only took about 30 minutes. She was supposed to do my neck where I still have redness from blood that has not been absorbed by my body, but I think I'm still too sensitive there, so we will try again in a month and I am to take Advil prior to getting there. The BBL causes swelling for a few days. I am to take 800mg Advil every 8 hours until swelling subsides and sleep elevated for a night or two. I really want to do the BBL treatment on my sun damaged chest, but my skin is VERY sensitive and I'm not sure I can do it. If I choose to do it, she recommends late summer when the skin is at its reddest so that she knows where to aim the BBL.

The NanoLaser has 3 settings - microdermabrasion, light chemical peel and deep chemical peel. Because my face was already hurting from the BBL, I chose the lightest setting. I will go deeper over time. The Nano takes off the top layer of skin. I had some light peeling for a few days around my mouth/nose and near my eyes. I expect there will be more peeling the deeper that I go. It didn't really hurt. I could feel it, but she hands you this hose which blows cold air and you aim it at your face as she's lasering it - it really helps lessen the heat! It only took about 10 minutes for this treatment.

After both treatments, she put EltaMD Laser Balm all over my face and gave me samples to take home. I am to keep it covered for 24 hours. It is basically Vaseline. I cannot wear a facial mask (Covid) for 48 hours, so I need to keep that in mind for future appointments. The mask will irritate the skin. I felt like I had a bad sunburn for the first hour or so after the treatment finished. Two hours after and it just felt tight due to the swelling.



DAY 1 - This is the day after and you can see the dark spots that were treated. Hard to describe, but the dark spots came to the surface and flaked off! No more spots!

I am waiting to take some before/after comparison shots once I've had multiple treatments. One thing that I did notice is that the BBL helped lighten the dark spots under my eyes. When I put on makeup, my skin is so smooth that it goes on easier. I plan to have the microdermabrasion level done again in January. After that, I'll go deeper with each treatment, probably two at the light peel and the final two at the deep peel level. My esthetician thought this was a good plan since I do have 6 treatments to do.


Face Lift - 3 months post-op

I can't believe that it's been three months since my surgery. The swelling is pretty much gone, but it does come and go - often in the same day! All of my incisions are looking good and the redness is pretty much gone. The skin is still sensitive and numb in areas and I can't "scrub" my face, moving skin up/down or side-to-side as that hurts. I wash my face gently and pat the skin dry. Here are some updated pictures with descriptions.

Had to get my license done with our new address and was surprised to see my new neck appear in the photo!! These pictures were taken two years apart and I am the same weight in both pictures.


This was my goal photo - high school senior picture
I think we came close. I still have some extra skin on the sides of my chin, but some things do have to change after 35 years, right? LOL!


These are close-ups of the extra skin on each side of my chin. My doctor will assess this issue at my 6-month follow up in April. Honestly, I'm not sure that I'll do anything about it because it's more a factor of how my bone structure slants up and not back.  I am leaning towards having a revision in 10 years when things have "fallen" again, so don't want to have too much surgery in the same area. I have also found, since taking these photos, that if I'm eating "bad" (lots of sugar, dairy, or gluten), my face and abdomen swell. So, my food sensitivities are playing a part in my swelling.

 

The photos below show how the swelling under my chin comes and goes during the day.  I am usually more swollen in the morning (top) and it dissipates as the day goes on (bottom). This is one reason that I'm willing to believe that, by my 6-month follow up,  this issue may have resolved itself and I won't be swollen anymore. 

 

So, all in all, still extremely happy with the results. I'll post again in April after my 6-month follow up for sure. Until then, I'll be sharing my experience having facial laser treatments and Jeuveau (like Botox) in separate posts. My goal for 2021 is to get my skin in tip-top shape!

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Face Lift - 8 Weeks Post op

Just a quick post to share how I'm doing 8 weeks after surgery. The first picture shows me a year ago (11/29/2019) and then on Thanksgiving day this year. The 2nd picture shows me at age 16 ... my nice chin line is back and I still have the same cheeks!

I am feeling really good and back to all normal activities. I am still experiencing some swelling off and on under my chin so will go ahead with Botox injections to my salivary glands this month. 


I really enjoyed putting on my first turtleneck of the year 
and not having to worry about my double chin!











Thursday, November 19, 2020

Update on 6-week follow-up visit

I am soooo happy with the surgeon that I chose for my facelift!! Went to see Dr. Hall for my 6-week po f/u yesterday. He said that I am looking great and healing well.

I wrote earlier on Monday about the lumps and redness in my neck. I also now have lumps that are now visible from the front.


The lumps are my salivary glands. Dr. Hall is going to inject Botox into them which will shrink them. Main side effect is a bit of dry mouth, but he said that is the only way to get rid of the lumps. I'm all in for that as I am not happy with the way it looks now.
Dr. Hall took his time looking at the lumps on my neck and said that he will give me steroid injections, just not yet. He wants to give the lumps a bit more time to possibly decrease in size or go away on their own, but will consider it between 4-6 months post op. I am happy with a conservative approach to this as I do think some of these lumps could possibly dissipate on their own given enough time.
As for the redness on my neck, he's going to use the Sciton BBL laser. I had bought two BBL treatments last week as part of my facial care for 2021, but he said he'd give me more treatments if that didn't do it. He also is going to zap the incisions behind my ears with the BBL laser as he said they are redder than he would like them to be at this stage.
I feel soooo much better after seeing him today. It is so reassuring to have a doctor who sees the issues I am dealing with and wants to fix them so that I am super happy with my results. I would highly recommend Dr. Hall and his staff - they have been there when I called with questions and very responsive to my concerns. I couldn't have asked for better care during this process!

Monday, November 16, 2020

Facelift - 6 week post-op

I see Dr. Hall in a few days for my 6-week follow-up, but thought I'd post my pictures today and then a quick post after my visit. I'm feeling really good. I still have tightness and swelling under my chin and in my neck. I also still have lumps in my neck, mostly on the left side. I'm honestly not sure if they are going to go away at this point, although I've read from others' experiences that I just need to be patient. However, it is hard to be patient when one side of my neck looks really good and the other is still a bit jacked up. I'll see what Dr. Hall says in a few days, but I'm honestly not convinced that the lumps are going to go away with time. I did have a lymphatic drainage massage about 10 days ago and it helped with the swelling a bit. 

I also got my haircut last week to celebrate the new me! I kept my hair long on purpose in case I needed it to cover my neck or other incisions, but I feel very comfortable going out in public and no longer need the longer hair. 

So, here are my pictures taken this morning. I've pulled my hair back for ease of picture taking. I've also inserted some pictures from a few weeks ago so you can see the before pictures.



There is less swelling under my chin when comparing the above pic and the right one below



Not much change in 2 weeks, but I can see less swelling 
where the back of my chin meets the top of my neck.


Here is the current situation with my neck ... still really concerned about the lumps. I will have some laser treatment to break up the bruising/blood that is still in the tissues. The chin scar is bigger and more noticeable than I would like, but I am hoping it will improve with a bit of massage and time. I have to remember that it's only been six weeks!




right side above, left side below


The incisions around my ears have healed up very well. 
The ones behind my ears are still pink and will be for a while. 







So, there you have it! All is pretty good at six weeks! I will be going to Dr. Hall's office fairly regularly for the next year as I have purchased a package of laser treatments for my skin. The treatment is mostly for sun damage, but will also treat wrinkles, uneven skin tone and possibly my scars. My first treatment is next month and I'll be posting my experience once I have it done. I am glad that I will be at my doctor's office regularly so we can possibly have a quick look at the neck lumps and bruising to be sure it is improving.