It's an exceptionally valuable thing. The quality of advice given.
There are moments when a fresh-faced twenty-something year old happily gives advice about how everything will be OK if we just try our BEST. It's not that bad, just push HARDER. The load it not that big....they could lift it. I shudder, since I was that 20-something year old once. I was a 23-year-old qulified Doctor, with the keys to the world in my hands, and the fragile futures of many patients under my eye.
To this day I wonder how they could have stood by and listened to my naive advice. I wonder if they were intimidated by the white coat, in too much pain to speak up, or simply knowing that LIFE would deal me my own hand too some day, and then I would know.
Well, looking back and second-guessing myself is not productive. Instead I have been left with a need to, whenever possible, Walk-the-talk. I was a Doctor afraid of needles (yes, believe it!) so I spent 2 years donating blood. It was the thickest needle I could think of. It cured me, and made me very gentle in the face of people's understandable fear of needles. At my Clinic now, I try most of the treatments, creams, procedures myself (if I can, at least once) so that if you ask me: does Botox hurt? How long does a bruise from lip Filler last, is a chemical peel sore? I know, and can advise you.
In the spirit of this, I have decided to have a VI Peel done. It's the strongest peel you can have at my clinic. Since we started doing them, I found myself faced with many questions from clients: Is it normal for my eyes to be so swollen? Is the down-time really 4 days? And I had no answer. I didn't like the feeling. So, here goes! See you on the other side!
Thursday 10am: The Peel. Day 0
It's time for my peel, and I feel a bit nervous. I am told it is not painful, but I know from all the reports what is coming. This is a picture of me just before...Johan applies the peel to my face after cleansing and a rather unpleasant bout of scrubbing with acetone. The fumes are diabolical, and it takes all I have to not cough up a storm. The worst part is around my eyes, where he gest really close, and it burns more here.
The peel itself is not too bad. It's very itchy, then stings, then get's warm....then nothing much. I can't believe it's over in abouit 20 minutes. I grab the mirror afterwards and am surprised to see I am mildly red, but look fine. I have more patients for the rest of the day, and no-one even notices. The second picture shows me a few moments after the peel is done. I am definitely fine to work, since I don't usually wear foundation. So I look pretty normal.
By the time its time to go home, I am getting really red. I have really itchy patches, and I am very keen to wash off the peel solution, which has remained on the whole day. When I wash it off, there is instant relief, and the creams I have to apply are pleasant and only mildy oily. I have to rub on a Retin A towelette, which is refreshing and cool, and doesn't hurt at all. When it's bed time, my neck is on fire!! I rub on more cream to try and settle it down. It's still itchy when I fall asleep, but bearable.
So: my take on the peel. The actual peel is no problem at all. The first day is fine. What comes is harder....
Day 1 post peel: Peeling starts
I wake up on day 1 and can feel my face is a little swollen, but not bad at all. There is no peeling, no sensitivity, and definitely no pain. I wash my face as directed, and apply the last Retin A towlette, which I have been told boosts the peel depth, and gets you peeling. The second towlette is definitely a bit more tingly, and it gives a little sting, but nothing bad at all. I apply the post peel cream, sunblock and a smidge of my own tinted moisturiser. And I'm good to go to work!
Today is no sweat at all. I can feel a hint of swelling and dryness, but otherwise look and feel normal. I wash my face at lunch time and put on the creams, and notice my face is feeling alot warmer, but still fine.
And then, ay exactly 4.28pm in the afternoon, my daughter shouts out, "Mom, your face is peeling!" and with that my right nasolabial peels off on to my jersey over the next 15 minutes! Everyone gathers around to have a look and a laugh, and I must admit I am relieved somthing is happening.
The rest of the night is mildly uncomfortable as my face gets VERY red and hot, and relief only comes with a gel ice pack that I move over my face in the 2 hours before bed. I can get to sleep no problem after washing my face and applying layers of cream....sleep tight!
Day 2: Peeling bonanza!
I woke up at 5.30am today for my run and could feel my whole face was peeling. A quick look in the mirror confirmed it and I rinsed my face with water to slide off the worst of it before going out to run. Since I am running in the dark, I am not concerned, but I would not have been seen dead at the gym today! The run was great but I noticed my skin wes very sensitive to the cold air, and my sweat stung badly. Then, standing in my driveway after the run, I ran my hands over my face and: blisters!! The sweat had lifted the loose skin, but was trapped underneath. I dashed inside to the warm shower where the steam and moisture lifted off the skin in sheets. The new skin was SHINY and very sensitive.
What follows is a day where EVERYTHING stings: cold and hot, sweat, any cream, and beware of food (balsamic and salad dressing ouch!). I am red, swollen and look very strange. I am definitely more swollen. At no time am I in pain, but it's really not comfortable. Once again, the ice pack is my friend in a day where my face is hot and uncomfortable.
Day 3: Dry as a desert
When I wake up this morning the first thing I notice is my eyes are swollen! I understand now! The only thing that helps is my ice pack, and getting up and about. They settle very quickly, but it was quite a weird feeling. Today is dominated by dryness. My face feels like it has a tight sheet of glad wrap over it and I am barely able to smile, or talk freely. Every time I talk or smile I feel like my face is cracking. My deepest peel are ai my chin. It is the dryest and is now peeling for the second time already. I find it interesting since this is the area with the poorest quality skin. My pores are large and the skin more coarse. Hopefully this means there will be a good result here.
I can quite safely say you don't want to be around anyone today. I agreed to meet my sister at Spur with the kids, and everyone stared. I have flakes of skin on my shoulders, combined with very angry looking skin. I can barely open my mouth wider to get food in, and once again I am hot and wishing I am at home with my ice pack.
Creams still sting like crazy when I put them on, but I have worked out which ones give the most relief. During my sleeping hours, it's important to put on a deep layer of oily cream with a barrier function. The one thing that has worked is SBR Repair. I feel as though this is the peak of how bad it will get. At least, I hope it's the case.....
Day 4: Dry, but some healing?
I wake up and my eyes are swollen again. I wash off the night's peeled skin, and the first thing I notice is that the creams don't sting quite so much. Something has happened overnight. I think some of the barrier function of my skin has repaired itself. My chin is still the worst area, and has visible cracks, but the skin over my cheeks is noticeably settled. I am very pink, but I am thrilled to see many of the pigmentation blotches I had on my cheeks are gone!! I have weird little crusty areas over my forehead where I had freckles before. And I wonder what's going on with them.
The day is quite uneventful and even though I look a bit battered, I can definitely be seen in public. Pink and raw, but also soft and shiny. As the day progresses I have some light peeling that is very bearable and I start wearing my tinted moisturiser.
Day 5: Almost there.
I wake up today and my face is so much better! There is no tenderness, no rawness. The spots on my forehead have begun to peel off and underneath what I thought were freckles and there to stay, are now gone! They must have been sun damage. And my new skin is beautiful!
My skin goes from strength to strength from here. Most of the pigmentation that had been so stubborn was removed. Even IPL had not budged it. What I am so impressed by is the change in texture, and tightening. My skin has had years taken off, and I am quite surprised.
The peel is quite strong, and the down-time is real, make no mistake. But I would definitely do it again for the great results I have achieved.
One of the greatest gifts in life is loving what you do every day. There is a certain feeling of lightness when your eyes open and you have a spurt of excitement at the thought of what you will be part of before the sun goes down. I know that my personal interactions, though brief, will be fulfilling, and possibly transformational.
My pen will fly across faces today, marking and planning. My hand will then follow in its wake, and create what my inner eye saw. I love the moment when I hand them the mirror, and their eyes open in wonderment at the beautiful, subtle change they see compared to just a few moments before.
I know many people will smirk at the apparent superficciality of the process. But somehow I think they are either young and still untouched by Times' brush (just like I was when I was younger) or else they have never experienced that moment where something that you thought was lost, returned.
To all the lives I touch today: thank you for the privilege of treating you. And thank you for the trust you put in me.
Yours in Art ….