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electricbetty

22, Female, First Time On Accutane!

42 posts in this topic

Bit of background: I was always a "spotty teenager" (also see: fat, short, awkward, bit too clever to be considered popular), but nothing horrific. I first noticed blackheads on my nose, spilling out across a 1/3 of my cheeks when I was about 12 years old - they have been an ever-present friend ever since. I used to get the odd whitehead, couple of little pimples now and again.

The doctor put me on oral contraceptives when I was 16 because, well, when I had my exams, I turned into a hormone monster. Like actual rage and crying and stress. It was not good, so the logic behind the pill was that it would regulate my periods and such. I tried four or five different types; some (Microgynon 30, Cilest) made me break out and go all kinda of crazy, and others (Dianette) made my skin all lovely and clear. I also took antibiotics (Doxycyclene and Tetracyclene) on occasions where my skin was at its worst, leading up to an event (Junior Prom and Senior Prom being examples of these situations. I wanted nice photos, I paid loads of dollar for a dress damn it!).

That brought me up to my final year at university, last year (2012). I don't know what happened. It's just a blur. But very suddenly, the occasional cyst on my chin or forehead turned into gigantic nodules, cysts, whiteheads, blackheads ALL OVER MY FACE. Particularly bad areas included my jawline, around the base of my nose and my forehead. On top of needing to get a 2:1 to get into my Postgraduate course, having a face like an erupting volcano was not what I wanted.

I had put on some weight (around about 12lb, yikes), so I went to have some blood tests and a trans-abdominal scan to check for polycystic ovaries. I did not have this, so what was causing the massive breakout? I was pretty stressed out, my degree basically meant the entire world to me - I'm training to be a teacher next year so suffice to say education is kind of a big deal - but there was nothing that really sprung to mind about what was the root of the problem.

So now it's the third of March and I have been taking Roaccutane for ten days. I had to go to see a Dermatologist privately, which cost a pigging fortune for the consultation and prescription. Unfortunately, the NHS waiting list is about three years long where I live, and I am not in the position to leave this any longer. However, my Derm is very efficient and basically signed me off for the four month duration of the treatment (I am an adult, I am fully aware of the consequences of pregnancy etc.) and sent me on my way. I am on 60mg until the end of June. There is no way any alcohol is passing my lips until after the treatment is finished - my poor liver suffered enough abuse at university, I'm not doing any more damage to it.

Day 1-10

Very few side-effects to report, the worst and most obvious being DEHYDRATION. I already suffer badly from this because of my allergies, so the drugs just exacerbate it unfortunately. Trying to drink 4 litres of fluids per day, spread out to avoid sicky bloating feeling. Lips are kind of dry, tried to wear red lipstick last night when I went out (Day 9) but it did not look hot. Feeling quite tired generally, achey legs after I go to the gym. Mood is pretty great, really. Skin is starting to dry out on Day 10, the products I am using are:

Eucerin Aquaphor balm for lips

Aveeno moisturiser for arms and legs

Boots Botanics soothing hand cream for hands

Cetaphil cleanser (washed off with warm water and muslin cloth)

Avène Tolérance extrême crème for face

Jojoba oil (cold pressed, organic) at nighttime for face (wake up and skin is LOVELY)

Also, I have been reading these threads for a couple of weeks, and I have seen a lot of problems with dry/bleeding nose and nobody has mentioned this, which I use for my allergies:

http://www.pharmacy2u.co.uk/sterimar-isotonic-nasal-hygiene-spray-p6920.html

It's basically for flushing out anything that irritates your nasal passages, e.g. pollen, but I haven't had any dry nose problems so far and it may well be down to using this once a day at nighttime. You can probably get something similar in the USA/Canada, it's just a saline (sea water) spray.

Anyway I will probably update this log every now and again, it's just nice to be part of an online community where everyone's in the same boat. My skin is healing up pretty fast, new spots come and go within a day or two which is a novelty.

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Good luck to you :)

Where are you from? As you said in my log you're from the UK, but you talk dollars & 3 years waiting list here.

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Good luck to you smile.png

Where are you from? As you said in my log you're from the UK, but you talk dollars & 3 years waiting list here.

Thanks! I live on the Isle of Man, it's in the British Isles but not part of the UK. We have the NHS but our waiting lists for consultations are a nightmare, you can't see Oncology or ENT or anything like that for months and months. Dermatology is the worst of the lot, we have a guy who comes over once a month to do consultations (half private, half NHS) but as you can imagine there are a lot more major skin issues than acne that get priority!

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Yep it's a pain in the bum, don't even know why we pay national insurance when we can't even get treatment when we need it :( ohhh well.

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Day 15

Last night I went to my weekly First-Aider training session, I had to have a go on the choking mannequin in front of everyone and my face went the most vivid shade of puce from the effort. Everyone was commenting on how flushed I looked for hours afterwards which was a bit embarrassing, I suppose the redness is something to get used to from now on. My bottom lip also cracked down the middle but Aquaphor overnight seems to have sorted it.

I go to the gym for around an hour every day, no joints/pain problems to report so far. I usually do 40 mins cardio and 20 mins free weights/machine weights. My wrists are quite 'clicky' though, my right one in particular makes a grinding noise when I flick it, but it doesn't hurt.

It's been lovely weather where I live for nearly a fortnight, bright Spring sunshine every day. If anything makes me feel full of happy feelings and positivity it's the sun! We don't get a lot of it in the British Isles...

Skin overall is variable. I get new cysts every day but they are usually small and go down again in 2 days. Nose bled a teeeeeeny bit this morning, not enough to be called a nosebleed (more like 'there was blood in my nose'), and I do use nasal corticosteroids every day so that might be a factor. General skin appearance is RED all over.

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Day 19

Initial breakout is getting into its stride now, I am so self-conscious about it I've developed a bad stutter (voice stammer type thing) over the past couple of days. I literally cannot make eye contact with anyone when I'm speaking to them. The words just come out in a jumble, I had problems with speech when I was 13-14 and very insecure about my looks. I am on a dairy-free diet to see if it helps with my allergies, and have subsequently lost 3lb this week which I'm hoping will continue to happen over the next few months. A lower - healthier - weight is generally considered to help regulate your hormones and make breakouts less likely (or so they say)...

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End of Month 1

So I made it to the end of my first month, can't believe it's been 4 weeks since I began taking Roaccutane! It's been very, very straightforward so far. The main issues (if you can even call them that) have been sporadic breakouts and dry lips. Also, not a massive deal, but my eyebrows and eyelashes have been shedding a bit more than usual, but I'm taking some hair, skin and nails supplements so hopefully this will help slow that down. When I bought these, I told the pharmacist what they were for and he said the following:

1) "You do know any hair loss and damage is only temporary, and it will all go back to normal once you've stopped taking the pills?"

2) "Don't use any hair products with tons of chemicals in, use Simple shampoo or ones without sulphates because the generic ones make hair damage so much worse."

Spots-wise, I am still getting lots of them every couple of days, but they are either small, painful bumps which subside in a couple of days, or they turn into whiteheads and go away by themselves. The healing process is slower, but the "cycle" that they go through from clogged pore to flattened scar is vastly speeded up.

My blood tests are tomorrow to check for lipids (blood fat) and liver function, will post results as and when.

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Blood tests results are in for the end of month 1, my liver function is "normal" and my cholesterol (lipids) are 1.6 (whatever that means) and the cholesterol I do have is all "good cholesterol" and not the nasty stuff that gives you heart failure. All in all perfectly acceptable for 60mg per day of Roaccutane.

Yaaaaaay!

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Seems like we're around the exact same time for our accutane journeys! How are you not picking at your face? I feel like every whitehead I get I have to pop. It's aggravating. And it looks like you're improving greatly! Lucky.

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Seems like we're around the exact same time for our accutane journeys! How are you not picking at your face? I feel like every whitehead I get I have to pop. It's aggravating. And it looks like you're improving greatly! Lucky.

I am not really getting any whiteheads anymore, haven't had a new spot in about a week. My acne is the cystic kind generally, they rarely turn into whiteheads but did do during my IB. The ones that are there (which you can see in the pictures) are taking aaaaaages to go away, some of them I've had since I started taking the drugs! Trying so hard not to pick at them, but it's very difficult because they're all flaky and itchy :( blackheads are going away slowly. Skin all in all feels a lot smoother, but we've been having really horrible wintery weather for the past two days and my rosacea is looking pretty bad (cheeks and nose very red and wind-chapped).

I had a look at your log, re: popping whiteheads... I mean, I have always done this, had acne since I was 11... I get a mirror out and I don't stop until that crap is all out of my face... the only scarring I've got is on my right cheek where I've had a HUGE cyst and it's left a 3mm rolling scar... I'm not condoning it, but as long as it is a whitehead and you're not trying to dig through layers of skin with a pair of scissors. There is some proper way of doing it, like you put a flannel on it or something then a tissue, then ease it out gradually (grim). Anyway good luck :)

(Having said that though, do try not to pick at anything because I really don't know what damage it can do while on Accutane! We're in this together!)

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God I'm praying I do not get any rolling scars..... I can deal with the hyper pigmentation but any intentions and I will hate my lifeeee for picking at my skin.. It's just hard to look at my face with acne everywhere! Grrr

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Day 33

Having some less than awesome side-effects today, which I am blaming entirely on the horrific weather we've been having for the past few days. I have a small, raised bump rash on my hands, just by the tops of my thumbs. I've had this before, it may well just be to do with the cold. Also, I met up with my friends earlier after running about in the 40mph winds for a bit (to check if the coffee shops around town were still open). My face started burning as soon as I got in the warm and it looked really blotchy, and didn't calm down again for hours. I am a semi-professional singer and I have a big competition coming up at the end of April, and I tried to do some practice earlier and I opened my mouth a bit too wide and my bottom lip split in half and started bleeding - there is a big gash there now, not sure if it's going to heal any time soon but oh well.

And my back is killing me. I can't really stand up right now. Gah.

However, the general appearance of my skin with regards to our friend acne is much improving. I bumped into a guy I usually see out at the weekends and at no point did I think, "oh god, my skin looks terrible, I feel so ashamed", so this is a good sign!

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Got my monthly friend today and I have no spots. At all.

What is going on here. Normally I have a face like that initial photo I posted, but there is nothing.

So happy. Just ate a massive bag of crisps in celebration.

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Did you take anything for your back? Mine is killing me! I get a shooting pain every time i move :( Don't know if i can mix painkillers with the accutane? Glad the accutane is working for you though and you have no spots :D

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Hey Charlotte, yes today I have been a bit naughty and had 3 x ibuprofen when I had bad cramps during the day, and about an hour ago the back pain/cramps got pretty bad so I had a co-codamol. This is prescription stuff but you can get a weaker paracetamol + codeine at Boots which works pretty well.

I've never heard you can't take painkillers while on Accutane, did you read that somewhere? Quite interesting.

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I haven't read anything but i just wasn't sure about having all those drugs working in my system. The pain made it difficult for me to get to sleep last night so i think i will be taking some ibuprofen tonight :) Been getting chest pain too which is annoying! Hopefully the pain is just a phase whilst our bodies get used to the Accutane, fingers crossed that's the case!! :)

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Yeah, to be honest, the vast majority of people taking Roaccutane are going to be young and pretty healthy, otherwise the dermatologists wouldn't give it to us.

I'm convinced that dairy products and the hormones they give chickens and cows are giving us ladies issues. I have been overweight and suffering from severe respiratory allergies for years, and when I started Roaccutane my GP said (in order to keep my cholesterol down, as well as to see if it helped with the allergies) try not eating dairy for a month to see if anything gets better. You're not supposed to eat too much soya though so I generally rotate my milks so one week I have soya, the next week almond, then oat milk etc.

I can't even begin to describe how amazing I feel since I stopped eating dairy. My allergies have almost gone completely, I've lost a lot of weight very quickly in 4 weeks, particularly around my middle, and my skin is very clear considering I'm only on week 6 of the medication or something. My periods have regulated for the first time in years and last 3-4 days as opposed to 7+ days like I used to get as a teenager. I'm not on any kind of birth control so it can't be to do with that.

There is a lot of 'quackery' surrounding diet and things, but it seems to be working for me so I'm sticking to it for now :) It may be something worth trying, but definitely don't cut out a whole food group without consulting your doctor/dermatologist first!!

(And yes I have been bought a dairy-free easter egg. Fun fact: dark chocolate which is made from soya lecithin and has 72%+ cocoa mass is dairy free. Did a dance around the shop when I worked that out.)

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Day 47 (Already? How?!)

So I have two new spots that have cropped up over the last two days or so, pretty gutted to see them seeing as I've been clear for around 2 weeks now. One is on my left cheek (unusual to get one there) and is a very small cyst, the other was a whitehead down in the usual place by my chin. It seems to be subsiding.

I'm pretty sure I'm losing a fair amount of hair, both on my head and places like my eyebrows and eyelashes. My head hair is very fine and light brown, and in some places my scalp is more visible than usual. Eyelashes/brows are looking very sparse, I'm still taking a fish oil capsule every night and a Biotin/Vit E/Vit D supplement pill every day. When I had my initial breakout, I got a load of spots on my brow line which made a load of eyebrow hairs fall out once they healed, so that's pretty noticeable at the min.

I am getting a LOT of back pain now, I go to the gym 5-6 times per week and do cardio and some weights, but when I lie down flat my lower back is very painful.

Generally though, things are pretty good and I'm looking forward to the summer when we might get some proper warm weather and I will (hopefully) be all glowy and spot-free!

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Day 55

Urgh my face looks horrific. I had to do some filming yesterday for a music video and I looked like such a geek, literally no makeup could cover the massive zits and red marks all over my face. What made it 100 x worse was that it was filmed in HD so you could literally see EVERYTHING.

Anyway, nearly at the end of two months, I know I've still got a way to go in terms of the medication, but I was hoping to see huge improvements by now, I'm halfway through my course.

Will post some photos on the 19th April because that's my official end of month date. Also because my face is too horrible to photograph right now. I was out drinking last night (sorry everyone, sorry liver) because my best friend is visiting and I won't see her again until the Autumn, my lips are papery and falling off and my throat is mega dry but I don't feel that bad really. Am getting some final blood tests in May so I will stay off the booze now.

Also, I have to sound like a whingey dickhead but I never realised until recently how much acne affected my self-esteem. I was talking to a friend in the bar last night about how I've only ever had one boyfriend for a couple of months (I'm nearly 23...), and whenever I'm in the situation where a guy might be interested, I push them away because I can't stand them to see my face close-up or without make-up on, and having acne makes me feel so ugly. It's society that has conditioned us to think we look hideous when we have spots, regardless of how beautiful we are underneath or how attractive our personalities are to others. Just a thought for everyone. Don't let acne win, it's not worth it.

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I was going to post some photos at 2 months, but actually since I was on a low dose in my first week or so, this week is more like the half-way mark.

Attached are some pics of me without makeup yesterday, I had been traveling up from the South West to the North West of England all day and I was absolutely shattered!

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My favourite is the pic of my nose - I have included a couple of 'before' pics to compare. I didn't appreciate how the sebum and blackheads made the overall shape of my nose so blobby, like I had some kind of alcoholism! There is a pic of my nose now, as you can see it looks a lot smaller and less inflamed than in the 'before' photo.

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There's also a pic of my forehead, which is looking a big gross at the moment because I had a fringe cut in about a week ago, so it's getting a bit spottier than usual.

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Side-effects still minimal, but I went to watch my uncle in the London Marathon last weekend and it was really sunny in London, and I stupidly didn't have enough to drink, so my lips are a mess still.

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it looks like it's going quite well for you. I'm having to go private as well and i'll be starting Accutane on May 14th.

Would you say your acne was Mild/Moderate when you started and how has it progressed, did you get much of an IB? Oh yeah, how long are you on it for? biggrin.pngbiggrin.png

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it looks like it's going quite well for you. I'm having to go private as well and i'll be starting Accutane on May 14th.

Would you say your acne was Mild/Moderate when you started and how has it progressed, did you get much of an IB? Oh yeah, how long are you on it for? biggrin.pngbiggrin.png

Hey!

It was probably more like moderate to severe, I used to get huge red cysts all over my cheeks, jawline and forehead, blackheads all over my nose and cheeks and lots of whiteheads too. It was a mess, frankly. But the perceived severity of acne is all relative to the individual I guess!

It got worse before it got better, I was put on 60mg by my dermatologist but I eased in with 20mg then 40mg for a week. Got my first bad breakout around the 2 week mark, then it got really clear at around a month after I started treatment. Then, strangely, it got bad again (same cystic acne, whiteheads, enlarged pores etc) at around 7 weeks. It is clearing up again, but I'm starting to see bad pigmentation (red marks) and scars where old acne has been which I never noticed before.

My prescription was for 4 months, so I think I finish around the end of June. I may need another month but I'm not really keen for that as it'll be more expense to see the private consultant again, and another £50 for a month's supply of pills.

I guess my main advice to you when you start is don't worry about the side effects too much, it can drive you crazy smile.png

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