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Stargirl16

Need a community to talk about acne scar impact on mental health

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Hello,

I had severe acne throughout most of high school and eventually my parents allowed me to take Accutane. It worked wonders on my skin but similar to many other people, I was left with deep acne scarring all over my cheeks and temples. Over the past 2 years I have tried many laser treatments and got subcision twice. The constant downtime and damaging of my skin again and again took a big mental toll on me. Aside from that I wasn't seeing much results and was beginning to shape my life around my scarring. I would avoid going to the gym because of the intense lighting and the fact that I couldn't hide behind my hair. I've struggled feeling fully comfortable in a relationship because my mind would constantly get wrapped around the idea that no guy could actually want to spend the rest of their life with someone whose skin looked like this. I do have up days and down days but I'm exhausted of keeping all of these thoughts bottled up and as much as I love them there's no way my clear skinned friends and family would fully understand. I'd really love advice on how to overcome this insecurity because I've decided that I don't want to get any more treatments done (laser seemed to only age my skin and I haven't seen any noticeable results for the price). Anything would be helpful; I'd love to talk to someone whose going through something similar.

Best wishes fellow acne sufferers!

Linds

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1 hour ago, Linds16 said:

 I'd really love advice on how to overcome this insecurity because I've decided that I don't want to get any more treatments done

Get it fixed. That's really the only way.

Mentally, don't pay too much attention to what others might think or perceive of you. Don't let others dictate how you should live or think. If you can, give yourself some breathing room. Try to separate yourself from others and become independent. In the process, work on your inner strength.

1 hour ago, Linds16 said:

Over the past 2 years I have tried many laser treatments and got subcision twice (laser seemed to only age my skin and I haven't seen any noticeable results for the price). The constant downtime and damaging of my skin again and again took a big mental toll on me. 

I kinda digged around and found your pics. I hope you don't mind I post one here to make my point.

First of all, your scars are nowhere near severe. You have a combination of icepick and boxcars (see below for scar classification). Your icepicks are not that bad. It's the wide boxcars that really stick out. Luckily, there aren't that many and I believe they're easily treatable.

Second, I don't know who made a recommendation for laser and subcision, but those are pretty useless for both icepick and boxcar scars. Many people mistakenly think it's the pit or the depression that makes the scar visible. That is not the case. It is not the pit but the SHADOW, which is created by the scar border, that actually accentuates the scar. This is why in certain lighting your scars look much worse and in others they're less visible.

As such, what you need to do is, first and foremost, smooth down the hard edge around the boxcars and icepicks. In order to do that, you need (that's right) TCA. It's a medium-grade acid and it will over time lessen the appearance of hard lines as well as stimulate collagen. But, just to be sure that we're on the same page, it's important to understand that you need several treatments. 

 

image.png.1bdbf0b33bf2dec25f6f768de2b34a74.png 

 

 

image.png.77494ce00ec24a424c61375ca2a451e8.png

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Hello,

Thanks for the response, those pictures actually aren't mine however my skin looks very similar to hers. I'll definitely look into what you suggested however I think I want to give my skin a break from treatments for a while to see if any healing happens on its own. I'll include some pics bellow (my camera isn't that good so it looks less deep than it is). Would you still suggest TCA?

acne2.jpg

acne.jpg

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You could try dry needling in addition to a TCA peel. It may help, but you have to be consistent. You also at least in my experience can't have ongoing flare ups when doing this. If it were me I would pay the cost to have an aesthetician do it. I've caused problems going too much or too far with either intervention which is depressing in and of its self...However, that is not always in peoples' budget. And while I have chosen these treatments over say groceries at the time. I wouldn't make that same decision again. Careful in what you do.

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Look into TCA Cross. You'll need a number of treatments, patience, and time though. Talk to a qualified dermatologist - not all of them know how to apply it or even perform the procedure.

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As far as your mental health, try focusing on the positives in life. I know it can be challenging (acne scar sufferer myself), but in comparison to my scars yours are much better then mine. We tend to notice everything we dont like about ourselves, but pick one thing you do like about your appearance. My scars might be worse other people, but i know people with diabetes, alsertive colitis, MS, drug addictions, etc. Imo thats worse then having scars. I dont know your life but My point is their is always someone who has it worse. Life is too short and tomorrow is not guaranteed. Be grateful for everything you have today and good luck on your scar journey. 

Oh sorry and i tottally can relate not not feeling secure in a relationship due to my scarring. Its so hard when everyone looks like they have gloss perfect skin. 

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It's so hard especially because everyone I know has largely nice and smooth skin. I agree, trying to focus on other things in life has helped a lot and there are people who have way worse struggles than acne scars. I appreciate your comment. I'm hoping overtime that I'll become more accepting of my scars.

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