I broke out some time ago with a horrible case of...
I broke out some time ago with a horrible case of acne across my lower face. Just horrible! It would not go away. Long story short, it seems that it was caused by the prescription testosterone that I had been on for a year or so from my ObGyn. I tried many different things to clear up my acne and nothing worked. Nothing. At my wit's end, I turned to Dr. Catherine Winslow for help. She is my facial plastic surgeon and a darn good doctor!
Dr. Winslow has a range of aesthetic services in addition to facial plastic surgery procedures. The aesthetic services are available regardless if you had facial plastic surgery with her or not. She also offers a great line of skin care products. Recently, I had a clinical facial at Dr. Winslow's practice with her aesthetician Jen.
At WFPS, Jen did a thorough consultation with me. We discussed my problem in depth, what I had done to address it to date, and then her recommendation for treatment. Then Jen performed a clinical facial to clear up my skin. This is different from a pampering facial that you'd get at a salon or day spa. Because I have a dermatological issue that needs correction this requires a medical grade facial that you would get from a dermatology practice or facial plastic surgery practice or medical spa. I highly recommend if you are having acne problems that you get a consult with a medical professional for a therapeutic medical-grade facial. My skin is clearing up after just one treatment and nothing else worked for me!
First, of course, I discontinued the testosterone. The excessive production of sebum, which causes acne, is linked to hormonal changes, which is why acne is common in teenagers and women before their periods or who are on hormone therapy. The sebum also causes bacterial overgrowth on the skin.
Acne photos and facial #1
Jen did a thorough consultation with me. We discussed my problem in depth and what I had done to address it to date. Jen listened closely. When I said that oral vitamin C causes me to breakout, she recommended that I stop applying vitamin C serum to my face — a product that is usually great for skin, but its not great for my skin! Jen then prescribed a new skin care regimen and medical acne facial series to get my pimples under control.
I laid back on a comfy table that was blanketed in soft cloths — making it so comfortable that I eventually wanted just to take a nap after my treatment. Jen began my acne facial by softening my skin with steam and a deep cleansing.
Next, Jen did a dermaplane treatment. Dermaplaning is a non-invasive, manual method of facial skin exfoliation using a sterile blade. Dermaplaning is a gentle treatment and it feels good, so don’t be freaked out because a blade is used. Its just a scalpel. Jen said there was a lot of “gunk” (my word not her’s) in the deep layers of my skin. I think outside of doing procedures that have down time, such as my chemical peel by Dr. Winslow in 2014, or certain lasers, that the dergmaplane provides the clearest complexion possible.
Next Jen did acne extraction. I had lots of tiny pimples and even one blackhead — my first ever! The extraction immediately got rid of the majority of the acne. It is, however, a procedure that doesn’t tickle. Jen said she was unable to get everything, and that is not unusual. Several treatments may be required and just how many you need is going to vary depending on how bad your acne is and what you do between treatments to care for your skin.
Jen also applied a medicated mask to cleanse and purify my skin using salicylic acid. Salicylic acid helps unclog pores to resolve and prevent lesions. She also applied vitamin serums to heal the skin. Possibly Jen applied topical antibiotics, too, although I am not certain of this.
I believe the acne facial treatment took an hour in addition to the consult. Jen suggested that I do another medical facial in two weeks.
My Skin Care Regimen and Products
Jen discussed a skin care regimen and products that were appropriate for me. I was happy to follow her expert advice rather than be left on my own. I was able to buy the products right at Winslow Facial Plastic Surgery, which I found very convenient and the prices were the same as what I'd pay elsewhere.
What follows is my skin care regimen:
I remove the first layer of makeup with a facial cleansing cloth. A good product that I have found for removing eye liner and mascara is SEN'S EYES by Make Up For Ever available only at Sephora.
Jen recommended that I clean my skin with the CLEANSING COMPLEX by iS Clinical. iS Clinical products are only available through a physician's practice or online retailer. Beware of online retailers who claim to sell iS Clinical products as they are fakes! Be sure to find an iS Clinical Authorized Retailer on the iS Clinical website. According to iS Clinical, the CLEANSING COMPLEX is "...clear, lightweight cleansing gel is powerful, yet gentle enough for hypersensitive skin."
Jen told me to apply ACNE GEL by PCA Skin onto my clean skin. According to the product website, where you also can order the ACNE GEL, it is "a salicylic acid acne treatment that clears existing blemishes and prevents future breakouts."
Jen recommended that 3 nights per week I do a good facial exfoliation. One product that she recommends is SUGA SUGA WOO WOO by Pristine Beauty. Don't let the silly product name or packaging turn you off to this great product. I love the way that my skin looks and feels after use. According to the product website where you also can buy the product, "This facial polish is an innovative formula for all skin types which exfoliates and hydrates the skin instantly, revealing a softer, smoother and more radiant complexion."
Jen also recommended that I use Dr. Winslow's Nightly Renewal Cream 3 nights per week. This is a .05% Trentinoin Hyaluronic Acid, Kojic Acid that is formulated at Winslow Facial Plastic Surgery.
Review of My Second Acne Facial
Oops, I posted the photos above without my review! Here goes...
Two weeks later, I had my second acne facial with my aesthetician, Jen. Jen repeated most, if not all, that had been done to treat my acne in the previous session. Because some of my acne had cleared up, she was able to add two more treatments: microdermabrasion and a clinical-grade skin peel.
Acne Facial MicrodermabrasionThe microdermabrasion and/or skin peel that an aesthetician performs differs from the ones that you can do at home with a kit. The aesthetician treatment goes a bit deeper into the skin using a clinical device for the microdermabrasion or a skin peel sold for professional use only. Even deeper than these treatments would be dermabrasion and/or a chemical peel performed by a plastic surgeon or dermatologist. I had a TCA peel with Dr. Winslow in 2014. You can read my review by going to my profile page and selecting the appropriate review.
The microdermabrasion felt like a very gentle sanding disc across my skin that also vacuumed up the dead cells that were removed. My skin was very smooth afterwards, except where I could feel the inflamed bumps where the acne had been. The inflammation calmed down by the next day.
Microdermabrasion is a skin exfoliation procedure that removes the outer layer of skin, leaving the skin softer and brighter. It helps lighten acne scars. Microdermabrasion also improves the results from anti-aging products and skin-bleaching products because it allows these products to penetrate the skin more easily.
The skin peel, or chemical peel, performed by a licensed aesthetician is a “controlled burn” to the skin. It is very important that you use a highly-qualified aesthetician who can mange the skin damage that is necessary to gain improvement from the treatment, and not injure the skin. Peels are used to correct skin irregularities and rejuvenate the skin. I looked a little orange-tinted after the treatment — not as deep as an Oompa Loompa but enough that I would not want to return to the office afterwards. Jen said the discoloration was normal and it subsided rather quickly.
I am scheduled for another acne facial in 4-weeks. Ideally, I would have gotten treatment in 2-weeks but my schedule did not allow for this. When my acne facial treatments are complete, I will post an update of the final results.
I recently began working with a very highly qualified nutritionist to heal me at a systemic level for the health conditions I've been facing the past two years. The issue of my acne was discussed, and she recommended I take Acnutrol Capsules as follows: "Take 2 caps breakfast, 1 with lunch and 2 with dinner (optimal dose) We need to build up to this dose very slowly starting off with 1 cap for breakfast and lunch and slowly increasing it by 1 cap every 2 weeks."
I read reviews on Amazon, although I don't recommend buying the product there, and some folks said their doctors wanted to put them on Acutane prescription medication and they'd refused owing to safety concerns. Well, they said this Acnutrol product really helped them. So I hope it will help me, and I hope it will help those of you reading this post. My nutritionist also recommended that I use Acnutrol Gel: "Apply a thin layer on entire face (and acne lesions on other areas of the body) morning and evening." But I skipped that since I am using the products that I purchased form Dr. Winslow's practice (see earlier post).
I ordered Acnutrol from Discount Nutrition wedsite. You can get free shipping and 10% off with code DFH10%.
"Acnutrol capsules are formulated to provide comprehensive support for healthy skin by focusing on the internal healing process and overall skin health. The key ingredients are pantothenic acid and carnitine. Pantothenic acid plays a significant role in maintaining keratinocytes, the predominant cell type in the skin’s epidermis (outermost layer). Research shows that when pantothenic acid is depleted, the production of keratinocytes is suppressed. This vitamin also helps regulate lipid metabolism, and may affect the balance of oils in the skin. The potent anti-inflammatory and immune-supportive nutrient carnitine helps pantothenic acid work more efficiently in lipid metabolism. It is found in cells throughout the body, including skin fibroblasts, and is necessary for cellular repair. Additional skin-supportive nutrients in Acnutrol capsules include zinc, copper, selenium, chromium, niacin, biotin, vitamin B6, and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, & E. Made with non-GMO ingredients."