Accutane Log: Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces
Posted 09 July 2011 - 11:40 AM
Having read your magnum opus, I feel like I actually sort of know you (if that's not too presumptuous) and I'm so happy for you and your life with clear skin! If you ever see this post, I ask that you consider writing a one-year post-accutane update, because I'm curious to see how your skin is doing now. I'm on day 14 of my 'tane course and I'm hoping to finally have clear skin again after seven years of acne (having had it since I was about 12). Anyway, thank you so much for documenting your epic journey here, and with so much hilarity and detail. I've enjoyed every word of it.
You are terribly funny and generally awesome, and I know you'll succeed at whatever you choose to do in life! Hope you are enjoying your new life with clear skin! peace + love
Posted 18 August 2011 - 06:04 PM
Posted 09 May 2013 - 07:12 PM
TWO OR THREE (????) YEAR POST ACCUTANE UPDATE:
So acne. Acne, acne, acne. Where do I begin? First off, this isn't one of those terrible log entries where the accutane-ee's acne has come back in explosive proportions. But it isn't an entry about my skin being unbelievably glowing, perfect porcelain skin either. This is an in between those two extremes. I'm still pretty happy with my skin most of the time. I was freaking out the other night, and then I remembered what my skin looked like four years ago before I went on accutane and realized that I would have done ANYTHING to have the skin I have now. So that put things in perspective. That is to say it's not annoying; I'm almost twenty-three years old now and I STILL have to worry about acne like some pubescent teenager. But still, I digress (I don't even really know what that word means...)
This is going to be a fairly lengthly entry, but I'm going to go into detail, since I had a lot of frustration whilst on accutane about seeing barely any decent logs about people's skin post-accutane. So maybe this will help someone out there a bit. I'm breaking this down into sections: What my skin looks like now, What products I use/my routine, What my skin has been doing over the past few years, and finally, Things that definitely break me out. There will probably be a rambly closing paragraph thrown in there too.
Right now, my nose and cheeks are perfectly clear. I break out mainly around my mouth. I have a lot of closed comedones/whiteheads around the sides of my mouth and for some reason, instead of just hanging out or going away, they decide to blow up into a big yellow head and then go away, leaving me with a terrible red mark for a while. If I pop them when they're just whiteheads, they get big anyways. So those are there, and they are always bothering me. I usually have one (two if it's a bad day) active around my mouth four days of the week. And my forehead. Oh... my forehead. Last winter, I started getting a whole whack of little bumps there. Some are blackheads and some are whiteheads and some are just fucking tiny bumps (WHAT ARE THEY????). They're driving me insane, since they're just THERE looking like shit. Recently, I've started breaking out along my hairline. I'm not sure if it's because I used a really crappy shampoo or what. So, my skin right now, when I type this out, sounds terrible, but I just looked in the mirror and it's not that bad. If you were standing five feet away, it would be fine. Even close-up, it is okay. Now, that being said, if my skin doesn't clear up after summer's over, I'm going to the doctor to see whats going on. I really would rather never take accutance again, but I'm thinking maybe I have a hormonal imbalance or a thyroid problem, since I have symptoms that match both (or maybe none and it's the placebo effect... only in reverse... or whatever. Hypochondriac??)
Anyways, so my regimen for right now is (and I only wash my face once a day, usually right when I get home from work):
Wash with SpectroDerm
I bought this thing called Sirius Skinsonic (more on that later) and found that it has really helped my blackheads on the bridge of my nose. So when a wash my face, I also wash my nose and cheeks with this thing.
After that, I take a cotton ball and rub it all over my face to get dead skin and gunked up moisturizer off.
Then, I use Lush Breath of Fresh Air as a “toner.” Now, I really don't think toners are necessary, but this one isn't really a toner, it's kind of a seaweed water spray. I read seaweed is good for your skin, so decided to give this a shot. It makes my skin feel more moisturized (it get can really fucking dry) and if one night I don't want to put moisturizer on a very congested area to congest it ever further, I'll just put this on and leave it at that. Also, even if I stop using this, it has come in handy for camping, or when you just don't have time to wash your face, you just spray a bit on a cotton ball and then wipe all the dirt off your face.
Then I moisturize with Burt's Bees Sensitive Skin Daily Moisturizing Cream. I use a very, very tiny amount of moisturizer.
Oh, and also Burt's Bees Radiance Eye Cream, but I ran out and it's expensive, so right now, no.
In the day, when I'm out in the sun, Olay spf 30. I managed to find one that is zinc based like their old formula instead of the new one with that terrible chemical crap in it that just really breaks me the fuck out.
I should also say, I use Burt's Bees lip chap, or Nivea lip chap. I also use Everyday Minerals makeup to cover up a zit every now and then. You can get samples off their website for free and shipping is three bucks. It's probably the only kind of “cover-up” I trust to put on my face.
Now, that being said, I've been trying to switch all my products over to stuff that is cruelty free. So far, all my hair and make up is (that I know of) but most of my skin care isn't. Once I'm out of the products I have, I will be purchasing stuff that is cruelty free. Most of it will probably be Burt's Bees, since my skin seems to react well to it, although it is expensive.
Onto what my skin has been doing over the past few years.
SUMMER 2011 – Still clear. I started getting these little bumps all over the bridge of my nose and cheeks area under my eyes. Sometimes they would form a tiny little whitehead and then go away. They were annoying, but they didn't really do anything. I noticed around that time that even if I washed my face, there was always this layer of gunk/dry skin or whatever on it. Like, my skin just doesn't seem to shed off in a normal fashion. Instead, the moisturizer just traps it on there and all the dead skin just stays stuck to my face even after I wash it. So, pretty much every second day, I would just let the bathroom get all steamy when I turned on the shower, and then would just take my finger and rub all the dead skin off my face. I still do this, and I'm pretty sure that before having all that dead skin on my face was a major reason why I had so many clogged pores. Even though everywhere I've read is all like, “NOOOO!!! DON'T TOUCH AND RUB YOUR FACE!!!” Well I do touch and rub, thank you very much. I touch and rub a lot.
WINTER 2011/2012 – In the winter, especially where I live, it gets really cold and really dry. Dryness is one thing that really messes up my skin and irritates it and makes it break out, so naturally, I am inclined to get more pestilent pustules in the winter time. My skin started getting little bumps on my forehead that I put retin-a on, but then it would get dry and it would get worse and I would put MORE retin-a on it, and so forth in a vicious cycle. I stopped putting retin-a on my face completely, and these went away by March. Also, in the winter, my moisturizer I was using at the time (Complex 15) didn't cut it, so I used Cetaphil. It's good, but it doesn't wash off and if I don't rub it all off, my skin gets congested very easily from it. I also started getting those zits around the sides of my mouth I was talking about. I had to use Blistex in the winter (the stuff that comes in a blue jar) because my lips were so dry, and I think it clogged my pores when I put in on at night, and then drooled everywhere (a fantastic visual right there for you all). Also, these zits may be hormonal. Who knows.
SUMMER 2012 – My skin was wonderful. I was working outside, so the sun helped, and I was using sunscreen everyday and I think my skin reacts very well to zinc, so that certainly helped. I still had those annoying bumps on my cheeks, and got an occasional zit around my mouth, but it was all good.
FALL 2012 – Still clear, but I was getting more and more zits around my mouth. I also got one or two tiny pimples where my moustache would be if I was a man, and right on my lip line. This freaked me out a bit, since I used to get pimples there ALL the time pre-'tane, and I was scared it was coming back. But they seemed to just be isolated occurrences for now. Probably around the end of fall, I somehow stumbled across something called a “Sirius Skinsonic” that apparently cleans your face by vibrating all of the gunk out of it. I decided to give it a go, for whatever reason. I think the main reason was because I thought if I cleaned my face with it, it would take off all the dead skin for me and I wouldn't have to resort to barbarically rubbing my face every second night like a caveman. When I first used it, it made my skin feel super soft, so it became part of my every day routine. Like some sort of relationship with someone who is actually a serial killer, it was good for a while until I started finding body parts in the freezer.
WINTER 2012 – This is where my skin started to look shitty (insert overdramatic sad-face emoticon here). This had to do with several things. Winter came, very fast, very cold and very dry all at once and my skin just freaked out because it didn't have enough moisture. I also started a new job (housekeeping) which I detested gravely, so stress was a factor. Also, doing housekeeping, I was spraying disgusting chemicals everywhere that got into my face, and God knows that other “particles” made their way onto my face from cleaning out toilets all day long. Ski season also began, so I think wearing toques and helmets didn't help things for my forehead.
So anyways, my skin was dry and freaking out. Of course, it didn't quite dawn on me for a day and then when I realized, I was no where around a decent moisturizer, so I had to suffer for another day. In this period, I was breaking out with little zits in random places that don't normally get acne, but as soon as a slapped some Cetaphil on my face, my skin was like AHHHHHHHH!!!!! YES! MOISTURE!!!!!
Anyways, so that cleared up the anomalies, but I still had a breakout and little bumps forming on my forehead and around my mouth. I knew that this happened last year, so I decided to just keep moisturizing and don't try and treat it and hope it will go away.
Well, it kind of went away, and then it kind of returned, and then it kind of went away... and so forth, becoming the bane of my existence.
I tried a couple of things while my skin was slowly collecting more bumps to add to it's pointillism-art collection forming on my forehead. I had read about green clay being good for “drawing” crap out of your skin, so I tried a mask with that. Can't really say if it did ANYTHING. I know for sure it didn't make my skin any worse, but it didn't really look any better either. However, I found that green clay, applied straight on a forming pimple and left over night, will SOMETIMES eradicate the pimple entirely before it has a chance to fester. It's just a matter of catching the pimple in time.
Also, I was using way to much Cetaphil on my face and it was blocking it all up, so I decided to cut back on the Cetaphil usage.
BUT while all of this was going on, my nose and cheeks seemed to clear up, for whatever reason. I don't even remember when/why it happened. It just did and I'm very happy about that, since those areas used to be terrible for little bumps and red marks.
About a month back, I started wondering if maybe my Skinsonic was just irritating my skin, since I started using it around the end of November and the bumps cropped up and continued to crop up ever since. So now, I only use the Skinsonic on my nose and cheek area, since I think this little thing truly does help my blackheads, but the rest of my face not so much. The bumps are still there, although there have not been any new ones.
I also was breaking out again due to the Blistex around my mouth, so I switched over to a lighter lip chap as soon as winter released it's cold, unforgiving grasp. Again, there are still bumps around my mouth, but not as many. I try not to rub at my forehead very much, and found that the bumps lay flat if I do that. They're still there, only... flatter. And therefore more acceptable.
And then, about two weeks ago, I was going to go on a camping trip and had to wash my hair. I didn't have my normal shampoo with me (it's sulphate free, since that shit breaks me out) so I just used some crappy stuff lying around, went camping, and when I came back, noticed two zits forming around my hairline. I'm back to using a sulphate free shampoo, but the spots are still forming. However, also around this time, I decided I just had enough with the bumps on my forehead. After the shower one day, when my pores were all steamy and open, I stretched the skin on my forehead and could see blackheads everywhere. I popped some of the ones that looked big and open. A few of them I think I just aggravated, because I now have more big zits forming, but I would rather have a week or two of zits all over and then be ridded of the spots for good.
I also bought some of Dan's AHA cream on here a while back. I don't even know if it still works, but I've started putting it on my forehead to see if it gets rid of the bumps at all. I plan on doing this every second night or so, depending on how my skin reacts. Now, I read that salicylic acid was good for getting rid of blackheads and bumps since it apparently sheds the skin more effectively (or at least, that's what I read.) But, I don't know how well my skin reacts to that stuff. One of the main reasons I went on accutane in the first place was because I slathered salicylic acid all over my face to try and purge it, and it just went berserk (although in it's defence, I probably overdid it way too much), so I'm afraid of putting it on. I'll see how the AHA goes, and maybe will try a spot with salicylic acid. Anyways, so pretty much my forehead is going a little haywire on me right now, but I hope it's just purging because I messed with it. I've stopped messing with it, for the time being.
Now, onto what breaks me out, and what doesn't. First off, I don't really find that dirty pillowcases/towels/excessive rubbing of the skin breaks me out at all.
Ramen Noodles break me out. Which pretty much sucks, because I love them as a hangover food, but they are just terrible for you. Not really any other food does it to me, although I find that if I just eat shit for three or four days my face (as well as how I feel overall) doesn't do so good. So just balance, I guess, and no more Ramen for me.
Dryness and too little moisturizer. Also, too much moisturizer. I have to find a good middle ground.
Chemical sunscreens are the devil in a bottle. I have not worn that stuff since before my accutane days (oh, how young and innocent I was) and never will again. Never has my face more accurately mapped out the surface of Io as it did when I used that stuff. I can use it on my body fine, but I would honestly rather just get a sunburn than put it on my face EVER AGAIN.
So yeah, that's my story. My skin is still okay, looking good in the middle, not so good on the ends. I know I shouldn't complain, I've seen what some people have on this website. Mine just seems so... insignificant to that, but it still bugs me. I had (and still do have) terrible self esteem issues and social anxiety stemming from acne. Now, of course, I'm not going to hide in my room, I'm going to go out and enjoy the things I want to, but I still don't like the acne. I'd probably say there hasn't been a day since December where I haven't had one spot on my face (whether it be active, forming or healing.) Like I said, it's not terrible, but if it continues to get worse over the summer and this isn't just my forehead purging, I am going to go to the doctor for further help.
I'm sorry this was so long, now that I scroll up and it takes me half a minute to reach the top of this entry. But I tried to be through. And get it all off my chest. And ramble.
Posted 10 May 2013 - 10:15 AM
Posted 23 May 2013 - 01:07 AM
oh hey there stranger. my skin has done a back flip... twice... i took accutane last year for 5 months.. and i could possibly have to take it again very soon.
Posted 30 May 2013 - 04:43 PM
Sooo... I have started another log on here detailing my post-acctuane, possibly second-round accutane experiences. A link will be posted in my signature whenever I actually have it typed out...
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