Coppertone Perfect UV Cut Gel Cream SPF50+ PA++++ I, II, and III!

Coppertone Perfect UV Cut Gel Cream SPF50+ was the first Japan-exclusive sunscreen I ever tried and immediately fell in love. My friend and I swapped our current favourite sunscreens – I gave her the OG Canmake Mermaid Skin Gel SPF50+ (Reviewed), and she blessed me with Coppertone Perfect UV Cut Gel Cream SPF50+ I (pink bottle). I was so impressed with how cosmetically elegant it was all the while being gentle.

I had friends that were planning a trip to Japan and I asked them to pick up all 3 versions of Coppertone Perfect UV Cut Gel Cream SPF50+. Apparently they were very difficult to find because they were always sold out due to its popularity! I was even more intrigued by these Japan-exclusive sunscreens.

Note before you start reading the review – these sunscreens are unfortunately discontinued. HOWEVER, I still wanted to review them to keep those of you reading informed of what I’m using in my skincare routine, as well as to spark some interest with Japanese sunscreens if you haven’t tried them yet. Also if you ever get a chance to visit the country, maybe you’ll peruse the beauty shops and also try a Japan-exclusive sunscreen, or something else you haven’t seen a North American Youtuber or Blogger review!


COPPERTONE PERFECT UV CUT GEL CREAM SPF50+ PA++++ GENERAL INFORMATION

English description and ingredients list provided by Ratzilla Cosme

  • Water-based creamy gel formula
  • Spreads evenly
  • Absorbs quickly
  • pH Protect Technology – reacts to skin’s acidic pH upon contact to transform into a skin-bonding veil
  • Leaves skin feeling moisturized and silky smooth
  • Water-resistant
  • For face and body
  • Made in Japan

Price: 900 Yen
Packaging: Opaque tube packaging with twist-off cap, each level has a different colour.

I – skin that burns easily and doesn’t tan (pink tube)
II – skin that tends to burn then tan (orange tube)
III – skin that tans easily and doesn’t burn (blue tube)


COPPERTONE PERFECT UV CUT GEL CREAM SPF50+ PA++++ INGREDIENTS

Based on the general description, my skin is suitable for Coppertone Perfect UV Cut Gel Cream SPF50+ III. However looking at the INCI list of all 3, the Coppertone Perfect UV Cut Gel Cream SPF50+ sunscreens share the same base of the following 12 ingredients:

water, octinoxate, dipropylene glycol, Uvinul A Plus, dimethicone, glycerin, polymethylsilsesquioxane, alcohol, isotearic acid, hyaluronic acid, soluble collagen, ceramide NP

Below I have shared some highlighted ingredients that make each Coppertone Perfect UV Cut Gel Cream SPF50+ more distinct. For my experience however, you’ll find that they all more or less perform the same.


COPPERTONE PERFECT UV CUT GEL CREAM I HIGHLIGHTED INGREDIENTS

  • peach leaf extract – emollient
  • mugwort flower extract – soothing
  • aloe extract – humectant, soothing
  • licorice root extract – soothing, brightening
  • tocopheryl acetate, tocopherol – vitamin e derivative and original, antioxidant

Based on the key ingredients following the base, soothing is the name of the game.


COPPERTONE PERFECT UV CUT GEL CREAM II HIGHLIGHTED INGREDIENTS

  • aloe extract – humectant, soothing
  • licorice root extract – soothing, brightening
  • rice bran extract – skin conditioning
  • chamomile flower extract – soothing, some antioxidant activity
  • ascorbyl glucoside – vitamin c derivative, apparently most promising one to show similar benefits as LAA; in sunscreen, it is probably more for antioxidant benefits
  • tocopherol – vitamin e, antioxidant

I find this one to have a more well-rounded inactive ingredient list – some soothing, brightening, antioxidant activity.


COPPERTONE PERFECT UV CUT GEL CREAM III HIGHLIGHTED INGREDIENTS

  • Coix Lacryma-Jobi Ma-Yuen Seed Extract – skin conditioning
  • rice bran extract – skin conditioning
  • chamomile flower extract – soothing, some antioxidant activity
  • Saxifraga sarmentosa extract – skin conditioning
  • ascorbyl glucoside – vitamin c derivative, antioxidant
  • tocopherol – vitamin e, antioxidant

This one seems to be more focused on softening the skin and providing antioxidant protection.


COPPERTONE PERFECT UV CUT GEL CREAM SPF50+ PA++++ EXPERIENCE

All 3 Coppertone Perfect UV Cut Gel Cream SPF50+ sunscreens have the exact same texture – a lightweight gel-cream with no noticeable scent, you can’t even smell the alcohol in the formula. Given the texture, it’s super easy to apply an adequate amount all over my face and neck without worry. The lightweightedness makes it enjoyable for reapplication, especially during the warmer months; I can reapply a liberal amount without worrying about streaks or excessive shine. One point of slight concern for those of us with dryer skin types is that these are quite light and I do not find they add a lot of extra moisture despite the “pH Technology”. Be sure to use your moisturizer properly without banking on any addition from these sunscreens.


COPPERTONE PERFECT UV CUT GEL CREAM SPF50+ PA++++ FINAL THOUGHTS

Unfortunately, these gentle, cosmetically elegant sunscreens are not only Japan-exclusives (can’t find them online for international retail), but they have been discontinued! This seems to be common for Japanese sunscreens – always discontinuing to improve the formula. I hope with this discontinuation, they just make one new and improved Coppertone Perfect UV Cut Gel Cream SPF50+. After using type I, II and III, there is not much difference between them. I hope that it’ll be an improved version of II because this one seemed the most well-rounded when it came to additional beneficial ingredients.


And that’s it for this review! I hope this post peaked your interest in Japanese sunscreens and the exclusive products they offer on their market – affordable ones at that! For us skinthusiasts, it’ll definitely be a fun “activity” to find what’s popular on that side of the world.

For a Japanese sunscreen I really like that is easily accessible on the international market, that is the Kao Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+ PA++++:
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xo, M

Low Buy Update #2: No-Buy, Maximalism, Colour Palette, Other Interests

Wow, has it been 3 months already? It’s time for another Low Buy update! Before you continue, please check out the below posts for more context about this one

Let’s Low Buy! My Rules for 2022 | Journey to Minimalism
Low Buy Update #1: 3 Month Check-In + Skincare Empties
Spring 2022 Skincare Empties


6-Month Low Buy Update

3-Month No-Buy

I’m patting myself on the back, I haven’t purchased skincare in the past 3 months since I published my first skincare haul of 2022. The haul I posted back in April have been the only products I have bought this year so far. I’ve always looked at my skincare collection first when wanting to try something new.

The only temptation the past few months was on Instagram. I participated in giveaways of skincare bundles, but didn’t win anything 😛

Now that we’re in July, I emptied out a ton of serums including the Man:yo Bifida Biome Complex Ampoule. I am also nearing the end of Sioris My First Essener. Since I’m on a good emptying spree, I gave myself permission to buy some skincare. I already placed an order on YesStyle so stay tuned for another skincare haul post!


Maximalist Skincare Routine

Skincare routine from Winter 2021

For the past 1.5 years I have been attempting to minimize my skincare routine. My target was an average from 5 to 3 skincare items. I have tried many times to cut down on the number of products in my skincare routine. Alas, it never lasts long. I’ve come to accept that I like having a more elaborate skincare routine, as well as on hand products.

As someone who creates skincare content, I have experimented a lot in many realms of skincare. I have reaped the rewards in most instances – layers of hydration, tretinoin, chemical exfoliants, soothing creams, fermented essences and serums. I’ve come to understand what I like and what my skin likes. Unfortunately for my wallet, it really likes variety when it comes to skincare. I notice a difference in my skin’s quality and vibrance when I am not as high maintenance. I enjoy skincare in general so I’ll be sticking to my somewhat maximalist skincare routine and having those extra products on an as-need or feel-like-it basis.


Discovering My Colour Palette

In the makeup corner of the beauty world, I still have not purchased anything *pats self on back*. I almost broke my no-makeup buy streak recently. I was really tempted to buy popular cool toned lip colours from Rom&nd (Pink Tassel, Bare Grape, #Figfig). But I did the best thing possible – I shopped my collection. Through this, I discovered a treasure trove of lovely cool-toned colours that compliment my complexion.

I have actually been shopping my stash more frequently now that I am settled in a new apartment and have easy access to my collection. On occassion, I decluttered a makeup product here and there. I eventually noticed that majority of the decluttered makeup falls in the warm-toned spectrum. My suspicion for this warm-toned makeup declutter is that I stopped wearing medium-full coverage foundations. This, and tinted sunscreens that had a warm undertone and paired well with this makeup – i.e. never turning orange. I have been noticing more that all the warm-toned makeup I own turns slightly orange shortly after it makes contact with my skin. I revisited my Merit Beauty vs Current Makeup Collection video and even saw a difference. While both sides looked good, there was something about the slightly cool toned, Merity Beauty side that looked a bit better.

For the first time in my life, I did a very cool-toned makeup look. One with ashy browns and very purple berry colours… And gaddamn it looked good. Typically, I always stuck to mauves in winter and peach in summer. I have never ventured too far with the cool-toned makeup. To my surprise, cool-toned makeup suits my cool, olive undertone skin way more. I did a cool-toned look a few weekends ago for an event. Not once did I question the colour of the makeup and how cohesive the overall look was. I still have warm-toned makeup. I kept the ones that I find still look good on me especially in the warmer months, the colours that bring me joy.


Interests Beyond Skincare

Ever since reducing the noise of skincare on my social media and Youtube, I have been interested in more topics outside of skincare. A lot which focus on my self-growth.

Language Learning. I am currently learning Bulgarian and it’s really renewed my interest in language learning in general. Fun fact, I speak a bit of French (all Canadian kids have to take French class for a number of years) and I also learned Italian (forgot a lot of it, I’m a False Beginner again lol). I was taking Bulgarian classes before to give me a good schedule, but now I am attempting some self-studying.

Fitness. The time has finally come – I have been working out for 3 months straight, 3-4x a week! I first started with Shelley Darlington’s lockdown workout playlist at home. The last 2 months (and now this month of July) I have been going consistently. I have always liked the results I got and now that I’m in my 30s, I want to have a family and also live a healthy life with little to no problems. So all in all, it’s good that I finally got into the habit of going to the gym – willingly :).

Fashion. I’ve been watching a lot of informative videos on yin and yang in body types (i.e. Kibbe), essence, and colour analysis. Looking at my current wardrobe since doing a mass declutter, I have seen a pattern with the types of materials, silhouettes and colours I gravitate towards and it’s become a real “AHA” moment in my fashion development. I have been in uniform-required schooling and jobs for a good chunk of my life, so I feel like I’m finally understanding myself more through fashion.


It is just past 6 months into this Low Buy year, I feel like I’ve finally escaped the beauty trap. I lost my impulsivity to buy and I don’t have FOMO for new releases. I also stopped watching a lot of skincare and makeup content. This made up a bulk of my social media for years and added fuel to my unnecessary spending. Now, the vicious cycle of spending in the beautysphere has come to a halt. Seeing how I’ve developed in the past 6 months is a real testament to that.


How’s your low buy year going? Have you also been decluttering, picking up additional interests, discovering you’re green? Let me know!

xo, M

Spring 2022 Skincare Empties

Another season passed, another round of skincare empties for 2022! For the past 3 months I managed to empty a total of 14 skincare products. I surprisingly finished a lot of my serums this time around, and hopefully by the next empties video I’ll have sunscreens to share.

Check out my Winter 2022 Empties: Low Buy Update #1: 3 Month Check-In + Skincare Empties

Low Buy Update #2: Low Buy Update #2: No-Buy, Maximalism, Colour Palette, Other Interests


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Anua Heartleaf Acne Facial Cleanser
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Bonajour Green Tea Water Bomb Toner
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Bonajour Eggplant Daily BHA Toner
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Skinceuticals Blemish + Age Defense Serum (PR)
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Ma:nyo Bifida Biome Complex Ampoule
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Regimen Lab Wave Serum (original version)
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Hylamide SubQ Eyes (discontinued)
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Geek & Gorgeous 101 C-Glow Serum
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5% Dapsone (Aczone) – PRESCRIPTION ONLY

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Avene Cold Cream
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Phytosurgence Verdant Forcefield Restorative Moisturizer
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Bioderma Cicabio Pommade
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RELATED CONTENT

Regimen Lab Wave Serum Review
https://michxmash.com/2021/10/30/review-regimen-lab-wave-serum/

Geek & Gorgeous 101 C-Glow Serum Review
https://youtu.be/XbVaG80Uqmg

2021 Mid-Year Skincare Favourites
https://youtu.be/DHQrdof8P8U

2021 End of Year Skincare Favourites
https://youtu.be/vwP7G7oW-fo

CO2 Fraxel Laser Recovery Vlog
https://youtu.be/HCL9iFk60Lo

1st Skincare Haul 2022
My First Skincare Haul of 2022!

CO2 Fraxel Laser Review – Did My Old Atrophic Acne Scars Improve?

For those of you new to my corner of the internet, I have had acne for over 15 years. Thanks to topical prescriptions and lifestyle changes, I finally managed to gain control over my acne. Now that it’s well controlled, I was finally able to get professional acne scarring revision. I developed atrophic acne scars from the days when I didn’t like skincare and made bad decisions (that’s what your 20s are for).


TIMELINE OF PROFESSIONAL ACNE SCARRING REVISION

Winter/Spring 2018 – At-Home Microneedling.

First Impressions: Banish Acne Scars Banish Starter Kit

REVIEW: Banish Acne Scars Banish Starter Kit

I did 4 sessions of at-home microneedling with a 0.5mm needle to start the acne scar revision process. Unfortunately, my acne was still not in the best state of control at the time.

Banish Acne Scars Banish Starter Kit from 2018

While I noticed improvement in texture, it was not enough to significantly improve the old acne scars. I also still had uncontrollable acne to deal with. After this experience, I hopped on the vitamin A bandwagon and started taking my clear skin journey more seriously. I realized that I can’t address my acne scars if I didn’t stop what causes them in the first place. I did more at-home microneedling sessions in 2018 as well, but stopped to just give my skin a break.

Fast forward to Spring 2020, my skin has been the clearest it’s been. I thank major lifestyle changes in combination with topical prescriptions Aczone and Retin-A Micro. Once my skin was consistently clear, I started looking at professional cosmetic procedures for my atrophic acne scars.

Fall 2020 Professional Microneedling.

Collage of healing progress after a professional microneedling session.

2020 was a year that I had an “aha” moment for how to best control my acne. In short, the missing piece of the puzzle was lifestyle changes. It really put a perspective on my gut health and how it strongly ties to my skin. Anywho, I started up the journey of acne scar revision once again, and had 3 professional microneedling sessions done. After 3 sessions, my skin’s texture looked somewhat smoother and it temporarily plumped up my skin. However the stubborn scars with built up scar tissue still remained. I knew I had to take it a step further. Between at-home microneedling and professional microneedling, the latter is definitely superior.

2021 October First of 3 CO2 Fraxel Sessions.

What is CO2 Laser?

A carbon dioxide laser (CO2 laser) resurfaces skin with targeted beams of light. As the first laser designed for skin resurfacing, it’s been popular since the 1980s for the rejuvenation of aging and damaged skin. 

So how does a CO2 laser work? Electricity runs through a gas-filled tube to produce a specific wavelength of light. The light is emitted in short, concentrated beams, which target water molecules and vaporize skin cells. The laser removes surface cells of the epidermis, making way for fresh, clear new skin.

At the same time, it penetrates the skin’s deeper dermis layer to stimulate new collagen production, which firms and smooths skin over time.

CO2 laser treatments can address fine lines and wrinkles; discoloration (including sun damage and age spots); acne scars; stretch marks; and uneven skin texture on the face, neck, and chest. 

– Realself.com
A collage of three photos from my first CO2 Fraxel Laser session in October 2021. Left: numbing cream has been applied before the CO2 Fraxel Laser Procedure. Middle: state of face shortly after the CO2 Fraxel Laser Procedure + PRP Mesotherapy is completed. Right: face has been cleaned and a soothing cica balm has been applied.

I made a recovery vlog video how my face and neck healed. I also demonstrate my skincare routine and the products I used.


MY CO2 FRAXEL LASER RESULTS

It has now been 3 months since my last session. I waited this long to share my results purposely because you need that time to see the progress. Some of you have asked what I noticed in prior, but I didn’t want to give a premature answer. I wanted to wait after 3 months to properly review my experience with CO2 Fraxel Laser.

Keep in mind that 3 sessions and old scarring doesn’t mean the laser was at the highest strength each session. The last 2 sessions were lighter because my skin was not as tolerant to pain like in the first session. I had 3 sessions in the span of 4 months. My skin’s healing took around a month at a time until it finally normalized. The dermatologist also considered:

  • The time period between the previous session(s),
  • The actives I may have used in my skincare routine,
  • Whether or not I was on my period (fluctuating hormones will make your skin more sensitive at certain times of the month).
Left: June 2021, less exposure. Right: June 2022, more exposure.
Left: June 2021, more exposure. Right: June 2022, less exposure. It looks like I should have used equal exposure for before and afters, but I wanted to highlight that even with the right photo with less exposure and more shading on the cheeks, the texture is still not as visible. (I was also trying to pose the same but completely missed the mark on hand placement lol).
Left: June 2021. Right: June 2022, slightly more exposure (angle was difficult to replicate for the after photo). I find on the left, the scars are a bit more visible especially with the blush placement. Right, even with equal amount of blush application, I find I see more of the darkness of the blush than the texture. Texture still looks more obvious when I apply cheek products in general.

Atrophic Acne scars

I have been frequently asked to give a percentage of how much my scars have improved. Frankly, I have a hard time formulating one because when you look at yourself you always think the worst. I don’t want any one following to be fixated on a number. This is my experience, with my skin type, my skincare, my age, my wound healing process, the different laser intensity per session due to pain tolerance, and how I view myself. Having said that, I’m not going to give a number. I will do my best describe what I see knowing all these factors about myself. Below I will also provide some materials so I can hopefully convey the difference I see.

I noticed a way smoother complexion on my cheeks after the first session, more significant than microneedling. I’ve had family and friends in person and video call comment that they noticed a difference. Some of you in the comments have also noticed!

The most obvious, indented scars – one on each cheek – are noticeably more lifted and not as deep. On a daily basis doing my skincare routine I rarely notice them.

On a daily basis, going about my day, experiencing all kinds of lighting… I don’t even notice my scarring and I don’t even look like a person who has experienced really bad acne.

My mother-in-law who was a medical esthetician commented that it looks like I achieved what I sought out to do. My acne scars improved and there is no need to continue with the CO2 Fraxel Laser sessions.

As for my husband never cared about my scarring in the first place (but obviously cared how they deeply affected me). He has seen the change in my skin since the time we first met almost 9 years ago! From breakouts, post-red acne marks and atrophic scarring to now – he commented that he can also visibly see a difference in my cheeks and pores. Friends who have also seen me before and after all 3 procedures. They commented that they have noticed a smoother appearance and that it doesn’t look like I ever experienced bad acne.

There are still times I see some scarring. One of them being when I apply a heavy amount of makeup to my cheeks. Cheek products create shadowing and make them more noticeable, particularly on the backs of my cheeks. Before acne scar revision in general, my eyes would immediately wander to that area. I knew that if I placed a lot of bronzer or blush there, the texture would appear more obvious. Now it’s more subtle, but in general I don’t apply as much makeup as I used to.

If I look real close, in various angles and lighting that no one else other than myself would look, I still see some lingering texture. I did this a few years ago when I was first very concerned about my atrophic acne scars and I’ve come to realize how silly it was. If I look at past photos or videos of myself prior to treatments, my scarring really wasn’t that bad. The only time it ever looked bad was when I went out of my way to cast my cheeks under atrocious lighting that no one including myself would ever notice.

So I still have texture. But the fact that I have to go through such awkward angles and lighting to even see it on myself, plus how much more lifted the most visible indented scars are… I think doing CO2 Fraxel Laser has been quite successful.

Other things I noticed alongside acne scar improvement

My pores while still visible are definitely reduced. My makeup routine prior needed a pore primer and powder to really pack it in. Currently, it takes little effort to blur out my pores. Most days I don’t reach for a primer or powder (maybe in the hot, sweaty summer).

Neck skin texture looks smoother and more refined – I find the quality of it matches my face. I’m happy about this because I was barely using any actives on my neck prior to the procedure. The tech neck lines visibly reduced. Not 100%, but for me I notice they don’t look as deep and a lot lighter.


OVERALL THOUGHTS ON EXPERIENCE WITH CO2 FRAXEL LASER

PROS OF CO2 FRAXEL LASER

  • Procedure is exactly what I needed to see the improvements I wanted to achieve for my skin that skincare could not provide for me.
  • Solidified my expectations with skincare and what I can achieve. I’ve seen the benefits of layering hydration, using actives like tretinoin and chemical exfoliants, but doing this procedure definitely solidified my expectations on how far skincare can get me. 
  • I like that I saw visible improvements after 1 procedure. Family, friends and some viewers have noticed as well.
  • Neck looks more refined and skin quality matches with my face. The lines I have while not completely gone have lightened. I just need to not look at my phone so much and keep a good posture. My mom and mother-in-law for example have less visible lines on their necks than I do, and they are in their 60s.
  • Mental clarity. I know the scars were never as bad as I perceived them to be. When I look at past photos even before starting any type of acne scar revision, they were not that bad. But if I were to imagine myself, the scarring was always there and I would see them first. Now when I picture myself, I see me first. Not my acne scarring, not my acne, just me.

CONS OF CO2 FRAXEL LASER

  • Cost. If you have scars like mine where they are old it will take a few sessions to get them really smoothed out, so you may be investing in this procedure in the thousands.
  • Down Time Post-Laser. Depending on the strength of the laser, swelling takes a few days to die down, scabbing maybe 5 days, overall redness longer. Not everyone has the luxury of working from home and even then you can’t really go out with your face in such a sensitive state. For me I work from home and even I was getting impatient with the recovery after the 2nd session.
  • Extensive Healing Time for FitzPatrick Skin Types bordering 3 and 4. You may get a little scared. While my face now is bright and even, it took maybe a month or so for this dark and dull look on my face to go away. You can see it in my post-laser skincare routine video, I found my face not as collected as I like it to be. Despite the length of time, I consistently made sure to use wound healing, soothing and moisturizing products to ensure a successful healing process.
  • The Pain. No amount of numbing cream will stop you from feeling pain. Unless you are completely void of nerves…

BEFORE CONSIDERING CO2 FRAXEL LASER…

Watch Dr. Davin Lim’s Youtube channel. Dr. Lim is a dermatologist based in Australia that specializes in acne scarring – talks about CO2 Fraxel Laser, Microneedling, Subcision, and other acne related topics.

Browse Realself.com. On this website, you can find doctor input, patient questions, reviews on various skin procedures and treatments. You can also potentially find a doctor in your local area for a specific treatment/procedure.

Lastly, schedule an in-person Dermatologist consultation. No one online will be able to answer your questions. A professional who sees your skin up close, understands your skin concerns, history, the products you use, will give a better answer.


DO I RECOMMEND CO2 FRAXEL LASER?

Yes, because it is guaranteed to result in improvements in skin texture. However, I would reserve this procedure for those of you who:

  • Have a very good understanding of your skin and body,
  • Have good control over your acne,
  • Have realistic expectations of the results.

If you do not meet the above, I would say hold off. This procedure may turn into a waste of money for you.


And that’s all folks! I hope my experience with CO2 Fraxel Laser helped you in some way when it comes to your own skin concerns and whether or not this procedure is worth the price and down-time.

xo, M