Saturday, September 6, 2014

My skin before the breakout

My skin used to be flawless when I was taking birth control pills. I started to see some changes in my skin after I stopped the pills a few years ago. I would get one or two pimples around my mouth every month. (you can see form the photo). Even then I used to complain about that one pimple because It's not perfect. Now I only wish if only my skin could go back to that not so perfect period, I would have been much happier. Looking at photos of my skin only a few days before the incident, I have no idea how it got so bad now.
acne free skin. birth control pills, breakouts
Before

after
That was the day when I realized I'm in deep sh*t. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

My experience with Isolaz and Laser Genesis (still in progress)

After been reading a lot about Isolaz, I decided to give it a try. I know the reviews you find online are mixed but I have nothing to lose at this point. I don't have many choices for me since I wanna get pregnant in a near future. I wanna stay away from Accutane and Differin for now. So I went for a consultation at a medical spa. The nurse told me that I'm a good candidate since I'm taking antibiotics and I have a lot of clogged pores. I will benefit most with having the pores extracted by Isolaz. They also customized my treatment by adding Laser Genesis to the treatment to speed the healing process.

What is Isolaz?
Isolaz is an acne treatment using vacuum suction to suck dirt and clogged pores then zap it with board band light to kill bacteria. It is not a true laser, so It won't burn my dark skin.

What others have to say about Isolaz
- Some people said they see result after 3rd treatment.
- Some people did not see any improvements at all.
- All of them said they look absolutely terrifying after the first treatment.

What is Laser Genesis?
It's uses Yag laser wave but more gentle to the skin. It won't burn my skin since it works deep under the skin surface. It stimulates collagen. It helps with wrinkles and deep acne scars.


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First treatment: Day1 (Isolaz+Laser Genesis)
During the treatment: 
The nurse did a few Isolaz suctions on my cheeks to bring up whatever under the skin. Some of them come right up to the surface, some didn't. Then she do manual extractions on a few of them. The feeling os the suction is actually much stronger than I expected. It hurt quite bad on the big pimples. But in general it's pretty tolerable. They did 100 pulses on each cheeks. Then they do Laser Genesis treatment on my face. It feels like very warm light on my face. It gets too warm on the areas that my pimples just popped. But overall it's not so bad. I think the warming feels nice after all the torture I've been through. When they done, they put treatment gel on my skin to finish it off. I believed it was Glycolic acid and Retinol. Did she say Retinol?! OMG! I didn't know they have to be so hardcore about it. Man lets hope this laser can work by itself but not because of Retinol. Now my face is all inflamed and looks like I got hickies all over my cheeks. The nurse try to send me out telling me that it's normal everyone looks like this after the treatment. I went out bravely through the front door. Yes! front freaking door! This clinic is in a hospital building. They are not like those beauty clinics where they have celebrity backdoor. I went to the waiting room waived at my husband. He looked at my red face and asked me if it was painful. No it wasn't so bad. But I'm not sure if I like the look of it. 

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Day2: 
The red clammed down a little but I still look crazy. If you have sensitive skin like me, prepare to take a few days off from work or school. 
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Day3:
The redness is a little less. By the way the redness is skin bruising from the vacuum suction. It's deep inside the skin. It's not skin burn from laser or anything. This will resolve with time. I'm not too worried about it. But my problem now is a lot of inflamed pimples that just surfaced. I feel like Isolaz vacuum  was quite aggressive on my skin. It's kinda like you try to squeeze clogged pores yourself and failed, leaves the skin inflamed and some of them get infected. I still don't see vast improvement in term of stopping my breakout. But I'll give it a couple more trials.
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Day4:
My face started to peel from Retinol. I do see some of the acne come to a head. I think Isolaz basically speed up the process and bring the clogged pores to a head. I'm not sure if my skin likes that since I scar very easily.
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Day5:
I guess about 90% the bruises on my face have faded away. Skin texture is improved. There's some peeling going on. Dark spots on my face now is mainly pigmentation that came from the trauma of such aggressive suction, pimple extraction and cystic pimple. I still get new pimples coming up. I'm hoping for this to be over already.
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Day:6
Similar to yesterday. I still have some stubborn pimples on my cheeks that won't go away! So annoying!
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Day7:
I think I can officially say that I don't see any more bruising at this point. The peeling from Retinol has completely stopped now. And my skin texture and color has improved quite a bit.  I'm still getting new pimples coming up, especially around the corner of my mouth. That could Isolaz effect that brings closed comedones to a head. I will have another lsolaz again in 2 days. I'm excited! And very hopeful. I really do hope this works.
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Day8:
Same old story...New pimples are still emerging.
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Day9:
Today I will have another Isolaz again. So this is how my face looks when I woke up.

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2nd Isolaz Day9:
I took these photos right after the 2nd Isolaz treatment. I didn't do Laser Genesis today because it would be more effective to wait a couple weeks in between. During the Isolaz treatment they went over the same things, some extractions and followed by Isolaz zaps to kill bacteria. Weird thing is that the suction doesn't feel as powerful or painful as the first time. The nurse said it's at the same setting, but I just don't think it's painful at all. It could be because I don't have as many cystic acne as last time. My face didn't turn out as red as last time either. So my conclusion is the redness that I got last time probably came from Laser Genesis.

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2nd Isolaz Day10:
Today I feel like I'm free of big cystic acne for the first time. The pimples I had before Isolaz seem to dried out today. I'm really excited about the improvement!
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2nd Isolaz Day11:
My skin started to peel again from the Retinol they put on after Isolaz treatment. And my skin is purging again. I don't like this process. The pimples are still coming from the same area. I'm so annoyed!
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2nd Isolaz Day12:
The closed comedones are still pushing through the surface. I think my skin is still purging. But what I notice is my skin texture has improved a lot.

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2nd Isolaz Day13:

I finally get used to the way I look now....I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not. I didn't have acne before and now it has taken over my cheeks. I been seeing myself with patchy skin for awhile. It's not that shocking anymore.
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2nd Isolaz Day14:

My scars look lighten today. And cheeks (where theres no pimples) are softer and smoother.
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2nd Isolaz Day15:

The pimples now pushed out more than yesterday. Some of them turned to a head. I hope they will go away soon.

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2nd Isolaz Day16:
Some of the pimples are still there, some are flattened. I still keep my hope up. Even though I still see new pimples coming up but I started to see a lot of improvement on hyper pigmentation and the skin texture.
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2nd Isolaz Day17:

Today is the very first day that I see my face so much smoother than before. I really think it's improving!
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3rd Isolaz Day18:

I scheduled for my 3rd treatment today and I have to say people at the clinic are impressed with my improvement. The Doctor came down to see my face today because the nurses are talking about how much better I look. The nurse was going to do Laser Genesis today but she noticed that I still have some active pimples, so she decided to do Isolaz instead. Isolaz works well on active acne by killing bacteria. As a result, the pimples are flatten right away. I took this photo after the treatment. I look really red today. I came to conclusion that last time that I didn't turn red maybe the suction setting was different. Plus it was done by a different nurse. I don't mind the redness though because I know it will go away in a few days and I will have better skin afterward.


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3rd Isolaz Day19:

Today the redness is fading a little bit but I still look crazy if you see me in person. I still don't think I'm ready for any social event. My friend came over to visit and got scared by my face. It looks like I'm going to have a few pimples flaring up tomorrow. I can feel it.


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3rd Isolaz Day20:

My skin is less angry, less inflamed. Which is expected from the third day after the treatment. I'm glad that the pimples don't get flare up as bad as the first 2 treatments. My skin looks shiny because I use protective cream on my face. Otherwise it would be peeling and irritating from the Retinol gel they put on my face after Isolaz.


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3rd Isolaz Day21:

My skin is still peeling today. I notice that it peels less than first couple times. It's because I think my skin is feeling a lot more norma and strong. When you have weak skin, for example when you have a lot of active pimples or opened skin, it tends to peel more. When I wash my face and feeling my cheek so much smoother, it's such a pleasure I been missing for a long time.

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3rd Isolaz Day22:

Now I have a few pimples that are pustules. But they are not big cystic or anything. Once those broke off it would heal quickly.

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3rd Isolaz Day23:

Things things started to get better. I think. But the small closed comedone bumps are not improving at all. The photos seem to look better than real life...I just have to wait and see until my next appointment. If everything cleared up, I can get to do Laser Genesis (for the scars).

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3rd Isolaz Day24:

I skip the photo for this day cuz it looks exactly the same as the day before.
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3rd Isolaz Day25:

I'm trying to get a different lighting for the photo today to show the bumps that are popping up on my face. What's wrong with me?! It's so frustrating. I'm starting to lose hope on Isolaz. I also have an appointment today. I wanna ask the nurse if I should try to go back to Differin, since that worked for me in the past.

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4rd Isolaz Day25:

So today is the day I gave up! I went for my treatment and consulted with the nurse. She told me that I should continue with Isolaz and I can use Differin since it's very low dose of Retinol. I should be find. I agree because it looks like it's going to be awhile until this acne cleared out and I can get pregnant.

My face after the treatment is the same. It's quite red but with the scars and the pimples I have going on, It hard to see any different anymore. :(

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4rd Isolaz Day26:

Now that I have done 4 Isolaz. I know the pattern here. The 2nd day after that Isolaz my skin is the smoothest. All the active acne are mostly flatten and the skin feels tight.

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4rd Isolaz Day27:

Some small pimples appears under the jaw lines.

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4rd Isolaz Day28:
My face started to peel a lot today as a result of the Retinol gel after Isolate and Differin. I can see that overall my face is not oily anymore. You can see the texture that its quite matte. It's back to how it was before the breakout.

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4rd Isolaz Day29:

My face continue to dry more. But I don't mind that at all. It's just flaking a little bit with no irritation at all. Unlike Benzoyl which dries my skin and irritates it so much.

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4rd Isolaz Day30:

I really feel a lot of improvement today. When wash my face and run my finger through my face. It's smooth and soft! It feels almost like normal skin. I can say that I no longer have cystic acne on my face. I only have hyper pigmentation and scars that I have to deal with next.

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4rd Isolaz Day31:

My skin now feels smooth. I enjoy washing my face now. It looks much better in person. For some reason all the scars just make this look bumpy. I have another Laser treatment today. I hope I can finally do Laser Genesis.


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4rd Isolaz, 2nd Laser Genesis Day31:
I went for a treatment again today. While the nurse was doing extractions, she mentioned that Differin dries up a lot of clogged pores I have. Most of them came out much easier. Before they were more like pus. Now they are dry. Which is a good improvement. If I don't get any new clogged pores, in the next few weeks my skin would be clear. This is how it looks after Laser Genesis. Quit red but not as bad as Isolaz. The treatment feels nice and warm to the skin. The heat would also kill bacteria.

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4rd Isolaz, 2nd Laser Genesis Day32:
My face doesn't look so good today. There's some scab The nurse went quite aggressive on the extraction and it ripped my skin opened. 

















Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My experience with Iontophoresis Treatment

After I had bad breakouts as teenager (circa 1995). I was left with a lot of deep acne scars and hyper pigmentations. My doctor decided to put me through a series of Iontophoresis Treatment (once a week). For about 1 year. I saw big improvement in every way. My skin was smooth, bright and clear. I didn't have any more hyper pigmentation or indentation. I'm very thankful for it. I don't see any place offer this treatment anymore. I'm not sure if it's because it require several treatments. Or it's an old technology. But it worked well and has no side effect. I think it's better than laser in my opinion.

Iontophoresis is a process using a low electrical current to create ion field to drive vitamins or medication through the skin surface. Each treatment lasts about 30 mins and it's painless.
My experience with Iontophoresis Treatment acne scars
photo via estheticamd

Accutane and Differin, the combo that saved my teenage life!

Years ago (in 1995) when I was still a teenager I had really bad hormonal acne. My doctor have tried many things on my skin from prescription antibiotics, Benzoyl, Salicylic acid, AHA, Sulfur...etc. Nothing worked on my skin. Finally she decided that the only way to stop my acne was to take Accutane. I was unsure at first because the medication was quite expensive and my parents was quite alarmed by the side effects they have read. But I have to say that was the best acne solution ever! After 3 months, I could see that my face gotten so much better. My friends actually noticed that I no longer have pimples on my face. At the same time I was also prescribed Differin gel. The combination made my face very dry. My scalp was flaky, my skin was flaky, my lips were always peeling. It went on for 6 months. Until my doctor decided that I would be ok to ease off from the dosage and finally stop all the meds altogether. I was graceful. My skin was acne free(for many years). I would say this is the combo that saved my teenage life. Nothing else worked on my skin.

After that my doctor put me through a course of Iontophoresis to get rid of the acne scars.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Chinese herbal supplement that worked for me

A few years ago, I had minor breakout when I stopped birth control pill. My friend recommended me this herb which I absolutely love. It worked really well. But it's no over night miracle. It took me 4 months to see a result. But this time around I'm trying to get pregnant so I wasn't sure if I could take this supplement. I have contacted them and they told me that I shouldn't take it. But if any of you (who isn't trying to get pregnant) wanna give it a try. I highly recommend this herb. It really worked for me. The herbal formula created by Dr. Merry Li in San Fransico. It's made in the US. So it's quite legit.
chinese herbal supplement for acne
Acneed Chinese herbal supplement available here

List of ingredient: 
Gypsum 
Rehmannia unprocessed root
Salvia root & rhizome Red peony root 
Moutan root bark 
Scute root 
Gardenia fruit 
Lonicera flower bud 
Forsythia fruit 
Anemarrhena rhizome 
Dandelion whole plant 
Houttuynia 
Lycium bark 
Platycodon root

These ingredients help to eliminate toxic substances in the bloodstream, strengthen liver function, balance the hormones, and nourish the damaged skin caused by acne or rosacea.


Products responsible for my acne breakout

These 2 products came highly on top of my cross off list. I found out that after using these I started to have bumps all over my face and quickly escalated to big painful cystic acne. Neutrogena shampoo broke me out badly 7 years ago. These 2 has the same Ingredients in common which are Methylparaben and Propylparaben. They are common preservatives in a lot of cosmetics and shampoo. These are popular products with a lot of good reviews. But for some reason my skin don't react well to them at all. 
Neutrogena Shampoo - Clean Replenishing Moisturizing allergic reaction. the worst acne breakout in my life
Neutrogena Shampoo - Clean Replenishing Moisturizing

Ingredients: Water, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamide MEA, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Olealkonium Chloride, Panthenol, Dimethicone Bisamino Hydroxypropyl Copolyol, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Benzophenone-4, Phenoxyethanol, BHT, Citric Acid, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Yellow 6, Red 40, Violet 2, Fragrance.


Philosophy Purity Made Simple One-step Facial cleanser bad allergic reaction. acne breakout. the worst in my life
Philosophy Purity Made Simple One-step Facial cleanser

Ingredients: Water, Sodium Lauroamphoacetate, Sodium Trideceth Sulfate, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Coco-Glucoside, Coconut Alcohol, Peg-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Aniba Rosaeodora (Rosewood) Wood Oil, Geranium Maculatum Oil, Guaiac (Guaiacum Officinale) Extract, Cymbopogon Martini Oil, Rosa Damascena Extract, Amyris Balsamifera Bark Oil, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Oil, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Oil, Cinnamomum Cassia Leaf Oil, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil, Piper Nigrum (Pepper) Seed Extract, Polysorbate 20, Glycerin, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Yellow 5 (Ci 19140).



Saturday, August 16, 2014

first visit to a dermatologist

The first dermatologist appointment I can get is 4 weeks after my skin broke. It's a little too late but this is the earliest appointment I can get from any dermatologist around here.

acne breakouts, clogged pores, asian skin, hyper pigmentation, closed comedo, whiteheads
I got some steroid injections on the big cysts on this side of my cheeks. And they resolved well in a couple days. My lesson learned. I previously got injection from a doctor at medical spa. Not only it was super expensive ($200), but it didn't work at all. So if you have a serious acne, you need to see someone who deal with acne a lot. 

I got prescription of minocyclin 100mg, Fninacea gel, Sulfur face wash. I will do a review on these next week. I have to put pregnancy on hold while I'm using these medications. The doctor said I do not have any other choice. Or else I can just leave the acne alone and get pregnant. I can't really do that since my skin scar very easy. I would rather stop the breakout before it done too much damage than to spend a lot of money fixing the scars later.