Positive Accutane Experiences
Posted 17 March 2009 - 08:23 PM
It would be helpful to know the length of your course(s), your dosage(s), and when you started or finished. Please make just one post describing your experience, and edit/update it as necessary ... this will make it easier for readers to follow each person's story.
Please do not post until AFTER you have finished your course. Feel free to keep coming back to update your story.
Many or most people do experience some unpleasant side effects, so feel free to expound on those. But on the whole, if you are glad you took Accutane, this thread is for you.
Please do not post links to other sites. This thread is here for personal stories of Acne.org members only. It has been pinned so that it will not be lost in the shuffle.
Neither this thread nor the "negative experience" thread should be regarded as definitive proof of anything, pro or con, about Accutane. This is by no means a scientific sampling and we are not checking up on anyone who posts here. It is simply a place where people can tell their stories and keep them up to date in a simple format that is uncluttered and easy to follow. Arguments, flaming, and off-topic posts will be invis'd.
Posted 18 March 2009 - 08:51 AM
1st month of Accutane: 40mg --- 2nd, 3rd, and 4th months: 60mg
Course ended: mid-August 2008
I took antibiotics off and on during those 12 years. They started having a negative impact on my body and weren't keeping the cysts away. I was fortunate enough to start with a decent slate due to Solodyn before starting Accutane. Because of the antibiotics, Retin-a Micro, and Benzaclin, I did not experience the dreaded IB. I did experience a tiny one around my mouth with the dose increase, but it was minor.
Side effects experienced: dry skin, lips, and hair, eczema patches, extreme photosensitivity, joint pain, lack of concentration, fatigue, reduced night vision, brittle nails, thinned skin, moodiness, and flushing.
Side effects still experiencing: periodic flushing when hot, embarrassed, or nervous. Still photosensitive although not as bad as before.
I have to stress this: pay attention to your body and know the facts about this drug before swallowing that first pill. My first prescription was for 80mg. I knew that was way too high for my weight and did not hesitate to tell my derm. He listened and we both agreed I'd take 40mg that first month. The dose increase was mutual after that. Also, I was supposed to take a 5 month course, but the mood swings and joint pain were too much. I told my derm. He listened and we both agreed to stop the course. RESEARCH, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY and COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR DERMATOLOGIST!
Accutane changed my life in a positive way. I can deal with the flushing and photosensitivity 1000% times more than the bleeding cysts, pain, embarrassment, frustration, and uncomfortable stares. I no longer scrutinize my face every morning. I no longer fear hugging up against loved ones or letting my boyfriend touch my face. I wear my hair down. I'm not a crusty oil slick at the end of the day. I don't wake up with blood or pus on my pillow. I can comfortably leave the house without makeup. I my skin.
Posted 20 March 2009 - 12:11 AM
I am currently on my fifth course of Accutane. When I began my first course in 2001 as a 14-year-old, I had extremely severe cystic acne. My face, neck, throat, chest, and back were all covered with acne. I had absolutely no self confidence whatsoever. To be perfectly honest, I hated my life. Within two months of beginning Accutane, my acne began to improve. By the time my first course was finished, I had gone from having severe cystic acne to completely acne-free. I had regained my confidence, and I began to truly enjoy life.
The acne on my chest, back, neck and throat was completely cured after the first course of Accutane. My facial acne returned in a less severe form about 8 months later, so my dermatologist put my on a second course. Again, after a 5-month course my acne disappeared. For the first time in my life, at age 15, girls were finally beginning to take interest in me! Thanks to Accutane, I was able to enjoy my final two years of high school.
My third course addressed a flare-up of acne at age 17, and my fourth course followed about 6 months later. The fourth course was a low-dose maintenance course that lasted 7 months. After this course, my Accutane was completely cured for more than two years. When minor facial acne returned last year, I began to take an antibiotic called Bactrim. Bactrim worked wonders, but my dermatologist took me off it after 6 months and I broke out like crazy with cystic acne (refer to pictures).
I started this latest course of Accutane on October 6th, 2008. Today is March 19th; I've been taking 40mg a day for just over 5 months. By the time I'm finished in early May I will have taken 9000mg of Accutane, which works out to 123mg per kg of bodyweight (I weigh about 160lbs). I have a feeling this will be my last course of Accutane. I'm now 22, and I haven't had a single pimple in more than a month.
Here are two pictures from the beginning of my latest course of Accutane:
And here are two pictures I took last week, after five months on Accutane:
As you can see, there's a definite improvement there. Over the next few months I suspect the scars along my jawline will fade away and my skin will be almost perfect. Anyway, I would say this is a definite improvement. Although my acne wasn't brutal when I started this course (nothing like what it used to be before my very first course back in 2001), it was cystic and extremely persistent.
As far as side effects are concerned, I have never experienced anything other than dry skin, dry lips, and a few random nose bleeds. I have joint pain on and off, but I attribute that more to years of heavy weightlifting than to Accutane. Anyway, even though I've taken more than 20,000mg of Accutane in my life (starting 8 years ago), I've had no long-term negative side effects. My triglycerides and cholesterol levels are elevated after I take Accutane, but they return to baseline once I'm finished the course.
If I had any advice for people contemplating taking Accutane...
1) Accutane should only be used by people with moderate or severe acne. If you have mild acne, Accutane is not the answer. It may in fact make your acne worse initially, and the risks of side effects, while small, are not worth it.
2) Monitor your own body carefully. If you experience any serious or potentially serious side effects, talk to your doctor. The best way to avoid being one of those users posting in the "negative experience" thread is to stay on top of things! Don't ignore any potential side effects, discuss everything with your doctor.
3) Stay strong! Acne is a horrible, horrible disease. It can often make us lose hope. That being said, I am an example of one person who has battled through acne and been able to enjoy life. While the first few months on Accutane can be horrible, it is all worth it once you're finished.
In summary, my experience with Accutane has been more than positive - it's been life-changing. Without Accutane, I would not have been able to enjoy my teenage years. In fact, I'd still probably be hiding in my room with no friends and no confidence to even approach the opposite sex. But, thanks to Accutane, I am happy, confident, and loving life.
Posted 20 March 2009 - 11:16 AM
Weight is 45kg
Dose: 20mg/day for 8 months
Results: Clear skin within 2 weeks of the course and after that no more breakouts and goodbye to back acne. Has been post-accutane for over a year.
I am an acne sufferer since 14 and during my teens had been taking antibiotics to control breakouts. It worked initially but when i reach 19, I broke out horribly which include back acne then went on different treatments including topical antibiotics, retinoids and birth control. By the 3rd month on birth control, I had the worse breakout ever, both inflame and non-inflame acne and my back wasn't getting any better. Desperate, I switch to a better dermatologist who prescribed me accutane after hearing that I have been on all treatments available. He didn't want to give me a high dose so we settled on 20mg/day for 8 months.
Side effects include: Initial dry skin and chapped lips as well as fatigue but they went away after a month on the course. I did not suffer any bad side effects at all after my course, I was the same as I did before the course minus acne.
Accutane pros: All my acne cleared up by week 2 into the course which was amazing and from then I never had a breakout ever again. Compared to what i was before, accutane changed my life for the better, I never had to worry about acne again and can put on makeup easily with less time. I can also go out without makeup and not worry about people looking at me. Before that, I was moody and afraid to go out- not yet depression but definitely unhappy. I do get occasional pimples which i can handle because I definitely cannot handle back acne
Posted 21 March 2009 - 11:31 PM
I started accutane in October 2008 at 80 mg/day for 5 months (i weigh about 130 lbs, or 60kg). My initial breakout lasted 10 horrible weeks then all of a sudden started to clear up. My main side effects were dry lips, skin, nose bleeds, and "cloudy brain" feeling in the last month which went away a few weeks after stopping accutane.
I finished accutane in February 09 and have been off accutane for 1 month. I have been 99-100% clear for about 4 months now. All of my side effects have gone away and i am VERY happy with the results!! i would definitely recommend accutane to anyone who has suffered with acne for many years and other treatments have failed. it is important to research the drug and be aware of the risks before taking it.
i have pictures of my progress in my photo gallery and a weekly blog of side effects and skin condition.
good luck to anyone on accutane!! my only regret is that i didnt take it sooner
Posted 25 March 2009 - 09:25 PM
Posted 27 March 2009 - 09:33 AM
I've had what I would describe as severe comedonal acne/mild inflammatory acne ever since I was 12 or so. I'm now 44.
A few years ago, I was able to rid my skin entirely of bumps and pimples using an over-the-counter retinol gel called Green Cream. My overall skin tone also improved dramatically. I still had somewhat oily skin though, and my pores still became congested with waxy sebum. This was annoying, but I was resigned to living with it.
Then I took a very powerful course of antibiotics to knock out a kidney infection, and my skin went haywire again ... this time with fungal folliculitis. One of the treatments my derm and I discussed was low-dose Accutane to reduce sebum production. I had read a couple of studies, and agreed to give it a go.
I took 10 mg/day for 60 days. During this time, all of the waxy sebum in my pores came to the surface .... I never got any actual pimples, though, probably because I'd been using GC for so long. I had mildly dry lips, one or two nosebleeds, and no other side effects. I continued using other topicals (mandelic acid and Vitamin C serum) during those 60 days, although I did not use the retinol gel.
Then my derm began reducing my dosage. Over time, it went from 10 mg every other day to 10 mg every 8 days, which is where I am right now. I use all of my topicals now. I have no side effects. My sebum production is that of a normal person ... I get a little bit of oil, but not the thick, waxy, pore-clogging junk that I dealt with all of my life. We are going to try to get my dosage down to 10 mg every 14 days and see if I can still maintain my clear skin.
Accutane has not completely solved my folliculitis problem, btw. It has reduced it quite a bit, but it's not a total solution. Acne and clogged pores, on the other hand, are entirely gone.
I do not believe that low-dose Accutane is the answer for everyone, but it has definitely worked very well for me.
Posted 28 March 2009 - 05:47 PM
I have no side effects that I can attribute to Accutane, and am amazed at how unscientifically people claim Accutane caused this or that. I'm not sure how familiar people in general are with the scientific process but there's a lot of people trying to benefit from this drug, then assign ills to it through their own voodoo science conclusions. I had dry lips and dry skin while on the drug. I'm still active and exercise to this day. If I have any future side effects, I will post them here with the notice that a doctor confirmed this drug caused my illness.
My biggest complaint is that I wish I would've been assigned the full 6 month course because it seems my acne is returning. My body is still going through the natural aging process (growing hair in places I never had before like my back, fun) and I think my hormones are working overtime to recede my hairline and no longer making me taller and stronger. smile.gif
Now that I am no longer 13, and have a career which my acne is negatively impacting, with my acne returning I would like to finish up my last two months of Accutane all these years later. We'll see what the doctor says. The minocycline, differin, retinamicro and so forth never had any effect on me.
Get yourself a good dermatologist (one that hopefully isn't too conservative but not reckless like some here seem to have), do your blood tests every month and you'll be fine.
No one understands genetics enough yet to say if or what side effects you may encounter, but if you want to go down that road you have a lot of work to do researching as we consume many unnatural things (sodium benzoate which you came in contact with today because it's in most everything and also controversial), so I suggest if your acne can't be cleared any other way then use Accutane. Life is a gamble, just make the best decision you can and read read read to inform yourself but always note who the source is.
It's truly been a wonderful gift to me in my life and I have lived the last 13 years as a popular, happy, strong young man through high school and at my university because of how outgoing it enabled me to be. Main regret is not taking it sooner to prevent scarring and insisted on the full regimen.
Posted 29 March 2009 - 03:02 AM
I stayed clear for approximately 8 years after the course. The acne that returned was nowhere near as bad as previously and did not scar as much as previously.
Side effects: dry lips and eyes.
Posted 31 March 2009 - 09:14 PM
I LOVE ACCUTANE. it worked wonders and i am so happy i did it. the 5 months went by soo fast and the only side effect for me was the dry/chapped lips which i could keep under control with alot of chapstick. i took 90 mg a day. if your wondering whether you should do it, DO IT. its so worth it. my skin is beautiful now. it may get tough and my acne got worse in the beginning but it really cleared up amazingly in the last month. one again, its soo worth it.
Posted 01 April 2009 - 10:41 PM
My skin is now smooth and clear without a blemish in site! The only side effects I experienced were dry lips (eased by an over the counter miracle in a bottle called Aquaphor), slight mood swings during the first 2 months, and some hair loss. Ok, so the hair loss does seem kind of scary. I had what seemed like tongs of it coming out in the shower, but it wasn't noticable to other people.
Was it worth it? Absolutely! For the fist time in 9 years, I can go out without makeup and feel confident. The 6 months flew by! At first I didn't see a difference. My acne wasn't better, but it wasn't worse. At month 4, my skin started to clear. By month 5, my acne seemed like a bad dream.
Good Luck on your journey. I am so grateful for this medication and I hope that it works as well for you as it did for me.
Posted 05 April 2009 - 09:30 AM
Dose: 30 mg, month 1, and varying between 70-80 for the next four months, with a few downgrades to 40 because my triglycerides were high several times.
Side effects: Besides the high triglycerides, I had cracking dry lips, some eczema on my hands, and dry eyes for the first few months. Concentration was an issue, and towards the end (last two months or so) lots of random aches and pains, not enough to stop my pretty low-impact fitness program.
Benefits: I have had not a single cyst since I started the course 5 months ago. The one I had when I started the program went away quickly. I have had a few surface zits that have also cleared up in normal time. My skin is clear enough that I do not feel the need to wear foundation every day. It's amazing.
Honestly, the worst part of my whole course was dealing with my dermatologist. I had a great derm who was sympathetic and pro-tane when I started. She left the practice, though, and I was reassigned to a real winner -- a man who had little sympathy for acne-sufferers and obviously did not believe accutane was worth the risks. He was brusque and dismissive and made the process unpleasant and difficult (as if iPledge weren't enough of a pain). I would highly advise potential users to find a good derm to work with, as it's a long course otherwise. I would have considered waiting to transfer had I known.
All in all, though, accutane has been amazing for my skin, and worth the trial of a) getting it, and b) taking it.
Posted 19 April 2009 - 02:08 AM
My acne has never come back since then. Side effects included dry skin, dry lips, styes in my eyes (like twice or 3 times) and thirst. No hairloss, no nosebleeds, no depression, no joint pain (I actually had joint pain with antibiotics in the past, but not with accutane) My initial breakouts were brutal and I chose to stay home because my skin looked aweful the first 2 of 3 months.
I also love accutane. I had acne for almost 15 years before I took it. My only fear was that It wouldn't work, but it did.
My course was 1 month 40gms and 4 months 60grams
Posted 19 April 2009 - 11:58 PM
Took 'tane at 127mg/kg, today is exactly 5 months post-Accutane for me, and 5 months is the median relapse time, so I'm checking in to give some other members of this community that helped me some hope:
Significantly cleared, but still do get an occasional bump under the skin once a week or so. Rare breakout (a whitehead or two) once a month or two months. I do get a couple of bumps in my scalp sometimes, may be caused by razor-burn or irritation/etc. from getting my head shaved a lot.
Posted 22 April 2009 - 02:39 AM
Here's what my course looked like:
Month 1: 30mg
Month 2: 30mg
Month 3: 40mg
Month 4: 40mg
Month 5: 40mg
Month 6: 40mg
Month 7: 40mg
All the blood tests came out fine. My cumulative dose ended up at around 150mg/kg.
I got the dry eyes, nose, and lips they talk about in the packet. I got the rash on my hands. My healing slowed to a halt (you can still see a purple mark from a blister I got in November). I'd get stiff if I sat in the same place for too long, and my fingers would hurt if I spent too much time thumbing away at the video game controllers. I was always thirsty, my face flushed easily, and for some reason I became really sensitive to cold weather. Weird. So I had a handful of side effects, and when I write them out, it looks like a big fat paragraph...but I didn't find them upsetting or surprising, and I was never in enough discomfort to think about stopping the course. In fact, I thought they were kind of interesting. It was a nice excuse to pay attention to my body and really take it easy.
My main issue was being tired. I started taking what I call "Accutane naps," which is when you lie down for a 20 minute nap and you're completely gone for 3 hours. I was always tired by midnight, which for a college kid is embarrassingly early, and I felt like I could sleep and sleep and it would never be quite enough.
I started out with severe cystic acne, the kind that hurts to the touch. On my first dermatology appointment, she counted literally hundreds of lesions on my face and took a "before" picture that would frighten children. I also had shiny, oily skin and a lengthy list of antibiotics and topicals that hadn't worked.
My skin is lovely today. No actives, no noticeable red marks, and no noticeable scarring. My skin is even and smooth to the touch. For someone who wanted clear skin as desperately as I did, this is an unspeakably wonderful gift. I haven't been this happy in years.
I was fortunate to have a knowledgeable and sympathetic dermatologist. She was very cautious about my dose and always made sure I was feeling ok. I was also fortunate that my body handled Accutane well throughout the course. I'm hoping for continued good health and gorgeous skin in the years to come.
Posted 22 April 2009 - 02:54 PM
First, I'd like to thank all of you for your posts. Some of them really helped me get through my treatment and deal with the side effects.
It's been about 5 years since my last pill in late 2004. My skin has been about 99.9% clear ever since then.
I was worried about having to go through another cycle of 'tane, but it hasn't been necessary.
To all of you on accutane now, just take care of yourself. Drink lots of water, get plenty of rest, and use moisturizing eye/scalp/hair/lip/skin products religiously.
Here's a few pics of my clear skin after accutane. (It's a bit pink from some sun exposure.)
Edit - I guess adding pictures isn't working for me.
Thanks again to all of you. I wish you the best of luck with your Accutane experience.
Posted 28 April 2009 - 09:03 PM
When I first started, I had a headache (mild to moderate) for about a week. It went away. I did experience some dry eyes (drops once a day cured it, and it got better with time). During my entire course I did experience chapped lips and my nasal mucus was always blood stained from the dryness.
I discovered that if I took 800 mg of vitamin E daily, I did not experience dry or flaky skin. In fact, using moisturizer once a day was all I needed. The eczema on my arms returned after about 3 months of treatment and I used over-the-counter cream for it per my dermatologist.
Since stopping treatment, I have not experienced any ill effects at all. My skin is clearer than it has EVER been. I started getting cystic acne in the 5th grade and this is the FIRST time I have ever been acne free. Even my blackheads are gone. I have gotten just a few pimples, but they are so small that I usually don't even notice them unless I take a very close look in the mirror. Even then, they don't grow or hurt. My pores, now empty, don't look like the craters I use to have on the apples of my cheeks and sides of my nose.
I couldn't be more pleased with my results. If I HAD to find a complaint at all, it would be that I now notice my sunspots in the absence of the cysts I use to agonize over!
Posted 30 April 2009 - 11:36 PM
First off - if you come to this website every-so-often, frustrated by your vain attempts to clear up your acne using the 1001 'cures' that are posted everywhere on this website, I was the same.
Since I joined I tried out a buttload of these treatments (too many to name), but nothing worked. If it did, it would give me false hope by working for maybe one day, and then having acne come back (with the accompanying redness caused by harsh treatments).
My dermatologist and parents were both saying "Accutane is a last resort, your skin is not so bad..." blah blah blah. The fact is that I have had acne since I was 15, and although an objective external observer may say that it wasn't too bad, that was irrelevant. It killed my social life and made me a recluse. My problem, maybe, I am too shy and need to just 'get out there'. Whatever, I just needed clear skin.
One day I went to my ripoff of a dermatologist, and luckily for me he caught me on a REALLY bad day, then finally relented after I begged to be put on the 'Tane. That was in February 2008.
For the first 3 days, my skin magically cleared, but this was not a slam dunk. It did come back, and I was shattered and thinking to myself "not another f*cking phoney treatment...". HOWEVER I gave it time. I'm not going to deny it, I looked like a beetroot for the entire treatment. My skin was extremely dry, and for my skin piling on the all-hailed moisturisers such as as Jojoba Oil didn't help. It made me look greasy, but didn't soak in and truly moisturise. So I was a beetroot, but after the 3-day clearup and breakout for 3 weeks afterwards, my face finally decided to get with the program and get rid of the acne.
As far as exercise goes, it seemed like the best thing for me to do was absolutely nothing. Eat healthily and keep the body clean, but don't exercise to 'clear out the pores' and so on. All that did was further irritate my already-irritated skin.
So, my last day on the prescription was October 5, 2008. Since then I've been getting less-and-less red. For the last few months the redness has basically gone, and my skin *is* clear, and for the first time in my life I've actually been complemented on it. I've gained confidence and been able to go out and socialise without feeling like I don't deserve to be there. WARNING: there are occasional breakouts if you eat badly, and don't keep washing your face regularly (non-irritating cleanser + sunscreen/moisturiser is still crucial!!!!)
Accutane has given my life back. I wasn't in the 'severe' acne category, but it's not about that. It's about how it makes you feel inside. After all acne is not a fatal disease, just a disfiguring one that kills your self-esteem.
I know there have been horror stories, but PLEASE for your own sake if you're wavering about whether or not to go on Accutane, I urge you to go for it. If you've tried out the weak treatments and they don't work, i.e. your acne is not severe but persistent as hell, but you know it's taking a heavy toll on your social life, take the plunge. It'll most likely be the best decision you ever make. I know it was for me.
There is light at the end of the tunnel!
Posted 06 May 2009 - 04:10 PM
So I’ve finally decided to tell my story and bear with me; it’s a long one. I ramble. Hopefully somebody will read it and maybe find some comfort knowing somebody in a similar situation had a good experience. I mean, that is what this site is for right?!
Right, so I’m 24, I’m from England, I love the colour purple (the colour, not the book), I hate potatoes, I worship Jeff Buckley and this is my brief experience with Roaccutane
Before I start rambling, I want to explain a few things. I finished my ’16 week course’ of Roaccutane (60mg/per day) 3 weeks ago. I realise that my skin may still change for better or for worse but I’m not too concerned with that, I just want to talk about my experience on the drug and the results I am experiencing now. I know that people’s bodies work differently and so this is just my experience, it’s not universal. The thoughts that I express are not gospel they are just how I viewed the whole thing.
I first developed acne when I was around 12 or 13. I mean at that point it was the odd spot here and there. I was this crazy tomboy running around playing football and listening to Nirvana so it didn’t bother me. Spots would come, one at a time, hang out for a bit and leave. It was only when I was in year 9 (British school system, I dunno, 14/15 years old) when things got so much worse. My face was ridiculously oily and red and there was massive inflamed acne. I started feeling so self conscious that I missed a lot of school and felt like I lost out on opportunities that came my way which led to more resentment and self pity. I mean I think most of you guys would agree, its hard enough being at that age (actually at any age) with all the angst and social pressures and alienation and I dunno just massive existential crises and then add to the mix the feeling of being hideously flawed and unattractive- not much fun.
Anyway I didn’t grow out of it. It carried on, at times getting mildly better but then getting worse again. I used every medicated skincare product available, here’s a brief brand run down; Clearasil, Clean and Clear, Oxy, Neutrogena, Some store brand stuff like Boots, Superdrug, The Body Shop and I’m sure there’s more I’ve chosen to block out of my memory. I also tried doing nothing. I tried drinking lots of water (thinking it was some magic magic cure) I took herbal supplements and vitamins, I went to this Chinese herbal clinic place where they gave me bags of tea (at the reasonable price of £80 per pack costing me my Glastonbury festival tickets that year!...yes, fun times ) This tea tasted like, well ok actually I can’t comment because I couldn’t drink it without physically throwing up everywhere! Money well spent. Anyway basically what I’m trying to convey is that I tried every superficial thing and fad I could find.
At this stage you’re probably wondering why I didn’t go see my doctor! Well to be honest while I was at school, I was still told I would grow out of it, I mean I was 17 and had bad acne; not considered shockingly uncommon. The odd thing about it was that even though I knew that acne was common at that age, I still felt so alone (watching Dawson’s Creek didn’t help. 20 year old flawless people playing 15 year old flawless kids!...Damn them! ) anyway so year I did go to the doctor when I was about 18. He prescribed me the antibiotic oxytetracycline (which I bet many of you are intimately familiar with) and wow it worked wonders. Zero side effects and stunning results....for like 6 months, It couldn’t sustain itself. In the next couple of years i tried erythromycin and the rest of the cycline gang as well, sadly, all with limited results.
For the next few years things just continued on in the same way; no real change, yo yoing between antibiotics and feeling utter despair. So just before last Christmas (2008) I started wondering if I was gonna ever grow out of it. I mean I was 23 and I had been on some form of medication to treat acne since I was 18 and nothing had really worked. I knew there was no actual cure ‘cure’ but I also knew that something had to change. I had been on acne.org quite a few times in the last couple of years, browsing through forums and galleries and just reading everyone’s experiences. This is actually when I had first heard of Roaccutane but I had never thought about taking it because all I seemed to hear was how it was the most agonising experience of peoples lives. Anyway around Christmas time I thought I’m seeing the doctor and I’m gonna be honest and candid and just tell him how hard this is and demand something else! He said he would refer me to a dermatologist. This is something no doctor had ever said before so something already felt quite promising; something different, something new.
I saw my dermatologist at Christmas, 2008; Dr Jones. I had gone to see him with an open mind. I read everything I could on Roaccutane before I had gone because I was sure that’s what he would prescribe. I was scared, I mean everything I read described the side effects as some kind of horrendous black plague, I mean people would write about how they felt pain and discomfort, their skin and hair; just everything. I’m not really someone who is afraid of medication or drugs or trying new things but this made me wonder. I read it made their skin worse, insanely dry, it would be red and peel off and God, I read about people talking about being paralyzed, losing an eye, being enduringly physically scarred and every possible calamity inflicted upon them! So justifiably, this was quite a hard choice to make.
So at my first appointment with the derm, I shared some of these fears and concerns. I think what my main concern was if any of this was worth it, whether I needed such drastic action. I was under the impression I had, what would be called, ‘moderate acne’ (using acne.org lingo here) but I was shocked and pretty pissed off when I asked the derm for his diagnosis and he said ‘moderate-severe, yes its pretty severe’ Now when I think severe, I thought of something else. I had acne and it was bad but more than anything it was just persistent. I felt that was my problem, not its severity but apparently both were my problem. He explained there was Roaccutane or laser treatment. The laser treatment he felt was less ‘permanent’ He explained that whilst Roaccutane has some severe side effects, it has the best chance of ‘curing’ acne. It was, medically, the only ‘curative’ drug’ for the treatment of acne. He did not seem alarmed by the side effects and told me to get a good moisturiser and lip balm and just relax. He explained that in the last five years he has treated hundreds with Roaccutane and only one decided he couldn’t cope and wanted out. He also told me very few people come back for another course and if they did need another course that usually did it. After some tears and going back and forth in my head I got a prescription for Roaccutane 60mg a day. The course would last 4 months (16 weeks)
I waited a few weeks before starting, just because it was Christmas and I was spending it with my boyfriend and there were parties and gigs and I thought if it was going to get worse than this is a bad time. I started on the 31st of December (seemed fitting, with a new year and all) I was very aware, the first few days that I was taking this potentially life altering drug with allegedly catastrophic side effects... Legal ofcourse!
Within the first week I felt my skin and lips get drier but I quite liked it. It wasn’t uncomfortable. I moisturised and used a lip balm and that was about it. In the second week I broke out more; 3 new spots, I was disappointment but also not surprised or disheartened by it. By the end of the second week the new spots had cleared up. By the time the first month came to an end, I actually forgot I was taking the medication and just routinely took my three pills (20mg each) as if they were vitamins and just forget about it.
In the next 2-3 months my skin cleared up remarkably. Not a single new spot and all the old ones had gone. Yes some red marks remained but they were manageable. I would apply a little concealer and foundation here and there and I was set. Infact most days I would go out to lectures and around town with not a stitch of make up because even the red marks got lighter. It was only in week 14(out of 16 weeks) that I broke out with 2 new spots on my chin. I got really nervous and rang the derm! (Yes, maybe a tad dramatic!) He assured me that towards the end of treatment my skin may act up but it should clear up, if it doest we can extend the treatment on a lower dose. But fortunately, the spots disappeared within 3 days and it’s been smooth sailing since. I mean I’m sure that during stressful times or I dunno my time of month, I will break out and that’s fine. Its natural, it’s normal. I’m human but I don’t think I should have to put up with constant, persistent acne. I love having clear skin, it sounds so corny and trite but it’s made such a difference to my confidence. I really wouldn’t say I’m superficial or particularly in to my appearances. In fact I loath conceited people and I wouldn’t say I’m attractive at all but I’m happy that I don’t suffer from this anymore. It’s only been three weeks since I finished Roaccutane and its been great since, red marks still remain but my skin has no new spots and it feels so smooth and soft. I’m so pleased with the results and the course. I would do it again if I had to because I didn’t feel like I was doing anything. As I said at the start of my whole long-winded thing; everyone’s bodies are different so it’s possible that I’ll suffer from acne again or Roaccutane will work or won’t work but all I know is, this time, at this moment it was a success and I’m content.
To finish, I just want to say that during those 16 weeks I thought about keeping a Roaccutane Log or some kind of weekly update like many people on this site but I consciously made the decision not to. I appreciate that for many people that sort of thing helps but I decided not to scrutinize my body in such detail while on the drug because in my opinion if you do then you may start finding things to call ‘side effects’ I think, (and again this is just how I view it) sometimes we experience these placebos that we are convinced is caused by a drug or whatever we want it to be. I certainly don’t mean to undermine anyone’s side effects or experiences, I mean obviously it’s important to be aware of how you feel in case you start experiencing something abnormal or perturbing so that you can tell your doctor but at the same time I don’t think it’s a good idea to reduce everything disconcerting to Roaccutane. It’s like you have the leaflet and then you have list of’ possible’ side effects and then you’re convinced you’re experiencing them all. Obviously, things like severely dry skin or lips are visible and you can feel and so may be are more obvious but just slightly direr skin or peeling lips which if you weren’t on Roaccutane you may have overlooked or put down to cold weather or whatever...I don’t know if this is making sense. I guess what I’m trying to say, very inarticulately, is that my humble advice is if you decide to take Roaccutane, then just take it and don’t let your life revolve around it. If you feel something particularly bad then think about what it could be like for example, if you have a headache don’t just think ‘Roaccutane is giving me a headache’ maybe you’re dehydrated or under some stress of sleep deprived. If you can’t figure it out and its continual then yes perhaps it is a side effect and maybe you can talk to the doctor or find a way to cope but don’t go looking for side effects and that’s why I didn’t keep a log I really don’t mean to be horrible but some websites and forums out there can be a bit extreme, yes its a strong drug not be taken lightly but it seems like people reduce everything bad in their life to it and use it as an excuse ‘I failed my math test and I ate too many hamburgers and got fat – Its all because of the evil of Roaccutane!’Ok that was a slight exaggeration but hopefully you guys understand what I mean. I just took my medicine, fortunately had a great time (just some dry lips) and before I knew it, it was over. Yeah In the first couple of weeks I was checking my face and looking for results but before long I just didn’t care.
Anyway I won’t bore anyone anymore. I registered today to tell my story. I have this horrible flu (Maybe its the Swine flu, or maybe its a delayed reaction to the Roaccutane, yeah!?.No?! aaah im silly) anyway so I’ve been in bed watching The Back to the Future trilogy and typing away. I wish I had the flux capacitor, I would back and tell my 14 year old self that this is all gonna pass and none of it matters anyway!
Thanks for reading guys and I Wish you all well with whatever treatment you are on or decide to try or even if you try nothing. I just wish everyone lots of success and joy and pineapples! If anyone wants to ask any specific questions about my little experience then ask away. I’m happy to help in anyway. (ooh that rhythms)
Lots of Love xxxx
Ps. I hate pics and I don’t have many where I’m looking at the camera or not blinded by a flash (my friends love that flash!) but I might put some pics up. I don’t have any pre Roaccutane pics around, but I may put some recent ones up where I assume I have some make up on but I think you can maybe still see the results. Something like that x
Posted 09 May 2009 - 12:31 PM
As every acne sufferer will be able to empathise it's so damaging to your confidence and your self esteem...and as the condition worsens you do feel like it effects every part of your life.
Just before I went on roacuntane my parents shelled out for laser treatment on my skin. I remember going to get into the car aged fifteen on my way, and frantically hiding my face with my hair in case anyone saw me on the drive way, as I was so used to wearing about an inch on make up on my face to hide my acne and I was being forced to go out bare faced. The laser treatment hurt a lot....made me go red. That was about it at the time, but I do think that it did assist in the scarring in the long run.I would advise if you are taking accutane, that you also gice laser treatment a whirl as it will aid in reducing your scarring for your clear skin one day.
So anyway.... Roccutane. The best thing ever. Actually changed my life. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE take it- everyone reacts differently to it. I realise there are situations were it has given people adverse reactions but at least try it and see. I am fine, and I know there are a lot of people out there who are the same. I am 21 now and I only ever get the occasional spot-like a normal person.
I don't know what else to say other than please give it a go.
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