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A first-hand experience with treatment for cystic acne

cystic acne pure light laser vancouver

Melanie Bauer is a long-time customer at Pure Light Laser Skin and Body Clinic. She first came to Pure Light Laser after suffering from cystic acne for more than ten years. We recently talked with Melanie about her experience  with laser acne treatments for cystic acne at Pure Light Laser.

Question: How long did you suffering from acne and acne scarring?

Melanie: I suffered with acne from the age of 18 until I was 31 years old. Some brief periods were acne-free, but for the most part I had cystic acne on my cheeks and chin.

Question: Is there something that you feel contributed to your acne breakouts?

Melanie: I truly believe that stress was the number one cause of my acne. Systemic stress that came from being financially and emotionally independent from my parents from the age of 17, and the toxic relationships I picked up along the way. It took me many years to develop a positive and stress free environment … but it has been worth it. My inner world was tumultuous and it surfaced on my face … i can say this now looking back. I had no idea how toxic my thinking was and no one could tell me, I had to find out on my own.

Question: How long ago did you get treated and are you acne-free and scar-free today?

Melanie: I first got laser treatment at Pure Light Laser in 2012. My acne wasn’t too bad at that point but the scarring on my face paired with my handful of zits was crippling. I didn’t just have deep ice pick scars but also redness from past acne and scars. I didn’t enjoy going out and I was constantly trying to cover up with makeup. It became a huge focal point in my life.

When I met with Rita, all I wanted was to make it better. After suffering from cystic acne for over a decade I knew my face wouldn’t ever be flawless, but I wanted it to be better. Today, I am acne-free and most of my scars are gone. I still have a few depressions on my cheeks where the acne was severe. I called them my triple-headers (ice pick scars turned to slight depressions). I don’t feel the need to wear makeup anymore as my skin tone has evened out. What’s left of my scars is a testament to my past and a reminder to breathe and stay positive.

Question: What did you do to cure your acne?

Melanie: A few things happened in my life when I went in for my laser treatments at Pure Light Laser. I had just come out of a toxic relationship (I didn’t know it while I was in it), I’d embraced the notion of self love and acceptance, delineated my personal boundaries, challenged them and adjusted accordingly, cut toxic people out of my life and embraced all the positivity that surrounded me. I feel as if the laser treatments were a sort of reset button for the skin on my face. My pores had become so grossly enlarged, the scars, the zits the redness. The laser treatments did what nothing else could at that moment and it reversed a lot of the damage that had been caused from the decade plus I suffered from cystic acne.

Question: Can you describe the process to remove your scars and acne for others that may want to do this? And your recovery time?

Melanie: I tried what seemed like everything to get rid of my acne. When I went to see Rita I was on Retin-A cream for my face and it seemed to be working. My acne severity had reduced but the scars remained and my skin was flaky and red … red in a different way. When I went to see Rita I had already embraced the fact that to help my face it might get worse, just in a (fingers crossed) different way than the bad that was my acne.

Rita informed me to stop with the Retin-A two weeks prior to laser treatment and I obliged … and you should too! The laser treatment was painful, like a hot elastic slapping down on the skin and penetrating down through all layers of my skin. The physical pain was bearable after suffering for so many years. My skin was tender afterwards, my cheeks filled out and it looked like I had a sunburn. I looked in the mirror before walking out of the clinic and it wasn’t that bad. Facials sometimes had me looking worse! I went home, on the bus with my wide brimmed hat, hopeful that this was the solution. I moisturized and did not exfoliate for a week or two … although it was tempting since the day after my initial treatment my skin started to feel like sandpaper. It remained red and like sandpaper for a week afterwards. My powder mineral make up managed to cover up most of the redness. I bought a few wide brimmed hats so as to keep my face from the summer sun and to not compromise my outfits.

My first two treatments were just a couple of months apart and my last two were spaced out over a longer period of time. I had four treatments overall. The worst of it was better after a week and the rest of the recovery was better after the second week. Peanuts compared to the decade plus I had suffered with acne.

Question: How has clearing up your scars and acne changed your life?

Melanie: Being acne-free has freed me. It has freed me from makeup and it has freed me from my house in that I can go out and not have a second thought. Thoughts that used to go something like this: “What will people think of these monstrosities on my face!” … changed to “I should have been brave and not worn makeup.” I am free of the terrible itch and ache that comes with having cystic acne on your face.

I’m forever grateful to be free of the discomforts that acne caused. Good riddance! I no longer think that people look at me and think “Gross!” or “Poor girl” or “What IS she eating?!” With that said, I can eat a chocolate bar in public and not feel like people will judge me because so many people mistakenly think acne is linked to food. I am free to be me. Free from the negativity I spoke of myself. Free from what I thought others thought of me. FREE!

Question: What is the one piece of advice you can give someone who is suffering from acne and scars?

Melanie: My advice to anyone suffering from acne and acne scarring … go see Rita. She wants to help and she will in whatever capacity she can. I followed her advice every step of the way from which cleanser to use, which sunscreen was best and what not to do before and after treatments.

This article was written by Pure Light Laser