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had to stop sotret after 3.5 months - totally clear

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Well, it is almost approximately 1.5 years after I had to suddenly stop taking the Sotret because of severe joint pain. My dermatologist had told me that if I had stayed on another 2 weeks, I probably would have never had an issue with acne again in my life. And for the most part, I have remained acne-free since coming off the medication.

Lately, however, small whiteheads have slowly started to come back to my chin, the area that was my initial main problem. This is incredibly, incredibly disheartening. I thought I was going to be able to have a clear face for the rest of my life.

Granted, when I do get a white head, it's not nearly as offensive-looking as my acne did years ago, nor does it hurt like my acne used to. It does, however, leave red marks, and that's bothersome.

I think if I would have just continued my treatment another few weeks, I wouldn't be here complaining about small breakouts today... but at the same time, I could have risked much more permanent joint pain.

Speaking of joint pain, every now and then one of my joints will bother me, and I do believe it is because of the Sotret, but I admit, I do not regret taking the medication. It changed my life and took away a problem that made me feel so incredibly, awfully self-conscious and horrible about my self. It was worth the risk. My skin is nowhere near perfect these days, but it's leaps and bounds better than how it looked when I first started.

I'm sure you're curious as to what my face looks like now, so here are some pictures taken with my crappy camera phone, with MAC studio fix fluid foundation on.

close-up of the problem area right now:


right side of my face:


left side of my face (red spots/scarring from last month's breakout):


head on:


I should probably not complain, because remember what my face USED to look like???


I'm going to wait this out a little while longer and see if it continues, and if it does, I'll be seeking out the help of a dermatologist. Ugh, I hate hate hate being back in this place again. :(

hm, i have NO idea if anyone even reads this, but I thought I would give a short update.

it has been 90 days, 3 months, since i stopped taking sotret, and i am realizing it left me with a lot of hyperpigmentation... i know a lot of people say their acne scars drastically fade once they stop taking accutane, but this has not been the case with me, so i'm really bummed. on top of red splotchy skin, i feel like my skin just doesn't look healthy, it looks so blah and textured... soooo....

i'm currently researching chemical peels as a way to help even out my skin tone and hopefully help the hyperpigmented spots fade. i won't be able to do this for a few months, maybe not even for a full 7 months, but it's on my mind and i can't wait to meet with my dermatologist about it.

i will say that the wonderful news is that all of my side effects from being on sotret are gone.. no more joint pain!!!

the other big news is that exactly a month ago, i got married! :P

it was the best day of my entire life and i had such a fantastic time. my photographer had to touch up photos of my face because my scars definitely showed up through my makeup in some shots...



and just a fun one to end the post:


so anyway, i'll try to update if i find out anything about the peels or whether i can even do them soon. hope you're all doing well with your respective treatments!

not sure if anyone still checks in on my little blog here, but i thought i'd post an update since it's been a while.

actually, i haven't had any zits since my last entry, and i'm feeling really good about that! i am pretty sure i'll have little ones pop up right before my period... but please, that'll be nothing i can't handle.

as far as side effects go..... the oil has come back to my hair and face, but not nearly as much as it was before the accutane, which is AWESOME. i have my energy back, my lower back hurts much less.... and the best of all: my hip and finger joint pain are both GONE. still having some knee issues, but both knees were actually hurting me before i started the sotret.

i will say this much... i've VERY disappointed in how my face is NOT healing. i still am too embarrassed to go out without makeup because of the scars and red marks. i'm using the emu oil EVERY night and yet i feel like my skin still looks the same as the day i stopped the sotret. i guess it's fading gradually so to me, it seems like nothing has changed... so i'm gonna try to hang in there and if the scars really aren't better after 6 months or so, i'll go talk to my dermatologist about it, possibly look into some microdermabrasion.

anyway, here's a crappy pic of my face that i took tonight:


like, you can tell that the skin is overall kinda smoothish, like there are no active spots... but it seems uneven and the coloration is definitely not even.

i can't believe i'm getting married in just 17 days!! my face is on track to be 100% clear on the big day and i'm crossing my fingers that i don't get out and make myself break out.


since stopping the sotret prematurely, i have had 2 zits right below my lip, and one is still hanging around.. it's taking forever to go away!

as far as the side effects...... i don't need to use aquaphor anymore, just the occasional chapstick. i have my energy back completely, which feels great. my mood has improved. but still some joint pain, but it's slowly getting better.

i know i said my derm prescribed the new antiobiotic, solodyn, and the topical version of accutane (it's like retin-a) called tazorac.... but i decided not to fill the prescriptions because both meds were reviewed VERY poorly on this site. plus, the tazorac was described as making users' faces red, stinging, flaky, and just terrible. i'm getting married in a month and would rather have a few zits than disgusting skin, so i'm just going to wait 6 weeks and see if acne doesn't come back. if it does, then i might try a second course at a lower dose, since my first course probably got rid of most of the acne.

i'm disappointed that the red marks/old scars are still really prominent on my face. i read a lot of cases where accutane users said their scars got SO much better once they stopped taking accutane, so i got my hopes up that my spots would start to really fade, and i've even been using emu oil, but they're still pretty bright.

here.... from these pics, you should see why i feel so disappointed. they were taken today, and i have no makeup on in these photos.

the right side: (you can see the new zit under my lip there)


left side:




uuuugggghhhhhhh i'm just so sick and tired of having a face that LOOKS LIKE SHIT!!!!!!!!

so last night i visited my derm, and he put me on an antibiotic (solodyn) and some cream for my face, a version of retin-a. since i'm getting married in 44 days, i was worried about the acne coming back since i had to stop taking the sotret early, so this is his solution.

we'll see if i can keep the acne at bay by using the antibiotic and topical cream...

i'm really disappointed that i had to quit, but i was just in so much pain .... he said if i had stayed on for just 2 more weeks, then i would have probably been fine.

i got one small zit under my bottom lip this past weekend, so i truly am afraid i'll start breaking out again. i'm really sad.

after the wedding, i might have to start a new course of accutane at a lower dose. that would really SUCK.

so this is my fifth day of being off the sotret, and i gotta admit, not much is different. my joints still hurt like a mother effer, my lips are dry, my skin is dry..... but hey, at least i'm not breaking out!

in fact, here is a picture that i took yesterday, with makeup.... so you can see i'm still pretty smooth. here's hoping i stay that way!!


and just so we can get a good idea of the progress i've made, let's look at a "before" picture, shall we??


here is a BEFORE picture of my chin with makeup:


yesterday i decided to go for a run, since i haven't done so in about 6 months, and let me tell you, mentally it felt GREAT. physically, it was a killer. my back and hips (oh, and the ole knees) are paying for it today. i am stiff as a board.... sorer than sore.

OH and i picked up some triple strength glucosamine/chondroitin for my joint pain... just started taking it today. i really hope that between these new pills and being off the sotret that i will feel better asap.

i'm just really dying to go back to my dermatologist and see what he says... i'm so impatient!

well, today is DAY 106, and I have news....

my joint pain was just getting to be too severe. EVERY TIME i get up from either laying or sitting down, i need to stop for a minute to adjust to the pain. it's absolutely debilitating, and i couldn't take it anymore, so i called my dermatologist and he advised me to IMMEDIATELY stop taking the sotret.

i have an appointment with him in 2 weeks, so i guess i'll still get my bloodwork and go to the appointment and see what he has to say, but i have to admit i'm TERRIFIED that if i stop taking the iso that the acne will come right back.

i know i know it's not worth it to risk permanently having achy, painful joints... but i feel like i've come so far and i don't want to throw away the past 106 days that i've been on this poison.


i'll keep you posted. i am really sad, because i feel like crap (physically) and because i am afraid this will all have been for nothing.

day 100

HOORAY! I'VE MADE IT TO ANOTHER IMPORTANT ISO-MARKER - I'm officially 2/3 done with my treatment!

dose: 60 mg Sotret

acne: NADA!!!! i even started my period this week and only had that one minor whitehead on my jawline... nothing else has popped up since. signs that the isotretinoin is truly kicking ass.

side effects: mostly just chapped lips, JOINT PAIN and BODY ACHES like none other. it sucks!!

still using my emu oil and ceraVe everyday, cetaphil for my body.

i freaking can't wait for this shit to be over with!

day 94

dose: 60 mg Sotret

acne: one new whitehead on my jawline this morning, but i'm due to start my period soon, so i'm sure i'll get a few more zits over the next few days, hopefully nothing major.

side effects: still the same, mostly problems with the joint pain. right knee is especially bad today.

i haven't posted pics in a while, so i thought i would. i'm wearing liquid foundation in these photos, but you can still tell i'm having a hard time covering red spots and my red chin, but the skin IS getting pretty smooth, if i must say! i'm very happy with how things are coming along, despite the body aches and dryness.

front view:


left side:


right side:


day 90

dose: 60 mg Sotret

acne: still 100% clear. still lots of scarring and red spots, though

side effects: so many bad ones!

- chapped lips - this is major. i wake up several times during the middle of the night from it and have my huge tub of vaseline on my nightstand, so i slather more on.

- fatigue.... absolutely NO energy

- inside of nostrils cracking and bleeding (and thus scabbing)

- SUPER sore knee and hip joints.... finger joints hurt too

- sore lower back

- keep having major brain farts

at my last appt, my dermatologist gave me free samples of ceraVe fash wash and lotion to get rid of some persistent dry patches on my face, and i am 100% converted to the stuff from cetaphil. i find cetaphil to be somewhat greasy, so it's good for the body, but ceraVe is SO wonderful and matte and perfect for the face. not to mention it has cleared those dry spots RIGHT up. wonderful.

but seriously, i am SO tired of feeling like my body got run over by a car. i drink tons of water and take fish oil several times a day, but i can't get rid of the joint pain or aches. guess i just have to stick it out.

day 85/week 13

dose: 60 mg sotret

acne: for the first time that i can remember, 100% CLEAR!

side effects:

- chapped lips

- dry itchy sensitive skin

- sore knees & lower back

- fatigue

still some dry patches on my face, but NO new zits in a few weeks. such a beautiful thing :(

day 77


i am so excited :(

just 73 more days left of my treatment.

dose: 60 mg sotret

acne: clearing back up... looking pretty smooth. still a lot of red marks that don't get covered all the way by my makeup, though. so, been using the emu oil at every opportunity.

side effects:

- chapped lips

- fatigue/lack of motivation to work out

- dry itchy skin (ears still peeling)

- headache today, but that could be allergies

- some older scars aren't healing at all really... they're just scaly and peeling on my face.

- i've noticed scratches, cuts and bruises on my body take longer to heal, too

the swollen lymph nodes are back to normal.

day 72

dose: 60 mg sotret

acne: i started my period yesterday, so that brought out some small whiteheads (no papules, thank god, cause those hurt). before that, i hadn't had anything new for about a week, and my face was looking really smooth (although splotchy from red spots). i popped the whiteheads, which caused those areas to raise and look red, so it's no longer smooth sailing on my skin.

side effects:

- mega chapped lips

- dry eyes

- sore back, sore knees

- irritable

- dry peeling skin (feet, ears... such strange places)

- been having headaches lately, but it could be allergy/weather related? not sure

- major fatigue/lack of motivation

almost to the half-way point! i will definitely be celebrating 75 days on saturday.

remember how i said in one of my last entries that i had a swollen lymph node in my neck? now the lymph nodes in my armpits are swollen, and the left one is especially sore. i have no idea what's going on with this, but i don't like it. i'm going to wait just a few more days and see if the swelling doesn't go down, then call my dr.

otherwise, things are okay, i guess. i'm just waiting this out. i'm tired of being tired and sore. but damn, my face is REALLY starting to improve, so i shouldn't complain. i can't wait to see how i am by the end of treatment if i'm already this excited about the results.

day 64/week 10

dose: 60 mg Sotret

acne: one new one smack in the center of my forehead. i HAD to pop it last night because the pressure was KIIILLLIINNGG me. old ones aren't healing at all really. they're scaly!

side effects:

- mega chapped lips

- dry eyes

- fatigue, no motivation to work out still

- joint pain (fingers, knees especially)

- dry, cracking nostrils

- dry, peeling skin (feet and ears)

makeup looks bad on top of my skin, it's almost like the skin is too thin and fragile to keep foundation on it, so it starts to clump and peel, which looks pretty darn bad. so i'm going to take a few days off from wearing makeup... i feel sorry for my co-workers and fiance! oh well. :(

i also have had a swollen lymph node in my neck for the past couple of weeks. not sure if it's sotret-related, but i assume ANY negative thing that happens to my body is related to the sotret!


here are some pics from yesterday.

head on:


(can you see how my left nostril is cracked? it's SORE)

right side:


left side yesterday (which is really smoothing down, just has lots of spots still):


here's a before picture of the left side, yikes:


day 59

dose: 60 mg sotret

acne: i SO hope i don't jinx myself for saying this, but i haven't had anything new for quite a few days and my skin is really starting to look pretty smooth. granted, my face still looks bad because it's so red and there are spots everywhere and some scars, but i feel like this finally could be the end of my IB?? maybe?? please??

side effects:

- chapped lips

- dry eyes

- inside my nostrils there's cracking and bleeding and scabbing (yuck), but no actual nose bleeds

- dry & peeling skin (esp on my feet... weird)

- fatigue

- body aches (knees especially, and the back doesn't feel so hot, either)

- painful cracks in the corners of my mouth are returning (so i've been applying the hydrocortisone cream the past 2 days, with no luck yet... hmmmmmm)

i haven't updated since my last derm appt.. everything checked out just fine with my blood tests, which is good because i've been partaking in the occasional glass of wine (even when i told myself i wouldn't drink for the 5 months while on iso)... i only have one drink at a time and i am always responsible, so it's good to know it's not hurting my liver or anything.

feeling much less grumpy today, which is a good thing.

i still have no motivation to work out. it SUCKS!

i'm getting married in 106 days. :(

just 91 more days on the sotret.

day 55

dose: 60 mg sotret

acne: nothing new for a few days. i'm clearing up better, and i really hope i am done with my IB. but of course, now that i wrote that, i'm probably doomed to a fresh face of zits tomorrow.

one thing i'm really irked about is how everyone says that, while on accutane, their zits come and go REALLY fast. this is definitely not the case with me. it takes a few days for papules to come to a head, and when they do, it takes another few days (or a WEEK) to swell back down. this is annoying. and they hurt. a lot.

side effects:

- apparently, GRUMPINESS! today i am really not in a great mood.

- chapped lips

- dry eyes

- dry-as-hell, itchy skin

- achiness all over (knees and back especially)

you guys, this is getting old. i'm sick and tired of feeling broken. my body hurts all the fucking time. my knees ache for no reason and my back feels busted. i am tired and have no motivation to work out EVER, when i was one of those people who felt awful if i skipped a day of working out. i just want this to be over so i can feel like MYSELF again.... and get back into shape without feeling like crying because my body hurts so bad and because i feel like a fucking 80-year-old woman.

okay, i'm done with my pity party now.

yesterday was the first day since being on accutane that i was in the sun for an extended period of time. i lathered up with spf 30 and was fine... no burn for sure, i don't even think i got any color. when i was sweating a lot, my face stung, but that has been happening all along on the iso.

on friday i got the routine bloodwork done, and then tomorrow i go in for my dermatologist appt. i know i'll be staying on 60 mg, but i'm anxious to hear what my derm has to say about my face, especially since he predicted i'd be done breaking out by week 5, but here i am going into week 8 with semi-fresh zits.

p.s. the emu oil is amazing. it makes my skin feel so soft and i know it's helping to slowly but surely fade those red scars. i would invest in some if you're dealing with mega bad red spots.

day 50!/week 8


dose: 60 mg Sotret

acne: blah blah same ole... still have lingering spots and broken-out patches here and there. it's weird, the acne seems to like company. whenever a get a zit, a little buddy (or 2, or 3) usually forms right next to it. forehead is still the worst part of my face right now, although the collection of zits near my mouth on the right side of my face is giving my forehead a run for its money.

side effects:

- chapped lips

- dry eyes

- very sore knees (they ache when i work out, or even just get up from a chair)

- very itchy skin (esp. forearms and shins)

- the inside of my nose is getting so dry that it's cracking and bleeding and scabbing, so i've been putting vaseline inside using a q-tip, which seems to be working better

- fatigue

yesterday i got the emu oil in the mail and put it on my face immediately, when i was wearing no makeup. it smells very strange and is certainly oily looking, so i might try to use it just at night before i go to bed. i put a little bit on my face this morning instead of my regular moisturizer, then i put on liquid foundation, but my face doesn't look oily so perhaps it's okay for day use, in small amounts, with makeup covering it?? since it has just been 1 day, i obviously don't notice a difference, so i'm hoping it'll gradually help my red marks fade over time.

also, my ears are peeling, and near one of my piercings on my left ear, the skin has scabbed over, i guess from dryness, so i put some of the emu oil on that, and it helped a ton.

wow am i tired today. soooo slluugggiiissshhhhh.

day 46

dose: 60 mg Sotret

acne: why you gotta play me like that, iso?? just when i thought things were on the upswing, i get slammed with three VERY sore, pressure-filled zits... 1 on my forehead, one on my right cheek, one on the left side of my chin. when i wear liquid foundation nowadays it peels off and looks splotchy and like total crap, so i'm going without makeup for a few days. i feel sorry for who-ever has to look at my face because it's red, irritated, covered in zits and scars and red marks and total scariness. :wub:

side effects:

- chapped lips

- dry eyes

- sore back

- fatigue

- peeling skin (ears especially)

i hate this. i know i'm not even done with month 2, but this seriously blows. my face always looks red and terrible and makeup isn't covering it anymore. can i walk around with a pillowcase over my head??


here are some pics taken this evening.

WARNING: there is no make-up on my skin and it looks like hell!!

here we go, face-forward. yup, i feel as miserable as i look


right side, which is broken out near the mouth and that SUPER painful pustule on the forehead:


left side, which looks surprisingly smooth (just a lot of red marks still)


day 43/week 7

dose: 60 mg Sotret

acne: one new one on my chin the other day. otherwise, things are clearing up, even my forehead. is my IB over?? i hope!! (i also hope that i didn't just jinx myself.)

side effects:

- chapped lips

- dry eyes

- sore back

- sore knees

- the fatigue seems to be getting better, though

so yesterday i went for a run, it was the first time in months that i had attempted it. my knees (and back especially) started hurting after just a few minutes so i had to push through the discomfort, and ended up quitting and just walking after a mile. damn. i am gonna try to get my endurance and pain tolerance back up so i can get up to at least 3 or 4 miles.

also, i am getting so sick of the scars and prominent red marks on my face, so i have just ordered some emu oil from online. i will let you know if i can tell a difference in my face after i start using it.

otherwise, all else is well and i'm just sittin tight, waiting for october to come so i can be done with this crap!

day 39

dose: 60 mg sotret

acne: nothing new today or yesterday, thank god. my face is REALLY red in general, though, and there are still quite a few older zits lingering. i popped one on my forehead... which i strongly regret now.... because it scabbed overnight and looks awful, but at least there is no more pressure. that is definitely going to scar :wub:.

side effects:

- chapped lips

- dry eyes

- fatigue (i never feel like working out anymore, which i was ADDICTED to before!)

- slight joint pain

- skin is peeling and flaking (on my chin, hands, feet, and arms)

day 37

dose: 60 mg sotret

acne: frustrating, disappointing. still getting new ones, and they HURT. like there is a ton of pressure in each one, so it's quite unpleasant. woke up to a few new ones today. can i please go back to how i was last week, where i didn't get any new ones for a few days??

side effects:

- chapped lips

- dry eyes

- fatigue

- JOINT PAIN IS BACK :wub: my fingers really hurt today, and my left knee, too

- the skin under my wrists is peeling! it's really strange. the rest of my body is pretty dry and flaky, even though i moisturize a few times a day with cetaphil.

- sore back (i walked to work today and really noticed it then)

although it sucks right now... i'm in pain, my face looks like crap, and i'm super self-conscious... i'm still managing to stay positive. i know this shit works and i know it will take time, so i'm sticking it out and taking it day by day.

here is a before pic, which shows how nice and smooth my forehead was (but yucky chin):


and my forehead as of today, with helpful little arrows pointing out my EIGHT zits:


day 36/week 6

dose: 60 mg Sotret

acne: whoa mother - forehead's still looking AWFUL. yesterday i developed a BAD one on the right side of my chin (it's very sore), and there's a sore one on my left cheekbone. otherwise, the older ones are clearing up okay. red spots are pretty bright.

side effects:

- chapped lips

- dry eyes

- slight joint pain (and lots of popping when i work out)

- fatigue

- sore inner nose (i guess from dryness?)

day 34

dose: 60 mg Sotret

acne: goodness, there is a zit explosion on my forehead, and i NEVER had a problem there before! i also am waiting for a few papules to heal on my chin, and some spots on my left cheek. the right side is still lookin good.

side effects:

- chapped lips

- dry eyes

- fatigue

- joint pain (a little in my knee and left ankle... strange, i haven't felt this for quite a while now)

- lower back pain (my fiance and i moved our entire apartment around today, so i'm sure moving heavy furniture was NOT helpful for this)

last night i went out with my fiance and i ordered a beer. i milked it for over an hour, so i hardly felt it but it sure was good. i LOOOOVE alcohol of all kinds (literally everything - beer and wine especially, and on occasion mixed drinks or shots), so it has been hard for me to cut back on alcohol. i've only had 2 beers and 2 glasses of wine TOTAL in my past 34 days on sotret, so i think i'm doin pretty good. i never have more than one drink in a sitting, so i think it's okay. hasn't made me feel sick or bad just yet, and my first blood test came back just fine.

also, today i went tanning for 4 minutes and didn't get red at all. it brought back a little color to my skin (since my base tan was really starting to fade), so i think i'll try to go just for 4 or 5 minutes every couple of days until my membership runs out at the end of the month. i know, probably not the smartest, but it's really expensive and i don't want my money to go to total waste.

day 32

dose: 60 mg sotret

acne: one small small small new one on my chin... the cyst on my left cheekbone is starting to die down, but the one on my forehead is still painful and dumb. otherwise, my right side is looking really smooth and zit-free (knock on wood). i'm really happy with how my face is right now - PLEASE only continue to get better!!

side effects:

- chapped lips

- dry eyes

- slight headache

- fatigue

- sore lower back (been using a heating pad in bed)

the cracks in the corners of my mouth are completely healed - hooray!

water intake: still drinking between 64-80 oz of water every day


dose: 60 mg Sotret

acne: nothing new today, whew. face is starting to look pretty smooth, thank god. let's knock on wood that it doesn't start looking terrible again.

side effects:

- chapped lips

- really dry eyes

- dry itchy skin

- ffaattiigguueee

- slight headache

- lower back pain

- cracks in the corner of my mouth are FINALLY healing!

so last night i picked up the hydrocortisone & iodoquinol 1% cream that my derm prescribed for the super dry patches on my face (and for the mouth cracks) and after just a few applications of the cream, those areas already look and feel a ton better, so if you're experiencing those problems, i'd recommend you ask your derm about it!


here's a "before," and even though i'm wearing a lot of concealer and foundation in this picture, you can still tell that on either side of my chin below the corners of my mouth, i'm majorly broken out (so it's really bumpy looking):


now, here is me today, one month into treatment:




i'm wearing liquid foundation today, so that SOMEWHAT covers the redness, but beside the few dry patches, you can tell the chin has REALLY smoothed out. now i'm basically dealing with zits on my cheeks and around the mouth. (oh, plus one on my forehead)