Laser Lockdown


Posted on February 23rd, by Helen in Blog, Treatments. 7 comments

Laser Lockdown

In the February issue of Allure magazine, Linda Wells writes in her editor’s letter about the scary state of her face after getting laser resurfacing. I almost choked on my tea whilst reading this! It’s such a hilarious and honest account of what we skin-savvy women go through during our “downtime.” Linda doesn’t share a photo of her face, so for now, here’s one of mine, taken last summer right after I got ProFractional laser done on a few acne scars. The pic was taken by my younger sister who could not stop both staring in shock and laughing…

Behind the Mask

[gn_quote style="1"] Just to give him a good scare, I emailed a photo of myself to my dermatologist. He’d blasted my face the day before with a Fraxel laser to make it smoother and less mottled and was curious about my recovery. So I put on one of those clear old-man Halloween mask that look nearly like a real face and took a picture with my iPhone. It worked! “I almost had a heart attack,” he wrote back.

I sent the picture to about 20 other people, amusing myself to no end while I was confined to my apartment on a laser lockdown to heal. The truth is, my face was slightly freaking me out. On day one, it looked like the time I was 15 nd parked myself in front of a friend’s sunlamp when I was babysitting her little brother: flaming red, hot, and swollen. My nose was a bulb. The whole thing wasn’t that far off from the Halloween mask. I texted a real picture to a friend with the message “Delete!” and she replied, “I didn’t look that bad when I had Fraxel.” Ouch.

Every morning I woke up expecting some radiant transformation, and every morning I was greeted in the mirror with another dose of crazy. The redness confined itself to two stripes from the corners of my mouth to chin, as if I’d ripped off a Flu Manchu mustache. The texture was strange, like fine-grade sandpaper. When it started to peel, the old skin didn’t come off in sheets but flaked constantly, dandruff-y. I’d scrub it with a Clarisonic brush, coat it with half a jar of cream, and the flakes would reappear within minutes.

My doctor told me I’d be presentable on day four, but maybe he and I have a different definition of “presentable.” To me, it isn’t wearing Jackie O. sunglasses and a Bazooka Joe turtleneck. It isn’t people saying “You look fine” with a pitying tone. By day five, I looked fine.

My faceless long weekend was an experimentation in avoiding people and mirrors. In the end, I actually had a nice time. I did a radio interview from my home phone and conducted meetings by speaker like Charlie in Charlie’s Angels. I cleaned my closets and filed a whole stack of papers dating back to 2003. On day seven, I emailed pictures of my skin, which was nearly as soft and clear as a baby’s, to my dermatologist, the prince. And mercifully, people have stopped saying I look fine.

Linda Wells, Editor in Chief [/gn_quote]

These are my two favourite face creams I use when I’m on laser lockdown to calm and soothe my skin.

Left: Revaleskin’s Intense Recovery Treatment (it’s light and smells like coffee!), $130 at skin clinics or online here. Right: Avene Tolerance Extreme Cream, $30 at Shoppers Drug Mart. Both creams are also Allure Editor’s Choice winners.





  • Anonymous

    Hilarious!! And so true!! I went out and about with mine and got quite a few weird looks and people screaming and running away from me (kidding) But great results!!

    • http://theskiny.com/ Helen Vong

      haha I’ve gotten used to the stares now! Glad I’m not alone on this!

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  • Joanna

    Hi Helen, im wondering if profractional laser left any red scarring to your acne scars?

    • http://theskiny.com/ Helen Vong

      No, not at all.

  • breezy

    i just had my consult, then of course come home to “research” on my own like everybody these days, im a little freaked out about my acne scars becoming worse because some of the storys on the net, although im not sure they had the same procedure. i really want to go through with this but im terrified to make my skin look worse. any advice?

  • bellearwood

    Why does this sound scary and funny at the same time to me?? I have been considering getting a laser skin care treatment done since the past few months but have been putting it off due to one reason or the other – basically because I’m too scared! But if it gives great results in the end, I wouldn’t mind getting one done ASAP! :)