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screwscars

acne scar journey

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Hello all! I have lurked on here for years, mainly when I was dealing with active acne. Anyway, quickly about me, I suffered from acne from the age of 10 to about 22. However, my acne did not get severe and cystic until about 19-21. I'm sure I don't need to describe here how awful it was. I have only really had acne severely on my cheeks; although I went through periods on temples, forehead, and neck, I have no scarring in those areas. I have also never had acne anywhere on my body aside from my face. Anyway after surviving school, I was finally able to afford to go on accutane when I graduated college and I was one of the lucky ones. My skin cleared up within 6 months and now it has been about ten years and I've never had a break out since. I think when my skin initially cleared up, I was so thrilled that I wasn't dealing with cystic acne that the scars didn't really even bother me. But in my late 20s either the novelty of no more acne wore off or just collagen started depleting, but whatever it was I became a little fixated on scar treatment. What I've done so far: two deep FX laser 2011 & 2012, silicon injections 2014 (so far nothing bad from this but this was really spontaneous and not researched would not risk it), Temp filler in jaw line 2016, Infini laser 2016, Subcision & Scultpra along with Eribum Yag laser 2017, 2 more syringes of Sculptra 2017 (end of year), & profraxional laser 2018. Pending: 2 more profraxional lasers and Bellfill (already paid for in tx plan). 

Unfortunately I cannot find good pictures of where I started, but I see a definite improvement. I have done a lot of lasers and honestly for the money and progress I'm sure this was not the best courses of action. However, like many others, I was dazzled by the promises. I think the subcision and sculptura by far have yielded the best results. I actually noticed some icepick scars now, but I think that is because before my rolling scars were so prevalent. My right side has always been my worse side, and most problematic by the jaw line. The sculptra and subcision have really helped to even this out. 

Regardless of all of this, although there are times when I get caught up just tired of hating my skin, I'm really not too bothered by my scarring. Partly because I feel that it has definitely improved and in regular lighting when I wear make up, I barely notice it (others may I'm sure). One thing that has helped me with the scarring is just being really thankful that acne is no longer in my life. I don't like the scars, but I am also so thankful that I don't wake up everyday wondering what's going to pop up and what people are staring at. When I really start to get annoyed with my skin (normally looking in car windows or shadows), I do try and remind myself how awful I felt for so many years dealing with cystic acne. I have also realized that scar treatment in some form will likely be a lifetime thing for me. As I age I know that certain scars will be more prevalent, but I know going on this journey has left my skin in much better shape for aging. 

I really appreciate everyone sharing their journeys, as I'm sure most of us have counted the money we've spent that have yielded minimal results and it can get so frustrating and demoralizing. I will say this though, as much as it is the responsibility of the consumer to know what they're buying and to do their research, I firmly believe that doctors who sell pipe dreams to people are the worst of the worst. Regardless of how much research someone has done, when you have an expert in the field looking at your skin, showing you pictures of all of their successes with cases "just like yours," you just want to believe it and sometimes you need to believe it. So many doctors exploit people's desperation for dollar signs and it is wrong. Anyway, I finally decided to post to show my progress throughout this next year and also to get some community insight on my scarring. I appreciate this collaboration so much. It's hard to trust a doctor when clearly they have had no sign of significant acne on their face. Attached are some photos, I had to crop out most of my face because I work in a confidential setting, but I hope you get the idea. I searched for the best lighting to show my worst scars, but I'm sure the pictures can be better. Also as I attach these I will try and attach the left side first (milder side) and then the right side. The right side I have a few more pictures. Seeing these zoomed in is hard to look at! Let me know if you have any thoughts/suggestions moving forward. 

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Thanks for sharing.   Your skin is looking great and even (no loss of volume etc.).  Your scarring is very mild.  Are you going to pursue more treatments?  You say subcision gave the best results - how many did you have?

I have had 1 so far and am looking forward to more.
 

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Hi Jaspa! I'm not sure if there's a way to click reply to your comment but hopefully you get notified. So I have done 2 aggressive subcisions to far, both including sculptra. The tx I got was a few incisions by the ear and she snapped all the bindings from this. I've read that some people have had individual incisions and snaps. Not sure what the difference is. I am having Bellafill and subcision completed again on April 12, so I will be sure to post pictures afterwards. Did you get results from your subcision? 

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Has anyone here had experience with Bellafill? I know that there are people who are strongly against it; so I'm just wondering from anyone who has actually used it before and the results. Thank you!! 

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Hey! May I ask you where did you have the sculptra injected? Which part of your cheek?
your face is looking nice, even tone :) 
Most of what I m seeing is not-so-deep ice picks - have you thought about TCA cross for these?
 

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11 minutes ago, eva_li said:

Hey! May I ask you where did you have the sculptra injected? Which part of your cheek?
your face is looking nice, even tone :) 
Most of what I m seeing is not-so-deep ice picks - have you thought about TCA cross for these?
 

Hey Eva! I had the sculptra added everywhere they did the subcision. So basically all over my cheeks and they also put some in my temple areas even though I have no scarring there. She focused on my jawline. So thanks for suggesting TCA cross. Embarrassingly enough, although I have been on this journey for quite some time, and have looked at this forum, I have never been to the scar section! So I am just now learning about other things to do aside from lasers. Have you done TCA cross? What do you do exactly? Is that needling? Also, prior to the most recent treatment, I didn't even realize I had icepick scarring, I think bc the rolling scars overshadowed them...so yes now I would like to do what I can to minimize those. What have you done if anything? 

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18 hours ago, screwscars said:

I am having Bellafill and subcision completed again on April 12, so I will be sure to post pictures afterwards.


I would suggest you skip subcision and just get Bellafill. Subcision is works best for medium to severe scars, and your scar is, by all account, mild. You would be better served with RF microneedling.
 
4 hours ago, screwscars said:

Has anyone here had experience with Bellafill? I know that there are people who are strongly against it; so I'm just wondering from anyone who has actually used it before and the results. Thank you!! 


If you've had no problem with Sculptra thus far, then Bellafill should be the next leg-up. The two fillers are very similar in that they are collagen-inducing fillers, unlike HA fillers that are mainly volumizing fillers. Also there are two reasons as to why Bellafill should be a natural extension to Sculptra. First, it will last over 5 years, which will save you both $$$ over the long haul. But nobody really knows how long it will last, since it's property ain't silicone (permanent filler). Second, it's the quality of the injector. When you have bad experience with filler, it's more to do with who injected the filler than the filler itself. Filler is more art than science. One must know about aesthetics in addition to facial anatomy. Unfortunately, most doctors are underqualified in this area. So if you already had good results from Sculptra, then it wouldn't be a bad idea to get Bellafill from the same injector.

After you're all done with Bellafill, wait about 4 weeks. Then get RF microneedling (this works from below the skin to accelerate collagen production started by Bellafill) with High power + Low density CO2 laser (this works on top of the skin to tighten up those pores). 

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1 hour ago, Sirius Lee said:

I would suggest you skip subcision and just get Bellafill. Subcision is works best for medium to severe scars, and your scar is, by all account, mild. You would be better served with RF microneedling.
 
If you've had no problem with Sculptra thus far, then Bellafill should be the next leg-up. The two fillers are very similar in that they are collagen-inducing fillers, unlike HA fillers that are mainly volumizing fillers. Also there are two reasons as to why Bellafill should be a natural extension to Sculptra. First, it will last over 5 years, which will save you both $$$ over the long haul. But nobody really knows how long it will last, since it's property ain't silicone (permanent filler). Second, it's the quality of the injector. When you have bad experience with filler, it's more to do with who injected the filler than the filler itself. Filler is more art than science. One must know about aesthetics in addition to facial anatomy. Unfortunately, most doctors are underqualified in this area. So if you already had good results from Sculptra, then it wouldn't be a bad idea to get Bellafill from the same injector.

After you're all done with Bellafill, wait about 4 weeks. Then get RF microneedling (this works from below the skin to accelerate collagen production started by Bellafill) with High power + Low density CO2 laser (this works on top of the skin to tighten up those pores). 
Thanks for the info! What type of laser is Profraxel? I get confused in all honesty with all the different lasers. 
1 hour ago, QuanHenry said:

Your skin looks good to me. If I were you I would stop treating.

1 hour ago, QuanHenry said:

Your skin looks good to me. If I were you I would stop treating.

Thank you! It has been a long, often times, painful journey. I am going to try and take some pics with the flashlight. 

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But guys isn't Bellafill best to be avoided?  I think I read somewhere (might have been Realself) where someone had the worst result.  

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@Jaspa0411 Yes Bellafill is best avoided at least initially. IT is permanent. Permanent fillers have permanent problems.  What do you think happens when you age and your face sags,... Filler won't stay under the scar. So use it with a very educated decision after you try HA a few times (which is natural). Bellafill is not the same thing as PLLA or Sculptra so this is not correct above. Sculptra does get dissolved by the body, ... slower than HA fillers. IT is not reversible like a HA though. Bella fill is never dissolved, it's fiberglass beads. 

@screwscars It's easy to know the difference, ... tech documents should not be sent to those who need the basics. Fractional means grids (less skin is treated). Thus less side effects and quicker healing. This does NOT work on texture for obvious reasons, it's like microneedling channels.  FULLY ablative erbium resurfacing means just that, it's a true peel, and as such one can also do a deep phenol peel of **many tca peels. They are comparable procedures (with peels having less side effects). You do the peels or laser at the end for texture of the surface.  Erbium ca be done in both grids aka fractional and peel modes (full ablation). Co2 can do this as well but is not as good for resurfacing (all those side effects they had in the 90s). There are many brands, but they all ** pretty much use the basic lasers mentioned above. 

 

I discuss alot of this stuff in my FAQ in simpler terms. Filler, subcision, peels, laser. Check that out in the link below.

Also @UpliftingCat IS a great!!!! resource to talk to peels about and she may be able to help you with that more if your interested. 

https://www.acne.org/messageboard/topic/361029-acne-scar-qa-faq-library-of-popular-threads/

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2 hours ago, screwscars said:

I really have no idea...although I’m sure I’ve had both at this point! Clearly I have no idea because I combined the two lasers in my spelling! Ha. Lmk if you find out :)

My bad. You had quite a number of treatments already and I guess I took it for granted that you would know the difference between basic terminology of laser, like erbium and CO2, fractional and ablative, etc.

BA covered those differences so I won't go into much detail. But with regards to my comment about getting high power, low density CO2 for pore reduction, it has been demonstrated, through academic publications and doctors like Dr Lim, that it does have good effects on wide pores and/or small icepick scars, which I believe you can personally benefit.

Be that as it may, I strongly urge you to become educated about the treatments you undergo and NEVER blindly place your faith in the hands of the doctors. I don't mean that you should distrust them outright, but by equipping yourself with knowledge it will help you steer the course in the right direction and avoid potential mishaps as a result of bad advice, if any.

Smart patient = smart consumer = knowlege = power.

 
6 hours ago, Jaspa0411 said:

But guys isn't Bellafill best to be avoided?  I think I read somewhere (might have been Realself) where someone had the worst result.  


Like I state above, filler is more art than science. It's not the filler that's the problem, it's the injector. Just like Infini, it ain't the machine but the operator who usually screws up your face. 

With that said, the OP already seems to have had success with a few rounds of Sculptra. She had no serious side-effect, no bad filling like lumps. Obviously, the injector knew her craft well. So why would she not want to get Bellafill from that same injector??




  Edited by Sirius Lee

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