PODCAST: Sandra’s Story – How We Reversed Decades of Sun Damage

Sandra felt self-conscious about her sun-damaged skin and dark spots on her face. Like most of us, she worshiped the sun growing up and never gave a thought to the consequences. At 57, she enlisted the help of LJC laser specialist Brittany who knew the Halo laser would turn Sandra’s skin right around.

Blown away by the astounding results and little downtime, Sandra now treats herself to another Halo treatment every year on her birthday.  

The progression following Sandra’s Halo laser resurfacing treatment


More Halo before & after photos

Read more about Halo Laser Skin Resurfacing at LJC

Please request your free consultation online or call La Jolla Cosmetic, San Diego, at (858) 788-7989 for more


Speaker 1 (00:07):
You’re listening to The La Jolla Cosmetic Podcast.

Monique Ramsey (00:14):
So welcome everyone to The La Jolla Cosmetic Podcast. I’m your hostess, Monique Ramsey. And today I have a special guest and her name is Sandra and she is a patient at La Jolla Cosmetic in our medical spa. So welcome Sandra.

Sandra (00:30):
Thank you.

Monique Ramsey (00:32):
So tell us a little bit about yourself.

Sandra (00:34):
Well, I just turned 57 this month and I’ve been a patient of La Jolla Cosmetic for probably four to six years now.

Monique Ramsey (00:46):
Wow, nice. You’re loyal. We appreciate that. Something must be working, right?

Sandra (00:52):
Yes, definitely.

Monique Ramsey (00:54):
Yeah. So now a little birdie told me that you just had a Halo laser treatment. And for those of you who are listening, the Halo is a fractional laser made by Sciton and Brittany, who is one of our laser specialists, is a Sciton national trainer. So she actually goes out and trains other providers how to use it the best. And so Brittany did your procedure?

Sandra (01:21):
Yes, she did. It’s actually the third or fourth Halo laser she’s done over the past couple years.

Monique Ramsey (01:28):
Oh, wonderful. Yeah. So the Halo is great for sun spots, texture issues, any hyperpigmentation like brown spots, wrinkles, and even some scars. And I think it’s one of those lasers that our team loves because you can really customize the treatment to the patient. And so tell us about what areas you had treated and when was it recently?

Sandra (01:53):
The last one was recently two weeks ago today.

Monique Ramsey (01:56):

Sandra (01:57):
My first one I think was in end of 2018, 2019. Usually she does my face, chest and neck. The last Halo we did just face, full arms and hands.

Monique Ramsey (02:13):

Sandra (02:14):
Yeah. My chest and neck were looking pretty good. So.

Monique Ramsey (02:18):
So it didn’t have to do a repeat there. So tell me about having that laser. Like what was that like? And was it kind of what you were expecting? Because you’ve had it before, but then now you’re treating your arms and your hands. Tell us about the experience.

Sandra (02:32):
It was what I expected. It’s not painful, stings a bit when they’re doing it, but I didn’t associate any pain with it. You might feel hot afterwards, that dissipated quickly. By the time I got home, I was…

Monique Ramsey (02:46):
Oh really?

Sandra (02:46):
Yeah. Real quick. It also helps build collagen. So those effects take like three months down the road before you notice that. Immediately you notice much clearer skin. She worked a lot on my pore size. So the pores around my nose are almost virtually gone.

Monique Ramsey (03:06):

Sandra (03:07):

Monique Ramsey (03:08):
That’s nice.

Sandra (03:09):
And yeah, it’s, I’m real diligent about using sunscreen and taking care of my skin. Not so much when I was younger. So the first time she did the Halo, like on my chest, it was amazing the difference. I have like no spots on my chest now.

Monique Ramsey (03:26):
Wow. So now tell us what they did to make you comfortable during the treatment. What is the procedure and did you have medication?

Sandra (03:35):
I did. I don’t know exactly I, Britney would know. She told me the types you get, take these pills. So yes, you do need a driver if you’re going to take medication. I was just relaxed. You just feel comfortable. Everybody’s pain tolerance I’m sure is different. It was actually relaxing to me. Anyway, some people would go, are you crazy?

Monique Ramsey (03:58):
I’ll have what she’s having.

Sandra (03:59):
Right. Feels warm for a bit, but she did my face first. And then there’s a like wand that blows cold air. And so I was cooling down my face while she started on my arms. And before she was even done with one arm, my face felt fine.

Monique Ramsey (04:19):
So when you’re having your arms and your hands, was there any more sensation on them than your face or? Cause I know sometimes on the face, like certain parts will just be more sensitive than others.

Sandra (04:31):
Definitely the arms and hands weren’t sensitive, the face is a little more sensitive. I know another person who had Halo and they thought the heat was uncomfortable. So everybody is going to experience it different.

Monique Ramsey (04:48):
Well, and you’ve also had it a few times. So you’re sort of used to it maybe too.

Sandra (04:52):
Yes, I believe.

Monique Ramsey (04:53):
And that’s part of it, but I know that that is something that you can dial it up and dial it down in terms of how aggressive maybe the laser is. And so depending on what your goals are, if you’re trying to deal with maybe pore size or scarring, that’s going to be a different setting than like a little superficial something. So maybe that’s some other reason why your experience is different than the lady down the street or the man, but that’s nice to know that whatever they gave you, I think that’s so important for people, get a driver, be nice to yourself. Like don’t try to grit it out just so you don’t have to take a pill and drive yourself home. Like have somebody pamper you, it’s okay. And then you can have that calm, relaxing experience while you’re having a procedure like you’re describing.

Sandra (05:46):

Monique Ramsey (05:48):
So how did your morning go or your afternoon when you had it done. You come in, I’m assuming they take some pictures of you.

Sandra (05:56):
Yes. I came in, they take pictures first and they put you in a room and they put numbing cream on the areas that will be treated. And I think they let that set probably about 30, 45 minutes. While I’m numbing up, one point Brittany comes in and gave me the medication.

Monique Ramsey (06:18):

Sandra (06:18):
And then lets gives you probably 30 minutes to let that take effect and then they start the treatment.

Monique Ramsey (06:25):
And then how long does the treatment take? So for those three areas, your face, both arms and your hands.

Sandra (06:31):
My appointment was around two. I think we were done at five, but…

Monique Ramsey (06:36):
Oh, okay.

Sandra (06:37):
The treatment itself was probably an hour, hour and 15 minutes.

Monique Ramsey (06:44):
And the rest is kind of the pre and the post.

Sandra (06:48):
Yeah. The prep and numbing you up and making sure you’re comfortable. Yeah.

Monique Ramsey (06:53):
So once you got home, did you have to take additional Ibuprofen or what was your immediate post-op sensations?

Sandra (07:03):
She did give me some medication to take the first night. I think the reason being, and we didn’t do this in the past, is that she was a little more aggressive with this treatment because she knows I could handle it. And we were trying to accomplish certain things. She was working on a couple scars I did have on my face. So that night I did take the medication just because she said take it, you want a good night’s sleep?

Monique Ramsey (07:29):

Sandra (07:29):
And I did. I slept really good. Woke up in the morning. You’re going to be red and you’ll notice swelling. Not a lot, it just gave your face like a full look. I think day three. You’re probably the reddest you’re going to be. Same with the swelling. And then it starts to dissipate.

Monique Ramsey (07:47):
Well, that’s interesting that you say that just because I know that with surgery, that’s very typical that swelling and bruising actually increase until you get to day three and that’s going to be kind of the peak and then things get better. And a lot of people assume that that first 24 hours is going to be the peak of swelling and bruising and it really isn’t. So that’s interesting that with the laser, it’s really kind of the same.

Sandra (08:13):
Yes. And the nice thing is when you said bruising with other procedures, there’s no bruising, at least. You do get red and then probably around three to five days you get little brown speckle marks. It looks like coffee grounds on you.

Monique Ramsey (08:31):
Oh, okay.

Sandra (08:32):
And that’s the damage, sun damage coming out.

Monique Ramsey (08:36):
Coming to the surface.

Sandra (08:38):
Oh yeah. So you look like you have freckles. My nickname for three days, my husband called me freckles.

Monique Ramsey (08:44):
Oh, how funny? That’s funny. So I’m assuming if you had it, let’s see, couple weeks ago. So during the week, like how many days would you say somebody needs to think about like could they go to work the next day or would you wait a couple days? Like what would your advice be on getting back to normal so to speak.

Sandra (09:07):
I’d give it a couple days. You get really flaky. I think you could get away with it. Because most people going to work are wearing a mask.

Monique Ramsey (09:16):
This is true.

Sandra (09:16):
So that’s cover, but depending on how intense, like my last Halo a year ago, it’s kind of my birthday present to myself every year now.

Monique Ramsey (09:27):
That’s nice.

Sandra (09:28):
Try to do it once a year. Last year, because I documented it with pictures each day to see how I would progress. By day eight I was comfortable going out in public and this time, so not quite two weeks, but almost before all the flaking on my face had finished.

Monique Ramsey (09:51):
Okay. And so that coffee ground thing. So I, you start to see that so that the pigments like rising to the surface, is that part of what flakes off is that when that happens and then you start to sort of get the flaking

Sandra (10:05):
Correct. And when you see those like coffee, ground flakes and they’re at the surface, I’m sure some people would be tempted to touch them it’s like don’t. Do not ,don’t touch them, just let everything come off naturally.

Monique Ramsey (10:20):
Just got to drive some people crazy. It would drive me crazy. Be like, can I take it off please?

Sandra (10:26):
No, just leave it alone. Very gentle washing your face. You just barely splash the water. You can’t like scrub with a washcloth and they go over all that with you. Because if you do try to take it off yourself, I mean you could scar. So you want to just baby your face, they give you all the whatever products you need, they provide. So you just use what they tell you to use. And…

Monique Ramsey (10:52):
So when you wake up the next morning, do you still have discomfort?

Sandra (10:56):

Monique Ramsey (10:58):
So you’re just puffy.

Sandra (10:59):
Yeah. You’re just puffy. There was no pain, no heat.

Monique Ramsey (11:04):
So yeah. So as long as you get through that first night, that’s good.

Sandra (11:07):
Oh yeah.

Monique Ramsey (11:08):
At what point did you say? Oh wow. I see a big difference. Like is it sort of once the peeling is done?

Sandra (11:15):
Probably, for me it was this past Friday.

Monique Ramsey (11:19):
So it’d be great if we showed some pictures of you before and after in the show notes and maybe even you’d share those progression photos.

Sandra (11:29):
Of course.

Monique Ramsey (11:29):
If you have from some of the other ones, just so people kind of know, I think for the audience and me included, the more you know about the path you’re about to go down. If you’re centering having Halo or laser, the more you kind of can picture, it’s like, oh, okay. I can handle that if you know what to expect.

Sandra (11:47):
Exactly. Yeah, no I have, especially last year’s I have it documented like day by day.

Monique Ramsey (11:53):
Oh I love that.

Sandra (11:54):

Monique Ramsey (11:55):
Now on your hands and arms A) I think what drove you to think about treating those areas?

Sandra (12:03):
Well, age, sun spots. I was really diligent about the sunscreen on my face and neck and chest for a long time. But you kind of forget your hands sometimes. And if I could tell my 20 something year old self, wear sunscreen on your hands, the spots on my hands, you can really notice already. Your face is the first to heal. For some reason your face will heal so quickly. When I do my face, neck and chest. The neck and chest are going take like two weeks longer.

Monique Ramsey (12:43):
Oh, interesting.

Sandra (12:44):
Finding the same with the arms and hands. Cause I still have the coffee ground kind of spots on my arm. And Brittany said it usually takes another two, up to six weeks for arms and hands.

Monique Ramsey (12:59):

Sandra (12:59):
Yeah. But it’s not noticeable.

Monique Ramsey (13:02):
Yeah. Does it feel tight? Like especially if your hands are really mobile, is it feeling like tight or itchy or anything?

Sandra (13:09):
No. No. And they give you cream because when you are peeling, you might feel some itch and you don’t want to scratch.

Monique Ramsey (13:16):

Sandra (13:16):
So you just put the cream on. Itching goes away.

Monique Ramsey (13:20):
I guess during summer or when you’re out and about, are you being much more careful about how you cover up?

Sandra (13:27):
I am. Like I said, sunscreen. Even the other day we had, it was a little overcast and I had to go down to the pool. We’re having some work done and I needed to talk to a worker and I had sunscreen all over my arms and a long sleeve shirt on top of that, a hat, sunglasses. Once the healing is done though, you don’t have to be, the sunscreen, yes. You should wear sunscreen every single day. I don’t think I need to be covered head to toe.

Monique Ramsey (14:02):
Well, there’s a company called Coolibar, which was C-O-O-L-I-B-A-R Coolibar. And they have actual medical grade clothing. So people who’ve had like severe sun cancers. Actually, the insurance companies will reimburse them for SPF moving, but they have some really cute stuff and nobody would ever know. And then you can feel like, okay, I’m going to go take a walk and I’m going to have this long sleeved shirt on and it’s cute. And it’s still, it’s going to help be a total block from the sun.

Sandra (14:38):
Actually I bought a pair of their gloves online just recently because I had my hands done and they have where the fingertips are cut off. So like if you get your nails done, like I didn’t think about this for a long time. You’re putting your hands in those UV lights. Over time I’m sure that contributes to the spots on the hands. So I had my nails done this past Friday. I had my sunscreen on before she popped my hands into the light,

Monique Ramsey (15:09):

Sandra (15:10):
I had the gloves on.

Monique Ramsey (15:11):
Smart. The before and after photos we’ll have in the show notes of you. Then on our website, in the, you’ll be able to see the before and after photos of other laser patients. We do have one podcast episode where we are talking about lasers, but we’ll have Brittany back on to do a deep dive on the Halo specifically because that technology is really interesting. Now I want to go back to kind of the beginning of your patient journey. So if you can like dial back your memory to that however many years ago, it was. What was your first experience with La Jolla Cosmetic?

Sandra (15:51):
Think it was right before I turned 50. I had those little L’s that you get between.

Monique Ramsey (15:57):
Oh, the elevens.

Sandra (15:58):
The elevens. Yeah.

Monique Ramsey (15:59):
The elevens.

Sandra (16:01):
I had those and the crows feet around the eyes and a girlfriend of mine. And she’s like, well I have a girl for you.

Monique Ramsey (16:12):

Sandra (16:13):
Because she was seeing Brittany. So that was my first thing was the Botox. So now she does my forehead, around my eyes, around my lips. Because even though I’ve never smoked, you get a little, little bit of lines.

Monique Ramsey (16:29):
Yeah. Now, have you tried fillers?

Sandra (16:32):
I have, she did treat.

Monique Ramsey (16:36):
The nasolabial fold.

Sandra (16:37):

Monique Ramsey (16:37):
So that’s the line kind of from the corner of your nose or the edges of your nose down to the other side of your mouth.

Sandra (16:42):
Yes. I’ve done that with the lips. I’ve always had like a very nice sized bottom lip. Just always have, but over time with age, my top lip just, it was disappearing on me.

Monique Ramsey (16:56):
I know. Is it terrible?

Sandra (16:57):
I know. And what I love about like when she did do my lips, we were looking for a natural look. I didn’t want those big duck lips. I mean that’s, might be fine for someone, not me. So she’ll start out conservative. Cause you can always add, it’s harder to take away.

Monique Ramsey (17:18):

Sandra (17:19):
And the last time she did them, it was amazing. But you don’t always see yourself like other people do. And so about a month later I came back for Botox and I said, Brittany, should we do a little bit more to my upper lip? And she looks at me real serious. She gets close. She backs up. She’s really studying my lips. She looked me straight in the eye and she goes, no. And I was like, but I appreciated that.

Monique Ramsey (17:45):

Sandra (17:46):
She goes, they look balanced. They look beautiful.

Monique Ramsey (17:51):
Got to love honesty. Well, and really in the long term she wants you happy and want you to feel good and look good and not look overdone, you know? And I think that’s really nice.

Sandra (18:03):
That’s what I like about coming to La Jolla Cosmetic is that they want you to be just your better self or the best self you can be. Not, you know I don’t want to look like someone else. I want to look like me. Just a better version.

Monique Ramsey (18:18):
A better version. Or like me 10 years ago, you know?

Sandra (18:23):

Monique Ramsey (18:24):
So when you originally came to us or before you made that appointment you had a friend who recommended us, did you also do any research or did you do research about Botox specifically? Or do you remember what kind of resources you might have relied on?

Sandra (18:41):
I did look online. Of course you can’t always believe everything you see online.

Monique Ramsey (18:45):
This is true.

Sandra (18:46):
Yeah. I did some research. I looked at different reviews for La Jolla Cosmetic and everybody seems so happy. And first day I walked in here, everybody’s friendly, makes you feel at home. And Brittany’s just been amazing over the years. So I’ll just keep coming here.

Monique Ramsey (19:05):
Well, we appreciate that. So then how often, let’s say if you’re going to get your Halo, so you’re doing it basically once a year.

Sandra (19:17):
Yeah. I’m doing it once a year. I’m trying to keep up, do preventative. Like I said, it’s my birthday gift to me.

Monique Ramsey (19:25):
I love that. And then when you do your Botox, how often do you do that?

Sandra (19:30):
Averaging about every four months. Yeah.

Monique Ramsey (19:34):
Right. That’s kind of where, with the same track I’m on. So if somebody might be on the fence about having a cosmetic procedure of any kind, what kind of advice would you give them?

Sandra (19:47):
Well, you definitely have to be comfortable with who you’re going to go to. If they’re on the fence, I’d say just come in and have a consultation with someone like Brittany or all the providers here are amazing. If something’s bothering you and you’re thinking about it and thinking about that’s like with the Botox, it got to the point where I don’t want my picture taken.

Monique Ramsey (20:10):

Sandra (20:10):
And then I was like, when you get to a point where you’re just not comfortable, it might be time to do something. But it can’t hurt to come in and talk, so.

Monique Ramsey (20:19):
This is true. And now we are still doing our providers and our patients really love doing their consults on zoom. Even though that started with COVID when we were shut down. But then our patients liked it so much, our providers really like it to be able to try to say, okay, let’s meet each other. Let’s figure out your goals. Let’s talk about solutions. And then when you come in on the day of treatment, we’re going to solidify. So then would you do anything differently? Looking back on the things you’ve done, if you could go back, would you have done anything differently?

Sandra (20:56):
No. I think I started with the Botox, about the right time. I guess what I would suggest is if you’re thinking of something like Botox, for maintenance or upkeep, don’t wait too long.

Monique Ramsey (21:13):
So everyone has a running, well, everyone, I’m assuming if you’re all like me, you have a running list of what do we want to do next?

Sandra (21:23):

Monique Ramsey (21:23):
Do you have anything on your to-do list with the, that you’re thinking you might want to explore at some point?

Sandra (21:28):
Not right now, I’m not opposed to anything. Truth be told I had my eyes done in your surgery center, 2018, Dr. Wheeler, who’s no longer here, he retired.

Monique Ramsey (21:45):
You know what? It was his birthday yesterday.

Sandra (21:49):

Monique Ramsey (21:49):
It popped up on my calendar. I’m like, oh, Dr. Wheeler, he’s such a sweet man.

Sandra (21:55):
He was amazing. So my eyes still look good, but eyes don’t last forever. At least the uppers, so yeah, down the road, I would definitely consider that. I think it makes a huge difference.

Monique Ramsey (22:10):
It really does. It’s a surgery that, as I say, it’s like the one you get the most bang for your buck because it really can make a huge difference.

Sandra (22:19):
You do? Yeah, no. I had uppers and lowers done. He said I might not ever need the lowers done again, but your uppers, definitely.

Monique Ramsey (22:29):
Nice. So on our podcast, we give our listeners $25 off of any product or service of $50 or more at La Jolla Cosmetic. And so we have a favorite question that we like to ask our guests. If you were going to use that $25 on anything, what would it be?

Sandra (22:48):
The TNS Advance, it comes in a white bottle, essential serum.

Monique Ramsey (22:54):
You are so close. It’s the TNS Advanced Plus Serum. Yes, that is my favorite one too. I know we’re not supposed to pick favorites, but that’s my favorite. It’s pretty amazing.

Sandra (23:06):
Yes. I use it every day, morning and night.

Monique Ramsey (23:11):
It really works and it is the one thing that’s like when I’ve run out of it, I’ve noticed. In a, not in a good way.

Sandra (23:20):

Monique Ramsey (23:20):
I don’t run out anymore. Now. Did you have any, I forgot to ask you this earlier on the Halo. So do you have the hydration facial?

Sandra (23:31):
Yes. I just had it today with Cameron.

Monique Ramsey (23:35):
Oh today.

Sandra (23:36):
So yeah.

Monique Ramsey (23:36):
What was that process like?

Sandra (23:39):
It was very relaxing. It’s more just to add some moisture back to the skin because you can’t be a little bit dry from going through the process. I’m not sure exactly what you put on my skin, but the way she was massaging me with her fingers was incredible. Almost put me to sleep.

Monique Ramsey (23:58):

Sandra (23:59):

Monique Ramsey (24:00):
And that was today. So they normally wait two weeks. Yes. Probably to get all the flaking is mostly done. Got it. Okay. I’ve heard about them, but I haven’t ever seen one in action. So, and so then the last question I have for you is, we have a brand promise that is where dreams become real. So we’re trying really, to help people achieve their dreams, whatever that dream is. And so can you tell us about a dream of yours that became real?

Sandra (24:31):
I guess the outside of me now feels more like the inside, because I don’t feel 57. You know, I feel like I’m still in my thirties and forties and with the help of like Cameron and Brittany and Dr. Wheeler when he was here, it’s made a huge difference. I feel more confident. I’m happy with myself. Not that I wasn’t before, but I don’t know, it’s just a big confidence booster. Right after I had the eyes done and you know, I do the lasers and, and so forth. I went home to visit my mom, who doesn’t know I had my eyes done. She knows I do the other things. And if she finds…

Monique Ramsey (25:09):
Might, she might know now she might know.

Sandra (25:11):
Yeah. If she listens to the podcast, she’s going to know. Nobody was like, oh my gosh, what did you do to your eyes? It was wow. She goes, you look really good. And I’m like, really? She goes, yeah, you must be taking great care of your skin. She goes, you look amazing.

Monique Ramsey (25:31):
Well, thanks again for coming on the podcast, Sandra, it’s been such a pleasure talking to you.

Sandra (25:37):
Well, thank you.

Monique Ramsey (25:38):
I love having patients on where they can tell their story and why they did it and how they feel afterwards. I think that’s such a help to any patients who might be thinking about something, but they’re not quite sure. So I really, really appreciate your coming on the podcast and sharing that with all of us.

Sandra (25:56):
Well, thank you. Thank you for having me.

Monique Ramsey (25:59):
We’ll see you all next time.

Speaker 4 (26:13):
Take a screenshot of this podcast episode with your phone and show it at your consultation or appointment or mention the promo code podcast to receive $25 off any service or product of $50 or more at La Jolla Cosmetic.

Speaker 4 (26:27):
La Jolla Cosmetic is located just off the I5 San Diego freeway in the XiMED building on the Scripps Memorial Hospital campus. To learn more, go to ljcsc.com or follow the team on Instagram at LJCSC, the LA Jolla Cosmetic Podcast is a production of The Axis.

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