I was at a meeting the other day with some business types and one of them asked me, “So what’s your intent with this project?”
My answer was this: “I intend to fix the injustice of a medical system that has fumbled around with the condition of acne for far too long”
I ran into an interesting video the other day. I assume MTV’s original intention of the video below was to both bring awareness and to entertain. Inadvertently though, I think this video plays as a real documentary into how inefficient and ineffective the standard medical system is in regards to stubborn cases of acne. Let’s discuss this video below after you watch it. It’s interesting.
($319/month for 5 months)
-risked side effects
Quotes from video with my comments in parentheses:
“acne may get worse when starting”
(initial breakout can be traumatic and cause real 3D scarring. This can be worse than the original condition)
At One Month:
(this is not a swift improvement. Very inefficient and slow.
reminder that, “Time = Scarring”)
Week 6: “I think it’s too early to judge”
(6 weeks?! This is not an acceptable trajectory in my opinion. In this practice, we expect a noticeable improvement in 24-48 hours and at least 90% improvement with severe acne at 6 weeks. If not, something needs immediate adjustment)
At 5 Months:
“I’ve been on for 5 months and just in the last week I’m starting to see some changes”
(5 months?!, 1500 dollars, are you kidding me?)
You can see she is happier at 6 months. She is not completely inactivated as hoped. I searched online to see how she was doing now and found this quote:
“Hey…this is Alexa. I was taking Accutane on the show while we filmed for 6 months. My skin stayed clear for about a year and then I started to break out again. My dermatologist recommended that I go back on Accutane but I chose not to. While I was on Accutane my spine sometimes felt odd and my vocal chords would become dry.
Bottom Line: This MTV video has inadvertently become a vivid documentary of how slow and inefficient accutane can be. Sitting, hoping, praying, and waiting for 5 months is not what I would call a masterful acne treatment.
(4 year sufferer, multiple failures, and tangible emotional trauma from the ordeal)
denied accutane when requested:
“You can’t have accutane without having ongoing psychiatric counseling. But no counselors are available at this time. sorry”
-chose Light and Laser Therapy as a second option.
-took a loan, add interest payments.
“I just want clear skin, Why can’t nobody help me”
(Sorry to hear this Brandon, you are working within the confines of a broken system)
Doctor quote: “Hide in the dark for 2 days”
(I guess that would be ok if the treatment worked)
(Is this really the best option western medicine has come up with for acne?)
Several Weeks into treatment: “I don’t see improvement yet. Mom, you see improvement, I don’t”
(As an outside observer, I see partial improvement with no confidence that full inactivation will take place)
Brandon’s after shot:
“my confidence is up somewhat”
(I’m happy that he is getting better, but after months of waiting and thousands spent, I’m not happy to say that this skin is still very much active)
I searched for Brandon online and found this:
“Hey! How have you lovely people been? A lot has changed for me since the show… I have come to the conclusion that I am GAY! Big shocker, right? NOT… Anyways, I continued with the laser treatments up until the middle of July and then I gave up. Although it had improved my skin, it didn’t completely clear it up and I was sick of going through all that pain.”
Bottom Line: If you have to wear a full facial shield in public, you better come out the other end sparkling.
This treatment was far too inefficient, far too expensive, and way too annoying relative to the partial improvement seen here. I don’t know if MTV realizes that they captured a documentary of the injustice and rip off of light and laser treatments for acne. I don’t recommend this treatment to anyone with chronic acne unless they are just looking for temporary facial-like treatment. It’s expensive and does nothing for future prevention despite false claims of “permanent shrinkage of oil glands”
-chose laser therapy
-paid $950 per treatment
“Why can’t anyone help”
(I’m sorry Lily, the system is currently broken)
“That was the most painful thing that has ever happened to me in my life”
(I guess that would be ok if it worked)
“This is where I’m putting my faith and if it doesn’t work, I’m screwed”
(Lasers rarely give long term satisfaction and prevention. I was worried for her when I first heard her say this)
Lily’s side effect photos:
(I guess this would be somewhat acceptable if she came out the other end in great shape. In this case, it was not worth the struggle)
Lily’s After shot, $950 paid:
(This young model is being scarred, robbed, and emotional twisted in a broken system. I find this to be a real injustice and do not blame any one doctor. It’s the system)
“Lily is considering more laser surgery to treat her acne”
(Think the next $950 treatment will bring her long term satisfaction? I don’t think she’s on the right track here)
Bottom Line for Lily: I don’t know if MTV realizes that they just captured a documentary of the mediocrity, lack of accountability, and ineffectiveness of laser therapy for acne. This story is upsetting to watch. What ever happened to Lily??! (I haven’t found anything online yet)
Dr. Neal’s Final Thought: It appears MTV set out to capture a documentary of the emotional effects of acne and then to show some great transformations. Unfortunately, it appears that MTV accidentally captured how ineffective the standards of western medicine are at tackling serious cases of acne. I was very uncomfortable watching this documentary. This injustice will not continue for much longer. I promise.
p.s. Just for comparison, here’s what a swift inactivation looks like within 2-4 months.
(Special thanks to MTV for bringing further awareness to this difficult situation)
Feel free to share your thoughts on our medical system in regards to the treatment of acne below: