Ella is a young woman battling severe acne. In her second blog post she talks about her first consultation with internationally renowned dermatologist, Dr. Nick Lowe, and her new skincare routine
This week I went to have my first consultation at the Cranley Clinic in London. I was really nervous as I didn’t want to get my hopes up on a miracle treatment but at the same time I had heard that this was the best dermatology clinic around and wanted to be hopeful that I didn’t have to live with skin like mine forever.
In the past, I’d paid £100 for a five-minute first consultation to be told that it was my own fault that my skin was so bad
Before we talk about the consultation, let me mention that my past experience with a London ‘top’ skin clinic was not the best. I paid £100 for a five-minute first consultation with a ‘specialist’, who I am pretty sure had no actual medical qualifications, to be told basically that it was my own fault that my skin was so bad, and that I needed to see the doctor at the clinic (obviously) which would cost another £250; but before that, I needed to buy all of their skin care range, not wear any make-up and not ever touch my face. I left feeling upset, poor and even more self-conscious than when I went in.
Typically, on the day of my consultation my skin was awful and after a make-up-free (argh!) journey up on the Tube, I was feeling a bit stressed.
I got to the Cranley clinic – an inconspicuous building behind Oxford Street near London’s Harley Street medical community – and was greeted by a friendly receptionist and a nice spa-like smell. After a short wait in a comfortable waiting room, I got to meet Davinia.
If you have read my first blog, you will already know who Davinia is – she’s the dermatology nurse who runs the acne clinic at Cranley, among other things. Generally, I find meeting new people stressful, especially if I know they are going to be looking at my skin, which she obviously was. But surprisingly with Davinia I felt comfortable and at ease straight away, and happy to talk to her about my skin and how much it affects my life.
As soon as we started talking, I felt as if I was with someone who knew one hundred per cent what they were talking about. She reassured me my skin isn’t the worst in the world – even though it does feel like it is at times. More importantly, she said there was definitely something they could do to help me.
Dr Nick Lowe, world-renowned dermatologist and the head of the clinic, came in to see me. He was also lovely, with a slight presidential air about him. He was also very reassuring and they took some pictures of me to hopefully be used as ‘before and after’ pics (obviously I was hoping for there to be a successful ‘after’).
The verdict from Dr Lowe and Davinia about my skin: ‘Moderate to severe inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne, with potential scarring. Skin erythema (redness of the skin) and seborrhea (oily skin)’.
My treatment is a mixture of skincare, prescription medicine and treatment at the clinic and was not going to be an overnight fix. I, of course, knew this and was just thrilled to be getting help from people who genuinely seemed to care about helping me.
I was put on an antibiotic called Lymecycline, a prescription gel called Isotrex and a medicine called Spironolactone – a diuretic prescription drug. It was also recommended that I change my contraceptive pill from Cilest to Yasmin.
I was put on an antibiotic called Lymecycline, a prescription gel called Isotrex and a medicine called Spironolactone – a diuretic prescription drug and recommended that I change my contraceptive pill from Cilest to Yasmin.
Alongside the medication I was to have a course of IPL treatment. IPL is Intense Pulsed Light treatment, a non-invasive, tailor-made treatment that can improve a variety of skin conditions including acne.
I was to also use Dr Lowe’s acne skincare range Acclenz. Now, we know how little trust I have in skincare made specifically for acne, but this range is amazing. It’s not cheap but I honestly believe it is worth every penny, not that different in price from, say, Clinique’s Anati-Blemish range, but I found it to be a million times better. I got the foaming cleanser, blemish serum, spot gel and face mask. I’m going to leave my new daily skincare routine at the end of this post, so you can see what products I am using and how easy and quick they are to use.
we know how little trust I have in skincare made specifically for acne, but this range is amazing
I left the Cranley clinic that day feeling more positive than I have in years – nine years, to be precise, from when my acne started. I have nothing but good things to say about Dr Lowe, his clinic and the amazing Davinia. I felt as if they genuinely wanted to help me, my treatment felt very tailored to me. The whole experience didn’t feel like a sales pitch geared to the most expensive treatment or skincare, which is how I felt in other places previously.
I started my skincare routine that night and immediately felt a difference in my skin. My skin felt clean, moisturised and the products felt rich without being heavy. My make-up went on much better the next day and had a smooth finish and the cleanser even takes off Estée Lauder’s Double Wear foundation.
Here’s a video my brother Logan made for me about my new skincare routine.
I then had a slightly disappointing experience at my family doctor’s that week, when I went to get my prescriptions for the antibiotics and gel. I was told I didn’t need that much medication for a cosmetic issue (COSMETIC?!) and that I could just cover it with makeup. Luckily, I don’t need to use them any more, apart from for my prescriptions, so I left after reminding them at this ‘cosmetic’ issue can lead to suicides in its sufferers and can be severely damaging to people’s mental health.
Now, I have to pay for my prescriptions, the Cranley clinic told me what I needed but it’s cheaper to get them on the NHS so I get my antibiotics and gel from my doctor every couple of months. The NHS refused to give me the spirallactone so I get that privately from the Cranley clinic and I had to have a full blood works done to get that which I paid for.
I was told I didn’t need that much medication for a cosmetic issue (COSMETIC?!) and that I could just cover it with makeup.
I am looking forward to starting my first IPL treatment in two weeks time. Until then I will be carrying on with my medicine, daily skincare routine and continue to drink lots of water and cut out dairy, both of which seem to have a positive effect on my skin.
My skin improved within the first week of using the products and medication, I am really looking forward to my first IPL treatment and have seen a drastic improvement already. My skin is less sore, less red and my spots have nearly all cleared up. I still have bad scarring and some under the skin swellings
I would love to hear your own acne stories or if you have any questions on mine, please get in touch at EllasAcneBlog@gmail.com or tweet me @EllasSkinBlog. Thank you for reading and I will be back in two weeks.