Just a little about myself - My name's Rebecca, and I've suffered with acne for over half my life. I'm 21 now and I've had to deal with moderate to severe acne since the age of 12. Middle school sucked - as if dealing with puberty and adolescence wasn't enough, I had a persistent red blotch of nodules right in the middle of my forehead. Kids would call me Harry Potter. Hilarious right? Of course this did wonders for my self-esteem, and every since my it's been at a consistent low (expect for the couple of months I was on glorious Accutane - but I'll talk about that later!)
My first visit to the dermatologist was at the age of 13, he prescribed me Benzaclin, which was an absolute lifesaver at the time. Back then, my acne was localized only on the middle of my forehead. Some years later, 3 to be exact, in fact, on the exact date of my 16th birthday, I got my very first cystic pimple. Happy Birthday to me I remember looking quizzically in the mirror at that huge zit on the right side of my face like it was yesterday, and that was 7 years ago; I had never experienced anything like it. I didn't even know cystic acne existed! This blissful ignorance instantly lifted as one cyst turned into two which turned into three, four, five, six - it came to the point where my face was covered in 10-15 cysts at a time. From 16-18 years old, I experienced the worst acne of my life, the list of medications I was on is endless - in addition to trying nearly every drugstore acne system known to man, I was put on: Retina Micro, Minocycline, Adoxa, Clindamycin, Tazorac, Ziana, Differin, Panoxyl, Brevoxyl wash, various sulfur washes, and have tried glycolic peels, TCA peels, salicylic peels, and AHA peels. Finally, I was prescribed Accutane. The best, most wonderful, beautiful drug in the world! My nodules and cysts, as well as the adament whiteheads that had established permanent settlement on my nose and chin, had miraculously dried up! Most fantastically, it controlled the ridiculous amounts of oil my skin and hair had been producing. Having to shampoo every day and use a blotting sheet on my face every two hours were things of the past!
Nine months later, after my 6-month course on Accutane, I was starting to break out again... Albeit, not as severely as I had been but I still, I was starting to get around 1-2 cycts weekly. This was how I started off my first year of college. Since the reoccuring acne had brought back bad memories of being bullied way back when, I pretty much hid out in my room my entire freshman year. My oil seemed to have come back worse than before; I had to blot religiously - about 10 blotting papers a day or the light refracted off my face would blind someone. I was miserable and hopeless. Then, I discovered this very site, and the regimen. The combination of BP and AHA seriously saved my skin for the next two years. I was only getting the occasional cyst every other week, though my oil was still outragoues, I only had my scarring to worry about; I was content.
Recently, in the past 10 months or so, I'd been wanting to improve my skin further. I don't know whether the BP was dulling out my skin or what but my complexion had gotten really sad, I'd started noticing fine lines around my eyes and mouth, and I'd also wanted to do something about my enlarged pores and superficial scarring. The lines freaked me out the most since I'm only 21 and would've hoped to not have to deal with wrinkles for anoher decade. Plus, my makeup looked like a mess on my face, between the mild flaking from the regimen, to the very visible pores, to the lines around my mouth...
Anyway, I went to the dermatologist about 2 months ago on a set mission to get myself a prescription of Accutane, which, much to my surprise, she was happy to give me, after I had presented her with a textbook of prescriptions that hadn't worked in the past. But then she started talking to me about this drug, Spironolatone. I had, in fact, read some info on it, but hadn't really considered it seriously. My doctor explained to me that there has to be some reason my acne isn't responding to normal medications - maybe it's something internal. She wrote me the prescription, as well as one for Retin-a Micro 0.025 for night and Clindamycin for day.
Ok, so now to the present day, finally! I was on 25 mg Spiro for a month, which was then bumped up to 25mg twice daily. It's been about 2 months now, and I haven't seen any decrease in oil or acne yet...which I won't let discourage me too badly because I've read it can take up to 6 months to work. I was afraid to start the Retin-a because of my past experience with it, so I had only started using the Clindamycin pads. The clindamycin was nice because it didn't dry up my skin like the BP did, and I could go to bed right after I applied it since it absorbed in my skin so fast, but then it stopped working... I attribute this to the fact that my skin may have developed an immunity toward it, but oh well.
Last Monday, I started the Tretinoin (my insurance doesn't cover the Retin-a Micro, so Tret it is) I broke out in tons of tiny pimples all over my face, before the Tretinoin my acne was localized mostly to my forehead and cheeks, with blackheads practically tattooed on my nose, and whiteheads on my chin. It's about a week now, and my breakout is getting worse..... I know it can take 6+ weeks to see results, but this is really hard... I can say that my nose and chin is a tiny bit smoother, at which I was surpirsed because I expected to have to wait at least a month to see any results, but these small comforts don't compensate for the fact that my face feels like its on fire 24/7. My skin feels very tight and red and is starting to peel, it also feels very itchy and occasionally stings, particuarly around my mouth. I'm going to stcik with it, and keep updating my progress. I've never written for this site before or written any blog ever, but I noticed there weren't many Tretinoin blogs on here so I figured I may as well start one. I'll include some pictures of my face as is, and will update weekly. Comments or encouragement is greatly appreciated!
Until next week.
P.S. Below are the promised pictures.