This is a really long entry documenting my experience/journey with subcision. Subcision part is in bold. *
I've had acne since i was about 13 years old. I'm currently 25 years old and throughout the years I've learned how to minimize my acne to the best of my ability. My father had really bad acne growing up as did I. Experts say that acne has nothing to do with diet, however I tend to disagree. I've lived with it for more than ten years now and it wasn't until recently that I've learned so much about it.
Carbohydrates, alcohol, dairy, gluten, stress and lack of sleep are all contributors to my acne. My diet is pretty clean so the breakouts are not like they used to be however I still have acne scars.
Anyways, on to the acne scars..
I believe it was in 2014 when I started looking into working on my scars. Initially i tried chemical peels such as TCA peels (in different strengths) and they helped with my appearance as they helped with shedding of the older skin and revealing newer skin so i had less breakouts. I didn't know that the chemical peels were not helping the scars very much.
Then I discovered that the scars would need to be addressed subdermal and bought a ninety dollar Micro needling pen on eBay (MyM I believe). The idea behind the micro needling is to use the needles to break up the collagen fibers underneath the scar so they can remodel and fill in.
So I continued to use the micro needling pen as i saw some (not much improvement) and figured that I would need a stronger Micro needling device because maybe the needles weren’t penetrating the skin the way they should be so then in 2015 I purchased the “Derminator” from vaughter wellness (owndoc) and noticed the difference in the design of the system. Again, I saw some minor improvements in my skin with the use of one needle “2.25mm” setting. After about a year’s worth of use, I eventually realized that a lot of the “improvements” may have been some temporary swelling so I was a bit disappointed.
It wasn’t until about May 2016 or so that I realized that I would need help. Help from a professional as my acne scars were a bit deeper than the average and would need to be medically treated. I’ve looked into treatments such as fillers, laser,TCA Cross, micro needling and subcision and found that subcision would be my best option for the type of scars that I had. After watching so many different acne scar videos, reading different reviews on realself.com, I finally built up the courage in July 2016 to set up a consultation with Dr. John Burns in Dallas (plastic surgeon) as he was one of the few doctors who performed subcision for acne scars. We set up an appointment to have subcision for my acne scars on August 8th, 2016.
Weeks prior to the subcision treatment, my skin was relatively clear (aside from the scars) that I didn’t mind what I ate too much as I was a bit too comfortable in my own skin that I had a few breakouts because of the trail mix I ate (m&m’s, peanuts, etc). So I had a week or so to really clean up my diet, get some good sleep to heal the skin prior to the treatment.
So on Monday, August 8th, 2016, I drove to Dallas (approx. 45 min) for my treatment. Nurse prepped me by numbing the skin through the five injections. Then Dr. Burns went to work on my skin. It felt a little strange as I’ve never been this numb on my face before. Dr. Burns would ask if I felt anything and I told him surprisingly I couldn’t really feel anything. The subcision treatment looks pretty intense but fortunately the nurse did a good job with numbing my face that it was painless. I did hear the noise from what sounded like the breaking of the collagen fibers under the skin. The whole process was approximately an hour from start to finish and I paid $500.00. I was prescribed antibiotics and prednisone (steroid). My face was red and swollen and it was difficult to blink my eyes as I was pretty numb, but the blinking wasn’t a big deal, it was the driving part that was difficult because of my vision (I drive a stick shift car and needed both hands).
Later approximately three to four hours after the procedure the numb was starting to wear off and I began to feel a lot of pain. The pain was in my cheeks and in my head (headache). It hurt pretty bad but after I had some food, my prescription and took an antibiotic and some ibuprofen I felt much better and really no pain since this treatment day.
Tuesday, Day 1 I looked like a chipmunk as my cheeks were completely swollen and my face resembled that of Quagmire from family guy’s. On Thursday, day 3, I still had some swelling and the bruising started to settle as I developed a “black eye” from the bruising. Perhaps if I really needed to go back to work I could have but I took the next three days as “sick days” to heal more comfortably. By Saturday, day 5, I was back at work and really the main side effect I had was a black eye and some minor swelling on my left and a lump on my right cheek. You can still see the scabs from where the needles were inserted (two points) on both sides of my face but it’s not a big deal.
Today is Wednesday, day 9 and the swelling on my left cheek is nearly gone, the “black eye” is not as bad and the lump on my right cheek is still there but not as large. I’m thinking the lump will eventually go away with by a few more weeks. The lump on my right side is a bit hard to the touch but as of right now I’m not too worried about it. I just had an intense treatment last week and my body is doing what it needs to do to repair itself. I was expecting some side effects and I’m just glad that the majority of the swelling is gone so I can deal with a minor bruise under my eye, a yellow-ish tint to skin and a small lump for a bit.
I’ve read other acne.org user’s blogs and posts and was inspired to also document my journey so that I may help others that could use the help and that could learn from my experience and mistakes. I know that acne and acne scars are very tough to deal with as its emotionally taxing and I want to help others out because I too looked for reviews and blogs and anything and everything that I could learn from to help treat myself.
I wanted to be thorough so that I may help answer people’s questions because I’m sure eventually you may have the specific questions and you can always look back and hopefully see what my experience in that situation was like. I’m expecting about a two month healing process before I may evaluate and consider what my next move is. I plan on having another subcision treatment done and I have a follow up on Monday, September 12th, approximately a month after. My plan is to have a few subcision treatments done to address the scarring and then get on a low dose of isotretinoin (accutane) to treat my acne and help minimize sebum production. I’m not doing both because isotretinoin has many side effects including slower wound healing which would not be a great idea if I have a subcision treatment while on isotretinoin.
Anywho, I wish I had not broken my phone so that I may have taken higher quality photos of my skin during the healing days of subcision but these are from an iPad 2 so quality isn’t as great.
I’ll probably write again either in a week or month, depending on when I feel it will be necessary.