My Mean Mug
This has nothing to do with food or farms. It has everything to do with my face.
Those closest to me are well familiar with the fact that I am not very good at being a stereotypical “girl.” I’ve never had a manicure. Nor a pedicure. I don’t have fake nails. Or fake boobs. And nary a fake tooth. My hair color is fake—I’ll give you that. I’m not ready to go gray yet. But I’m hard-pressed to spend time figuring out the best styling products or gels. I don’t wear a lot of jewelry. (Though I’m actively trying to do better.) I shy away from heels and cocktail dresses and always opt for boots and jeans. I wear make-up, though I’m certain I’m applying it all wrong, and I’m not a big fan of shopping. I usually only venture into stores when seasons change. I don’t seek out massages, enjoy spa days with the ladies, drink wine or get crafty with sewing needles and glue.
This is me. I grew up a tomboy, riding skateboards and BMX bikes and playing neighborhood pick-up games of football. Graceful, I am not. My perma-scuffed knees and numerous scars speak to my inherent clumsiness. (I’m nursing a cut on my palm right now from dropping—and shattering—the blender today.) And my ability to randomly fall, bump into, or mow someone down gave way to a rather successful career in roller derby back in the day.
All this is to say I likely never would have stepped foot into the office of Christopher Jones MD had my niece not worked there, and my sister not offered to take me there. “Let’s get IPL,” she said. “It will hurt,” she said.
IPL stands for intense pulsed light, which can be used to remove hair and reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and age spots. By the time I went with her, my sister already had gone through a few IPL treatments to remove sun damage from her face. I did spend a few younger years in tanning beds, so I knew I had some sun damage, too.
Until my first IPL treatment, I didn’t know exactly how much. Our office visit was quick; the procedure, which took less than 30 minutes, was relatively easy. The first thing they do is wash your face, before escorting you over to stand in front of a camera. I wasn’t kicking and screaming for this, but I also didn’t go without complaint. I’m 46-years-old. Why would I want someone to wash the make-up off my face before taking my picture?
The reason for the picture is to track my progress, of course. They take pictures from various angles, identify the sun damage and save several versions of the files in both black-and-white and color. This allows me to see what gets pulled out with each new treatment.
After the reality-check photo shoot, I returned to the chair to go under the laser. My sister was right: IPL does hurt, but it isn’t terrible. Those tiny pulses of light are certainly hot to your skin, but the sensation—which feels a little like if a cigarette were to burn you—only lasts for a few seconds.
It took a couple dozen bursts of light, and a whole lot of me cringing and wincing, before we were done. But then that was it. My face was red and splotchy in places, and when I looked in the mirror I could see the sun damage emerging.
There was one sun spot that, for years, I’d tried to cover with make-up. It was small but mighty, and located high on my cheekbone under my left eye. After receiving a little laser action, that particular spot quickly rose up to the occasion by blistering a little. The very next day, it fell off. And still other spots emerged.
The unfortunate part of the treatment is that those spots show up and hang around for a week or two after the office visit, eventually falling off as you wash and exfoliate your face. After treatment #1, I looked like a middle-aged Raggedy Ann. Not cool, laser people. Not cool.
In the end, the treatment did what it was supposed to do. All the spots fell off. My skin developed a little extra collagen, and, for a while at least, my face seemed to look a little younger. (I'm feeling old again.) A month later, I went back for a second treatment and tomorrow I go in for a third. They usually recommend a trio of visits to remove the sun damage. Then they suggest follow-up visits every six months or year, depending on how much of a repeat offender you are by hanging out for too long in the sun.
I’m including photos below of my aging face to show you all the improvement. Doing so goes against every ounce of my better judgment. Who wants their tired, spotted-up self exposed on the Interwebs? I do, apparently. I do. I’m a glutton for punishment and also a glutton for pain, it appears—as long as it only comes in three-second bursts.
For more information on IPL and the many other services offered at Christopher Jones MD, visit www.christopherjonesmd.com.