As a teenager I experienced a small pimple here and there, never anything cystic and never anything I would describe as acne. It wasn't until I turned 23 that my skin began having issues. I returned home from a family vacation with a pretty bad breakout. I tried over the counter products for a couple of months before I decided the breakout wasn't going away. I made an appointment with a dermatologist who took one look at my face (not a very close look) and told me that I had adult acne. Because I am allergic to benzoyl peroxide (works on my pimples but leaves the surrounding skin itchy, red, and swollen) I was prescribed a tretinoin cream and medication. I never filled the medication prescription because back then I was still sure the breakout would go away and the side effects of the pills scared me. I don't even remember the name of the pills. I used the cream for a couple of months and found my skin itchy and red and aggravated. I read that this was the initial break out, but the breakout lasted too long for me and I was so impatient, I stopped using the cream. I suffered for a few more months before I booked an appointment with an esthetician. The esthetician went through my makeup bag and threw out every pore clogging item I used on my face. She set me up with new cleansers and moisturizers, and with mandellic serum. I visited her office monthly, alternating between vitamin a peels and gentler treatments, and upping the mandelic serum formula every once in a while. After 3 months I saw a substantial improvement, and after 6-7 months my skin was completely clear. I stayed clear for over a year with less frequent visits to the esthetician. Then, after moving and starting a new job, I started breaking out again. I do have a small problem with picking my skin. I know that makes it worse, and I'm sure that's what intensified the breakout. I was stressed, which caused acne, then I was stressed because I had acne. I booked an appointment with a new dermatologist and she was much more helpful. She diagnosed me with hormonal acne and I started taking spironolactone- which combined with my birth control pills, seemed to help. I saw a great improvement but never got completely clear. I decided I wanted to try isotretinoin. It has been one month now and I have seen promising results. My next post will be all about the first month.