There are plenty of myths and old wives’ tales surrounding our skin that I can turn a blind eye to. But what really grinds my gears is the false notion that people suffering from acne will eventually grow out of the condition. While it may be so for some lucky souls, this belief usually does not hold true for the more severe cases. A good case in point would be yours truly, who even at the ripe age of 29, is still battling with cystic and nodular acne, sometimes worse than what I had in my adolescent years.
I know, I know… This is the umpteenth post about my acne and you’re probably sick of reading about my acne encounters already. Plus, haven’t I already found the cure to my skin woes? Don’t get me wrong – the oral prescription and Q-switch treatment worked like a charm and helped my skin revert to the flawless state in my prepubescent days. No kidding, my confidence peaked and I was able to go anywhere without putting on any makeup and still looked great. However, with it comes an undesirable price that no one would be willing to pay – extreme brittleness and dryness in hair (caused by the medication), leading to thinning and baldness.
At first, I didn’t think much of it because bruh, what’s a little hair loss compared to years of terrible skin, right? That was, until I realised that my part had become way wider than normal and I was also leaving traces of my hair everywhere I went (think strands of hair strewn all over the canteen table, work desk, shared spaces, etc – how embarrassing 😞). I was convinced that I was going to be prematurely bald at that rate so I stopped taking the oral medication completely. Within two weeks of the cessation, BAM! The zits came back, this time populating a more extensive area of my face 😭
Dr Ee was naturally shocked to see the state of my face when I turned up for my appointment. He brought up the suggestion of undergoing AGNES but I was hesitant because I remembered stumbling upon an online article (he totally knew which) that refuted the efficacy of the treatment (especially the claim that it would make the skin permanently dry – which I honestly would very much prefer to having unrelenting breakouts). Dr Gerard Ee was quick to denounce the credibility of such sources with solid medical facts (that only very few oil glands are destroyed in proportion to the millions of oil glands located throughout the entire face) and make me feel that I was in good hands. So, I agreed to undergo AGNES right there and then 🙊
But due to the rigorous nature of the treatment, I was advised to embark on it during the school holiday so that I wouldn’t have to deal with rude stares and comments from people I met. I was so glad I heeded his advice because I wasn’t expecting the treatment to be so potent 😱
Topical anaesthetic cream was administered to my face about 20 minutes prior to the treatment. After the slight numbing took effect, I was led into the treatment room where an aesthetician would cleanse and scale my skin. This step involved full-face drainage with the much-dreaded extraction which – I swear to God – wasn’t as excruciating as what I had experienced before (though it still hurt despite the anaesthetic cream). This could possibly also be due to the fact that most of my zits were “ripe” and hence didn’t require the extractor to go too deep into the skin.
Once those nasty gunk were out of the way, the same aesthetician applied a clear, light-blue, semi-cooling gel (or electrode gel) on my face before sticking an adhesive rubber pad (called ground plate or neutral electrode) on my back to enable monopolar radio-frequency current to penetrate the tissue through a tiny microscopic needle that would later be inserted into my skin follicle and sebaceous glands. The needle insertion was performed solely by Dr Ee under microscopic guidance to allow highly accurate targeting of overzealous glands without thermal injury to the skin. Upon each insertion, he would step on a foot switch to emit a pulse of electric current to destroy the identified problematic sebaceous glands.
Some discomfort was definitely felt with each zap (it intensified on the not-so-fleshy parts like the forehead) and I was pretty sure that if I were any less tolerant to pain, I would have been reduced to tears at the end of the treatment. Throughout the whole process, Dr Ee and his assistant (the aesthetician) tried to keep me calm by making small talks, and it also helped that familiar instrumental music was playing in the background to distract myself in between conversations.
My face was noticeably much redder and bumpier than before at the end of the treatment. The little dried blot clots all over my acne-prone areas caused by the continual poking had undoubtedly left me feeling so self-conscious that I wouldn’t go anywhere outside my house without a surgical mask for the next few days.
The hair follicles would be filled with exudate and debris after the treatment so it was imperative for me to return to the clinic the following day to remove them lest they become a source of infection. The post-care treatment includes melting the treated areas (using a bipolar device to deliver a suitable amount of heat to the skin) to facilitate the extraction of sebum and debris. At the same time, it would also prevent scar formation. The follow-up treatment was wholly administered by the aesthetician since it was minimally invasive (save for the extraction process) and it lasted no more than 15 minutes.
Thankfully, those concerned spots (which were now scabs) gradually diminished in size and became less conspicuous over time before finally disappearing without a trace after close to two weeks. During this recovery period (which may vary from one individual to another), I had to stay away from the sun and make-up – something which everyone knew I could never imagine being without.
AGNES certainly brought some inconveniences (imagine having to deal with curious glances and explain repeatedly that you are not ill to those who think otherwise just because you’re wearing a face mask), so much so that it had made me wonder for a split second if I had made a mistake in agreeing to go ahead with the treatment. But seeing how my face has cleared up and remained largely spotless until now (with most of my hair still intact), I think the trouble I had gone through was worthwhile.
Of course, it is still too early to tell if this treatment is a hundred percent effective (but I must say progress has been rather promising so far). I’ll continue to monitor my condition and keep you guys posted if anything crops up.
Would you consider AGNES for your persistent acne after reading this review? Share your thoughts or experience with me (if you have undergone this treatment) in the comments below! 😊 If you are not ready for AGNES yet, be sure to check out the other acne treatments offered by The Clifford Clinic here as well !
Thanks for reading!