Scar Newbie: Where to Start?

Hey, all…

Most of you all know me from the Chatty Shack and Acne General, but I don’t think I’ve ever posted here…

I don’t really have the horrendous breakouts that I used to (occasionally my skin goes a bit nuts, but it’s mainly from eating too many carbs or sweating…!), so I’m thinking I need to move on to the next step: dealing with my scars.

I’ve got all kinds–shallow, deep, ice pick…my chin, under it, and the tops of my cheeks have it the worst. Where should I start? I don’t think I can afford laser treatment, etc. How much does microdermabrasion cost?

I also have some red marks from cysts that have come and gone (and occasionally come back again). What’s a good fade cream that won’t put me in the poor house?

I realised long a go that I would never have smooth, perfect skin, but I can at least make it look a bit healthier. I was on acne meds for so long that once I finished my second course of accutane about 8 or 9 years ago, I just stopped being so agressive and just used OTC products. Now that I’m getting a bit long in the tooth, I think I need to start looking at moisturisers–maybe…? I just am not sure where to start–feel like a babe in the woods here!!

Can someone point me in the right direction? It’s so frustrating–I’m still dealing with acne, and now I have to worry about wrinkles. Bloody *^%*& h*ll!!

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?


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17 thoughts on “Scar Newbie: Where to Start?

  1. 😀 Yorkie,
    That’s a pip of a Mark Twain saying that you’ve got as your signature!

    O.K. you’ve come to the right place to get some info on getting rid of scars!

    In the states, micros are a bit pricey for both the treatments that don’t do much and also for the treatments that do a lot.

    Here in Calif. the price varies from $75 to $150 a pop!

    There are different types of micro being offered, and it is often hard for a person to know which type of microdermabrasion is being offered unless they know what to ask for. One question you have to ask is does the person doing the work have any experience in dealing with removing scars?

    Usually the micros offered in a ‘beauty salon’ will NOT be the heavy-duty treatments that remove scars. Microdermabrasion machines vary in price a great deal, and the more powerful ones that a doctor will purchase for his office cost in the 20K range while the lighter weight machines that small salons purchase can cost way under 10K.

    It normally takes around 12 to 13 treatments before you see a permanent, considerable change in your skin when you have a lot of scars to remove. I have had around 20 of these treatments. Some doctor’s offices will want to space your treatments over 2 week intervals. The last place I went to get micros did them every week, and this was much better because the goal was to smooth the skin not just ‘refresh’ it. Aggressive treatments that are frequent are very important with this type of treatment.

    The better places will throw in a facial along with the treatment and you will leave the salon/doctor’s office with your skin feeling silky NOT itchy. The first place that I got micros from the person did nothing for my skin afterwards and I felt real itchy for about a day and a half.

    Microdermabrasions stimulate collagen to grow from the bottom up much faster than it was growing before.

    You can put on some makeup after the treatments.

    Sometimes, especially if the treatments are aggressive enough, your skin will be pink afterwards, and will stay pink for several hours.

    It is a good idea to do some glycolic at home in conjunction with these treatments. You will need a good moisturizer because you skin will get dry because it will be continually ‘new skin.’

    After 20 treatments I got about a 50% improvement in most scars with some very shallow ones disappearing. I am sure it could have been a bit better if I had done glycolic back then but I did not know how glycolic worked at that point in time.

    There is no down time. I know if I did not run out of money, and kept on with the treatments my skin would just continue to improve. This is a very safe way to slowly remove scars.

    Have you considered using Retin-A or Retin-A micro gel or one of the synthetic retinoic acid products to get rid of scars? They work by increasing the speed that the top layer of skin is flaked off of the face.

    This is a normal process that goes on all the time but the retinoic acids make the process happen MUCH FASTER! Retinoic Acid makes collagen reproduce under the skin much faster than it had been before you started using the product. Retin-A cream is a slow treatment that cost around $40 a tube, for one of the generic brands, in the U.S. A tube lasts from 1 month all the way up to 3 months depending on how much you apply and how often you apply the product. It is possible that you have to avoid getting pregnant when you are using Retin-A. If you still break out easy you may not be able to use the cream form, and would have to use the gel form.

    I wrote a piece on Retin-A that I am moving over to this board. It defines mostly WHAT Retin-A is. There are some good links to info on the products that are available.

    There are salicylic peels that can be done at home.
    I could give you the phone number for a place where I have obtained this product, in the Midwestern U.S., at a very reasonable price. I believe I paid around $35 for a one ounce bottle that came in a kit that included a pre-wash, and a toner to be used before the peel. I have found it best to use the finger to apply this type of acid so there is NO splashing.

    The first time you do a salicylic peel it stays on your skin around 5 minutes, and you stop the action when you wash your face with a mild washing product and lots of water. Keep the eyes shut real tight. Your finger will peel off afterwards about 3 days later just like your face will peel. You do not want to get any of this stuff near your eyes, and a brush, like some people use, could splash this stuff around near your eyes.

    Once you do one of these salicylic peels you can go out and about. At about the third day AFTER the peel your skin peels off in big flakes. You can do the whole face or just portions of the face. These peels are quite superficial but after doing about 6 of them you will see a difference in the depth of your scars. Since I have been on Retin-A, I have not been doing these peels except to do a spot or two.

    There are always glycolic peels. Glycolic removes the dead flaking skin that is on the surface of the skin. I have read some ‘experts’ say that glycolic actually ‘creates’ dead skin on the surface, and then removes the newly dead skin with the next application. I am not sure of this myself.

    Glycolic peels are super great for reducing breakouts.

    I have done glycolic 3 days after the salicylic and it does work well but o’boy the face is so dry afterwards for several days.

    The glycolic I have is in a runny gel form so it does not dry up very fast. It has to remain moist in order to work on the skin. Before the gel is applied the skin has to be washed with a glycolic cleanser to remove the excess oil and then the ‘blue’ prep lotion is smoothed over the skin. The prep must dry before the glycolic gel is applied to the skin. There is no down time, and the skin is much smoother feeling after one of these peels. It is dry afterward, too! You will need that moisturizer!

    The glycolic gel I use is one I obtained from over the web. It is very effective as I already stated. If you have a cut, and this gel gets into the cut it will sting like heck, and the cut will peel like crazy a couple of days afterward. As long as your skin is not cut or broken you will not have any peeling after a glycolic peel on your face mainly because the glycolic mostly dissolves the dry top layer of skin, and when you wash your face afterwards with a mild washing product and lots of water the dissolved skin will be gone down the drain!

    I personally do not like any lotions that contain glycolic because they dry my skin out too much!

    Here is the disclaimer: Anyone who is on Accutane should not do any peels until at least 6 months after finishing Accutane . Anyone on Retin-A must use caution if they want to use any product that contains glycolic, or salicylic acid or for that matter any product that contains sulfur or any other drying acne medications as this could cause extreme irritation on the skin for some individuals.

  2. Hey Yorkie – can you get to Birmingham on a direct train??? I know this amazing woman who has a medical microdermabrasion machine – she is very, very experienced (around 20 years – she used to be the trainer) and she is charging £225 for 6 x 1 hour treatments – half that if you only need half an hour (which is very, very cheap!!!). She normally recommends people do it once every 10 days – so the skin can heal and she can go quite invasively. The pinkness will last up to a day, but like Solomio said, you can put makeup on staright after. She sometimes applies glycolic and then microderms on top of that.

    I have had some excellent results on treating stretchmarks on my stomach with her (I had already managed to improve these 10 year old stretch marks by around 30% by using strong glycolic and copper peptides.. but the process stopped working there) – I have had 6 microderms on my stomach so far and the results are excellent – I’m booked in for another 6 and that should compelete it I think. At the same time, she also uses a light therapy box to stimulate collagen so there is a double whammy to this treatment. She recommends that people apply oils – Olive/emu etc.. every day to the treated areas and massage in – this helps the healing and also improves elasticity and improves collagen.

    When I am done with Dr Chu in London – with more excision and subcision, I’m going to get her to finish off my scars on my face. I have total faith in her.

    She is not doing beauty salon type work – but she is more like a clinical aesthetician and she’s very spiritual too – all round cool cookie.

    If you saw some of the before and after photos in her office of real life clients – they even have written testimonials, you would be very impressed.

    It’s important to do something that stimulates collagen (microdermabrasion, skin needling, subcision, N-lite etc…) along with something that removes the top layers too (glycolic/lactic/retin-a/mandelic acid etc..)

    With these sorts of treatments, it’s important to use oils that penetrate the skin as moisterisers – jojoba/emu oils are great.

  3. Yorkie,
    You are so lucky! 😮

    Maya’s friend will do right by you so I hope you are able to take adavantage of this situation, and see her for treatments.

  4. Wow, Birmingham is pretty far from me…over 2 hours south. I don’t know if that’s feasible, given that I’d have to make repeat trips. Thanks for the suggestion, though…this is all good information for me.

    I think I’ll start seeing a derm again and see if there’s someplace closer than can help me…there must be something that can be done…


  5. 😀 Yorkie,
    This is priceless!
    Where do you get your stuff?


    Lisa: Do you know what this means, Bart!?

    Bart: The dead have arisen and are voting republican?

    Soooolomio :mrgreen

  6. OMGoodness, Solo, this is so embarassing, but I am a HUGE “Simpsons” fan. In fact, almost every conversation involves some “Simpsons” quote or two. It’s hard to stop, esp. when we’re in the company of someone who doesn’t know the quote reference.

    Recently I started watching the movie “Paton” with George C. Scott. It’s an amazing movie, but parts of it have been utterly ruined for me because “Simpsons” did a sort of take-off on it with an ep called “Bart the General”…it was respectful, not mocking at all, but still, I can’t help laughing at some parts of “Paton” that are deadly serious, and my hubby snickers too.

    Poor Max won’t stand a chance…eek.

    well i am so happy to find this thread and would like to know the ph number or address/website of the place you found the peel kit. Also do you have a particular brand of glycolic peel you use. I would greatly appreciate it. thanks.


  8. Zealous,
    I have bought glycolic at a couple of places…the link I placed below is a good place and their salicylic acid at 80% really does peel in a flaky type way. The salicylic is a watery form that evaporates quite fast…if you decide to order the salicylic then I hope you use your finger to apply it and resist the brush on method because this is a strong acid that you don’t want to accidentally get into your eye.

    The glycolic they carry is in a gel form that stays on the skin where you have placed it. It is best to start with the 30% and use it for at least 6 months and then go on to the 40%. I have been using the 30% for over a year but stopped using it for a couple of months and then started up again. Now I am about to order the 40%, which I will use for at least 6 months before I up the strength again. I don’t use Retin a or Renova the night of the day that I do a peel. This is to avoid any conflict with treatments problems.

    A really good mineral oil FREE cream to use to moisturize your skin after doing glycolic peels, and to use during the cold weather we are having is Lecithin-Aloe Moisture Retention Cream SPF 15 from Rachel Perry. Rachel Perry is a good product line as long as you are not allergic to ‘natural’ type products that contain extracts from flowers and herbs.

  9. Jim,
    Lasers will work if you have multiple treatments; the price ranges from $3000 to $5000 each time…3 to 6 times and each time the face can be red for several months. Most people get sold a ‘bill of goods’ from a plastic surgeon that getting the laser done just one time will remove acne scars…this is done just to get the money for the procedure . Afterwards they are disappointed that the scars are still there just shallower than they were before. It is at this time that a person realizes that they need to do the laser procedure all over again. As far as the doctor is concerned it is just a good way to make a lot of money for little work on the doctor’s part. If something should go wrong the doctor will make the excuse that each person is different, and the doc has no way to know how a person will react to the laser…this will be said even when it is clear that the doc is at fault if something should go wrong.
    Jim, it’s all about the money!

    If a person does excision and gets laser to soften the line scars that are formed from the excision then the laser is quite successful with just one treatment. This is because laser is best used for very shallow line type scars and light wrinkles but does not go deep enough to remove rolling or pit type scars, at least NOT with one treatment.

    IF laser did go deep enough in just one treatment to remove rolling or pit type scars then the skin would lose its ability to product the cells that give the skin its’ color. You just can NOT go too deep into the skin in one laser treatment because the color producing cells will be destroyed and you could end up looking pasty looking like Michael Jackson looks.

    IF doctors would sell multiple laser packages that were much lower in price$$ and removed less skin with each laser procedure THEN after about 5 laser procedures the skin would be rather smooth. With a very thin layer of skin being removed the problem with losing the color producing cells (melanocytes) and the problem with excessive red color after the procedure will be eliminated. Remove less skin and the skin regains its natural color much faster! After each procedure the body would have its collagen producing ability ‘tweaked’ and multiple treatments smoothing the skin and ‘tweaking’ collagen production is what is really needed…BUT…I doubt we will ever see multiple procedure packages being offered because it just makes too much sense!!!

  10. Thanks for the reply. You make some good points. Actually, I had a laser evaluation about a year ago. The doctor did suggest a package deal. I think it was $1500 for six treatments over a year.
    He also said that he could only guarantee a %30 percent improvement. But his assistant seemed more positive about the results. He said the %30 improvement was very conservative.
    Anyway, I never went for the treatment.
    From the little research I’ve done, it seems that laser is more effective overall than dermabrasion.
    But, you guys are better informed than I am.

  11. The doctor did suggest a package deal. I think it was $1500 for six treatments over a year.

    Do you remember exactily what type of laser this package was for? Do you remember who the doctor was? That is a very good price for either invasive or non-invasive laser treatments! Price is so good that I can imagine people traveling to Los Angeles to get treatment instead of getting treated here in Northern California where the price is so inflated!

    People are charged up to $3000 for 5 non-invasive laser treatments here in Silicon Valley, and the average price for 1 invasive laser treatment ranges from $4000 to $5000…but then that is why I refer to this valley as silly.con valley.

    In my previous post I was talking about invasive laser treatments where thin layers of skin are evaporated with the resulting healed tissue also regenerating collagen in the under layers of skin.

  12. I don’t remember what type of laser they used or the doctors name (duh). I’ll give them a call and ask if their laser is invasive or non-invasive. What else should I ask?

  13. Solomio,

    thanks for the link I will check ’em out. Also are you jus using the peels to treat your scars? How long have you been using them and how much of an improvememt have you had.


  14. I am a newbie here and have several questions. I have all types of scars but I really don’t think they are too bad, obviously though they are bad enough to where they really bother me. What should be the first step I take in treating them. I have heard of exision but I’m not too sure about how much that will cost in the long run. I am in college so money is an issue. I am willing to spend up to about $1500 but I really don’t want to have to spend that much if I don’t have to. I would say that I mostly have rolling scars with some pitted ones. I need some opinions other than my derm, he isn’t very helpful. Right now I am on accutane so i know I can’t do anything now but I do want to start planning what I will do.
    have any of you heard of the cool touch laser or anything about how good it works. It is supposed to promote collagen production. I have thought about it as an option.

  15. I highly recommend the Terproline Professional range, available from many skin clinics around the UK

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