Jump to content
Acne.org
Search In
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Recommended Posts

I am 34 y/o female. I never had acne just a few pimples each month. 3 months ago I started breaking out. I tried Retin A Micro and Tetracyclen for 5 weeks and went from mild acne to moderate acne. The last 4 weeks I have been using Tazorac, BP 5%, and Septra. Also I've been on Ortho Tri LO BC for the last 2 months. My skin cleared up last week and I was just left with red marks. I was finally happy again, but I just broke out again! I saw my dermatologist today. He was not happy with how my skin looked although it isn't as bad as 4 weeks ago. He said try the Taz, BP, and Septra for 1 more month and if I'm not clear we'll try Accutane.

Here's my problem....I am sooo depressed and can't stop crying. I don't think I can go through this for another month. I know if I call him and ask he'll prescribe the accutane, but I'm scared. I don't know what to do. I'm having a really hard time delaing with this. Should I just start accutane and get it over with? Then I'm worried I will have a really bad initial break out, is that likely even though the Retin A already did that to me? I really need help guys. Thanks!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tara,

Deep breaths, in and out. Dry those tears and think back.

Did anything change in your life when you first started breaking out? New job? Different diet? New skin care products?

From the sound of it, you've done LOT to your skin in the past three-four months that could be the cause of the worsening break-out.

1) Retin-A Micro made my kid break out REAL BAD when she first started using it. She'd been on tetracycline for a few months--was on a maintenance dose in fact--when she started using the Retin-A Micro to clear the comedones. You'll hear many derms--including ours--maintain that the worsening of acne when Retin-A etc is started is just due to happenstance, i.e. the yin/yang of acne. That the main thing is to persist and keep on applying the retinoid.

On the other hand, if you search Retin-A or Tazorac here, you'll see my kid has plenty of company. I firmly believe that the "cutaneous irritation" caused by Retin-A Micro caused my kid's break-out. Many people persist and swear the topical retinoids give them perfect skin in the end -- in our case the "cure" was so much worse than the original condition that I couldn't possibly encourage my kid to persist with it. I've found a lot of anecdotal evidence that fairskinned women have the hardest time tolerating topical retinoids.

2) Although BC pills are supposed to help clear acne, they actually CAUSE acne for many women, especially when first started. There is just no way of knowing how your body will react to them. Moreover, according to the lead researcher of the Ortho-TriCyclen acne trial (G. Redmond), the pills only cut the acne lesions by 50% on the average anyway.

3) Once the break-out is on its merry way, you are likely to wash your face more, try even more stuff on it and STRESS about it. All that can irritate/inflame the skin even more. (And crying just rubs salt in open wounds :-) You are using Tazorac AND BP 5% all over? That's a HARSH combination per se.

You say you just broke out again. Where and how? How would you describe your acne overall now? And "horrible" does not cut it :-) Do you have blackheads, closed comedos? Just in some spots or all over? Inflamed little pustules? Nodules/cysts?

I know it's real frustrating--heartbreaking, in fact--when something like this happens. Hang in there. Do some acnesleuthing. Something that came on this fast might well clear up quite as fast.

C.

(who is not a doc but plays one, convincingly, online)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tara,

Deep breaths, in and out.  Dry those tears and think back.

Did anything change in your life when you first started breaking out?  New job? Different diet? New skin care products?

From the sound of it, you've done LOT to your skin in the past three-four months that could be the cause of the worsening break-out.

1) Retin-A Micro made my kid break out REAL BAD when she first started using it.  She'd been on tetracycline for a few months--was on a maintenance dose in fact--when she started using the Retin-A Micro to clear the comedones.  You'll hear many derms--including ours--maintain that the worsening of acne when Retin-A etc is started is just due to happenstance, i.e. the ying/yang of acne. That the main thing is to persist and keep on applying the retinoid.

On the other hand, if you search Retin-A or Tazorac here, you'll see my kid has plenty of company.  I firmly believe that the "cutaneous irritation" caused by Retin-A Micro caused my kid's break-out.  Many people persist and swear the topical retinoids give them perfect skin in the end -- in our case the "cure" was so much worse than the original condition that I couldn't possibly encourage my kid to persist with it. I've found a lot of anecdotal evidence that fairskinned women have the hardest time tolerating topical retinoids. 

2) Although BC pills are supposed to help clear acne, they actually CAUSE acne for many women, especially when first started. There is just no way of knowing how your body will react to them. Moreover, according to the lead researcher of the Ortho-TriCyclen acne trial (G. Redmond), the pills only cut the acne lesions by 50% on the average anyway.

3) Once the break-out is on its merry way, you are likely to wash your face more, try even more stuff on it and STRESS about it. All that can irritate/inflame the skin even more.  (And crying just rubs salt in open wounds :-) You are using Tazorac AND BP 5% all over?  That's a HARSH combination per se. 

You say you just broke out again. Where and how? How would you describe your acne overall now? And "horrible" does not cut it :-) Do you have blackheads, closed comedos? Just in some spots or all over?  Inflamed little pustules? Nodules/cysts?

I know it's real frustrating--heartbreaking, in fact--when something like this happens.  Hang in there.  Do some acnesleuthing. Something that came on this fast might well clear up quite as fast.

C.

(who is not a doc but plays one, convincingly, online)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't try Accutane yet--especially if your acne started with stopped periods/weight loss. I guess you saw a gyn? Did he/she order any labwork done before putting you on the BCP? Did you go on the pill to regulate your periods--or for the acne?

You might want to read the hormonal acne thread here if you haven't done so already, and/or Karmagirl's posts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My gyno checked my hormones and they came back within normal range but he said they could still be out of balance for me and within normal test range. I started the BCP so I'd start to get my period again, which I did this month, and to see if it'd help my skin. I don't have any other symptoms like hair loss or anything. I'm hoping the BCP will balance my hormones. I just feel like this is never going to end and I am so tempted to just try accutane and deal with the side effects. My dermatologist is really optimistic that it'll work for me.

I'm just having such a hard time dealing with this, avoiding friends and family, I'm in counseling, and I'm taking sleeping pills to sleep. Is this a good enough argument for accutane though? Have any of you tried it and had success. Thanks for replying to my questions. I love this site and how supportive people are. It really shows how many caring people there are.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tara

Glad your here. Hope you start to clear soon. I know the Accutane decision is a tough one.

My teens (males) use Tazorac in the PM. We noticed something that seems to make it a lot less irritating and I read in on the Tazorac website containing the patient information. Anyway, if it is applied to recently wet skin, it will penetrate more and cause more irritation. I asked the derm and she said it would be fine to wait about 10 min or so and when the skin is dry, apply it.

Their skin texture looks better when they apply it this way and still seems to be working. They don't wake up all dried out and uncomfortable.

I hope your skin settles down soon.

biggrin.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Initially i would try neosporin for a couple of weeks. It works!! then if u still aint happy i would recommend accutane- i have been on it for 2.5 months now- i had moderate acne and i was clear after a month and am now just battling hundreds of red marks and scars- please do something before your skin scars- cause after the scarring happens its really difficult to deal with- trust me. and good luck x

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Accutane is a last resort. Always treat it as such.

It's extremely powerful but by the same token also extremely dangerous.

You need to give each treatment more time. 5 weeks is not long enough, and 8 weeks should be the absolute minimum time for you to see any positive benefits. By 12 weeks if you aren't significantly cleared it's time to try something else usually.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with all the above comments, except for maybe Neosporin, because it is so incredibly oily and not a common thing to use for acne. Scarring, yes - - chapped lips, occasionally - - acne, I'm not seeing it.

What type of birth control pill did your doctor prescribe?

When having your hormone levels checked, did you get any additional bloodwork? The weight loss and the lack of a period for months without any hormonal cause leads me to believe it could be something else.

I hope now that you are gaining weight and bleeding again that the acne clears up but, if it doesn't, what other types of prescription medications have you tried?

P.S. From what you describe of your acne, I wouldn't suggest Accutane. The initial breakout can make your acne worse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm... well. I think you just need some time. b/c im on Septra as well. && i do have the same problem you do. ITS CRAP! But.. ive found a lil something that seems to be working for me. Iono if a Derm would ever approve.. but watever. I say just keep using the Septra and just.. stay calm. Septra does take a long time to REALLY take into effect.. so.. just be patient. All of us are in this together. Stay strong. && one day you'll find your answer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Tara,

Sorry the taz doesn't seem to be working for you. Maybe you just need to give it more time. Like another poster above said, it takes time for these medications to work..at least 8-12 weeks most of the time. Did you have an initial breakout with the taz? If not, maybe this is the initial breakout (kinda late..i know) and the taz is just pushing all that junk to the surface of your skin. Try to hang in there for a few more weeks..at least 4 more. You did see initial improvement so that is a good thing. If at 8 weeks you have another bad breakout, then go talk to your derm. Also, I am curious as to why you're derm told you to use the tazorac in the morning? I thought it was best to use it right before bed?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your doc made a very important point about so-called hormonal acne. In some women, even when the blood test results are in the lab's 'normal' range, it may be that you are still sensitive (hypersensitive) to the 'normal' levels in your system. In those cases, docs usually rely on other clinical signs, such as menstrual irregularity (which is only masked by the pill), hair growth/loss, and a myriad of others.

Remember, you don't have to have all of them. Some women haven't developed them - yet. Others never will, but the hormone thing is not something to ignore, if it is indeed.

I think your doc took the right first step - BCPs, because some do a good job of dampening the effects of systemic androgens. See if that starts to help, and if it doesn't, continue investigating the hormonal issue - as well as considering (with your doctor) other treatment options. It sounds to me like that doc is a good one - stick with him/her and try what he/she advises.

:o)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone for your advice. I talked to my derm today because I'm noticing scaring. He said if I have another breakout to call him and we'll start accutane. Otherwise we'll wait a month and see how I'm doing then. I told him with Accutane I was concerned about the initial break out and scaring and he said he'll start me at a low dose (also because of my size) and if I breakout he'll have me take Predisone. Have any of you taken this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Personalized Advice Quiz - All of Acne.org in just a few minutes

×