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Hi all, I'm a 20 year old female who has been suffering from hormonal acne since I was 13. I've been on just about everything, and also recently came to the realization that dairy drastically affects my skin. Derm after derm I have searched for the perfect combo of topicals and oral medications that would lead me to clear skin...but I'm at my wits end. I'm totally depressed and losing hope.

I've recently seen a new derm who put me back on a Retin-A, Duac, and Spiro regimen. I've been on all 3 before, and had great success with the Spiro, but I'm only about a month in. The Duac and Retin-A were so long ago when I first started getting acne that I cant even remember how succesful they were, but the only time I can remember having great clear skin was a BC/Spiro combo last year...and I was not on Retin-A or Duac then...so I believe they never did a whole lot of good for me.

I'm currently suffering from what I believe is a pretty bad IB from the Retin-A, and starting tonight I'm not applying it for a week or so and seeing what happens. I'm sick and tired of waking up with new zits left and right that werent there 7 hours before.

Two of my derms (one past, and the current) have mentioned Accutane. I'm absolutely terrifed of Tane but am almost at the point that I'm feeling crazy enough to give it a go. I'm currently dealing with some problems in my life (family, friends, school, life in general) that have had me sort of down in the dumps and I'm afraid the Tane or side effects from the Tane will worsen my mood. But then again they might remove one problem out of the equation making the others easier to cope with...who knows? I'm also scared about Tane + alcohol (although it is definitely something I'm willing to consider giving up for such and such amount of time for clear skin, but I'd like to have a little drink now and then with my friends), and of course the dreaded IB.

If you were in my shoes...what would you do? I read success stories and horror stories and I just dont know what to do. I dont want to get worse, especially since I'm going off to a new school in the fall. My almost non existant confidence will just be gone...and I cant deal with that. I am willing to deal with dry lips, some dry skin (although I got VERY dry from a 4 month Taz treatment, so I'm afraid the Tane will be similar), but if I've had bad IB's from Retin-A, Taz, Clindamycin...is that a sure sign a Tane IB would be bad as well?

Sorry this was so long and thank you SO much to anyone who read it and is willing to offer feedback...I just dont know what to do and am completely depressed about it. Any similar situations and what you did would be wonderful...I need something to lead me in one direction or the other. Acne is effecting my life drastically and everyday it gets harder and harder to cope with.

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Also, I'd like to add that I was VERY sensitive to the sun while I was on a Doxycyclene/Minocyclene treatment and as I spend a great deal of my time working and hanging out outside, I'm afraid the Accutane will increase my sun sensitivity to a similar degree as the Doxy/Mino...which was absolutley painful and unbearable. Any input there as well would be appreciated. Thanks!

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In my experience:

- Your skin will be extremely sensitive to the sun, probably worse than doxy.

- On the plus side--won't be nearly as dry/red/peely as on Tazorac, with the exception of your lips. You have never experienced chapped lips until Accutane. My face never got very dry on it, though my arms got some itchy patches.

- It is my belief Accutane made me depressed, or at least worsened it significantly. However, this is a rare and controversial side effect. Pay attention to your mood and tell your doctor if you have any concerns.

- Do. Not. Drink. I'm 23 and giving it up for 5 months was hard, but you only get one body in this life.

- I never had much of an IB on Accutane, but people's experiences on that vary.

I wish I had done Accutane when I was younger. Doing it post-college stunk! If you're still battling Acne at 20, it's probably worth a shot. Just take care of yourself while you're on it.

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Hi there

Im actually in a similar position - currently on spiro + diane -35 (BC)as well as Retin A amd Doxy (and supposedly Duac but I dont use it, it makes me too red).

I've been having a pretty bad IB pretty much since I started (about 7 weeks ago) and am now considering Tane

I was on Tane before (20 mg for 9 months) and it made me super clear but my acne returned 7 months later (I was diagnosed with PCOS so now know its hormonal)

Your skin wont be as peely as with retin A but the dryness will be significant with the lips, hands etc.. (just use good moisturizer and lipbalm)

I would say my only side efffect was hair thinning but you can always stop if you experience that significantly. Many people dont. Everyone is different

Can i also ask you something? How long did it take you to see results with Spiro and what was your dose? also what BC were you on?

Im on month two of 125 mg Spiro but so far see no positive effects and am starting to give up hope :(

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Thanks for the input :)

When I was on Spiro last year (combied with Nuvaring BC which I started March of 07), I was on it from probably December 06 til August 07, and I really started getting amazingly clear May of 07. That seems like a long time for the Spiro to kick in but I was also on Taz up until February or so which made my skin a living hell, so I believe that if I had been off of the Taz sooner it wouldnt have taken so long for the Spiro to become fully effective. I cant remember my dose but I do believe it was between 50 and 75mg maybe?

I'm also on Spiro again and combined with my new Yaz BC I'm really hoping that with me stopping the Duac and Retin-A, I might see significant turnaround in the next two weeks and it will give me a little more time to figure out if I really do want to do Tane. I would give it a little more time because Spiro really was great for me and your situation sounds very similar to mine. I've heard so many success stories about Spiro for hormonal acne, so just be patient a little longer.

With Tane...I'm so afraid of it coming back a few months later like yours did...but I know a second course usually kicks it for good. Since your situation sounds so much like mine...how bad was your IB on Tane? I really think that is what scares me the most.

I'm glad you feel me on the current regimen and the rediculous IB...it sucks and you know it suchs when you keep thinking about Tane lol.

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Hi Brittni,

Thanks a lot for your message! Yes, our situations seem quite similar. Spiro just takes soo long to kick in it seems! I'm scared of stopping the Retin-A but may be I should for a bit? I know its supposed to be getting all the gunk out to the surface etc...but really, its difficult keeping that in mind when all I see is continuous non-stop breakouts!

With accutane, I would say I didnt really have any major IB. A few zits here and there but no cysts or anything and nothing extensive. I was on a low dose 20 mg course though. I would say new pimples stopped coming around 4-5 months in but I was pretty happy from around the third month on that low dose.

My derm did say that if acne is hormonal, chances of relapse are higher but still accutane works for any kind of acne. To be completely honest three months on accutane and a year after I was the happier than ever as it had really cleared me 100% even from any marks.

Im thinking that may be I can do tane then go on Spiro right after to prevent the acne from coming back? I'll probably ask my derm about that. Do you know if its possible at all to take the two together? I havent heard that before but am wondering if one can do that?

keep me posted and best of luck!

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Oh and one more question - why did you stop the Spiro if it was working so well? I heard you can be on it for years without problems?

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Great feedback sunshine, thanks! If I do end up going on Tane I think I will request a lower dose as it seems that keeps the IB at bay for most people.

I really dont know about a Tane/Spiro combo, I was wondering the same thing myself but had no clue.

As for why I stopped taking the Spiro, when I started my new BC (Yaz), my derm told me to because they are a lot of the same things...and she thought the Yaz would take place of the Spiro...but then I went to a new derm and she put me back on Spiro and said as long as we watch my potassium (I think it is?) levels every once in a while, everything should be fine.

After stopping the Retin-A a few days ago and spending a weekend working in the sun, my face is so clear and feels great...but now I think I have sun poisoning on my nose...haha you can never win. Bummer :(

If you have never been on the Retin-A before I would continue applying it...youre 7 weeks in which is much farther than I was, and I had already been on it and didnt get the results I wanted soon enough, and was completely depressed about the state of my skin...so thats why I stopped applying it. You never know, but I really think your IB would come to an end soon...7 weeks is a long time. But of course, follow your gut...because Retin-A is such a love/hate cream...it works for some and not for others. I think I'm the latter.

Best of luck!

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Thanks a lot for your input as well Brittni! Always nice to be able to share similar stories and get someone else's opinion

Yaz does have something like spiro (an equivalent of 25 mg spiro) but for most people with more than just mild breakouts combining spiro with yaz is necessary to get good results.

I'll def ask my derm about the spiro+tane combo although Im guessing its prob just too harsh for the body

I had one more question for u. Im attaching pics below of the current status of my face (so sad:( ) Do u mind just taking a look and letting me know if u had similar type of acne that spiro ws able to help with. Im just wondering if my acne is more severe than the form spiro works for. I know everyone's different but ur opinion will definitely help

http://photobucket.com/sunrise_85

Glad to hear your face is doing better too! Just stock up on good moisturizers and hopefully tane will work great for u!

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Sunrise - My acne was somewhat similars to yours the first time I went on Spiro, but it was not at all on my cheeks, but pretty much all around my jaw and chin...very hormonal. I would still give the Spiro a shot if you want to try that before doing Tane again...but I think if I were you I'd go ahead and do the Tane and try to kick it for good and get faster and more long lasting results that the Spiro might not give you.

Best of luck, let me know what you decide to do!

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