24 Years Old, Severe Hormonal Acne - Fresno, CA

This treatment is not for the faint of heart as it...

This treatment is not for the faint of heart as it is extremely costly (even with Kaiser Permanente insurance), extremely painful, takes down time, and lots of patience. But I feel my results were worth every penny, and ounce of pain and patience.

My skin type/problems: Oily, sensitive, enlarged pores, severe hyperpigmentation, mild pocking, cystic hormonal acne on jawline and chin, average acne on entire face.

My acne story: Through my teens, I had what I would call average/normal acne. When I reached my twenties my acne worsened, and when I reached 22-23 my acne was unbearable. It consumed my life and all of my money. Any of you who have struggled like I have, know what I am talking about. My acne was deep and cystic along my jawline and chin, it hurt physically and emotionally. Eventually, I started to develop scarring and severe hyperpigmentation too. No amount of makeup could cover it up, and I spent thousands on products to help before I finally went to a derm. I had severe hormonal acne due to contraceptive changes years prior. My body never recovered and years later I'm still working with holistic doctors to get it balanced out.

My derm tried me on antibiotics, Retin-A and many other topical ointments. None worked. He felt PDT and Levulan might be a solution. I started these treatments approximately 3-4 months before my wedding and had 4 treatments total. The nurse would clean my face with a wipe and acetone, and then applied the Levulan and I had to sit in the waiting room for and hour with it on. I would then be called back where they would put me under the light for 17 minutes. Then she would wipe off the treatment with water and apply a sunscreen liberally, and I would leave in a wide brimmed hat. We repeated this process every time.

There was no discomfort until they turned the light on. I would describe it as intense burning and pain, and it was most intense half way though the 17 minutes. When you come into contact with sunlight after, it activates the burning sensation again. The second day is the worst as far as pain goes. Slather on moisturizer and sunscreen and a hat, and stay indoors if possible. Aleve and ice packs help a lot too. If you come into contact with even indirect light, it will burn horribly, so stay out of the sun at all costs. Your face will be tight, swollen and puffy, possibly oozing, crackly and lobster red. This is normal. Day 3 and 4 is when the skin started to crack and peel. and I also had some white heads come to the surface. Day 5 was full of lots of flaking and peeling. Plan on not going to work if possible, no makeup, and no picking! By day 6 my face was smooth, however I had some puffiness and discoloration from the burn, again, this is normal and will go away. I would say a week and a half after treatment, is when my face would be back to normal. After one treatment in particular, I took longer to recover because I had some severe cracking and painful oozing because I had a different-than-usual nurse who scrubbed my skin too hard with the acetone. This caused a more painful and severe reaction. I would also say that with every treatment, it got less painful and things healed faster.

I saw no improvement after 1 treatment, my Dr. advised me of this. After the second treatment I saw some improvement. Less acne, some of my scarring was going away, my skin was tighter and refined, with less oil production.

After my third treatment, my skin was nearly perfect. Myself, the Dr. and the nurses couldn't believe it! They decided to do a fourth treatment so that my skin would be perfect for my wedding. After the fourth, I had no acne, most of my scarring was gone, pores were smaller, balanced oil production. It truly was a miracle treatment for me.

I finished the last treatment in May 2015, it is now December 2015 (I'm 24) and I still have outstanding results. I will get the occasional break out when I'm PMSing or not eating well. But it is not cystic and clears up fairly quickly. I also use Retin-A .05% or.1% to maintain my results.

I have read a lot of negative reviews on this treatment (even on this page) and realize that everyone reacts differently and not all will be cured with this treatment. However, I feel like a lot of the negative that people describe are normal side effects that do go away. I think doctors maybe misinform patients or there is a lack of information. I also think maybe treatment is executed improperly. And as mentioned earlier, patience is also key. You will not see results after 1-2 treatments, all 3 or more treatments need to be completed (which should take close to 3 months.) I think with proper execution of treatment, correct information given to patients of what to expect, and patience; people would be happier. Again, I know everyone is different and reacts differently, I just think there would be a higher success percentile.

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
1 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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