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I am 42 and took accutane when it first came out in 1982 (i was about 21), btwn undergrad and grad school. i was on it for almost a year. it really dehydrates you and i had a jar of vaseline with me at all times. i had suffered from non-responsive acne (i dubbed it that as nothing helped, topicals or orals), since about 15. my derm in so cal was very well known, yet i had to talk him into prescribing it for me, as it was so new then. however i had crystal clear skin for the next four years, through grad school, and then when i began working, i am sure due to stress and being in an office building with recirculated air, my skin began breaking out again. i went back on accutane for 6 months, and my skin cleared up for about another 6 years. in my late 30s it started breaking out again, b/c, amazingly my skin has gotten more oily as i have gotten older.

i used retin A, prescribed topical antibiotics and oral antibiotics, but nothing really worked, and i would get break-outs here and there. when i turned 40 i really started getting blackheads, and small bumps/closed whiteheads in my T zone. I had never really suffered from blackheads before or breakouts around my nose, and nothing seemed to help. i was getting married and my bridesmaid told me to go for a facial. i was leery of going to an esthiticean b/c i had been going to derms for over 20 years and they had always told me not to go to anyone who was not an MD. Well, nonetheless i went, and within 3 months my skin was looking better than it ever had. i went once a month for european (extraction) facials and microdermabrasion. my esth. was great and she put me on G.M. Collins products, cleanser, vitamin C drops, glycolic and pigment toner, and i have to say my skin never looked better. unfortunately i moved from southern to northern cal and, although still using GM Collins products (they are the best and i have used everything, dermalogica, obagi, clarins), i have not been able to locate a really good esth. here, and therefore my skin is not as clear.

one thing i learnt is you don't want to ever use harsh cleansers, and make sure you always wash your face b4 bed. i am beginning a holistic program, colon/liver/toxin cleanser right now (i smoke which is the worse for skin), and hopefully will be able to find new esth, although i am still going to derm. note that i have concluded that derms tell you to stay away from esth. b/c they are taking bus. from them, and that is all there is too it. i have had facial by top derm in no. cal and it was not even close to european facial i was used to. thus, won't make the mistake of paying 100 dollars for nothing again.

however, i would absolutely recommend accutane. i did not have cystic acne, just continual breakouts, and i just wanted clear skin, and it did it for me. note however, that i did suffer loss of night vision, which i am sure was a direct result of the accutane. however, i knew the possible side effects going in (please on the back of the pills then they had a picture of a pregnant woman with an X marked through her and a mutated baby, and in hindsight even having suffered one of them, i would do it again, although i would make sure to research its side effects on the net, something i did not have the benefit of when i began taking it. make sure you are followed by a reputable derm and get blood tested every month.

i have spoken with quite a few others that also went on it and they all had to do retake for time period subsequent to first trial, just like me, so that seems pretty common.

but, i highly recommend extraction (european) facials by good esthitician. i knew the one i had was going to be good, as i specifically asked her what made her go into this profession, and she replied, because since i was little i loved picking zits. i know that sounds crass and i know it goes against what we have always been told, don't pick at your face, but these people are trained, and if trained correctly, they can remove all of the toxins from your skin with no resulting scarring.

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