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badlighting

Beginning a dermastamp journey

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Hello all, new and old :) 

Intro: After well over a month of haunting this site and combing over forums for details, Ive decided to start documenting my journey and start asking for active feedback. Although I have learned so much from this site, I resent how hard it was to try to find answers to seemingly simple questions and there are only a few detailed, informative journey type stories on here. This is my contribution and I hope it helps others out there and on here.

Warning: Im about to be very detailed as Id like a good start to this. Feel free to correct anything I say wrong.

Skin type: I am a 24 year old filipina Canadian with light brown skin that can get pale during winter and very tanned during summer. I am prone to hyperpigmentation. I have combination skin with a very oily t-zone. I have a history of dealing with cystic acne, beginning when I was about 16. I no longer have active acne, but experience occasional cystic pimples. I only started noticing my scarring issue a few months ago, both in pictures and in the mirror under certain lighting.

Issue: I have shallow rolling scars between my eyebrows, below brow level, right above my nose. Im positive my scars are shallow because when I raise my eyebrows, the tightened skin hides the depressions. The area is about 2-3 cm long and about 1 cm wide. The area is still rather prone to cystic pimples, but the presence of 1 or 2 is usually spaced apart by months. The scars are only obvious under certain angles/lighting, however, I am insecure about them because it is the area people see first when they look at me.

Current knowledge/considerations: I have read about most of the types of available treatments, but I have only considered subcision as I have read its a promising, cheaper treatment for rolling scars in particular. However, I am alarmed by the number of posts that state the lumps under their skin did not dissipate over time, as they were expected to. Because the area I wish to treat is so central to my face, I would rather not trade depressions for elevations.

This leads me to microneedling. I am well aware of how hotly debated microneedling treatment is in regards to effectiveness, but from what I have read it seems to be the most safe option, when done correctly. It seems results are highly individualized, but honestly, why not try something that has mostly positive reviews and rarely seems to have negative consequences? Much better than doing nothing and resigning yourself to the scars. Because my scars are shallow, I think this is the best treatment for me to try. The most attractive aspect to me is the minimal down time and the cost of continous treatment is manageable.

For those who want to know the basics: microneedling imparts vertical damage as opposed to horizontal damage, which minimizes risks of exacerbating current scar issues, and the primary goal is to break up old scar tissue and stimulate collagen growth to fill in the scar.
This treatment should not be pursued if experiencing active breakouts as it would most likely worsen them, damage your skin more and possibly result in scarring.
It is a long term treatment, not a wham bam thank you maam. Please be aware that the days immediately following will pretty much be a farce as scars will appear to improve due to swelling. Its not a treatment you do often. Your skin needs about 6-8 weeks in between to begin the healing process and create collagen. I feel like doing it often would be very damaging and definitely increases risk of infection. I plan to stamp once every 8 weeks over the next year to try to stimulate collagen growth.

I would like to dermastamp because I read that the angles the needles penetrate at with when using a roller can be damaging, and also because the area I want to treat is quite small and confined. I also read that the pressure you use is more consistent and easier to control.

From what I have read, the best needles to get are made of titanium surgical steel. I am aiming for a 1.0mm- 1.5mm length with a base gauge that is no bigger than 0.3, with 0.15-0.25 being most ideal. What I still need to figure out is needle length: you need different lengths for different facial areas. Thinner areas like the forehead need smaller needles (0.5-1 mm) and thicker areas like cheeks can handle larger needles (1.0-1.5 mm) 

Apparently 1.5mm is the most effective length as it supposedly reaches the dermis (which scares me a little), but articles I have read say this length may also be risky. Thus, I wouldnt consider going longer than that in any area, at least not without a professional.
Im currently teetering between 1 and 1.5, leaning more to 1.5mm as I feel like the lower area between my brows is meatier so can handle more, and I also want to maximize results. However, I will most likely chicken and start with 1 mm because I want to stay safe.

I woud like to combine microneedling with suctioning. To be honest, I only have very vague notions of what it does, something about not letting the scar tissue anchor back down and helps to keep the tissue elevated and not sunken. Im going to try it because it sounds promising and yknow, yolo. Post-treatment I will also use diy vitamin c serum  (theres a good recipe link on reddit).

Oh, and sanitation is key. Sterilize your new equipment before use with boiled water and then an alcohol soak for at least 30 mins. Its also important that your skin has antiseptic applied to avoid pushing anything bad into your skin.

First step-purchasing equipment: Currently, I have a cystic pimple refusing to leave the site, and as it is important not to scar treat when experiencing breakouts, I am going to start with ordering. Hopefully by the time my stuff comes in my pimple will have gone and healed.
I actually already have a dermastamp from ebay, from jglobalsales, but Im not sure Ill use it. I was not as knowledge-primed as I am now and I didnt really pay attention to details when I bought it on a whim late at night. I will keep it for possible later use though, after closer inspection. Otherwise, I find its quite hard to find reasonably priced instruments coming from reputable looking sellers. I dont plan to reuse needles, I want to use a fresh stamp every 6-8 weeks. Im currently considering owndoc. I dont like the reviews the site has had, and Im pretty put off by the scoring it has in terms of reliability, however, the equipment on the site looks sterile, there is a lot to choose from, I believe they sell suctioning items and the price range is low enough for me. I would consider other sites if I had the money, but considering the fact that Ill need a new one each treatment, Im going to take a gamble on owndoc. 

So, Im going to go ahead and order. Ill keep updating about the order (any issues, products I ordered, what I paid, how long it took to ship, quality of equip). Ill also post if that site turns out to be true to its rep and if I have to find another one. 

Future steps: After my pimple heals and Im ready to start treatment, I will definitely put up 'before' pics with multiple angles/diff lights. I will post 'after' pics immediately/8 weeks after each treatment session. Id like to keep angles and lighting consistent as it frustrates me when people offer results that could easily have been altered by such things.

Questions I need help with: okay so after the tedious amount of clicking and reading I have done over the past month, I still have questions that seem very basic yet are totally essential. I would like to address these to those who have had experiencing with dermastamping.

1. How many times should I go over the area, since its so small? Ive read 8 but that seems like overkill. Should i also be rotating the stamp each time? 

2. Some say you should bleed a little for it to be effective, some people say you shouldnt reach that point. Thoughts? 

3. Im confused about aftercare. It seems reckless to put serums directly into wounded skin immediately after stamping. I cant imagine this to be very sanitary. How long after stamping should you wait to apply anything topical? Is there a healing period needed, like a few hours or so? I watched some videos of pros doing the microneedling, wiping off blood, then immediately applying topical solution.

Any answers and all feedback welcome. I will be checking in as often as my busy student schedule allows :)  

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Look forward to following. You could try owndoc's Infadolan ointment the first couple days after stamping to keep wound moist while healing before moving on to regular moisturizers and topicals (retinoids, Vit C, etc.). I think you may see a little blood. Good luck!

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This thread deserved a reply before it got one...

Welcome badlighting and you have certainly taken the right approach up until now by doing your research - and lots of it.

I am also someone who researches the hell out of things before trying it. As much as we'd like to do everything to maximum effectiveness right away though, it's just not practical. You can only use your findings as a starting point and then continue to learn and adapt your procedures based on your own experiences. There are plenty of people here to pass on their own experiences to help you out and to give you moral support as there are others in the same boat doing exactly the same thing.

Whilst I do not claim to have all the answers myself, I will nevertheless give my views on your questions:

1 & 2) I'm not sure that there is a set number of times you should stamp a given area, although 8-16 is commonly suggested. Blood is an important part of the process as that's what makes things happen so you should definitely look to achieve a certain amount of blood and redness. People differ in terms of how painful they find stamping and indeed how easily they tend to draw blood, which makes it difficult to give general guidelines. Each individual is different.

3) This is a topic for some debate, although it depends what it is I guess. Some see applying topicals directly after needling as an opportunity to get deeper penetration and therefore perceived more effective results - making use of the freshly created micro-channels in the skin. Though for sure certain products could aggravate the skin if it's not meant to reach those areas. Personally, I tend to give it a few hours before applying anything. ie. if I needled in the evening, I wouldn't apply a topical until morning.

Keep us updated with your journey and don't be put off by the initial lack of response to this thread!

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