You may wonder what an acne facial has to do with bariatric surgery. There is a link between acne, constipation, and hormone imbalance. And constipation and hormone imbalance are linked to obesity and bariatric surgery. So, you may one day find your adult face inexplicably covered in acne, as I did.
Constipation, Hormones and Adult Acne
Among the causes for acne we find constipation. And constipation can be a chronic problem after bariatric surgery for patients using high iron supplementation. Add to that, there is a clear relationship between a hormonal imbalance called “insulin resistance” and acne. Many bariatric patients are insulin resistant owing to obesity, although there is some evidence to suggest that insulin resistance is ameliorated after the surgery.
I broke out some time ago with a horrible case of acne across my lower face. Well, at least it was horrible to me. And the acne would not go away. Long story short, it seems that my acne was a side effect of testosterone, a male reproductive hormone that my ObGyn had prescribed in an attempt to balance my estrogen dominance.
To make matters worse, chronic constipation resulting from the iron supplements necessary after gastric bypass also contributed to my acne. Shannon, an aesthetician at my facial plastic surgeon’s practice Winslow Facial Plastic Surgery, told me there is a link between acne on the lower jaw and problems in the lower gastrointestinal tract. The skin is the largest organ in the body and is a reflection of a person’s general health. Constipation typically increases the buildup of toxins in the body. As a result, the skin has to work harder to eliminate the toxins. This can cause acne. So if you suddenly have an acne breakout like I did, take a look at your diet and whether you suffer from constipation.
First, of course, I discontinued the testosterone. The excessive production of sebum that causes acne is linked to hormonal changes, which is why acne is common in teenagers and women before their periods or who are on hormone therapy. The sebum also causes bacterial overgrowth on the skin.
Acne Facial Treatment
I began a series of acne facials at my facial plastic surgeon’s practice. Dr. Catherine Winslow has a range of aesthetic services available and offers a great line of skin care products. She did my amazing facelift, so I trust Dr. Winslow with everything my face needs. Services and products are available to anyone regardless if you had plastic surgery with Dr. Winslow or not.
Jen another aesthetician in Dr. Winslow’s practice performed a clinical acne facial series to clear up my skin. This is different from a facial that you’d get at a spa or salon. Since I have a dermatologic issue that needs correction it requires a medical-grade acne facial that you would get from a dermatology practice or facial plastic surgery practice or medical spa.
Jen did a thorough consultation with me. We discussed my problem in depth and what I had done to address it to date. Jen listened closely. When I said that oral vitamin C causes me to breakout, she recommended that I stop applying vitamin C serum to my face — a product that is usually great for skin, but its not great for my skin! Jen then prescribed a new skin care regimen and medical acne facial series to get my pimples under control.
I laid back on a comfy table that was blanketed in soft cloths — making it so comfortable that I eventually wanted just to take a nap after my treatment. Jen began my acne facial by softening my skin with steam and a deep cleansing.
Dermaplane for Acne
Next, Jen did a dermaplane treatment. Dermaplaning is a non-invasive, manual method of facial skin exfoliation using a sterile blade. This removes the buildup of dead skin cells that can lead to excess oil, clogged pores, and acne. Jen said there was a lot of “gunk” (my word not her’s) in the deep layers of my skin. Dermaplaning is a gentle treatment and it feels good, so don’t be freaked out because a blade is used. Its just a scalpel.
As we age, the natural regeneration process of new cell growth and sloughing off of dead skin cells slows, which can leave skin looking dull, rough, and dry. Dermaplane treatments exfoliate the epidermis, therefore encouraging the dermis to produce new collagen. As a bonus, it also removes the fine vellus hairs, or peach fuzz, from the face resulting in smooth, fresh-feeling skin. I think outside of doing procedures that have down time, such as my chemical peel by Dr. Winslow in 2014, or certain lasers, that the dergmaplane provides the clearest complexion possible.
Dermaplane is not a permanent procedure but it can last for a good amount of time. I read a description on the internet that claims, “Because this procedure removes up to 3 weeks of dead skin cells that have accumulated, a dermaplane facial will effectively last for up to a month before another procedure may be required. With good at-home maintenance of the skin, however, this time can be prolonged for up to 6 months as long as the dead skin cells are not allowed to accumulate. Many tend to return with the hair returns and dirt and oil begins to collect once again, which is typically 1 to 2 months.”
Acne Extraction — Don’t Do this at Home!
Next Jen did acne extraction. I had lots of tiny pimples and even one blackhead — my first ever! When you pop a pimple yourself, you actually push the infected material deeper into the skin which can lead to worse inflammation and/or scarring. Plus, the chances of you being able to fully remove the blemish without medical tools is near zilch. But the way that an aesthetician does acne extraction will drain the pimple effectively without these risks. Jen used medical grade gloves and sterile instruments. It is, however, a procedure that doesn’t tickle. I mean, it is not entirely awful but there was a point when I felt like Jen was putting her thumb into my temple. But I survived and so will you!
The extraction immediately got rid of the majority of the acne. Jen said she was unable to get everything, and that is not unusual. Several treatments may be required and just how many you need is going to vary depending on how bad your acne is and what you do between treatments to care for your skin.
Completing My Acne Facial
Jen also applied a medicated mask to cleanse and purify my skin using salicylic acid. Salicylic acid helps unclog pores to resolve and prevent lesions. She also applied vitamin serums to heal the skin. Possibly Jen applied topical antibiotics, too, although I am not certain of this.
I believe the acne facial treatment took an hour in addition to the consult. I returned to the office afterwards, but as is common my skin was pigmented where Jen had done the acne extractions. She offered to let me apply makeup that Winslow Facial Plastic Surgery has… I am sure it is good stuff but I wanted to keep my skin in this virgin condition and allow it to heal. Jen said that I might have some mild scabbing and to just to let that fall off naturally.
Jen suggested that I do another acne facial in two weeks.
My Second Acne Facial
Two weeks later, I had my second acne facial with my aesthetician, Jen. Jen repeated most, if not all, that had been done to treat my acne in the previous session. Because some of my acne had cleared up, she was able to add two more treatments: microdermabrasion and a clinical-grade skin peel.
The microdermabrasion and/or skin peel that an aesthetician performs differs from the ones that you can do at home with a kit. The aesthetician treatment goes a bit deeper into the skin using a clinical device for the microdermabrasion or a skin peel sold for professional use only. Even deeper than these treatments would be dermabrasion and/or a chemical peel performed by a plastic surgeon or dermatologist. Read about “My Facial Tuck-Up w/TCA Peel and Lip Aug.”
The microdermabrasion felt like a very gentle sanding disc across my skin that also vacuumed up the dead cells that were removed. My skin was very smooth afterwards, except where I could feel the inflamed bumps where the acne had been. The inflammation calmed down by the next day.
Microdermabrasion is a skin exfoliation procedure that removes the outer layer of skin, leaving the skin softer and brighter. It helps lighten acne scars. Microdermabrasion also improves the results from anti-aging products and skin-bleaching products because it allows these products to penetrate the skin more easily.
The skin peel, or chemical peel, performed by a licensed aesthetician is a “controlled burn” to the skin. It is very important that you use a highly-qualified aesthetician who can mange the skin damage that is necessary to gain improvement from the treatment, and not injure the skin. Peels are used to correct skin irregularities and rejuvenate the skin. I looked a little orange-tinted after the treatment — not as deep as an Oompa Loompa but enough that I would not want to return to the office afterwards. Jen said the discoloration was normal and it subsided rather quickly.
I am scheduled for another acne facial in 4-weeks. Ideally, I would have gotten treatment in 2-weeks but my schedule did not allow for this. When my acne facial treatments are complete, I will post an update of the final results.
In the meantime, please check out, “My Acne Treatment Regimen,” which was developed for me at Winslow Facial Plastic Surgery. Also it may interest you to read about my “Amazing Facelift with Dr. Catherine Winslow.”
Living larger than ever,
My Bariatric Life