Hi! I posted this exact text in the forum under "Introduce Yourself", maybe it's better suited here. This describes where I am right now and how I've gotten there. I'll make updates. Maybe I should also mention that my mother had bad hormonal acne (went away with birth control) and my father had some kind of acne, I don't know exactly, but they both had it well into their '20s.
I've had blackheads and shine all over my face since I was 14; I'm 19 now. They all grow into zits (mostly on the chin and T-zone), and it does get worse around my period.
I used to have a regular regimen of using a gentle salicylic acid scrub with a washcloth in the morning, followed by hand soap, and just hand soap with a washcloth before I went to bed.
It worked okay in a maintenance sort of way, but took a long time every day and I was never really clear. I've witnessed the miracle of Accutane on other people and thought about giving that a shot.
So I moseyed on over to the dermatologist's office and he said that to get my insurance company to cover Accutane, we have to try something else first, and fail. He prescribed Solodyn XR (minocycline) nightly, applying Benzaclin (benzoyl peroxide 5% and clindamycin phosphate 1% gel) every morning after washing my face, and Retin-A Micro (tretinoin gel 0.04%) every night after washing.
I experienced strong irritation and flaking after jumping into the regimen less than a week ago. I called a nurse at the office and she said the hand soap and aloe vera gel with menthol I'd been using were irritants (I'd stayed away from moisturizers before because those I had always made me break out). So I just barely started Cetaphil Dermacontrol for oily skin and Wal-Mart's generic "beauty lotion" (non-comedogenic, dermatologist-tested, SPF 15). My skin is still flaky and gross, but it feels quite a bit better and is not so red anymore. I also took a break with the medications, and I'm going to start them up more slowly and gently once the dryness stabilizes.