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While getting to know Christine Tatum, chief executive officer of Denver-based communications company Media Salad, Inc., we quickly found a great person to explain the journey to healthy skin we at illuma Advanced Aesthetics are passionate about helping our clients navigate. Our deal was simple: we would introduce Christine to our services, and she would tell the unvarnished truth about her experiences. You can read her first , second, third and fourth posts. We all hope from the resulting series she periodically will maintain on this blog that you learn some interesting things to help you achieve your own skincare goals, laugh a little — and that you visit uat illuma to begin your journey.

There are so many things to plan for when scheduling laser facial skin treatments, and you, gentle reader, get to benefit from my lack of foresight.

I have two big recommendations.

One: If you’re using facial recognition technology to access your home, adjust your thermostat, or open apps on your mobile phone, you might want to put all of that on pause until you have recovered fully. I grossly underestimated just how much my face would peel and flake — to the point that it felt as if it were falling off. Let’s just say my devices didn’t recognize me, and I had to come up with some unexpected workarounds.

Two: You really, really want to hang out at home for a few days, so clear the calendar, and stock up the pantry. I did neither of these things. Sending teenagers to do the shopping was easy, so I didn’t screw up too badly there, but my maiden recovery from laser skin treatments conflicted with a high school graduation party I simply couldn’t miss.

Before heading out, I tried desperately to cover my face. Fearful that the scabby “coffee beans” under my eyes would flake off while talking with someone, I liberally applied the illuma Spray Moisturizer. And though this was an evening event, I was determined to use the Daily Defense SPF because I was so rattled at the mere thought of being hit by a ray of light at sunset.

Then it was time to apply some sort of makeup. Oh, what to do? Oh, what a mess. What a complete mess. See the photo for yourself. It’s worth a thousand words, all right. This was not my finest hour — but I knew I could show up looking like a trick-or-treater on this particular doorstep because these friends have known and loved me for decades.

Day 2 after Christine’s first facial laser skincare treatment.

“Welcome!” my longtime buddy said, squinting to take a closer look at my face as I tried to hurry past him to hang out with the dog in the laundry room. “Wait. What did you do to yourself?”

There was no avoiding this so I headed into the brightly lit kitchen. Eyes widened. There were just a couple of winces. I looked better than I thought.

A smart lawyer friend with absolutely flawless skin beckoned me to sit beside her. She was grinning as widely as the Cheshire Cat — but not quite as widely as Certified Laser Specialist and illuma Advanced Aesthetics Co-owner Fran Valdiris, who sold me on all of this skin rejuvenation stuff.

“I know what you’ve been doing,” I could swear she purred.

“Oh, really? What is that?” I asked — all of a sudden gobsmacked by the realization that she was into this torture.

“Be glad because you’re looking like the crypt-keeper’s wife, so you’re turning a corner and should see new skin tomorrow maybe,” she said matter-of-factly. “I do this to myself, too, and it’s totally worth it — but I don’t go out in public.”

I was instantly fascinated and shifted into interview mode. My friend’s legal specialty includes the evaluation of medical devices. If there’s anyone who is going to ferret out effective and safe practitioners and skin lasers, it’s her. She was pleased to hear I had taken the time to ensure illuma uses only machines that have received approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration and are made in the U.S., too.

“I look at it like this,” she said. “I’ll spend lots of money on clothes, shoes, makeup and on and on, so why wouldn’t I spend it on my face? I wear that 100 percent of the time. I’m just strategic about how I go about all of this. I think of it as preventative maintenance, like changing the oil or rotating the tires, but for my face. These treatments are also pretty well tried and tested — and, like all things, skill matters. When you find a good person, keep ‘em.”

It was a lovely party. As I bid everyone goodnight, my lawyer friend mouthed five words from across the room: “Do not forget to moisturize.”

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