Firstly, I want to start off saying skin pigment is cool, damn cool, I love freckles, they give so much character and are so unique – hell I have even made faux freckles in editorials I love them that much! However, sometimes, pigment can act against you, sometimes pigment can get a little crazy, especially as we age or when us lady folk go through crazy hormone changes. Until recently I thought this was just a myth, that was, until I started to grow a little of what I will call ‘a small rusty looking beard’ aka a little hyperpigmentation on my chinny-chin-chin.
It was due to my ‘rusty beard’ that I wound up at Aesthetix Brisbane having a chat with legend dermatologist (who also happens to be my dermy) Dr Russell Hills.
As a bit of background on me, I had just come back from a month of holidaying in Mexico and was the perfect shade of chocolate, ready for the summer time, however, tan time had made the aforementioned ‘rusty beard’ a little more prominent. Also, it was at this point I realised that going in the sun and getting ‘tanned’ was a big ‘no-no’ in the whole ‘tanned skin’ vs ‘chasing the fountain of youth’ debate. The traumatised look that receptionist gave me when I spoke about my fun in the sun was enough to make me want to spend my life savings (which in all honestly, really is not all that much *laughs but secretly cries*) on Bondi Sands and sunscreen.
My 'before' picture: Firstly, I need to say there is nothing wrong at all with my face! I just had a little redness from scarring on my chin, eyeline wrinkles (from living a great life!) and a lot of pigment on my cheeks.
In the spirit of disclosing everything, I also have a tiny bit of acne scarring on my chin (damn your hormonal breakouts!!) and some fine lines (aka wrinkles) appearing around my eyes, because I am both sickeningly happy with my life and also slowly ageing (en route to reaching my destiny, which is to become a pensioner that secretly trolls telephone providers’ social media accounts).
To remedy all of the above, Dr Hills recommended I complete a course of three to four Picotoning facial treatments using a Cynosure machine. He comments “As the Picosure laser has such a rapid pulse, very little thermal effect occurs in surrounding tissue which minimizes the downtime and side effects. The modality can be used to treat wrinkles, acne scars and pigmentation”.
The Cynosure Machine and Picosure Laser
Dr Hills further explains “The Picotoning facial is performed with the Focus Lens Array Handpiece attached to the Picosure Laser. This hand piece focuses the Picosure beam 20x creating laser induced optical breakdown in the skin (epidermis). Even though the dermis is not directly injured, pigmentation is addressed as well as new collagen and elasticin production occurs without the healing episode seen with other fractional or ablative lasers”.
I need to say that this was my first time seeing a dermatologist, first time being lasered, first time admitting that I am in fact, getting old, so I was a little bit uneasy, it made me feel a lot better that this treatment is not too invasive, has no injectables (woo-hoo still botox free!) and the recovery time is minimal. “The results are quite dramatic especially considering the minimal downtime (erythema for around 1 hour and slight swelling). No other apparatus can achieve this level of improvement with so little inconvenience to the patient” Dr Hills says.
On my treatment days, I like to book my session toward the afternoon and go home for the night. My skin is a little pink and feeling a bit like sunburn after the treatment, however by the next morning I am back to normal.
This is the amount of redness I had after my second treatment. Also go easy on me - this is the picture I sent my Mother.
Pain wise – and I have a low pain threshold (like faint from a blood test low! Haha), it is not too bad at all. There were a few parts around my eyes that were a little pinchy, however you are given a nozzle that blows cool air onto your face during the procedure, I found that if you use the cool air and directly follow the laser with it, it counters the pain – ever on the more tender areas.
The only down side for me is finding a sunscreen that does not upset my skin, which until I started wearing sunscreen every day I did not realise would be so difficult! Eh sensitive skin issues! Many sunscreens will not only block out the sun, but also block out your pores, which led to a few post-treatment breakouts. My suggestion is: try and find a sunscreen that agrees with you before your treatment, that way you don’t have to go a few days makeup free with breakouts. But I think that is a blog post on its own.
I am two treatments in and already reaping the benefits of clear skin, pigment has dramatically reduced and I was able to I was able to liaise with Dr Hills to make sure I still keep my ‘character building’ freckles that are on my nose.
A photo about two weeks after my second treatment - woo-hoo! Scarring on chin reduced, pigment on my jaw and cheek minimised!
Lastly, although this treatment was perfect for what I was after, it is not suitable for pregnant and breastfeeding women and anybody who has had current or recent Roaccutane usage or are on photosensitizing medication.
If you would like to learn more about Cynosure please click here, find out more about the Picosure Lense here, or if you would like to book in a consultation with Dr Hills his details are here.