I just had our beautiful baby girl 4 months ago- I can’t even remember what our life was like before her. It seems like she has always been part of our family! Having said that, I definitely had some aspects of pregnancy take their toll. One famous plastic surgeon once described pregnancy as napalm for the body but I would consider that to be a bit harsh. I do remember being upset and anxious though during pregnancy, wondering what things would be like after having our baby. From 7 weeks of pregnancy on, I broke out in red acne sparingly on my face but considerably on my back and chest. I felt like a teenager all over again. As much as you feel blessed to be pregnant and have a healthy baby, you still get down about body issues. The knowledge that I would be able to resolve some them perked me up considerably. It’s also made recovery after birth feel hopeful if not exactly seamless.
In this month’s blog, we are going to hear first hand from medical professionals who are also moms. They have had the odd issue relating back to having their kids and have had them treated. Some of these moms have teenagers but have now gotten a chance to tackle some of those stubborn ‘bits’. You certainly don’t have to have had kids to have some of these issues, either- so hopefully you can relate to some of the concerns listed below and find out how they were tackled! I’ve included links to our sister dermatology practices’ website (www.laserderm.ca) for more information.
Mom #1 (Me!) Age: 32
# of Kids and their Ages: 1 Baby Girl (4 months)
Concern Post-Baby: broken blood vessels and stretch marks on breasts and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) and residual acne on face and back
Treatment/s: Pulsed dye for broken blood vessels and stretch marks on breasts after engorgement, Venus Viva TM for improving brown/acne marks, mild acne and refining pore size with some additional pulses of the Matrix IR for active cystic acne type pimples. Lactic Acid Glow ‘Peel’ for back resolving the PIH left behind after acne flare-up during pregnancy.
What Does/Do the Treatment/s Feels Like: The pulsed dye laser feels like a mild snap with a rubber band, followed by a warm sensation. Even on sensitive areas, the treatment was tolerable enough to do without numbing cream and was incredibly quick. The Venus Viva TM on the other hand feels like tiny pricking sensations while using a topical numbing cream. Some have described the sensation as irritating and unpleasant but overall the procedure again was pretty quick and only sensitive in certain areas like the upper lip. The Lactic Acid peel felt ‘hot’ and stingy for a couple of minutes but was otherwise completely tolerable.
First Impressions Afterwards and Recovery: The pulsed dye laser immediately leaves a dark purplish mark where the broken blood vessels were treated- my husband described it as looking like you were attacked by an animal (charming). The colour gets darker over the next couple of days before gradually fading. Some residual brown marks were left in some of the treated areas and were cleared up with a little help of Emblica Light and Bright. The Venus Viva TM left my face feeling warm and looking ‘splotchy’ for lack of a better word. However by the next day, it returned to normal looking except for perhaps being a little on the dry and rough side. The spots treated with the Matrix IR were slightly red but not noticeably. The Lactic Acid did not produce any actual peeling but just some gradual exfoliation.
Any Follow-Up Treatment? The broken blood vessels were completely cleared. The pink stretch marks were slight to begin with but are barely visible now. I might potentially have them treated one more time while there remains some pink colour in them (before they turn completely white) since it can only help them to drive more heat into the scar tissue for healing purposes. The Venus Viva TM did help to fade some of the left over acne marks but also just help to improve some minor wrinkles on my forehead, which was a nice little bonus! The Venus Viva TM is intended to include 3 treatments so I will return for those later. The active cystic pimples finally went away completely, which was nice after been resistant to any other types of treatment before the Matrix IR TM. I wish I could bring the Matrix IR TM home with me to treat any new ones that might crop up with hormonal flare-ups. Finally, the Lactic Acid Peel left my back feeling very smooth but I would get another follow-up treatment to help get rid of some of the stubborn remaining marks.
Mom # 2, Age: 36
# of Kids and their Ages: 2 kids, ages 4 (girl) and 4 months (boy)
Concern post-baby: melasma with pregnancies, brown pigmentation patches appeared on upper lip and upper cheeks.
Treatment: Fraxel TM after 1st pregnancy, and Q-switched Nd-YAG laser treatment after 2nd pregnancy
Tell us what the Treatment felt like: Fraxel TM laser 1550 feels “hot and intensely scratchy” so the skin is numbed with anaesthetic cream before the procedure. This takes the “edge off” and there is slight sunburned sensation after the treatment. The Q-switched NdYAG laser treatment for melasma is done at very low energy settings so there is no discomfort or burning sensation, therefore no need for topical anaesthetic cream.
First Impressions Afterwards/What was Recovery Like: The Fraxel TM laser creates thousands of tiny “dots” of heat channels in the skin so it is red and swollen for a couple days, followed by some “bronzing” or browning of the skin which also feels like fine sandpaper. After several days this all exfoliates off and the skin feels smooth again. Makeup can be worn in the recovery period to help camouflage the temporary redness/browning. The Q-Switched NdYAG laser treatment does not create any lasting inflammation or heat in the skin so there is no lingering redness, swelling or heat.
Any follow-up Tx: Melasma is a condition which is triggered by a combination of hormone fluctuation and UV exposure. Although the laser treatments have virtually cleared the melasma so it is very difficult to see any pigmentation irregularity, vigilant skincare and DAILY UV protection (zinc is best) are the most important keys to maintaining even skintone. Occasionally if the melasma patch seems to darken (with hormone or season changes), some maintenance Q-Switch NdYAG laser treatments can be done to suppress the pigment again.
Mom # 3, Age: 45
# of Kids and their Ages: 2 kids ages 14 and 16
Concern post-baby: my stomach and flanks
Treatment: Cool Core TM and Cool Curve TM Zeltiq TM treatments for body contouring
Tell Us What the Treatment Feels Like: Both treatments attach to the area and then can only be described as sucking the bulge in question with a vacuum attachment. The area is then frozen, which feels incredibly cold but not painful. The area is then continually kept cold for the rest of the treatment, which lasts for a total of one hour. The CoolSmooth TM is another type of attachment that lies flat on the area (so no vacuuming the bulge) but takes 2 hours total for the treatment. The treatment is a good time to read some magazines, catch up on some TV or just take a nap.
First Impressions Afterwards/What was Recovery Like: Recovery was pretty easy. Slight tenderness for about a week post tx. Over the following 3 months I noticed a nice sculpting of my waist and diminishing of my love handles.
Any follow-up Tx: I’d like to follow up treatment Zeltiq Cool Core TM treatment to upper abs for better contouring. But so far, quite happy- I feel great in my clothing and especially my jeans!
Mom #4, Age: 37
# of Kids and their Ages: 2 children, 9 and 5
Concern post-baby: urinary incontinence, mostly during sneezing or exercise
Treatment: Femilift TM- 2 treatments so far, one month apart
Tell Us What the Treatment Feels Like: The treatment itself is very comfortable, didn’t really feel any pain just a slight heat like sensation by the end of the treatment.
First Impressions Afterwards/What was Recovery Like: I had some mild cramping post treatment for about 2 hours.
Any follow-up Tx: I still need to do my 3rd treatment as that is what the protocol includes. I’m planning on doing one treatment a year for maintenance as well. Fortunately, I noticed results about a week after the first treatment. I don’t need to sneeze with my legs crossed and no more leaking during jumping jacks!