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. 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.
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.
i just wanted to say you look so gorgeous pretty eyes pretty smile gorgeous jaw line
i cant tell you what you can do because i dont even know myself, but from my exprinces i know dont try fraxel o,o it made my skin alot worst and more scaring.
depending on dept and size, punch grafting/subcission are good for boxscaring, icepick scars are the hardest to treat the deepest ;/