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jodorokes

Chemical Peels---A Warning, And What Happened To Me

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I've had mild/moderate acne for about four years now. It bothered me, but I never worried about it too much. It affected my confidence, but I was always aware that it was temporary. I always had hope for the future.

It wasn't until I went to college that I started developing long-lasting hyper-pigmentation. It was hardly noticeable in retrospect, but it bothered the hell out of me at the time. Instead of waiting for it go away naturally, I bought a 25% or so chemical peel from Amazon and began using it on my skin. I started seeing minor results, so I continued using it.

However, the peel was likely weakening my skin. I started developing some (still very mild) atrophic scarring on my cheeks where zits were popping up. I had never seen scars on my face until last year. Of course, I didn't make the connection between the scarring and the chemical peel, so I began treating the scars with the peel. I started using it more heavily.

I was idiot, I was naive, and I didn't appreciate my good skin while I had it.

Anyway, I overdid it one day while I was on winter break from school. At the time, I was really interested in this girl on my floor, and I couldn't possibly wait 6-12 months for the redness to go away. I needed it gone immediately! So, I lathered that stuff on my cheeks, more so on the right side, and waited too long before washing it off. My skin began to peel like crazy. I looked like a burn victim for three days afterward, until it all peeled off to reveal...

Relatively normal looking skin. The hyper-pigmentation was still there, but it pretty much looked the same as before. I wasn't scarred for life! Everything was going to be okay!

Except my skin was incredibly weak, and I still had some mild acne. So I began to scar--even easier than before. And to make matters worse, my right cheek is now hollow and thin, whereas my left cheek is beautiful and strong. The loss in volume I think was the result of sun exposure, wasting away the damaged collagen or whatever. This didn't come to my attention until recently. It's a problem.

It makes me really, really sad. I see my left cheek and imagine how handsome I would look if my face was symmetrical. The scarring is still not that bad--just a few depressed ones, some weird pores and not-so-great texture, but the thing that really gets me is the misshapen look of my cheek. I miss my good, clear, strong skin so much. It's going to be really hard overcoming this. I'm still hoping that tazorac, time, and a healthy lifestyle will get me looking okay again.

POINT OF THE STORY: Learn from my mistake, don't try to treat your scars until you're acne-free, and don't overdo chemical peels, because they will destroy your skin if overused.

Also, if anyone has had any success rebuilding collagen on their cheeks, let me know! I'm twenty years old, and hopefully still ripe for healing.

Edited by jodorokes

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It was a glycolic peel. I cringe just thinking about it. It could have been worse; my skin looks alright I guess, but if it doesn't improve, I'd be unhappy.

Edited by jodorokes

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If your scars are minor, you should be hopeful. You can check out the scar forum, there's been people with major improvement from moderate/severe scarring.

One of the best treatments you can be doing right now is adding a homemade vitamin c serum. It has to be homemade because vitamin c serum doesn't last long, it becomes ineffective. So you have to make small amounts frequently. You also need to make sure you moisturize. Dry skin scars easier.

I liked this persons recipe/ingredients for vitamin c: http://www.oatmealwithafork.com/2013/09/06/homemade-vitamin-c-serum/

If you did all these peels, then the damaged skin can be rejuvenated. Topicals don't typically do much, but when you do peels/needling you stimulate regrowth. What I'm curious about here, how frequently are we talking? That's such a mild peel. I was wondering how many/how long you waited in between. Sometimes, when you begin treatment whether it be needling or peels, damage you had looming under the surface becomes more noticeable at first. So if you've had long term acne, you may have had damage and these peels exposed it. I wouldn't place too much blame on yourself or see this as completely permanent. You're going to see results with time.

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I probably did maybe four light peels separated by a few weeks, until the slight scarring began. I was at school, so I couldn't do it more often, thank god. Then during winter break I think I did two peels within a week of each other. The last one was the most intense. I applied more than I usually did and left it on for a little over three minutes.

I think you're right about the peel revealing old scars. Unfortunately, I'm realizing now that those little scars would have been long gone by now if I had simply stayed away from my skin.

Sigh... thanks for the reply!

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My sister gets a professional chemical peel (mild) formula from her friend who's an esthetician. You cannot buy it in stores or online. She showed my sister how to properly give herself a peel, and she's given me a couple of peels. I've had nothing but success with them. Typically, peels aren't something you should do on your own unless you've been shown how by a professional. And even if it's a mild peel, you should only do it once a month. I have given myself a lot of time to recover from each. It's very important to moisturize and protect your skin from the sun after getting a peel.

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