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25/f Journeys With Accutane!

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#1 whereismymind

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 02:23 PM

Hello! Well first off I'm a 25-year-old lady in the U.S.A.  I'm almost 2 months through my second course of Accutane.  It's going pretty well but I wanted to share my experience with Accutane while it's still fresh in my mind.  I've gotten a lot of help reading others' logs so I thought I would make my own contribution!

 

Okay, brief history:

I've been around acne.org for a while... 

My acne has never been worse than mild-moderate, but it is very persistent. It's also in the central area of my face so it's hard to cover up and it bothers me a lot.  When my skin is bad I get a lot of anxiety and depression over it.  So Accutane was not a hard choice for me, despite the side effects and risks.

 

I took it for the first time when I was 19. This was just after Minocycline stopped working for me and my skin became very oily and probably in the worst state it's been in.  The accutane course cleared me up really quickly, but a year later it came back. It was much more mild, but I was still disappointed.  I've never thought my acne was hormonal (I never really have it on my chin or jawline and don't break out too much on my period) but I tried Spironolactone just for the hell of it. And it actually worked! I think it's because it decreased my oil production.  It's kept me clear for a few years until this past fall, when I turned 25.  My skin wasn't oily anymore, it actually became pretty dry before these breakouts started.  Sooooo I'm not sure what made me break out. But here we are again.  

 

I started Accutane on March 14. I'm 118 pounds (about 54 kg). The first month I was on 40 mg/day.  Now I'm on 80 mg but I've been doing more like 60 since everyone on here seems to be on 1 mg per kg?  Also my lips were getting super dry.  But besides the dryness I haven't had a problem with side effects.

 

Here's a rundown of my course so far:

Weeks 1-2: Not much happened except my skin got a bit oilier actually.

Week 3: Bit of a breakout. Nothing different from the breakouts I had gotten before. Skin got drier.

Week 4-5: Some small pimples, but at this point I was certainly noticing progress

Week 6: Broke out before my period, I don't usually have problems with this but then again I'm not on Spiro anymore. It wasn't bad and the zits kind of came up fast and left fast

Week 7-present: I've had a couple spots come up. Again, they come fast and leave fast. Right now I'm pretty clear.

However, I think all of the lip balm I use has caused some breaking out a bit on my chin and around my lips.  Not super flattering as they look a bit like herpes, haha. I tried to take a break from my lip balm but I neeeeeed it!  

 

 

Side effects:

Dryness, especially lips. I'm always whisking away little flakes of dead skin, ugh. Also flushing, especially after running outside.  My pores look a little larger sometimes and the scars more noticeable. But I guess I shouldn't expect so much from my skin already!

 

 

That's all to report thus far, besides products I use:

 

Lips: Dr. Dan's Cortibalm. I survived my first Accutane course with just Aquaphor but this time I needed something more.

Moisturizer: Elta MD AM Therapy and in extra dry spots the Cetaphil Moisturizing Creme in the tub

Sunscreen: Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46: http://www.eltamd.co...etail.aspx?p=18

Cleanser: Cetaphil Gentle Formula

Makeup: I usually don't wear any but about once or twice a week I use Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Liquid Foundation: https://www.physicia...ions/02447.html

Sometimes I spot treat healing zits with Neosporin, but it's just what I had on hand

 

I also try to run a humidifier at all times. 

 

Here is a picture of me at Week 6 which was a fairly bad week and in some harsh lighting. It's pretty mild, but again, very persistent.  I'm happy to answer any questions about Accutane!

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#2 jamie o

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 06:38 AM

Firstly, good luck with your second course.

 

You could try another brand of lip balm lip, like Carmex. The only reason I am suggesting this is you might be allergic to something in your current lip balm. Also another option is using a nipple cream on your lips. It worked for me, but I ended up changing to Carmex because the nipple cream made my mouth water too much. For the record, I have tried quite a few lips balms and they resulted in my lips drying out/flaking quickly, but Carmex and the nipple cream worked. I have never used Aquaphor, since it is not sold in my country, so I can't compare the Carmex and nipple cream to it.

 

Did you find any products useful post-Accutane? I have just finished my course a few days ago.



#3 whereismymind

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 12:34 PM

Thanks for the suggestions on the lip balms- I'll check them out!

 

After my first course all I used was Cetaphil cleanser, nothing else.  My acne started coming back about a year later and then I started using Spironolactone which cleared it up for another few years.

 

This time i'm definitely planning on using a topical (probably Differin or low-strength Retin-A) once I'm done with this course.  I think that it's really important to find something to maintain your clear skin after Accutane.  My skin looked totally transformed after my first course so I thought I was cured for life but nope! It definitely made a huge lasting improvement but the perfect porcelain skin didn't last. 

 

If anyone has a topical or other treatment (lasers, peels, etc.) to recommend for post-Accutane maintenance I'd love to hear about it.  I can't use BP so I was thinking of using a retinoid and maybe the IPL laser for redness.



#4 whereismymind

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 09:29 PM

DAY 57

 

Okaaaay I have happy news and bad news.  Let's start with the bad first.

So I didn't want this to be one of those logs where I only come on here to complain but I'm afraid I have to say I'm not feeling so hot about my skin today.  It isn't bad, but I haven't seen as much improvement as I thought I would by now.  Also, my lips and skin are all flaky! And sometimes I feel like flaky skin is what has been making me break out. I can't quite remember as it was 5 years ago, but during my first course I remember being happy with my skin pretty early on.  And my skin never got this dry.  Oh well...  The third month is supposed to be when you see the most improvement and I still have a few days until I begin my third month on this.  

 

Ok good news:

Well, first of all, my skin isn't WORSE, it's just not improving much so far.  The other good news is my hair has been looking really good on this drug!

 

In other news,

I was supposed to go to a 4-day long music festival the weekend after next.  Today I realized that this might not be a good idea.  I think that it will just be waaaaay too stressful to avoid the sun and the drinking, not to mention keeping up with all of the flaky skin.  Also I have a feeling I will end up reconnecting with a lot of my old college friends with flaky lips and a bright red face... hmmmm...  I'll keep thinking about it and ask my derm at my appt. on Monday.  But I will probably be selling my ticket.  Maybe that's why I'm so frustrated about my skin today- when I bought these tickets back in February I was sure I'd be clear by now and that I wouldn't have so many problems with sun sensitivity and what not.

 

Okay, well thanks to anyone out there who is listening to all the complaining! I'm crossing my fingers that my skin will be clearing up in the third month and I will have better news to report in the next few weeks!  Also, the beginning of my day was great - for Mother's Day I took my mom and grandma back to my old college town for lunch and street shopping and the farmer's market there (that was our tradition for the five years that I was in school).  Good times! We bought chocolate-covered figs and fancy cheeses! Haha



#5 whereismymind

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 07:24 PM

2 months on Accutane!

 

I've done one month on 40 mg and one on 60 (I'm 115-118 lbs).  

 

I think the bit of a breakout I had recently was from my period.  My skin is looking the best it has since I started Accutane I think. Though throughout the course I have had times where I feel like my skin is very clear and then I break out again.  The drug seems to like to build up hope and shatter dreams, over and over again.  Annoying.  But this time my skin just really seems to be a lot better in texture overall.  AND I am starting my third month now... hmmm... we shall see what happens in time...

 

I'm not sure if a single person reads this log but I need help making a decision!  I've been stewing about it all day.

 

Weekend after this I'm supposed to leave for a 4-day music festival in the desert (kind of).  There are no trees/shade and likely to be sunny the whole time.  I'm worried about the sun damage I could get.  I'm not sure if I will be able to put sunscreen on my face throughout the day.  I can wear a hat, but still. My face has been getting really red and dry just from a couple hours in the sun.  And this is 4 days of sun in a row.

 

Plus I won't be able to drink alcohol really.  And I drink about a dozen gallons of water a day.  Or it feels like it.  I'm going in a small car with 4 people and I honestly don't think I can even fit my water supply in there haha.

 

Has anyone else done Coachella or Bonaroo or whatever on Accutane?  I feel like if I was on vacation in a sunny place I could avoid the sun more easily. These music festivals always have you out in an open field and you are walking all over the place all the time.

 

Any feedback to aid my decision making (or lack thereof) would be much appreciated! Thanks guys!

 

 



#6 whereismymind

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 10:40 AM

DAY 63

 

Alrighty well I will continue to ramble on to myself in cyberspace.  I really think my body has adapted to the drug in that I'm feeling less fatigued and the red face has gone down a bit. So have the chapped lips and dry skin. And my skin really seems to finally be clear for the long run now! YAAAY!  Just in time. I'm starting a new job on Monday.   I also decided to just suck it up and go to that music festival over Memorial Day weekend.  I bought a really big hat that I look kind of ridiculous in and I'll have to reapply sunblock constantly and avoid drinking but no pain no gain!

 

Of course, even though my skin is looking quite good, I'm still worried about having another breakout. That will SUCK considering it will really hurt my confidence for this new job and make camping a pain in the ass. Oh well, so it goes.  I'm happy just to get to the point where Accutane is working.



#7 jamie o

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 02:24 AM

Hey sorry about the delayed reply to your question, time zones and university essays can be a bitch at times, but I went to a three day music festival at the end of summer in Australia. I tended to wear sunscreen, a hat and clothing that covered my shoulders. I admit that I tried to avoid the hotter parts of the day, but when some of my favourite acts were on I thought screw it I will suffer at the hands of the sun for a few hours (on one of the days). Oh yeah my music festival was a country music festival, so camping, portable showers etc, and my acne was okay (from what I remember). At my music festival they had a tap for drinking water, so my advice would be to check the festival's website or send them an email asking if they have a tap for free drinking water (I am clueless with USA's festivals, since I am an Aussie). As for people from the States, I have heard of some going on Spring Break, so I am guessing they were partying on the beach during the daytime. Sorry about this paragraph being all over the place, my brain does not want to function at all after doing my latest uni essay.

 

 

Also as far as being bothered about a break out hurting your confidence, try not to let it bother you if it happens. If your avatar is of you then you are beautiful and even with decent amount of acne I would not change my opinion on that. Also if you ever want to vent your frustrations, I am happy to listen.

 

Hope I have helped in some way, even if it is just by having someone reply to your questions, and have a good weekend. 

 


Edited by jamie o, 17 May 2013 - 02:28 AM.


#8 whereismymind

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 08:44 PM

DAY 68

 

Nose pimple! They are the worst! The rest of my skin looks fine but last night I noticed a small red bump on the front of my nose. This morning it had come to head already so I guess that's a good sign, though it doesn't look so good. Fortunately it's just one really inflamed pore I think.

 

Ugh, I still have doubts that Accutane will work.  I took Accutane before and I was plenty clear by now.  Also every time I breakout I think that it's just the beginning. Like now I'm afraid my whole nose is going to break out or I'll keep having these pimples more often.  

 

I sold my ticket today for that music festival.  Makes me really sad because I know that in large part it was due to insecurities about my skin.  Though I also sold it because I started a new job on Monday which is REALLY stressful and I'm already getting behind on my work.  

 

So maybe the stress from the new job is what made me get this pimple- can stress cause acne to flare up in just a day and a half?

 

This is all getting reaaaallllyyy ooollllld.  I'm 25! Leave me alone acne!! 



#9 whoartthou1

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 08:49 AM

your skin is practically flawless. Stay away from accutane



#10 whereismymind

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 03:47 PM

DAY 96-97ish

 

Good news this time!

 

It's been about 3 months and a week on this drug.

 

Since my last post (which was almost a month ago) I haven't had any significant blemishes at all!  That pimple on my nose was kind of a pain though.  I think maybe it was just from that stressful job situation because my skin had been pretty clear and it has been totally clear since then. So besides that one weird random pimple I would say Accutane had me pretty much clear at about 2 months in.

 

I'm thinking I'm clear for the long run and that there isn't going to be much to report on for the rest of the course. So if I don't post on here again just assume that no news is good news!



#11 Tim714

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 09:55 PM

Just wanted to let you know that your thread is getting read and to say congrats on getting such good results so quickly. I hope it keeps getting better for you.

#12 whereismymind

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 09:12 PM

Thanks Tim714!

 

Well speak of the devil I did get a pimple. It isn't too bad, but large enough to bother me a bit.  I woke up with it this morning.  I think it could be from this bad cold I have though. I don't usually get sick but it seems it's never good for the skin, which makes sense.

I also ran a half marathon in warm weather a few days ago and sometimes sweating for so long makes me break out.  

Crossing my fingers it's a fluke thing and after all I'm only 3.5 months in (it's a 5 or 6 month course).