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My journey on accutane! Tips, advice, general information.

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Helloooo :) Second year of university almost done! My exams start tomorrow and finish on the 19th so I'm STRESSED.

This is showing up on my face. I've been breaking out a little on the sides of my chin. But that also could be to the fact that I'm on a new birth control now.

My blood work says that my triglycerides and cholesterol are a little high. There's a history of this in my family, so my GP decided she wanted to send me to a dietitian to fix me up. I suspect it's from how much eggs and cheese I consume.

My dermatologist recommended I switch birth controls so I'm now on Diane 35, which according to him is the best birth control pill for acne. It's prescribed to reduce oil production (which was always my biggest problem.) My GP told me that it's not as effective as other birth controls so to definitely use a second form of protection.

In the last month or two I put on a bunch of weight suddenly. I've never been this big (I'm still well in the healthy weight range, just a little bit heavier than I'd like. I want curves, but not in my stomach and arms. :| I hope this is just from adjusting to the new hormones in my body, and will go away when I adjust.

Hey, Sorry for skipping a week, I've been super busy with classes, and exams are right around the corner!


My skin on my face is smooth and flat and beautiful. I couldn't be happier. This last week I've been using tiny amounts of benzoyl peroxide around my chin and apples of my cheeks, because otherwise I would still be breaking out a little there.

My back is still breaking out mildly (under 20 spots). I'm a little worried that this is the best it will get. It doesn't seem to be getting any better or worse at this point.


-Eczema is now on my butt and thighs and stomach area, aswell as up and down both arms. When I'm good about moisturizing it goes down, when I forget it flares up. I'm not too bothered by it, although it makes my self-tanner go on blotchy.

-Hair is being difficult. I ran out of the conditioner I had been using - it was a 'once a week deep conditioner' - I was using it every day. My hair is as dry as straw and I keep wasting money on conditioners that aren't strong enough. I've resorted to only using hair masks and leaving them on in the shower for at least five minutes every morning, and the only heat I use on my hair is the hairdryer on the roots, except I curl my hair once every couple weeks. I'm using a l'oreal total repair 5 hair mask right now, if anyone's wondering. It's a good one!

-Nosebleeds still. Sigh. Also when I breath in through my nose it's VERY LOUD and it's been waking me up in the night. Weird, but true.

-I've been very tired and draggy and I get stiff very easily. That could definitely be school related though.


This week I've been using Dan's BP at nighttime, with a 10% glycolic acid toner on top of my active pimples and worst areas of hyperpigmentation. This stings, and irritates the skin, but works like magic. During the day I use either a witchhazel toner, or gentle bp treatment (not Dan's) or gentle salicylic acid treatment...basically whatever I grab first.

So, keep in mind that these results are a combination of other topical treatments. So far, accutane has not been enough on it's own. My dermatologist reassured me at my last visit that after my course is over I will not be needing any other acne treatment.

My skin on my face is almost clear now. I only had a couple new large pimples this week, and I'm very happy with my skins progress!

My chest and shoulders are completely clear, but my back is not showing much improvement. On my back currently I have a dozen or so large, painful, stubborn red lumps that keep rising to the surface, among other smaller spots. It is uncomfortable to lean back against anything right now. These pimples are PAINFUL.


-Eczema has now spread from my arms to my upper thighs/hips and I'm super itchy now.

-Much less frequent nose bleeds.

-My skin is slightly less dry on my face, and I actually have been blotting the oil off my nose a little. (Mind you, it's so subtle and takes hours for any oil to appear at all, this really doesn't concern me in the slightest)

-I've been using intense hair conditioner and so my scalp isn't as itchy and my hair isn't too dry unless I get lazy and skip the conditioner...then it feels like straw.

-Still back pain.

-Eyes get tired of contacts earlier in the evening.


My skin is still breaking out with these PAINFUL pimples. Although, my skin has mostly cleared, I keep getting a few of these deep painful lumps every couple days. They surface quickly, but after extracting they heal very, very slowly. I'm barely getting tiny blemishes any more, just these big deep ones (but there are only a few at a time). I switched back to using Dan's BP treatment, and hopefully this will fully heal my face.

My back looks like it's still purging. More pimples crop up every day, and they're also large, deep, and very painful. But overall, my body acne has definitely been reduced.

I think this 'rash' on my arms (see previous post) is just eczema from the extra dryness, and it looks like it's here to stay. Slathering my arms in lotion overnight has been helping though.


-Still nosebleeds all the time. Ugh.

-Dry skin with eczema on my shoulders/arms/backs of hands

-Tiny cuts make me bleed a lot and it can take up to an hour to clot/stop oozing. (sorry, graphic)

-I haven't been as achy, but I still have back pain when I lie down.

-Dry peeling lips. They peel vertically. I rub them gently with a facecloth in the morning to buff away the dry skin but I end up with red stripes coming down from my lips toward my chin from where the skin peeled away vertically. I also have cracks in the corners of my mouth which peel horizontally. Basically my mouth area is a bit of a mess, and I apply lanolin every 20 minutes or so (or every 5 minutes if I'm eating) to hydrate.

Yesterday I woke up to a full-blown red polkadot party going from my fingers to my shoulders. It's not swollen or anything, and only mildly itchy still. I get rashes on my hands from touching certain metals sometimes, but this is different. It's all over.Today it's even worse because some parts are drying up and peeling off. My hands are the worst, they and sting a bit when I put cream on.

Mild stinging, mild itching, mild peeling. I also have lots of little scratch marks, probably because I'm itching in my sleep. I'm really hoping it's just an allergic flare-up, and not Accutane induced eczema. Two arms and two hands worth of itchy for the next four months (or more) isn't a happy thought. I've been moisturizing lots with cetaphil. Did anyone else have this happen while on Accutane?

This week my skin went through a dramatic and rapid clearing phase. The clogged pores have been reduced to maybe 30 or so, and the amount of acne has dropped to ten. TEN. I only have ten pimples on my face. skin hasn't looked this good in so long, I nearly cried happy tears telling the Derm today how things were going. My back, however, is still purging and looks a little frightening. Keep in mind I am still using topical acne medication (a gentle 2% salicylic acid treatment right now.)


Since I was on retin-A micro in the months leading up to my Accutane course, I don't have much to report for hyperpigmentation because the retin-A did such a good job of removing it, and weirdly enough the new pimples that I've been getting on Accutane don't seem to be leaving much hyperpigmentation behind. Weird, but I'm not complaining.


As far as scarring goes I have one new permanent scar from a cyst (a true cyst, not just a deep pimple) and two other shallow 'scars' that look like they're healing smoothly.


During my appointment this morning my dermatologist said he's put over 8,000 people on accutane, and that the blood tests practically never come back with anything concerning, and that most people achieve long lasting clearance. He said if my acne comes back in a few years I could always go back on another course. Also he says that my oily skin probably won't come back and that some people who oily skin is still a problem for opt to go on a tiny dose of accutane after their first full course, to keep it under control.

Since my skin used to be veryyy severely oily I'm really paranoid the oil will come back and if it does, the long term low-dose sounds tempting. But that's a long way off, and according to my derm, chances are I won't need it.

Okay so quick symptom check-in

-Still nosebleeds every day. Sigh.

-Dry skin, dry eyes, but my face has been significantly LESS dry and peeling. Like, it seems more normal than at first.

-Achy joints

-I recently broke out in a weird rash up both arms. I forgot to ask my derm about it today. It's probably just an allergic reaction to something.

-Still dry itchy scalp, and very dry hair. I've been using loads of conditioner.

-DRY LIPS. Dry dry dry. I have to exfoliate them gently with a face cloth twice a day to remove the peeling skin, and I carry my lip balm (pure lanolin) with me everywhere especially when I'm eating.

DISCLAIMER: These are things that I have personally done and found very effective in reducing my symptoms. I apologize if any of these things do not work for you. If you'd like more brand suggestions or specific product names, leave a comment and I'll get back asap. :)

Combat the dryness:

Invest in a heavy-duty body moisturiser (eg Cerave, Cetaphil, Aquaphor) and also a skin oil (olive oil, coconut oil and Emu oil are my favourites) and mix them together 75% moisturiser to 25% oil. Put that on right before bed and right after your shower, and your skin will be smoooooth and happy. :) Make sure not to miss the backs of your hands and your cuticles.

Google the exfoliator called CURE (it's Japan's number one bestselling skin care product...they don't even advertise.) It has saveeed my life these last few weeks. This stuff is gentle, and gets dry/peeling skin off like nothing else. I got mine off of Ebay for about 40$ but was worth every penny.

Keep a thickkk hand lotion in your purse, in your car, by your bed, and anywhere you wash your hands (bathroom, kitchen...)There is no such thing as too much hand lotion in this case.

Start shaving with hair conditioner or an oil for a 'shaving lotion' to further hydrate your skin and protect your sensitive skin from razor burn.

Consider the oil cleansing method for makeup removal. Personally, my skin can't handle it, but many people have amazing success with this.

Bring your water bottle with you everywhere, and make an effort to drink as much as you comfortably can. Throw in some fresh sliced fruit to add flavour if you're not a fan of plain water.

Buy a GOOD LIP BALM and take it EVERYWHEREEEEEEE YOU GO. Everywhere. Do not forget your lip chap or you will hate your life. I have several scattered around my room and house so that I always have one on hand. Aquaphor and pure Lanolin are good choices. I have to reapply several times while eating food aswell so I keep one on the kitchen table.

Use a deep conditioner or hair mask as your regular conditioner and use it every single day. If your skin isn't too sensitive, a leave-in conditioner would also work great. But be very careful to wash the conditioner off of your body before stepping out of the shower because I have had lots of problems in the past with conditioners that cause body-acne. (Before accutane I used Aussie Moist and it didn't break me out, but most other conditioners do.)

For the nose bleeds use a saline nasal spray, or just apply whatever you use on your chapped lips to the inside of your nose. If you're lucky, you'll only have to do this at nighttime before bed.

For dry eyes, it's pretty straightforward. Carry artificial tears around with you and put them in when you're in the restroom or in your car..also keep the eye area super hydrated. If the thin skin around my eye dries out I get very dry eyes.

Combat the joint pain:

Take epsom salt baths. These also detox your body and make you feel calm.

Keep exercising, but go easy on the exercises that are hard on joints, you don't want to end up too sore; your body needs all the help it can get right now to detox from the Accutane in your liver.


While on Accutane it would be very wise to start each day with a short, brisk, full body workout followed by a green smoothie to detox your liver. There is a great debate over how good or bad Accutane is for you; a lot of people believe that the acne returns after treatment because of liver damage done while on Accutane. I'll do anything to make sure the acne doesn't come back, so I'm doing my best to eat healthy while on this medication. The chlorophyll in the greens is a powerful detox and is most effective first thing in the morning. I usually go for baby spinich, baby kale, spirolina, and sometimes parsley or cilantro (although those two have a powerful smell that is very unpleasant to some people).Mix those in with healthy fat (coconut oil and nuts and seeds), protein powder, yogurt, and then your fruit. That makes it full of vitamins and minerals, probiotics, fat, protein, and carbs.

Spot treating

This is a hot topic of debate. Is it okay to continue with topical treatments while on accutane?

I'm not sure, but I do anyway, because my skin is not yet healthy enough to heal on its own.

I've been using benzoyl peroxide, a gentle salicylic acid treatment, and the ELF zit-zapper intermittently. Even with them my skin is still breaking out, but slowly healing. I just use them under my moisturizer over my most problem areas, avoiding around my mouth and nose where I'm most sensitive.

Hey guys,

Quick update, here are the symptoms I've experience so far and a skin update.

Symptoms (there's no way of telling for sure if these symptoms are connected to the drug or just coincidence, but they did all start after I began the drug.)

-back pain and some joint pain in my wrists&ankles

-mild nose bleeds (every day)

-my face has been sweating a lot, even though it's cold

-DRY SKIN, which is lovely, I'm very happy having dry skin compared to oily !! It makes life so much easier! :D

-I wear contacts, and so far my eyes do get more dry at nighttime, but I can still wear my contacts throughout the day without problems.

-Dry, itchy scalp and dry hair.

That sounds worse than it is really. I'm quite happy on this drug to be honest, the side effects don't bother me as much as the acne does.


Using my back/chest/shoulders as a guide, at first I flared up quite badly, but now that I just finished week 3 it's slowly starting to heal. This directly relates to what my accutane manual says usually happens. It says '...During the first few weeks of treatment, your acne may seem to get worse. Redness and itching of the affected skin are common initial effects. These should disappear as you continue to take isotrentinoin. Most often, the first signs of healing occur after two to three weeks of treatment. It may take one to two months before beneficial effects are seen." My face is still broken out, and I keep getting monster pimples rising up from deep in my skin, but it does seem to be slowly clearing. Still using benzoyl peroxide twice a day. The pores on my cheeks are all clogged and I have a million tiny lumps on them, so I think total clearing is a ways away yet.

Hugs and prayers for all of you going through this aswell!

Like always, I'm open to any questions. :) Ask away!

Hey! I just had to throw in a quick mid-week update because something unusual is happening...

I've had hyperhydrosis for many years (overactive sweat glands, activated by stress for me) ...normally I am sweating 24/7 from my underarms and feet. I use drysol (SUPER strength antiperspirant) to control it. I noticed in the last few days that I've been sweating more than normal, from those two places anddd my face. My upper lip has been sweating almost nonstop for no good reason. We're right in the middle of a Canadian winter and it's blizzarding outside, -10 degrees celcius. It was so odd, I looked it up, and it turns out some people get excessive sweating while on this drug.

Also, I've been really achy, which is veryyy unusual. My muscles and joints are cramping and sore. I was holding my mirror to do my makeup and my wrist locked so tightly I couldn't hold on to the mirror anymore and dropped it. My back is the worst though, it hurts to sit/stand tall. I'm concerned, because it's only a couple weeks in to something that is supposed to take months.


Something happened today that hasn't happened to me in over eight years. EIGHT YEARS.

I went to my chemistry lab, which is approximately 3 hours long. When I got home, and looked in the mirror, my jaw dropped and I stood in awe looking at my face.

It's dry. Like normal people skin. I still have giant pimples, I still have uneven texture, but I really couldn't care less because it's DRY. :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

I've suffered from EXTREMELY oily skin since at least grade 8. Like, more than anyone else I've ever known. My skin would get so oily in a couple hours that it was virtually impossible to keep my makeup looking nice ; I used to run to the bathroom inbetween all my classes to blot and powder; if I wore glasses they would just slide off my face; I would wakeup in the morning looking so shiny I looked like I'd just poured water on my face. I could literally run the edge of a sheet of paper down my face and 'scoop' off oil. It has been my biggest insecurity; and pairing that with the acne that I got when I turned 18.....I know this sounds like just a silly first world problem, and it is. But I let it affect me so deeply, it's really torn up my self-confidence.

The fact that right now, my skin is dry, almost makes me cry happy tears.

I know that when you come off accutane your pores expand again, and the amount of oil production goes back up, but according to my manual, it doesn't go back to its original severity.

If I could ever achieve lasting 'normal' would almost be life changing.

ANYWAY, sorry for the preamble. Here's what you came for:

-Nosebleeds. I've been having constant nosebleeds, but I've been using a hydrating nasal spray and it seems to be helping.

-Dry skin. Duh. My hands and wrists are the worst, but finding good hand cream isn't difficult. Go for some thick heavy duty stuff. Emu oil is great. I use cetaphil on my body, except not where I break out because it clogs my pores.

-Body acne has flared up. I think it'll get worse before it gets better.

-Face acne...I've been getting some wickedly huge pimples in the last couple weeks, and they are PAINFUL. The extra sensitivity of my skin from being dry is making this unpleasant to say the least. I basically always breakout when switching acne medications, so I expected this.

-Hair....gah. My scalp is dry and itchy, and my hair, even when I deep condition, feels uncomfortably dry. I'm going to need to invest in a high quality conditioner.

-My lips are thick and chapped and have persistent cracks in the corners that won't heal. I had chronically dry lips before this however, so I can't blame the medication for all of it.

Other than that, I feel healthy and happy. No sad thoughts, no extra tiredness. I'm sooooo excited for when my acne will (hopefully) start to go down. Any questions, ask away. :)

Hey guys, http:////dn4iqhjvtt3...fault/smile.png

Quick first week update! I'm a 21 year-old female on 40mg per day. I'm 120 pounds. I'm taking the brand called Epuris.

I've read that the 'dry effects' can take anywhere from a few days to a few months to sink in. But I'm definitely feeling it already. My lips feel thick and weird (I use pure lanolin for the dryness. BEST LIP BALM EVER!), my hands are uncomfortably dry and my cuticles are cracking, my skin on my face is less oily, my eyes are drier. All that being said, my face is still SUPER, duper, uber oily (although slightly less so.) I hope the dry effects get stronger, because my oily skin on my face is my number one concern.

As far as my acne goes, it's been clearing up further, although I'm attributing that to my continuing using the Retin-A Micro 0.04%. I know there's a debate over whether you should use topical retinoids with Accutane...some dermatologists are fine with it, some are against it. I'm planning on using it until I'm sure I'm not going to get an initial breakout from Accutane.

Also, I now have 3 mini 'depressions' in my skin where I had hard cysts for....forever. It looks like the oil is actually decreasing under my skin which is revealing a pitted scar. Weird.

Anyway, that's all that I've experienced so far!

Any questions I'd be happy to answer. http:////dn4iqhjvtt3...fault/smile.png

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