If you look at my gallery, you can see the after effects on my left cheek. The pictures are not the best because I didn't want to take pictures back then and only took one when I was experimenting with makeup as I tried to cover the deeper pits on my face. I don't have any pictures of what happened on my other cheek because it was extremely traumatizing for me. The damage was more extensive on my other cheek. I had a lot of small ice picks treated on that cheek that were fairly close together, and my skin caved in those areas a few weeks after the procedure. There is also a clinical article posted by TimJames to the forum that shows a patient who had a similar reaction as mine.
Once again, I'm sorry that your experience with the TCA CROSS wasn't positive.
Unfortunately, I can't really comment on what could have went wrong, as far as your icepick scarring is concerned, since there are no before pictures/pictures of your other cheek. From what I can
see, you do have a lot boxcar scarring, though. Whether they were like that before the CROSS, I don't know. But, I did see your "Pre-Cross" photo (of your left cheek), and there's definitely numerous boxcars. They also do not seem too
close to one-another; there seems to be sufficient space between them and spread similar as mine. Having said that, getting scars that are extremely close to each-other CROSSED could be problematic.
What I do
know, is that 1 mm punctuated holes (such as mild icepick scarring) is the scarring most suited for this treatment. I also see that you are of Asian ethnicity, and I did read that medium type skin works the best with this method; other types can be risky. Your scars looked as if they got deeper and not larger (from the pictures you posted).
Again, I'm just speculating, since I do not have any visual of your other cheek, where the icepick scarring is, to go on.
I did do a test spot a few weeks before I decided to proceed with both cheeks. My doctor treated 3-4 scars during my test spot. My skin reacted poorly when all my scars were treated at once.
A test spot
should always be one (icepick) scar.
I'm starting to strongly believe that the issue was your skin and scarring type. If this derm was truly experienced with the TCA CROSS method, they would have known from the get go that treating you would be risky.
With the above said, I absolutely wouldn't risk it if I were TinGuy. I hope I am entitled to an opinion, just like you Sam.
Of course you are.
Personally, if I was TinGuy, I'd have one of my icepicks CROSSED as a test, and keep the boxcars/other scarring away from the CROSS.
If I had a few ice pick scars (like your scarring) scattered with a good amount of distance between them, I might try TCA Cross again. TinGuy has a mixture of ice pick and boxcar scars that are very close together.
As-long as the boxcars and what not are left alone, and there is reasonable space between the icepicks, he shouldn't be prone to what happened to you.
I also researched TCA Cross for several years before having the procedure. I'm not ignorant or naive. I was extremely careful, and traveled to Los Angeles from Japan to have the procedure done. I really believed in it, at the time. Ultimately, it is TinGuy's decision, and just want to be sure he's aware of the possible risks and reality of what could occur.
I'm sure you were. Unfortunately, some times we find out the hard way that something is not suited for us; it sucks that it happened to you, but these are the risks we take when trying to repair are scarring. I wish there were procedures that were risk free, but this isn't the case.
I don't have deep, narrow ice-picks, but wider and shallower scars and treating them with acid doesn't seem to improve them in any way. Also a couple of scars that were close together looked like they might join and create a much more noticeable conglomerate scar if I had more treatments, so I also wouldn't recommend cross on scars very close together.
Definitely not suited for the TCA CROSS, in my opinion.
One scar got noticeably, though not nightmarishly, worse after a scab fell off prematurely in my sleep. Keeping scabs on long enough is very important during the recovery, and I don't think it's highlighted enough.
Actually, the length of time the scabs remain intact and the significance this has seems to vary among patient; some derms who perform this treatment, including mine, have even told me that it doesn't matter.
From my experience, I can tell you that some scabs that fell off early resulted in more improved scars, than ones that stayed on longer, and vice versa. Unless you rip it out yourself on the second day, I don't think it's possible to say what and what doesn't constitute as a scab falling off prematurely, as far as the ones that develop after the CROSS are concerned. The general consensus seems to be that they start to form and fall off within the first week or two. This tends to be the case for me.
Having said that, unless you sleep in a coffin, it's hard to have any control over what can happen to your scabs while you're sleeping. I sleep on my face, and never had a scar worsen due to a scab falling off "early".
I think my skin may have become more prone to scarring since my treatments - I had two full-face TCA peels as well, done by a professional. However, I can't really know if the peels are the reason or if it is just other factors like stress and aging etc.
I don't think the TCA CROSS or chemical peels, and the fact that you have become more prone to scarring, are related. Especially not the CROSS, since it's a spot treatment, and doesn't/shouldn't affect the rest of your skin.
I don't know why Inspired's reaction was as bad as it was, but I'm sure she's not the only case and hearing about it certainly made me more convinced that further TCA cross treatments are not worth the risks in my case.
From what you described, your type of scarring is what convinces me that TCA CROSS treatments aren't for you.
I'm really sorry to hear about your experience, and hope that you do, eventually, find a procedure that will help with your scarring.
I wish you much luck and patience.
Edited by Sam Witwicky, 07 December 2012 - 04:42 PM.