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MoreThanAFace

First needling with Frank at Transitions (Carmel, NY)

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I just had my first needling treatment on Aug. 20 with Frank at Transitions, and wanted to share the experience with anyone who might be considering this. Mine are mostly rolling scars resulting from cystic acne, and are 30 years old. I also had 2 fine “hairline†scars about an inch and a half long, on one cheek, which are fairly recent.

Frank impressed me right off with his great knowledge of the needling process. I was under the impression that there really wasn’t much medical research to draw on (which made me a little nervous), but there has been research into the skin’s functioning and how it reacts to this kind of process, and why it works, and Frank has put a lot of time into locating and studying it. I appreciated how he took the time to explain everything to me before we got started and answered all my questions. He even interrupted the procedure when necessary to answer questions (yes, I’m full of them!) It’s obvious that he has a passion for his work and also really wants to correct any misinformation that he becomes aware of.

Frank and his wife are both very kind and helped me figure out some logistical issues (public transportation was more of a challenge than I expected it to be! Note to self: next time just rent a car… :-) Oh and another note: if you travel to the area, be aware that your credit card will not be accepted in quite a few places. Bring plenty of cash, in small denominations. It can make the difference between a $10 cab fare and a $35 one.

The needling procedure isn’t painless, as I’m sure you’ve heard, but Frank did all he could to make me comfortable. Most of it really wasn’t so bad; only in a couple areas did it take a real effort not to call it quits (mainly my chin, which he did with the machine). He applied some anesthetic before starting any treatment, and then he did some initial work in each area and applied more anesthetic so it would go deeper into the skin, then moved into another area to work until it took effect. Whenever it got too uncomfortable, he applied more anesthetic right away. He did most of the lower part of my face, from the temples down, and it took about 2 hours.

Frank used single-use, sterile tools and changed his gloves every time he had to touch something other than my face. I am confident that the procedures used at Transitions are the best practices of the industry.

My aftercare regimen was as recommended by Shyana (I used Polysporin instead of Bactroban)—see zaresa’s post under Scar Treatments titled “Needling appt: Transitions (Carmel, NY),†dated Apr 7, 2007.

Frank also recommended something called hydrotherapy for aftercare, and I do this for maybe 10 minutes every time I cleanse my face. The purpose, he explained, is to improve circulation in the area to promote healing. Hydrotherapy is done by alternately applying warm and cold compresses, for about 45 seconds each. The warm compress should not be hot, but warm enough to make normal skin turn pink. Tap water may be too hot—be careful not to scald yourself. In Florida our cold tap water isn’t very cold, so I used ice water for the compresses.

I take MSM and a daily multivitamin, and try to drink extra fluids to help my skin’s healing.

I use plastic wrap at night (taped on with bandaging tape) to keep the ointment on my face and off the pillowcase. As a side note, my children thought this looked quite funny at first, and my husband was like “Was that a… plastic bag you were wearing?†Gotta have a sense of humor about these things! ;-) Out in public, without the plastic, people speak to me as if they don’t notice anything out of the ordinary; I pretty much forgot what I looked like. Children may look a bit longer, but I smile at them and they smile back and that’s all they seem to need…

My needling procedure was done late in the day. Here’s the blow-by-blow of my recovery so far:

The next morning – 12 hours post-needling:

Very red and blotchy, some kind of yellowish matter on top in some places (looks like dead skin sloughing off?) Not painful to touch, as long as cleaning is gentle.

18 hours post: Just as red; starting to form small whiteheads on chin.

24 hours post: Still bright red blotches; more whiteheads forming on cheeks; slight stinging feeling all over

36 hours post: Redness slightly lessened; larger bumps like big red pimples forming on cheeks, still have the whiteheads on chin and some have become larger pustules on cheeks and chin.

48 hours post: Starting to itch; wondering if the red pimples are a normal reaction? Did not apply the EGF as stated in aftercare plan for 48 hours post; instead I used Polysporin & hydrocortisone cream, with the HA and Aquaphor. Waited to see how itching was in the morning.

60 hours post: About the same appearance but itching is better. Went ahead with planned aftercare for 48 hours post (AM). I’ll just follow the aftercare plan now, running 12 hours behind so my AM and PM treatments match up with it…

72 hours post: Redness noticeably less, but still pink & raised in the areas worked on. Still have the red pimples, but the smaller whiteheads have gone away. Some of the larger pustules are still there (about 2X pinhead size). Did the aftercare specified for 48 hours post (PM).

84 hours post: About the same as yesterday. Still tingly/itching, appearance about the same. When I woke up, the treated areas were only pink, but after cleansing and applying treatments they became red and blotchy again for a few hours. (I’m now at the “72 hours post—AM†treatment.) I have been careful to test for allergy by applying each new substance on my inner arm and watching overnight for reaction before applying on my face; there have been none so I must assume that this is not an allergic reaction. The most troubling thing to me is the red pimple-like lumps on my cheeks. I don’t know what they are, but they don’t seem to be getting any better. (On the upside, they aren’t getting any worse, either.)

I will update as the situation changes. It seems like it may take another week or more for my skin to return to normal. This could be due to my age and slower healing ability. I hadn’t really thought about it, but if you follow this aftercare plan, you can’t use mineral makeup for coverup for about 10 days, when you’re done with Aquaphor & other gooey stuff. I am fortunate that this doesn’t pose a problem for me right now, but definitely schedule yourself a bit of time if appearance matters!

I also plan to post my “before†and “after†pictures. People, if we want these pictures to be available, I suggest we each need to take them ourselves and post them. It’s too time-consuming and expensive to expect a practitioner like Frank to do this. His price is already ultra-reasonable and he’s very generous with his time—that’s enough to ask! (And if after saying that I don’t get my own pix posted in a reasonable time, PM me! I've never attempted that here.)

Have I included enough gory details or did I leave something out? Feel free to PM me if any questions.

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Thanks for such a detailed post.

I've also had needling done by Frank late February of this year and have to agree with you that Frank is very knowledgeable and shows that he cares. Although I haven't noticed much improvement from my scarring through the past 6 months, I am glad I had this procedure done before leaping into something more invasive.

Pretty much of the needling procedure was dead on like MoreThanAFace said. I also had problems with pimples on my chin post procedure even though Frank didn't use a machine on me. I too followed Shyana's aftercare regimen and was back to work in a week.

I would also like recommend people to use a motor vehicle to see Frank. I will be definitely driving if I plan on doing this a second time. Coming back to the city taking the Metro North railway in the afternoon was uncomfortable to say the least.

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it's funny, I've also had needling done by Frank. Actually had it done twice, it's painful but not unbearable.

The first time I had it done in May and the second time in early August. I haven't noticed that much improvement, but there has been some. I'm not sure if needling is one of those procedures that works well for some and not others or whether it just takes numerous repetitions. Either way, I recommend going to him and giving it a try. He's a great guy, very knowledgeable and super nice.

I take the Metro North from Grand Central and found it to be a manageable commute. But I'm used to commuting long distances.

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no pictures? come one people we need pictures with all procedures so we can see the outcome

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no pictures? come one people we need pictures with all procedures so we can see the outcome

I agree, but it is hard to take pictures while traveling home afterward. Check out my new album, I'll be keeping all images there. For right now there's not much "outcome" to show anyway except red, blotchy, bumpy skin, which I can go ahead & get a shot of. But I think the most important photos to post are the final results, months from now... Sorry, y'all will just have to be patient, as will I. :pray: I plan to keep following Shyana's aftercare routine, mindlessly, and do my best to forget about the outcome until around Christmas. (Unless I wake one day and realize my scars have all miraculously disappeared, in which case I will post photos immediately! :surprised: )

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The first time I had it done in May and the second time in early August. I haven't noticed that much improvement, but there has been some. I'm not sure if needling is one of those procedures that works well for some and not others or whether it just takes numerous repetitions.

Hi Hope,

Please let us know if you see any improvement later on! Frank told me that any improvement is usually seen between 3-6 months after the procedure. Maybe you're a "late bloomer!" :)

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I just did needling too 1 month ago, and it's still very blotchy pink where my scars are, slightly bumpy where some good skin was needled, and 2 of my very old scars are raised around the pit making it look worse. Also, when I press down on those scars, I feel a lump underneath, it's weird. I hope you're healing well, I'm guessing it will take another month or two maybe even 3 for the blotchiness to go away, also, I haven't really seen any improvement yet on the scars, maybe 2% improvement on my really mild boxcars. Keep me updated cuz we're on the same boat!!! :)

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Hi all, thanks for your comments! Ruby, I hope you get good results too, and I will keep updating this in case anyone else is interested in comparing notes. I keep trying to upload my "after" pictures to my album but I'm getting an error--will keep trying.

PROGRESS UPDATE:

4 1/2 days after needling -

My temples & upper lip look pretty normal now. Chin still pink but whiteheads/pustules I had there are gone. Cheeks still have red blotches and 6-8 of the larger pustules are still there (they didn't get any larger than about 2x the head of a pin). Still itches.

5 days post - (evening, in my case)

Discontinued using Aquaphor & plastic wrap at night. I'm still itching, not severely when I first put this stuff on, but it wakes me early in the morning and I can't stand to wear it any longer! I think my skin just needs to breathe. For barrier protection at night, my EGF lotion should be heavy enough. (My EGF kit from Skinactives said to mix it into 4 oz "plain" lotion or cream, and I used Eucerin original, which turns out to be a very rich and heavy lotion.)

5 1/2 days post - (the next morning)

After going overnight w/out Aquaphor or wrap, the itching has almost completely subsided. (Continuing with aftercare as planned otherwise, including hydrotherapy 2x daily.) By now, all but one of the larger pustules have dried up, each leaving a small, rough, red bump with a pink area around it. Some of the scars Frank worked on that did not develop a pustule are flat but purple underneath, like the mark left after a pimple but darker. These may take quite a while to go away, if they are like the marks I had after my acne cysts.

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More,

Thank you so much for sharing your results. Please, please continue to do so. It's such a helpful tool to those of us struggling with the same problem and considering similar treatment. Best of luck. I hope you get great results.

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Hi, time for an update.

It's been 14 days since my first needling, and my skin is pretty much back to normal now, except for the pinkish spots. It feels normal to the touch: bumps and roughness are all gone. Don't be fooled by the photos: the "craters" are still there like before, since the microswelling is gone now. I'm sure it will be a while before the pink spots fade or there is any filling in of the scars. Now comes the hard part (for me!): continuing to spend this time on aftercare but NOT scrutinizing for results!

I've continued to follow the aftercare as described, including hydrotherapy. After about 10 days I cautiously used my microdermabrasion cream, and that's what got rid of the remaining bumpiness (I really need that stuff to keep my pores clear, and my skin seemed ready for it). The last couple of days I've started to massage the topicals into my skin when I apply them, because I have a feeling that promoting the circulation might be a crucial factor in my case.

Below are the 14 day post needling photos... I will update when there is something significantly different to show.

Thanks to all of you for your interest, and I wish you luck as well!

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More,

glad to hear back from you!! Your pics look good in terms of the pinkness having subsided!! I'm at week 5 now. My marks are still there unfortunately perhaps microscopically improving some but I can't really tell anymore. I suppose this may be because I have fitzpatrick IV skin (east asian) and pigmentation is simply just more stubborn with me. Most (but not all) of the marks are coverable with foundation powder + dermablend + loose powder to set. Haha I just wish my makeup would stay put throughout the day though as the marks do peek through by afternoon. I totally know what you mean with the hard part being to maintain the aftercare without scrutinizing the results! I'm currently using bio-oil daily and alternating copper serum and vitamin e at night. I wish you a speedy recovery and excellent results!!

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Thanks Ruby! Hang in there, I'm sure you will see results! I wondered if you've ever read petlover's post from last year? I think she has the same skin type as you do, and her results are very encouraging. I'm a different type (Fitz Type II) but her posting gives me hope as well, because the improvement was not seen right away but eventually showed up, maybe later than you'd think (she includes a link to photos!). If you want to check it out, the discussion topic was "my needling pics".

Best of luck, and keep up the good work with your aftercare! :clap:

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Hi,

I doubt that anyone is waiting for this update with bated breath, but I said I would update on the final results of my needling, so I am.

Any pinkness remaining from the procedure was gone by about 3 months, as were the funny lumps that developed underneath the skin in the needled areas. I kept up my aftercare regimen for about 4 months, except that I switched to facial massage once or twice a day and discontinued the hot & cold compresses. I figured that would do about the same to improve my circulation, and I could do it while watching TV or something, not be stuck at the bathroom sink for 10 minutes each time.

END RESULT: It's now been 8 months post-needling, and I really can't see any difference. Rolling scars, hairline scars and scarred pores are all still the same. I'm not going to bother taking any pictures; they would be just like the "before" photos in my album here. Retin-A does give a slight, overall plumping effect, but unfortunately it doesn't help the scarring.

I still think Frank did a great job for me, :clap: and I'm so appreciative of his generosity. It's anyone's guess how needling will turn out for an individual, but for me it didn't achieve results. It seems to me that needling doesn't work as well for rolling scars as for other types, and at 48 my skin may not produce enough collagen-- maybe CIT was a long shot for someone like me. But you don't know until you try it, right?

Best of luck to anyone who may be considering needling. Maybe for you it works!

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