So I wanted to share my story in case it helps someone else suffering like I did. It took me forever to find a regimen that works.
Ok, so I used to get horrible, huge cystic acne on my chin and cheeks and nothing worked. I would have to get cortisone shots that would make them temporarily go away, but, of course, they always came back within days.
What finally worked was Bactrim. But I had to demand to be put on it because it's an antibiotic and, you know, doctors are opposed to giving people too many antibiotics so we don't create anti-biotic resistant bacteria...yada, yada, yada. I get their point and understand overuse of antibiotics is dangerous for our society. But I can only imagine if I hadn't insisted on Bactrim, I would still be using some crappy, ineffective creams or pills, like tetracycline or doxycycline. And I was too scared to do Accutane since it can cause birth defects, seriously mood disorders, etc., and my doctors kept cautioning me against it.
Seriously, Bactrim is the only thing that helped. My acne was hormonal but Bactrim was powerful enough to clean my system out somehow and at least get rid of any bacteria that was exacerbating my hormonal problems.
I had being using birth control for many years, but it was only when I combined it with Bactrim that my skin finally cleared up. Once I finished my course of Bactrim (I think I was on it for about 3-6 months), just being on birth control kept my skin clear. And birth control is all I use now. Occasionally I put on Acanya gel in the morning and Retin A at night. I also use the Clarisonic Mia Sonic skin care brush combined with the Acne Free face wash from Walmart (FYI folks, if you want a good face wash, get something with benzoyl peroxide in it. Washes with just salicylic acid don't work as well, at least not for me. Benzoyl Peroxide is more powerful, and the Acne Free set is cheap and good).
I don't know if Bactrim will work for everyone, but I just wanted to share my story in case it helps someone else.