At 30 years old, I've been suffering with acne for 12 years. Unlike many young women, I had no significant break outs during puberty/high school era. During my first year in college, the breakouts started and it's been a battle ever since. While I have seen progress and improvement at times, I've never been able to establish a connection and therefore manage this problem.
My acne is confined to my face and is more concentrate around my jaw line and chin. It is cystic in nature and I would classify it as moderate-severe, though I know "severe" can mean different things to different people. My skin is also quite oily.
I'd like to start with a list of what I have tried and thus what has ultimately led me to the very difficult decision to start Isotretinoin...
OTC Washes/Topicals - Benzoyl Peroxide, Salicylic Acid (a variety of brands, Proactive)
Oral Antibiotics - Erythromycin, Minocycline, Tetracycline, Bactrim
Prescription Topicals - Retinols, Tazorac, Differin, Clindamycin, Benzoyl Peroxide
Natural Topicals - Tea Tree Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar, Witch Hazel, Clay masks, a Variety of natural/organic brand washes/treatments, Oil Cleansing Method for washing and moisturizing
Professional Treatments - Salicylic acid/lactic acid skin peels, Extractions
Diet - Elimination of sugar and flour products, Elimination of dairy, wheat and gluten, soy, corn, eggs, Liver detoxifications
Supplements - Fish oil, Probiotics, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Zinc, Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin D3, Milk Thistle, Undecylenic Acid
Hormone Therapy - Several brands of birth control, Bioidentical hormone therapy after testing low in progesterone, (Mild) hypothyroid treatment
Without getting into major detail of everything I've tried, suffice it to say that I gave all of these things listed a very honest attempt, especially with my drastic change in diet. While I did see improvements sometimes, I have never been able to pinpoint a connection, leaving my unable to manage my acne. I've seen MD's, Dermatologists, Naturopaths, and Applied Kinesiologists.
If I could manage it naturally, I most certainly would. However, I do know that I cannot continue to live with my acne as my prison. I do not feel that longterm antibiotic and harsh topical treatments have the potential for side effects worse than that of a short course of Isotretinoin. And, again, the natural route has yielded no signficiant results either.
I will also add that I have done significant research and spoke to several individuals who used Isotretinoin. I do not take this decision lightly and I am accepting that I will have to deal with potential side effects. This is an educated decision from a competent adult and I'm looking forward to achieving clear skin.
More to come before I start (which will likely be at the end of this week!)
Edited by bodyandsoul, 08 August 2012 - 07:01 AM.