Cystic Acne for a Recent Breakout - Sarnia, ON

I have had a horrible breakout for 3+ weeks. My...

I have had a horrible breakout for 3+ weeks. My doctor wanted to put me on medication but I would like to avoid this.
I visited my dermatologist and both experts in the office suggested the levulan with blue light therapy. They let me try the blue light on it's own and this helped with the redness and cleared up about 1/3 of my acne. However, it was not long lasting. I would have to do the blue light at least 3x a week until it all cleared and then maybe once a week afterwards to maintain. So I decided to try the levulan treatment.

Day 1
My face was cleaned with acetone. 1 levulan stick was applied, focusing on the areas where my breakout was the worst. My incubation period was 4 hours. So I left the office and went back to work for a couple hours and ran some errands. After about hour 3 I started feeling some light tingling and I was red around my nose and between my nose and lip. This area is my most sensitive area and I never breakout around my lips so I would avoid this area if I repeat the treatment.
I went back in to sit under the blue light for 18 minutes. They gave me a fan to blow on my face and without this I would not have been able to stand the heat. Instantly, my sensitive areas were burning. It was extremely hot, indescribable even, but the fan made it easier to manage. I made it 17 minutes and 30 seconds before I had to move away from the light.
They let me sit with the fan blowing on my face for as long as I needed. They brought me a glass of water to help as well. I blew the fan on my face for 10 minutes, slowly turning it down every couple of minutes so I would get used to the heat before leaving.
I was extremely red but they ensured me it looked great and that is how I was supposed to look. They sent me away with an ice cube for my sensitive lips. My husband drove me home which was nice so I could just focus on my face.
I did take two Advil prior to treatment and I'm glad I did.
About two hours after treatment, the pain subsided and I just felt tingling for the rest of the evening. I was extremely sensitive to light. Even my eyes.
I slept great the first night. I took another Advil before bed.

Day 2
I woke up with a very uncomfortable forehead. It was burning and felt like a horrible sunburn. I didn't take any Advil today. I gently pressed a cold face cloth on my face and used the cream provided. The cream application was painful on my forehead and itchy on the areas of my cystic acne.
The pain went away around 2pm and the rest of the day was fair. I started getting blisters and whiteheads on my t zone around 4pm. By bed time my forehead down to my chin was covered in whiteheads which were draining puss.

Day 3
I did not sleep well. It was a weird feeling to describe. Tightness, itchy, and minor tingling. I turned the heat down in the house because I was very hot, applied a cool facecloth and took 2 Advil. This helped me sleep until about 6am. Woke up feeling pretty bad. I felt very swollen, tight, itchy. The areas that are draining are so tight and odd feeling. I have a lot of white heads and small blisters. All in the areas where I don't have any cystic acne. My cystic acne is nice and crusty and dry feeling. The worst part is the area starting from my chin to my forehead where there are whiteheads and puss. I applied the cream and this made my face extremely itchy. I took one Benadryl and one Advil. This helped a lot and some of the swelling went down.
I was confident by day 3 I would have little discomfort and feel tight skin, however, this is very different. I am hoping my results are fabulous. I am not regretful, just hoping for fabulous results. I will update throughout the week and add pictures as the days go on.

Day 4

Today the skin around my mouth is one big scab. It is very tight. Not too painful, although I am still taking 1 benedryl with 1 Advil every 4-6 hours.
I am very pleased with how the rest of my face looks. It is just uncomfortable. The rest of my skin is a deep red now which is just my skin healing.

Day 5
Today the skin is still scabbed around my mouth. But is now starting to slough off. I had a shower to soften the scabs and lightly rinsed my face. This felt so nice as I was able to eat breakfast. As soon as the skin dried, the scabs tightened and again my mouth will barely open. The cystic acne is very dry and I'm assuming will fall off within the next few days.
Wow this is quite the process.  It looks better in the day 4 pictures, but still painful.   How are you doing now?
Reply
Hey, I am doing much better, thank you. Starting yesterday, day 6 was my first good day! Today is even better. I will do an update right now. Thanks for reading!
Reply

Day 6

Today is the first day I am starting to feel normal again. I am able to move my mouth more freely so can talk normally. The skin is starting to slowly flake off but very raw and pink skin lies underneath. I am wondering if I will peel twice.

Day 7
Today even more skin is peeling off. The old skin that hasn't peeled yet looks like leather and is quite leathery feeling. Weird. I have a couple of breakout acne coming up on the fresh skin. I am hoping this is part of the process. I am hoping by Monday I can at least cover up my face with makeup as I have to go back to work. The place I got it done did mention that some people heal quick, while others are slow healers. Some may take 5 days, others may take 15. I am guessing I am a slow healer considering.
I can still see cystic acne on my chin so I am hoping by the end of next week it is cleared up. The fresh skin underneath what is peeling does look very smooth and nice but it is still pink. So I will not be able to really see results for another week, I assume.
I am glad I can see the light. The first 5 days were rough and worse than I expected which is why I wrote this review.
A lot of other reviews mention day 1 and 2 as tough which weren't too painful for me. It was day 3,4,5 that were the worst for me.

I will update next week. I assume from here on out, I will just continue to peel so I will update with my final review once I can see my results!
So glad to hear you are feeling better.  Hang in there..
Reply

4 weeks post treatment

I am still unsure my feelings on this procedure. I am actually still healing. I still have red skin..you can see the red around my eyes still and if I go outside I turn extremely red. This is so unlike my skin before. I honestly, didn't realize it would take this long to heal. I do have sensitive skin but I would think 4 weeks later, I would be better. My acne has definitely improved but it is still here. It isn't as cystic and painful as before, but very red still. The nice thing about it now is I am able to cover it up better because they aren't massive cystic raised bumps. I don't feel comfortable without makeup on..even if I didn't have acne left because of how red I still am.
I am hopeful my skin will return to its natural pigment within 6 weeks.

I would suggest a minimum of 10 days off of work for those with sensitive skin. I was swollen for 2 weeks after the procedure. They say swelling is rare but my entire face was blown up, down to my neck and including my lips.
For those without sensitive skin, I recommend this procedure!!
Dr. Kucerova

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
Was this review helpful? 1 other found this helpful