I Had Fraxel Laser and Didn't Die
December, 2018 - Issue #171

I didn't want to get Fraxel laser treatment because of a guy or TV commercials that make me feel like a crypt keeper. I wanted it because I've given so much "me" to so many, sometimes against my will and better judgement - and I decided it was time to take a little back for myself. Fraxel was a glimmer - or, more accurately, a laser - of hope... A no-downtime way to undo some of the damage the last few years of immense stress and emotional trials had levied on my heart - and shown up on my face.

My come-to-Fraxel revelation started when I was researching the FDA-approved laser. My mom, who's in her mid 60s, was considering it. All those nights going over before and after images, patient testimonials and research papers about efficacy had made it clear to me that this was proven science with excellent aesthetic returns (Seriously, Google the pics!) and very low risk of even minor complications.

I'm very cautious, but I knew I wanted the results I was seeing in image search after image search. DermaCure Valencia was the obvious choice for my transformation, not only because Dr. Craig Ingber is a renowned Fraxel laser expert, but because their online reviews are copious and as glowing as the aging-in-reverse faces posted as proof. I knew I'd be in good hands.

The day of the treatment, my makeup-free face was slathered with prescription-grade numbing cream, which was left on for about an hour. When Dr. Ingber explained that the laser would be passed over each area four times, with the discomfort peaking on the last pass, I decided that I'd use mental imagery to get through it. My heart was pounding with the uncertainty of it all, but when Pass 1 began on my cheek, I instantly relaxed. "This isn't bad at all," I thought, as I pictured myself in a boat on a calm lake, with fall leaves rustling in the wind. On Pass 2, I was still "in" my boat, but now the sun felt a little too toasty, so I stuck my feet in the imaginary lake water. Pass 3 had me repeating in my head, "I'm in a boat, on a lake," but that's as far as I got, because that was when the process became uncomfortable - a 3 out of 10 on a pain scale. "I'm in a boat, I'm in a boat..." was the best I could manage on Pass 4, but it wasn't terrible by any means - and before I really felt true discomfort, that section was done, marked precisely to prevent any overlap.

The entire laser process only took 12 minutes, with Dr. Ingber using that time to educate - and surely distract - me. He's incredibly personal, so well informed and takes great care to ensure that you feel comfortable and confident every step of the way.

I got Fraxel laser - and I didn't die.

Day 1: For the first two hours, my face had its own heartbeat. It tingled like a sunburn for about four hours, but it never hurt. Swelling is minimal and there's very little change to the color of my skin.

Day 2: I was supposed to sleep upright, but I rolled over and now the left side of my face is more swollen than the right. My family said that I don't look any different - just really tan - but my 12 year old daughter says that I look puffy and should drink lots of water. My skin feels very tight and I reapply rich moisturizers throughout the day. By night, I have teeny-tiny brown specs and a mild rough texture; both are easily concealed with my mineral-makeup that has extra much-needed sunblock.

Day 3: I sat in the shower for 30 minutes and let the steam loosen the dead skin, which rolled off onto my fingertips when I wiped water off my face. The places where I'm naturally oiliest - my T Zone - has shed the tight, protective layer of dead cells and I can start to see the baby-soft, refined texture below.

Day 4: I'm no longer the least bit swollen, it never got bad at all, and most of the dead skin is gone. I never shed or flaked; it came off during gentle washing with a cream cleanser. I know it takes about three months to really see the results of the additional collagen that has been created, but superficially, I already have the look you'd expect from a medical-grade peel. My skin is crystal clear, incredibly smooth and soft and I have a noticeable youthful glow - sans highlighter!
Book your Fraxel with Dr. Ingber of DermaCure Valencia. 257-8400

Publisher's Note: I just turned 40! In honor of my big birthday, I've committed to trying things "outside my box" with only one caveat: It has to have little likelihood of killing me physically. (I do have three kids.). But for someone famous for shutting down to-do suggestions with, "I'd rather die!" these 12 activities are plenty of stretch for a gal who's spent four decades trying to get out of leaving the house.
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