So, I have a faulty memory. Acne blurs into one never-ending constant, I've had it for 15 years, more than half my life. I don't imagine my face being clear like a normal person. To me, a good day is having no 3D cysts and no normal pimples (i.e. the ones you can control topically with BP). Acne is so much me that if forget what it looks like to others. I had a random woman look at me recently, and say "hey, you need to get that checked out, your face" (er, she used worse English due to being an immigrant). I immediately thought, "shit, a cyst exploded and now I must have puss or blood all over, shit shit shit" so I pulled out a compact mirror checked out what I'd thought was a decent make-up application, relaxed because hey, no explosion! and went back to what I was doing. Meh, she'd just stated the obvious, I'm not going to get worked up over that.
I don't even remember WHAT I've tried to do to clear this. I had to come back here and find my archived I kinda wanted to update it to say that it took until the very end for my face to really begin clearing. And that clear skin lasted for 6 months post drug. That my dermatologist was an ass hole and made me cry in his office, calling me the poster child of Accutane. That he wanted to up my dosage at the end but I already hated the side effects of the drug so much I was afraid they'd get worse during my finals. Up till now I've been under the impression that it effected my mood quite a bit but re-reading my posts, I don't know. Maybe it didn't.
It's 5 years later, I still have severe acne. TBH I don't think it's as bad for as long anymore. It used to be just a constant level of severity. Now, it's cyclical. Stress/hormones/touching/diet can get it bad and then it gets nice, then it gets bad, and then worse, then really nice. I tried quitting dairy. No go. I don't know what the hell is wrong with my face. All I know is that for 5 years I have been following a VERY strict face washing routine. First I used Dan's Regimen for like...3 years or so. Then I got annoyed by the drying time and switched to Paula's Choice and really loved her stuff. I never outgrew my cysts. I just got really good at managing normal pimples. And it sorta helped with managing the cysts.
So 2 dermatologist consultations later I've got Clarus in my body. I'm waiting for the moments where my hands are so dry they bleed when I scrape them with my own nails. My lips chapped like I'm in the Sahara. And the aches and pains. Oh the joy of this journey.