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Texan90

Word of warning to those with with mild scarring...

Hello guys,

I just wanted to share my story with you all. I am a 25 year old male. Brown skin. All throughout my life I've had mild acne. I ended up with some very minor rolling scars on my left temple. It was never a problem and simply tugging at the skin would vanish the scar entirely. Nevertheless, I didn't seek treatment for it.

I would say that out of high school, my skin looked fantastic. However, due to anxiety issues and maybe some latent depression (I wasn't full-out depressed til years later, when I was around 20-21) - I began looking into cosmetic surgeries. Nothing intensive really. I wanted laser hair removal for my facial hair. I never liked shaving and being new to this tech, I naively thought that it could 'erase' my problems away.

Literally.

I lived w/ my parents during this time as well, going to the local college in my town. I got good grades during the first semester of my freshmen year. During the fall, I began treatment with a doctor who used a LightSheer laser.

Since I'm a IV on the Fitzpatrick scale, this laser wasn't really meant for me. The doctor was also a novice. This was 2003.

To sum up my experience with this doctor - he would treat me every 2 weeks. This is foolish since doing such closely spaced treatments will miss many hairs on your face since they grow in cycles. In fact, I've read and since discovered that these closely spaced treatments end up zapping faintly-there velus hairs. Doing so can increase their maturation into normal hairs. I now have hairs growing on my upper cheeks because this guy would zap there, which didn't dawn on me at the time as dangerous thing to do..

Anyways, this ensured that the once dormant velus hairs in those areas would mature and become coarser and darker. Sucks for me...

Another thing that happened was that while he treated the area of my lower jaw, I was burned by the laser. It left a large scab. Luckily, it healed completely without scarring. I should have stopped there...

By this time it was 2004. During this time, I continued treatments w/ the LightSheer laser. Again, the same format of 2 weeks spaced apart...

I did lose a lot of hairs so it wasn't as though it didn't work. However, the laser was just not optimized for dark skin and I don't think I should have sought laser treatment in the first place. Side-note: years later I would notice pinprick size scarring where newly grown hairs were. These areas were originally zapped. Since the LightSheer treatments, new hairs grew back while the scarring from the laser before remained... When I shave, I can see these tiny holes there still.

I began dropping out of school. I got addicted on online gaming. During this time (2004-6) I made some attempts to go back to school but nothing ever lasted. I would go back a semester, fail to complete, withdraw. I still only have 1 semester completed, 7 years later. My family is wealthy, but I have achieved nothing in this time-frame, due to my anxieties, image issues and genuine bad scarring and results w/ these cosmetic treatments - which only made me more anxious and hurt my self-image.

During the time frame of 2004-2006, I had no meaningful scarring still. I went out w/ my cousin still too so I had social interaction. I met some girls from college, and was still 'normal' for the most part. I was still spending more time online though. But for the moment, I had my good looks still and nice skin.

Summer 2006 was the beginning of the end...I had decided to quit the online gaming scene. This proved to be too much for me. I had latched on to this online community which had replaced normal social interaction in the real world. I was going through a withdrawal. It was a tough time because I didn't know what to do with my free time. I think it was during this time that I began to show signs of bipolar disorder. I was happy sometimes, and then really sad and depressed and even angry at other times. I still lived with my parents, as I do in the present.

I never got along with them. After high school I had plans to move away and I even wanted to try acting or directing. Something related to the arts. My father is a doctor. Basically, most of my family is in medicine. Ultimately, I wasn't courageous enough to do what I wanted to do. Not even courageous enough to try. I regret these years so much because I would have learned valuable life lessons and gained perspective, rather than becoming a hermit and obsessed with my self-image.

Towards the end of summer I got a scar on my nose. I saw a doctor who thought it wouldn't go away, and told me to just live with it. He prescribed me Retin-A. This medicine is common and well-known to acne patients. It increases cell-turnover as you all know, so the gunk below is brought up and flushed out hopefully. But, I think this also increases your chance for scarring too...and I did in fact get more scars as a result.

The original scar on my nose healed completely. It literally vanished. On the other hand, I kept getting acne. I never really got pimples. Just whiteheads. Now, I was getting some bad lesions. Big ones.

One such lesion left an ice-pick scar smack-dab in the middle of my upper chin, toward my nose. It was totally visible. I wasn't used to scarring. I certainly wasn't used to scarring so out in the open. This destroyed me because for years I had no perspective on my life. Just playing these stupid online games and not interacting with people in the real world. I wasn't learning anything, let alone about life. So this tiny scar (which has since gotten somewhat better) became my world. My world crumbling around me that is.

I began going to school again in 2006 fall. I nearly completed this semester, but due to that scar and the accompanying stress and a relapse into the online gaming world, I dropped out YET again. I was getting good grades too and was building a relationship with a girl I liked from one of my classes (it was mutual too). But, I went back to my own world in my room...

I still drove around, went out w/ my cousin. I had long since lost touch (on purpose) with my old high school buddies. I did so with a bit of cockiness and angst in my mind. I wanted to redefine myself and ignoring my old friends was an indirect manifestation of that decision. I had so many plans so I must have thought I could easily make friends again.

Anyways, I kept going out still throughout 2007 spring. I was beginning to feel suicidal though. I went through this ridiculous phase where I'd read all these books on philosophy. I wanted to think deeply about these suicidal urges as I had them. I wanted to understand 'the meaning of life' and all that to make sense of my feelings. I never figured it out during that time. It was very superficial of me too. I was just in a very bad mood. As the years had gone by, I became more anxious because of the lost time. Lost chances...

I came across a treatment called Fraxel. Being dark-skinned, Fraxel seemed like a godsend. It was advertised as optimal for dark skinned patients. I just wanted to tighten my pores. I had no real scarring except for that one ice-pick scar. At the time, I thought Fraxel worked on ice-picks. The doctor - who was married to another cosmetic dermatologist, and who had a posh expensive office/spa - also told me it could work on ice picks. What a damn lie...

I signed up for 1 treatment I think. Or maybe it was a package deal. I remember going in for the consultation meeting. I was so optimistic. I think these treatments were easy goals to look forward to, and some tangible 'improvement' I could obtain over myself. Something I felt I lacked in school and in my career choice and lack thereof. It was like, seeing these doctors and making myself 'better' was replacing the lack of direction I had. Maybe if I took the risk of going out to NYC to try acting or direction or just going to school for it, I wouldn't be here today writing this 7 years later.

The video games (pathetic I know) and the laser treatments/etc. were all attempts I made to find meaning. Meaning through the virtual world where goals were simplistic and easy to achieve. Meaning through 'improving' my self-image through surgeries, giving my confidence 'back' (as if I had lost something in the first place)...

It was all a mirage. A vapor. I didn't need anything done. I created new scars through going to see these doctors.

I don't doubt that the treatments succeed and help people, but I am obsessive-compulsive about my face and my self-image. These treatments are a bad idea for people like me. I destroyed myself.

Before leaving the consultation at the fraxel place, one of the beautician-people said I could be a model. Actually, she asked me if I was a model. I was flattered. I should have took this as a sign to just fucking stop obsessing about non-existent problems...

During the downtime between that consultation and my first appointment (and last), I got a big acne lesion on the left side of my face, next to my sideburns. Visible completely.

It got worse. I didn't tamper w/ it. It ran it's corse but filled up with blood... Eventually it scabbed.

This next move on my part sealed my fate...I picked the scab. I had become a picker for a long time before that too. Usually, no scars resulted but as my life got worse, I became more obsessive compulsive. Picking gave me slight relief...

The scab came off. And I could see pink skin underneath. I could see how it was a layer below... This was going to turn into a hypertrophic scar and I knew it in the bad of my mind. I was fucked.

I went to the Fraxel appointment. It wasn't painful. It just sort of happened and I was indifferent toward the experience. I remember thinking, things would be alright though. The fraxel has plumped up the scab area. It looked as though the wound would heal 100% w/o a scar. I was wrong.

During that time, I went through your usual Fraxel downtime. The skin browned and flaky. It was during this time that I was supposed to go to a wedding for a family member. I would have too. I was excited about it since I had over the years found a look for myself, whereas when I was younger and going through puberty, I felt awkward at family social gatherings. The fraxel downtime and my feelings of depression creeping up on me again, prevented me from going.

I canceled the rest of my fraxel treatments. I was oblivious to this scar burgeoning on my face where the scab had came off, for a few months. This was 2007 fall now.

I wanted to have laser hair removal again. I felt that I never quite finished that journey and it did give me results that I was happy about - in spite of the issues I mentioned earlier. This time, the doctor was an experienced technician. However, she was not a cosmetic dermatologist. Not even a regular derm. She was a OBGYN! She was an African-American doc, and had experience in treating dark skin so I felt safe with her in spite of the fact that she wasn't a derm.

The laser used was a yag...I forget the name exactly but it was the appropriate laser for my skin type. I wasn't happy in life at the time as I am not now, but this treatment meant a lot to me. Again, I had become addicted to video gaming and now to cosmetic treatments (which always failed). So this was just one more thing to try...

I only had one treatment with her. We decided on low energy. It was more painful than I remembered the LightSheer being. During the downtime between passes, her assistant would spray me with water mist, to cool the skin down. I didn't think anything of it at the time. However, I strongly believe that this has messed up the depth and thickness of my skin (since I had also had Fraxel like 3 months before...). The skin was hot and spraying water mist on it would probably do some damage I would think...

The hair began following out as it should, weeks later. It looked nice and I felt good for awhile. It was short-lived though because it was also during this time that I discovered that the scab I had torn off just before my first and last fraxel treatment in the summer - had turned into a linear hypertrophic scar...

Here it is:

http://img338.imageshack.us/i/scars003.jpg/

This was taken in 2010 I think. Possibly winter 2009. This scar is 3 years old.

To flash foward a bit, I have also begun to notice that the entire left side of my cheek area is uneven in depth and thickness. I blame this on the fraxel and the laser hair removal treatment I received in 2007 summer to fall.

The difference the left side of my face and the right side is striking. It's a big difference. Both in thickness and texture. The left side is completely ruined. Many follicle size scars. If I stretch my skin, it greatly diminishes the severity of the scarring though. It looks almost normal. This leads me to believe that derma-needling or derma-rolling would help someone like me greatly.

The one thing that remains however, is that linear hypertrophic scar. Being obsessive compulsive...I honestly cannot get over this scar. I cannot just accept myself with this scar on my face.

I have some other rolling scars on my right temple and right cheek as well. I also have new hairs growing high up on my cheek. I would need to continue this disastrous cycle of cosmetic treatment to fix the problems I created for myself...

To sum up: I was a normal kid. I was confident and I think I was good looking and had a lot going for me out of high school. I had no scarring worth mentioning. Due to bad personal life at home, horrible relationship with parents which persists to this day (and will not improve, because a lot of this is their fault for their inaction and indifference) - I destroyed myself.

My chances, my face, etc.

My parents were always resistant to take me for these treatments but I pressured my mom into it all. I should have trusted their stinginess and knee-jerk refusal. They say no to everything, so I never took them seriously.

I'm still at home. Still directionless and scarred. I've been thinking about suicide and I can't honestly say I see a light at the end of the tunnel. My life is basically over in my eyes.

This is a warning to people who might be stressing out of some slight imperfections. It can consume your life. You can end up like me. Trapped at home, never having taken a chance in life and putting yourself in a dangerous cycle where you have to keep 'using' to get 'better'. It's never-ending.

I won't be able to accept this new, damaged 'me'. I would rather die, to be honest...

Please don't put yourself at risk like I did. Gain perspective...before you become so down and depressed that you don't care about living anymore.

Look at this forum. Take a good look. I've been here since 2002 (I have since forgot my PW and Username, during the years when I had perfect skin - and made this new account years after). I see people posting the SAME topics. The SAME discussion.

There is very little continuity here. It's like history is repeating itself. I don't know if these forums have a moderator but as a forum-goer I get the impression that these boards are trapped in time. How many of the same exact treatment threads do we see? Leading to nowhere? Doctored photos? Users just vanishing? Etc.

It's tragic because it's like nothing changes.

Don't end up like me. Take care.

Edited by Texan90

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I read your post and this is very saddening to me to read someone who has gone through some similar occurrences.

Please do not do ANYTHING to yourself. Do not hurt yourself or kill yourself or damage yourself in any way. Leave your skin alone right now and focus on your life and your fitness and healty. Find doctors that are board certified and highly qualified dermatologists to CONSULT with.

Furthermore, Is that your only really scarred area? That seems to be a tiny scar? I mean I can't see it relative to your face but I have a linear depressed scar and that was from subcision and I have unevenness from a dermabrasion so I know EXACTLY how you feel only after seeing your picture your scar doesn't look as terrible.

So for you to feel this bad makes me wonder how I should feel...but I am still here fighting the fight.

The difference between us is that you seemed to rush into treatments constantly and not allow appropriate downtime. I waited 6 months after subcision to do dermabrasion. I had dermabrasion done 8.5 months ago and am upset but not rushing into ANYTHIGN else.

And you shouldn't be too.

Find solace in things that make you happy. Read books. Be friendly with your family and try to get on better terms. Try and relax and make peace with yourself and what you have done. I am still doing this myself...and it is HARD...but please don't give up.

Read information about dermarolling and everything before doing anything and be so well versed on it that you can teach a course before doing it.

That is my best advice to offer.

I agree with the gaining perspective. I wish I never did dermabrasion or anthing for that matter. I would gladly go to my skin before what has happened. I could live with the subcision results as that had some positive effects but the dermabrasion has been such an emotional rollercoaster.

I had it only on right cheek so I experience some uneven pigment and Some new scarring as well. I am still suffering from either a hypertrophic scar or some darker pigment (and I am lightest skin) and that makes me upset.

In some lgihts skin look sbetter in some it looks awful.

I hate what has happened to me and the shit I've been through, but I won't give up.

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Thank you for the reply, it means a lot to talk about this to at least one person who knows what it's like.

I have more scarring, but I feel like it could be remedied.

The other day, I was washing my face and a bit of skin just came off like nothing...

It was white and flaky, like the gunk you may get in your pores on your nose. Instead, it was on my cheek and as I lightly brushed it off, it left this deep crevice in my face. It's so random. No acne, no lesion. NOTHING - yet simply my skin being clogged up and then pushing out the gunk has left this line scar on my face. I feel like I've been infected with some alien disease or something. My face has been falling apart for a long time now...

I'm 25 but I look horrible. And the reason I feel so depressed about it is that I use to look great, no exaggeration. In the span of a couple of months really, I set in motion events that damned me for life. I feel too paralyzed to do anything about it. My parents are nonresponsive.

Dad's always working. We have money and they'll let me spend 10,000 dollars on a great PC but if I ask my Mom to find me some doctors in the area she just changes the subject and suggests I see a shrink.

I know I have issues w/ obsessive compulsiveness. I got myself into this hell by picking and stressing myself out but now I do have real scars and it's only compounded everything I was already going through.

Thanks once again for your reply. I truly appreciate it. However, I think since we don't choose to exist in the first place, checking out isn't really a big deal. Morbid way to look at things but when I appraise my worth now and what it will take for me to get my confidence back up and back on track - it's just too much work and too much time. I've lost too much already. I can't believe I'm 25 and still struggling with this bullshit.

There was a period of 5 years where I had no problems w/ my looks but I wasted it away since I had underlying issues w/ depression from other stuff.

I don't know what I'll end up doing but suicide was definitely an option years ago when I had one tiny speck of a scar. Now that I'm scarred all over, it's looking like the endgame for me.

I needed to say this stuff outloud and I am so happy someone listened. I apologize for being so morbid, but this is the culmination of 7 years of ups and downs. Once again, thank you for listening. It meant a lot.

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Thank you for the reply, it means a lot to talk about this to at least one person who knows what it's like.

I have more scarring, but I feel like it could be remedied.

The other day, I was washing my face and a bit of skin just came off like nothing...

It was white and flaky, like the gunk you may get in your pores on your nose. Instead, it was on my cheek and as I lightly brushed it off, it left this deep crevice in my face. It's so random. No acne, no lesion. NOTHING - yet simply my skin being clogged up and then pushing out the gunk has left this line scar on my face. I feel like I've been infected with some alien disease or something. My face has been falling apart for a long time now...

I'm 25 but I look horrible. And the reason I feel so depressed about it is that I use to look great, no exaggeration. In the span of a couple of months really, I set in motion events that damned me for life. I feel too paralyzed to do anything about it. My parents are nonresponsive.

Dad's always working. We have money and they'll let me spend 10,000 dollars on a great PC but if I ask my Mom to find me some doctors in the area she just changes the subject and suggests I see a shrink.

I know I have issues w/ obsessive compulsiveness. I got myself into this hell by picking and stressing myself out but now I do have real scars and it's only compounded everything I was already going through.

Thanks once again for your reply. I truly appreciate it. However, I think since we don't choose to exist in the first place, checking out isn't really a big deal. Morbid way to look at things but when I appraise my worth now and what it will take for me to get my confidence back up and back on track - it's just too much work and too much time. I've lost too much already. I can't believe I'm 25 and still struggling with this bullshit.

There was a period of 5 years where I had no problems w/ my looks but I wasted it away since I had underlying issues w/ depression from other stuff.

I don't know what I'll end up doing but suicide was definitely an option years ago when I had one tiny speck of a scar. Now that I'm scarred all over, it's looking like the endgame for me.

I needed to say this stuff outloud and I am so happy someone listened. I apologize for being so morbid, but this is the culmination of 7 years of ups and downs. Once again, thank you for listening. It meant a lot.

my family says the same to me. im 23 atm and almost finished uni. i told them it was important to me and even though they say im putting too much importance on looks, they have agreed to support me. trick is you pay for your own treatments, then you can have whatever you want done. they are even letting me stay at home until i get them done :)

Edited by sydney_fellow

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thank you so much for posting!

really its really nice for you to tell people what theyre getting theselves into. i feel like ive been in a similar situation where i obsessed so much about my looks, im also brown and looking around me all i saw was beautiful people and so i started to focus myself and how i could look better. thats when i started obsessing, when my acne got worse and i mean the worst that ive ever had (at the beginning of this year) i felt sooo consumed with this obsession and technoogy that all i did was surf the web and into different lasers and demabrasion and all sorts. id go to spas and doc and get diff prescriptions medications alsorts. and all i was doing was ruining my skin with the basic idea that all i was doing was improving it. however i always held back the last moment and im so glad that i did. and even though i may have redmarks and few scaring.

but really its really nice of you to pot here about your thoughts and everything i really hope everything works out for you and that you have a happy life. you seem like a really nice guy and i know its realy hard and easier said than done but dont let it ruin the rest of you. you said youve lost alot of time. dont lose more, and make the best of it

i wish you all the best. and feel free to post your thoughts anytime. there may be alot of people in similar situations

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Dude, I know how you feel. I didn't read the entire post but I got the gist of it. I used to be really good looking too in my teen years, I actually had girls stalking me at one point. It's been about 5 years now since I had a breakout on the left side of my face which subsequently left scars and has plagued my life ever since. Thankfully things have gotten better in the past year or so and im at a point where I can live a somewhat normal life. I'm going to try dermaroling within the next few weeks and hopefully it will improve my condition even further. I think the most important thing to do when you're feeling low is to be hopeful about something, even if it's farfetched. It's the only thing that will keep you going.

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The heading 'a word of warning to those with mild acne scarring' and what you wrote dont quite make sense to me - I dont quite get it. I'm not trying to have a go at you. But I wouldn't tell anyone with mild acne scarring who want to improve their skin that they dont have the right to pursue that. Sometimes on this forum many people offer support to eachother by trying to show how mild scarring or even more harsh scarring is not the end of the world and try to find ways to value eachother for more than our scars alone. People try to support eachother but they dont tell people to accept it and leave it at that if that's not want they want to do. The choice remains theirs to pursue alone. You say this forum is repetitive etc etc but I've never read anywhere on it anything like what you have written - like - a word of warning to those with mild acne scarring...........what??? dont do anything???????? leave well enough alone ????????????I dont know what you are trying to say. Its unclear to me.

You obsessed over what you describe as mild acne scarring and sought treatment that didn't work. Many of us have been on harsh learning curves about what is offered for treatment and what does and does not work. It was a learning curve. It was a shame. This forum helped me heaps and I pretty much considered myself somewhat of an expert on the topic of atrophic scars. It can actually help people experience a more positive rather than negative learning curve.

To me there is something much deeper going on that happened to you which you were honest and courageous enough to share - that is, it was not initially about your skin (although it is now, with worse scarring) to confront. Its about what triggered the obsessional worrying in the first place. Your skin is where the symptomology of that played out. I understand. I came from a traumatic background and I know no-body just starts obsessing and picking for nothing. So I dont think you can just tell people to not obsess just because your situation got worse from doing so. You were doing the best you could at the time inclusive of obsessing, no doubt for a very good reason. If what you are saying is you should have been happy with your mild scarring and left it at that and you wouldn't be where you are now - I get it. But I take it as like you are telling people to accept mild scarring because it will just get worse if you dont. Well it might not get worse. It could get better. You can share your experience that up until now it hasn't for you - but warn people to accept it because of what happened to you. I dont agree. Even now if you seek further treatment it can go either way - work and not work.

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is it scary the similarities I share with you. I felt the exact same hopelessness and despair for years.

I've been seeing a very nice psychiatrist and prescribed a low anti anxiety med. At the same time I have had smoothbeam treatments on my scars/bumps on my nose. My nose and my anxiety/depression have improved.

I wouldnt think so and you may not as well but seeing a psych can really turn you around 180. You should/need to look into cognitive behavioural therapy to change how you percieve things. It appears you may have body dysmorphia brought upon from having to deal with acne/scarring.

I have ocd as well and I know what it is like. You need to talk to a good doc and try to stop sitting in all day and obsessing over the same things, it is very very harmful for your mind. It is hard at first but you need to put effort in. Go out, exercise, find a routine. Nothing is over, you have every opportunity if you let yourself have them. Life is not a race. Find what you enjoy and go for it.

Is it possible your ocd and depression is rooted in being directionless? For me it was much easier to worry about my scars and giving up then figuring out what I wanted in life.

Thank you for the thread, it was well written and informative.

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What I'm trying to say is - not being able to accept mild scarring and seeking treatment that did not work should definetly warn people to check out treatments because, yes, you can be disappointed with what some professionals claim will help particular scarring only to find out the opposite to be true. I know things can go wrong but things can also go right and much depends on research. When you say it might put the scarring into perspective (because of what happened to you) I interpret that to mean you should have left well enough alone and that then others should do the same. I dont want people to see that a negative outcome is the only one out there. I'm happy to share and read about negative treatment experiences which help others not go down the same path - but not make out that that's all there is. I'm sorry for what you have been through.

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And I went to the psych kicking and screaming. Like you I said that the scars/acne was the problem and not my mind.

The scars caused me stress which led to hiding away and depression. The stressing actually made me breakout more and I had health issues from not going out in the sun. So it was a cycle my acne/scars and my depression.

I thought that the only answer was to fix the scars to fix the depression and stress. I was taught that it was all a cycle and that if I cured the depression then I wouldn't be so beaten by my skin. And with the reduced stress I have actually stopped breaking out as much. It has also helped that I sought a doctor to perform smoothbeam on my nose. Even after 2 years when everyone said they couldnt do anything this doc was confident he could help me even while having asian skin. Before this point it really seemed like there was nothing I could do. Constantly looking as well as having support have been detrimental. Never give up.

At the end it's the obsession and depression that needs to be sorted out and everything else will fall into place. Please don't be so fatalist, and seek help. Years down the road when you're in a good place you'll be so glad, I know I am.

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Tough Man, been in the same boat. My suggestion is take some big doses of Vitamin C for not only your skin in it repairing itself but also your mind. Grab some bottles of Amino 3000's aswell.

I know how dark depression is, where you lack the will to do anything and your stuck in the walls of your mind. It's not a pretty thing to be in. if you want to talk more, send me a message...

on the other hand, some clip notes would be nice.. Thats alot to read.

Edited by BeautifulPerseverance619

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The scars caused me stress which led to hiding away and depression. The stressing actually made me breakout more and I had health issues from not going out in the sun. So it was a cycle my acne/scars and my depression.

This is proof that much of this is due to stress, and shows that the mind is definitely a major part of what's going on... I've said this for a long time. Often people focus on just the skin, and that's not enough. When I was young, I had poor skin. I had breakouts and stuff. It wasn't terrible, but it certainly wasn't great. About 20, I got so busy with life that I literally forgot all about it. One day I looked in the mirror and realized I didn't have a single mark on me. I had a couple minor scars, but I could live with it. Well, over the next 6 or so years, I went through all kinds of stuff, and it just got worse. All of the sudden, the skin problems came back worse than ever. That's when the majority of the damage was done, in the couple years before finally going on accutane. That's why I don;t believe in all the stuff about what you eat and all that. I think in the end, it really doesn't make that much difference.

I believe the original op said his family was in the medical profession. I have to think, that if they're willing to spend money on you, and are in medicine themselves, then they certainly have a pretty good idea what might help you, and are more than willing to do it. I know nobody wants to hear this, but if they think you need to talk to somebody about your problems, then you probably do. All the other stuff you mention is not caused by bad skin. There's a lot more going on besides that.

I'm not a doctor, but I have an idea what might happen with a lot of people. I think the skin is a problem, but then other things start going wrong, and the skin problem becomes the blame for everything. People obsess over their skin and their looks, because they think that if they could just fix that, then it would fix everything. When in reality, it's probably the other way around. If you could fix the other things, it would probably fix your skin.

Take small steps... Go out and go for a walk each day. Graduate up to something else and something else. You have to just basically get tired of things being the way they are, and get pissed about it. I know people that have terrible skin, but look great otherwise, make good money, have a great time, and have no problem getting girls. It's all relative.

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I feel for you, because alot of us here have gotten worse from some treatments. It really sucks and people do need to realize things could get worse with treatment so if you are not emotionally ready for that then you shouldn't have treatment.

It worries me that you are so hard on yourself and willing to give up on life. Don't ever give up, eventually you will find something to live for and with professional help you can control your OCD. Looks are not the only thing to live for, no matter how hard it gets just keep fighting and you will reap your reward later. There is a way for everyone beautiful or not to be happy in life, you just have to look for it and not give up or you will be miserable for eternity.

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Texan,

Yes this situation sucks and yours does too but you CAN do better.

I think that you should relax and not put all the pressure for yourself.

You are letting this affect your rational thought and don't let that happen. YOU CAN beat this and we all CAN.

It will take some work and some time but it really is possible.

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I went through a similar experience, though not quite as extreme, of obsessing about my looks. I really used to think I looked like a monster. I spent a year when I would come on this forum for hours every day, trawling through threads. Now I just check it once every few months in case some amazing new cure has arrived. Otherwise, I get on with my life.

After stopping obsessing (mainly thanks to going to live somewhere where there just wasn't any internet access for a while) I was able to have a lovely boyfriend for 4 years who never even seemed to notice the scars I'd spent so long obsessing over.

People's scars are NEVER as bad as they think they are. We are always more critical of ourselves than other people are.

Also, through loving other people, I realised that love does not depend on someone's physical appearance. It is about their spirit. When I obsessed and was miserable about my looks, it's because I thought no-one could love someone who looked so hideous. I wasn't being shallow: it was that I wanted love. Now I realise how mistaken I was to assume love was about appearance. It just isn't.

Go out, focus on other things and other people, stop focussing on yourself, and you will start to feel better. Perhaps do some volunteering, talk to people, do some work with animals, whatever distracts you from obsessing about yourself. Also, going for a walk for at least 30 mins a day is good for depression.

Good luck to you, please take care of yourself.

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You bring up some good pionts. Especially where you mentions how many repeat threads there are on here. Holy Crap this board truly is an echo chamber of loss and dispair. I feel so trapped being here, but i simply cant stop comming every day.

I went through a similar experience, though not quite as extreme, of obsessing about my looks. I really used to think I looked like a monster. I spent a year when I would come on this forum for hours every day, trawling through threads. Now I just check it once every few months in case some amazing new cure has arrived. Otherwise, I get on with my life.

After stopping obsessing (mainly thanks to going to live somewhere where there just wasn't any internet access for a while) I was able to have a lovely boyfriend for 4 years who never even seemed to notice the scars I'd spent so long obsessing over.

People's scars are NEVER as bad as they think they are. We are always more critical of ourselves than other people are.

Also, through loving other people, I realised that love does not depend on someone's physical appearance. It is about their spirit. When I obsessed and was miserable about my looks, it's because I thought no-one could love someone who looked so hideous. I wasn't being shallow: it was that I wanted love. Now I realise how mistaken I was to assume love was about appearance. It just isn't.

Go out, focus on other things and other people, stop focussing on yourself, and you will start to feel better. Perhaps do some volunteering, talk to people, do some work with animals, whatever distracts you from obsessing about yourself. Also, going for a walk for at least 30 mins a day is good for depression.

Good luck to you, please take care of yourself.

Edited by epcortek

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Hello guys,

I just wanted to share my story with you all. I am a 25 year old male. Brown skin. All throughout my life I've had mild acne. I ended up with some very minor rolling scars on my left temple. It was never a problem and simply tugging at the skin would vanish the scar entirely. Nevertheless, I didn't seek treatment for it.

I would say that out of high school, my skin looked fantastic. However, due to anxiety issues and maybe some latent depression (I wasn't full-out depressed til years later, when I was around 20-21) - I began looking into cosmetic surgeries. Nothing intensive really. I wanted laser hair removal for my facial hair. I never liked shaving and being new to this tech, I naively thought that it could 'erase' my problems away.

Literally.

I lived w/ my parents during this time as well, going to the local college in my town. I got good grades during the first semester of my freshmen year. During the fall, I began treatment with a doctor who used a LightSheer laser.

Since I'm a IV on the Fitzpatrick scale, this laser wasn't really meant for me. The doctor was also a novice. This was 2003.

To sum up my experience with this doctor - he would treat me every 2 weeks. This is foolish since doing such closely spaced treatments will miss many hairs on your face since they grow in cycles. In fact, I've read and since discovered that these closely spaced treatments end up zapping faintly-there velus hairs. Doing so can increase their maturation into normal hairs. I now have hairs growing on my upper cheeks because this guy would zap there, which didn't dawn on me at the time as dangerous thing to do..

Anyways, this ensured that the once dormant velus hairs in those areas would mature and become coarser and darker. Sucks for me...

Another thing that happened was that while he treated the area of my lower jaw, I was burned by the laser. It left a large scab. Luckily, it healed completely without scarring. I should have stopped there...

By this time it was 2004. During this time, I continued treatments w/ the LightSheer laser. Again, the same format of 2 weeks spaced apart...

I did lose a lot of hairs so it wasn't as though it didn't work. However, the laser was just not optimized for dark skin and I don't think I should have sought laser treatment in the first place. Side-note: years later I would notice pinprick size scarring where newly grown hairs were. These areas were originally zapped. Since the LightSheer treatments, new hairs grew back while the scarring from the laser before remained... When I shave, I can see these tiny holes there still.

I began dropping out of school. I got addicted on online gaming. During this time (2004-6) I made some attempts to go back to school but nothing ever lasted. I would go back a semester, fail to complete, withdraw. I still only have 1 semester completed, 7 years later. My family is wealthy, but I have achieved nothing in this time-frame, due to my anxieties, image issues and genuine bad scarring and results w/ these cosmetic treatments - which only made me more anxious and hurt my self-image.

During the time frame of 2004-2006, I had no meaningful scarring still. I went out w/ my cousin still too so I had social interaction. I met some girls from college, and was still 'normal' for the most part. I was still spending more time online though. But for the moment, I had my good looks still and nice skin.

Summer 2006 was the beginning of the end...I had decided to quit the online gaming scene. This proved to be too much for me. I had latched on to this online community which had replaced normal social interaction in the real world. I was going through a withdrawal. It was a tough time because I didn't know what to do with my free time. I think it was during this time that I began to show signs of bipolar disorder. I was happy sometimes, and then really sad and depressed and even angry at other times. I still lived with my parents, as I do in the present.

I never got along with them. After high school I had plans to move away and I even wanted to try acting or directing. Something related to the arts. My father is a doctor. Basically, most of my family is in medicine. Ultimately, I wasn't courageous enough to do what I wanted to do. Not even courageous enough to try. I regret these years so much because I would have learned valuable life lessons and gained perspective, rather than becoming a hermit and obsessed with my self-image.

Towards the end of summer I got a scar on my nose. I saw a doctor who thought it wouldn't go away, and told me to just live with it. He prescribed me Retin-A. This medicine is common and well-known to acne patients. It increases cell-turnover as you all know, so the gunk below is brought up and flushed out hopefully. But, I think this also increases your chance for scarring too...and I did in fact get more scars as a result.

The original scar on my nose healed completely. It literally vanished. On the other hand, I kept getting acne. I never really got pimples. Just whiteheads. Now, I was getting some bad lesions. Big ones.

One such lesion left an ice-pick scar smack-dab in the middle of my upper chin, toward my nose. It was totally visible. I wasn't used to scarring. I certainly wasn't used to scarring so out in the open. This destroyed me because for years I had no perspective on my life. Just playing these stupid online games and not interacting with people in the real world. I wasn't learning anything, let alone about life. So this tiny scar (which has since gotten somewhat better) became my world. My world crumbling around me that is.

I began going to school again in 2006 fall. I nearly completed this semester, but due to that scar and the accompanying stress and a relapse into the online gaming world, I dropped out YET again. I was getting good grades too and was building a relationship with a girl I liked from one of my classes (it was mutual too). But, I went back to my own world in my room...

I still drove around, went out w/ my cousin. I had long since lost touch (on purpose) with my old high school buddies. I did so with a bit of cockiness and angst in my mind. I wanted to redefine myself and ignoring my old friends was an indirect manifestation of that decision. I had so many plans so I must have thought I could easily make friends again.

Anyways, I kept going out still throughout 2007 spring. I was beginning to feel suicidal though. I went through this ridiculous phase where I'd read all these books on philosophy. I wanted to think deeply about these suicidal urges as I had them. I wanted to understand 'the meaning of life' and all that to make sense of my feelings. I never figured it out during that time. It was very superficial of me too. I was just in a very bad mood. As the years had gone by, I became more anxious because of the lost time. Lost chances...

I came across a treatment called Fraxel. Being dark-skinned, Fraxel seemed like a godsend. It was advertised as optimal for dark skinned patients. I just wanted to tighten my pores. I had no real scarring except for that one ice-pick scar. At the time, I thought Fraxel worked on ice-picks. The doctor - who was married to another cosmetic dermatologist, and who had a posh expensive office/spa - also told me it could work on ice picks. What a damn lie...

I signed up for 1 treatment I think. Or maybe it was a package deal. I remember going in for the consultation meeting. I was so optimistic. I think these treatments were easy goals to look forward to, and some tangible 'improvement' I could obtain over myself. Something I felt I lacked in school and in my career choice and lack thereof. It was like, seeing these doctors and making myself 'better' was replacing the lack of direction I had. Maybe if I took the risk of going out to NYC to try acting or direction or just going to school for it, I wouldn't be here today writing this 7 years later.

The video games (pathetic I know) and the laser treatments/etc. were all attempts I made to find meaning. Meaning through the virtual world where goals were simplistic and easy to achieve. Meaning through 'improving' my self-image through surgeries, giving my confidence 'back' (as if I had lost something in the first place)...

It was all a mirage. A vapor. I didn't need anything done. I created new scars through going to see these doctors.

I don't doubt that the treatments succeed and help people, but I am obsessive-compulsive about my face and my self-image. These treatments are a bad idea for people like me. I destroyed myself.

Before leaving the consultation at the fraxel place, one of the beautician-people said I could be a model. Actually, she asked me if I was a model. I was flattered. I should have took this as a sign to just fucking stop obsessing about non-existent problems...

During the downtime between that consultation and my first appointment (and last), I got a big acne lesion on the left side of my face, next to my sideburns. Visible completely.

It got worse. I didn't tamper w/ it. It ran it's corse but filled up with blood... Eventually it scabbed.

This next move on my part sealed my fate...I picked the scab. I had become a picker for a long time before that too. Usually, no scars resulted but as my life got worse, I became more obsessive compulsive. Picking gave me slight relief...

The scab came off. And I could see pink skin underneath. I could see how it was a layer below... This was going to turn into a hypertrophic scar and I knew it in the bad of my mind. I was fucked.

I went to the Fraxel appointment. It wasn't painful. It just sort of happened and I was indifferent toward the experience. I remember thinking, things would be alright though. The fraxel has plumped up the scab area. It looked as though the wound would heal 100% w/o a scar. I was wrong.

During that time, I went through your usual Fraxel downtime. The skin browned and flaky. It was during this time that I was supposed to go to a wedding for a family member. I would have too. I was excited about it since I had over the years found a look for myself, whereas when I was younger and going through puberty, I felt awkward at family social gatherings. The fraxel downtime and my feelings of depression creeping up on me again, prevented me from going.

I canceled the rest of my fraxel treatments. I was oblivious to this scar burgeoning on my face where the scab had came off, for a few months. This was 2007 fall now.

I wanted to have laser hair removal again. I felt that I never quite finished that journey and it did give me results that I was happy about - in spite of the issues I mentioned earlier. This time, the doctor was an experienced technician. However, she was not a cosmetic dermatologist. Not even a regular derm. She was a OBGYN! She was an African-American doc, and had experience in treating dark skin so I felt safe with her in spite of the fact that she wasn't a derm.

The laser used was a yag...I forget the name exactly but it was the appropriate laser for my skin type. I wasn't happy in life at the time as I am not now, but this treatment meant a lot to me. Again, I had become addicted to video gaming and now to cosmetic treatments (which always failed). So this was just one more thing to try...

I only had one treatment with her. We decided on low energy. It was more painful than I remembered the LightSheer being. During the downtime between passes, her assistant would spray me with water mist, to cool the skin down. I didn't think anything of it at the time. However, I strongly believe that this has messed up the depth and thickness of my skin (since I had also had Fraxel like 3 months before...). The skin was hot and spraying water mist on it would probably do some damage I would think...

The hair began following out as it should, weeks later. It looked nice and I felt good for awhile. It was short-lived though because it was also during this time that I discovered that the scab I had torn off just before my first and last fraxel treatment in the summer - had turned into a linear hypertrophic scar...

Here it is:

http://img338.imageshack.us/i/scars003.jpg/

This was taken in 2010 I think. Possibly winter 2009. This scar is 3 years old.

To flash foward a bit, I have also begun to notice that the entire left side of my cheek area is uneven in depth and thickness. I blame this on the fraxel and the laser hair removal treatment I received in 2007 summer to fall.

The difference the left side of my face and the right side is striking. It's a big difference. Both in thickness and texture. The left side is completely ruined. Many follicle size scars. If I stretch my skin, it greatly diminishes the severity of the scarring though. It looks almost normal. This leads me to believe that derma-needling or derma-rolling would help someone like me greatly.

The one thing that remains however, is that linear hypertrophic scar. Being obsessive compulsive...I honestly cannot get over this scar. I cannot just accept myself with this scar on my face.

I have some other rolling scars on my right temple and right cheek as well. I also have new hairs growing high up on my cheek. I would need to continue this disastrous cycle of cosmetic treatment to fix the problems I created for myself...

To sum up: I was a normal kid. I was confident and I think I was good looking and had a lot going for me out of high school. I had no scarring worth mentioning. Due to bad personal life at home, horrible relationship with parents which persists to this day (and will not improve, because a lot of this is their fault for their inaction and indifference) - I destroyed myself.

My chances, my face, etc.

My parents were always resistant to take me for these treatments but I pressured my mom into it all. I should have trusted their stinginess and knee-jerk refusal. They say no to everything, so I never took them seriously.

I'm still at home. Still directionless and scarred. I've been thinking about suicide and I can't honestly say I see a light at the end of the tunnel. My life is basically over in my eyes.

This is a warning to people who might be stressing out of some slight imperfections. It can consume your life. You can end up like me. Trapped at home, never having taken a chance in life and putting yourself in a dangerous cycle where you have to keep 'using' to get 'better'. It's never-ending.

I won't be able to accept this new, damaged 'me'. I would rather die, to be honest...

Please don't put yourself at risk like I did. Gain perspective...before you become so down and depressed that you don't care about living anymore.

Look at this forum. Take a good look. I've been here since 2002 (I have since forgot my PW and Username, during the years when I had perfect skin - and made this new account years after). I see people posting the SAME topics. The SAME discussion.

There is very little continuity here. It's like history is repeating itself. I don't know if these forums have a moderator but as a forum-goer I get the impression that these boards are trapped in time. How many of the same exact treatment threads do we see? Leading to nowhere? Doctored photos? Users just vanishing? Etc.

It's tragic because it's like nothing changes.

Don't end up like me. Take care.

Your story is ridiculously similar to mine. All throughout my life, skin was never a problem I really thought about. I was confident and considered myself a good looking guy. But back around last winter, I met a girl I really wanted to impress, one of those ones where they're just perfect, and way out of your league, so you know you need to step it up. I decided to start using a harsh cleanser thinking that it would prevent the very rare, very minor zits I would get on occasion.

A few months later, all hell broke loose on my face. Cysts, nasty pustules, whiteheads galore, dry, rough skin texture, it was the worst. I couldn't believe my eyes. Quickly I went into hiding, and tried everything to get rid of them. In an overwhelming depression and frustration I went on picking binges trying to get everything out from under my skin almost constantly during my 6 month battle with that terrible breakout.

My acne has now finally been put under control, but my face is destroyed.. My pores are huge now, like scars and I think they're stuck that way, I have some deep ones too but my main concern is all the disgusting, gigantic pores all over my cheeks. I'm 18, and to me I look like I'm 30 now. Because of all this I dropped out of high school in my final semester, stayed in literally all summer (except for a few times when I went to see my girlfriend at NIGHT so she couldnt see my scars), even tried to find my place in online gaming as well (WoW) and lost all hope in life and faith in myself that I had. I feel like I woke up one morning and I'm trapped in someone else's skin. I can barely recognize myself anymore.

And I completely understand what you mean by saying that your scars might not be that bad, but they're killing you. That's exactly how I feel. Knowing how I was before and seeing myself now its just like what the hell happened in these past few months? How could I possibly destroy myself that much?

Now it takes every ounce of my mental will to get myself to go anywhere in public. What really kills me is I have the most perfect girlfriend who doesn't really understand my problem but has been by my side through the whole thing, and I just don't feel physically good enough for her anymore. Lately I've found myself contemplating suicide as well, putting more serious thought into it then I would like to admit. The only thing keeping me from acting on it is the fact that I never want to hurt those close to me like that, especially my girlfriend. She would be devastated.

So with my last breath of determination, I started researching scar treatments. The risks seem crazy, and after reading both great and horrifying results from lasers, peels, etc. I was really torn on what to do. So I made an appointment with my derm to see what she says. I feel like I have nothing to lose at this point, so the risks almost seem worth the chance at having a healthy looking face again, but then I come across stories like yours and I hit a brick wall again.

My heart really goes out to you man, I feel your pain. I have no idea how I've kept going through all this, I'm at the lowest of my lows, and I'm sure you feel the same way. If anything ever improves, let me know. It would make me happy to know that you're struggle didn't end in vain, and might give me the hope I need. And if the same happens to me, I'll be sure to let you know too.

Edited by whatjathink

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