Read below as my fun and sun loving ‘tennis/soccer/ballpark mom’ sister-in-law shares her struggles with finding adequate sun protection and reversing the damage from a life well-lived in the sun. (Spoiler: You can scroll down for her Before & After pics).
“I have a love/hate relationship with the sun. I spent my youth outdoors in Southern Mississippi – fishing with my father, working in the yard, and relaxing poolside with coconut-scented tanning oil with my girlfriends. Thanks to my mother’s Cherokee and Choctaw heritage and my father’s Scottish roots, I had the best of both worlds: I could tan with ease and have cute freckles. My favorite time of day was noon so I could get the maximum sunlight straight from Heaven. My mantra was: “Please God tan, my face! Tan my neck! And please don’t forget to tan my hands!” Such ignorant bliss. By my late 20s, some damage was apparent, but readily muted with a strong topical regimen provided by my “only- get-a-tan-from-a-bottle” preaching dermatologist sister-in-law.
Daily use of sunscreen and avoidance of peak UV time (10am-4pm) as well as nightly use of a hydroquinone or retinoid-based cream helped for years until two moments in motherhood brought me back to the sun: TENNIS + TEAM SPORTS. As the pool provided more stress than rest (who would sign up to chase a toddler around water), tennis became my passion (translation: our gym/tennis club provided childcare). Soon I was on the court 4-5 mornings per week during peak sunlight. Unfortunately, cute sun kisses turned into muddy blotches. Sunscreen was not enough. Soon I became that girl on the court in 90+ degree heat wearing a long-sleeved high neck shirt and a zinc oxide face. My pigment problems seemed to stabilize, but then my boys started team sports and now I spend up to 36 weekends a year at a sunny ballpark or a shade-less soccer field! Despite my umbrella shade structure, long sleeved shirts, big hats and more zinc oxide than water, I still tan easily and get more brown spots. It turns out, I just can’t hide from God’s tanning machine…
The day of reckoning came last year after I turned 40 and had a total hysterectomy. Despite aggressive sun protection and an intense topical regimen, I looked in the mirror and saw a “freckle beard” on my cheeks, deep creases on my chest, and “old lady spots” all over my arms. While physically, I am stronger and more confident than ever, my aging skin no longer matches how I feel. Nothing in a bottle can fix me now. Enter the Sciton Halo Laser: it targets discoloration and fine lines and wrinkles and redness. Sign me up! But can it really be a reset button for the last decade? …. Absolutely!” – LHB
Lara’s HALO Diary
Please note that Halo laser treatments are fully customizable to treat your skin’s needs. For Lara, with her Native American roots, we chose to start with a deeper treatment first to better gauge her skin’s response the laser. We then pretreated her with a bleaching cream before the second treatment for the superficial pigment to prevent any unwanted post-inflammatory pigment. The pictures below are her actual pictures and have not been retouched.
Target Goal: Deeper Pigment and Wrinkles
After an hour of “numb time” Angela (AKA: AP) took me to the treatment room and removed the numbing cream. My face felt “dental office” numb. After measuring my face with the laser hand piece, she put little goggles over my eyes and it was go time! I was so anxious at first, but I was pleasantly shocked when I could hardly feel a thing! The numbing cream really did its job. As she made strokes across each area, it felt like tiny little pin pricks, but was VERY tolerable! She ran it over one of the five areas several times until the machine beeped then moved on to the next area and repeated. Then she quickly placed cold pieces of gauze and ice packs on my face to keep it cool. The overall treatment was faster than I imagined and lasted about 20 minutes. Afterwards, my face was HOT! For the tennis ladies – imagine your face after playing tennis in 90-degree heat without a hat for 3 hours (not that I’ve ever done that 😉). I laid there for about 5-7 minutes with the ice-cold gauze on my face and let it all cool down. They gave me cold ice packs and a spray bottle of Avene Thermal Spring water to spritz on my face as needed. After an hour I looked like this.
My face was burning and hot, but with ice packs it was manageable. Tylenol was helpful. By bedtime, the burning sensation had subsided and if I wasn’t looking in the mirror, I wouldn’t know I had anything done! I cleansed my face with Revision Gentle Cleanser and applied Avene Cicalfate before heading to bed. As per instructions, I slept with my head elevated. Tip: an airplane pillow helped me be more comfortable on my back.
Post-Halo Day 1
When I woke up I expected my face to be swollen, but it wasn’t. It felt a little tight, but otherwise, zero discomfort! I had lots of little brown spots like tiny speckles of freckles – AKA, MENDs (microscopic epithelial necrotic debris). I washed and moisturized like the evening before and my skin felt fine. I did not feel the need for any extra moisturizer, but I do live in muggy South Louisiana. About 26 hours after the procedure, my skin felt a tiny bit rougher. If I hadn’t prepared myself to be in “ugly face lockdown”, I would have felt fine going in public. I looked like I had a light sunburn.
Post-Halo Day 2
No significant changes over night. I washed and moisturized like the day before. My face was a little tighter with a bronzed tint. It didn’t burn anymore, however, it was rough and felt like a fine sandpaper. From across the room, you would not know that I had done anything. My skin looked tan – but for those who know me they could assume I’d been playing tennis or at a baseball tournament. 😊 As the day came to an end, it started to become a little itchy.
Post Halo Day 3 + 4
These two days were similar. Thousands of little crusts or flakes the size of a pin prick covered my face. It felt like table salt. Over these two days they got tighter and didn’t necessarily itch, just annoying and rough feeling. My SIL (Dr. Long) told me I could put Vaseline as a base layer before I showered to help remove some of them. I started using a hydroquinone cream once a day as well. Brown spots stay gone!
Post Halo Day 5+
(picture comparison is Day 5 and Day 8)
More MENDs sloughed off on Day 5. But the best part about this day? I went back to the gym, and a guy I see nearly everyday – a guy big into fitness, but not into skin said, “You look different! Your face is shiny!” You couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I told him it was the “Halo Glow”!
By day 6, 95% of the little crusts were gone! My skin was so SMOOTHE and GLOWING! I was still a little pink. Most of my freckles were lighter or gone, but a few of my larger brown spots remained. FYI for the 20-somethings, those stubborn old lady spots are harder to remove than to make! Tip: the SkinMedica Mineral Defense SPF felt amazing.
Target Goal: Superficial Pigment and Pore Size
A few weeks later, I returned to Red River Dermatology, for my second Halo laser treatment. The goal was to target those old lady spots on my lateral cheeks and improve pore size. After an hour of numb time, AP began to work her Halo magic. The energy density was higher this treatment and it took a bit longer. It also burned more. After the procedure, I had to lay there for a moment with the Zimmer chiller to “regain” myself (ouch!). It burned like a severe sunburn for about 1.5 to 2 hours. With the thermal spring water spray and the handy phone fan, I made it! The AC Vent blew on me on the whole way home and that truly helped to comfort me more. That night once again, I propped my head up. Tip: Tylenol before the laser seemed to help me.
Post-Halo Day 1
I woke up with minimal swelling and new MENDs. I ran errands with little fear of embarrassment;)
Post-Halo Day 2
My MENDs were darker and more numerous than my previous treatment. My face felt tighter with more swelling. If you did not live in my house, though, you probably would not have noticed. The best part about the swelling? My wrinkles looked filled in 😊.
Post-Halo Day 3
I wanted to stay home. My face was dark with MENDs in the morning and then the flaking began. The flakes felt like table salt if you rubbed them lightly. My face was very tight and itchy and looked “dirty” due to the flaky MENDs. I was still a bit swollen. This was the “worst” looking day by far.
Post-Halo Day 4
Hallelujah! The MENDs started to come off in force. When I awoke, I was so flaky I had to use Vaseline to remove some of it. As you should not pick or rub with a washcloth, this method works well. The new skin that is being uncovered with the removal of the MENDs was very pink — brand new skin? The MENDs lasted longer and seemed darker on the worst of my age spots which made them look worse on this day.
Post-Halo Day 5+
Over the next few days, all of the MENDs disappeared and bright new beautiful skin emerged!! Besides my freckles disappearing and my age spots fading quickly, the fine lines between the corner of my eye and the hairline are the biggest difference!!!! It’s incredible! And the best news – my skin will continue to improve over the next few months!
Goals Achieved: Brighter, smoother, “glowing” skin with less brown spots and smaller pore size 😊.
Maintenance Plan: Sun protection, topicals and quarterly Forever Young BBL treatments to target the remaining pigment.
Find out what Halo can do for you. Please contact our office at 318-442-9395 or firstname.lastname@example.org with further questions about finding your customized Halo Glow.