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Trials and tribulations of a 20 year old, suffering with mild/moderate acne
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I have just begun my first (and hopefully last) treatment of Accutane to address my mild/moderate acne. I am a little bit apprehensive, as prior to beginning this treatment, I was able to get my acne a bit more under control. However, this was only achieved through using 10% bp face wash every evening, 2% SA in the morning, not really moisturizing, taking antibiotics (which I have been on consistently for the past 6 years), and B5 supplements, IN ADDITION to cutting down significantly on my dairy intake. Nonetheless, though under control, the acne still continued to give me problems, particularly during menstruation. Taking supplements and all of these ridiculous measures to only partially prevent acne outbreaks became exhausting. I tried everything- various antibiotics, which, unfortunately, I became immune to, tretinoin gel, clindamycin topical, gentle cleansing- and these have either only temporarily helped my skin or caused purging that lasted for over three months, leaving me with awful red marks (though luckily no substantial scarring.) My mom took a course of Accutane when it first came out, after dealing with cystic acne during grad school, and she never relapsed upon finishing her course. So, after visiting with my dermatologist, I made the decision to also go on Accutane, aware of all of the side effects which await me...including the "dreaded initial breakout." Right now I currently suffer from a few closed comedones, particularly concentrated on my forehead, a few current whiteheads, and cysts, which usually only occur during that time of the month.
Today is my third day of taking Accutane, 20mg per day. I will be taking 20 mg per day for 5 days, 30 mg for the next 5 days, and then 50 mg (30 in the morning, 20 in the evening) after that, unless my dermatologist decides to increase my dosage throughout the remainder of my course, which we expect to last five months.
I've heard horror stories about Accutane, particularly regarding the initial breakout, but I'm prepared for the side effects, however depressing they may be. I've been suffering with acne for six years; I can deal with worse acne for another 2 months or so during the IB if it means clear skin for the rest of my life. I'm tired of avoiding people's gaze and applying full-coverage foundation around friends. I hope to one day look in the mirror and see my features without immediately searching for flaws in my skin. I am one of those people who always has control over what's going on in her life- acne is the exception. It has prevented me from going out with friends or on dates in the sunlight, for fear that up close people will not find me attractive. I'm also kind of bitchy to people because I'm so self-conscious. I don't like being this way, and I can't wait for Accutane to clear my skin and give me my confidence back.
So, with that being said, here's my Accutane log. I'm not sure how frequently I will be updating. At least once per week, to keep you updated on my progress, but perhaps more if needed emotionally, ha.
My current regimen is-
Dove sensitive skin bar
Sunscreen if going out
I wil probably add moisturizer as skin dries up more
Dove sensitive skin bar (2 washes if I'm wearing foundation)
The sunscreen was given to me by my dermatologist and is geared for people who have just received a procedure. The moisturizer is packed with Vitamins C and E and called Dermal Repair Cream, by Skin Medica. I am a little leery of this, as it does contain Algae Extract, which I have read can be highly comedogenic. Nonetheless, it was recommended to me by my derm, and I'm not sure how much its being comedogenic will even matter once the Accutane kicks in and my skin is craving moisture. I'll welcome anyone's thoughts on this!
Today is my third day of taking 20 mg. My lips began to feel much more dry, even by the end of day 1. I expect this is because I live in the desert and I am also a fairly small female (5'6.5'', roughly 115 lbs.) On day 2, my lips felt the same, maybe a little more dry. I also noticed some light though visible dry skin on my cheeks, particularly around my nose. On this day, one cyst I had had above my mouth formed a whitehead, which is still there on day 3. There was also a miniscule whitehead right on the edge of my upper lip which is no longer there today. I'm going to do my best not to pop any of the whiteheads, as I know that spreads bacteria. I haven't really popped any all summer; most which are ready to pop just do so on their own while I'm washing my face. This may have been the case with this whitehead on my lip. Today is day 3. On my upper left cheek (which is where I develop my cysts when I get them), I developed another pimple. I'm not sure as to whether it's a cyst, but as of right now it has not formed a whitehead; it just looks like a splotch of red. I put some neosporin on it, which has helped decrease the pain. In fact, I can barely feel it. I am also going to use my pimple zapper on it this evening. Overall, my face looks pretty flushed, particularly in my cheek areas...which sucks.
Besides the aforementioned pimples, I just have a few closed comedones on my forehead, verrrry few on my cheeks and chin, blackheads on my nose, enlarged pores on my inner cheeks, and red marks left over from previous breakouts. Bleh.
I should probably add that sometimes, upon consumption of peanut butter, I get a cyst or two. Yesterday I had some peanut butter. It may or may not have provoked the angry pimple on my cheek today. Or, it could just be a result of the Accutane.
Today I made it a point to eat very well, eliminating dairy completely (which I've been doing for weeks anyway), substituting almond butter for peanut, and mostly just consuming fruits and vegetables, with verrrry little gluten, if any. I certainly feel better, but it may or may not have a positive effect on my skin.
I'm hoping my initial breakout will just happen this week, or during my first month. I go back to college at the end of August and hope I've reached my clearing phase by then. I really want to get more involved on campus this year, socially and otherwise; acne has held me back from doing so in the past. I will be a junior this fall.
Anyway- I will keep everyone posted! If anyone reads this, of course...