INTRAcel for Acne Scarring

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I signed up for a package of Intracel (radio...

I signed up for a package of Intracel (radio frequency with microneedling) treatments to help improve my skin quality and acne scarring. The procedure was sold to me as a no downtime, lunchtime treatment which had virtually no risks and was perfect for my sensitive skin which shows early signs of rosacea. The treatment was not too painful although the numbing cream made my skin very itchy and red before the procedure even started. I was informed this is normal and not too be concerned. The procedure was quick (approximately 20 minutes for the whole face and neck) and only mildly uncomfortable around my mouth and forehead. Aftercare instructions were limited but, I used a cooling mask and cream provided throughout the healing period along with a good spf. I used no active products at all for the first fours weeks despite a mild acne outbreak five days after Intracel.

I was bright red and my skin very warm immediately after the treatment which I was assured would resolve in a few hours and I would be able to resume my normal daily activities the next day. Unfortunately, this was not the case. By the next morning my face was remained very red, with 'stamp' marks from the needles and localised swelling had developed around my eyes. I contacted the clinic to check this was normal and was told to continue applying the cream. It took just over a week of regular icing and anti-inflammatories to reduce the swelling around my eyes and a further two weeks before the redness began to dissipate. The stamp marks took a full six weeks to disappear and, a very mild scar on my chin appears to have deepened in the centre. This is relatively minor given the location (it looks a bit like a oddly placed dimple!) but, this would have been a real issue elsewhere. I expected dry skin but the associated skin sensitivity which left use of Cetaphil a painful experience was extreme and lasted for some weeks.

I must stress I only had one treatment and I do not feel it would be appropriate to judge the effectiveness of this machine based on this. It is made clear that a minimum of three sessions will be required to see reasonable improvement and, as would make sense, I can see very minimal (if any) improvement almost five months afterwards. However, my rating illustrated the effects I experienced following treatment. I fully accept for many people this may be a 'lunch time' procedure with limited, if any downtime. However, for me I had significant issues including swelling and redness for two weeks, skin sensitivity for well over two months and very visible stamp marks for six weeks. I am very aware that any procedure is not without risk. However, I am sharing my experience to illustrate that the assurances given that there will be minimal downtime really depend on the individual patients response and operators approach. I am very sure that I represent the exception rather than the rule. But, for those with sensitive skin please approach with care and make sure you are treated by a Dermatologist or equivalent medical professional who can assess your skin and offer appropriate care before, during and after any procedure. This site has been invaluable to me so I hope this review will be of use to someone.

13 month follow up

I have received some great answers to questions relating to this treatment so, thought I owed a follow up.

I am very happy to report that my skin is now in a much better state. My wonderful Dermatologist has worked with me to reduce the residual redness from the procedure and prescribed skin care to eliminate the remaining track marks. Achieving the delicate balance required to treat my unwanted results without further aggravating my rosacea-prone skin was a challenge. In short, my Dermatologist was very clear that the treatment was simply done too aggressively for my skin producing complications that could have been avoided with a more appropriate approach and aftercare instructions. As regards my new chin dimple, this did improve by about 50% between months 6-9 post procedure and I have largely ignored it since then. The possibility of using a little filler to fully improve the area remains but I am in no rush to do this at all.

All in all, I am very fortunate. This was my first procedure and, despite going to a doctor led clinic, I now fully appreciate the importance of receiving treatment through a Dermatologist, Plastic Surgeon or other equivalent professional. I do not dispute the vast majority of procedures are perfectly straightforward but, in my case, the clinic I originally attended were unable to assist with the post-procedure issues merely instructing me to continue with aftercare which was worsening the condition of my skin.

Once again, my review reflects my experiences following this procedure. I did not complete the course so do not feel qualified to comment on the effective of the treatment in reducing scarring, fine lines etc.
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