I am 31 almost 32 years old - pretty much done with my active acne phase - with the occasional premenstrual breakout.
I have been looking for a long time for something to help my acne scarring.
I have boxcar scars on my forehead and ice pick scars on my cheek - and lots of discoloration and skin tone unevenness.
I tried a Levulan/Vbeam laser treatment two years ago, and peeled and healed in less than a week but with little to no improvement.
I decided I was ready bring in the big guns = bigger lasers, more $
I read and read and read all the reviews and before and after photos, there aren't too many out there for just acne scarring alone.
However I was recommended to a great doctor from my medspa that already does my Botox (shhhh)
After an initial consultation - I paid a $650 deposit and purchased the hydraquinone cream I was advised to used for 2 weeks prior to the procedure.
I really had to map out a time whereI knew I could just hide out at home and rest and heal, which is I think one of the struggles with this.
So I decided to do it on a Fri morning - so the majority of the downtime was over the 1st weekend.
I researched this to death so I pretty much knew what to expect.
The day before my procedure the doc called in several meds for me to pick up.
Xanax - for the day of
Norco - for the day of and 5 days after
Keflex- antibiotic 3x a day for 5d
Zovirax - anti viral 2x a day for 5d
You do need someone to drive you because of the meds you will be on.
The morning of I was instructed to take 1 Xanax and 1 Norco about 30 mins before arriving, to get you good and loosed up etc.
I will totally admit - that I take different meds for different things, so I'm not super sensitive to pills.
So I added and extra Xanax of my own - so thats 2 Xanax and 1 Norco - after I arrived they slathered on a topical lidocaine cream and I was just left to relax in a dark room for about an hour.
I was thoroughly looped and couldn't even feel my lips anymore from the cream. lol
The PA (physicians assistant) put my eye shields in for me -all I had to do was "look down" while she help my eye open and lifted my eyelid up to insert them.
I thought this part would be truly terrifying and did not even want to see the shields ahead of time. But in reality, I was so out of it - I barely remember her doing it.
The procedure seemed to go by fast and was not painful - I could feel pressure and some heat - but nothing like the normal snapping of lasers.
She did the Deep FX areas first - and I was surprised when she went over a few areas and spots I didn't even consider that bad or scarred.
Then she went over my entire face and lower jawline with the ActiveFX.
They covered my face in a post procedure balm (think Vaseline) and ice packs for awhile and I rested until I felt like I could walk.
They sent me home with all my aftercare products which were included in the total cost.
HYMED - Gentle Cleanser
Elta MD - Post Procedure Balm
HYMED - Reconstructive Cream
I spent the ride home - about 30 mins reclined in the seat with my icepacks on my face.
The first 2-4 hours it just feels like the WORST sunburn you have ever had.
But it actually didn't look so bad - I'll post my pics, even though they are terribly unflattering - so you can really see what this looks like.
I took another Norco, slathered the post procedure balm on again and just took a really long nap.
I felt swollen and hot and gooey from the balm.
My PA couldn't stress enough to keep reapplying the balm, she said if you think you have enough on, put more on!
It was soothing and the initial hotness went away that night.
I took more photos before bed that first night and it look 10x worse!
So red and some bloody spots where the DeepFX was.
I slept on and off. The Norco helped a lot.
Day 2 -
Woke up feeling a little dry - because the balm does tend to rub off while sleeping (note: try to use your older pillow cases, not your good pretty ones, this stuff is greasy!)
I washed my face for the first time with cool water and the cleanser, it felt ok, then reapplied more and more balm.
I could really see the laser patterns all over my face and could really feel it hardening and crusting - even under the balm.
Its scaly and greasy at the same time.
Def saw a lot of whiteheads and its hard to not want to pop them, but I soon learned after I washed my face the 2-3 times a day, and patted dry the whiteheads went away during the wash/dry cycle.
You cant shower until the 3rd day - so I just felt pretty gross and greasy - the balm at this point is seeping back into my hairline, ewwww.
The day went by pretty well, just took my pain meds as needed, slept on and off - watched a lot of tv/movies.
Felt so good to shower, had to use very tepid lukewarm water, but it felt great to wash my hair and really get a good facewash in.
I could feel some of the skin/scales coming off in the shower and could see some peeling starting to happen.
Pain was minimal - its more just uncomfortable than anything, constantly reapplying the balm, I feel like its everywhere, all over my body, in my hair, on my pillows etc.
Im taking all my other meds and washing 2-3 times a day and reapplying the balm every time I walk past the bathroom!
I ran a small errand in the afternoon and Im sure looked CRAZY, and then had friends stop by that evening - I assured them it looked worse than it felt. lol
Showered in AM - I would say I am 80% peeled by now, still need to peel my outer cheeks and hairline and under my chin.
I left the house for most of the day to run errands, felt good to get off the couch! It was pretty sunny in LA that day and there were a few times the heat sort of stung a few areas on my face.
Face is feeling tight and breaking out a bit more, reapplying balm as much as I can - washing 2-3 times a day.
Today is my follow up appt. I am all the way peeled and used the reconstructing cream instead of the balm today.
I can say at this point - I only see significant improvement on my right cheek, which had the worst, deepest scars, so thats good, but I don't see any improvement on my forehead or my chin area.
I am breaking out and just see a lot of redness and raised areas where the DeepFx was applied.
She assured me I was barely in my recovery period and I would see more and more improvement over the next month as the skin really healed, the swelling goes down and the collagen continues to build.
I really hope so, it wasn't awful, or terribly expensive for me, but I was really hoping this would be the thing to work, even if just for 50-60% improvement.
I don't even remember what it was ever like to have smooth, even skin.
Also today I woke up not feeling well and had sore lymph nodes, by the time of my doctors appt they had swollen so much the looked like peanut M&Ms sticking out from my neck.
The PA prescribed another round of Keflex and said it might be stuff draining from my face into my lymph system, or my body reacting to the stress/trauma of lasers.
I'm done with all the meds now - except for the new round of antibiotics.
Tomorrow is one of my best friends bday parties - would be Weds Day 6 - and she advised me not to wear any makeup yet or drink alcohol, so I am sad to be missing the party, but my recovery is more important.
This upcoming weekend, is St Pattys - and I would like to think I could wear make up by Sunday - day 10 but we shall see.
I have a another follow up appt next Weds and hope to see some more improvement.
I'll be sure to keep following up and posting pics of the recovery/progress