Now that I have been off Accutane for almost 7 months, my journey continues to “reverse” the effects acne has had on my skin. After deciding to take Accutane (read how I made that choice in this post), and going through what ended up being an almost 8-month process (read the update sharing my first 3 months after Accutane here), I am ready to start tackling the pock marks I am left with on my chin and jaw lines from having cystic acne for nearly half my life.
Please note, I am including unedited photos from my appointment/experience along with recovery photos. If you are squeamish and prefer not to see blood, this post may not be for you.
During my final follow-up post-Accutane appointment, my dermatologist told me my skin looked healthy and recovered enough to conquer the acne scars left on my face if I was interested in doing something about them. Living without acne has been amazing, but I do notice the scars, especially on the sides of my face and around the corners of my mouth (noticeable especially when I smile and talk). He recommended I try microneedling, so I set up a complimentary consultation for June 5th with an in-house licensed medical esthetician. And, because she was already booked most of June, I went ahead and scheduled the actual appointment for the 7th.
My Microneedling Consultation
The biggest points I wanted to make going in to my consultation was to let my esthetician know:
A. I am just about to the 7 month post-Accutane mark
B. There are specific areas on my face where I am left with the most scarring and feel unhappy with
C. I am definitely nervous but excited about the process and outcome of microneedling.
She listened so well to all of my points, answered my questions and addressed my concerns, then went in to what the procedure is like. She told me what microneedling is, how the microneedling appointment typically goes, how she has worked on post-Accutane patients, and then proceeded to show me her own client before & after photos. By the end of my appointment I was very excited to go back and get it done!
My Microneedling Appointment
I had my appointment at 8:30 on Thursdaymorning, June 5th and it lasted about 2 hours. I figured doing the procedure right away in the morning would give me time to be home and heal before the weekend. When I arrived with a clean, makeup-free face, my esthetician gave me an FAQ sheet to read over, had me fill out a consent form, then asked if I had further question or concerns. We took some before pictures (YAY!) and she put a generous amount of numbing cream all over my face and on the parts of my jaw/neck that also had scarring. Then, she left the room so I could relax in privacy until the cream had done it’s job.
(I brought in a book and my water, and enjoyed relaxing on the little bed with a provided blanket for the next 45 minutes while the cream numbed my face. I noticed a lot of tingling, even my lips went numb -I guess because the cream was close by.)
My Microneedling Experience
When my esthetician came back, she began the procedure by wiping off my right cheek, adding gel, and starting the microneedling devise on that side of my face section by section. She wiped the numbing cream off just a little at a time so it wouldn’t wear off during the microneedling (since everyone metabolizes it differently). I could tell she was focusing on the areas that I had shared concern over and that she had noticed were scarred the worst as she continued with other sections of my face (especially the corners of mouth/chin and jawline). As she went along to the different parts of my face/neck, I did feel some discomfort but nothing unmanageable. The most tender areas were around my eye/cheek & jaw bones, and the bones in my forehead. Immediately afterwards, there was blood all over my face (PHOTO 1), but it gets wiped off with a damp gauze right after the procedure is finished. (I decided to go ahead and take a picture – she said almost every client she has had wants a photo of that part!)
Immediately after my esthetician wiped my face “clean,” it felt hot and like I had a bad sunburn (which is how most people have described the experience) (PHOTO 2). After I got home, my face continued to feel hot and tight throughout the evening. I was able to wash my face with a gentle cleanser before bed and also gently applied face lotion. (PHOTO 3) I had no discomfort and slept just fine.
ALL PHOTOS ABOVE ARE MAKEUP FREE AND HAVE NOT BEEN EDITED [My skin is naturally freckled]
Around 8:30 the next morning (Friday), the redness subsided a little bit. (PHOTO 4) I cleansed my skin gently, and also applied my face lotion. I could’ve worn makeup if I wanted to, but I didn’t feel the need to do that, and just wanted to let my skin breath.
On Saturday, my face was only blotchy in some areas, and mostly very dry all over. (PHOTO 5) My skin did start to flake, which is just dead skin and cell turnover. It can last up to 5 days. My esthetician recommended plenty of lotion and water intake, especially for the first 10 days of healing. I ended up putting makeup on Saturday night to go to a BBQ at a friend’s house. Sunday my face was the same as Saturday.
By Monday afternoon, my skin still felt quite dry, and I just kept using lotion often, but it’s looking about back to normal! (PHOTO 6) I’m just dealing with flaking at this point. By day 7, my skin should start looking refreshed and more radiant. My esthetician suggested that I take up to 3,000 mg of Vitamin C a day to protect collagen and slow down it’s depletion, and also use SPF 50 every day generously for the next 3 weeks (and really, SPF every day regardless).
Obviously, it’s only been 5 days at this point. My skin has almost finished flaking, and my coloring is getting back to normal. My esthetician told me I can expect to see changes occur in 1 to 6 months, withmonth 4 showing full results. She said everyone differs on whether they will want another treatment after that, because everyone’s scars are different, and skin/collagen reacts differently to the healing process.
Here are the two face products I am using that my esthetician approved for this process:
I plan to post my before and after photos in month 4 when I get them from my esthetician! I am so excited to see the benefits from microneedling! Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions I might be able to answer or didn’t answer in this post (or my previous ones). You can find me on Instagram, or leave a comment here and I will do my best to get back to you.
Thanks for reading and following along!
*My microneedling was not sponsored by my dermatologist or esthetician. I wrote this post to share my own personal story and experience. It is the route I have chosen to go to help with scarring, but may not be right for everyone.