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Happy Birthday To Meee! Time For Accutaneee!

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#1 ginanutrition

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 02:24 PM

My name is Gina, but you can call me Goji Gina as all my friends do. Posted Image

I'm a nutrition ninja about to graduate in June with my Master of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University! It's a small naturopathic medicine school, so you can see how being in the holistic health care realm afflicted with cystic acne would make a girl feel like putting her head in a recyclable eco-friendly bag.

My birthday is on Monday and I'll be turning 28!!! Holy crap, that's kinda old to have acne, right? Blame it on the greasy Italian genes. Except for the fact that my skin is now dry with acne because of years of treating it topically, which means it flakes and hurts a lot. Anyways, I'm starting isotretinoin on my birthday. I never wanted to take Accutane...I thought it was poison and the devil, but read on to see how I changed my mind...

My Lovely Acne History

I had perfect skin throughout most of my early years, but began getting mild acne around age 16/17. I tried the typical over the counter stuff, but began getting very inflamed pimples which were spreading rapidly. Since I knew nothing of natural medicine, we went to the dermatologist and I was put on antibiotics and retin-A. Cleared me like a charm!

I continued with beautiful skin until age 20 when I had a relapse for no known reason. I was in college and had to do another course of antibiotics, which always hurt my tummy. I just made to sure to eat lots of yogurt. No big deal, right?

WRONG. Flash forward to age 22. Graduation from college. I was under an entire year of extreme stress from writing my thesis, and I was experimenting with a vegan diet since I went to a hippy-dippy school where all the cool kids were doin' it. Hah! After the veganism disaster which included eating lots of wheat, beans, soy, vegetables, I was losing too much weight and my skin was horrible, my period stopped. I switched to the Perricone diet and started to see some results, but grew tired of salmon. Most of all, I was tired of breaking out so badly.

I ended up seeing our family chiropractor who specialized in nutrition and hormone balance. She tested my cholesterol, hormones, among other things and discovered that I had high DHEA/cortisol from the stress of school and a non-ideal vegan diet. I had stopped having a period for 6 months as well because of all the stress and undiagnosed Celiac disease. She tested for food allergies/sensitivities and I had a high IgG response to gluten, dairy, soy. I also had an IgE (true allergy) to tomatoes. Basically, I was walking around with Celiac disease and food allergies in so much inflammation and pain. My cholesterol was too low as well. I started eating eggs like a mad person, as well as liver, beef, cod liver oil, anything to increase my production of my sex hormones. I took antiobiotic-like herbs such as Berberine and gobbled up wonderful detoxifying chlorella.

Basically, I started to feel amazing, but I STILL had acne. I tried curing my acne for over a year, but it was all over my face and painful. Finally, I went back to the dermatologist, took a course of doxycycline, had sessions of blue light therapy, and used Differin 0.3% gel and Acanya gel. I cleared up PERFECTLY and remained so for a few years. Anyone seeing a vicious cycle here?

Age 26. My skin is SO nice and I get wonderful compliments, but then I start developing painful, hard lumps under my facial skin about 6 months into grad school. One of the lumps burst leaving a HUGE infected open wound on my face, which a derm said was a Staph infection. Jeebus! This led me to take Tetracycline for 3-4 months. It was horrible even though my skin was perfect. Every day, my stomach ached and I would go to bed crawled up in a ball.

Once I was off the antibiotics, I was scared the acne would come back as it always had. And I was right. It came back. The worst it ever was. Cysts all over my face, and this time with scarring. I was devastated, but I said NO to Accutane even though one dermatologist was nearly begging me to take it due to the severity. I was scared because I have Celiac disease...I didn't want to cause permanent damage.

So I spent over a year going to a Naturopath. She had me on detox diets, elimination diets, low-carb diet. I didn't eat RICE for months. I took hormone balance herbs that tasted like sewage water. I tried sweating it out at the gym, hypnotherapy, not using topicals, using topicals, HPL treatments (which BURN like a m-fer!), facials. Gahhh!!! I've been there people, I did it all except for birth control because I didn't want to take hormones for the rest of my life. I wanted a permanent cure.

My last ditch effort before Accutane was Bactrim and Tazorac cream. All I did was break out in cysts the whole time. HORRIBLE.

So that's why I'm here. I read a bajillion of the personal Accutane logs. I informed myself of the risks vs. rewards. I even had a rap session with my dear ol' God in the sky, and I truly believe that my guardian angel will be taking care of me while on this medication (sounds cheesy, but I believe in that stuff).

I am here to tell you that I'm not scared to take Accutane. I welcome it and I WILL be healed.

Here is my personal Accutane protocol. Feel free to employ any of these nutrition support strategies to keep you healthy and lessen side effects:
  • 40 mg / day for my 118 pound nutrition ninja bod. Starting out taking 20 mg in AM, 20 mg in PM for ONE WEEK per doc's instructions. Then will take both pills at night once my body adjusts. She may bump me up to 80 mg next month. We shall see!
  • Barlean's omega 3-6-9 orange swirl FISH OIL! DELICIOUS!!! No burpies and tastes like creamsicle, very easily absorbed into your body. They make different flavors as well.
  • Bioimmersion Supernatant Probiotic is uhhhmaaazzzing. Heals your digestion and is the most potent probiotic I've ever taken.
  • Thorne's S.A.T. liver support supplement containing milk thistle, turmeric,artichoke leaf extract. It is extremely important to protect your liver while on Accutane, since your liver stores vitamin A, and we want to avoid toxic accumulations or damage.
  • Liver-support foods: artichoke hearts, beans, beets, broccoli/all cruciferous vegetables, green tea, fresh herbs like basil and cilantro. I have maintained a gluten-, dairy-, soy-free diet for years, and for the most part avoid sugar, cook all my own food, drink hemp protein smoothies, and eat organically. It's never cleared my skin, but is AMAZING for your overall health. Posted Image
  • Ortho-tri-cyclen: this stuff makes me nauseated, but it hasn't caused any weight gain or other weirdness, just some stupid crying. Haha Required for the iPledge.
FACE WASH (AM/PM)
  • Cerave hydrating face wash: not organic, but I love it! Only thing that doesn't irritate my skin right now. Plus it doesn't matter if your face wash isn't organic cause it doesn't sit on your face all day long.
NIGHT TIME
  • Sprouts Organic Face Cream: only contains organic shea butter, coconut oil, and olive oil. That's it! My derm approved it and said that I could use rich things on my face while on this medicine because they won't break me out. I really hate conventional moisturizers with parabens, cheap mineral oil/petroleum, fragrance, even dimethiconey stuff. Everything irritates my skin, too.
  • Just bought some Boscia Restorative Night Moisture Cream just in case the Sprouts cream is toooo rich. To be honest, I'm slightly scared of using the Sprouts Cream right off the bat. Seems like it might be better when I'm extremely dried out. I've never been able to use creams on my face, so experimentation is in order.
DAY TIME (Can you tell I looooooove Boscia? Posted Image They make such high quality, clean, irritant-free skincare. They're expensive, but the best I've found).
  • Boscia Vital Daily Moisture spf 15: I've used their oil-free spf 15 for a few years and love it, but it's water-based and even mattifying. I can use it without topicals because it is quite drying. Basically, it's not gonna cut it on Accutane so hopefully the olive oil and jojoba in the Vital Daily will be more hydrating.
  • TWIG Mineral powder. It's a local Seattle brand. I hate makeup, but mineral powder is super light and gives me some confidence. Sometimes I use Physician's Formula talc-free loose mineral powder instead cause that's never broken me out.
I start Monday! Wish me luck and I will update with my Day 1 photo!!!!!!
Posted Image

Edited by ginanutrition, 15 May 2012 - 09:25 PM.


#2 SupernatualFanatic

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 02:30 PM

GOOOOD LUCK :D remember! it may get worse before it gets better, it's been three weeks for me as of yesterday and I just started to break out. Not horribly, just in very odd places. Your skin probably will get dry, and you make feel tired, achy, fun stuff like that, which I am experiencing all of. Just treat yourself like you're going to have the flu for 6 months and baby yourself a lot. DON'T look in mirrors 50 times a day like I've done, it helps a lot to keep your mind off of your acne. If you need to vent out and bitch about Accutane go for it, we're all going through the same thing and are here for you! Congrats on getting Accutane, I know you never wanted to take it, but you will have clear skin again when it's all over :)

#3 PaulH85

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 02:34 PM

Starting on your Birthday... I like that. Hopefully it will be the beginning of a new beginning.

I totally get that fear of acne coming back after antibiotics; the only times I had cystic acne were when I finished a course. Fingers crossed that Accutane puts an end to that vicious cycle for you.

With all the research I know you've done, sure you'll walk it.

Best of luck, ninja! Posted Image

#4 ginanutrition

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 02:42 PM

GOOOOD LUCK Posted Image remember! it may get worse before it gets better, it's been three weeks for me as of yesterday and I just started to break out. Not horribly, just in very odd places. Your skin probably will get dry, and you make feel tired, achy, fun stuff like that, which I am experiencing all of. Just treat yourself like you're going to have the flu for 6 months and baby yourself a lot. DON'T look in mirrors 50 times a day like I've done, it helps a lot to keep your mind off of your acne. If you need to vent out and bitch about Accutane go for it, we're all going through the same thing and are here for you! Congrats on getting Accutane, I know you never wanted to take it, but you will have clear skin again when it's all over Posted Image


Thank you, Taylor! Yes, let's be accutane bitch buddies! Haha. But seriously, a main reason I wanted to keep a log on here is because I didn't want to bother my fiance or family with all of my minor sufferings. I'd rather have my Acne.org friends to lend an ear because they're going through it with me. That's a really good suggestion to avoid mirrors. I have a huge problem with that. I will look in my car rear view mirror, any reflective glass, to see if my marks are scaring any small children. Haha My derm also mentioned that whatever is still within the sebaceous glands now will come out in the first month, so it will appear to get worse. I know this is going to happen, but I'm not looking forward to it. Like all of you, I just want to clear up as fast as possible!

Also forgot to mention that I'm getting married in August! whoohooo!!!!!!!!! He's the love of my life, with or without stupid acne...he loves me. <3

That's a major reason I'm going on it, to be clear for my wedding.

Starting on your Birthday... I like that. Hopefully it will be the beginning of a new beginning.

I totally get that fear of acne coming back after antibiotics; the only times I had cystic acne were when I finished a course. Fingers crossed that Accutane puts an end to that vicious cycle for you.

With all the research I know you've done, sure you'll walk it.

Best of luck, ninja! Posted Image


Yay, Paul! Thanks for the support. Posted Image Totally agreed on starting a new year with a "new you." It makes me feel better to stay positive about things and hope that this is a god-send for me.

Yeah to be honest, antibiotics really messed me up over the 10 year span. My Naturopath is concerned about my gut...she is LESS worried about Accutane, and more worried about long-term antibiotic usage. Go figure. Anyways, in my experience, the acne always came back worse after antibiotics. Some say using them doesn't cause drug-resistant strains of bacteria, but I think the science community needs to do more research on this because I don't know of anyone who "cured" their acne long-term with antibiotics. Posted Image

Edited by ginanutrition, 10 May 2012 - 02:43 PM.


#5 SupernatualFanatic

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 02:53 PM

Aw well you will be clear by your wedding!!!! And yes we will be buddies and make Accutane ourrr bitch haha :D Yeah everything is being pushed out for me right now, my pores look huge it's so icky, but patience is key I guess! I feel soo drained from this medicine, I'm on 80mg and 110lbs so it's a lot on my body. My derm said she goes big on all her patients hahah. I have to work in an hour and I am not in the moood I just want to lay in bed and nap! Waaa.

#6 ginanutrition

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 03:04 PM

You can do it! Drink more water and get lots of sleep when you don't have to work. Watch funny movies! Go for a brisk walk! Eat dark chocolate! Those are my favorite pick me-up's. Before you know it, you'll be done with your first month!

#7 veruca salt

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 03:12 PM

Good luck Gina! I just started this past Monday so we're only one week apart :) You made the right decision to go on Accutane... I'm 26 so I completely understand how devastating it is to deal with acne past your teens when you feel like you should finally start looking like a "grown up"! I look forward to reading your log and clearing up together :)

#8 SupernatualFanatic

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 03:14 PM

I know I am horrible with drinking water, I don't know why but I can go a day or two without drinking anything, I'm just not into beverages. I'm weird :D But I went to picknsave the other day and bought 3 gallons of water just so I remind myself to drink them. Oh dear lordy I am getting more sleep than anything, but that dark chocolate and walks sound like a great idea. I'm going to do that tomorrow, since I'm off :). You seem like a very healthy person which will help a lot with energy :) I need to learn from you haha.

#9 veruca salt

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 03:43 PM

I know I am horrible with drinking water, I don't know why but I can go a day or two without drinking anything, I'm just not into beverages. I'm weird Posted Image But I went to picknsave the other day and bought 3 gallons of water just so I remind myself to drink them. Oh dear lordy I am getting more sleep than anything, but that dark chocolate and walks sound like a great idea. I'm going to do that tomorrow, since I'm off Posted Image. You seem like a very healthy person which will help a lot with energy Posted Image I need to learn from you haha.


You need to chug that water, girl! I think a lot of the headaches, dryness, and joint pain associated with accutane can be attributed to dehydration. If you can't stand the taste of plain water, I suggest maybe trying out some Crystal Light flavor packs or something similar. Juice would work too!

#10 ginanutrition

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 04:42 PM

Aw, thanks for the healthy compliment, Taylor! I can definitely be your part-time health coach! That's why I'm a Nutrition Ninja. I kick bad habits in the nuts. Haha Okay, sorry. But honestly, feel free to ask me anything anytime about foods, diet, wanting to feel more energetic.

I'm not too strict with myself, though! I LOVE BACON and prosciutto with melon and steak! My favorite thing is to go to this place called Blue Moon Burgers with my fiance because they have grass-fed burgers and gluten-free buns. Omg I get a big burger with bacon. It's sooooooo good. Brings joy to my heart and balance to my life, because eating lots of yummy salads and sauteed vegetables makes up for it in the big picture. It's important to be happy and enjoy food. :D

Also, do any of you ladies or readers have any spf 30+ suggestions? I tried physical sunscreens and they SUCK. I seem to only be able to use chemical sunscreens. :( Right now I use Boscia oil-free spf 15, but it's not going to be moisturizing enough on the 'Tane.

Good luck Gina! I just started this past Monday so we're only one week apart Posted Image You made the right decision to go on Accutane... I'm 26 so I completely understand how devastating it is to deal with acne past your teens when you feel like you should finally start looking like a "grown up"! I look forward to reading your log and clearing up together Posted Image


Yay! Thanks Veruca! Isn't Veruca Salt a band? I remember them being pretty rockin'. :)

Agreed on the clearing up and supporting each other. Let's DO THIS!

#11 veruca salt

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 09:36 PM

Yay! Thanks Veruca! Isn't Veruca Salt a band? I remember them being pretty rockin'. Posted Image

Agreed on the clearing up and supporting each other. Let's DO THIS!


Not sure! Veruca salt is actually the name of the super snotty English girl from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, haha :) Saw the movie the other day and thought it'd be a hilarious username!

#12 Zraden

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 10:00 PM


40 mg / day for my 118 pound nutrition ninja bod. Starting out taking 20 mg in AM, 20 mg in PM for ONE WEEK per doc's instructions. Then will take both pills at night once my body adjusts. She may bump me up to 80 mg next month. We shall see!


80MG!!! wow! Thats intense and I think a bit much. My derma was struggling with letting me go 80mg @170 pounds.
We finally agreed 80mg day 1, 80mg day 2 then 40mg day 3 and keep going like that for the remainder of the treatment.

#13 ginanutrition

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 10:07 PM

Uh oh. It's confusing though, because I saw that Taylor weighs even less than me and is on 80 mg/day. The good news is that I'm starting at 40 mg / day, and I am hoping to stay here. She said that may bump me up, but who knows?

Do you know if doing a higher dose shortens the course overall, or is more effective than doing a lower dose for a longer time? I'm confused about that.

#14 Zraden

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 11:12 PM

Uh oh. It's confusing though, because I saw that Taylor weighs even less than me and is on 80 mg/day. The good news is that I'm starting at 40 mg / day, and I am hoping to stay here. She said that may bump me up, but who knows?

Do you know if doing a higher dose shortens the course overall, or is more effective than doing a lower dose for a longer time? I'm confused about that.


I didn't see Taylor's dose either... ouch.
When I started my course it was basically laid out to me like this...
My derma " were going to get 200 pills in to you" "It doesn't matter how"
Can take 1 a day or 2 its up to me if I can manage the side effects.
We settled on doing 2, 2 then 1. Because I want to be off Accutane before the summer.

Maybe he just wanted 80mg because im really just trying to clear my backne
and dont have much in the way of facial acne besides the odd black heads.

Edited by Zraden, 10 May 2012 - 11:14 PM.


#15 ginanutrition

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 11:48 PM

Hmm interesting. Seems every derm has their own technique. I don't have any body acne...just cysts on my face. I've been debating whether to post a photo, but I think no matter how uncomfortable it is, it's important to track progress.

#16 Zraden

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 01:19 AM

Hmm interesting. Seems every derm has their own technique. I don't have any body acne...just cysts on my face. I've been debating whether to post a photo, but I think no matter how uncomfortable it is, it's important to track progress.


I was going to post pictures but... kind of seems pointless cause any pictures I had of my back
( vacations, beach, ect ) had cortisone injections done before hand and cleared most everything up,
so there's nothing really for me to compare to. Ill keep looking to see if I have any

Edited by Zraden, 11 May 2012 - 02:14 AM.


#17 redhead rachel

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 07:53 AM

Hi Gina! I wish you the best of luck with your Accutane course! I take my final pregnancy test tomorrow and I will see my dermatologist on Monday to get my prescription. It's such a long wait with iPledge, isn't it? Ugh! We might be starting on the same day (depending how fast my pharmacy can fill my prescription). I'll definitely be following your log!

#18 ginanutrition

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 01:53 PM

Hi Analog! Thanks for the support! I can't wait to see how you progress as well. :) It was a wait for me, too. I did my first blood work on April 6, but for some reason iPledge says I can't take my next pregnancy test until 5/13. That is actually longer than the 30-37 window. I'm thinking the doctor's office or labs people took a few days to enter it into iPledge. :( Don't they know we're trying to prevent more scarring? Waiting longer than necessary doesn't help.

I'm sure your pharmacy will have isotretinoin on Monday!

#19 ragerx

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 09:05 PM

good luck gina and everybody else!! i just started accutane(amnesteem 40mg)this past monday everything seems to be going well! after going through that dermatologist gauntlet with the creams and the antibiotics i thought enough was enough and now im here. Right now my regiment is cetaphil gentle cleanser in the morning and night and nutrogina spf 30 in the AM and cerave moisturizing lotion at night really hope this works!

Edited by ragerx, 11 May 2012 - 09:05 PM.


#20 ginanutrition

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 05:57 PM

Hey ragerx! Thanks for reading my log and the support. :) Are you experiencing any dryness in the first week? I'm excited to track everyone's progress. :D