I remember both my cousin and I, who were only two years apart in age, each suffering through adolescence with fairly severe acne problems, dreamt of a day when we’d find a miracle cure for a smooth and beautiful complexion.
I, on one hand, had been on everything from Retin-A to Tetracycline and Erythromycin for my acne. She had also been prescribed these drugs and even additional topical treatments which would work for a little while, but then become ineffective.
That was fifteen years ago. At this time, there were no serious and effective alternatives (see our product reviews on the right-hand side of this weblog) to aggressive acne treatment. Accutane was pretty much it.
I remember feeling envious when she was allowed to go on Accutane, which at the time was practically a “miracle” treatment for those with stubborn and persistent breakouts. The drug was not without its warnings back then though.
I remember the biggest warning was to not get pregnant while on the medication. It was mandatory to be on birth control if you were being treated with Accutane since the medication drastically increases the likelihood of birth defects.
Other than that, I was oblivious to any other warnings and I didn’t care about them quite frankly. When you’re fifteen and you have severe acne, you would do almost anything to have a clear complexion, especially when your peers can be cruel about physical imperfections!
Green with envy, I tracked my cousin’s progress eagerly and hoped to talk my parents into allowing me to go on this aggressive medical treatment. Her skin did break out much worse at first – to the point where she did not want to go out in public due to the large and painful inflammations.
This was a known drawback, so I took heart in knowing she would clear up later. Then, as promised, her skin did clear very nicely, and all that was left was the old scarring.