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It started in 2005, if I remember correctly, when I was 20. Within a matter of weeks, my porcelain and perfect looking skin turned into a bacterial culture with whiteheads, blackheads, pustules and all sorts of abhorred infections. It wasn't cystic alright, neither was it conglobata, but whatever it was, it was horrible. The persistence of this bacterial strain amazed me, and gradually all my efforts failed one by one, until I went on 2 accutane courses, and chemical peels.

I look back these 7 years and I feel sorry for what this obnoxious condition has taken from me from all this while. I've despaired, I've wasted more money than you can imagine, and I've felt helpless at times.

Today I believe the war is over. After a year of careful observation, I can say that with a good amount of confidence. Why? Because I apply no acne related products whatsoever, merely a sunscreen and maybe a moisturizer when I need it. I don't suffer breakouts at all, and my skins smoothness has been restored with gentle chemical peeling at regular intervals (which stopped long back).

Instead of harping on, I'd like to quickly mention the things that helped me:

1. Patience and discipline

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Without the two, nothing will work.

2. Accutane

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What is important is following the derm's advice to the letter, and trusting him/her completely. This sick condition makes us despair to the extent that we end up doing things that we shouldn't, and it makes us doubt every approach. Flareups and drops, misses, quitting tendencies and what not. Been there, done that. I took two spaced out courses, and the dosage was administered in accordance with my body weight. Took accutane with slightly fatty meals, and made sure to work out regularly (lightly) to ensure that the fat didn't settle down.

My first dosage was not all that effective, but my second dosage was miraculous. And also, I suffered it all: chapped lips, headaches, a bit of depression and a nice, permanent hypertrophic scar which resulted from a deep cut I got while 5 months into tane. Luckily it's small and tucked away under my arm where no one can see it, but it'll stay with me as a reminder of my fight......

3. Salicylic peel, 5% and 10%

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While accutane stopped the acne completely, it did little to return my skin to the pre-acne state. This is where Glycolic/Salicylic peels came in. I found Salicylic peels to me a lot more effective than Glycolic, but some people find it the other way.

Exactly 7 months after my second accutane dosage, I started peeling with mild 5% peels, and I realized quickly that 5% was too low a strength for any significant effects. I then started experimenting with ridiculous strengths and nearly burned my skin in the process, and came running here in despair. After all the insanity, I learned how to peel properly, safely, with nothing but 10% peels which were safe enough for home.

After 7 peels each spaced 10 days apart, the irregularities and bumpiness had gone completely. After 14 peels, when I looked into the mirror, I nearly cried. I compared my skin to a picture taken from long back and I could say I had gone back to the pre-acne state, no doubt whatsoever.

7 years, close to $5000 dollars of spending, so much of which was rubbish supplements and snake-oil cure claims.

It's been tough, but I did it.

I try to look at this positively, even though this has been a terrible experience. While in this condition, during the worst breakouts when the condition was bad enough to prevent you from going outside or socializing, I learnt a lot about the people around me and their perceptions, if you know what I mean.

My advice is simple: Some people beat it quickly, some don't. I beat it in 7 years, don't know if that is quick or slow. But I do know I beat it with patience, discipline and not doing stupid, gimmicky things.

Good luck and god speed.

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You are so lucky! I did 2 rounds of accutane but the acne came back after several years. I hope you continue to have clear skin!

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