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Accutane Journey For My Body And Soul

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#1 bodyandsoul

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 05:20 PM

PRE-ACCUTANE

At 30 years old, I've been suffering with acne for 12 years. Unlike many young women, I had no significant break outs during puberty/high school era. During my first year in college, the breakouts started and it's been a battle ever since. While I have seen progress and improvement at times, I've never been able to establish a connection and therefore manage this problem.

My acne is confined to my face and is more concentrate around my jaw line and chin. It is cystic in nature and I would classify it as moderate-severe, though I know "severe" can mean different things to different people. My skin is also quite oily.

I'd like to start with a list of what I have tried and thus what has ultimately led me to the very difficult decision to start Isotretinoin...

OTC Washes/Topicals - Benzoyl Peroxide, Salicylic Acid (a variety of brands, Proactive)
Oral Antibiotics - Erythromycin, Minocycline, Tetracycline, Bactrim
Prescription Topicals - Retinols, Tazorac, Differin, Clindamycin, Benzoyl Peroxide
Natural Topicals - Tea Tree Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar, Witch Hazel, Clay masks, a Variety of natural/organic brand washes/treatments, Oil Cleansing Method for washing and moisturizing
Professional Treatments - Salicylic acid/lactic acid skin peels, Extractions
Diet - Elimination of sugar and flour products, Elimination of dairy, wheat and gluten, soy, corn, eggs, Liver detoxifications
Supplements - Fish oil, Probiotics, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Zinc, Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin D3, Milk Thistle, Undecylenic Acid
Hormone Therapy - Several brands of birth control, Bioidentical hormone therapy after testing low in progesterone, (Mild) hypothyroid treatment

Without getting into major detail of everything I've tried, suffice it to say that I gave all of these things listed a very honest attempt, especially with my drastic change in diet. While I did see improvements sometimes, I have never been able to pinpoint a connection, leaving my unable to manage my acne. I've seen MD's, Dermatologists, Naturopaths, and Applied Kinesiologists.

If I could manage it naturally, I most certainly would. However, I do know that I cannot continue to live with my acne as my prison. I do not feel that longterm antibiotic and harsh topical treatments have the potential for side effects worse than that of a short course of Isotretinoin. And, again, the natural route has yielded no signficiant results either.

I will also add that I have done significant research and spoke to several individuals who used Isotretinoin. I do not take this decision lightly and I am accepting that I will have to deal with potential side effects. This is an educated decision from a competent adult and I'm looking forward to achieving clear skin.

More to come before I start (which will likely be at the end of this week!)

-bodyandsoul

Edited by bodyandsoul, 08 August 2012 - 07:01 AM.


#2 courtneystorrie

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 05:30 PM

Congratulations! It's kind of crazy, everything you've written here is exactly what happened to me (minus the fact that I am only 21 years old) I just started today so it looks like our timelines will be going along with eachothers. Can't wait to hear and see how this works for you!

#3 shadylee

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 05:34 PM

i too have decided to do the accutane journey..i am 45 years old and have been suffering from acne for 29 years now..it wasnt always bad, i had some good years, some bad years, but was always manageable..it wasnt till when i was in my early 40s, yes, early 40s that it became a nightmare for me..this is when i developed cystic acne..devastating..i wld have clear times, but every couple of months wld get a huge cyst..and then the beginning of this year, it has basically been nonstop with the cysts..i dont get tons at one time, but as soon as one heals another one comes, i just dont get a break anymore..im always running to the derm for cortisone shots..she offered me accutane about a year ago, and i said no way..never going to do that..well let me say, i cant be anymore excited to start now, im sorry i waited. this past year i have spent so many weekends hiding, crying, my self esteem has suffered, ive changed as a person..and when i say i have tried everything, i have..29 years worth!! so congratulations bodyandsoul, bc like you, i did not make this decision lightly..i was put into the ipledge system today, and if all goes right, i will start august 7th..now that i made the decision and am starting the process...i wish i cld have the pill NOW..lol..gonna be a long month!

#4 bodyandsoul

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 06:58 PM

Looking forward to sharing this journey with both of you!

I decided to put this in blog format so that it will be easier for me to track my progress. I'll be posting here whenever I update the blog.

Here's the link! http://skinbodyandsoul.blogspot.com/

#5 courtneystorrie

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 08:09 PM

I'll definitely check it out darling! <3

#6 bodyandsoul

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 07:49 AM

I went to the Dermatologist almost a month ago (first time I had been in quite a while - had been visiting my regular Dr only). After taking my history and seeing that I had literally tried everything, she quickly recommended Accutane. I told her how hesitant I was but that I also knew I couldn't be on antibiotics/etc forever. She felt the drug was very safe, even stating she would give it to her own children if necessary. She noted that many of the reported side effects are "unfounded", but did warn about elevated cholesterol/triglycerides, dry skin, mild joint pain, and possible/unlikely depression. However, I'm much more skeptical than she, since it's MY body!

I went ahead and signed up for the IPledge program and took the required pregnancy test that day. I'd have to wait a month before starting anyway (after a second required negative pregnany test) - so this gave me a whole month to research and think on it. I received samples of Ziana and Aczone topicals along with a prescription for Bactrim.

After almost a whole month of research, a bad sunburn and allergic reaction due to the antibiotic, and general frustration without skin improvement.....I decided I would use Accutane as my last resort. I feel confident in my decision but have vowed to myself that I will take good care of myself to minimize side effects. Here's my plan of attack:

Diet/supplements:
  • Drink plenty of water! Minimum 64oz/day
  • Eat as CLEAN as possible, eliminating sugar, alcohol and caffeine and processed foods and minimizing dairy and flour products in particular. I'll opt for organic meats, eggs, nuts & seeds, beans (sans soy), vegetables (sans corn) and fruits whenever possible. This won't be too hard for me since I mainly eat this way anyway...just getting back in the straight and narrow a bit!
  • Plenty of FIBER! I think this will be important in preventing potential IBS symptoms
  • Probiotics: I will likely take a high quality supplement since I'll be avoiding dairy (yogurt, kefir)
  • Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega fish oil: ~3 grams/day. Great for inflammation and combating elevation of my cholesterol/triglyceride levels
  • Vitamin E: 400IU/day
Facial care:
Here's what I've purchased, and I'll be experimenting with the regimen I'm sure as I find out what works and what doesn't. I am going for GENTLE and MOISTURIZING to combat the dryness I know I'll experience. Not to mention as NATURAL as possible.Body care:
Keeping in mind that my whole body will need moisture, here are some other things I've purchased to combat that dryness.
  • Pure Lanolin for my lips, inside of my nose, and possibly for my hands and feet if I experience cracking. I think this will be a good alternative to petroleum based products like vaseline and aquaphor.
  • Lip balms including Burt's Bees and Dr. Bronners
  • Nubian Heritage Raw Shea Hand Cream
  • Aura Cacia Sweet Almond Oil - used all over after showering, before toweling off
  • Body Moisturizer with argan oil (will have to look at the brand name again)
Mental care:
  • Zoloft: 50mg/day (Because I'm already prone to high anxiety, I decided to start this in hopes that I would eliminate the potential depression side effect)
  • Meditation! I want to set time aside each day to reflect and "encourage" my body to heal. I want to stay positive through this process, even if/when the side effects are difficult.

Does anyone have any other suggestions of products or tips for dealing with side effects? (keeping in mind my quest to be as au naturale as possble) :) Thank you!

~bodyandsoul

#7 AuguriesofInnocence

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 08:00 AM

body and soul, I was meant to read your post.
I definately feel the exact same way, I am 30 and also have tried many things for acne and at the end of my rope. Im also prone to anxiety (a lot of it is cause by my acne though!) Just the way you word things I feel a connection, I really wish you well and hope that both of us find some kind of resolve. I am scared to take accutane but this isnt what I call "living", constant anxiety and fear over my acne and IF I will break out. I have been having trouble sleeping lately. I have been on edge all the time because I fear my skin so much, it has taken over my life. Most people looking at me would say my case isnt very bad compared to most on this site but to ME its horrible and I cant deal with it. ACNE NEEDS TO DIE!!!

Id add to your list of products but I think you have it all down well so far. maybe coconut oil for hair/skin?
I hope to start accutane 20mg as soon as teh pharmacy gets the order in.

I really wish you the best I dont post here a lot because I dont have much time in the summer, but I will be thinking of you, feel free to send me a pm anytime :-)

#8 bodyandsoul

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 10:37 AM

AuguriesofInnocence,
I agree that the anxiety is directly related to the acne and it's a vicious cycle that becomes difficult to break. I only plan to be on the Zoloft while I'm on Accutane. I have noticed so far that it seems to help me feel a bit calmer and more balanced. But I think if I can clear my skin up, I'll be able to deal with anxiety a bit more normally.

Good luck in your journey!

#9 ginanutrition

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Achievements

     

Posted 04 July 2012 - 11:07 AM

Hi!

So happy to hear you're finally taking the plunge and doing what you know is best for you. I can totally relate to almost everything you said in your original post. I'm a nutritionist who has tried nearly everything diet-wise, and I have to say, restricting too many foods in the hopes of "curing" one's acne can cause an overload of stress and the potential for creating food phobias. I hated how much anxiety I had around drinking coffee or eating a dessert. I felt like I was starving not eating carbs. It was terrible. Eating healthy is great, and we should all strive for a whole foods diet, but I think you'll find that once the accutane kicks in and starts doing its job, the fear of breaking out from x or y food will disappear. This is just something to look forward to, because I began to realize that the acne wasn't my fault. It was simply hormonal or genetic or something else inexplicable. After a while, you don't even want to know the cause, you just want it to go away.

My naturopath fully supported me when I decided to go on this medicine. She said antibiotics were doing me more damage than accutane could. I agree. I have had limited pain on this medicine. It's saved my skin and given me new confidence. I wish the same for you!

As for skincare products, I am really into natural stuff too. :) I use the REN global protection day cream for dry skin and the Josie Maran spf 40 which is liquidy, almost like a sunscreen serum. I've also used Boscia products which are pretty nice, but very expensive. I'm interested in your mychelle spf 17 cream, but it looks like it comes in a jar. Do you like it? I personally hate jarred products because of the bacteria. Bummer, right?

Not sure if you're considered this, but have you thought about taking a milk thistle or liver support supplement? This has been key for alleviating my fears of the internal changes, and my blood tests have all come back perfect. I attribute it to the liver support. :)

Anyway, check out my log if you want! I'm here for you if you need anything.

-Goji Gina.

#10 AuguriesofInnocence

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 02:01 PM

^ all that stuff Gina said...yeah :-)
I have yet to being this journey but I will do my best.
I just want clear skin, and to be happy.
isnt that what we all want?

#11 bodyandsoul

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 07:16 AM

Gina, it sounds like we're in the same boat regarding what we've tried! I've looked at your log - awesome progress, congratulations! I will keep following you!

I like your idea about liver support...something I've thought about but I was concerned about "detoxing" the drug out - that's probably a silly concern, all I really need is liver support. I have used Thorne supplements before and I like that company - I saw the link on your log. I may also consider the milk thistle. I'm also doing Vitamin D, I forgot to include that in my list above. I think the high quality fish oil and probiotics are two of the most important - I am about to order more of both!

~bodyandsoul

#12 bodyandsoul

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 09:14 AM

Gina, forgot to mention that I have not yet tried the MyChelle cream since my skin is still oily at this point... once I start Accutane, I'll start trying it. It does seem very light however. I'll try to be very careful about having clean hands when I use the jar!

#13 YasmeenahME

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 09:27 AM

Hi I'm set to take my first pregnancy test on Monday and dreading this month of waiting before I can start accutane also. I was looking into stuff I should buy and I was wondering if you were thinking about buying some vitamins? I heard some things about vitamin E and since you and I are close together in starting this process I was just curious about your thoughts :) I plan to follow your blog to compare progress and hopefully we can get through this successfully!! :D GOOD LUCK!

#14 redhead rachel

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 09:29 AM

Good luck on your course! You'll have clear skin before you know it! :)

Do you know what dosage you'll be starting on?

#15 bodyandsoul

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 09:41 AM

Diet/supplements:

  • Drink plenty of water! Minimum 64oz/day
  • Eat as CLEAN as possible, eliminating sugar, alcohol and caffeine and processed foods and minimizing dairy and flour products in particular. I'll opt for organic meats, eggs, nuts & seeds, beans (sans soy), vegetables (sans corn) and fruits whenever possible. This won't be too hard for me since I mainly eat this way anyway...just getting back in the straight and narrow a bit!
  • Plenty of FIBER! I think this will be important in preventing potential IBS symptoms
  • Probiotics: I will likely take a high quality supplement since I'll be avoiding dairy (yogurt, kefir)
  • Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega fish oil: ~3 grams/day. Great for inflammation and combating elevation of my cholesterol/triglyceride levels
  • Vitamin E: 400IU/day


Yasmeenah,
That's my supplement plan, although I will add to it that I'll be taking Vitamin D3 and possibly Milk Thistle or another liver support supplement.

Rachel, I believe I'll be starting at 40mg/day then increasing to 60 after a couple of months. I'll update everyone tomorrow when I get the exact plan of action from my dermatologist.

~bodyandsoul

#16 AuguriesofInnocence

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 10:18 AM

AuguriesofInnocence,
I agree that the anxiety is directly related to the acne and it's a vicious cycle that becomes difficult to break. I only plan to be on the Zoloft while I'm on Accutane. I have noticed so far that it seems to help me feel a bit calmer and more balanced. But I think if I can clear my skin up, I'll be able to deal with anxiety a bit more normally.

Good luck in your journey!

Thanks I wish you the very best :-)

#17 bodyandsoul

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 01:42 PM

It's DAY 1!!!

Friday, July 6, 2012 is DAY 1 in my Isotretinoin journey! The process of getting my prescription was relatively painless and I'm relieve to finally be able to get started. I'm all stocked up on lotions, lip balms, eye drops, face wash, supplements, etc etc etc. Ready to go!

The generic I was prescribed is Claravis. This month, I'll be taking 40mg/day. I will likely move up to 60mg after that for the following 4-5 months.

I did take photos of my skin this morning, pre-Claravis. But I don't think I'm quite prepared to share those publicly! :)

Here's hoping for quick healing and minimal side effects!

~bodyandsoul

#18 shadylee

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 02:03 PM

i'm so excited for you! i have my blood tests aug 7th and derm appt aug 9th..i hate this waiting! after finally making the decision of going on accutane, i just want the frkn pills! lol...best of luck, and i'll be following you!

#19 bodyandsoul

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Posted 07 July 2012 - 07:05 AM

i'm so excited for you! i have my blood tests aug 7th and derm appt aug 9th..i hate this waiting! after finally making the decision of going on accutane, i just want the frkn pills! lol...best of luck, and i'll be following you!


Thank you! Use this month to do lots of research and stock up on "supplies". It won't be long now!

#20 Summer5150

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Posted 07 July 2012 - 07:49 AM

BodyandSoul:

Love the name of your post here. It's awesome! I resonate with everything you wrote and our experiences trying to heal naturally are almost identical. I appreciate the natural approach you are taking to skin care and I want to do the same though I am trying to use what I have. As probably most can relate, I spent a FORTUNE trying to clear my skin. I will also add high quality supplements soon too. Thanks for sharing! I have a great feeling your experience will be positive because your attitude is so positive! Good luck.