I'm publishing this because I want you to know that I do know what I'm talking about, and that you're not the only one with this problem (I assume you're reading this because you have acne)
I first started to suffer from acne when I was about fourteen. I started getting a few spots, which multiplied slowly until I suddenly realised I looked like a bad impersonation of "Pizza the Hut" from the movie "Spaceballs". I hope no-one finds that statement offensive - I know what it's like to look in the mirror in a morning and think 'yeuch', and that's really the only description I can come up with.
Having tried most of the over-the-counter remedies available, I headed off to see my GP, who prescribed me various oral and topical anti-biotics. My skin cleared up fairly rapidly when I started using the topical antibiotic zineryt (zinc and erythromycin), without much scarring, and remained greasy but spot free for the next four years or so.
In October 1995 I left to go to university. I don't know why, and I'm not even sure when it started, but by the middle of the second term my acne was worse than it had ever been. I had spots all over my face and body - I can't show you a photograph, as I refused to allow any to be taken, so you'll just have to take my word for it - it was bad!!
A course of oral antibiotics, hotly followed by dianette (a form of contraceptive pill) made some difference. However, I was still spotty, and my face and body were covered in scars, so I was referred to a hospital dermatologist who offered me roaccutane.
I've written about my experience of being on accutane here. By the time my course of roaccutane was over, there wasn't a spot in sight - I was so impressed I decided to make a web site telling the whole world about it!
It's now six months later, and my acne is staging a revenge attack. This apparently puts me in the minority. I'm currently getting it back under control with zineryt - I told my GP that was what seemed to work for me, and she promptly prescribed me a large bottle. I have been referred back to my dermatologist, but so far, haven't even got an appointment.
Another six months later (20/04/98)- I have given up all hope of ever getting an appointment from the dermatologist. It's a good job I don't suffer from anything life threatening. My acne is being quite well behaved at the moment. I have invented my own regime of washing, medication, and other "self help" remedies. My spot count goes from zero to moderate depending on the time of month (I think), but the oilyness seems to be under control. I am quite convinced the roaccutane played a big part in this, but I'm also sure my acne could flare up again if I didn't take care of myself!
23/06/98 - Accutane is now all over the news as having alledgedly serious effects on people's mental health. I am thankful I don't really need a second dose. Like a lot of other things, it hasn't been proved that accutane has these effects, but a lot of people believe it does. I'm afraid I can't make your mind up for you on this one - weigh up the possible risks against the possible benefits to yourself.