Cosmetic Junkie: It’s Time To Face Up To The Indiscretions Of My Youth

While a lot of sun damage is permanent, there are options for turning back the clock.


If you spent your youth running around outside, swimming at the beach, climbing trees, picking fruit, walking to school (yes, we actually walked back then!) and generally living a healthy outdoor lifestyle, it’s time to take a good hard look at yourself – literally.

Chances are that you’re now paying the price for spending too much time in the sun in your youth without adequate protection.

One of the more common signs of overdoing it are pesky brown spots on the face and chest that start as one or two small spots and somehow spread like wildfire!

From my thirties, I was religious about using a high-protection SPF sunscreen every day, come rain or shine, but little did I realise, the damage had already been done.

In a frantic state, I tried a number of well-known and recommended solutions such as intense pulse light [IPL], skin lightener, microdermabrasion and many more. All of which did not work. In fact, the IPL made it worse.

Fed-up looking ragged on the outside and wasting money on procedures that were ineffective I finally took action that turned back the clock.

Dr Debbie Davis was recommended as being one of the best skin doctors in Sydney, not just by one person, but many I talked to. It took a few months to get an appointment to see her, but I took this as a good sign.

After having a thorough look at my skin, and going over my medical and skincare history, Dr Davis suggested a trichloroacetic acid [TCA] peel.

I had heard and read a lot about peels; most people and doctors suggested laser instead (the newest and latest tool in skincare). I had also seen some pretty horrific images from real self (a great site to consult when considering anything cosmetic). Therefore, I was a tad nervous, but had faith and confidence in my doctor.

That said, I was still more than a little anxious as the peel was applied, and yes it did burn a bit, but as I was only getting spot treatment, and the pain went within a few minutes.

The treatment itself did not last long, and Dr Davis explained everything as she went, which helped with my nerves. I was offered gas for the pain, but I didn’t need it. I felt I was in very safe hands.

Within a few days my skin turned dark brown and went crusty. I had to fight the urge not to peel (as doing this before it’s ready will scare you) and by day four my skin was shedding itself.

This sounds disgusting but when you see lovely new pink skin underneath and no signs of the dreaded brown-spots, it was worth it.

brown spots disappeared with acid peel
Before and After: My brown spots on the left were completely gone!

I can’t recommend this treatment highly enough. It worked for me when nothing else would. I am now thinking of getting my whole face done. Just remember, what worked for me, may not be the right treatment for you.

Fast facts:

  • Always get professional advice. I was the patient, not the doctor.
  • TCA is a chemical peel, there are varying strengths and you must consult a professional and a doctor is the only person that should be performing this procedure.
  • Always check out your doctor’s feedback, reviews, history and qualifications.
  • It pays to get this done in winter (when the sun is at its lowest and any further risk of damaging your new skin is limited)
  • To have two large areas treated (and I got some moles removed) cost me $300 with a small Medicare rebate.
  • Downtime for me was one week.  I however went back to work the next day, as I only had spot treatments, yes it was noticeable but I told everyone what I was doing, so there were no surprises.  My advice, if you are getting your whole face done (if this treatment is right for you) you will need to take a week off work.
  • Always adhere to the aftercare instructions.
  • Care during and after is essential.  You MUST always wear a 50+ sunscreen.  Check with your doctor on the correct type for your skin.  Wear a hat outside especially in summer.  Do not exposure your skin to the sun.
  • I found this whole process extremely easy, not too painful and the results are incredible.  I used to have to cover my spots up with concealer and still can’t believe I don’t’ have to any more.
  • A TCA peel worked for me.  It took away signs of aging that I didn’t particularly like, it freshened me up and most importantly made me feel how I feel on the inside, young, fresh, healthy, happy and vibrant.

Final word: Please consult a professional before you get any cosmetic work done. You must feel confident with who you are seeing, this is, after all your face. I went to Dr Debbie Davis from Herber Davis in Broadway, Sydney, and paid for the procedure myself. I also recommend using good products (preferably cosmeceutical products).

The co-founder of 50SoWhat has been in publishing for most of her working life. She was general manager of successful boutique media publishing house in New Zealand for several years and boasts an impeccable sales, marketing and management background. When she’s not road-testing the latest cosmetic procedures, or investigating the hottest lifestyle, travel, fashion and beauty trends for over 45’s, Jo is often back home catching up with family and friends, or working on her golf swing!


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