My Wedding Day Face
By golly, that was me six months ago before my DLK on Avenue bridal treatment plan. Ah! Eek! Lord have mercy. Clinical before photos do not lie and I’m slightly terrified that mine will be on the Internet forever.
But it’s been two months since my August 1 nuptials and Caribbean honeymoon – so I owe you an update on the state of my face.
When I began my non-invasive skin rejuvenation plan with Dr. Lisa Kellett and her team back in February 2014 my face was in need of help (you can read about each treatment by visiting the archive here). The skin around my eyes were dark and puffy; my complexion felt rough to the tough and looked oily, mottled, and speckled with sun damage; my pores and acne scars looked extra enlarged.
Despite using Dr. Kellett’s eponymous skincare products at home for the past year and a half – which solved my cystic acne problem – I was ready to take my skin care to the next level with a derm-developed program. That meant strict adherence to sunscreen, retinol, and no more experimenting: No D.I.Y. facials, no more trying other skin care from the drug store (just to rack up points!), and no self extractions (yes sometimes I still at milia bumps). In other words, I signed up for Skin Care Boot Camp.
The plan was from the get go was to improve the condition of my skin and make it more resilient to changes (climate and hormonal). Superficially, the goal was to make my skin clearer, brighter, tighter, smoother, and more even in colour and tone. This was accomplished with a combination of mild laser resurfacing, chemical peeling, radio frequency technology, and dermal infusion microdermabrasion. Which all cumulatively worked to preserve and repair collagen and elastin fibers and suppress melanin production to prevent brown spots.
Some injectables were used too: Dr. Kellett’s nurse, Diana Phillips, used neuromodulators (both Botox and Dysport) to correct an asymmetry in my eyes and for wrinkle prevention. Though I didn’t have any fine lines to begin with, the most immediate effect from the neuromodulators was that I looked more awake…and kinder, overall. (Less BRF when I smiled with my mouth closed, to be specific!) One month before the wedding, Diana used a filler on three of my acne scars. The most superficial one on my right cheek had completely disappeared a few days later – like magic!
Here’s a timeline of what I had done:
Feb – Lip mole removal and Dysport
March – Eye Thermage and Microneedling around the face
April – Mini Laser Resurfacing
May – Depigmentation Peel
June – Mini Laser Resurfacing
The Home Care
Getting winning skin from clinical treatments is a collaborative thing: what you use at home is half the battle. I was reminded of this every time I had a treatment done at the clinic, “Are you using retinol at night?” “Are you wearing your sunscreen and vitamin C?” “Are you exfoliating?” Those were the common questions the medical aestheticians at DLK on Avenue asked me every single time. Here is exactly what I used for six months:
I had already been using Kellett Skincare before the engagement so I knew how to use them – exfoliate twice a day with #1, then apply your ‘treatments’ whether they be the booster antioxidant serums (#4, #5, #6) or medicated acne cream #3 or lightening pads (#7), followed by your moisturizer (#2 or #9) or sunscreen if it is daytime (#8). However I found that my skin really got better during this timeframe because of the addition of the in-clinic treatments.
The only changes to my at-home regime was to amp up my use of retinol and lightening pads. Dr. Kellett instructed me to use her 1% retinol serum (#4) every night to encourage cell turnover (= smoother skin!) and to brighten and tighten my skin overnight. Some weeks I used the lightening pads every day right after work, allowing about four hours to go by before washing my face before bed and applying the retinol. I think doubling up on the actives in one day made a huge difference in the brightness and clarity of my skin. Brown spots have not gotten any darker and a few on my cheeks are almost completely gone. My recommendation would be to always check with you derm for instructions on how to properly use medical grade skincare customized to your needs, because some actives can cancel out other when used at the same time (e.g. retinol and benzoyl peroxide).
Nine products may sound like a lot, but keep in mind that I wasn’t using them all in one day. I used what I needed based on the changes in my skin and what I was targeting. For example, once a week I used the acne cream, #3, at night even if I didn’t have any zits to prevent future breakouts; a tip from Dr. Kellett. Another example is when I stayed at the cottage on the weekends in July and August, I only brought three products: my exfoliating cleanser #1, my peptide gel #5 which was my day and night moisturizer, and sunscreen #8.
When I showed my before photo to my makeup artist, Allana Mirza, the day she did my makeup, she gasped in disbelief. Allana, who had been by my side through this whole journey and she’s worked on my face from day one (for the actual wedding and several other events during the timeframe), said that I don’t even look like the same person anymore. The most visible difference from the photo, she said, was the puffiness and discolouration around my eyes. I always cringed when Helen L., DLK’s senior medical aesthetician, went around my eyes with the laser, and the eye Thermage was pretty intense also, but it has proven to be well worth it. Just look at my eyes…
Everybody who worked on my face said that the most drastic change was the luminosity of my skin. To me, my face looked almost dirty six months ago. The hyperpigmentation had significantly improved and due to all the exfoliation I was doing, which did not cause any irritation by the way because my skin’s resilience had been strengthened, my skin was smooth like glass on my wedding day. This made makeup application go on easier and lasted longer. In fact, Allana finished my face in just 15 minutes on my wedding day! I had no milia bumps or breakouts and because my skin was not excessively oily (heated lasers actually regulate over productive oil glands, btw), my large pores were not as noticeable. The overall tone of my skin was very even, so much so, that Allana didn’t need to use any colour correcting concealer on me.
In the end, I was extremely pleased by my results in such a short span of time. During the process though I honestly thought I wasn’t making much progress, everything was so subtle. But that’s the point of non-invasive procedures, the end goal is to look like a better version of yourself. Dr Kellett says the ideal timeframe for brides-to-be is one year. Mine was half of that. I think if I had a full year I might have seen even more improvement, particularly on my stubborn acne scars. Well, there’s still time to work on that now that the honeymoon is over. After all, we continue to age so maintenance is key in this non-invasive game. I’ve already made my next appointment with Dr. Kellett to hammer out my next plan (I want to clean up the sun damage on my nose that I think I got on my honeymoon, keep the glow I’ve got going on, and yes fade those scars even more!). In addition to my new marriage, my skin is something I’m committed to working on improving.
Dr. Lisa Kellett, M.D., F.R.C.P.(C), D.A.B.D. and her team at DLK on Avenue have a unique approach to cosmetic enhancement and skin care by developing and supervising individualized, specialized treatment regimens for each patient in a way that puts even the most anxious patients at ease. These customized treatments combine the best of dermatological medicine with the latest laser technology advances to maximize results and minimize recovery time. If you’re a bride-to-be, I highly recommended investing in a treatment plan at DLK on Ave. Tell them I sent you!