I Tried This Treatment to Make My Acne Scars Less Visible—and I'm Thrilled With the Results
I’ve always struggled with acne. I vividly remember being in the fourth grade and a classmate placing scotch tape on my nose (she was clearly inspired by Biore strips) and then ripping it off. She was excited about all the blackheads she was able to remove. I was beyond mortified to the point where this still has an imprint on me 10 years later.
As I went through middle school, high school, and then college, acne followed me. I tried many treatments. I used every retinol product and acne formula on the market at the time. I went on and off Accutane. I once visited a specialist who gave me a THC chemical peel, which is basically like putting acid on your face and hoping that after your skin heals you're left with beautiful smooth skin.
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These methods all worked briefly; for short periods of time, I would have really great skin. It was only when I went back on Accutane in college that my acne finally cleared. But I was still left with scars.
This is how I ended up in the Manhattan office of Roy Geronemus, MD, a dermatologist at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York. Dr. Geronemus offers something known as the Infini treatment. Infini is similar to microneedling, a technique that uses little pins to break down the skin to create new collagen. New collagen production means new skin and no scars.
Dr. Geronemus explained to me that acne scars are all at different depths. Microneedling alone wouldn't treat all the scars, he said, since some scars go deeper into the skin than others. But Infini uses radiofrequency technology to help eradicate scars of all depths via a combination of heat and little needles.
"Radiofrequency adds a thermal effect," Dr. Geronemus tells Health. "The heat is delivered at different depths in the skin, which creates new collagen and elastin." That in turn leads to improved texture, skin tightening, and reduced visibility of scars, he adds.
Heat and needles make this procedure sound horrible. But I gave the treatment a try. First my face was heavily numbed with a topical numbing cream, and that, in addition to painkiller shots, made the procedure pain-free. I asked the nurse how it would feel without all the numbing and she said the pain would be intolerable.
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The Infini procedure itself took about 15 minutes, and there's no downtime—you're in and done just like that. My face did look blistered for a week after that initial session. (Dr. Geronemus tells Health that this isn't a typical reaction). And I had strange tracking marks all over my cheeks, which took two weeks to heal.
But after my second session, my face was back to normal in five days. Once your skin gets acclimated to the procedure, the time it takes for your skin to recover from it is shortened.
While Infini is pricy—about $1,000 per session—I found it to be worth it because the results are remarkable. See for yourself by looking at my before and after pictures, taken after just one visit. The technique is also supposed to help with lifting a sagging neck or getting rid of wrinkles. I’m already signed up for my third session.