Like cellulite or hair loss, acne scars are one of those not-easily-treatable, deeply personal issues that can affect ones self-image on a daily basis. I know—I’ve been insecure about a small patch of pock marks on my cheek since middle school. I used to slather Mederma on the spot until my dermatologist revealed that it was for a *different* type of scarring. Face palm. She also told me that there weren’t any fast or effective OTC treatments for acne scars, and that all I could do was wait for them to fade over time. Ahh–the worst answer ever.
But alas, even the passing of time couldn’t get rid of them completely. In my mid-twenties I stopped having breakouts altogether, but those tiny indentations just below the apples of my cheeks remained. In my thirties, my derm finally gave me a potential solution: microneedling with plasma-rich platelets or PRP.
Microneedling uses fine needles to prick the skin; this stimulates extra collagen production, which can help heal scars and reduce the signs of aging such as dark spots and fine lines. Applying plasma-rich platelets to skin during the procedure can make it more effective.
I decided to give it a shot at the holistic Kellman Wellness Center in NYC, founded by a leader in integrative medicine, Raphael Kellman, M.D. They recently added some amazing cosmetic procedures to their menu, including microneedling, with a “beauty from the inside out” approach.
I headed into the clinic to try the procedure, and was immediately met by the uber-knowledgeable Sandra McKenzie, PA. She explained the after care instructions, applied a numbing cream to my face and answered any other questions I had about the procedure. No, I couldn’t work out later that day. Yes, I could go to work after, but I would have some redness. We discussed the benefits of the PRP and then came the hardest part for me: drawing blood. It’s the part of the process that feels least like a cosmetic procedure and most like a dreaded doctors office visit. Once it was over, however, I felt no pain or discomfort with the procedure itself.
She applied numbing cream, and once it kicked in I laid down in a comfortable examining bed while while she prepared the microneedling tool. She explained that the tool works to prick the skin; the trauma prompts the derma, a deeper layer of skin, to rebuild. Thanks to the numbing cream, I didn’t feel anything during the procedure, except for on the jawline. She decreased the length of the needles over my forehead because of the presence of the bone under skin. Since I could feel no pain, I was shocked to see how gory my face looked immediately after. I did experience some bleeding.
Once complete, Sandra used soothing Phaz (pure Hyaluronic acid and zinc) and Dewet (coconut milk moisturizer) products on my face, which greatly improved the appearance. The whole thing took maybe 30 minutes. Soon, she was sending me on my way with a kit of four products for after-care—a gentle cleanser, Phaz, Dewet and a tinted SPF 22 that would be my only makeup for the next five days. Sandra was awesome and the Kellman Center is really cool–I love their inside-out approach to health.
I was a little apprehensive about going into work with such redness, to be honest. In hindsight, I think the best time to book the appointment would have been end of day. I diligently followed the instructions for the rest of the day—applying the Phaz religiously every 3 hours.
The next day I made a rookie mistake and took a SoulCycle class. They do not recommend doing any physical activity that will make you sweat for 12 hours after the procedure, but I had already booked my class and didn’t want to lose the money. (Oh, SoulCycle.) Big mistake. I sweated a ton, as one does in Soul, and as a result my skin was SO much drier during the recovery process. Like, it was peeling off.
My skin did get tighter immediately, though, and by the next evening the redness was gone. Once I got over the dryness, every day my skin looked better and better. I even got compliments a week later. While my acne scars aren’t completely gone—3-4 sessions are recommended for results—I feel so much better when I look in the mirror. Finally, some hope for us scar sufferers!