Monday, November 26, 2012

Update on my face: a study in IPL Therapy for Melasma

I promised to do this a while ago. But I forget to take pics of myself without makeup on in between my IPL treatments. So here's the post that explains what I'm doing to my face over the course of about 5 months, and started doing in October. I didn't think to take a "before" picture of myself, because honestly, I thought that most pictures that I have of myself have captured the melasma pretty well...until I looked closely at the pictures I have of myself.


So the best example I have is a photo taken soon after I returned from my honeymoon back in 2007. A crazy long time ago, I know! But, of course, the melasma hadn't really healed itself since then. So this is the before:

I think there's been a real improvement, especially now that I'm about 4 weeks out from the last treatment I had back at the end of October. There will be 5 all together, and that was treatment #2. Here's my face as of this morning:

Pardon the puffiness. I just came off of an alcohol and gluten-filled weekend of Thanksgiving awesomeness with the in laws!

I can see a REAL improvement, now that I'm seeing those photos side by side. I've been noticing it, too, when I put on my makeup every day, and even feel more comfy running around post workouts without any makeup on.

Treatment #3 is this Thursday, and as treatment #2 was a wee bit more hurty than the first treatment was, I'm hoping it's not an incremental thing when it comes to the pain scale. We'll see. 

I'll keep posting pics of the improvement as it occurs. Wish me luck!

Monday, November 19, 2012

That's gonna be a tough 3rd down conversion, not gonna lie.

Gotta credit the Twin for this catch. We were both watching the Oregon/Stanford game on Saturday night from our respective time zones, and she sent me a pic saying, "Whoa, that's a lot of yardage to cover..."
I rewound the game, and caught a slightly better screen cap so I could share it here. Football is my choice of poison.

And in the case of the USC loss on Saturday afternoon, carrot cake was my antidote. Nick & Jake's has a delicious one they serve, and it definitely helped soothe my pain that night!

Friday, November 09, 2012

Sometimes, you have to catch a nap wherever you can.

You know how when you're done eating, sometimes you get a little sleepy? And so you close your eyes to rest them for a bit? And then you wake up and someone has taken a picture of you drooling on your hoodie in your favorite comfy spot on the couch?


Jake does.

"Maybe they'll think I'm dead from not having enough food, and they'll give me MORE!"
He's just about the cutest thing ever, is how I see it.

::sigh:: I love my puppehs!

If I were a mom to actual hoomans, they'd be in trouble, yo. I'd take every opportunity to catch them in the act of something even slightly embarrassing and document the fuck out of it, I'm sure!

It's just like me to think that the best part of being a mom would be the humiliation I could impart on the offspring, eh? Mwahahahahahahaha!

Happy Friday, everyone. Leo is sick. He's got some flu bug that he, for some reason, doesn't want to label as such but's the FLU. Dude needs sleep. We've been saying "poor little bunny" far too much this week, and I hope he gets better soon.

And that he doesn't give it to me, whatever the hell it is.

Think healthy thoughts for the guy, ok? Have a good one!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

"Walking Dead" this week...WTF??? (Spoilers inside!)

We just caught up on the Walking Dead episode from Sunday after we finished dinner last night, and can I just ask everyone else who watches: What the fuck just happened???

Lori is dead?

And Rick's reaction? Give me a BREAK. That guy...GRRR! Do not get me started.

Anyway, what do you think is gonna happen? They didn't actually show Lori getting her brains blown out by Carl, which is odd for them, so I'm thinking that maybe he didn't really kill her. Maybe he's hoping that they can fix her up like they did for Hershel and his leg? She wasn't dead, and she wasn't wounded by a walker/biter/zombeh, so I don't see why she had to die, anyway. Maybe Carl was the only one in that room with a little sense to realize that if they managed to get help in time, she could recover?

What a fucked up episode, though. MAN.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Saving my face. It's not about vanity, DUH. It's about saving money on makeup!

When I was younger, I had terrible acne. Horrible, cystic, nasty, hellish zits all over my face, but mostly on my chin and my cheeks. The pain was awful, the ugliness was unaoidable, and the scarring was both physical and emotional.

I wound up relying on Retin-A as a solution, albeit a very minimal one. It helped with the physical scarring. But it didn't do much to prevent the cystic zits from coming up. That took a change in both diet and medicine. And when I discovered the solution, the clear up of my skin was almost immediate. Like, within a WEEK, I had clear skin. It was fucking ridiculously insanely awesome.

Anyway, fast forward about 10 years, and I made one of the dumbest decisions ever. I allowed the nurse practitioner in my gyno's office to talk me into switching birth control pills. I had started to get a little bit of adult acne, in spite of my diet (no dairy), and she thought the new pill would help clear that up for me.

The acne was no big deal, really. Just something I'd noticed over the previous year, and I was wondering what might be causing it. But I switched pills anyway. I'd been on the same one for almost 15 years...why not give a new one a shot?

6 months later, I developed a condition called melasma on my face. Dark pigmented spots that were all over my cheeks, my forehead, and nose. I went to a dermatologist for help, and they told me that there's not really anything you can do about it. It's hormonal. It's not going to respond well to any topical treatment, so I'd best just find a makeup that I liked and deal with it that way.


I was lucky, I suppose. The location of the darker patches of skin look kind of like large patches of freckles, and I'd never had freckles before, and I always thought they were cute, so I just tried to think of them that way.

10 years later, and I'm DONE pretending I have freckles. To be honest, it didn't really last longer than a month. Melasma ruined my complexion. I can't pretend to believe otherwise.

When smizing goes too far.
I've tried skin lightening creams, different kinds of facials, scrubs, lotions, and of course, makeup. No matter what, the melasma is always there, even after I spend loads of time with the makeup routine before heading out. I don't want to look like a fucking clown, so I don't spackle my face to heavily. I think the melasma is the lesser of two evils in that regard, for sure. But it bothers me when I look in the mirror. It's the first thing I see on my face, dammit, and that isn't right.

So I've started going in for something called IPL, or "intense pulse light" treatments at my dermatologist's office. It's the next step in trying to combat the damned, stupid fucking melasma. So far, it's gotten rid of my sun spots/liver spots/whatever you wanna call them spots. Those were easy, it seems. The first treatment hit them hard, and they were gone within the month following.

I just had my 2nd of 5 treatments earlier this week. It hurts a little bit as it's being done, but it doesn't last long, and after a day, the irritation is largely dissipated, if it's still there at all. My melasma seems much lighter, IMO, but it's still there. I have to be super-careful about sunscreen and being out in the direct sunlight, because it can set the process back and make it kind of useless. I'm hoping that by the time I've had the 5th treatment, I'll feel totally comfortable leaving the house without makeup on again. I haven't been able to do that with 100% confidence for 10 fucking years.

I'll put up an updated picture in another week or so, so you can see the difference between the worst my melasma has been (post-honeymoon, in the picture above), and hopefully the road to improved skin that I'm currently on. I hope it works!