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After all I had read about Accutane, I was pretty scared going into my treatment in early September of
2013. As I took my first little orange pill, I was terrified. I had heard so much about the horrifying side
effects of the “miracle drug”, and, being a bit of a hypochondriac, I took to the best source I knew – the
Internet! After hours of reading blogs about people’s experiences, looking at before/after pictures and
scouring forum after forum, my head was spinning.
I read about people’s faces peeling off, having suicidal thoughts, and suffering through the worse
breakouts of their lives. I saw images of cracked lips and sad faces with captions that read, “my face feels
like someone took a meat tenderizer to it.” I read about dry eyes, bloody noses, something called dry
butt—I don’t even want to know what that is...NOT encouraging!
As I kept reading and scanning, devouring these peoples’ stories and experiences, I began to feel
physically sick. My back ached, my head hurt, my brain running in circles of is this worth it, am I going to
become suicidal? Am I suicidal right now? I was really a mental, physical, emotional mess on Accutane Day
But then day two came. And day three. Four, five, six – twenty-seven, thirty-nine, before I knew it I was
(am) three months in! 20 weeks down, 8 to go, said my dermatologist today!
My skin is not miraculously clear – not yet, anyways. It is improved, yes, but not done yet. I am choosing
not to despair until the treatment is done. I have hope.
For all my worrying, and the tizzy I worked myself into on that first day, Accutane has NOT been that bad.
It is a very serious medicine, and it should not be taken lightly or until you’re ready for the responsibility
of its potential side effects. But thankfully mine have been quite minor. It’s really just been a few key
Things I’ve learned to do while on Accutane:
1. Apply lip balm like it’s my job.
I literally cannot go ANYWHERE or any length of time at all without Chapstick, Vasoline, Carmex,
Blistex, whatever I can get my hands on. As long as you keep your lips moisturized, they won’t crack or
bleed or peel or any of that nasty stuff you’ve read about. They’ll be dryer than you’ve ever experienced,
that’s for sure, but keep those pesky little tubes handy (and don’t put them in the wash) and you’ll be
okay. Sidenote: my hands also cracked and felt a bit like dragon scales at times. Keep hand lotion at the
ready, as well.
2. Lay off on showering (a bit).
Maybe this is just me, but Accutane really dried out my hair from the first few days. I have naturally
quite greasy hair, and being on this drug made it dry, or at least normal like other peoples’ hair. I only
need to wash it every few days—which is awesome—and it looks absolutely great! Thanks Accutane for
this one sweet side effect! Also my arms and legs have been dry, so I’ve had to adjust to showering less
often and moisturizing EVERYWHERE after I do hop in the bath.
3. Be okay with picking my nose.
You think I’m joking, but it’s for real. The mucus in your nose will dry right up on Accutane, resulting
in painful and sometimes bloody boogers. I’m just laying it out there for you—those things are NOT
comfortable to leave be, so you’ll need to make time to just clear it out once a day. Just don’t do it while
driving, unless you have really tinted windows. Even then, it can wait!
4. Look forward to that one beer each week.
Drinking alcohol while on Accutane is a touchy subject. Some completely abstain, others risk it (who
needs a liver anyways, right?) I made a pact with myself to have no more than one beer a week while on
the treatment. My liver scans (blood tests) have always been clear, and it actually has been kind of nice.
It makes me really look forward to that one drink, and make sure I enjoy it in a special way—with good
friends or an extra delicious burger.
5. Be extra picky about my products.
I swear by the following: Neutrogena Extra Gentle Moisturizing Face Wash to start and end each day,
Cetaphil Lotion before bed, Aquaphor for those especially dry days (on scaly spots and lips before bed).
Lip balms I’m not so picky – whatever is closest is the best, no questions asked.
Well, that’s what I’ve got so far. Two more months to go – maybe three, depending on progress. I’m
thankful for relatively easy side effects, and being able to somewhat hide my excessive Chapstick needs
under the cover of “it’s winter! Everyone’s lips are dry!”
To everyone else joining me in the exciting, frustrating, seemingly endless but ultimately (fingers
crossed) effective journey that is Accutane, Godspeed. We are in this, together.
Flash forward to today, my one-year anniversary of starting Accutane. I’m happy to say, my face is totally
clear! I haven’t had a pimple since I can remember, much less a full-on breakout. No matter what time of
the month, or how stressed I am, my skin stays clear! A little tinted moisturizer (and some sunscreen) in
the morning, and I’m good to go for the day. In fact, I’m back to the oily t-zone I did NOT miss while on the
medication – but it doesn’t bother me as much anymore.
My skin isn’t perfect. I have scars. Bumps, spots, marks on my chin and cheeks and nose. But instead of
fixating on those I choose to be thankful. Thankful that someone invented this crazy, painful, apparently
wildly effective medicine, and that I had the opportunity to take it. Thankful for people in my life who saw
through the acne I had before and will see through it if it comes back again, but also rejoice with me that I
can feel confident and pretty and more grown up than before.
The journey was rough, I won’t deny it. But a year out, I can say I’m glad I tried Accutane. I’m even more
glad it worked. And I’m the most glad to say it’s over.
I was on 60/mg a day for 7 months... I had horrific cystic acne on my face, and an even more severe amount of disease on my back. I wish I had done Accutane years ago, so that I could have prevented the scarring. I did have mild side effects while on the drug, as you should expect, but nothing too serious, and everything has cleared since I stopped. I am 99.9% acne free now, I would call that cured. Basically, I have healthy, normal skin. I do not use any anti-acne treatments, just gentle cetaphil cleanser on my face and back, and will get the occasional tiny zit, but they are infrequent and I think nothing of them... they are just as any normal person might get. I did have hair thinning while on the drug, but my hair has come back strong and seems as thick as before.
I researched everything about isotretinoin before I started taking it. I wanted to weigh the risks and benefits before taking the drug for 5 months. I have had mild to moderate acne since I was 16 and I am now 26. I tried antibiotics, birth control, ACV, chemical peels (which made it worse), even the acne.org regime which irritated my sensitive skin too much to keep using. After talking with my dermatologist, we decided that these other things I have tried did not work and he suggested a five month course on accutane.
There is a lot of waiting involved in order to get the prescription. Waiting after the pregnancy test, waiting to get approved, waiting for results. They make you jump through A LOT of hoops if you are a female, but if you are willing to get the necessary tests every month, it is worth it. My dermatologist prescribed me a low dose of 20mg for the first two months then I went on 30 mg. I have just finished my last months prescription a few weeks ago and my skin is the smoothest and clearest it has been since I can even remember. However, I still have some redness and my skin is still sensitive and dry.
My side effects were very typical. Dry skin, dry lips, sore joints, low energy, and eczema flare ups. All of my side effects were bearable and I would do it again if I had to. Some of the products that I use to combat dryness are Cerave moisturizing facial wash, Cerave PM moisturizer, Aquaphor & lanolin for my lips. For makeup, I used Estee Lauder double wear foundation and it helped with covering up any redness or unevenness. Loreal's True Match also works well for a drugstore brand. After the third month, I noticed I needed less and less makeup because I didn't have to cover up anymore. I also love E.L.F lip exfoliator for dry flaky lips. Another positive side effect besides clear skin has been that my hair has been growing very fast. I asked the dermatologist about this and he could not explain it. I only have to wash my hair every few days because of the lack of oil. It is important to note that your skin will be very sensitive while on accutane. You have to be very careful not to pick your skin because it will not heal as fast as it normally would. It is also important to note that you cannot tan, get a tattoo, or wax while on accutane. I get my eyebrows threaded instead and it works very well without any irritation. I am tan and do not normally burn while in the sun but while on accutane I burn very easily. Also you are not supposed to drink alcohol while on accutane, when I did, I noticed it affected me strongly so I would not recommend it. I tried three different brands, Claravis, Amnesteem, and Absorbica. I would recommend taking Absorbica if you can because it is absorbed the best. The other brands you are supposed to take it with a fatty meal in order to be absorbed. Even though on the label they warn you about depression, It has not affected my mood at all.
There is a lot of scary information out there about accutane, but I wanted to share my experience and hopefully help someone with their decision to try it. I would recommend it to anyone that struggles with their skin.
I always promised myself that after all was said and done with my accutane treatment that I would come back onto these blog and share my story in the hopes of helping a skeptical, scared person like myself. I am now 21 years old and completely acne free. In high school, I never had acne. My skin was pretty much clear my entire life untill college. I started breaking out a lot on only my chin and forehead. Pretty much every breakout was "cystic" and never rose above the skin. Unfortunately this meant that they took forever to go away and they completely dropped my confidence. Absolutely nothing worked for me. I tried topical creams but the pimples were too deep and no antibiotic did a thing. Finally I decided to try accutane although I was absolutely scared. I already had some health issues (headaches, neck problems, etc.) I thought that I would never be able to handle any "side effects" because I'm already dealing with my own Health problems. Once I stared the treatmant, I quickly realized it was worth it. I started to see results within the first month. My face is also not oily at all. So I thought I would be painfully dry on this stuff. however, my skin and lips got dry but it was nothing lip balm and lotion couldn't fix. As for the side effects, I truly could not notice much of anything. Accutane truly just becomes apart of your life for a short period of time and then next thing you know, it's over! I was on it for 6 months and I am beyond grateful that I tried this. My skin has been flawless, soft and beautiful for 5 months since I have been off it. I never break out and I almost forget sometimes that I used to have bad skin. Accutane is COMPLETELY WORTH IT! If you are on the fence about it, please try it! I remember calling my dad crying before the day I was about to start it, and he convinced me to give it a shot. I am soooo glad he did! If you are worried that you already deal with some discomfort due to health issues like I did, don't let that stop you! If anything, any previous health problems you had only makes you tougher, so accutane should be a breeze for you! I want everyone to feel this way about their skin.. If you are a candidate to take accutane, please give it a try :)
I am 21 year old male and had acne for seven years. My acne was moderately severe, and cystic. I took Accutane (Claravis) for 80mg a day for 5 months.
My improvements were extremely slow. The first month nothing really happened. From about second to third month breakouts started taking place. The IB acne was very deep and mostly cystic. It wasn't as much as quantity as much as quality. The acne on my face slowly went away, until I was completely clear on my face around month 4. My back acne faded about one or two months after I finished treatment, with minor breakouts to this day. Accutane still didn't clear me completely, but just enough to where I can feel like myself.
As far as side effects go, I had dry lips and dry skin, which didn't bother me that much because I live in South Texas where it’s always humid, and the winters are mild. I had a couple headaches and sore joints/back. As far as my vision, mental sanity, internal organs go, they were completely fine. It has been seven months since I finished Accutane and all my side effects are completely gone. My skin is a lot less oily, but still somewhat oily at times, but the difference is I don’t break out as much anymore.
I would highly recommend this, but it is up to the individual if they want to try it, and their level of how they are fed up dealing with this problem. I did not have insurance and had to fork out a little over two grand, and I don’t feel sorry I did. There are many times when I thought of what I could buy for two thousand dollars, but my treatment seemed like the answer I was hoping for all those years.
Although Accutane didn't work the way I expected, the result in the long run outweighs the risk, cost, and discomfort.
I was accutane for over a year and had brilliant results. Only had mild side effects dry skin, chapped lips and occasional headaches. My dermatologist suggested I stop taking accutane give my face a break for a year and then have laser to clear up my scarring. However within 2 months of being off the medication I began to break out. I have now been off the product for almost a year, my acne is back once again very red and painful and as bad as it was before I started treatment.
I started Accutane in February of 2014 and just finished under a month ago on July 24th. I am currently 13 and started when I was 13. 5 years ago my mom went on it and had more side affects than me, she had dry skin everywhere, cracked lips, very irritated skin (the usual.) As for me, i only had dry lips and for a portion of time my chin was always cracking. Otherwise I had no issues. Like I said, i was on it for 5 months. For the first month i was on one 1, 40mg pill a day, the next month i was upped to 2, 30mg pills a day, for a total of 60mg's a day. Iwas on that same dosage for 2 months after that. To simplify that I was on 60mg's a day for 3 months. :). For the last month I went to only 30mg's a day. When I started I was scared of looking anyone in the eye and my face was always oily. I tried 7 topical gels and another set of pills in the past and no luck:(. Accutane was our last resort. My dermatologist wasn't skeptical at all. I trusted him fully and family supported me. I did it and now I'm as happy as i've ever been. I love my skin and am not afraid to wear no makeup in public anymore! I fully recommend Accutane to anyone who needs it.
I just started round 2 of accutane today. The first round was 6 months of 40 mg / day. I'm a 120 lb, 21 year old female for reference. Those 6 months were the happiest of my life. I've never been so confident or happy in my own skin. It was FLAT and dry and beautiful. My skin is extremely, extremely oily usually; NOT having that constant itchy oily feeling and having my makeup patchy and sliding off was amazing. I got eczema on my arms and thighs and butt and dry lips and my lower back now aches when I do a housekeeping shift at work, but I really don't mind at all for the sake of clearing my severe acne (face and body) and drying out my skin.
My skin is now clear and flat and thanks to Apple cider vinegar the hyper pigmentation is dramatically reduced. I have permanent scarring but I don't mind. Two months after finishing my first round I'm beginning round 2 because the oil came back after two weeks. My dermatologist says once I'm past childbearing years I can go on 10mg
/day for the rest of my life. Until then he's hoping that a second round will keep my oily skin at bay for longer. I have nothing really bad to say about the drug; it was worthwhile to me and the side effects were nothing terrible and it made me happier and more confident than I've ever been in my life!
If you’re reading this, you're most likely struggling with acne and on accutane or deciding whether you should go on it or not. Well I’m here to tell you that its an incredibly difficult choice (obviously) but it is so incredibly worth it. Anyways this is going to be long but I’d like to share my story so that I can help others make a choice that can change their life for the better. In the beginning of high school, I would get occasional break outs. Nothing too serious, it didn't bother me that much. Once I hit my junior year of high school, my skin seemed to get so much worse within a matter of months. My first semester of junior year was spent going on pointless antibiotics and topical gels in order to fix my increasing problem. My cheeks had tons of spots, it seemed like no place was spared. While my acne was not the scarring/cystic type, I could not leave home without a face of foundation at least. My skin would bring me to tears, and I didn't like close up eye contact because I felt that it was incredibly noticeable. I always knew about accutane, but I had stayed away from it because of the things I had heard. Once summer began after my junior year, my skin improved a little from the sun exposure. However, I vowed that I would seriously consider accutane my senior year if my skin got worse after the summer. Sure enough, about a month into senior year the condition of my skin began to worsen once again. Now, I was still debating accutane. As many of you know, you cant drink any alcohol while on it and the side effects listed are quite terrifying. As a senior in high school, i wont lie, I went to parties regularly on the weekends and drinking just happened to be a part of my social life. I know it shouldn't have been this way, but that was why it was such a hard decision for me. Basically I decided to forgo parties with friends in order to have the clear skin that I always wanted. SO I began the whole process, the month long wait and the first blood test and whatnot. I began on 30 mg for my first month. Im a 5’7’’ girl and I weigh about 130 lbs. After about two weeks, I noticed that my face wasn't producing as much oil. IT WAS AWESOME. My hair stayed clean for days. It was super great. So I saw small improvement from there on. For my second month and then the rest of my course of 5.5 months, I was on 60 mg/day. I didn't notice a big difference in side effects with the dosage increase. My side effects were manageable- there were only two things that really bothered me (besides not drinking). First of all after like 3 months my eyes were F**KED UP. I would wake up with eye gunk and they would be red all the time. People always thought i was stoned. IT WAS AWFUL… And secondly, my finger tips got extremely dry (weird as hell I know) - but yeah they looked wrinkly and it was so awful. So by the fifth month, my skin hit a new level of clear. It was crazy. It took five months to get there and then I took the pills for two more weeks after that. I was worried about stopping, but its been about half a year and my skin is in the same wonderful condition! The oil returned but the acne didnt. I feel like a brand new person. I want to tell everyone to at least try this drug if you're struggling. Also to any girls- I suggest birth control. I started halfway through my course and I think it has also helped to keep my skin clear. My eyes are still dry sometimes before I fall asleep, but it isn’t horrible. Either way I am willing to put up with it in order to have my acne gone. Please please let me know if you have any questions. This can change your life!
Accutane is a permanent solution for 7 out of 10 people with acne. It is effective, but for some people (like me) acne comes back within 6 months. I did two rounds of Accutane and unfortunately it came back both times although not as severe. I have bad cystic acne that just wont go away for some reason but now I am taking probiotics, using topicals Duac & Tazorac, drinking lots of water & drinking lots of green tea and red tea (antioxidants) & my acne seems to be under control. I don't regret going on it twice, it did clear up for almost a year & it was so nice to get a little break from acne or oily skin lol! THE STRUGGLE!