I'm of mixed ethnicity and have tan, oily skin that hyperpigments easily. I would say my acne was moderate and cystic...it did get extremely bad quite often. I would call in to work because of my face...I felt like a monster.
Anyhow, I have been clear for almost a year. Yup. I got clear kind of due to a fluke. I got put on Differin and started having that initial breakout everyone speaks of. The initial breakout turned into weeks of horror and nodules and just the worst weeks of my life. I stopped it. The nodules it left me with would not go away, so I tried topical clindamycin (Galderma), and my whole face started clearing up. It took only one week to see significant difference. I was clear after about two weeks. It heals everything quickly and with no scabbing and less redness/irritation. Sure I got a pimple here and there but my cysts were gone. Someone told me before that topical clindamycin didn't work on cysts, ha! It works on mine. I should have tried it earlier.
Fast forward to now, I am using retin-a-micro, topical clindamycin, and hydroquinone 4%. I was so scared to start retin-a-micro because of my adverse experience with Differin but it has gone on without a hitch. I started it about 2 months ago. I kept doxycycline on hand in case it got bad 'cause I wanted to stick with the retin-a. I took the doxy the first two weeks just from my own fear but realized I didn't need it that much. But I would take one at night if I felt a pimple coming. Anyhow...I decided to mix in a bit of the retin-a-micro with clindamycin. I would say a 1:2 ratio, respectively. I started slowly and did this every other night. I had dry skin (the flaky crap that retin-a does) but no IB. I gradually increased to doing this every night instead of every other. Now I use it every night, mix it half and half with my clindamycin. After this sinks in I put on hydroquinone to areas where I had a small bump or pimple ( I don't have to use it much anymore). I know Ziana has clindamycin but I feel retin-a-micro is gentler and I used the smaller dose, the .04%. I felt that this way I had more control than if I had just bought Ziana.
So now, I have the best skin I have ever had. With clindamycin, I was as clear as I thought I could get and I was happy. I decided to start retin-a to curb the evils of aging and wow...I didn't know it would completely clear my skin. I LOVE my skin. I do. I can go without makeup and I can feel beautiful even when waking up. I don't have to hide my face or make up excuses. People can see my freckles now because I don't have to cake the makeup on. It is so freaking nice to finally have something work for me. I tried for years and I am just glad I didn't give up hope. I'm hoping this lasts...