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An Isotretinoin Journey

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Week 4

By CGryffindor,

Hey all, just starting week 4! Had my Derm appointment this morning, and thankfully all my bloodwork came back ok. She kept me on the same dose of 20 mg twice a day for now, and if everything comes back ok again, we can talk about increasing the dosage. It's fine with me because my skin is doing really well right now.

I've noticed something wonderful over the last week: my blackheads are disappearing. I've always had them in the same spots and I never even noticed them after a while, but as of this week I've noticed how smooth my skin is because they simply aren't there. It's great.

I continue to enjoy the fact that my skin isn't oily. I end the day just as fresh as I started it, which used to be a rare thing. My spots are still healing really quickly too, and I almost feel like my skin is adjusting to my medication and it's not even as dry anymore. I guess that's one reason it might be a good idea to increase the dosage next appointment.

Other than that, there's nothing new to report really. I've been working out a lot lately, but I haven't noticed any joint pain yet. I'm curious if that will get worse when I increase the dosage, along with sun sensitivity and all that. I guess we'll see!
Ok, so I seriously need to learn to leave my face the heck alone. I have the worst habit of squeezing things on my face that aren't even that noticeable and making them ten times worse. Normally, this is annoying, but not a huge deal or anything. But now that I'm on Claravis, everytime I touch my face, I cause a scrape. My skin is so fragile. And also, my skin is so itchy, but whenever I scratch it, I get these scratches sooo easily.
So anyway, from now on, I'm going to have to try really hard not to touch. I have hardly any active bumps at all, its mostly just small scratches on my face right now and it's really annoying.
That being said, I had my bloodwork done this morning, so fingers crossed that my liver isn't freaking out on me. Also, I laid out by the pool yesterday and still didn't get burnt. I'm hoping when my dosage is increased I still won't have much of a problem.  
That's all for now!

Week 3

By CGryffindor,

Hey all,
Just starting week 3 of Claravis 20mg twice a day. It's hard to believe it's been 3 weeks already!
Things haven't really changed that much in the last week. My blemishes are healing extremely quickly. Seems like they just dry right up overnight. My skin isn't producing any oil, which is soooo nice. I've always had such oily skin and I never realized how much better I could look when my skin isn't shiny! I'm very dry and peely still, but I don't mind because I don't have any new spots at all as of this morning, just a few that are healing from last week.
I used to have really bad breakouts along my jaw line of all places, but that is completely gone now, and I am extremely happy about that. Also, I was out in the sun all day with no sunscreen on July 4th, and I only got about as much sun as I would've if I wasn't on accutane, and even got some compliments on my nice tan. I had a headache creeping on as of yesterday, but I was proactive about it and took some painkiller and it didn't really bother me at all. My lips are sooo dry. They look like they are going to shrivel up and fall right off my face if I don't wear Aquaphor 24/7.
All in all, I'm very satisfied with my experience so far. I haven't had an initial breakout, and I already feel much more confident because my skin is so clear and smooth right now.
I have my bloodwork appointment later this week, and my derm appointment next week. Here's hoping my bloodwork comes back ok!!

My Routine

By CGryffindor,

I realized I've been a bit vague about my skin care routine, and that might be helpful to know. I've tried a lot of products over the years, and I mean A LOT of products, and I've weeded through the ones that don't work for me. For a long time, my strict routine was Neutrogena face wash and 10% benzoyl peroxide at night. Eventually, though, I learned the secrets of moisturizer, and how my face was just becoming more irritated and broken out with the harsh topicals I was using. So I switched at that point to a lotion with 2% salicylic acid in it, and that worked really well for me for a while. I tried Proactiv, like everyone else, because the commercials made it look like a miracle product. It wasn't, but it is a nice gentle skin care system, and it worked as well as anything I've tried.
When I began working for a dermatology office, I began trying different topicals, such as Duac and Epiduo. These I did not find to be effective at all, and I quickly abandoned them. I tried Retin-A, but this made my face extremely dry, peely, and sensitive, and it brought on some of the worst breakouts I'd experienced in a while.
After a while, I got my hands on some Doryx, and it cleared me up really quickly and kept me clear for about a year. I was still getting pimples, but I wouldn't call it acne at that point. I loved it. It made me really sensitive to the sun, but my skin was so nice and clear. Eventually, though, I guess my body adjusted to it and began breaking out again with a vengeance. I tried a few other forms of doxycycline, but I began noticing that not only was I breaking out, but the breakouts were different. They were no longer pimples that I could squeeze and they would go away relatively quickly, but they were now tiny prolific bumps that would not go away. After doing a little research, I realized this was a symptom of being on an antibiotic for too long, so I stopped them cold turkey at that point.
Since then, I have settled into a routine of Cetaphil cleanser (the kind for acne-prone skin) once in the morning and once at night, and Aczone as a topical at night. I loooove my Aczone. It's gentle, it doesn't dry me out or make my skin sensitive, but it is still somehow extremely effective. Also, as an added bonus, it doesn't bleach my clothes and it works really well under makeup.
Now that I'm on Claravis, I have gotten a lot more careless with my routine. I guess I've taken the attitude that since Claravis is working from the inside, I don't really have to try as hard with what I apply on the outside. So I've been using whatever leftover sample of face wash I have from my days at the dermatology office, which has been Cera-Ve lately. As a lotion during the day I use Cetaphil lotion because I have about a million samples of it and it works really well. I don't use anything at night.
I'm looking forward to the day when I get to pamper my skin without worrying about breaking out from the products I'm using. It's just around the corner!

Week 2

By CGryffindor,

Well, just finishing up week 2 now. My skin is becoming drier and drier. It itches all the time, despite the lotion. My scalp is pretty itchy, and its been peeling like it does when it gets sunburned. My skin is still pretty clear, and when I do get pimples, which are still a daily occurrence, they heal extremely quickly. Usually they dry up by the next day.  I'm finding that my skin is very fragile right now. It doesn't take much at all to bruise or cut my face. I've stopped squeezing pimples cause it immediately causes a bruise and an abrasion. My body wash, which is exfoliating and has little beads in it, is too much for me right now, and it feels like I'm using steel wool to wash with. My lips are super dry, and I think that's the most annoying side-effect so far. They feel so gross, and I apply Aquaphor or chapstick literally constantly. 
That being said, there are a few perks. I'm able to go at least 3 days without washing my hair now because I'm so much less oily. Despite what I've read about sun sensitivity, I'm not finding it to be very bad. I live in Florida and I'm blonde haired and blue eyed, but i spent 2 hours at the beach with no sunscreen and still was only slightly pink and mostly just tan. I did notice the tan was nice and quick.
I'm sure it'll get worse, but I'm prepared for it! 
Until next week.

Week 1

By CGryffindor,

So I guess this will be my first entry chronicling my experience with Isotretinoin, or more specifically Claravis. Some background info to start off with, I've had acne since I was about 13 years old. It started off quite severe, and I used to not be able find a clear spot on my whole face. I was familiar with the horrors of acne already because my older brother had had severe cystic acne for several years. I began trying some of his topical medications when my acne persisted despite my best efforts to scrub it off my face. The topicals were helpful, and my acne subsided to more of a moderate, and at times, mild acne.

Over the years, I perfected my skin routine so as to keep my skin from becoming severe again. I kept the forces of acne at bay by never skipping washing my face in the morning and at night, and never going anywhere without my benzoyl peroxide. Although my acne has really subsided into a low maintenance mild acne over the years, I still breakout regularly and can never skip applying my topicals (aczone has become my new best friend).

Fast forward to now, I have finally decided to try accutane after watching both of my brothers go through it and emerge with gorgeous, baby-smooth skin. I worked at a dermatologist office for 4 years (ironic, I know) and I know all of the ins, outs, side effects, horrors, and successes of accutane. So it's definitely time to put this acne behind me.

That being said, I'm just finishing up my first week of being on Claravis 20 mg twice a day. So far, I am experiencing dry skin, akin to having a sunburn that is just becoming a little peely. My lips are really dry, so I am never without my chapstick. The dry eyes, I noticed immediately. I've never had contacts or anything, so that was somewhat of a new feeling for me. I have also been experiencing some headaches that are annoying, but not unbearable. My skin feels irritated, again like a mild sunburn. My skin is actually pretty clear, and it's hard to imagine I'm going to experience any initial breakout, but I'm sure it's coming!

Some facts about me just for comparison: I'm 24 years old, 5'10", and 135 lbs.

I'll try to update weekly. I'm definitely excited to just get through this process and have clear skin on the other side!!