I'm posting this because I spent over a year perusing online message boards like this one hoping that somewhere I'd find something that would work for me as well...so I'm hoping this helps someone else. I'm currently 24 and had beautiful clear skin all my life then suddenly started getting crazy cystic acne all over my cheeks, chin, and even some on my forehead when I was 22-23. I tried pretty much everything under the sun for a year (seriously)....I used Proactiv for months (was a joke...didn't help at all), Murad, La-roche-Posay, Skinceuticals, got a prescription for Differin, got a prescription for Yaz, tons of over the counter acne treatments, tried microdermabrasion/chemical peels and changing my diet....nothing helped long-term.
It got to the point where I was actually embarrassed of my acne and semi-depressed...I'd always have about 3 or 4 big cystic pimples and then another probably 10-12 regular red/whitehead/blackhead pimples on my face at any given time. The cystic pimples took months to go away and left scars. Finally after a year or so I went to a dermatologist my friend recommended, and he told me that for moderate-severe acne, it's all about using a combination of things to come at the acne from several directions, instead of just one or two prescriptions, topical only, antibiotic only, etc. He pescribed the following for me:
0.04% Retin-A Micro gel
Triaz prescription face wash
Benzaclin as a topical treatment for my existing pimples--did not use this on my whole face
First let me just say...I'm convinced the Doryx and Retin-A micro alone would have done the trick...they are MIRACULOUS. I could rave about Doryx all day for what it has done to my face. I know what works for one person doesn't work for everyone, but it is amazing! NOTHING had helped my face before this, and literally within a month of following this regimen every day my face was drastically clearer. Within two months, my skin was CLEAR. As in no pimples. The cystic acne cleared right up as well as the smaller pimples. A couple months in, once the pimples were gone, I had a series of four Silkpeel microdermabrasion and chemical peel combos and now my skin is glowing...back the way it was before all this acne started.
After a couple months, I stopped taking the Spiro and only used the face wash a couple times a week. After three months, I only took the Doryx once every 2-3 days. It's now been nine months and my skin is still clear. =]
I have some left over Doryx that I still take maybe once every week or two if that. I still get maybe a small pimple once a month, but it clears right up--have not had a cystic pimple since i started this regimen. I use the Retin-A Micro every night. I hope this helps someone out...I remember how I felt a year ago and it sucks....a LOT. I spent a lot of time stressing about my acne...so I hope i can help ease your stress! =] Don't give up...you can do it. Hopefully this will work for you too...