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Hey guys,

I wanted to start this thread for people that suffer from cystic acne. It is very diffrent than the acne most people suffer from, I get a little frustrated wondering if the people posting have the same kind of acne I do or maybe just break out once a month, or maybe going through puberty. So let us have it, if you have it. I will start us off:

I am 27 yr old female. I have cystic acne. It is a real pain in the rear and humiliating! I have tried all OTC stuff, all the mail order stuff, BC pills, everything the derm could give me short of accutane, tanning, nothing has made any difference. Even spiro hasn't worked for me. I have been battling this since I was about 22. Before that I only got a pimple or two around my period. Continue to search for something that will make it go away or at least help!!!
Anyone else?
I am 25 and also have cystic acne, so I definitely know what everyone's going through. I finally decided to go see a derm 3 weeks ago. I can't believe it took me that long to go, since it all started when I turned 20. I guess I thought I would be able to clear it up myself, but after trying so many different things, I decided it was time.

Anyway, I was prescribed doxycycline. I was told to take 1 100mg pill once a day. I've been taking it for almost 3 weeks now and have done nothing but breakout. It's probably the worst I've ever experienced. The weird thing is that it's mainly in just the bottom half of my face (chin and jawline areas) and they are all bunched together. Looks like I have some kind of desease. It's slowing claming down though, but it's taking forever for these breakouts to heal. I called my derm and was told that this is normal and that everything is being pushed to the surface. He said it would take 4-6 weeks to start seeing good results. It's just so frustrating to wait that long.

I did a little research through message boards and saw that most people were prescribed 1 100mg pill taken twice a day, where I only take it once. Can this be a factor? Also, what can I do to help with the irritation on the bottom half of my face? I was using makuka oil and a sulfur mask at night to help dry up some spots, but stopped cause it just caused more irritation. Should I just use a gentle wash, moisturize, and not apply anthing else? Does 100% aloe vera gel help? Any help would be appreciated.
I know what you mean. I feel like a teenager, or something. Im 21 and I should be enjoying that. But..Im not. Its hard to face people when you dont even want to face yourself. But ya know what? Honest to God- Other people dont care. I know YOU care, but you can go see your girlfriend, your friends, your job- Nobody will treat you differently. I would NOT go out for the first few months that I started breaking out. It was particularly bad on my 21st birthday..but my friends made me go out. And did anyone say anything, Did anyone care? No. A guy that has had a crush on me for awhile was hitting on me the whole night. I dont even think he knew the difference.
Also.. Have you considered Accutane? It can do literal miracles for cystic acne. Im considering it myself..Its just a BIG decision. (More so for girls because of the constant pregnancy tests, etc.) I think you should go to a derm and get things checked out. Maybe your hormones are out of wack. At least we know we arent freaks..because look how many people are saying the same things. (...I am 21, I am 27.. I am 26..etc.)
Im sure you are a beautiful person, Inside and Out. And I dont know why this had to happen to us. I know I have a different outlook on things. I was at the post office the other day, and there was a man in front of me who had severe burn scars. His nose was melted into non-existance, his skin wrinkled and white in places, his mouth wasnt shaped normal..he would look scary to most people.. But I thought.. "What a beautiful man" ...He was smiling, and happy and talkative. I didnt even feel uncomfortable in the situation..whereas pre-acne.. I would have. You know when you just dont know where to look?? Well, I didnt even feel like that.
Imagine living like that. Theres NOTHING he can do to ever look halfway normal again. Nothing. Whereas, Acne can be controlled, and it can be somewhat covered. Burn scars cannot. I mean, theres always someone somewhere with something WORSE. Acne is horrible. Its senseless, its awful, it takes away your life if you let it... But think about people who have worse problems.
You should go to a derm. Get antibiotics and a topical. Or tell her how stressed you are..and you might get accutane. But I promise you- You will see a difference. You may grow out of it soon. If its hormonal.. You might just one day wake up, and itll be less..and less..and less. My mom broke out horrible with cysts on her cheeks when she was in her thirties. It lasted about a year- and then just stopped. She now has gorgeous skin. So I feel like there is hope. I know it feels like your life is over, but Im telling you- It took me 6 months to realize this, Its not. Go to a derm, youll be under a doctor's care..and they will help you. Theres so many things out there to help. Good luck, and please feel better!
Welcome besafe20,
Sorry for your suffering, but we all understand what you are going through! Have you been to a dermatologist yet? If you just have these every once in a while I think perhaps an antibiotic or BC might help you.
Well the deal with cystic acne is that it is hormonal, and everyones hormones are different. This is the reason it is so difficult to treat cystic acne. For a lot of people BC does the trick, others have had sucess with spiro. Sadly, no of these have worked for me, so I continue to plug along and do the best I can and I continue to try to find something that works for me! Right now I am working on cleaning up my liver, which I hope will help regulate my hormones, one of the functions of the liver. So good luck to all I hope we all find something that helps, and most of us aren't going to find it in a derm's office!
Kim- What was your dosage like??? Back then they probably didnt know what they know now, and theres a strict formula for Accutane for it to really work.

Also, dosage can determine side effects somewhat. The lower the dosage, the lesser the side effects. Im sure if your body is going to react badly to it, it will no matter what dosage...But I think the chances are smaller...

Im sorry that you had a bad experience with it. Did your acne clear up whatsoever? Now, the way derms prescribe it is usually a low dosage, and then they move it up as the person gets used to it. And for most people, acne pretty much clears up completely for at least 6 months. I feel that if you take care of your skin after the accutane, it will help it to not relapse as well.

Anyways- Cystic acne sucks and Im tired of it- so Im thinking about Accutane.. if my derm says its ok, of course.
I was wondering.. Is anyone here going to consider taking Accutane? Ive been going over it for awhile now, and Im kind of in the mindset that Its the only thing that could help me. There are alot of factors I have to consider before I go on it... Such as if my insurance covers it, what my derm thinks my best dosage should be (I want low dosage, if she suggests something too high and wont back down, I wont take it), and other things.

Im just worried Ill make the wrong decision but at the same time, im making the wrong decisions because of my acne. Im not going out and having a good time, Im not able to go out in my front yard without make up on, I cant go out if the breakout is really bad, I havent gone to church in a few weeks because Ive been so embarassed, and Its a battle for me to go to work everyday. Honestly sometimes I wish I was just gone because I wouldnt have to face people and deal with Im thinking, maybe accutane can help me?
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.
i never really thought there were so many people out there feeling the same... im nearly 20 and have had acne since i was about 13 its just escalated since... i went on oxytetracycline for about 2 years when i was 16 and it worked well for a while but then i came off it as i was having what i believed to be side affects, then i went back on it as my skin seemed to worsen again but came off it again as i wanted to go on the pill.... i then came off the pill after 3 months as my skin was getting really bad again (microgynon 30) and went back on the tetracycline but it did not seem to work this time and my skin has been getting progressively worse since i am now at the point wherei will find any excuse not to leave the house and am considered to be lazy by my family as i dont want to go to work or see nayone i wish theyd understand!!!!:( i get cysts and blackheads and whitheads you name it and it started just on my jaw line and neck but is now spreading up my face and i dont know what to do or how to stop it im so scared!! i constantly have to keep my hair infront of my face to hide it and only see my bf because his rooms dark and it doesnt notice as much in there... i was considering going on dianette but after the horror stories i have read i dont want to try that.. i just really need help and am so depressed.

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