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Acne Scarring Journey

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scarlet603

Bad SKin Day

I look so ugly today. I didn't get enough sleep and my skin looks really bad. The indentations are more pronounced whenever I don't get enough rest. I styled my hair, did my make-up (even though I'll just be staying home) to somehow try to make myself feel a little better. No good. As a last resort, I massaged the areas around the indented scars. Sort of like pinching the skin around them. Very nice result. The temporary swelling made them less visible. Now, I feel better. :)

scarlet603

1 Scar Almost Gone

Are my eyes playing tricks on me, or is one of the scars I'm really bothered with almost gone for good? I haven't bothered to scrutinize each of my scars for a few days, and just tonight I almost can't believe my eyes when I had a hard time locating that particular scar anymore. It's on the right side of my face near the nose. Could it be that my face just got so puffy from sleeping all day? But all the other scars are still there. I'm dizzy already from all the squinting, & from trying to find an angle just to make sure that what I'm seeing is true. I'm almost afraid to believe it's permanent and won't be back tomorrow. It's just strange. The deeper ones are those that I find really improving. They are all starting to fill in. I always thought that the shallower ones would respond first. I'm still hoping they'll disappear for good since my scars are close together so even though a lot of them aren't that deep, they still give that wavy look to my face. I know that the scars won't really disappear, but one can always hope for a miracle. :) I started taking ascorbic acid again coz I'm just so excited with this development! :D Since I won't be able to have another fraxel any time soon, I'm thinking of needling the scars again so as not to waste time. I'll probably do it a week after the diamond peel. I'm having it done on Feb. 1.

scarlet603

Delayed Fraxel

I had my fraxel follow up at the derm's clinic yesterday. I was really hoping to get 3 more sessions before June. I was really disappointed that I have to wait for the hyperpigmentation to be resolved before I can have another session. :D She added kojic acid to be mixed with the tyrosinase inhibitor to my regimen to speed up the process. Meanwhile she advised me to continue getting facials and to do microdermabrasion as this will also help with the scars. It's a lot cheaper to do diamond peel than microdermabrasion so I think I'll just go with the diamond peel. :)

scarlet603

To Post Or Not To Post

I'm planning on posting my before and after photos, but I'm really having second thoughts. I requested copies of my before fraxel photos from my derm's clinic as well as my photos before the 7th session, but unfortunately they haven't emailed them yet. One concern is that, I don't want people with more severe scarring than me commenting about how insignificant my scars are compared to theirs. Let's face it, when others who don't have acne scars describe people who have scarring, they don't categorize the severity of the scarring. We are simply described as "Oh, the one with the scars". What I'm saying here is that, you may think you'd be happy to have the skin of a less scarred person, but that's not really true. We all secretly cherish the hope of having perfect skin again. At least for me that's true. Another concern is that sometimes, I fear others may not look past the pigmentation issues and see the real scars. Honestly, when I saw my before pics, I was disgusted with the way I looked, but at the same time I noticed that they were not able to capture the "waves" the scars made on my face. My scars are close together and not just localized on one or 2 areas, but are all over my face. So, I don't really want people brushing off the seriousness of my scarring. When I think about it, I find it so funny to be feeling this way about this. I should feel flattered if people see it as such, but I feel that I have gone through a lot emotionally with this scarring so I want it to be acknowledged as something significant. Lastly, a part of me fears that some people may not notice the improvements, and even though I see how improved they are I know I'd be bothered by this since I'm really conscious of how people perceive my scarring. I've only started getting out recently. When I look at myself in the mirror now, I can finally see ME. And guys are even starting to chat me up. I feel attractive again. I don't want to go back to the way I was before. I don't know. Maybe, I'll just post them when I get them to get it over with.

scarlet603

Why I Started A BLOG

I have always wanted to start a BLOG. It seems like everyone I know has one. They always have something to talk about. I tried starting one. I even have the title made out already. But sadly, nothing's written on it. I tried talking about things, only to find that I really don't know what to say about them. The reality is, my life has been so focused on this battle to overcome acne scarring that there's really nothing more important to me as of the moment. If I write something, it will have to be about that or at least related to that. But I can't very well talk about it there with all those people who know me. They haven't seen me in years. They don't even know that I have a problem with it. So I finally started one here. Why? Because I really want to participate in the forum, but I don't have the energy to belabor every point to everyone. I don't want to bicker with anybody coz honestly even though I disagree with them, I also understand why they are so angry and so negative. But at the same time, I also want them to understand that it's really not good to be discouraging people just because something doesn't work for them. I think it's better to just simply share their experience with everyone instead of labeling something as crap just because it didn't work for them. I also believe that before undergoing any treatment, it's better to be realistic and not to have expectations. I know, it's difficult to do. Close to impossible actually coz we always hope to find that elusive answer to our scarring problem. My point is, what works for others may not work for you. It's something we have to take into consideration before starting any treatment. That's why I decided to just air out my sentiments here. Also as means to express myself to help me cope emotionally. Not to mention that it's easier to vent out here because of the anonymity. :) If somebody gets to read this, it won't bother me at all since no one knows who I am. :D

scarlet603

I'm more comfortable being treated by a derm who has experienced or is experiencing what I'm going through. Not that I don't trust derms with perfect skin. I'm sure they are just as capable. It's just that it's really hard talking about acne, acne scarring & all the emotions attached to it. It's something so personal that I feel that I can't just talk to anybody about it. I want someone who can empathize not just sympathize. I don't want them to nod, and say they understand coz they've seen a lot of patients like that. It's different when they themselves have gone through with it. They would personally know how it feels so when they nod and offer me advice, I know they truly understand what I am feeling. And I find that the ones that have actually experienced it are more aggressive in their approach. Like the derm I'm going to has problem skin, too. She's still applying topicals to keep her skin clear. She's the one advising me about treatments to try for the scarring. She doesn't do them herself, so she refers me to other derms who do. What I really like about her is that, she only recommends treatments that her doctor friends have tried & have proven to work. Like the derm she referred me to has scarring of her own. She's doing microdermabrasion for the scars. Not the usual setting, her approach is to go deeper to stimulate the production of collagen. My face was raw & bleeding after every session, but I didn't mind because I was really looking forward to seeing the result. I've had 10 sessions with minimal improvements. But, since I was seeing improvements no matter how minimal, I was not at all discouraged to continue with the treatment. Unfortunately, the derm migrated to the US, & the new derm ( she has perfect skin, by the way) who took her place wasn't as aggressive as she was with the treatment. I gave her another chance, but sadly, it really wasn't working at all so I had to give up on that. Then came the derm doing the fraxel. She has scarring of her own as well. I like her a lot coz she's having fraxel done on herself, too. And she's aggressive in her approach. She doesn't rely on just one method. She said with acne scars, it's better to combine it with different treatments. And it's really working for me. I'm just happy to have her as my doctor!

scarlet603

How It All Started

I started having comedones when I was 13. It was not something I took seriously since I wasn't really that conscious about my appearance. It may also be due to the fact that when other teenagers started having breakouts I was still relatively acne-free. My skin has become so oily, & that was the only thing that bothered me big time. The breakouts started when I was 15. My mom took me to a dermatologist then. I was prescribed with benzoyl peroxide 5%. It cleared my acne in no time. So I stopped using it since I feel that I no longer need it. It re-appeared after several months so I went back to the derm, & restarted the benzoyl peroxide regimen again. It became a cycle. I stopped the benzoyl peroxide whenever I'm clear, & restart it again when my acne comes back. I got used to it, I guess. I never took it that seriously coz it always responded to benzoyl peroxide anyway. When I started college, it wasn't as easy treat anymore. It still responded to benzoyl peroxide, but it took longer to see the results. I also started having cystic acne which I did not mind very much since it goes away with the cortisone shots. I also kept on changing derm, and each one seemed to have a somewhat different approach to treating acne. I was prescribed other topicals like tretinoin, isotretinoin gel, etc. But I have never really used anything on a regular basis. Bottom line is, I always stop whenever I'm clear already. It all started to change when I was 23. I've become too lazy to go to the derm and apply the topicals. I kept on procrastinating. When I finally went to the derm again, it was already too late. When my face cleared out, I noticed the presence of scars. Then people started to notice, and began commenting on it. I was painfully shy to begin with so imagine what it did to my self-esteem. From then on, I became very conscious of every cystic acne I get, & the scar it leaves behind when I don't get it treated fast enough. But, as I got older, I noticed that my skin wasn't as resilient as before. It scars more easily, and the pores are just so huge! After which, I felt embarrassed to go out. I stayed home all the time. I refused to see my friends because I don't want them to see what happened to me. I became practically a recluse. I was full of regrets. I kept thinking if only I've been more vigilant. If only I took more care of my skin. If only I didn't stop the meds. I felt dirty and ugly. I just wanted to disappear and never have to face anyone ever again! I wanted to wake up and have clear skin again. I wanted to meet people, date, have fun. But how can I when I couldn't even face myself in the mirror?

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