I've been dealing with acne since age 13. Yes, that makes sixteen years now, and I'm just fucking DONE. I've tried everything, and finally in my mid to late 20's got it mostly under control by 1) no longer using soap of any kind on my face and 2) BP cream twice a day accompanied by moisturizer. I would have periods where I was basically clear, but they would never last, and especially when I work out hard and sweat a lot, I'd break out again. Having to decide between a clear face and exercise is just ridiculous, especially now that I'm nearly thirty and working out is becoming more important than ever. I've gone into medicine and seeing the difference in my patients between people who exercise and people who don't is just insane. I never understood what a difference it makes until I started practicing. I can tell you the two big keys to staying young: EXERCISE, and DON'T SMOKE. This is the big secret! So needless to say, now that I am exercising all the time, my skin is breaking out more or less continuously and I just can't stand it anymore. Plus it is totally unprofessional to be wearing loads of makeup every day.
I went to a derm recently who was actually a complete bitch - I came in requesting Accutane and she took one look at me and basically said "no fucking way are you getting Accutane". Instead she wanted to put me on long-term erythromycin therapy with some kind of expensive mask treatment every two weeks. Then she gave me a long diatribe about the horrors of Accutane and how someone with skin like mine was being ridiculous by even considering it, and I couldn't possibly understand how terrible the side effects could be. She was horrible. I would never talk to my patient the way she talked to me. I had several problems with this: side effects of long term antibiotic therapy can be pretty brutal in themselves, and I find it depressing how infrequently these issues are addressed by medical professionals, not to mention that flagrant usage of antibiotics is exactly how we end up with strains of resistant bacteria. Don't really want to be part of that problem. Second, I am not a moronic child. I've done my research on Accutane and by the time I came into her office, it was on the tail end of literally a five-year decision process. She completely discounted the emotional anguish that has accompanied my 16-year struggle with acne, and the fact that at this point I am wiling to do anything. I don't want to pop a pill twice a day for the rest of my life. Nor do I want to slather BP all over my face every twelve hours into perpetuity. I am also a medical professional so I understand the risk I am assuming here.
Anyway, obviously I am still pretty pissed off about the treatment I received from this lady, I'll move on now. I called almost every derm in my city asking if there was anyone who prescribed Accutane for persistent, mild to moderate, treatment-resistant acne. Got an answer in the negative every time, but I was determined, so finally ended up ordering an entire course in one shipment from Canada. It took about two months to finally get to me (longest wait EVER). But I am so, so excited to finally be taking what will hopefully be the last step in my lifelong battle with acne.
State of my acne when beginning Accutane:
Mild to moderate. At any given time I probably have from 0 to 4 active pimples. The problem was that they seemed to be getting deeper lately, so even if they weren't huge and obvious to an observer, they were painful for me. Ouch. Easily covered with makeup, but I want to be able to wake up and look gorgeous, not spend 15 minutes in front of the mirror before looking gorgeous. And it seems like I finally had a few zits that left minor scars afterwards. Don't know if this is because I'm getting older but it was the last straw for me. I can deal with acne but not with scarring. My family freaked out when I told them I was putting myself on Accutane but as I told them, I would literally crawl through fucking lava at this point if it would cure my acne forever.
I am five foot seven, female, 60 kilos, and starting myself on 20 mg a day. I have enough Accutane to reach a final cumulative dose of 120mg/kg.
Days 1 to 6:
The first pill I swallowed was accompanied by a great deal of trepidation. I've read the logs, the horror stories, and was convinced that I would have splitting headaches, all my hair would fall out, I wouldn't be able to go running and my face would explode into a complete fucking mess for six months.
Two hours after my first pill I had a headache. I never, ever, ever get headaches so I know this was caused by Accutane. However, I was actually rather excited about it because it meant to me that the isotretinoin was working! And the headache was perfectly tolerable, really just a minor, dull ache. It lasted about four hours. So far, so good!
Day 2 was exactly the same. Minor four hour headache. My vision has been funky for the past two days. But that's it.
Day 3 was when the dry skin started. Yay! This must mean its working, right? I did notice on day 3 that I was already having some delayed healing. I had one open, active pimple when beginning my course and it is taking FOREVER to heal. Normally the ones along my jawline flake up and peel off in no time at all. But this one is taking its sweet time. Small price to pay though.
Day 4 - headaches have stopped. I notice at this point that I haven't gotten any new pimples since starting. I am still doing BP twice a day in an effort to circumvent any possible initial breakout. I am also super dry and moisturizing like crazy. There is one tiny bump starting on my chin but it's not like a normal pimple. It's very small and very slow growing.
Day 5 - no side effects to speak of except for dryness, which is welcome. No new pimples and my old ones are still healing.
Took my sixth pill today, and I know some will think I'm crazy but I can already see a difference in my skin. It just looks nicer. It's completely insane, but I haven't gotten a new pimple since I started. This is a big deal for me - six days without a zit? I did have a minor one on my chin, but its more like just a small bump, maybe just one third of a pimple. At this point I think there's a good chance that I might be one of the lucky few who have an immediate and positive response to Accutane. Side effects included headache and blurry vision, but only for the first two days, and are completely gone now. My skin is much drier than usual, but nothing that a little moisturizer and Chapstick can't fix! This is so much easier than I thought it would be. I am so happy and grateful, yet at the same time it's bittersweet. If it's this easy, why didn't I do it a decade ago? Or age 22? 27 even? WHY THE FUCK DID I LIVE WITH ACNE FOR SO LONG?!
So far all the horror stories I've read have nothing to do with my experience. I hope this isn't too good to be true, but I have high hopes.
Still continuing BP in case an IB pops up next week. In my opinion though, for many people the IB has more to do with discontinuing topicals before the positive effects of Accutane kick in. For this reason, I will be overlapping my topicals with my initial Accutane course. If I'm still zit-free at day 30, I'll up my dosage to 40mg/day. We will see!
So far I have nothing but positive things to say about Accutane. I just can't believe I haven't gotten a pimple in six days.
Edited by Polka dot, 01 April 2012 - 07:21 AM.