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TL;DR—How do you deal with minor setbacks when your on the road to recovery?  As in, when your face/back is definitely clearing up long-term but you still get a bad pimple/breakout every once in a while?

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The last 6 or so months have for me have been very unusual.  

I started using BP regularly this fall and my face has more or less cleared up since then, but my face was never the real problem: my back and shoulders are my serious problem area with regard to acne.  I used to be a skin-picker/pimple popper w/ the stuff on my back a few years ago, and the result has been that my back is just full of red marks and it's really awful. 

Anyways, my back was under control to some extent for most of the fall—and even started to be getting better—because I started using BP and was continuing to take minocycline.  For whatever reason, I stopped taking minocycline because I thought it wasn't doing anything for me: I was wrong, and my back broke out BIG TIME in a ton of big cysts, especially on my shoulders.  I also got sort of lazy with my BP treatment.

I have spent the last month or so getting back on track with using BP and have started taking minocycline again.  My back is definitely getting better; I can just feel the fewer number of cysts, and my shoulders are no longer active with any acne (though that's not much help aesthetically, as I still have red marks left over; but at least my skin is smooth).  I do, however, get some cysts on my back and face every now and then, and it really brings me down.  How do you guys deal with this kind of thing emotionally?  How do you remind yourself that you ARE getting better and that this is just a minor setback?

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That's why it's a good idea to take pictures periodically of your face during treatments so you can look back at the very beginning and think, "I know I have a breakout right now, but it's still so much better than it was" 

 
alternatively ask someone else who knows you well about what they think of your skin right now? Ask them if THEY feel it's worse than it was before starting, or if they feel it is definitely still on the road to recovery albeit the minor breakout. Most probably they will tell you that it's so much better and now your just breaking out like 'normal' people do :)
 
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People definitely forget how bad they were and start being very unhappy with even minor setbacks.
So I agree with MissSac17 suggestions.

By the way, no one should be on oral antibiotics for acne longer than a few months (2-4 months). If oral antibiotics and good topical regimen are not working then the next step should be to consider oral isotretinoin.

I wish you all the best and I am looking forward to seeing some update on your situation on this forum so that we all can learn from it!

Vise   

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I can soooo identify with what you're going through!! My son is also taking minocycline (only 2 weeks left of a 3 month course), using .05% tretinoin cream, and doing the Acne.Org Regimen. He still gets the odd pimple despite an aggressive treatment plan for his severe cystic acne and I always get anxious and worry that the acne is coming back when in fact it's just a minor setback. It's so easy to lose sight of how far you've come. Looking at old acne pics when his skin was really bad is very reassuring and really helps keep things in perspective.

I'm especially going to worry after the minocycline is done and we are just dependent on the topicals. I just hope they'll be enough!! (But trying very very hard not to think about this!!) 

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