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In Need Of Wisdom And Advice For My Scarring (With Pics)

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#1 CherrySoda08

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 12:37 PM

Hey Everybody,

I DO end this post with questions. However, I feel it does help to give a bit of a backstory first. So please bear with me. Posted Image Also, this is probably the first time I have ever been able to reach out, and tell my story to those who might be able to understand where I'm coming from. My acne has caused me alot of sadness, depression, and frustration over the years, and it is cathartic for me to tell my story. If you don't feel like reading, I won't be offended. But please at least skip to the end, and give my questions a look-over. Maybe you can help me out.

I'm a 27 year old female with (mostly) ice pick acne scarring, and some discoloration (but that doesn't really bother me as much as the ice picks, to be honest). I struggled with blackheads, and mild acne as a preadolescent, and teen. Then, like so many others I have read about on acne.org, I began to get cysts starting at around age 21.

That's when things went downhill for me. My typical teenage-acne prone skin began to occasionally get painful cysts that would never quite reach the surface of my skin. They were full of pus, and bloody oil, and after squeezing about 3 of them on my left cheek, I knew they would leave major, major scars, and I should not touch them anymore.

By the time I realized I should not touch those painful as heck cysts, I began to get even worse acne along my lower cheeks and jawline at about age 23 or 24. Of course I didn't touch that, I knew what would happen. Nonetheless, my face was full of infection. I remember at one time, it was hard for me to even smile, because I had such pain in my lower left cheek from the infection.

If you're wondering what I ever did along the years to try to get rid of my acne, my answer is everything. Beginning when I was a teen, because I didn't even want those gross whiteheads in high school. I tried every over-the-counter/department store remedy imaginable. I was a slave to the Clinique 3-Step system. Using that helped somewhat as a teenage girl, but by the time I reached 21, it seemed like nothing I could buy from a store could help me. So, I went to a dermatologist in college who prescribed Differin, and Clyndamycin phosphate. Those sorta worked. Around age 22, I went to another derm to discuss Accutane, but the idea of taking something that could potentially break me out even more, and cause even MORE scarring didn't seem worth it at the time (and still really doesn't). Nothing could have prepared me, however, for how bad things were going to get.

I remember at that time being so depressed and unhappy with my looks, that I could barely stand to wash the layers and layers of foundation makeup I wore at the time, because then I would have to see how ugly I had become. I was pretty as a little girl, and a lovely teen, and it was devastating for me to see that as a young woman, my skin had changed texture, become more oily, and contained painful cysts, and was beginning to bear scars.

After gettng out of a bad relationship (which I think probably contributed to my stress levels, and therefore cystic acne at the time), my beautiful mom convinced me that I owed it to myself to get into the dermatologist once again, and take control of my acne problems. So, I scheduled an appointment. The P.A. was extremely helpful, and seemed to know exactly what I needed. I was prescribed a strong antibiotic (I forget which one, though), and used Tazorac and Vanoxide topicals for about a year and a half. According to my P.A., my acne was under control (finally), and then it was time for me to move onto the wide world of cosmetic dermatology.

My very kind and pretty cosmetic dermatologist has had me undergo about 3 or 4 "punch float", as she calls them, procedures, and given me three little punch grafts on my left cheek where my acne was the worst. I have been told by friends and some family that my scarring looks much, much better and smoother. What a relief. I still see myself as scarred, and not as good as I should be. But the support of others really has helped to lift my spirits.

Here's the question part; NOW my cosmetic dermatologists wants to give me a medium-grade Obagi blue peel for what is left of my scarring, and I want to know if that's a good idea. Or, based on my pictures, do you think I should try something else? I have done alot of research lately on Fraxel, CO2 laser resurfacing, and have no idea what road I ought to take. I still have some enlarged pores on my nose that I have no idea what to do about, and one little yucky boxcar scar that I hate, and I have no clue if the Obagi blue peel will help with that.

My cosmetic derm has told me that after an Obagi blue peel, my skin will look "perfect", and that what's left of my scarring will barely be noticeable. But I have gotta say, after checking out the Before and Afters of those who have done laser resurfacing, I have been blown away by some of the results. Talk about perfect, gorgeous skin! Some of y'all out there who got the Fraxel and other types of laser treatments have prettier skin than people I've seen who have never had a zit in their lives. Amazing!

I'm really at a crossroads, here. I don't personally know anyone who's had the kind of extensive acne scarring treatments that I've had, so I would absolutely LOVE it if someone could give me their experienced, personal opinion on the condition of my skin, and what treatment I should take. Please take a look at my pics, and let me know what you think. Posted Image DSCN1709.JPG DSCN1708.JPG DSCN1703.JPG DSCN1702.JPG DSCN1701.JPG

If you want to look at my Gallery, I will post more pics there. I just thought that these 5 pics I attached will definitely get my point across.

Many, many thanks.

H

#2 LZOMG

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 01:18 PM

facial peels do nothing for acne scars.

Your scarring isnt bad at all, infact I can only see it if i concentrate and focus hard on it.


I would recommend punch excisions, since you dont have that many scars and following it with a Fractional Co2 laser like the Fraxel Repair or Deep FX to smoothen things out. Your scarring will improve alot after these 2 but both of these combined will cost you about 3-5k. Acne scars are very expansive to treat and you can only specialist in huge citys like L.A. and Dallas.
Vote For Obama 2012 to make Health Care available to all even those with pre-existing conditions like acne. Help future teens who have no access to health care battle there acne by electing the man who will support the Affordable Health Care Act better known as Obamacare.
And dont let Romney Win, he will do everything to repeal ObamaCare. More info on link below
http://www.acne.org/...vote-for-obama/

#3 WinnieTheBlue

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 01:53 PM

Although I can understand your depressed feelings about this, You are actually very nice looking even with scars. Nowhere near ugly as you describe, that is a fact.
I am not coping that great myself and a lot of people are suffering from this mentally.

Obagi peel isn't going to do it, cosmetic derm can give very unrealistic promises. You should go with LZOMG advice.

Edited by WinnieTheBlue, 21 June 2012 - 01:53 PM.


#4 CherrySoda08

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 02:17 PM

Thanks, y'all. That really helps alot. I started feeling pretty iffy about the Obagi blue peel after looking at some videos about the product, and seeing clients who have used it. The types of people who have used it seem mostly to be middle-aged ladies who have had lots of sun damage. I'm neither middle-aged, nor do I have really any sun damage. Mercifully, I always stayed out of the sun.

However, I have read that because it is a medium-level peel, it should help "stretch" the acne scars, leaving behind a smoother appearance. I was pretty happy about the idea of that, until I noticed on dermatologists' websites that none of the clients who get the mid-level peels have the same sorts of problems as I do. Like I said before, they're middle aged with sun damage.

But does it make any difference at all if the peel is mid-level?

Oh, and LZOMG, I have had about 4 sessions of what my derm called "punch floats". Is that what you meant by punch excisions? Also, have you had any personal experience with Fraxel or Deep FX?

I live very close to Atlanta, and have already checked to see how close the derms are that offer laser treatments like Fraxel. So if I do go that route, there's definitely something like Fraxel within reach. Posted Image

#5 Nope.avi

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 02:22 PM

.

Edited by Nope.avi, 08 August 2012 - 08:05 PM.


#6 CherrySoda08

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 02:23 PM

"Perfect" does seem a bit like bollocks, doesn't it? That's kinda why I started doing a bit of research. I just think that with the type of scarring I have, one mid-level peel isn't really going to cut it.

#7 FruitBiscuits

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 02:25 PM

>My cosmetic derm has told me that after an Obagi blue peel, my skin will look "perfect"

Bollocks. As above.


I agree. And I think should change your derm...because he is not honest or maybe doesn't have enough experience treating acne scars...

Edited by myskin2012, 21 June 2012 - 02:26 PM.


#8 CherrySoda08

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 02:32 PM

Nope.avi , my cosmetic derm used that guy (or one similar to the Kai biopsy punch) on my lovely ice pick scars. I do have to say that I think she made the edges around the ice pick scars look softer, and they have have raised up noticeably.

So what is your recommendation for my skin? I'm pretty much open to any suggestion, and am willing to spend a good deal. I just want to have skin I don't feel self-conscious about. It doesn't have to be perfect. Just as good as I can make it look.

#9 LZOMG

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 02:52 PM

Before i knew exactly how lasers worked, i was kinda tricked into getting the Active FX.
The active fx does not penetrate into the Dermis so it will not help acne scarring, All it did was tighten my skin.

This December i plan on driving 5 hours to Dallas to get the Deep FX. It is the closest place that offers doctors that have the Deep FX laser. The thing about Lasers is that you need about 2-3 treatments for best results. (depending on severity).

But the good thing is that all doctors charge substantially less the 2nd treatment than they do the first treatment.
Vote For Obama 2012 to make Health Care available to all even those with pre-existing conditions like acne. Help future teens who have no access to health care battle there acne by electing the man who will support the Affordable Health Care Act better known as Obamacare.
And dont let Romney Win, he will do everything to repeal ObamaCare. More info on link below
http://www.acne.org/...vote-for-obama/

#10 CherrySoda08

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 03:03 PM

Wow. I had never even heard of the FX lasers before. What made you decide to go with those, rather than Fraxel, for example?

You really have no idea how helpful you have been for me. I really, really appreciate all of your input and advice.

I wish you nothing but the very best of luck wtih your upcoming treatment! Keep me updated on how it goes!

#11 LZOMG

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 03:23 PM

SmartXide, Fraxel, Lumines FX are all similar except the name branding.
I chose the FX lasers because they are a thousands of dollars cheaper than the Fraxel Repair even though they are very similar interms of results.
This kinda explains how the FX lasers work
http://www.aesthetic....com/ultrapulse
Vote For Obama 2012 to make Health Care available to all even those with pre-existing conditions like acne. Help future teens who have no access to health care battle there acne by electing the man who will support the Affordable Health Care Act better known as Obamacare.
And dont let Romney Win, he will do everything to repeal ObamaCare. More info on link below
http://www.acne.org/...vote-for-obama/

#12 CherrySoda08

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 03:28 PM

Oh wow. You are awesome! This definitely gives me more to think about...

#13 LZOMG

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 05:25 PM

Oh wow. You are awesome! This definitely gives me more to think about...

Good luck and make sure to update us after you find a MD you can trust to do any of these procedures on you.

Also keep in mind depening on how bad your acne scarring is, it could take anywhere from 1-5 Deep FXs/ Fraxel Repairs until your happy. 5 if your scarring is really bad.
Vote For Obama 2012 to make Health Care available to all even those with pre-existing conditions like acne. Help future teens who have no access to health care battle there acne by electing the man who will support the Affordable Health Care Act better known as Obamacare.
And dont let Romney Win, he will do everything to repeal ObamaCare. More info on link below
http://www.acne.org/...vote-for-obama/

#14 CherrySoda08

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 09:36 PM

I don't really consider my scarring to be that bad. Kind of moderate. But yes, I will definitely keep you updated.

#15 tonyocr

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 05:50 PM

I don't really consider my scarring to be that bad. Kind of moderate. But yes, I will definitely keep you updated.


My scarring is very similar to you only that I never had cystic acne and I caused the scarring myself by squeezing whiteheads.Imagine how bad that makes me feel.

Anyway I was also planning on doing punch excisions followd by some kind of laser. I'm very skeptical of going for a laser treatment though since it often seems to cause additional damage or not help at all. I thinkin of the mixto laser. My initial plan was to go for at home dermarolling but I'm scared of not doing it properly + I don't think I'l be patient enough for it.

Ah fuck scarring why can't there be some fairy dust that fills in those damn holes with normal tissue or even scar tissue. Holes are unsightly.
Maybe nanotechnology in a few years.....

#16 FruitBiscuits

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 06:00 PM

My scarring is very similar to you only that I never had cystic acne and I caused the scarring myself by squeezing whiteheads.Imagine how bad that makes me feel.

Anyway I was also planning on doing punch excisions followd by some kind of laser. I'm very skeptical of going for a laser treatment though since it often seems to cause additional damage or not help at all. I thinkin of the mixto laser. My initial plan was to go for at home dermarolling but I'm scared of not doing it properly + I don't think I'l be patient enough for it.

Ah fuck scarring why can't there be some fairy dust that fills in those damn holes with normal tissue or even scar tissue. Holes are unsightly.
Maybe nanotechnology in a few years.....


If you are thinking about Mixto, there is a helpful topic you should check it out(if you haven't yet), a lot of info here Posted Image

http://www.acne.org/messageboard/index.php/topic/315693-asian-doing-mixto-for-acne-scars-on-cheeks/

I feel the same way, dermarolling scars me..! Hope you'll find good treatments for your scars, good luck =)

#17 tonyocr

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 07:58 PM


My scarring is very similar to you only that I never had cystic acne and I caused the scarring myself by squeezing whiteheads.Imagine how bad that makes me feel.

Anyway I was also planning on doing punch excisions followd by some kind of laser. I'm very skeptical of going for a laser treatment though since it often seems to cause additional damage or not help at all. I thinkin of the mixto laser. My initial plan was to go for at home dermarolling but I'm scared of not doing it properly + I don't think I'l be patient enough for it.

Ah fuck scarring why can't there be some fairy dust that fills in those damn holes with normal tissue or even scar tissue. Holes are unsightly.
Maybe nanotechnology in a few years.....


If you are thinking about Mixto, there is a helpful topic you should check it out(if you haven't yet), a lot of info here Posted Image

http://www.acne.org/...cars-on-cheeks/

I feel the same way, dermarolling scars me..! Hope you'll find good treatments for your scars, good luck =)


Yeah iv seen that thread. His results seem to be amazing.Iv never seen one single treatment do so much.

Dermarolling SCARS you? Wow how does that happen? Where did you buy your roller from?

#18 CherrySoda08

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 08:27 PM

From my research, I don't think dermarolling is a great idea at all. I doubt I would ever do it. Definitely not by myself!

And tonyocr, I definitely gave some of these scars to myself. I did it mostly as a teen, picking at some of the whiteheads I had at the time. But overall I would say my skin was pretty much okay until I got to be around 21, and that's when my skin became more oily, and seemed to change texture. I got crazy-big cysts in my cheeks and jaw. After squeezing just about 3 in my left cheek, I realized there was NO WAY I should continue to do that because it left big holes in my left cheek.

Fortunately, my cosmetic derm mostly fixed the big holes with what she calls "punch floats", I'm not sure what the proper term is for that procedure. And three little punch grafts on the left cheek. OMG, it looks so much better.

But now I'm so stuck on what sort of procedure to go with next. I'm much more happy with the way my skin looks now than when I was around 24, but I still have some scars that need to be worked on. I just don't know if I should go with lasering, do this Obagi mid-level peel my cosmetic derm seems to think I ought to go with, or do the permanent silicone injections.

These pictures of silicone injections really kind of took my breath away:

Before:
http://www.realself....7395-306608.jpg
After:
http://www.realself....7395-306609.jpg

I mean, whoa. Talk about an amazing improvement. Now, I do not expect that my skin will ever go back to the way it was when I was a younger person. I just would like it to become as good as I can get it to be.

The advice of those who have replied to my post has been to do lasering. It seems like that's maybe the way I should go. Which is a bummer in a way, because I was all set to have this peel done, and was told by my derm that my skin would look "perfect", as she termed it, after it was done with. I mean, come on, I know there's no such thing as perfect. There just isn't. But I am willing to accept "much better".

I'm just confused as to which route will take me to "much better". If anyone else has anymore contributing thoughts, I would be so grateful! Posted Image

#19 *Inspired*

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 11:34 PM

Done by the right doctor, fillers are a great temporary solution. You can see improvement for 6-12 months.

I don't believe in peels for treating acne scars. Did your derm say how many peels would be required to reach your goal? I don't think one peel will provide much improvement. However, I have never done a Blue peel.

#20 *Inspired*

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 12:42 AM

ADD-ON:
Duh, I just realized you said silicone injections, and were not referring to many of the popular fillers today. It is my understand that silicone injections can lead to problems years down the road. They also don't work for everyone & all types of scars. I'm not an expert on it. You should ask a dermatologist or plastic surgeon if silicone injections are even possible for your type of scarring.

Your scars are similar to mine. It's taken me one laser treatment to get this point. Most of my ice picks look like indents and enlarge pores at this point. I know I can't use fillers for a majority of my scars because the scars are too small & too shallow.

You should also read this and definitely do your research if you are seriously considering silicone injections:
http://www.realself....ections/reviews

Edited by TokyoGirl, 23 June 2012 - 12:43 AM.



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