This reviewer is affiliated with RealSelf. The views expressed here are their own and do not reflect the views of RealSelf, Inc.
When I was 12 or 13 I started to get deep cystic acne on my back. It was horribly embarrassing, especially for a teenager. If I had to expose my back (tank tops or swimsuits), I would do my best to cover it with concealer or wear my long hair down.
I tried every OTC topical treatment, body wash, etc. I used Proactive (body wash and spot treatment) to no avail. At 18 my derm finally suggested Accutane as a last resort.
My mom was very worried about the side affects, but let me do it anyway. I was double insured through my parents so I don't recall it costing anything.
Accutane was 100% effective for me. It started working within a month.
The only downside for me was the skin peeling. It started with my face... sometimes l felt like Goldmember in the third Austin Powers movie (he peels off his skin for fun---so gross!). In the last few months of treatment, my hands and feet started to peel too. It was BIZARRE.
I used Accutane for 9 months, and within a month after stopping my skin started to go back to normal (not peeling).
I haven't had any acne on my back since (I'm now 24). Though I never had terrible acne on my face, the Accutane made a difference with the little that was there. Now I only get a big pimple every couple of months.
For reference, I was a young, otherwise healthy girl, so that could be part of why I had few side affects.
I highly recommend Accutane. The confidence I've felt since was WELL worth the few months of dry skin issues. I've since discovered I look great in a halter top!
If you do use it, opt for Aquaphor as your nighttime moisturizer when the peeling gets bad. I wish I'd discovered that sooner.