Wouldn't it be great if your doctor could say to you, "Try Treatment X; it's the best acne treatment there is." That's the response you want from your dermatologist. Instead, he or she has you try a bunch of other treatments that don't work at all. It's aggravating, for certain. There has to be one acne treatment that is the fastest, the most effective, the best, right? What is the best acne treatment?
You're dermatologist isn't holding out on you. This is partly why acne is so difficult to treat. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, and there really is no medication considered to be the "best" acne treatment. What works for one person may not be the best acne treatment choice for another.
Think of it this way: What is the best car to drive? A mother with six children might say a minivan, while a young, single guy prefers a sports car. A rancher says heavy duty pickup trucks are the best, but an environmentalist thinks hybrids are the only way to go. Is there a "best" vehicle? No. Each person chooses a different car based on his or her specific needs.
Acne treatments work in the same way. You have to find one that fits you. Over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide might be the best acne treatment for one person, while Differin is the best acne treatment for another. Accutane has worked incredibly well for many people, but the same treatment would be a terrible choice for a woman who is pregnant.
It's frustrating that you often have to try several different acne medications, but this trial and error is often what is needed to find the right treatment. The best acne treatment for you will be the treatment that works for you -- not your sister, your friend, or the person sitting next to you in the dermatologist's waiting room.