As some of you know, I’ve been troubled by large dark spots that have appeared on my face over the past few years. I’ve had a some success with beauty products, like Philosophy’s Time in a Bottle, that contained a high concentration of Vitamin C, but only if I was diligent in using it continuously. My dark spots did fade slightly over time. However, summer came and even with sunscreen the spots keep darkening. I was told to stay out of the sun and to use sunscreen all year round. Seriously, just a little bit of sun and BAM!
With much hope in my wallet, I’ve gone to some pretty pampering spas for really good facials but the spots are quite deep that surface treatments hardly do anything but smooth the texture and give me a healthy glow. I had pretty much given up
Recently, a friend had reached out and pointed me to the direction of Dr. Sliwowicz at the Toronto Centre for Advanced Skin Repair. She thought I would be an ideal candidate for their services. She recently began going for treatments herself and suggested that I at least go for a consult. My own dermatologist had used laser to remove some stubborn brown spots in the past but had forewarned me that they would reappear over time. She was right. I didn’t want to go back to doing laser. It wasn’t pretty. After that one time treatment it scabbed over… I had to endure a week and a half of a having the scab on my face and I was self-conscious.
When my friend referred me to Dr. Sliwowicz, I admit that I was skeptical. I was told before that nothing could be done but to wear foundation like Cover FX for events that could help at least for a day when I really needed it. So, I sarcastically sent over a quick selfie of myself to my friend — no makeup and caught in the moment when I was just running errands. She actually sent it to him and he definitely said a consultation would be the first step. I agreed.
My first visit to his office and I quickly realized this isn’t a spa. Right. He’s a doctor. This isn’t an oasis with running water falls and soothing music but everyone is friendly and this is serious help. From the moment we met I could already tell that he was analyzing and assessing my skin. As I blushed and turned 50 shades of red, I think I gave out a little SOS. “Do you think you can help, Dr. S.?”
I quickly learned that my skin condition, Melasma, is very common amongst women who were on the birth control pill for a long time. It’s also commonly known as “the mask of pregnancy” as it tends to show up when a woman is pregnant or afterwards because of a change in hormones. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, Melasma appears on women’s skin much more often than men’s skin. People with darker skin, are more prone to produce too much colour as we have more active melanocytes. The other reason is sun exposure so my obvious years of basking in the sun and bragging days of being able to turn golden brown easily are now over.
Dr. Sliwowicz assessed my situation and explained that treatment is customized to each individual and based on the needs and wants of that person. What did I want to do? I definitely wanted to fade that massive brown spot, the shape of Asia. But I also have a very active social life so timing would be a factor. Although I have heard of those in high society that can retreat to some secluded island and rest after their treatments. Well, that’s not my life and I don’t have that kind of budget to play with.
What was recommended in my case was a series of glycolic peels (aka Lunchtime Peels) to help lessen the appearance of Melasma. The name “lunchtime peel” was given to this quick corrective treatment as it can be done in less than 10 minutes and the patient can walk out the door without any noticeable effects afterwards. The treatment is literally brushed onto your skin and with a watchful eye, is removed safely. Dr. Sliwowicz explained that this is a relatively gentle procedure that gradually will meet my needs.
I’ve completed two treatments and heading to my third this week. The glycolic peels were recommended to be done every two weeks to give my skin time to replenish and renew. I thought I’d tell you about it now as people are starting to already notice a difference. Truth. My dental hygienist had noticed this morning and wondered what I’ve been doing. Amongst my own circle of friends many are coming out with their own Melasma issues — I had no idea that it was really that common!
Stay tuned as I’ll give you an update after a few more sessions. If you’re curious you can follow me on instagram @theculturepearl as I’ve been posting up photos at each visit. If you’re keen on doing something to aid in your skin needs effectively, go for a consultation at the Toronto Centre for Advanced Skin Repair . By the way, my first visit happened just as TIFF was about to start and I had a honky zit on my chin. The staff at this office injected a cortisone solution into the zit and it was gone the next morning. Amazing! That will come in handy for this upcoming holiday entertaining season.