In high school I was one of those girls with good skin. I occasionally got zits on my chin but they were fairly easy to cover.
Then...came the college years...I was 18 when acne began to terrorize me.
The fall of my Freshman year I started breaking out horrible. I was in a play at the time (Theatre major) and I thought the pancake makeup was to blame. Little did I know this was just the beginning....
I first went to the Dermatologist during this year. She pushed all the topical stuff. The only helpful thing that came out of that visit was that I started using Neutrogena Acne Wash, which really is the gentlest, best wash you can use. All the topical stuff (both prescription and non) would seem to work for a little while but not for long.
Although I mostly broke out around my chin and mouth area, the dermatologist never told me it was hormonal.
I tried Proactive for the first time when I was about 20. It seemed to work for a little while and then it made my face worse.
The first significant breakthrough I had was when my friend gave me some Benzaclin. It didn't prevent my acne but it seemed to dry stuff up better than over-the-counter stuff.
Around the time I got married I went on birth control and I noticed my skin was really clear. I didn't really make the connection...because I never realized my acne was hormonal...I thought (around that time) that I "grew out of it."
Then I came off birth control. And all hell broke loose.
When I was 24 I started to get LARGE cysts the size of half dollars. They would be hardened lumps and look grotesque. I had never had large cysts before. I went to a new dermatologist and she wanted to put me on Accutane. She put me on YAZ first because I needed to be on birth control and she had gotten good results from YAZ. YAZ did wonders so I decided not to go on Accutane. I was a little scared of Accutane, for good reason.
While on YAZ my skin was not oily and I did not get cysts. I would occasionally get a pimple around the time of my period but it stayed small. I was so happy.
But a girl does not want to be on birth control forever. I tried to get off of it several times...and every time I would break out with cysts and it would become so unbearable that I couldn't take it anymore and had to get back on.
This last time I stayed off of BC for a year and my husband and I tried to have a baby. My skin stayed clear for almost 8 months and I thought maybe my hormones had finally "changed"...then about month 9 the cysts came back and after 3 months I was insane. I went to the derm....the old lady (who I loved) had left and I had a guy. He wanted to put me on Spiro....and I thought why should I go on Spiro when I know YAZ works? I would have to be on BC for Spiro anyway and both are temporary. So I went back on YAZ. Im on month 2 of YAZ and I have a huge cyst by my mouth...so I guess it still hasn't kicked in. I am using Retin A so I have beautiful skin with cysts. If you are a cystic acne sufferer you will know what I mean. Nothing topical helps hormonal cysts. You can make your skin look beautiful but a cyst will still knot up under your skin.
The best thing about finding this website is that I feel like I am not alone. At 27 I know noone who is a cystic acne sufferer....I teach high school for goodness' sakes! They should have the zits; not me! It is humiliating. What makes it even harder is that I live in a small town and have to drive an hour and a half to get a cortizone shot....and that's when they can get me in. I am a very moral person, but if I had a chance to steal corizone vials I probably would. That is the only thing that will keep a cyst from living on your face for a quarter of a year.
So...Im waiting on the YAZ. And when I want to have a baby I guess I will have to not work and stay home because I will have to accept that I will have bad skin.