So after 5 years of seeing my dermatologist, I've finally decided to do accutane and I just took my first pill today! Here's some background on me (if anyone's actually reading this): I'm 21 and since about age 15 I've had light-moderate acne (I've been 95% clear at times, but moderate at other times.) I know several of you are probably thinking "light to moderate ance on accutane, not worth the side effects, derm shouldn't have prescribed it, blah blah blah" but hey, I've realized that I let my skin condition have too much of an effect on my life and my mood and I let it dictate too much of what I do or don't do. I'm way too vain and I know it. I'm that girl that literally puts foundation on to go to the gym and won't go out one night because I had a bad break out. So I'm doing accutane and getting rid of this once and for all. Anyway, back to my skin history... Although I don't get that MANY pimples (I have about 2-7 obvious ones on my face at its worst), they're always the kind that are inflamed and break open and bleed, and I have fair skin so I get awful post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation/ red marks.... I only have one actual scar thank god, an ice pick one on my cheek. I've tried the majority of medications out there, EVERYTHING over the counter you could possibly think of, and then an array of prescriptions from my derm over the years. Topicals have ranged from several benzoyl peroxide-clindamicin combos, differin, tazorac, sulfur washes and masks, etc. In terms of orals, I've done Yaz, Ortho tri cyclen, oracea, doryx, minocyclin. I've give you all the low down on my opinion of each of these (in order from my favorite to my least favorite):
Yaz: My acne is definitely partly hormonal, so this definitely improves my skin the most. I was on it for a year, cleared up a decent amount. Switched to ortho tri cyclen, skin went crazy. Went back on yaz for 2 and a half years, cleared up a ton, but then it made my cholesterol/ tri-glycerides shoot up so I went off it in september and 4 months after stopping it I started to get bad again.... You'll get initial breakouts the first couples months around days 12-16 of your cycle, but give it a chance because it does wonders in the long run.
Doryx: The best my skin ever was = yaz + doryx. I was probably 95% clear with an occasional pimple. But then I went off it, started to break out again, and the second time I went back on it it didn't work nearly as well.
Sulfur wash/ mask: Easily my favorite prescription topical. (Speaking of topicals, in terms of non-prescription, tea tree oil does wonders.)
Minocyclin: hey, if you can deal with the feeling of needing to vomit every morning, it's great... It definitely cleared up my skin a little bit, but nothing amazing. And like I said, the nausea is nearly unbearable. Oh, and it had a really negative impact on my liver function... LFTs went crazy.
Oracea: To be honest, I never really gave it much of a chance. I think I took it for a few weeks, had an initial breakout and quit.
Benzoyl peroxide/ clindamicin: I've never been a fan of benzoyl peroxide/ clindamicin combos. I think they're harsh on your skin and don't do much. Tea tree oil is a way better option.
Differin/ Tazorac: Okay, looking back now I have to admit that it probably did decrease the number of pimples on my face... But I HATED it when I was on it. My skin was always peely with a slightly pinkish tint to it, and lost its ability to tan while using it and for a year after stopping.
Ortho tri cyclen: It probably wasn't actually THAT bad, but it's nothing compared to yaz so it's at the bottom of my list.
Never tried tetracyclen, bactrim, or spiro (which was my other option a month ago, my derm let me choose between accutane and spiro).
So that's my history and my opinion on the various acne medications out there that I've tried. I know I should have just don't accutane a while ago (I started the process 3 years ago but didn't go through with it) and avoided all this hyperpigmentation... But enough about the past, I'm just looking forward to the future now.
My regimen: In preparation, I've already been intensely moisturizing my body (with st. ive's moisturizer with aloe and aquaphor) and my lips (with aquaphor and vaseline), and washing my hair with anti-dandruff shampoo for the past few days. As for my face:
AM and PM:
-Wash with Mario Badescu cleansing milk with carnation and rice oil
-Moisturize with Mario Badescu healing cream
Nothing too complicated. I ordered some La mer the Concentrate samples to use on my hyperpigmentation so we'll see how that works once the shipment gets in. The mario Badescu healing cream is awesome, I would definitely recommend it. I'll probably switch to a more intense moisturizer later on, but for now this is sufficient.
My dermatologist has me on 20mg of Absorica a day to start out with. My course should be about 6 months long, max. She says she's starting me out on a low dose to make sure I don't get an initial breakout, but if I do she said to call and she'll prescribe me steroids to get rid of it, so I'm not super concerned.
I took my first pill eariler today and didn't notice any side effects or anything different. My skin looked pretty good tonight when I took my make up off, but that's probably my optimism plus the fact that I'm at the point in my cycle that I clear up.
Anyway, wish me luck! Hope someone actually reads this/ it's helpful to someone out there!