I've used this site for many years for advice on OTC fixes for my acne, but nothing was working and I broke down and went to the dermatologist. I'm 27 and have only recently had terrible cystic acne, breaking out around my periods. I have had mild to moderate acne since I went off birth control about a year and a half ago and switched to an IUD without hormones. I thought it might resolve once my hormones sorted themselves out, but the acne has just gotten worse over time.
I've been prescribed Aczone, Atralin, and Solodyn and have been using them since August 16th (almost 2 weeks), washing with Cetaphil. I had an initial breakout about a week ago and stopped Atralin for 4 days and just applied it again last night. I will start applying it every 3 days for a week and a half, then every 2, every other, then every night. I peeled terribly about 3 days after starting the new regimen and that prompted me to take it easy on the Atralin as well.
So far, old marks have been fading and I have developed new cystic pimples, 2 of which I think may have been brewing before I started this new regimen. Blackheads appear to be coming to the surface, one of which decided to turn into a whitehead that also decided never to come to a head. I'll have to just wait that one out. Like I stated earlier, I just applied Atralin again last night after a 4-day reprieve, and all 4 cysts that I currently have have already gone down in size and redness has decreased.
The solodyn does make me very tired, so I've started taking that at night.
The aczone has helped while I haven't been using the atralin, helping some of the cystic acne calm down. It does make my skin peel a bit, so I started using my clarisonic in the mornings about 2 days ago. I think the clarisonic is helping to get rid of the dead skin which might have been irritating and creating the new pimples.
I have been taking pictures, but at this point I'm a little too embarrased to post them to be honest. I've never had acne this bad and it's done a real number on my confidence, which has always been high.
I think once it starts getting better I'll be more confident in posting the pictures. I can see it getting better in some places and worse in others. Only time will tell! I do hope that I have positive results to show the dermatologist when I go for my follow up visit in about 4 more weeks.