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My experience with Accutane

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It has been almost nine months since I took my last accutane pill. I have not had a single breakout in nearly a year. My skin is beautiful -- every now an again I will get a single, very small zit that I couldn't care less about.

None of the side effects lasted for me. My lips and skin are no longer dry, and (unfortunately) my hair no longer stays clean for days at a time. I did not have any health problems, mental or physical, while on accutane, and I don't have any now. I am a healthy, happy, acne-free girl.

My scarring was never bad and is fading with time. Sometimes after I work out I can see the scars pretty clearly around my chin, but in my day to day life I don't notice any -- and I frequently go out without make up, even to my office or to meet friends after work.

In a nutshell, I am still really happy that I went on accutane. It was not a decision I made lightly and it was not an easy six months, but it was the right choice for me smile.png

I attached a few pictures. The first two are of my breakout last summer (2012), the third is my chin this summer (2013). blogentry-178540-0-07609500-1377144342.jblogentry-178540-0-03360600-1377144357.jblogentry-178540-0-24654100-1377144371.j

Hello again,

My last day on accutane was December 6, 2012, my course was six months long. I apologize for not keeping up with this blog -- as soon as my skin cleared I stopped obsessively documenting everything and just went about my life.

I had a horrendous breakout that started the last week in June and took until the end of August to completely heal. By the middle of August my skin was essentially clear, just some stubborn marks around my chin and mouth persisted. I have not had a new breakout anywhere on my face or body since the end of the summer.

My skin is so beautiful-- accutane really worked wonders for me. I have some light scarring that is continuing to heal either side of my chin. If I wear even light makeup, you can't see the scars at all. I have been acne free for over three months. I was Snow White for Halloween, it was a celebration of my journey with accutane and a really fun night for me.

My horrendous break out was really hard to deal with, I was really self conscious and miserable. However, in hindsight it was so worth it. It is so nice not to worry about what my skin will be like for special occasions, and not to hide from cameras when I'm out with my friends. This was absolutely the right choice for me.

In terms of side effects, I got really lucky. The only thing I had to deal with was extremely dry lips, and dry skin on my face from time to time. I did not experience any scary side effects...I even benefited in that my hair didn't get greasy, I could go days without washing it and it looked and smelled clean.

Outside my breakout, the hardest part of being on accutane for me was the expense. When I started the course in May, it cost me $25 in co-pay to see my Doctor, and $12 to fill my monthly prescription at the pharmacy. However, my Mom got a different job-- and therefore different insurance-- in July. When I went to fill Month 3 it was $384!! For one month of accutane!! I spoke with my doctor, and she told me about Northwest pharmacy, which is in Canada...I ended up ordering my pills from them for $114/month. Not as great as $12, but a hell of a lot better than $384. I would suggest you look into this option if your insurance won't cover it-- you still need a prescription, but it's a good alternative route. My parents were awesome and covered some of the expense, but it still cost me several hundred dollars to complete my course --- totally worth the money in my opinion.

So, in summary, accutane worked for me. The experience was hard, but worth it in the end. I will update to let you know if I am staying clear, wish me luck smile.png

Month Two

By src,

At the end my first month on accutane I had the worst breakout of my life. I could not believe what I was seeing in the mirror. Accutane will fuck with your face, this stuff is not a joke. I had HUGE pimples all over the left side of my chin. I had pimples all over my right side too, they were just smaller and therefore less offensive. After every shower for over a week, these zits would leak out pus and blood, I have never had zits that were so large or took so long to go down. I suppose I should consider myself lucky that the breakout was only around my mouth and chin, my cheeks and forehead were essentially clear. I did not feel lucky.

(Day 35 is really ten days after Day 30...I had to wait five days for my month two refill)

Day 35: still recovering from the worst breakout of my life. I look like the leper character from Braveheart. Not okay. Luckily this breakout coincided with my trip home, so I am spending the week sulking at my parents' house.

Day 37: My skin is finally looking better. Today is the first day I don't feel sorry for people when they look at me. It's the first day I feel like my other features can compete with what is happening on the lower half of my face. I will say that aside from my zits, my skin is much softer than it was before accutane.

Day 43: My skin is still bad, but it looks so much better than last week so I am feeling okay about it. It has been sixteen days since my horrendous breakout. This experience has been a lot tougher than expected, not so much on my body (in terms of side effects) as on my vanity. It has definitely put a damper on my summer. I just keep reminding myself that this is an investment. 43 days is a long time, I should start seeing some results within the next month. I have a date tonight...I pushed the time back so that it will be dark out. I already canceled on him once, and then I lied about being out of town longer than I actually was. It will be so nice to not worry about what my skin will be doing on any given day.

Day 47: My skin has been pretty stagnant this week, I don't know why they are taking so long to heal the rest of the way. I have gotten a few new ones, but no more mammoth alien zits. I am still broken out on either side of my chin. My lip has cleared up quite a bit. I have a couple on my forehead and cheeks. I have one on my chest and three small ones on my upper back. The skin on my shoulders, chest, and back is the softest it has ever been; it looks really pretty and healthy (not counting the zits, of course). My chin wouldn't be so bad-- keep in mind that I have warped standards since my two weeks with 'leprosy'-- if the skin wasn't so red! I have started wearing make up again, which takes the redness down quite a bit. My skin is tolerable right now, I'm hoping it only gets better from here.

For the past month, when men look at me on the street I'm paranoid it's because of what is happening on my chin. In a more rational place in my mind I know it's because I am attractive, even with my acne. I don't feel attractive, though. I feel gross. Soon! It will be gone soon. I have less than two weeks left in month two, then on to month three. From what I've read, it seems that month three is where most people see serious results.

Day 51: My skin continues to look better... I got two new ones on my back, but no new ones on my face for the past few days. The existing breakout is still healing slowly. My lips have been especially dry this week, especially at the corners of my mouth. I apply aquafor obsessively. I have no other side effects.

Month One

By src,

I am a 24 year old woman; I have had moderate acne since I was fourteen. My trouble spots are my chin and mouth, my chest, and my back. I have been through all the antibiotics and most prescription topicals. Sulfamethoxazole worked wonders for me for years, but last July it stopped working...I tried two more antibiotics that did nothing, which brought me to the end of the line so to speak. I did my research, and decided to try accutane. I found personal journals helpful, and I decided that I would document my experience so as to help other people with their decision.

Before I started accutane: My skin looked pretty good...I was recovering from some breakouts, I had a few spots around my chin, and one healing on my lip. One on my chest and a couple on my back/shoulders. I started accutane on May 25, 2012. I had been consistently broken out since July 2011.

Days 1-4: Everything is drying out, my face and back/chest look better. I am taking 30mg once a day. I am 5' 8" and weigh 150 lbs.

Day 5: IB arrives! Slightly cringeworthy but nothing I haven't seen before. 3 on my upper lip, 7 more around my mouth/chin. Cheeks and forehead are clear as usual. No new body breakouts.

Days 6-11: still broken out, I got a couple of new ones but overall appearance has not really gotten better or worse. I've noticed that my skin is way more sensitive to picking...normally I consider myself a pretty smart, careful picker, but everything is different on accutane. Neosporin is a good idea. I also use aquafor and occasionally trentinoin cream as a topical-- although this make my skin very dry. I have still been drinking some...summer in Chicago!

Day 12: Skin has started looking better, most of the IB seems to be healing at the same pace. We will see. I am hopeful I am one of the lucky ones who clears within a month, but I am feeling good about my choice to take accutane, even if it takes me longer to get clear.

Side Effects:

  • Very dry lips
  • My skin and scalp are slightly more dry...I am somewhat itchy, especially when I am trying to fall asleep.
  • I got a blister on the bottom of my foot walking an average distance in my favorite flip flops. Not sure if this is related, but it has not happened to me before.
  • Dry vagina! So far my least favorite side effect. Uncomfortable but not painful.

***All these are very treatable with a trip to Target! Nothing to be afraid of!

Day 14: Still continuing to clear, nothing new to report.

Day 16: Skin looking better, although the pores on my chin, nose, and forehead seem bigger...lots of blackheads. I can't pop the ones on my nose as I usually do... nothing comes out! Strange. I went to the beach today. I wore 55, a big t-shirt, and a hat. I am not messing with the blister burns I've read about.

My skin looks similar to what it was before I started the course. About 5 around my chin and mouth, and a couple on my forehead. Also got one on my chest yesterday. My back is pretty clear, although I think the pores there are enlarged as well. This is definitely true of my chest/breasts.

Day 18: Pretty consistent. I still have several healing but nothing to cringe about. Pores seem a little smaller? Maybe the same. Not worse. My hair is still beautiful...it stays clean for days at a time but is not dried out...not bad! I haven't been wearing make up because it looks weird on my skin...flakey. Seriously happy I decided to do this.

Day 21: Chin and mouth broke out again. Lip is mostly clear. Not as bad as day 5 breakout, but not great. Pores are still a weird texture on my nose, back, and chest. Hopefully will start to clear soon. I got my brows and lip threaded today...ouch. Can't wait for clear skin. I have my eye on a snow white costume for Halloween to celebrate.

Day 24: lip is clear, still broken out on my chin. My nose is smooth now, the pores seem to be disappearing. Hopefully my chest and back are not far behind. My skin is smoother in general; I think I will be able to wear make up again soon. Slight set back in that I will not be able to refill for month two until I see my dermatologist on June 29...this means I will miss 5 days. According to the nurse I spoke with this is not big deal, but I am not happy about it. It's a bumpy road to clear skin. Bumpy...get it?

Also, my side effects are less noticeable. I have to carry aquafor around for my lips. I have been using head and shoulders a couple of times a week, and I moisturize after I shower...the side effects are a non issue for me.

Day 26: My lip is still clear, my chin is looking better. My forehead and cheeks are clear, as usual. My nose is smooth, but the pores and on my chest and back were still a weird bumpy texture, almost as though raised up. I was at Target this morning and I got an exfoliating body wash. I had been using a really gentle body wash, because I read that you should not exfoliate while on accutane. However, I had reached the end of my patience with this weird thing my pores are doing. I used the new body wash, and my skin is so much smoother...it looks great, not irritated at all. This was a good move on my part! So, apparently some of us can exfoliate while on accutane. Currently I have one healing on my chest, one small one on my shoulder, and two small ones on my upper back.

Day 30: My skin is not great. The right side of my chin especially is very broken out. The left side and center are less broken out, but definitely not clear. My cheeks, lip, and forehead are clear. It seems every time I think that the drug is working and my skin is getting better, I break out again. I am not so much discouraged as impatient. I know that this will work, but I want it to work faster. My body acne is minimal, just one stubborn one on my chest. I have an appointment with my dermatologist on Friday (in five days). I will get my month two dose then. Hopefully it only gets better from here.

Day 36 (aka day 31): I had my dermatologist appointment today. My skin is the worst that I can remember. I have been consistently broken out my entire first month on accutane. I was off accutane for five days, and started my month two dose today. I have close to thirty pimples on my face right now, the majority are in clusters around my chin and mouth. They all seem to be healing at the same pace. I have been fantisizing that they will all disappear at the same moment and my life with clear skin will begin. I usually don't let myself cancel plans or not go out because of my skin, but I have made an exception this week. I am laying low at my parents' house. I am really hoping that this is the worst of it. I don't think this major breakout has anything to do with the interruption in my course, this was definitly brewing before day 30. I just keep reminding myself that this means the drug is working, am trying not to pick at my skin too much, and drinking lots of water.

I'm doing my best to keep my chin up! (not literally, of course, as my chin is covered in acne.)

As always, the side effects are a non issue for me.

I will update towards the end of month two, wish me luck!