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Changing Faces
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I am an actor whose face was damaged by a doctor friend

Hello. I have irregular red lumps, pigmentation and wounds in one cheek because of an aesthetic procedure gone wrong.

I went to an aesthetic doctor friend to help with my acne scars only on one side of my cheek because I could see them on camera and was self conscious about them, and after a few laser sessions, he suggested subcision (using a needle to break the scar bonds that pulling the skin down and causing dents) and a radiesse (semi permanent, non-soluble) filler. The healing time was supposed to be a maximum of two weeks.

For whatever reason (a few doctors have said bad technique but I don't know whether assigning blame is useful now, and anyway they won't go on legal record) the radiesse ended up too shallow. So my cheek ended up with very large, bizarrely shaped red welts from irritation from the collections of radiesse,. After insisting for two months that this was normal, he tried certain treatments to reduce the swelling and discolouration. I'm not sure if it was time passing or that they worked, but the lumps in my cheek became smaller, but some of the white coloured filler became very obvious under the skin. He decided to burn those areas off with an ablative co2 laser and said that it should all heal over in 3-5 days.

Now it's been about three weeks and those areas are still healing wounds, in addition to the additional swellings from the original procedure. I've since seen other doctors who say that because of the wounds, very little can be done on the sensitive skin, and in any case, there isn't much to do but wait for the filler to slowly disintegrate by itself over the course of 18 months, and hope that no medical complications are caused in the meantime (there are a number that can result from foreign substances in your skin), and also hope that it doesn't leave lasting effects on my skin. One doctor said that part of my skin might never look the same again. I've also spoken to a lawyer friend who mentioned that while it is possible to sue, things like loss of earnings might be hard to prove because of the freelance nature of my job (just because I audition for something with perfect skin doesn't mean I might get it anyway) and might cause me trauma and cost me lots of legal fees in the meantime.

The doctor in question has expressed that he is sorry for everything and has given me some money for me to seek psychiatric treatment, as well as to pay for the other doctors I've seen. I've also had other people tell me that it doesnt' look so bad at the moment really when covered up, just like a pretty bad breakout on top of acne scars, and that there are people we know who have skin that is worse. Whether or not that is the case I've been suffering from ptsd, anxiety, depression, insomnia and have had suicidal thoughts almost daily. I do not want to go out socially, and have seen a pyschiatrist who prescribed xanax, remeron and stilnox to manage the above conditions, to what feels like middling success at best.

I am also seeing a counselor but unfortunately in my part of the world, there aren't people who specialise in the trauma from visible difference, and they often tell me to get over it, there's still different types of work I can do. I am aware that my disfigurement may not be as significant as others on this forum, but the feeling of loss is affecting me very strongly, perhaps because of my profession and that I am constantly seeing images of my friends, colleagues and even myself from certain angles that I have no confidence of showing anymore. I joined this forum because I could really use some support. My friends themselves I feel are a little hard pressed to know how to deal with me right now, and my spouse is rather exhausted too.

Any sharing, support or knowledge of medical professionals who could help, would be fantastic.

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Hey, have you tried camouflage makeup whenever your cheek heals? ๐Ÿ˜Š And if you talking about the emotional effects of this I would try the mindbliss medication app (honestly saved my life) and an affirmation app to build confidence and self esteem. Doing those things and trying to keep positive has helped me do things I never thought I would do + it will help u too ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•.

I too was an actress and unfortunately I had the worse cancer for my profession in the world that was on my face. I went through loads of emotional pain and suicidal thoughts , but I got through it in the end and due to mindfulness, counciling, mediation and ect I've been able to become confident again.

Following insta pages like Katie piper and nikki lily who have had the worst things thrown at them, but are still able to find the light and confidence to do great things! They both give me inspiration daily.

I'm so sorry this has happened to you and i can't be of more help on the professional medical kind, but I can say anything is adaptable... And when you heal and you want to use makeup to feel comfortable there is always that as well x make up does wonders.

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Thank you Crystal246. I think I have the mindbliss app but haven't been too diligent about using it. I did not know about affirmation apps....I have to go get one! And that's a good tip to follow Katie and Nikki! Otherwise instagram is generally full of depressingly perfect pictures.

I am sorry to hear about your acting. I hope that with more emphasis on eschewing unrealistic beauty standards, there will be space for us back on the screen soon. It mostly seems to extend to different body shapes at the moment as opposed to types of skin. But I hope that that too will change. We exist and we have some really good stories to tell, I think.

Thanks for just replying in general. It's good to have someone out there who doesn't make light of your problems. We're not alone=)

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I feel for you! What you're going through is tough because it's affecting you in many areas of life but to other people, they don't understand so they won't know what to say or how to help. The fact it bothers you to the extent it does means you need help with the problem. A counsellor is a good place to start, I'm seeing a counsellor for a different reason and I'm finding it helpful.

I should explain, I don't have any disfigurement. However, I'm morbidly obese and get people staring and nasty comments so I do understand when it comes to how you are treated by other. My son was badly burned when he was 2 years old, he toppled in to the bath as I was running it. It is only his hands up to his wrists, luckily. If he's have fallen in completely, he wouldn't have survived. I will never forgive myself for his accident, it was my job to protect him and I failed him. I have since been diagnosed with PTSD, depression and I have often felt suicidal so I know the feeling you are experiencing, to a certain extent anyway.

You need to remember, it's early days yet, the skin is still healing and once healed, it often looks so much better, no more irritation and redness often goes down. With time it will heal and should settle down. I'm not medically trained so can't advise on that. I'm a professional make-up artist and I work in film and TV as well as photo shoots. Most film/TV producers with take on a make-up artist and as long as they are trained properly, they will be able to help you regarding make-up. We can't always do much for texture but often that can be edited anyway.

As a make-up artist, I know there are many ways to change skin colour if there is any difference in skin colour/pigmentation. For instance, using a green concealer under foundation will neutralise any redness. If you can still see redness through the foundation then you can mix green concealer with foundation and go over that part of your skin again. You powder to fix the make-up in place. If you are unsure of what colour concealer to use, you can google: What different colour concealers are used for, it will give you the answers which will be a huge help.

Try not to worry, give yourself time to heal and make sure you open up to your counsellor. If you are still struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, then it's best to go back to your GP. Make sure you have useful telephone numbers to hand for the Samaritans, or other charities where you can speak to someone about how your feeling. Bottling it up will only make you feel worse.

Wishing you all the best

Lisa x

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Thank you so much Lisa. I am sorry to hear about the way you are treated. people do make very unfair assumptions based on appearances. I have not met you, but from your reply I feel you are nothing but kind, considerate and empathic. I have a good non-irritating foundation and concealer from Vichy as recommended by a dermatologist. It hasn't been able to cover up the areas fully, but I will try the green base too and trust that the lumps will eventually go down.

Thank you for sharing your story about your son. I am glad he is okay and I hope you will one day be too. I am going to see a counsellor today and hope that helps me, but in the meantime, I am grateful for your presence and your kind response. I hope you have a lovely day=)

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Welcome to the Changing Faces community Dixieden. Thank you for sharing such an honest and open account of your situation, which sounds like it has been and continues to be very challenging for you. It's great you've taken the step to connect with others here and I hope you gain from these interactions.

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Thank you

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I too was burned by a laser procedure after a dog bite. So this was very traumatic for me too. I still have the marks from laser (obvious ones) and also the scars from the dog bite. No support from family so I understand you... if you want you can private message me.

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I'm so sorry to hear that MTTA. I have read your earlier posts (just joined two days ago so a little late to the game) and your experience does sound very similar to mine with respect to a doctor making a bad situation worse. My wounds are still supposedly healing from the lasers and I have been told by another doctor not to expect that it will go back to pre-procedure levels.

I saw a counsellor today and while she does not have expertise like the Changing Faces people do, she made me feel a little better. I think support is very important. And I wanted to tell you how I admire how you are sticking things out through all this.

I will definitely vent to you when I have my next panic attack if that is okay.

In the meantime please feel free to do the same with me.

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Of course. Count with me. Anything you need just send me a message. Donโ€™t lose hope. I still havent lose mine.

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Thank you younique for recognising how I feel, and for your encouragement. It's one long month till my next therapy session but I will keep hanging in there. I have just read your posts - sorry I have just joined and have not read all that's up here. I find your attitude regarding your struggles admirable and affirming. You are right, we have worth to share and art to make, aside from our appearances. It is just hard to recognise this sometimes.

regarding the term 'disfigurement' I do apologise if it was triggering. I'm using the definition as per the changingfaces.uk site from which I happily found this forum. I will look out for different terminology to use.

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I'm happy you found this forum too! I was as well, so I completely understand that relief. Finally! People who understand the complex nuances of living with a difference. And I say difference because I've had years to process it. We all have our own experiences that have brought us here, and I know your situation is unique to mine. I just wanted to mention, how we describe ourselves and our condition, greatly impacts how we see ourselves. โค๏ธ

Thanks for understanding! And please keep us posted.

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