I was prescribed Roaccutane about 10 years ago at the age of 16 to clear what can only be described as "stage 5 terminal acne".
I honestly had the entire pharmaceutical catalog thrown at me to no avail. My mother had success with Roaccutane several years previously, however because of the controversial nature of this drug the doctors were hesitant to go straight for their trump card, despite the hereditary nature and strength of my condition.
As expected, two years of climbing the treatment strength hierarchy hadn't produced any results, so I was finally referred to a consultant dermatologist, who probably took one look at me and wanted to start throwing holy water at me!
The effects as I remember were pretty quick, at least the side effects were. I had extremely dry skin on my face and lips. The dryness led to peeling and flaking similar to a very bad case of sunburn without the redness, but frankly and in a slightly masochistic way, the fact that I could see it working was reassuring as previously no other drug I used had any outward effect whatsoever.
By the end of the 3 or 4 month treatment my skin was absolutely clear, and it honestly was a miracle!
I don't recall how long the dryness took to subside, but it didn't matter to me.
I managed to escape all visible scarring aside from some very faint pockmarks by my temples, which are normally hidden by my hairline anyway.
10 years later I can't identify
any lasting complications as a result of having taken Accutane, and my skin has been clear ever since. That is not to say that I never get a spot, because that would be inhuman; everyone will wake up with a spot once in a blue moon, but their location and frequency are definitely in line with what is considered normal, possibly even below.
Thinking pragmatically, if you're at the stage where Accutane is being offered as an option to you, it's because nothing else has worked properly, and failing a medical breakthrough of epic proportions, nothing else WILL work. It's literally a last-resort treatment because of both cost and potential complications.
As a final note, the psychological scars left by acne on a teenager who is developing physically, socially and emotionally are far more damaging than the pockmarks that can get left physically.
The kind of acne that I suffered from I would not wish upon my worst enemy, and I can still see small manifestations of its psychological damage in my personality today, even after having 10 years of clear skin.
If you are being offered Roaccutane by a doctor, take it.
No one should have to go through serious acne, at any stage of life. The safeguards and blood tests necessary while on the medication are there to mitigate the risk of complications and should be reassuring, not frightening. If you can, try to take a perverse pleasure in the dry skin like I did, at least you can see this drug working!