Hi...found this site through another online forum and through another member.
Well...my name is Tiffany - I live in Toronto (Scarborough technically), Ontario Canada.
I've been an acne sufferer since I was atleast 11. I'm 21 now. Finally got fed up with this crap on my face - it started to take over my life.
I broke out in grade 5. Weird....I was the first one to ever get acne, although it looked more like a rash than anything else and was on my forehead. My parents figured it was because I had bangs - bangs + greasy hair + no air to my skin = zits? That was the guesstimation I suppose. I started pinning back my hair - didn't work. Slowly it spread down to my temples and then I got the typical "smattering" of small red pimples on my cheeks. We all thought it was just hormones and puberty - that it would go away. Only it didn't.
My mother bought me every single thing you could think of when it came to acne products. I had clearsil and those stupid Oxy pads with alcohol. I tried Spectro gel and scrubs with exfoliants. I even went as far as to sleep with an Oxy pad taped to my face to see what would happen. I ended up with a huge purple bruise (I had popped some zits beforehand and they were now suffering the wrath of the alcohol and salicylic acid). I don't recommend EVER doing that!!!
I went on the oral contraceptive, Ortho-Tricyclen when I was 15. I was told that birth control pills can work wonders for your skin. Only I gained 15 pounds within the first 3 months of being on it, so that sucked. I quit taking them.
I pretty much ended up just living with the acne all through elementary school and part of highschool. I went on a trip right after I graduated and bought some of that Vichy Normaderm stuff that I had seen on a commercial. Baaaaad idea. It had perfume in it (fragrance) and I broke out like nothing else. It was horrible. One of my teachers actually stopped me on the street after she saw me and asked what happened. Ugh.
I then decided to give ProActiv a go after another infomercial. I bought the typical 3 step package - Toner, cream wash, and mask. I also bought the moisturizer. It worked, but I flaked sooooo badly. The moisturizer did nothing and I felt like a snake shedding its skin. I found that paying $100 every 2-3 months for the stuff wasn't worth it, plus my skin was clear, so I stopped. My acne then came back with a vengeance. I pretty much gave up after that - besides my step-mother buying me another ProActiv package for Christmas more than a year later. I didn't even use it all.
Moving to Toronto for school (fashion school no less), I became a lot more self-conscious. My skin was clearer, but it seemed to slowly get worse and I really don't know why. I blame it on stress and the pollution, but I seriously don't know why my skin hated me so much.
Stress was a major factor I think. I had a lot of personal problems this past year and its been rough. I was getting desperate. I dreampt of going out with no make up on - but I felt it was impossible because I looked like a monster.
In March 2007 I finally got the balls to book an appointment with a dermatologist. I went in for a consultation right away. He took one look at me and said, "Accutane....I don't know why you didn't go on it sooner". And truth be told, I wasn't sure if it would be covered financially by my status card (I'm Native, so my band covers it). I found out it would be covered entirely. I didn't have to pay a single cent for treatment. I was so excited. I walked out of his office with the Accutane folder feeling so much better. I just needed to have a few blood tests and be done with it. Acne would soon be history.
I never really did get around to having the blood tests done. And then I lost my job in June because we lost our funding. It sucked. I was stressed again and had to find another job, so Accutane wasn't a huge priority at the moment - although my acne is what played a part (I feel) in where I got a job. I felt like it held me back.
Finally, in September I had a particularly bad month and decided, this is it, no more screwing around, I'm getting the tests done. I went...but totally forgot that I had to fast beforehand. I was so mad at myself. I did it finally that night and went back the next day. I called my derm's office in November (after they finally got the results) and they booked me an appointment for Dec 20th, 07.
I was told my tests were a bit "funny" - meaning I had a low white blood cell count - but that he'd put me on it anyways (after constant gruelling about not getting pregnant and using two forms of birth control). I felt so good...I filled the prescription right away and started it on Dec 22nd. I was told to take one 40mg dose for 2 weeks, then after 2 weeks, up it to 80mg daily.
My face dried out so much and I started experiencing side effects right away (sore bones, joints, aches, pains, etc). My lips were so chapped and the insides of my nostrils hurt so much too because they were dry and cracked. I peeled quite a bit and had to buy some expensive moisturizer from our Beauty Boutique (I work at Shopper's Drug Mart). It worked so well (its called (Clean-Ac by Avene or Trixera by Avene- both were great).
I never really had a point where I got worse - maybe the initial few days, but nothing afterwards. Its all been healing up nicely and I rarely get any new zits. I had a lot of white heads before - especially around my mouth and below my nose on that really sensitive skin. My chin seemed to flair up at times too - but its now nice and clear. The most significant improvement I've seen is my forehead. It never really was problematic (since I was younger anyways), but its so smooth and bump free.
My neck, jawline, hairline and behind my ears took a beating. I've never had acne that sore, pussy, and swollen. It hurt so much. But even that is slowly clearing and healing. Its only been a bit over 4 weeks since I started and its pretty unbelieveable. I haven't been this clear since I was a kid!!!
The only real problem I have is the hyperpigmentation from scarring, some minor divets in my cheeks and temples (but even those are less bumpy looking now), and my neck. I noticed that I've got this sunburned look now too - not sure if thats from the treatment or from the years of damage to my skin over time.
Time will only tell.