One derm told me I would not be a candidate, while another didn't know.
I'm 27. Female. Acne for 11 years. Cystic in parts of face, but mainly inflammatory. Right now there is a crazy cyst behind my left ear that is very painful, diameter about the size of a dime.
Started Bactrim and Tazorac 0.05% cream 3.5 weeks ago and have been having an insane initial breakout. My previous medicines were Differin gel 0.3% and Acanya gel, with periodic Paula's Choice 2% BHA liquid. This only worked to some extent, and I was still getting cysts. I also take strong doctor-prescribed herbal formulas for balance hormones since my doctor suspects I have PCOS due to lengthy cycles (40 days previously, now down to 32-33 with herbs) and acne. However, I'm fit and eat really well because I'm in grad school for nutrition!
Oh yeah, and I've tried Retin-A micro, doxycycline, minocycline (dizzy), facials (terrible idea), benzoyl peroxide, natural products (burn/irritate), not using any topicals (horrrrrible cystic acne came back fast), detoxes, elimination diets, liver support/cleanses, high dose vitamin A for several months (100,000 IU's), zinc, fish oil, and spironolactone (became too dizzy since my blood pressure is already low).
I was advised that Tazorac will worsen things and to not expect results for 2 months. It just sucks and feels like all the other topicals I've used--drugs that *sort* of work, but irritate and not getting to the root of the problem. I've spent years agonizing over what's wrong with me, or my diet, or my environment, and I've concluded that nothing is wrong with me. This is just a stupid chronic inflammatory disease that needs to be managed from all sides. But it's hard not to look at the Accutane before and after pics with crazy envy. You people look amazing.
Currently eat a gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, tomato-free diet, but only because I'm allergic to those foods. Dairy gives me horrible acne, though. I've tried paleo. I've tried low carb. No sugar. No chocolate. No coffee. Vegan. Perricone diet. Nothing ever works except hardcore antibiotics, but then it all comes back after that, usually worse. I tend to have periods of clear skin for 1-2 years, then insane remissions. I never started scarring until this year after things became cystic.
Several of my close friends took Accutane and their skin is amazing, but also dry. One of my friends took it, and it didn't work long term, even though she did 3 courses! Insane...
Anyways, part of me really wants to take Accutane but I'm concerned about my history of Celiac disease, malabsorption, food allergies, and hormonal imbalance. Compromising my health long term is out of the question. Do you think this disqualifies me...forever? Dun dun dun *cue dramatic music*
Also, has anyone tried Traditional Chinese Medicine? I go to a Naturopathic Medical School and a lot of the students studying Acupuncture recommend herbs for cystic acne. Anyone tried this, and has it worked? Frustrating.
For all of you who have tried everything...I understand how you feel on so many levels. As an adult, I know it's stress and hormone related, but it shouldn't be this bad, because no one in my family had acne quite as bad as me. They're just a bunch of Italians with beautiful olive oil greasy skin, but no acne.
Thank you for reading.
Edited by ginanutrition, 05 March 2012 - 11:16 PM.