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Hi Everyone,

I'm the mother of a 16 year old daughter. I'm in tears writing this story. I'm just so lost as what I can do to help my daughter with her severe cystic acne.

She's had acne since she was in the 4th grade. It started with little bumps here and there. Once the hormone level went haywire in 6th grade the acne got really bad. I, like other mothers, thought "it's just acne, a phase" and did not THINK to see a dermatologist for something that every teenager will go through.

By 8th grade her acne was not clearing and if anything getting worse. Her Dad had severe acne during his teen years so again....we just thought a phase but see a derm about it. The dermatologist gave her a concoction that she made herself and it worked for a couple months but that was it. We traded insurance and wasn't able to see the derm again. A friend told her about Pro-Active and guess worked...for about 5 months. It NEVER got rid of the acne but the angry red bumpy redness subsided.

This summer 11th grade year (age 16), I really started noticing how her face is always red, bumpy and how scars are forming. Not to mention that's it's ALL OVER HER FACE. It's not the acne that's just here or there..... It's the entire face. She has days where her face actually hurts in spots or all over. Poor thing she's developed my sweat glans and her Dad's big pores! Her forehead, back and chest (sweaty spots)are broken out so bad she tries to hide it.

She stopped the Pro-Active because it just didn't do anything but dry her face out at this point. I tried over the counter "pro-active" type systems. Didn't work. I think we've tried every over the counter item there is at Sav-On, Wal-Mart and the mall. I also noticed how depressed she started getting about her acne (this is the painful part)....she's BEEN boy crazy but now that all her friends are getting boyfriends and she's not, it's depressing her. A friend of hers (while I know she was trying to help) suggested that she see a dermatologist about her acne and maybe she would have a chance with boys. Whaaat!!!! Do you know HOW small I felt? Here I'm her mother and I haven't even tried to get her some type of derm help. I know last year she had a couple boys that teased her about her "bumpy, acne face", kids are so cruel and it broke my heart! My daughter is very outgoing, friendly and has plenty of friends, boys and girls but her she has self-esteem issues and the acne does not help.

Right now she has acne all over her face. Not much blackheads or whiteheads. It's mostly under the skin, angry red acne. Her forehead is covered in tiny bumpy feeling whiteheads, just bumpy feeling and red. She picks constantly.

Well, 3 months ago I took her to the doctor, he said she has cystic acne. He said it's the worst but very treatable so he prescribed monocycline(sp?) and a topical. I will say the angry redness has gone away but still leaving the bumpy cystic acne. I also switched her to the cetaphil cleanser.

My daughter and I had a long, long talk and spent 3 hours on the internet researching Accutane last week. While I'm very scared for her to try it, she's willing and I'm willing to have my daughter take the risk in order for her to lead a life with better self-esteem. So we're all set to have the doc perscribe Accutane and Damn.....he says it's really hard to go through the hoops to get it, it's something most insurance companies won't cover and the cost is about $500.00 per month. I would need a referral for a derm, that takes about 4 weeks. He said he's willing to do it, but let's try something else first.

He's now prescribing monocycline(sp?) still and the Retin A Micro Gel .04%!!!!!
He says to give it another 2 months. He says her face will get red, itchy, flaky and maybe a really bad breakout for the first month. Luckily it didn't scare her off because a friend of hers used the same thing, his face was really bad last year, but now his face after 4 months on the same treatment, is really clearing up. This is making her feel good about trying it. I explained to her that the scars are probably for life but we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

Anyone have any words of wisdom for me. Anything encouraging? Anything you tried that worked to help with the side effects of Retin-A Micro? Someone suggested Eucerin lotion. Anyone have/had the red angry under the skin Cystic Acne and have anything work for them? What should she really expect from the Retin-A Micro?

We've been doing the pillow case changes daily, anyone have luck with that? Anyone had dermabrasion after and had good luck? I've heard horror stories about this.

Thanks for all your help!
Upset, concerned Mother

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