Hi all! My name is Cassandra; I am one of the Medical Assistants here at the Cosmetic Enhancement Center of New England in Portland, Maine. Today I want to talk about my experience with acne. I never had acne has a teenager, but in recent years I have struggled with adult acne. As soon as I gave birth to my son my hormones went into overdrive and my face was covered in breakouts. One day I was sitting at home when my son, who was three at the time, came up to me and was just staring at my face. When I asked him what he was doing, I was a bit taken aback when he asked “Mommy, why do you have red bumps all over your face?” Ugh.
I tried everything to get rid of my acne! Over the counter acne treatment products would just dry my face out to the point that my body would over compensate by producing too much oil, causing me to break out even more. Certain skin care lines would work for a bit and then the acne would come back. I was spending all this money on all of these acne products that promised to clear up my skin, but nothing would work. I figured if all these different skin care products weren’t working then it must be something else I was doing. So, I tried switching my makeup and when that didn’t work I switched my birth control to combat it at a hormonal level. I was feeling like I was out of options and was doomed to have pimply pubescent skin for the rest of my life!
Then Dr. Atkins, CEC’s Medical Director, attended a laser conference where all the great minds in the field come together to talk about the latest and greatest technologies procedures in the cosmetic industry and she came back with an answer for my skin dilemma; Photo Dynamic Therapy (PDT)! Photo Dynamic Therapy is a two- step process. The first step is applying a medication called Levulan® Kerastick® (aminolevulinic acid HCI), which targets and destroys specific cells, to the entire face focusing on problem areas. The Levulan® is left on the skin anywhere from 1 ½ -3 hours. After this “incubation”, which allows the medication to penetrate the skin, you then sit under a red light to activate the Levulan. The procedure itself was pretty uncomfortable and I had about 3 weeks of ‘downtime’, during which time my skin turned red and looked as if I had a sun burn, it got extremely flakey, and then pustules, that look like whiteheads, formed. I made people uncomfortable when I went out in public and no one would dare make eye contact with me! But it was all totally worth it!
Now, a year later, my skin has never looked better and I’m pretty close to breakout free! I have a pretty simple skin care regimen to maintain my clear skin. In the morning I wash my face with Obagi Foaming Gel, apply Obagi Toner, a salicylic acne gel by GM Collin and Pro Therapy MD Ultra-Light Day Lotion with SPF 30. At night I use the Foaming gel, the toner, Retin A, and Pro Therapy MD Advanced Ultra-Rich Night Repair. It sounds like a lot, but once you get into the swing of things it’s not so bad, and really, it’s all worth it!
While, unfortunately, there is no cure for acne, that doesn’t mean that there is no hope for having clear skin! CEC ‘s physicians and medical aesthetician have thoughtfully put together an Acne Management Program which offers a broad range of treatment options and skin care products to treat acne for people of all ages. If you are struggling with acne, I highly recommend coming in for a consultation with one of our physicians who will work with you to develop a treatment plan specifically for you!