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I am 25, and have suffered with cystic acne since 12. It has had a huge negative impact on my life and ruined my self esteem. I had it somewhat under control for a couple of years, but after going through a high stress period in my life, it came back with a vengence. Right now I am dealing with at least 4 big cysts on my face (2 really painful ones on the jawline), several smaller red ones all over, cysts in the process of healing, and whiteheads, which are a rarity for me. My face exploded into this breakout after trying Camellia Oil a few weeks ago, combined with the stress, and hasn't gotten better yet. I get a couple of new cysts everyday, it's extremely depressing. It's affecting my husband and three kids because I refuse to leave the house unless absolutely necessary. My husband has been doing everything outside the house for me - all the shopping, taking kids to appointments and oldest daughter has even missed three birthday parties in the past 2 months because I was too embarrassed to take her and hubby was working. I hate living like this. I have been on oral and topical antibiotics, Retin-A, and Differin with little to no improvement. I am currently using Sage Ex strength BZP 10% with sulfer on the big cysts, but it is doing nothing but making my sensitive skin red and burning.

I did discover what may be a light at the end of the tunnel though. A couple of weeks ago I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, which can be a HUGE factor in severe acne in females due to the over production of testosterone. Since then I have been eating low carb (south beach diet) and was prescribed Ortho Tri Cyclen for relief of PCOS symptoms. I haven't noticed improvement yet, but that is to be expected because I've only been on the diet and OTC 7 days now.

I am still doing my research and considering taking the Accutane plunge. I have been dealing with this crap way too long and I honestly don't know what it feels like to have a decent complexion. It's been bad for so long, with the pitted scars on my cheeks to prove it. I have been reading the accutane journals here to get a better feel for it might be like for me. I am so scared of the potential bad side effects and that I might be one of these people whose acne gets WORSE (G** forbid, it couldn't get much worse than it is right now). Besides the OTC birth control pill, I am also in the process of weaning myself off the antispressant Paxil, so I'm worried about the potential effect on my liver. Paxil is also hard on the liver, and I've been taking it for 4 years now. I am also very worried about the potential of psychological effects, since I have had depression and anxiety issues in the past.

Still, with that said, I do think the benefits of Accutane will outweigh the risks for me. What kind of life do I have right now anyway, sitting around the house all day, afraid to go out and face the real world because of embarrassing acne. I'm suffering, my husband is, and so are my kids, because of this. It's not fair to them. I am lucky to have the most wonderful, understanding husband, who tells me all the time how beautiful I am despite the acne, and keeps me going when I feel like throwing in the towel. I am thankful for that, but they still shouldn't have to suffer too because of my bad skin.

I am going to do a little more research on Accutane, continue reading the accutane journals here, and make my decision from there. I do think it is the only thing that is going to help me in the long run.

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