I'm terribly vain. Not in the sense that I can't show my face outside my door without make-up. In fact, I do that pretty often. But I've always been pretty meticulous when it comes to taking care of my body and my skin. So when the cancer brought with it hormonal imbalance, you can imagine I got pretty hysterical waking up one morning to find my face had changed virtually overnight to resemble one of my much beloved leopard spot patterned scarves. As if the illness in itself wasn't grave enough, I would have to be going around both bald and looking like I had some even worse skin disease? Yikes!
I was totally freaked out! A number of remedies from the local beauty salon was quickly put to use to get those brown spots off ASAP. Here's another revelation: No matter what brand, price or claim of effects: they don't work. Not on such a horrible pigmentation problem I got anyway. Stronger stuff was needed for that job. My GP referred me to a skin specialist and I was given a prescription cream called Aberela (in Norway, in other countries it goes by other names, like A-retin and similar). It contains tretinoin, an acid form of Vitamin A, that works on acne, scars, small wrinkles and discoloration.
I've been told not to use it outside on sunny days. It's simply too strong. Strong, but works wonders:
It has bleached the spots pretty good! The above unmade-up face was what I presented to the beautician at the salon yesterday when I went to try microdermabrasion (peeling using crystals) for the very first time. Hopefully getting rid of old dead skin will remove more of the spots and make the Aberela cream work even faster. Time for yet another revelation. The treatment is nothing like the normal luxurious facials that are so nice one wishes they would go on forever. This thing hurts like H...! 30 minutes of pure torture! Afterwards, one looks the part too, with a lobster red mug ready to scare the pants off all the other clients in the waiting room:
Luckily, the redness is not of the kind that lasts for so long one has to hide from the world for several weeks. When I later went over to my friend Hege's place for some cheese and wine...
The hostess, with a very inviting table
...I had, with the help of a little powder (no foundation), gotten rid of my fluorescent red look:
Ready to dig in!
Still some spots left, but certainly much much better than what it was. They recommend having up to ten microdermabrasion treatments to get the full effect. I'm not sure I can take that many rounds of bashing. However, I did book another appointment next Friday. My vanity won this battle. No pain, no gain. In this particular case, looks like there's more than a little truth to that.