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questions on rolling scars (I think), and hi!

Hey all,

I have some questions about treatments for what I think must be rolling scars..

But first! Since I'm new here, I guess I should give you guys a quick intro-type-thing. I'm 21, and I've had moderate acne since I was 11ish. My acne never really bothered me *that* much--sure, it kinda sucked, but it was no big deal. Not that that stopped me from trying all the different kinds of over-the-counter stuff available. Nothing helps much.

The thing is, I'm starting to get scars. A few months ago, I noticed that I was starting to get these weird-looking wrinkles when I smiled. I figured I was aging quickly. Then within the last month, everything started hitting the fan. To make a long story short, I now have two rather obvious (at least under a certain light...and coincidentally, my bathroom has just that kind of light) dents in my face that only show up when I smile. The rest of the time, they're 100% invisible. That was when I noticed that the wrinkly things were a little bit wavy, and not really natural-looking at all...

Oh, and I have what used to be an enormous cyst (now it's just a medium cyst), and even though it's far from gone, I can definitely already feel that there's a loss of tissue there. I hope it won't be too horrible when it gets done going away. It looks like a small purple bruise that's really deep under the skin; that's probably not a good sign. =(

The thing is, I've had acne like this for almost half of my life, and I've never really gotten scars before. Most of that time, I picked at it a lot, too! So this is really kinda weirding me out. I dunno, maybe it's like the straw that broke the camel's back?

So, I've finally made an appointment with a dermatologist for the 29th. It's about time, too--I live at home with my dad, and I've always been too embarrassed to ask to see a dermatologist, but what can I say--desperate times call for desperate measures. I'm really excited about this too! I'm hoping to get my acne cleared up *fast* before I get any more scars, and also so I can get these treated ASAP. I'm trying not to give myself any unreasonable expectations, but I just feel so gross when I think of how I look with a smile on my face now.

It's kinda weird, really... my acne is way more noticeable than those two disgusting gouges in my face, but the scars are still the things that really bother me. Every time I smile, I remember how I must look and I want to go crawl in a hole and die or something.

I swear, I want to go goth so I'll have an excuse to never smile again.

Oh right... onward to the questions. I got a little sidetracked there....

So, um... do those sound like rolling scars to you guys? That's the best label I can put on them from what little I know, but I've never heard of anyone with acne scars that were only there when they smiled, or acne scars that look wrinkly like this either, for that matter.

I've read that subcision, needling, and n-lite are the treatments of choice for rolling scars--did I miss anything?

I'm leaning towards subcision, 'cause that seems to be the most direct way of cutting the fibers that are making my cheeks do funny things when I smile, but I'm kinda scared that something will go wrong and the doctor will stab a muscle instead and my face will be half-paralyzed, or I'll grow a huge 2-inch bump on my face or something. ...Or that he just won't be able to tell where to stab that needle when my face is relaxed.

Needling sounds a bit safer, if perhaps less effective at getting all those fibers cut, but I really don't know where to find someone to do it for me (southern California). I mean, I don't want to just walk into a random tattoo parlor and tell them to do their thing on my face...

And n-lite... honestly I'm not sure how n-lite could help me at all, unless maybe if it was in combination with other treatments. Maybe I'm missing something here? Aside from those two scars, my skin is pretty smooth and even, at least in the spaces between active pimples.

So, I guess I'm wondering what's the worst that could happen with any of these treatments? Anyone know of anyone who had any of these treatments go horribly wrong? Or are they pretty safe? Does subcision cause wrinkles to form more easily when one is older (what with cutting stuff that holds the skin onto the face and all)? How likely are any of these treatments to form new scars? And is it generally more effective to treat scars when they're "young," or are you supposed to wait till they're a little older to prevent more damage?

I've browsed through the archives on this stuff pretty thoroughly BTW, but I'm sure I've still missed some things.

Heh, I guess getting rid of my acne is the first step though! So I probably have a few months at least (fingers crossed) to consider my options.

.....Wow, this post ended up being a lot longer than I had intended. Sorry about that!

- zha

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