I am fortunate enough to have a complextion that even Accutane can't control.

I don’t know why I got my hopes up about this shit. I have had zits since I was about 17 years old and I am now 26 and I don’t know why I thought this would finally nuke them into oblivion.

You see, I never break out really bad, just 2 or 3, sometimes 4, at a time. But they are the cystic ones. You know, the ones that don’t come to a head and they take weeks to go away. I have pale skin too so they are nice and red.

Luckily for me my skin doesn’t seem to heal as well as it did in my youth so I am left with nice red marks on my cheeks and chin that I am assuming will be there forever.

I am also “blessed” with the appearance of a 17 year old. I am not exaggerating here. I am routinely mistaken for a 17 year old boy. The only people who think this is a blessing are people who look there age. Its tough, professionally, to be taken seriously by people who think you are a punk kid no matter what you do to show them otherwise. The zits just make me look even younger.

So I made my way thru all the medications, over the counter and script. All the antibiotics, creams, washes, and whatever else you could think of. None of them even put a dent in the acne.

So I started accutane since my insurance covers the entire bill for it. Started out great. I was on 40mg p/day and for a month and a half I didn’t get any zits. My skin and lips were dry as shit, but it was working.

Then BOOM!! I was hammered by 6 giant red cystic zits all at one time about 2 months into the treatment. I had never gotten that many at once in my life. It was awful. I called my doc and told her that I needed to boost my dose because the shit seemed to be failing.

So I got up to 60mg day now. Worked good for about a month or so then, now, BOOM! 2 giant red cystic zits on my face. I know you are thinking “Hes bitching about 2 zits?” but these are not your normal zits. They are Uber-Zits. They have their own respiratory systems. Fuck…

I have abot 3 months of treatment left and I will continue it to the end so I don’t have any regrets, but I wish I wouldn’t have gotten my hopes up with this shit because medication almost never works for me. I read all the great stories of people who never got another zit after treament and hoped for that but it just doesn’t look like its gonna happen.

Its kind of an end of the line feeling. If this does not work then the fight against acne is over. Once you have nuked it withe the most insane drugs on the market and that didn’t work its time to accept your shitty complextion. I always had that in the back of my head that I could get on accutane and surely nuke these things if I wanted to.

Well its not working. What a dissappointment.

On a side note I know that there are alot of people out there with skin way worse than mine and I am grateful that I don’t have constant breakouts and zits everywhere. I just cant stand having any because they hurt and they make my already young face look even younger.

Stinkpalm, I’m horribly sorry to hear about your condition. Are you seeing a family physician or an actual dermatologist?
IANAD [that’s the first time I’ve ever used that abbreviation:)], but maybe it’s not exactly acne. It might be something different. From the way you talk about it it doesn’t seem like your standard acne.

I myself thought I was experiencing adult acne (I’m 24), and tried so many different kinds of medicated face washes and treatments and such. My family physician had commented on it and suggested some facial washes, but they didn’t really seem to do much. Just this last time I went for my annual physical, he suggests that it may be a form of rosacea and gives me a sample of a cream to try. Plus I was prescribed an antibiotic for a rash I had on my stomach. The antibiotic, tetracyclin(?), is also apparently used to treat acne. So either the antibiotic, the cream, or a combination of the two have almost completely cleared up my face. And a lot of what I thought was acne were similar to what you describe, only not as intense sounding.

Just wanted to share my story. But if you are not seeing a dermatologist, or even an adult acne specialist, I would suggest doing so. A second opinion can never hurt. Good luck!

I hear you, friend. I still get zits all the time. Not huge ones like you mention, but definitely zits, and it’s a goddamn pain in the ass.

“Aging wouldn’t be so bad, but it’s not even happening in a uniform way! I’m still dealing with stuff left over from my teen years! Tell me, why, why, please, why do I still get pimples at an age where I now have to deal with back fat?

  • Elvira Kurt

I’ve been on for six months (moving into number seven). Still getting zits at 3 months in is NORMAL. Getting a flare up a month or two in is NORMAL. I’m 25 and get carded for anything, even with the drastic difference the medicine has done. So stop complaining until you are eight months into it with no change. (60 mg a day is nothing, i’m on 80/120 alternating days)

I’ve had acne since I was about 8 (face, neck, arms, torso), but I’ve never done anything other than the basic medicated face pads/washes/creams/etc for it. Ie. no drugs. Now I’m just using pears soap and abrasive pads, which seems to be working ok.

I can’t recommend anything to help your acne, unfortunately, but! (IMPORTANT : IANAD) Elizabeth Arden’s visible difference 8-hour cream is something I use on all wounds that are reddish, as you report (I heal very slowly and have quite fair skin) You might consider getting a small bottle and seeing if it helps your zit sites heal after the bugger is gone. Please note it’s pretty pricey, but a little goes a long way - I’ve had a tester bottle for over 2 years now and I still haven’t finished it off - I use it anytime I’ve had a particularly messy pimple that sticks out long after it’s gone, so to speak. This also works to help heal any cuts or puncture sites you might have. Someone might be able to recommend something similar that is more affordable, as well.

Stinkpalm, the only thing I can advise is to go out and get some green makeup. Now, before running in the other direction at the idea of a guy wearing makeup, hear me out. Physician’s Formula* makes a stick of this green stuff. Because green and red are opposite colors, it reduces the redness. Just dab a little bit on the spot, blend it a bit, and it looks natural. You can find this stuff at Target, Walmart, or places like that.

*I am not associated with this company in any way other than as a loyal, satisfied customer.

Note: I think the Elizabeth Arden visible difference line contians retinols (but I can’t find the ingredients online), which should not be used while taking Acutane without consulting a doctor.

And, FWIW, I had numerous breakouts 3-4 months into my Acutane course, but in the long run, it has made a huge difference in my skin. Don’t despair yet.


Stinkpalm, I’m with Tars Tarkas on this one. You have to wait until you’ve finished the ENTIRE course of treatment.

The mid-treatment breakouts are typical of every person I know who’s every used Acutane, and by the end they were all satisfied with the results - no zits, clear skin, etc.

Good luck!

oh crap! Thanks for pointing that out, mischievous - I’d hate to make anyone’s problems worse inadvertantly :frowning:

mental note for future reference

I work in customer service for a company that sells a popular acne treatment. I talk to a lot of people and it saddens me how common your story is.

Generally the best thing to do is realize there is no one thing that will work for everyone. Nothing has a success rate of 100%. However, a lot of people fail simply because they shift around too often or they’re impatient. If you’re going to try Accutane, go for the whole treatment period. If next you try something else, don’t quit after a couple of weeks if it needs two months. I see so many people fail because they’ve tried a zillion things and if it doesn’t work right away, they stop.

There are a lot of treatments out there, both over the counter and prescription, so have hope.

Another vote for continuing the Accutane. Let it run its course.

When I was in my teenage years (I’m 23 now), I had horrible acne. The skin on my face was always bright red, with huge red cyst-like zits everywhere. I tried every product over the counter, only to have more irriation. I went to the doctor–Retin-A, Accutane, Tetracycline–you name a drug prescribed for acne, and I was on it at some point. All of them made things worse. I got so fed up with it, that I just started to look for thick makeup to cover it. At that point, it was easier to find makeup that covered it than a medicine that cured it.

In college, I started to just experiment with face wash, and trying to find something that felt good. Something that would take off the makeup and make my face just feel clean and not oily or greasy. Basis Cleaner Clean cleanser and Johnson’s Clean and Clear Daily Cleanser with microbeads did that. It didn’t stop the breakouts, but it did get rid of the greasy feeling. With all of my breakouts, I always had skin peeling as well. St. Ives Apricot Scrub sloughed off the dead skin without irritating my face. It didn’t stop the pimples from forming, but it made my skin feel less greasy, less oily, and less peely.

After college, I changed doctors, and went in for an exam. The doctor immediately noticed my skin, made me wash off all of my makeup and took a look. She asked questions about the products I had been on, what I used on my skin, and my family history. She actually listened to what I said, and found out two key things that could possibly be causing my skin to be red–my grandmother has Lupis, and my dad’s side of the family all have really red skin (most likely Rosacea). She did bloodwork (to test for Lupis to see if that was the cause). She gave me an acne treatment (differin gel), benzoyl peroxide, and a prescription for Rosacea. She listened to my feedback as I tried these products (and the Differin did irriate my skin where it felt like it was on fire). After doing the prescription and the benzoyl peroxide, my face no longer looks as red as the stripes in the American flag. I was able to lower the benzoyl peroxide to a non-prescription strength for maintainence. And I don’t have to wear makeup because my skin is almost normal color.

If the Accutane doesn’t treat the acne, go back to your doctor. If your doctor didn’t ask any questions about what your face has been like in the past or what you think the problems are or what you want to focus on or what your family history is, then go to another doctor. Go to a dermatologist if you have to. There are so many things that could cause acne (if it even is acne and not some other skin condition). In the meantime, if you are using face washes and the like, use products that you like–that make your skin feel good. It makes a difference.

Stinkpalm: My sister had severe acne for most of her adult life (she is now in her mid-40s). A few years ago she went to a holistic practitioner (also a nurse) and found that she had severe food allergies that translated to big cyst-like zits on her face. I am not suggesting that you stop your current treatment or discount what others have suggested, and have no way of knowing if her condition is at all similar to yours, but the difference in my sister’s complexion is amazing. While I don’t respond to all that many posts, I would feel remiss if I didn’t mention this. I saw what my sister went through, and I haven’t seen a single blemish on her face in a few years. Good luck.