Last year, Allure asked Shay Mitchell to try nine things she'd never done before, including flipping mini pancakes, biting into a sandwich while wearing vampire fangs, and fixing a bicycle. But recently, she didn't need any coaxing from us to try something else she'd never done before: an IPL treatment for melasma.
IPL, or intense pulsed light, is one of several in-office treatments dermatologists and plastic surgeons may use to address melasma, a form of discoloration that typically appears as "blotchy hyperpigmented patches on the face, usually the cheeks, bridge of the nose, forehead, chin, and upper lip," dermatologist Sejal Shah has previously told Allure, also noting that it often triggered by pregnancy. This seems to be the case with Mitchell, who is a new mom to 10-month-old daughter, Atlas.
Instead of keeping the experience to herself, Mitchell shared it with her 28 million Instagram followers in a three-minute IGTV video. After a masked mirror-selfie Boomerang, Mitchell provides her own quick explanation of melasma and IPL before showing us how the numbing cream looks on her face — and FaceTiming with friend and aesthetician Shani Darden.
Mitchell talks to the front-facing camera on her phone right after a member of plastic surgeon Jason Diamond's staff removes the numbing cream. "I want to show you guys without a filter: This is my little melasma spot," she says, pointing to hyperpigmentation near her eye, "and right around here, like the upper lip. And those are kind of the common areas where you get melasma. But especially for new moms who go out in the sun — this is what happens."
Mitchell says she was too nervous to shoot the actual treatment while it was in progress, but when it's done, she describes the experience. "That felt like a million little elastic bands hitting all over," she says, suggesting that it made her tear up a bit. "If you guys get this, don't wear mascara, OK? Take it off. Or wear waterproof." Before leaving the office, she got to soothe her "stingy" skin with a collagen-infused sheet mask.
The actor concludes the video with a look at her skin one week later. "This is the progression, as you can see, definitely lightened up a little bit," she says, admiring the difference the IPL treatment has already made. "They still recommend to do another one to two treatments after, but I'd say, for a week after, we're on the track to lightening these little guys up. But so far so good."
Check out the full video below.
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Originally Appeared on Allure