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the accutane log of a 25-year-old zithater

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Hi guyssss!

I finally got in with an eye doctor in my new country and he said my eyes are completely normal. They still feel somewhat dry to me but nothing some drops won't fix. I'm also cleared for wearing contacts again (though I had already started to wear them again for special occasions once things normalised).

I am considering going back on tane at a VERY low dose (2.5-10 mgs/day) if my acne keeps up. I am back to having very oily skin and hair and acne just as bad as pre-tane :( I am hoping that it might clear up once I get my lifestyle under control in my new home, since having such a big change in environment, work, products, diet etc. can mess you up bigtime.

Eye Dr. says that while the keratits very well could happen again, I can still give it a try with close monitoring. I just really don't want to mess up my eyes or make them any drier.

Will update if I end up going back on. The nice thing is outside the US you don't have to do iPledge! :)

<3 glitz

Hi All,

Just a follow-up. Still waiting for my new healthcare to get set up, so still waiting to get cleared for contacts again, sigh. Eyes are still not completely normal, they are not really dry or blurry but definitely a little blepharitis-y still. Found a PubMed article saying up to 60% of people experience blepharitis coming off accutane (why don't they tell you this stuff?!?!) but didn't say if it was permanent. Great.

Skin and hair oil is back 100% and had a couple of my usual PMS actives this past week :( Especially bummed that there seems to be no lasting relief from the extremely oily skin I was plagued with before. On top of that I am re-adjusting to topical retinoids so I'm also peeling, YAY. love the combo of a shiny face that is also peeling off in chunks!!

When I get in with a derm I will discuss if I can maybe try tane again but this time a low dose. I should have stuck with my instincts the first time around, but I really wanted it to WORK so I listened to my derm....

Bottom line, kids, is that I never would have been dealing with ANY of this if my idiot derm had never put me on Yasmin. Don't mess with your hormones...they don't REALLY know what they're doing, and you can definitely permanently destroy your hormonal balance by taking hormonal birth control. Not a long-term acne solution and for birth control there are so many better options like the copper IUD (the #1 most popular method in Europe where I live now, its more effective than the pill, cheaper over time, and has no hormones...)

Hi All,

I ultimately made the decision with my derm to quit accutane. The keratitis in my eye was not improving, it was only getting worse, and though it is a relatively minor condition there is a risk of permanent dry eye and associated issues, not to mention the fact that my vision was getting super-blurry out of that eye which was really freaking me out and affecting my quality of life. I also was moving internationally which would make it hard to continue anyway since I'd have to find a new doctor.

On the plus side, he said that since I'm not a teenager anymore and because I was taking a pretty high dose, it might still be effective even though it was a very short course.

About one week off my lips returned to normal (yay lipstick!)

The blurriness of my vision has resolved and I am tapering off the steroid drops. I still need to go back for a follow up to see if the keratitis has fully gone away though (they check with the yellow dye stuff and a slit lamp exam). However, as the oil glands in my eyes are kicking back in I've developed some blepharitis and a huge stye (probably brought on by long air travel) ewww.

I'm back using Atralin as a topical treatment.

Hope all you fellow 'taners are having a better time of it!

<3 glitznzits

soooooo, I finally heard back from my derm, he instructed me to only take the 20mg pills (1 per day) as opposed to the 50mg regimen i was on (30mgs am 20mgs pm) until I come in tuesday for my monthly check-in. he described my eye issue as basically "eczema on my eye," which makes sense given the little eczema patches I've gotten on my arms during treatment. He said he'd bump me back up to 30mgs if things were looking up after 2 weeks...wish me luck!



Day 50!


I'm still anxiously awaiting a call from my derm re: stopping or reducing 'tane, but I did reach a milestone today so I'm going to try to stay positive and list some of my progress so far and the most helpful things I've encountered along the way.

I currently have two tiiiiiny pimples, one over my eyebrow and one near my mouth. I'm about to hit "that time," so I'm guessing this is the tane-ified version of my usual monthly pus volcanoes Skin dryness is finally under control with purpose wash PM (it removes makeup much better than cerave) cerave hydrating in AM and cerave cream following both. Aquaphor is a godsend for lips, just like everyone says, but make sure you get the non-SPF version unless you want to feel like you have your lips around a sunscreen bottle all day--eww. I save my tube for serious sun exposure (beach, hiking, etc.) it is just too SPF-flavored/scented for daily use.

So far the biggest helps I've found have been plain old cortisone cream for corner-of-mouth cracks (angular chellitis) and buying a pump for cerave cream... omg i cannot tell you how much better it is to be able to pump that stuff instead of sticking you fingers in it! They sell them on amazon (16oz jar pumps, they aren't affiliated with cerave at all)

OK, wish me luck going forward.

tah tah,


oh! and makeup stays on beautifully all day with NO SHINE! i use bb cream :)

2 weeks later my right eye is still dry and blurry so I went back to the optometrist for a follow-up today. No good, she said that the keratitis has gotten worse and that now my cornea was also slightly swollen :( She prescribed prescription steroid drops this time and said she was going to call my derm to confer about either taking me off accutane or reducing my dosage :(( I am so bummed out. I hope I can stay on at a low dose since this drug is my only hope. The silver lining is that punctal keratitis is fully reversible and mine is still pretty minor.

I will keep you guys posted. In the meantime, given the worst-case scenario, anyone know about the possible success of a mere 2 months of accutane? I've responded really well so far, no new actives in about 3 weeks and total clearance of all chest and back acne and ultra-stubborn nose blackheads. I know it's not ideal, but I'm wondering if it has made a difference for anyone.

I'm experiencing kind of a mini version of the initial dryness craziness from month 1, due to the upped dosage. Lips, upper lip, and chin are all peeling, but not nearly as bad as the first time around. However, I am really stressed out about my eyes--they are sooo dry and the vision in my right eye has become blurry. I went to the optometrist and she said the blurriness is caused by mild keratitis on that eye due to it being dry from the accutane and told me to use OTC eye drops 4x a day and an OTC eye gel and night, and that I should see improvement in a week. Maybe I'm just being impatient but its been 4 days and my vision is still blurred in that eye and it's really freaking me out. I know its a minor condition but i'm a worrywart and i'm afraid that worst-case scenario my eyes are dry forever from damage to the meiobian glands or, less bad but still really disappointing, that i'll have to stop the accutane and all will have been for naught. or both. *sigh* Maybe if it doesn't clear up I can dry a reduced dosage, like 20-30 mgs.

wish me luck!


A few updates in the past almost-week:

1) My derm upped me to 50mgs a day. This will probably be my max. I weigh exactly 50kgs (110lbs), so that's a perfect 1mg/kg dose.

2) I learnt my lesson bigtime about accutane and alcohol!!! I had had quite a bit of wine on a trip to wine country a little over a week into my course with no ill effects, but was still staying off the sauce to be safe as a general rule. I went out for what I thought would be one or two drinks with friends saturday and ended up having more like 5-6 (not something I do often, but I certainly have had hard-partying nights before 'tane with not much consequence) and had the WORST hangover of my life...I will not be having another drop while taking this stuff! I think it just wasn't fully into my system yet when I drank the first time. I literally couldn't even sit up in bed till 2pm....ughhh. AND I was afraid of hurting my liver more so I couldn't even have my usual cure of alka-seltzer and a greasy meal...

3) My blood came back ok! I started off with slightly high cholesterol (not sure why...maybe something I ate the day before the test, since I'm pretty fit and usually have very low cholesterol) but it came back normal this time. I switched from eating eggs for breakfast to whole grain old-school oatmeal, which I'm guessing helped. I hope I didn't fuck up my liver saturday def felt like it.

4) The crazy-clogged pore thing is so much better! I think it was all the yuck getting pushed out of my pores. My nose looks so clean! I still have a few blackheads on the sides but they are getting better by the day and I hope it stays that way! So don't freak out if you get the clogged pore thing. I was afraid they'd all explode.

5) My chest and back are amazingly clear! I hadn't even really noticed that I had so many clogged pores there. I just thought I had rough-textured skin. I did get small papules and the occassional really bad back/shoulder cyst but it wasn't a huge concern of mine...but it is SOOO NICE. I can't stop touching my skin there, its so smooth.

tah tah for now!

I take my 30th pill tonight!

A roundup of Month 1 in brief:

No effects first weekish, then sudden onset of extremely flaky skin and lips along with a huge purge of pus-filled whiteheads (5-10 per day, lasting a day or less each). Ceased topical retinoids and switched to only Cerave Hydrating Cleanser and cerave cream moisturizer. Flakiness and whiteheads gradually calmed, followed by blackheads towards week 4. Scalp is not oily at all, only washing hair 1x per week when daily washing was an absolute necessity before. That's where I'm at now.

Non-skin side effects:

Creaky knees, achey hips

Mild but persistent headaches

Dry eyes, blurry contacts (from dryness)

DRINK TONS OF WATER BEFORE YOUR BLOOD TESTS. I have never had a problem with blood drawings before but this stuff dehydrates you so much that they spent like 10 mins poking around in my vein, gave up, had me drink a huge bottle of water in the waiting room, then tried again half an hour later in the other arm, and after another 10-15 mins of poking and needles wiggling in my vein (ugh! I'm not scared of needles but it was AWFUL) they finally got a few drops of blood out of me, enough for the tests to be run. I didn't even feel thirsty. It really underscored for me how important hydration is when taking this!!!

Finished my second pack today! They come in packs of 10 pills, 3 per month. It reminded me that I figured out something fairly obvious but really awesome-- you can cut your 'tane out of the scary deformed baby/preggo lady with red X packaging! That way you don't end up with "no preggos allowed" stickers all over your house... of if you're me, annoyed that the FDA doesn't trust women to not be total idiots... I wanted to liberate a couple of the blister packs to take with me on a short trip, and realized that they are totally normal looking under all that cardboard!

I'm worried about my bloodwork next Thurs because I was on vacation last week and was pretty bad--went to a couple of wine tastings and also ate a LOT of this week I'm being super good, eating lots of oatmeal and stuff which I hope will get my cholesterol down. They said it was slightly elevated before I started but cleared me anyways, so I want to make sure it doesn't go too high. I want to stay healthy, of course, but I also don't want to have to go off the isotretinoin! I was pretty surprised by the cholesterol as I am quite thin and the last time I had it tested it was extremely low (something like 30) so I wonder if it was something I had eaten that day or something.

P.S. I have been bad and had alcohol a couple of times so far and haven't noticed any weird effects (getting overly drunk, hangovers, etc.) but I always drank TONS of water and had lots of food with it, and didn't go overboard. Next Thursday will tell if my liver has suffered at all...I hope not!! :)

Day 18

Just an update on my current routine, what I'm trying, etc.

PureMoist rewetting drops have been AMAZING for keeping my contacts comfortable. I hope they keep working! I hate wearing glasses. Took some practice to not get them all over my face though.

Face is super-dry and very flaky. Lips are not so bad with aquaphor lip repair applied as needed. I stopped putting atralin on my peeling areas (nose edges, chin, lip edges) about a week ago, and stopped using it on my non-flaky t-zone a few days ago. Now I'm doing cerave hydrating cleanser AM, purpose wash PM (it foams, so it takes off makeup better) and using a warm wet washcloth to gently buff away flakes. I was in the desert the past couple of days too so I'm hoping that now that I'm back in less dry climate the flakes calm down.

I've found that doing a layer of cerave PM lotion topped iwth the richer cream on the flaky areas seems to be the most effective. I use dr. jart's bb cream spf 35 on top in the AMs.


Two weeks down...five and a half months to go! Haha. I feel like the day I got braces when I went in trying to imagine what tooth pain would feel like, and boy I found out... Ultra oily me two weeks ago could never imagine skin this dry! Even with layers of cerave cream my skin is so peel-y it's hard to go out in public without feeling like a freak. Still getting some whiteheads. I also developed a swollen red patch about the size of a dime on my chin, I think from a whitehead that I popped and it got infected, so as fun as they are to pop I'm back to a strict hands-off policy...

Dear Reader,

It is Day 11. My lips are cracking and peeling off delightfully. But even more exciting are the fantastic little eruptions of pussy goo, concentrated in the corners of the nose but not averse to taking up residence in the chin, cheeks, and upper lip. They have a tendency to spontaneously burst during the day, adding charming rivulets of fluid to my otherwise quite arid visage.

Tah tah for now,


P.S., I should mention the rather odd flaking behind the ears. Really adds panache to a black top.

One week in, I am already noticing hair loss, which is freaking me out. I lost TONS of hair when I went off the pill a little over two years ago due to telogen effluvium. It all grew back as far as I can tell, but it really sucked--It looked very thin over the temples and when it grew back I had a crazy-looking "halo" of baby hairs for a few months, lol. I think I'm just prone to TE. I lost hair for about 6 months when I went off the pill, which is about the length of my course. I guess I'll have to see how it goes over the next couple of weeks. If it's still bad at my next appointment, I might ask to go down to 20mgs (on 40mgs now, 110 @ lbs) and see if that helps.

In other news, the lip thing has officially kicked in--goodbye, lipstick, hello, Aquaphor! I've been experimenting with using Benetint lip stain with a layer of the Rose tinted Burt's Bee's chapstick over it which seems to work fine too, for any girls who want to maintain a little lip flair while 'taning. However the corners of my mouth have begun to flake and peel really unattractively...awesome. Realized halfway though the day at work today and couldn't do anything about it...

Tonight I'll be taking pill 7. I am just starting to get some dryness around the corners of lips and edges of nose.

I also did a little experiment last night with alcohol, just to see what would happen, because I have a few special occasions that I'd like to be able to have a couple of drinks at during the course, and I wanted to know in advance if I'd feel ill from mixing alcohol with the medication or get horribly hungover or anything, so I split a bottle of red wine with my wife over the course of several hours. I didn't feel any more tipsy than usual, and this morning I only have the slight headache I've been waking up with every AM since starting the drug. I drank lots of water along with it and ate with it as well. So, it seems like it's an okay thing to do for special occasions, but still not something I'm willing to risk doing often--I need my liver fully functional for when I'm living in Ireland! ;)

Got a big ol' zit on my chin and the corners of my nose are getting dry, as well as some eye dryness...also noticing a bit more hair coming out in the brush. I'm hoping the hair is a coincidence, I lost lots of hair coming off Ocella (Yasmin) and don't want to repeat that experience...

Day 5

Still nothing major going on--I got the impression from the boards here that like, you popped one pill and immediately your lips cracked and peeled off--luckily, it seems like it takes a while for the dryness to kick in! I have noticed that it is starting to hurt to use my Clarisonic though, so it might be time to retire that.

Also, anyone else wake up feeling mildly hungover taking this stuff, despite not drinking? So weird--must be the dehydration?

Day 2

Nothing too crazy happening yet. Woke up with a headache and two new tiny whiteheads, but I'm guessing both of those things are unrelated this early on. I'm still continuing with a less-intense version of my topical treatment until the dryness really kicks in (2% salicylic acid wash AM & PM, with Clarisonic at night followed by Atralin (tretinoin .5%).

Tane Day 1

Today is Day 1!

Picked it up at the pharmacy today. I'll be taking 40mgs daily of Absorica, which is basically a new isotretinoin product that is coated in fat to aid absorption, even if you take it without a fat-containing food (as you must do with regular 'tane to absorb the product). I had a coupon to get it for $10, same price as the weird never-heard-of-it generic they tried to give me at the pharmacy instead (Myorica or something, not Claravis or any of the normal generics)

I am nervous for a host of the usual reasons: worried about smaller things like the IB, and larger things like, what if I somehow do irreversible damage to my body? Or go crazy? But I am also thrilled to have the chance to use a drug that's so effective and will hopefully free my from my insane topical regimen and this affliction that has so altered my life.

I am giving up drinking for the duration of the course, which will be an interesting experiment since I'm a city girl in her 20s who boozes with the best of them. Had a really epic last weekend of pre-tane partying, though :)

Let's do this thing!

Hello Person Considering Accutane!

I'm going to keep this blog of my 'tane experience.

About me: 25, female, suffering from Yasmin-induced hormonal acne since migraines forced me off the medicine at age 23.

Atralin (.05% tretinoin) worked for a time, but still getting monthly cysts.

Today I went in to get one of such cysts shot up with cortisone, and begged my derm to let me try Accutane. My teary-eyed (passionate, but not depressed!) appeal worked, somewhat to my surprise, and I left with less pee and and a 3/4 inch thick textbook-style guide on how to not get pregnant and have a deformed baby on 'tane, replete with such helpful nuggets as "you can still get pregnant by a man who has had the mumps."

In case you don't know, unless you have a dick or have had your uterus physically removed from your body, you have to do iPledge. Yes, even for lesbians, nuns, and women with their tubes tied. In iPledgeland, there are no nuns or lesbians, only pathologically irresponsible succubi.

So 99% of women taking it have to get one preggo test 30 days in advance, take 2 forms of birth control for a month (I'm marrying a woman in 3 weeks, so I got to put "abstinence" twice...lulz) then come back for preggo test 2 before you can get your script.

Thus begins the 30-day countdown! Hopefully all my other bloodwork (liver, triglycerides) comes back ok so I can do this thing and kick acne's butt. I'm sick of using 800 useless, expensive prescription products, none of which really work. Once this is all over I want to travel the world and camp and hike and do all kinds of things my skin has been holding me back from doing!!

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