I sought out a doctor to give me a Fraxel Re:pair for acne scarring. I found a doctor who would do the Re:pair, but wanted to treat my existing acne with a series of PDTs before doing the Fraxel Re:pair. I was ill-informed at the time, and it annoyed me to no end she wouldn't give me what I wanted, so I turned her down for well over a year.
Well, sheepishly I went back to her again, but this time I listened to her (and her assistant) more intently. I DID need to get the acne under control before getting the Re:pair or I'd be wasting more money that I already had doing everything under the Sun to attempt to fix my acne scars. I was told I would probably be cured with one treatment. I was scared but went through with it anyway.
I've been on doxycycline forever, but I was told to start on Valtrex and various vitamin/homeopathic supplements (vitamin C, bromelain, and arnica montana) a week before the procedure, and purchase distilled water, gauze, Aquaphor, and vinegar for after the procedure. I was informed how the acne bacteria would be killed as my sebum glands were destroyed. I was impressed at their attention to detail and wound care instructions. I'd never received this type of information before. I was told to stay out of the sun for two days afterward and to wear sunscreen religiously...even indoors.
I was given a prescription for Valium and hydrocodone to calm me and for pain. I also took some Xanax I already had. The day of the procedure, I had pre-op photos taken, the ALA was applied, and I was placed in a small room for the ALA to incubate. Another woman going through the same procedure was in the room with me. The ALA stung a little and I was told to expect that. The entire procedure was relaxing although the drugs helped. :) I followed all instructions to a T. I used vinegar washes and Aquaphor (I can't stand the feeling of Aquaphor, though!). I stayed indoors and used SkinMedica sunscreen (purchased from my doctor...GOOD stuff).
Off-topic...SkinMedica sunscreen has been the ONLY subscreen that has not clogged my pores. Anyway, the swelling wasn't TOO bad, the whiteheads weren't as extreme as what I had imagined, but itching was unbearable as my skin healed! I admit I did remove some of the big pieces of dead flaking skin myself. I did develop a larger zit on my lower cheek that resulted in a new scar, though. Yay. :( Post-op photos were taken when I returned for my follow up a week later. The same lady I sat in the room with was there and her skin was a LOT different. I had completely stopped peeling and my skin had pretty much returned to its normal state although it was still slightly pink. I'd stopped wearing Aquaphor although I wasn't supposed to.
The woman who had the procedure the same day I did was still peeling a lot, although she stated she had a lot of sun damage and I've always tried to keep my face pale and safe from the sun even though I DO tan. My skin felt a little tighter and my pores were smaller. The keloid scar I had on my jaw from a previous Fraxel Re:store burn had flattened some, too.
My oil production had decreased although my chin and forehead were shiny by the end of the day and the slight crow's feet wrinkles around my eyes (I'm 31, after all) were greatly reduced. Everything was great for about a week or two. I don't know if it's just my body chemistry, the amount of stress in my life, what job I have, or what, but the oiliness returned and so did the acne. I returned to the doctor to have TWO more PDTs which, as you know, aren't cheap. The second one I had I had a slight microderm, IPL, light Fraxel (Re:store, I think), injection into the keloid, plus the actual PDT. I had a LOT more whiteheads the second time, but again the oil and acne returned. The third time I went, the doctor did a little stronger Fraxel plus a red AND blue light treatment. In my drug-induced stupor, I asked the doctor would I be one of the "lucky ones" that this wouldn't cure and would I need to have routine maintenance. Unfortunately she said yes.
So here I am. I still break out, I still scar, and I'm still oily. I was referred to a dermatologist by my general physician when I questioned her about my skin troubles. This dermatologist has upped my doxy and got me back on spirolactone, which I haven't been on in years. I bought a Clarisonic from the doctor who did the PDTs, and I'm still waging war on my acne. I hope and pray I'll get it under control so that I can get the Fraxel Re:pair that I so desperately want.