For the longest time, since I was about 12 years old (I am now 18) I have suffered with cystic acne, mainly on my face. I tried everything to cure it, I tried all the shop bought treatments, such as clearasil, clean and clear, Garnier skincare, and the more expensive treatments such as Dermalogica and Clinique, and many others. Some helped yes, I found the spot on treatments such as the Clearasil Rapid Action Spot Treatment (which is around £6) particularly helpful when desperately trying to shrink that massive spot on the end of my nose the day before prom. But all of these treatments have the aim of doing one single thing, which is to dry out the top layer of skin as much as possible to get rid of the excess sebum. Now this causes problems for people who have real acne issues, as the real reason why acne occurs is underneath the skin, not on the top layers where the creams can penetrate.
Now, bear with me here because its about to get sciencey ;)
Acne, contrary to popular myth, is not caused by not taking makeup off, being stressed, or being unclean although these things can contribute to minor breakouts, but not an underlying issue such as acne. Real acne is caused by one thing and one thing only - HORMONES.
We all produce androgen, a hormone related to testosterone and present in both males and females. Androgen regulates the amount of sebum produced by glands in the skin. Some of us make more sebum than we actually need due to high levels of androgen and this clogs under the skin causing a breakout.
So the reason that these types of treatments can't usually completely cure acne? Its because it doesn't address the underlying issue of hormones. So I urge you, if you are having real skin issues you need to get yourself to the doctor.
(My experiences are only related to girls I'm afraid guys!) When I went to my doctor after 5 years of battling with acne, she put me straight on a pill called Dianette. This is a contraceptive pill which is taken once daily like a normal pill, but it is only prescribed to people who have acne or hirsutism. To my recollection it reduces the amount of sebum produced by your skin.
I have been on this now for around 5 months, and it is AMAZING. It has cleared up my spots like nothing else! Within five months all that remains are a few scars and the odd spot now and again. I have experienced no side effects with the pill and I am so happy that I have found something that works. I say if you are a girl and are really suffering with acne, then go to your doctor and suggest being put on this!
It unfortunately doesn't work for everyone and some people experience side effects but I have experienced nothing of the sort as of yet.
I would say go for it, go talk to your doctor! Don't suffer with acne anymore if you believe that there is something you can do about it!