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I first got acne in my early teens, 13-14 years old. My older brother had it badly and tried all sorts of things before he finally got on an oral antibiotic that helped him. I used topicals like Differin through my teen years, and my acne eventually subsided to a few here and there. It got much better in the summer when I was outdoors more, and sometimes I'd go for months at a time with no creams at all. When I graduated college, my acne began to come back. Like I said, I always had a few here and there, but nothing that made me too self-conscious. Oily skin is genetic in my family, so I simply accepted that I'd always have a few breakouts. But it got to the point where I'd have several on my face at once, and I started to get a lot of the cystic kind. I began going back to my dermatologist and she got me on Solodyn, which was an oral antibiotic. It worked wonders and my face cleared up in a matter of months to the point I literally had no breakouts aside from one every week or two. I would have gladly stayed on this, but my dermatologist told me 1) It would never actually cure my acne, so if I wanted to stay clear-skinned, I was going to have to continue to take this pill daily. Not a huge deal, but an annoyance none the less. More importantly to me, it was an antibiotic which can have an adverse affect on birth control. This can be said of all antibiotics taken alongside birth control, and I just didn't like that risk. After 6 months on Solodyn, I ran out and decided to see if my acne was still bad or if finally at age 23, it would subside. It came back worse than ever, almost an entirely different kind of acne. It was cystic and red and many of them would hurt. My cheeks and jawline were covered almost nonstop, regardless of what I did. I had enough and went back to my dermatologist, where she told me I was a prime candidate for Accutane.
I was hoping for another oral medication that wasn't an antibiotic, but apparently nothing like that exists yet. When she gave me the iPledge booklet and told me all the risks and possible side-effects that come along with Accutane, I was obviously a bit afraid. I went home right away and read the entire booklet. Most of it stated the same side-effects that come with almost every medication, even simple over the counter cold medicines. But some of the bigger ones, like depression and the onset of colitis really scared me. It seems a bit ridiculous to risk your most vital internal organs to clear up your face, something that has no direct effect on your health. Obviously, the other risk women have to worry about is the horrible birth defects that can result if you get pregnant while on Accutane. My family was split on the medication, but I ultimately decided I wanted to try it. With the requirements of the pregnancy tests and blood work monthly just to get the refill, I figured my doctor would stop me on the medication immediately if it was having adverse effects on my health, and I'd recognize if I was feeling differently as well and would stop if I felt like the medication was making me feel different.
I got put on a kind of accutane called Absorica, and I had to take it twice daily with a meal. I ended up having to stay on the medication for 5 months total. After just the first month, my blackheads literally dried up and disappeared. I couldn’t remember ever seeing my skin like that, as I had blackheads since 11-12 years old as I mentioned earlier. Initially, my nodular acne got worse. It was coming out on my shoulders and chest too, where I never even had a problem. My doctor assured me that this is how the medication works, drying the pores out from inside and pushing out everything bad, so to speak. After this initial flare up, it increasingly got better day after day, finally yielding a clear face after about 3 months. I truly couldn’t believe it. For the final 2 months, I could honestly count on one hand the number of zits I’ve had, and I account those mostly to my time of the month when many women experience breakouts. Not only is my skin clear all over, but I almost feel as though the medication has evened out my entire complexion. I never had much acne scarring like some people experience, but I’ve read that it can actually help lessen the appearance of scarring, too. Most importantly, I didn’t experience a single health change. All of my vitals remained the same during themedication, I’ve had no gastrointestinal problems, no signs of depression, no nothing. The smaller side-effects that I did experience throughout were chapped lips, dry skin/hair, and nosebleeds. All of these are nuisances, but worth the annoyance in my opinion for the end result. I simply had Aquaphor with me everywhere I went and reapplied it to my lips nonstop, put Vaseline in my nostrils with a q-tip before bed, and washed my hair every other day instead of daily. Small prices to pay for a clear face. I’m a contact wearer and dry eyes are another common side-effect, but I didn’t even experience that. Other common small side-effects included decreased night vision and frequent headaches, but I didn’t experience either of these. My insurance also covered my prescription wonderfully, making the medication under $10 a month. I went to the same lab for bloodwork every month and that was free, and I only paid a few office visit fees during my 5 month stint on Absorica. Obviously, this will differ depending on your insurance, so that’s also something to make sure you look in to.
My advice to anyone considering taking a form of accutane would be to first and foremost read all information your doctor gives you and do your own research, especially if you are a woman, as the iPledge comes into play and you really have to think about the side effects that could harm a fetus were you to get pregnant while on the medication. I would also advise anyone considering trying the medication to truly think about what you personally feel comfortable with. Even after reading the info my doctor gave me that scared me a little at first, I thought it was worth trying because of the close monitoring while on the drug. However, so many of the online reviews and articles are negative, and it made me step back and reevaluate a little. What ultimately made me decide to go with my own gut was that in general, I think people are more likely to get online and leave a review when they’ve had a negative experience with any product, especially a drug like accutane. When people are satisfied with a product, they’re just happy with it and usually don’t think to get on and leave positive comments. This is why I wanted to make sure to share my positive story. There might be someone out there with a similar acne story to mine, and my long-winded advice here would be to do your research, make the decision for you and you alone, and give it a try. If your doctor says you’re a candidate for accutane, your acne is obviously serious enough. We all know that appearance has a large impact on how we present ourselves and feel about our image, and I couldn’t be more pleased with how Absorica has cleared up my face because I finally feel like I can be myself and not worry that everyone I talk to is staring at my acne.
I spent many years searching acne.org for solutions to chest and back acne. I tried everything from the Acne.org regimen to other prescriptions. Nothing ever cleared up my acne and I suffered with insecurity from the time I was 13 until I was 25.
Finally I decided I had nothing to lose and started Accutane. The only thing I can say is that I wish I would have taken this sooner so I would not have missed out on a lot during my youth (swimming, beaches, etc.) The only side effects I experienced were an upset stomach the first week while my body adjusted to the meds. Of course, the chapped lips and dry nose are annoying, but you can learn do deal with it. I would rather have chapped lips than a breakout any day.
It has been about 6 months since I stopped taking the medicine and I have not had one breakout. Accutane has improved my quality of life tenfold and I would recommend it to anyone who is considering it.
I started getting blackheads and whiteheads in elementary school so by the time I was entering high school I had full blown acne. It was more pustules than the deeper cystic acne, though I did occasionally get those too. My dermatologist gave me Accutane right away. This was over a decade ago now so it wasn't as big a deal like it is now. I believe I also started on the highest dose, 40mg 2x daily. During the entire time I was taking Accutane my face looked terrible! Red and flaky yet greasy from the A&D ointment I slathered on. The only side effects I had was dryness, skin, hair, mouth, eyes, nose you name it. I had blood and pregnancy tests every month without complication. I stayed on that dose only 3 of the 6 months I was supposed to because I had a vacation planned and didn't want to be a red flaky mess. I stopped the pills and as my skin came back from the dryness it was perfect! No spots, enlarged pores, excessive oilliness of my hair or face. My skin stayed in this perfect state until I was about 24. Even as my skin became oily again and I started getting clogged pores it did not return to the previous state until I turned 30 last year. So I have had, in my mind, 13 years of great skin for a few months of mild discomfort. I have struggled with lifelong depression and I didn't feel any worse when I was on the medication, having the hope of good skin actually made me feel better if anything. I would actually like to try another course/cycle of Accutane now that my acne has returned, perhaps not as aggressive as the first though. Accutane was a huge success for me and I wish more people had the same experience.
I did Accutane once 10 years ago. Yes, it did help, but not much more than the run of the mill BP or prescription creams. It was not worth it in the end. It was expensive, the blood tests were more than a minor inconvenience (I'm terrified of needles), I had nosebleeds, etc... I don't know if the deep depression I was going through while on & for a few years afterwards it is a coinidence or not (there are studies saying that it does cause depression though). However, it's the aftermath a few years later that had me regretting this the most. Let's just say I didn't start having "bowel" issues until after this and I don't consider it a coincidence considering all the people who reported IBS after using Accutane. Needless to say, it wasn't worth it and I won't go on a second round. And some of the bigger side effects reported from other user's scared me too (like premature menopause). To be honest, Dan's regimen is working better than Accutane did. I'm giving Accutane 2 star. I would give it 1, but it did help a tiny bit temporarily I guess. The acne came back with a vengence about 2 years afterwards anyway. If it actually did 100% clear my acne and kept it away, I would actually give it 5 stars despite the bad side effects, because acne has had such a detremintal effect on my life from an emotional perspective. But it didn't make me clear, sooooo....no, I wouldn't recommend this.
Best thing that ever happened to my skin. I was 16 years old when my derm prescribed this to me, since my moderately severe acne was not improving with topicals or oral antibiotics. I was about 5'6 and 115 pounds at the time so my dose wasn't heavy. I believe I was given 40mg every other day for the first month, then 40mg every day for the next two months, and then for the rest of my course it was 40mg everyday except on MWF I would take 80mg. Overall my course was 8 months and I never got completely clear. However, I saw major improvement and it's the most improvement I've ever seen with my skin (the regimen is a close second). I didn't really experience dry skin on my face, but my hands and lips were extremely dry. It definitely gave me my confidence back. I even got compliments on my skin! My skin was never oily, I didn't have any blackheads, and my cystic acne almost completely disappeared. I did have a few lingering clogged pores, which I believe was the reason why I still had a little acne. I'm 18 now and I was recently diagnosed with PCOS which causes oily skin and acne. I never took birth control pills while on accutane so my hormones likely intervened. After I finished the course my derm gave me differin but we didn't have insurance and my father spent a lot of money on the accutane, so I never got the prescription and I haven't been back since :( I used 2.5% BP and aloe vera to maintain my skin and it was decent for about a year. Did the regimen for half a year but quit to try oil cleansing and all that. Now my acne has completely transformed, in a bad way. I don't get cysts anymore but almost all my acne is pustules, whiteheads, and clogged pores. The regimen got me to a good point but I got lazy, wanted to try new things, and now my skin is worse than ever (still no cysts but I swear it looks worse than before accutane). So all in all, this medication gave me more improvement than any other skincare treatment, and I will be booking an appointment for my derm in the near future so I can take a second round. Oh, and I never get cysts anymore.
I did my first round of Accutane when I was 20 years old after trying multiple other treatments. My moderate acne was primarily around my cheeks and chin and had affected my confidence negatively for years. Like most, my skin got dry and flaky and I felt like my face screamed "Accutane!" My back would ache for 5-10 minutes every night when I would lie down and I was going through lotion bottles like a madwoman. I was confident the sacrifice would be worthwhile, though, and sure enough by month 5 my skin was smooth and clear. I had a newfound confidence that made me a believer.
Unfortunately, the clear skin only lasted about two years and then slowly returned, although not nearly as bad as it was before. After some discussion with my dermatologist, I decided to do Accutane again. Round 2 was just as awful but the results were just as fantastic. Now, two years after my second round I still deal with occasional (manageable) breakouts and am still really hope the acne doesn't get much worse. It has been fairly stable though so I think this is my final result. I hoped that the strong drug would "Cure" my acne once and for all but that was not the case. I am truly grateful to Accutane for giving me back my confidence, however, and though not a perfect solution, it left me with a very manageable degree of acne and am able to keep my face very clear if I am consistent with my skin care regimen. That would not have been possible for me before Accutane.
Overall, Accutane WAS a miracle drug for me. Truly a life changer. I would definitely recommend Accutane for those dealing with moderate to severe Accutane and would absolutely do it over again myself if (heaven forbid) I had to go back to those acne-ridden days.
I am in my second month of a five month treatment (40mg a day). I HAD moderate acne and, at times, severe cysts on my face for many, many years and tried everything over the counter and by prescription. l also suffered from sebaneous hyperplasmia (middle age nightmare). The first month on Accutane was really hard - skin peeling and some rather large cysts broke out on my chin/cheeks. All gone none - 6th weeks in.... I am not kidding ALL acne and sebaneous hyperplasmia are gone!!!!
Now - in my experience - the best stuff to combat the excessive peeling/dryness:
Wash face daily with Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser and use Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion. You can use Olay Wash Cloths (sensitive skin) to remove makeup at night. If you have excessive peeling - very gently wet a clean washcloth and gently use on your face wiping it downward to remove dead/dry/peeling skin - following up with moisturizer - then a sunscreen (day time). If your skin gets really, really dry use Aquapor heating ointment at night and wash off in the morning. A really nice and more expensive line for Accutane users is - Avene. They make a cleanser specially for Accutane users that is truly wonderful called Clean-AC, then follow up with Clean-AC moisturizing cream and I use their 50 high protection sunscreen. The best lipbalm to use is Cortibalm - handsdown!! It is a lifesaver for dry lips!!! As for makeup - less is better but the following has worked very well for me: after Avene sunscreen (wait for it to dry), I use Pur Minerals correcting primer and then their mineral foundation powder (even at my most dryness it worked better than any liquid foundation) at hiding breakouts and redness. I then use a Pur powder blush. I then put Cortibalm on my lips and use Paula Dorff lipstick over it in a color called Havana. It is the only lipstick that stays on and works well on dry lips.
Good luck and, hopefully, your Accutane course will work wonders for you too!
I am on week 4 of 16 taking 40mg and 60mg on alternate days. I have mild/moderate but extremely persistent acne on my face and back. It takes 4 weeks for the drug to completely get in to your system and I have read a number of reviews that have said by week 8 you will start seeing improvements. In my experience the first 2-3 weeks were great, skin was quite dry but really clear and smooth. Week 4 the acne has come back and looks quite aggressive. I cant bring myself to go to work or out socially without make up on but I have switched to a thinner foundation (was using doublewear for the coverage!) and mineral powders which aren't as heavy on my skin. I use Cetaphil to clean my face morning and night which i think is great but it isnt a spot treatment so am also using garnier spot roll on treatment with salicylic acid before bed. Also using a L'Occitaine shea butter moisturiser under my make up. Around my chin and nose is extremely dry and my lips are so flaky all the time I am going through so much vaseline and 8 hour cream! Am going on holiday in 3 weeks and taking p20, factor 30 and 50. and a hat!! not worth the risk burning my skin in the sun at this stage. Am praying by the time i come back from hols my skin will start looking good again. Will post again after 8 weeks with an update
I took Accutane when I was a teenager to clear up my acne and for the most part, it worked. In my teens and twenties, I thought the drug was effective and had only moderate temporary side effects. A word of caution though, you might not be aware of all the side effects of Accutane until well after you've taken it. Personally, I didn't know the full magnitude of the damage it did to me until I was in my thirties. Knowing the damage Accutane did to me and knowing the sheer amount of law suits actively going on against the manufacturer of Accutance, I have to question how accurate the published research is on this drug. From my experience, I would not trust the manufacturers pamphlet list of side effects, or just your Doctors word. If you do want to take this drug, do your own research and make sure you are taking it fully informed.
I have suffered from acne since I was about 10 years old. After trying many drugstore remedies and topical treatments/antibiotics from my dermatologist I decided to begin a 6 month cycle of accutane (summer-winter of 2010). I suffered dryness of my skin and lips, but it was manageable with aquaphor and cerave moisturizing cream. Because my skin's oil production ceased, I noticed improvement in the appearance of blackheads on my nose and chin and painful cystic acne breakouts on the entire surface of my face and back. However, during the end of the cycle, I became depressed and my personality and mood changed dramatically. I was always sad and I couldn't explainn why. A few months after I stopped taking accutane I noticed the depression subsided and I started to feel normal again. My skin stayed somewhat clear for a few months after taking accutane, but I still experienced breakouts-just not as severe as before. I still see a dermatologist and have been prescribed a number of topical treatments since taking accutane such as:
tazorac gel (0.05% and 0.1%)-helped keep my acne under control, but I still experienced breakouts and blackheads
duac gel-used to spot treat pimples in the morning-helped somewhat
solodyn (minocycline)- for 3 months this past fall; helped clear my skin, but acne returned after the cycle ended
I am currently taking lo lo estrin birth control and using finacea gel in the morning and ziana at night. I started using both topical gels a few days ago, so I have yet to see results, but I am hoping for a relief to my acne once and for all.
Overall, I would recommend accutane to those suffering from acne who cannot find relief from any other type of treatment. However, the side effects are dangerous. Even though my acne was not completely healed from the use of accutane, it has improved my skin greatly and has made me more receptive to the use of topical treatments and antibiotics.