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Is my acne bad enough to start an Accutane treatment?

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Firstly, I would like to apologize about this really long wall of text as I like to get the details right so others can contribute construction criticism.

A little information about my horrible life of acne:

Until the age of 13 I had PERFECT skin. Then, out of nowhere, at the age of 14 I started to get little pimples occasionally. This gradually escalated into more pimples appearing weekly, which started to lower my self esteem a bit (as a kid you don't mind it too much but it still bothers you). By the age of 15 I had full blown acne, all over my face. I would call it Moderate to Severe at this point. It was extremely red and you could spot me in a crowd of a thousand people just by looking for the kid with the red face.

At this point I went to see a doctor who prescribed my Tetracycline. After months of using it I had absolutely no improvements, and it could have possibly even made it worse. I stopped taking it around four months in because I was tired of wasting my time with something that wasn't working.

After this, I moved to Australia to visit some family. I saw an add for Pro-Active on the Television, and from that moment on I thought that I had found my acne miracle. Well, I couldn't have been more wrong. At the time before I started the Pro-Active my acne was mild to moderate and all I wanted to do was clear the rest of it up and be 100% acne free. I started using the Pro-Active once it arrived in the mail, and the first two weeks my skin looked healthier then it ever has in 4 years. It was absolutely amazing. The acne wasn't necessarily subsiding, but the skin was more vibrant and healthy looking. Those two weeks were the most confidence I had in a long time.

Then, out of nowhere, in week three, I started breaking out really bad. Not just a few pimples here and there, I'm talking about cystic acne. It was the worst it has ever been in my life. The Pro-Active reviews on this site suggested to wait it out and that it would get better so I did just that. I waited two more weeks and couldn't take it anymore. I looked like a walking pimple. My face went from mild-moderate acne to severe cystic acne in less then a month.

Eventually I got tired of all this and decided to get an appointment with a dermatologist (which took a very long time to acquire due to her reputation). At first she looked at my acne under her little microscope mask. She told me that I now had Severe Cystic acne, but the good news was that it was non-scaring. The very off thing was that the first thing she asked me after looking through the microscope was "Did you by any chance use Pro-Active?" I reply'd honestly and said "Yes, why?" She then began to tell me that Pro-Active actually has bleach in it that makes your skin look fabulous for the first few weeks and then basically explodes your skin once the bleach settles in.

Well, we then discussed the various routes that we could go down to attempt to cure my acne. She said that if I was put on what I think was called "Sultram DS" (name is probably wrong) for a few months and the acne cleared down that she could perform a Microdermabrasion to attempt to clear the acne away. After a long run with the Anti-Biotic that she put me on I noticed very minor changes in my acne, even after taking the medication for 5 months. At this time I just turned 18 years old and was disgusted by the way I looked and had absolutely no confidence.

I started reading on the site about Benzoyl Peroxide and decided to give that a try. Now, remember, at this time I still had severe acne so this was a long shot in my opinion. I started with a low 2.5% dose morning and night for a week and slowly added more solution on my face weekly as the "Acne.org Regime" says. Well, believe it or not, it really did calm down my severe acne back down to moderate acne. Now, no matter how much Benzoyl Peroxide I use nothing happens anymore. It gets better, then it gets worse, and vise-versa. One day it will look pretty good then two days later I'll break out horribly and am embarrassed to even leave the house.

I'm tired of this. I can't take my acne anymore. I'm willing to do ANYTHING to get rid of it, which is why I'm now looking into Accutane, which has seemed to help so many people with the same types of problems that I have been having.

I can't even look people in the eyes while talking to them anymore. I'm always looking at the floor, never interacting with people. I despise my pictures being taken and force people to delete any photos that I end up being caught in because of my acne.

But, since this is an Acne site, and I'm at my last resort, I'm going to post what my acne looks like on this site so I could get some opinions on whether Accutane is a suitable drug for me to take since I've taken literally every anti-biotic and OTC acne medication there is. I've never posted pictures of my face on any internet site before, so this is a very touchy subject for me.

I'd just like to quickly add that I'm not taking any medications for acne of topical creams, and I wash my face once at night (and sometimes in the morning if I have time before school) with Cetaphil and also use the Cetaphil Moisturizer.

I would greatly appreciate any criticism or opinions on what I can do.

Here is what my current acne looks like (sorry for the editing, I'm very paranoid about my pictures being on the internet as I have a severe anxiety disorder) I also forgot to wash my face before taking the pictures so my face is very oily. :




So, should I try Accutane? Also, what type of acne would you describe it as of now (Mild, Moderate, Severe, Cystic)?

One last question, with the pictures about how long do you think Accutane would take to completely clear up my skin?

I would greatly appreciate some input/comments/advice, I'm at the point where I have no idea as to what to do. It's driving me crazy.

Anyways, I've been typing this for about half an hour checking grammar and spelling mistakes and what not so I'm going to go to bed now.

Thank you in advanced to all who help me out.

Goodnight :)




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Hmm...I figured since I read your whole post, I HAD to reply. It's so long! But catchy indeed.

Well Accutane is pretty much prescribed for two kinds of acne. The severe category, and the persistent category.

I would describe your as moderate. From the pictures it doesn't look like you have any cysts, which is good. Cysts suck! So painful and scarring! :(

Check out my blog so you understand where I am coming from.


I had severe cystic acne, and it took me four months on Accutane to get to the point where I get like one white head every two weeks. Please note that I am currently still finishing my treatment though, so I have no idea what Accutane's final result for me will be.

I think that if acne is something that affects your social life, and you've tried everything then Accutane is definitely something to consider. Talk to your dermatologist, they usually know best :)

It will likely take you 2 or 3 months to clear up on Accutane, it depends what your dosage is of course though.

Good luck! And feel free to ask more questions :)

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There is no objective standard for if you should take accutane.

If you understand the side effects, alternative treatments available, etc. fully and you want to take it then it should be 100% your decision, no matter what 'level' of acne you have.

Edited by Chf

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