Going to a spa can be a relaxing and enjoyable experience – a celebration package for Mother’s Day or a birthday. If you get such a gift from someone you like, your bestie or your sister perhaps, then you should have a gentle facial so you’ll still like them afterward.
Don’t do what I did and get what amounts to aversion therapy from whoever gave you the gift by trying an IPL treatment for a sensitive part of your body. By the way, keep in mind that with IPL, all parts of our bodies are sensitive.
IPL is Intense Pulsed Light therapy used by doctors and aestheticians for hair removal, acne, skin pigmentation, and sun damage. They call it photo rejuvenation, so innocent people, women mostly, will fall for their torture. Don’t believe me? Check your closet for high heels.
So, there I was, ready to get treatment for some hyperpigmentation on the back of my hands. The treatments aren’t cheap. My spa charges $150 for a single treatment, $650 for a package of six, which they tried to sell me on right away. I was strong, wanting to try the actual procedure before signing up for more.
The aesthetician was great. Very sweet and complimentary. She did a double cleanse of the back of my hands to clean and degrease the skin using alcohol. It was cooling and nice. She was chatting away, and it was like we were friends when she put a huge glob of applicator gel on my left hand.
The gel is used as a conduit for the IPL machine, which is a high-powered, hand-help light thing that’s computer-controlled. It looks like a little white gun and it delivers an intense (really!) pulse of light that in my case, was targeting hyperpigmentation.
The light is so bright you can’t look at it, even with special glasses worn by everyone in the room. To make sure we weren’t blinded, the therapist counted down, three – two – one, and we all closed our eyes. She pulled the trigger on the gun, and that’s what it felt like, a gunshot. They say it’s just a snap on your skin. On my skin, it hurt like hell. Ever get snapped very hard across the back of your hand with a thick, hot rubber band?
No, me neither, but this was worse, I’m sure. The flashgun has a row of nine lights that explode across the gel and is wonderfully conducted into your skin. There’s a cooling plate that gets smeared with gel since it touches your skin.
You can see from the picture that the gun only covers a small portion of the back of my skin, so the whole treatment took about ten minutes. Then, in a dazed state of mind, I let the aesthetician do my other hand. It wasn’t quite as bad since I knew what was coming.
I left the spa, but not before tipping my therapist for the beating (told you women were silly), and my hands felt fat and hot. I was told no gym, sauna, hot tub, or anything that causes heat. Oh, and no sun. I live in Arizona, so I stayed inside.
The light promotes collagen growth, so a week later, my skin was softer, and the dark spots were much darker as the hyperpigmentation (the melanin) rose to the top layer of my skin, where it sat like coffee grounds. It eventually disappeared, lost around my house and the bedsheets.
It will take at least three more treatments for them to disappear completely. Yes, I’m thinking about it.
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Just call me Clair and we’ll do fine.