I've had acne for many years and my skin is showing more and more scarring. I'm in my late twenties. I took these pictures of one side of my face today, the lower quality photo is more accurate of how bad my skin looks in harsh and low lighting. Is it possible to smooth out my scarring and skin texture? What kind of treatments should I look into? I have very sensitive skin and I'm afraid of trying something that will just make my scars even worse. Thanks
Posted 30 January 2013 - 03:00 AM
Shall I jump right into what I can see? Shallow rolling/boxcar scars, and I mean very shallow. Your overall skin tone looks really lovely, just a little pinkness (or is that from the camera/flash?) and a few small acne spots. Would you agree?
The important thing for you is to not over-correct or attack your skin with too drastic a measure. Are you able to provide information about your current skin care regime? I know you said you have sensitive skin so by that do you mean you break out easily or that your skin is irritated easily, burns easily in the sun, all of the above? Are you able to use a Retinoid or Retinol on your skin? That's the big question in my opinion, in terms of skin care products.
I ask because these are the questions you need to work through to determine what treatment is best for you. If you don't react well to lasers you might be better with mild chemical peels or Dermaroller treatments (invasive but not harsh). Are there any procedures you've given thought to?
Light reading for you: http://www.scribd.co.../Acne-and-Scars
Edited by Quirky Fox, 30 January 2013 - 03:01 AM.
Posted 30 January 2013 - 03:45 AM
Hi QuirkyFox, thank you for the reply. My skin does have some redness issues, I suspect I have rosacea but haven't been formally diagnosed with it. My skin is very sensitive to weather, sun, products, etc. it gets irritated quickly. I change products fairly often because of that, but for now I've been washing with the clinique redness cleanser and moisturizing with maracuja or argan oil. My skin is very dry on my cheeks which is where all of my acne is, my forehead is oily and I haven't had any pimples there in years. I try to balance it out with using oil. I tried an over the counter product with retinol and my skin looked better the next morning but it made me break out so I discontinued use. I'm pretty open to any treatment but I'm so worried about making it worse.
Posted 30 January 2013 - 04:34 AM
I forgot to say welcome to the forums!
You might not have rosacea if the redness if from acne. Could just be prolonged erythema which is common for us acne sufferers and especially noticeable in people with paper white skin... like you and I! My erythema lasted for years but eventually faded. After each of my laser sessions the redness was there for a long time too. In fact, it's been 12 months since my final laser treatment and I still have erythema, ugh. It's not bad though and easily covered with make-up.
Your skin sounds similar to mine then. I also am extremely sensitive to the sun and many products. The important thing is that you find a routine and stick to it. Chopping and changing is not beneficial.
Personally, I don't take much stock in the use of argan oils and well... oils in general. I know some people find them effective but I personally think they're a waste of time and money. Have you seen much improvement with their use?
My skin bounces between super dry to super oily. I use Niacinamide for the dryness and it is brilliant. It's a serum and long term Niacinamide use is linked to reduced redness and less likelihood of scars developing after acne spots. My skin drinks it up and it smells lovely, hehe. I use it morning and night. During the day when my skin becomes a little more oily (Summer, bleh) I remove the excess sebum with face blotting paper (it's kinda fun!). This doesn't take my make-up off and the paper is dirt cheap.
Retinoids, retinols... I really wish you were able to find one that doesn't irritate your skin too much. This is by far the best thing you can put on your skin. It won't improve your scarring per say as it does not break down scar tissue, but it will thicken the dermis and will hasten cell turnover. So healthier, more radiant skin and when you do undergo treatments for your scarring retinoids will boost the outcome significantly. The thing about these products is the initial breakout... it sucks yes, but if you can push through that then it will subside and you can continue to use it in your daily routine. You will know if the product is too strong if you encounter prolonged redness, itching, flaking or painful skin. Maybe you could look for a retinol (not as strong as a retinoid) and work your way up to something stronger if your skin can handle it...?
I think it's good you're not rushing into treatments. Research is key. You could look into some light chemical peels or laser treatments, but this may lead to prolonged erythema. Dermarolling is something I am a true believer in after 4 sessions. I have my fifth and final session in 3 days. This treatment has helped me so much. Downtime 1-3 days of redness then I'm literally back to work. My scarring is much more severe than yours but the Dermaroller could still be used on your skin.
Posted 30 January 2013 - 05:46 AM
I've never heard of Erythema but it does sound like something I may have. I use argan oil because it makes my skin feel comfortable after showering when my skin is painfully dry. The maracuja oil has vitamin c and has improved my skin somewhat but not really texture wise. It's hard to not switch products for me but I hope to find something that I can stick to long term. My skin didn't really get dry when I used a retinol product, it just broke out like crazy. How long does the retinol breakout usually last? Is it gonna reveal more scarring? I'll look more into other treatments as well but the conflicting experiences of people really make me unsure of what to go with.
Posted 30 January 2013 - 06:08 AM
Yes, I know it's very hard to switch products. I was using Obagi products for about a year until I met my esthetician who is treating me with the Dermaroller. We slowly phased out the Obagi products and replaced them with DermaQuest. Best decision ever.
The thing about our skin is that unless we are using active ingredients we might as well be putting peanut butter on our skin. Argan oil isn't bad but it's just for moisture purposes, which is why you use it I guess... to help with the dryness? I doubt it would do anything beyond that really. I don't think you'd need to give the Argan oil up though if you decided to try a retinol again. In fact it might be a good idea to combat dryness that a retinol can cause.
As for the breakouts... for me I think it lasted around a fortnight and the flakiness maybe a little longer. It was tough, I won't lie, but I waited it out and now I can use a pea size amount every night without irritation and I'm using a high strength retinoid. As for this myth about retinols and retinoids making scars worse... I waffled on about that in another thread if you want to take a look: http://www.acne.org/...-retin-a-users/
In the end all you can do is research your options and from there try something. When you try it though give it a good time to work to see what the long term effects would be. Too many people use retinols/retinoids for a week or two and stop because of side-effects. You get breakouts because the product is working! It's a necessary evil.
Edited by Quirky Fox, 30 January 2013 - 06:10 AM.
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