*This blog post is in partnership with Modern Dermatology.
Hi Friends! If you’ve been following along with Style Inherited for some time now then you might remember that I did a blog post about Modern Dermatology right at the start of my partnership with them (find that post here). I can’t believe that was already over four months ago! Over these past four months, I’ve visited Modern Dermatology a total of four times for laser treatments specifically tailored to combat my acne scarring. Today, I’m talking all about my struggle with acne and my struggle with finding the right dermatologist, and I’ll be answering all of your questions about my laser treatments (like whether they worked or not!).
My struggle with acne started a little over eight years ago when I was in high school. Unlike most of my friends at the time, who would get a couple of pimples, I continuously had cystic acne along my jaw line and on my chin and forehead. I couldn’t stand how I looked with all those bumps and red spots on my face, but worse than that, the cystic acne really hurt!
After trying any and every drugstore acne line I finally made an appointment with my first dermatologist. Long story short, I’ve visited more than a few dermatologists over these last eight years and I’m not sure how to say this nicely, but not all dermatologists are equal. Because my experiences were so disappointing with the four dermatologists I trusted to help me cure my acne (nothing they ever prescribed me made a difference), I ended up writing dermatologists off altogether for a while. That was, until I finally stumbled across Modern Dermatology on–wait for it–Instagram!!
After spending some time on Modern Dermatology’s website, researching Dr. Klein and Dr. Robinson (the two awesome dermatologists who created this practice), I knew I was ready to step back into a dermatologist’s office, this time not for curing my acne, but rather treating my acne scarring. I should mention the fact that by the time I had my first appointment at Modern Dermatology, my acne had finally gone away almost completely, but I was left with a face covered in acne scars.
Unfortunately, my struggle with acne didn’t end after I got my acne under control. Even though I was waking up every morning with a “clear complexion,” I was still looking into the mirror and unhappy with my reflection. My skin had divots and bumps, red marks and brown marks, small dots and big dots. I just couldn’t see past them. Back in high school I dreamed of the day when I wouldn’t have to wear makeup when leaving my house; what I didn’t realize was that day was still pretty far away thanks to the acne scarring on my face.
Fast forward to my first appointment with Dr. Klein at Modern Dermatology: the consultation. I felt very comfortable with Dr. Klein, but most of all, I felt like she actually heard what I was saying. Previous to this consult, I always felt like the other dermatologists knew what they were going to say to me before walking in the room, before hearing my story, before even seeing my face. This wasn’t like that! After discussing a few options, Dr. Klein described to me a series of PicoSure and V-Beam laser treatments that would help reduce my acne scarring.
Side note: Modern Dermatology is a very high-tech office space. They’ve invested in the leading technology and are always educating themselves about the latest and greatest treatments out there. The PicoSure Laser is the perfect example of this!
The PicoSure Laser is one of the latest pieces of technology in dermatology and after being treated with it three times, I can tell you I’m a huge fan! How it works: the laser uses picosecond technology to create selective injuries under the skin and stimulate collagen and elastin (the building blocks of our skin) without damaging the skin’s surface. Thus, new, healthy skin cells form to fill in sunken scars, while also shattering stubborn pigment to reduce acne scars, fine lines, and reduce pigmentation. The end result is smoother skin with less downtime.
The reason why the PicoSure laser is my favorite is because in my opinion there is no pain involved! When I arrive at Modern Dermatology for my laser treatments, I always have the PicoSure treatment done first. Jen, a Medical Assistant at Modern Dermatology (she’s awesome!), applies numbing cream to my face and then I wait 30 minutes before Dr. Klein does the laser treatment. By that time my face is nice and numb, and the PicoSure laser just feels like a tingling sensation on my skin. My PicoSure treatments typically last around 10-15 minutes. While Dr. Klein preforms the laser treatment, someone else in the room (usually Jen) holds a hose near my face providing a steady stream of cool air. After the treatment I rest for a couple minutes with ice packs on my face before moving onto the next laser: the Vbeam.
The Vbeam laser treatments target blood vessels and aim to reduce redness associated with scars, while also stimulating collagen (whereas the Pico is more targeted at filling in the craters). Both the PicoSure and Vbeam lasers aren’t considered to have any downtime, which is perfect for anyone with a busy schedule! The Vbeam laser does hurt a little bit, but come on people, no pain no gain! The sensation you’ll feel during a Vbeam laser treatment is like a rubber band snapped against your skin. To distract you from that sensation, Jen can ice roll your face while Dr. Klein uses the laser. This really helps! (They also have ProNox – aka laughing gas – available if you need something to really help you take the edge off!). Read more about ProNox here!
I should mention how everyone’s results will vary as will the way your skin reacts to the treatment and he severity of your scarring will determine how many (and what kind of) treatments you will need. After my PicoSure and Vbeam laser treatments (done in the same office visit in that order) I would walk out of Modern Dermatology with my face looking and feeling quite normal.
My redness usually develops once I get home from Modern Dermatology and goes away within a day. If you follow along with me on Instagram stories then you’ve probably seen me post-treatment and know what I’m talking about. For those of you who are unfamiliar, my redness has never stopped me from continuing on with my day after my laser treatments. Dr. Klein reassured me that I’m allowed to wear makeup after my treatments if needed, but I usually just go the day without it. The only time I experienced swelling in addition to the redness was with my last set of laser treatments, as Dr. Klein increased the intensity of the laser treatments from what I’d previously experienced.
YES! I have to insert a quick little story here that really says it all. A few months ago, after my second laser treatment I was down in Virginia visiting one of my best friends from college, Catie. She is one of the most honest people I know and she never sugar-coats anything. The first time she saw me without makeup on she right away noticed a difference with my skin. I believe her exact words were, “woah, Helen, your skin actually does look really good!”
If you’re considering getting laser treatments done to improve your acne scarring, I think it’s important to have the right mindset. First off, you need to be realistic in your expectations. Are the acne scars going to go away after one laser treatment? Probably not, especially if you have severe acne scarring like I do. It’s going to take more than a few laser treatments to see significant improvement.
It has actually been pretty cool to run into people I don’t see very often. When I’m not wearing makeup, they usually do notice a difference with how my skin looks! Just the other day I ran into someone I hadn’t seen in a month or two and she right away said to me how great my skin looked! Remember that you are your harshest critic and you also look at yourself in the mirror every single day (most likely multiple times a day), which might make it more difficult for you to notice a difference right away. My acne scarring isn’t completely gone, but it has improved tremendously. To remind myself just how far I’ve come I’ll pull up pictures of myself from prior to starting these treatments and when I do, I really notice a huge difference!
Ever since I started dealing with acne, I’ve always dreamed of being able to walk out of my house without makeup on. Now that my acne is gone and now that my acne scarring has improved, I am finally starting to feel more comfortable with my skin. Modern Dermatology and Dr. Klein have given me something that no one else could, and thanks to them I’ve started loving my skin again. I never thought I’d be saying that!
If you have any further questions about these laser treatments, about Modern Dermatology, or about my experience specifically, please ask away! I’m more than happy to answer any of your questions!