The routine that saved my skin


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May 01, 2018

Very informative post. Thank you for sharing all of your experience so far! I'm very curious about your TCA treatments. Have you noticed that your scars improve from the chemical peels or do you feel you need to do more of them to see results? Also, how long did you leave the 15 percent TCA solution on your skin? How many layers did you do each time?
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May 01, 2018

BTW...the vivace treatment looks very interesting. I read about it in Allure magazine this past week. Will have to find the article again. Do you notice that the microneedling and the simultaneous radio frequencies break up scar tissue and trigger the formation of healthy tissue in between or does it shrink the diameter of the scar? I can imagine the scar possibly tightening it's edges as it keeps on being damaged and having to compensate by producing more collagen for healing. I wonder if scar tissue can be fragmented into smaller chunks where it's less obvious. Particularly the flat white scar tissue which lies like flat platelets in between skin layers.
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May 01, 2018

Hi Serene! I loved those peelings, they gave my skin that initial boost of healthy skin that I needed. And for some reason, recovering from peelings unwires my brain too... I manage to let my skin heal and keep my hands completely off for the first 4 days, which was the pause my skin needed and the peace for my mind that helped me snap out from the compulsion. Sometimes those 4 days only really do the magic my skin needs! I say 4 because I do tend to peel off some deade skin and exfoliate mildly as to accelerate the post phase. I know we shouldn’t, but it is difficult for me not to. Anyway, I only do it so carefully that it has not been a problem ever. It helped a LOT the pigmentation and texture overall. Shallow scars also improved. I think though for the deeper scars, there are other treatments that help more the collagen inducing, which is why I started the dermarolling at home and eventually upgraded to vivace - which I loved. It is a very slow process, but I am getting more and more compliments for my skin... As for tca 15%, I arrived at 15 minutes max., with 3 layers +-. In some areas I went for an extra layer. My skin felt stronger and less reactive to it after 2 months (when I did 4-5 peelings on my own), so I did my last 2 (20-30%) at the dermatologist a month or so ago, since it was still cold and there was not much sun out. With the higher percentage, 5 minutes and one layer was enough to achieve the same level of peeling I was doing at home, yet I noticed I flaked a bit in sheets on some areas as well then. I bought the 20% ad will use it again next winter... my doctor here keeps telling me that I still have some acne left and tca is not the best (she insists on glycolic and other stuff)... but I tell her that nowadays I mind less the acne, but get more bothered on the texture (scars), because I can hide everything else with some make up when needed. Scars are a bummer. But yes, improvements are gradual, but the key is consistency - I included in my routine the vivace now (ok to do during summertime), and it is addicting. I even enjoy the mild pain (lol)... becaise it feels like an investment!! :)
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May 01, 2018

To answer the questions: “Do you notice that the microneedling and the simultaneous radio frequencies break up scar tissue and trigger the formation of healthy tissue in between or does it shrink the diameter of the scar?” - yes, it does. It creates controlled damage, with 0 downtime, and your skin after only a couple of days glows and feels tight/plumped. The actual longterm effects can be seen after 1-2 months. I feel like it helps to even out the surface slowly, but effectively. I used some filler on the deeper ones I had and my doctor with the needle did some mild subcision on those, which were good too... from some distance and pictures, the overall picture is aready much better... so I will continue doing this and check again results in a year or so. I became also more patient and less hudging of myself... with time. So I can wait, and having improvements help me also during the process. “I wonder if scar tissue can be fragmented into smaller chunks where it's less obvious. Particularly the flat white scar tissue which lies like flat platelets in between skin layers.” Not sure I understood this, can you explain it better? What I did notice is that the led lights vivace has also KILL bacteria... so to me, it is even better than laser...! All in one procedure :):). I have also done this past 6 months one mild laser deep co2 (not sure on the specs of this) and one session of fotona 4d (good for skin tightening and overall texture). Everything helps, but the real difference had been achieved with tca/vivace.
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May 02, 2018

So I found the info on microneedling with radio frequency. It says that these treatments poke tiny holes in the skin to promote healing, which will help you shed the abnormal scars. At the same time, a radio frequency laser heats underneath the skin to build up regular collagen and tighten the scars. There is no risk of triggering hyperpigmentation. They also use these treatments for stretch mark removal. Interesting, because the white scars I mentioned look similar to stretch marks in that they lack normal pigment. For stretch marks they use Intracel and Intensif and 2 to 4 treatments can produce improvement of 60 percent. In the next post I include a link with an example of the white type of acne scars I'm talking about. On this lady they are very apparent because she has tanned her skin. Just scroll down to the last photo on the link.
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May 02, 2018

http://www.regionalderm.com/Regional_Derm/files/acne_scars.html
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May 02, 2018

I purchased a glycolic peel..30 percent which is a mild starting dose. I have not tried it yet. Also got a lactic peel.... have not tried that one either. Lactic acid is the best for pigmentation issues. Which TCA brand did u purchase the 20%? Also the VI peel is really good. I got it done at a dermatologist and it was very effective.
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May 02, 2018

Are you using retinol in between treatments or does your dermatologist not advise it due to possible skin sensitivity?
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May 02, 2018

This is a great post. It is exactly how I feel... it was a long ride, and the more I focused on new things/activities and the more I took good care of my skin (both things simultaneously), the less I felt the need to pick and the better my skin became... fot both the skincare products and less destructing picking (I managed somehow to invert the cycle). The routine is really important as I need a smooth skin that will not make my brain crazy to pick it... and providing little time for countless hours in the bathroom, I gave it enough time to start healing. Before, I would not engaged in anything since my mood was hopes were so low that I did not feel like going out. My days were long and all I thought about was how bad my skin looked... so the beginning is the hardest, I forced myself to be out, to think and try new habits/hobbies that would fulfill my mind and make myself feel worthy again. All the peelings and procedures also make you think of it as an “investment” (time and money) not worth ruining. TCA and microneedling (vivace) are not so expensive, and can be alternate every 15 days. This was also crucial as, like I said, it really helps clearing the skin and gives you a push towards that peace of mind. Now I look at my skin and the thought is “it looks so blemish free, I will NOT ruin it” as opposed to “it looks so awful, I might as well just pick it and relieve this urge”. I feel more confident, people tell me my skin look better. It was very slow and gradual, I still don’t feel 100% cured but it is ok. It took me these many months to post again on this website. I also learned so much from it, that I wanted to share my experience, hoping it can help people - it is possible to slowly train yourself to be different. It is not easy, but it can and will work if you are consistent and determined. I did as said create new mecanisms (competing responses) that are not healthy either (picking my toenails, chest and back). But these areas don’t provide the same level of pleasure my face did anyway (not sure why...), so I just did/do it when trying to take the focus away from my face. So now my chest looks a bit ugly (some scars and pigmentation, but nothing too serious)... I will take my time to help it heal as well... it seems anyway less complicated. I believe that creating a meticulous routine is key... for people with ocd, even better :). We love “steps”. I forbade myself to use any bathrooms with strong lighting and keep a safe distance - always - from the mirror. When a big painful zit comes to the surface... there is still a 50% chance I won’t be able to ignore it. But... they are now occasional. Within a month of my routine I was already noticing the difference - that toner p50 really accelerated the process (I am now using it on my back and chest and they are both better as well). Another good point you mentioned is our perception. I guess checking out people’s “digitally enhanced” picture on social media can make us think that good skin has no pores, no blemishes, no wrinkles... and feel insecure. I started to watch some people whose skin looked so great more closely... and noticed this was an illusion. We tend to check on our skin on such a detailed level that we miss the whole point... and anyway we’re not our skin! Skin is just skin. Difficult to see things like this when my skin looked really really bad. But now that it looks better (not flawless, but better), I am starting not to care so much and not to focus too much on its flaws. With make-up, when I need it, I can I create the illusion of even better skin... I use the porefessional balm from Benefit to make my pores look small (it really works), use some nice foundation to even out the tone... and really, everything is just perception. I focus instead gon exercising, being fit, and my new/old hobbies and activities that I started to do on a regular basis (as to create a new healthy routine), with a full time schedule OUTSIDE my apartment, hence no time to check on my skin. But religiously, I clean it... never skipping one single day... with all those products I mentioned and also, avoid foundation/heavy make-up on a daily basis. You were already a step ahead, you’re younger, and have already your sucess story with the nail biting, so your skin - if not yet - is next on your list :). I am on a good phase, have had many (millions...) setbacks on the way, but everytime I picked, I forgave myself, and started back again, and again. It is really a learning process and an addiction, and by the time you realize it is so destructive, so much harm has been done, and the guilt is hard to cope with. But this community made me feel normal, and all these notes and feedback - yours specially - made me connect and keep it up. My husband and family played an important part, no more jokes and judging are allowed anymore. Everyone finally gets it - me in the first place. My sister opened up and told me she actually had the exact problem for years (so genetic...) - so close, so far... I thought she did not have it!! She also said she managed to beat it only after her first daughter was born, as she had a “new focus” and very little time for herself. Sometimes all we need are very big “distractions” to point you in the right direction. Anyway... happy to hear from you! Happy you think this post helped.
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May 02, 2018

Hi again! Now I see what you mean about white scars... I have some close to the jawline, but with some make up they are easy to hide, so they do not bother me much. I am not using retinols - at all - since I am now trying to get pregnant... bummer. Many things I should not use :-(. The tca 20% I bought (have not used it yet) is from PerfectImage. Now there is already too much sun, so I am afraid I might have hypergimentation... just relying on vivace lately...!
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May 02, 2018

(Sorry - posted the long text above on the weong thread :):))
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May 03, 2018

The white scars are formed due to very dense collagen fibers which also lack melanin, and therefore cannot create pigment. The thicker and deeper they are, the whiter they appear. I have some which were caused by repetitive picking at the same wound, which delayed healing. In the past I had issues with picking at healing wounds. I felt the need to cleanse them out and re-start the healing process. Kind of crazy and delusional thinking..... unreasonable thought processes seem to be the norm amongst skin pickers! I have been able to get rid of these scars by doing regular heavy peels. The acid would soften the scar tissue to a point where if for example I popped a pimple which formed over the scar, the scar tissue would detach from the healthy skin in a few days and I would peel it off. Once softened, this scar tissue is not able to heal properly. That is why it simply atrophies and detaches by itself. That was the only way I could get rid of them permanently. But today I tried something sort of new on one of these white scars. I needled the scar without damaging the surrounding skin, and then used a q tip dipped in TCA and applied it with some pressure for five minutes. I wonder if the TCA will damage the scar to the point where I can peel it off. This is an experiment, but a few months back I had a semi-healed picked spot over which I did a peel and the acid penetrated the scar tissue, which turned red and I was able to peel off the scar in a few days. So that was just an unexpected positive result. I tried to recreate that same process this time around. So I'll need maybe five days to see what happens. Usually the positive sign is when the scar turns red and does not heal. Then when you get tweezers, you can literally lift the scar off and peel it off. As soon as this foreign body of tissue is gone, the skin tightens up and heals normally in one day. Why I hate these scars so much....they are a reminder of my pain. The terrible moments I have had and the emotional pain I felt. So when I see them, I experience similar feelings and a lot of guilt/regret.
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May 03, 2018

Also scar tissue delayes healing, which is the most irritating aspect. Even for very minor picked spots, the healing is easily extended. The body treats scars as foreign tissue due to the uneven, dense, placement of collagen. Have any of your treatments helped to improve the white scars on your chin? Btw, I heard some dermatologists mention that chemical peels can give results which are on par or even better than results from a laser.
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May 04, 2018

The thing you did with the needle and tca is the cross method, right? Makes sense. Thanks for the white scar class :). You know so much! You should start an informative blog... it would be a success...! And yes, both peelings and vivace have improved my white scars, to a point thay they bothered me a little and now not at all. But they were never really an issue to me... I get bothered by the atrophic ones (wholes).
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May 04, 2018

Btw: I had problems with picking at healing scars too. Usually stressful phases with not so bad acne that I made up a reason to pick. I had a feeling something was forming inside the scab (sometimes I did remove fibers/fat/cists or whatever they were from inside those poor scabs), and in fact it is how my deepest scars formed (latest years... I’d say the increasing lack of collagen made them worse)
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May 04, 2018

The process of the scar detaching like a foreign body was not easy for me to understand. Is this info available online somewhere I can read about? It sounds groundbreaking...! You’re a source of skin information. Do you work in the medical area? If not... you should...!! :)
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May 05, 2018

I have tried to search online for this phenomenon that I experienced, being able to permanently get rid of the white scars....but I have been unable to find any info. Derms say that the white scars are the most difficult to get rid of. I'll see if I will be able to recreate it this time around. I used a threading needled cleaned with rubbing alcohol and gently poked holes in the scar. Then applied TCA until the area was fully frosted and white. In the past I did some heavy peeling...so maybe it was just my scars softening to such an extent for this method to work. I'll see this time around. It's difficult to understand....when it first happened to me I was confused and didn't even understand that what I was removing was scar tissue. But I learned that upon healing, the white scar would not be there anymore...it would be perfect even toned skin in the healed spot. I just stumbled upon that method by coinsidence...in the beginning it would even sort of freak me out. Until I understood what was happening. The scar, upon damage, would soften and dislodge from the healthy skin around it. Similar to how you peel off skin after a chemical peel...except scar tissue is dense, thick, and rubbery in texture. So I knew it wasn't skin and not a scab because it's white/cream in color and pliable. Have you seen how scars look under the skin? If you watch dermabrasion videos, you will see. I'll have to find a video to show you. They basically shave them off with the device. But the scars stand out distinctly from the healthy tissue. Again,wish I could find something about this process online, but have not been able to find any information. Using my own skin as a guinea pig for now. I am a bit reluctant to do the heavy peels again...it would take me a full week just to peel. We are talking 7 days....then another week for the skin to normalize. So two weeks for the entire process. A big hassle but very effective results... just too much hassle as of now.
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May 05, 2018

Here is a link of dermasanding, a form of dermabrasion. You can see how the scar tissue looks whiter than the surrounding skin and has a thicker consistency. This is what they sand down. The scar in the video is quite large and therefore easily visible. The consistency of my white scars is the same, except mine are small in diameter. What I did this time around is not TCA cross method. TCA cross is when they apply a very high percentage of TCA directly on an indented scar in order to make it rise up. My scars are flat, it's just that they are whiter than the surrounding skin. I poked small holes in a scar in order for the TCA to penetrate and soften the scar tissue in order to try and detach it from the surrounding skin. I used 15% TCA until the area fully frosted. The goal is to permanently remove the scar...but it has to soften to a great extent for the method to work. Again, it's an experiment. Since I have been doing only occasional light peels, my scars might not be pliable enough for this to work. I'm just trying to see if I can remove these scars without having to resort to the heavy peeling with the two week healing process.
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May 05, 2018

https://youtu.be/flDS293ODzQ