THE ACNE DIARIES: Pimple injections with Dr. Chapas (yes, they're expensive and yes, they work)

Plus, the sexy celebrity acne index I can't get enough of.
Publish date:
January 30, 2012
acne, dermatology, dr. chapas, pimple injections

Remember a few weeks ago when I reported feverishly about waking up without a single live pimple on my face? Well, I never promised my clear skin would last, and yes, it was predictably short-lived. This doesn't mean my new skincare regimen is ineffective; as we all know, acne-prone skin in tempermental.

Whatever, I've seriously accepted my problem skin. It's the dermatological equivalent of having those last five pounds to lose. I'm always striving to get rid of a few pimples and it's a superficial distraction from any real anxiety.

Do you want to hear about my other favorite distraction? I landed on this site after one of the genius xoJane commenters chastised me for forgetting to ask Aaron Carter about his teenage acne. I wanted his approval, so give me a break, okay?

Anyway, later that night I did some Googling and found an entire site (probably made 10 years ago) dedicated to bad celebrity skin and I am obsessed. I used to have to watch "T.I.and Tiny: The Family Hustle" to get my famous acne fix, but now I have this. Here's my favorite picture:

Let it be known, I am NOT turned on by the long-ago remnants of teen acne. I like active pimples. It's weird, I know.

Back to my skin. As soon as I announced my blemish-free status, my face erupted with a mess of red pustules (ugh, gross), and I called Cat's (and my) favorite derm, Dr. Anne Chapas, desperate for an immediate fix. I think Cat was at Art Basel so I needed to represent while she was away, and it's impossible to be taken seriously as a beauty person with pimples.

Luckily, like for nearly every skin affliction, yes, there's an injection for pimples: Kenalog. This extreme method of skin-clearing is really reserved for absolute emergencies, for example a cystic pimple before the day of a red carpet appearance, or for the rest of us, a wedding.

When injected into a pimple, Kenalog acts as an anti-inflammatory and works to reduce the appearance of raised, red blemishes within 24 hours.

Kenalog injections are so effective that once you try them you'll want to prick every single blemish with the magic stuff, but beware. Treating surface pimples with too much Kenalog can result in scarring and pockmarks, explained Dr. Chapas.

Injections to the forehead and cheek didn't hurt (for me), but when I asked Dr. Chapas to shoot-up my nose, she warned me that I didn't want to go there pain-wise.

When we were all done, my face was predictably red and slightly inflamed, but as the day went on it calmed down considerably. The next morning I woke up and each injected blemish was completely flat as though I had fast forwarded the healing process to two weeks later.

Like I said, Kenalog injections are so effective, it takes extreme willpower for me not to call Dr. Chapas every time I have a pimple (I have just one right now). When I asked the nurse about pricing, she told me it varies. Cosmetic dermatology and surgery practices don't have price lists and if you find one that does you should run the other way. Sort of like how the most coveted items in magazines are "price upon request."Well, it often means they're simply not available for purchase, but whatever.

Now, what do you think? Would you try Kenalog injections in an acne emergency or is this just too vain? What's the most indulgent beauty treatment you've tried? Let's talk.

Ask Julie about her acne on Twitter @JR_Schott.Pictures by Olivia Hall, @BlackOlive15.