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Hey everybody!

After 2 years of stalking this forum I decided to join and actually contribute.

Don't really know where to begin other than introducing myself. I'm a 26 year old female from sunny Scotland (we have currently been plunged into rainy darkness for the winter season, haha). I will try and give you the lowdown on my lovely acne experience, which has been ravaging my face slowly and persistently since 2006.

So, I had moslty flawless skin through my teenage years - actually used to get a really dry scalp and dry skin patches on my torso, so my skin tone must've changed somewhere along the line. I would get the odd, massive, cystic spot on my face (very sexy). I remember once when I was 15, my pal told me that toothpaste would take the swelling down. So I coated the thing (which was on my cheek) in Colgate Spearmint overnight, and it dyed my face blue! went into school the next day, and got asked by the guy I had a crush on if I had been in a fight. Other than that harrowing ordeal, I didn't get any trouble.

Then a few things happened...

- Family stress aged 19 - my mum got sick. She's fine now (yay!) - but my skin is crap (boo.)

- Took about a year for the acne to kick in - was 2006 and I was 20. Started seeing the odd spot crop up on my cheek but nothing spectacular. They would be isolated, a bit swollen and a pain in the ass for a week, then disappear. Over time, they got a bit worse, and I started getting breakouts on my chin, cheeks and (my most hated zone) - nose.

- By 2007 I went to the doctor, who gave me minocycline. It worked a treat, but only while I was on it. This basically started the pattern of taking antibiotics for 6 months, my skin clearing for a further 3 months, things gradually getting worse again and going back on antibiotics.

- 2008 - Minocycline - clear skin - the story continues till the end of 2008, where my hormones seemed to go nuts. Started experiering problems with hair, periods, skin got progressively worse.

- 2009 - danced around with oxytectricyline for half of the year, skin was AMAZING when I graduated from uni. I attribute this to sunshine and the fact I was very settled in a loving relationship. After summer experienced some problems with skin again (mild compared to present day); doc prescribed Yasmin.

- 2010 - took birth control for a year, taking me up to November 2010. A series of unfortunate events happened in this month - went through a break up, lost a family pet, job stress and uni stress - so my skin went absolutely crazy. Came off birth control and got spots in places I never had before. Had a massive breakout on my chest (which has never happened since), massive spots all over face, in clusters. So embarrassed but at the time I had full time uni commitments and 2 jobs, so had to keep going.

- 2011 - Went to the doc in July with depression, when my acne turned into impetigo on my chin. It's not immediately obvious that I'm depressed - or at least it never used to be - but it was only arund this time, when I was 24, that I accepted I had acne rather than bad spells of having bad skin. I became a bit obsessed with my skin since it would swell up a fair bit. On top of that, I felt like I couldn't successfully do anything anymore. The doc discussed possibility of accutane treatment but I was shy to try it since I felt really low and had bad anxiety.

I had an accutane appointment in September 2011 - in the UK, you need to go to a dermatologist at hospital, so you need to wait a couple of months to be seen. The doc recommended Accutane, but I got scared and declined. I attended meditation classes till the end of the year (which remarkably cleared up my skin!), and felt better towards the end of the year.

2012 - Returned to the doc in Feb, got Lymecycline. Took antibiotics for 6 months, and in May asked to be referred to derm again. Waited till July till appointment, still taking Lyme and then Minocycline again (which in my opinion, is much more effective than Lyme....at least for me), and finally in October was good to go for roaccutane. I say that like I was excited - of course I was absolutely terrified and reluctant to go on it, but needs must.

So here I am, two weeks in. I've tried holistic approaches, meditation, taking a step back when life gets too stressful. There have been days I've cried, felt like a freak, felt like a teenager (which is worse), talked myself out of dates with guys who asked me out despite the acne, and have wanted to avoid human contact (even though I am immensely sociable). Writing this, I feel disjointed and barely know what to type. While I feel extremely fortunate that I only have bad skin, and no other life threatening condition, I would be bluffing if I told you it hadn't affected me. For a long time I ignored it and it didn't bother me, but over the past 2 years it has affected everything. I dread feeling attracted to guys because I put up this wall. Even if they ask me out I try and talk THEM out of it, justifying my decision with "really, do you want to go out with me when I look like a mess?" I make a joke of it and am very open about having acne - no one would dispute I have it, but in an odd sense I find it empowering that it's out in the open, and no one can bitch behind my back about it. Neverthless, I feel like I am becoing a by product of acne, which is why I had to blast on with the Roaccutane treatment.

Having acne has never stopped me partying or going to work - I teach informal classes for a living - but it's difficult to face people, especially at the moment when I am leaving the house with Accutane-induced impetigo colonising my chin. I make a big joke about it, but I burst into tears in work the other day. And even though it doesn't bother friends, family, and has never appeared to bother the guys I've been with, I still feel as though I am a step behind my friends at the moment. While all of them are talking about settling down and getting new jobs, all my news consists of is my progress on Accutane.

Negatives aside, Accutane hasn't been bad so far. I've got a long way to go, but the only side effects I have experienced are insanely dry lips. They do not lie when they tell you you need to moisturise! A few days in my chin went nuts and I got impetigo again, which has not been easy to deal with. I reckon it started with a breakout I had on my chin before I started taking Accutane, and with my skin getting weaker the infection has erupted. I got erythrimycin and cream to sort it out, and am praying it clears soon. Other than that, it's not been as bad as I thought. Let's hope it stays this way!

If you made it this far, thanks for listening to this cathartic rant. I hope you're all finding ways to clear/cope with acne. Looking on the bright side, things could be much worse. But let's face it - it's a bitch. People don't realise how sore it gets, and it can really mess with your self esteem. Forums like this are a Godsend, though - if there is one thing I've learned from having acne, it's how to appreciate a healthier lifestyle, and to alter my diet! I'm hoping my on-going Ugly Duckling phase will soon come to a close, and I can put this shambolic skin condition behind me. I'll post on other threads about accutane progress/tips I have discovered since the people on this forum have taught me so much, I almost feel like a doctor. Where is my Phd?!

M xx

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That's too bad. Have you tried proactive?

Actually, I do have an intelligent question: how did you contract impetigo?

Edited by srotriya
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hello friend!!!!!........... we have sooooo much in common....... acne+depression... just great ain't it?.......

like you i was also a friendly outgoing sociable person...now even attending simple family gatherings is such a big deal to me...... i always find some excuse to not go.... i've stopped talking to my friends, and literally isolated myself.....

my family took notice and my aunt told me to consult a psychiatrist coz depression and anxiety disorders runs in the family (which i didn't know until that conversation)....and so i did and just this April was diagnosed with BP disorderII.... by then i was also on accutane.... i took anti depressants and mood stabilizers for 2months and i stopped because popping'em i felt like i was really crazy...haven't gone back to my psych, and continuing my accutane course.....

it has helped a lot...no major side effects... just the dry lips, skin, sometimes eyes, photosensitive.... soo i just hydrate hydrate...

good luck on your accutane journey as well.... god bless!!! best wishes!!!

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Good luck with accutane! I'm 24 years old and plan to start accutane in Jan ( I'll be 25 then). I started breaking out pretty young due to puberty (I think 4th grade?) but then I just had mild acne through high school and college, small little pimples in my t-zone that never really bothered me too much. Everything was fine until I went off birth control in April 2011 when I was 23. After a few months I started breaking out worse and on my cheeks which was totally new to me. Fast forward a year and a half and I'm still breaking out bad and my cheeks are my main problem area. I even went back on birth control for 10 months convinced it would fix my skin, since coming off it caused it to go crazy in the first place. Unfortunately that didn't work :( I just went to a derm last week who offered me spiro or accutane. I'm going back in a month to let her know my decision and at this point I'm definitely thinking accutane, I'm fed up with my skin and want something with more guaranteed results! Keep us posted on your progress!

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