Day 37: Busting Cherries By Melanie Parker
One of the most unfortunate affects that age has brought on to my skin is cherry angiomas. These cherries are made up of clusters of dilated capillaries on the surface of the skin, which accounts for a cherry red or beet purple color. No one knows exactly what causes them and they will not go away on their own. These little red tumors started popping up in my 20s. By age 38, I found myself "digitally erasing" a trifecta of hideousness from my forehead in any pictures before sharing them. Although technically correct, "cherries" sounds too cute for these growths. Igenerally referred to them as "cluster f*cks" or "blood blisters."
I relied heavily on Perscriptives Camouflage Cream to hide these three red "blisters" on my forehead and three others cropping up on my cheeks and chin. Then, I heard the dreaded news that Perscriptives products were being discontinued, and I decided to seek treatment for the little buggers. My dermatologist recommended treating them with laser. So, I set up a 20-minute procedure for an Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatment. Although this treatment is for cosmetic reasons, and is therefore not covered by insurance, I found it well worth the $250 cost.
I was warned before the procedure that because some of the cherries were so large, they may require 3 or 4 "zaps" from the laser, and that each one would feel like a rubber band snapping. It was not comfortable, but it didn't hurt either. The sound of the machine and the puff reminded me of a glaucoma test at the optometrist, which is one of my biggest fears. But when she got through zapping the trifecta of hideousness and 3 other smaller ones on my face, she asked if I had any more to do. I had them all over my chest and happily let her zap away at as many as she could find. In total, there were 43 pulses during the 15-minute session. But, as I noted, some of the bigger blisters did require multiple pulses.
I was told by the doctor that the cherries would turn bright blue and then gradually fade away like a bruise. My mother had had some removed, and had warned me to cancel all plans and be prepared for them to get much worse and turn black before they got better. I'm glad she warned me, because I looked like I had huge purple welts all over my face and chest. This photo was taken of the "trifecta of hideousness" about 2hours after the IPL treatment and they got much worse looking the next day.
The areas raised up and stung. I had so many on my chest, that I actually was unable to sleep comfortably on my side like I normally do for 2 days. I felt slightly feverish and uncomfortable--almost as if I had sun burn. It took 10 days for the bruising to fade away, but now there was never any scabbing and there is no trace of where the cherry angiomas once were. In fact, I still want to dot some Camouflage Cream on them, but I can't even remember where they were. Even with a 10x magnification mirror, there is not a trace. It's really quite amazing considering they were raised up and discolored and now they are completely flat. I wish I would have had the ones on my arms done at the same time.
The only negatives to this treatment is the 10 days of downtime required before they look better instead of worse and that the area becomes photosensitive, so you really have to avoid the sun. If your cherries are small, flat, and cute, like red freckles, you may not want to try this treatment. But I think it is amazing and was very happy with the end result.
Disclosure: This procedure was paid for by the reviewer
Credits: Melanie Parker for Blogdorf Goodman and Melanie Parker/I Married A Witch