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Accutane - How Bad Is The Initial Breakout?

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#1 Flaxen

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 07:21 AM

Hi, 

 

I saw a dermatologist for the first time last week and she recommended I take accutane. I was actually a bit suprised because although my acne was very bad it has been quite well supressed by benzoyl peroxide. That said I am keen for something different to be done about it because I am still bothered by some new spots and extreme oiliness. The thing that bothers me most however is red marks and scarring I got from a massive breakout last autumn when I tried coming off benzoyl peroxide (my skin was pretty good and I wanted to try switching to something that wouldn't cause redness and/or bleaching - big mistake nothing worked.) Six months later the red marks are starting to fade but they are still very visible and I spend literally hours applying makeup in the mornings - exhausting! And I still look bad afterwards. I'm 25 now and I feel like all my peers have clear skin. Over the years my skin has caused me alot of upset and I really just want to get it sorted so I think accutane probably is a good idea.

 

My main concern is the prospect of an "initial breakout." In my experience red marks take over a year to fade so I really don't want to create a whole lot more when I know I could keep my skin reasonably OK with benzoyl peroxide. I broke out HORRIBLY with retin-a, I think that is responsible for alot of the marks I have now. Does that make me more likely to break out with an oral retinoid? I suppose even more than the red marks I am afraid of permanent indented scars. Luckily I don't seem to be too susceptible to this but I do have a few. The way I see it, accutane is short term pain for long term gain in terms of new spots; but if it is going to create new permanent scars in the process I am not sure it is worth it. I would be extremely grateful if anyone could share their experience of initial breakouts on accutane with me - it would really help me make my decision. I probably will go for it, but I am really nervous about breaking out...

 

The reason the derm didn't start me on it straight away is I have bipolar disorder and she wanted to check with my psychiatrist. It's not that big of an issue in my mind (rightly or wrongly.) My belief is that it is acne that is depressing rather than the drug but as I've never taken it who am I to say! So if anyone has experience with depression on accutane I'd be interested to hear about that too...

 

Best wishes :)


Post (Ro)accutane Regimen:          

 

Morning

Cleanse: Olay Essentials Refreshing Face Wash

Exfoliate: Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

Treat red marks: Superfacialist Vitamin C Glow Boost Serum

Moisturise: Simple Kind to Skin Protecting Moisture Cream SPF 30

Lips: Nivea Lip Care Sun Protect SPF 30

Makeup base: Estee Lauder Matte Perfecting Primer, Yves Saint Laurent Teint Touche Eclat - BR10, Clinique Blended Face Powder - Invisible

 

Evening

Cleanse: Olay Essentials Refreshing Face Wash, Original Source Mint and Tea Tree Shower Gel

Exfoliate: Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant

Treat red marks: Differin (0.1% Adapalene)

Moisturise: Simple Kind to Skin Replenising Rich Moisturiser

Lips: Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm

 

100% acne free and stubborn red marks disappearing!


#2 AuguriesofInnocence

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 09:17 AM

hi, I can only tell you my accutane experience and it was not a good one But you did ask...

I had acne on and off for years since I was 12. Its always been mild but last year it became cystic. I have tried the usual topicals, antibiotics and changing my diet, all of which didnt help anymore. I decided to ask for accutane in April of last year. My derm assured me the risks were "very low" and accutane has a 'bad rap" because of a few isolated incidents of suicide, which could not  be proven. I decided to try it as I cannot get pregnant I wasnt worried about birth defetcs.

I will make a long story short: I only took accutane for 1 month at 10 and 20 mg. Alsmot from the first pill I didnt feel well. I dont know if I had an initial break-out but my acne was a bit worse for the first two weeks. After two weeks my skin started to become less oily and my acne was clearing but I also had exxtremely chapped and bleeping lips, nose bleeds and fatigue. After two weeks I began feeling very depressed and it got to the point where I was suicidal. No joke, I attempted suicide and was in a mental hospital for over a week. The only way I can describe feelin on accutane is that everything is wrong, there is no joy or light and everything is useless that combined with a vague dread of living. It took 3-4 months for me to get out of that depression. I took antidepressants and had someone with me 24/7 if I hadnt done those two things I would probably not be here now.

I can attest, yes acne is depressing, nobody is happy to have it but I was never severely depressed nor suicidal until I took the drug. Sure people have had "success" stories and others have had side effects and you really dont know until you take it yourself. But its a pretty big risk you must think about it carefully, I just assumed nothing bad would happen but I was wrong.

Also, the drug companies flat-out lie about the percentages of side effects/suicidal thoughts I didnt report mine and a lot of thers havent reported theirs either. Accutane is a chemotherepy drug for cancer if youve seen what chemo patients look like you can believe its no health tonic. If you take this drug it can clear your acne for a while...but a) you may have awful side effects some of which can be permanant b) you may get mood changes or depression, and perhaps the biggest irony c) most peoples acne returns because acne is hormonal, so even if accutane works for a year or two, chances are it will come back anyway. Since youre female Id try a birth control pill, spironolactone, anything before you take accutane. I had acne for 20 years, I took yaz and was clear in 4 months Im stil clear 8 months later. Birth control pills can cause problems too but, accutane is in my opinion worse than rat poison and heroin. For me it was nearly the end.

Good luck whatever you decide. But you should know the risks before you jump in headfirst. There are much worse things than acne, trying to kill yourself is one of them.


Edited by AuguriesofInnocence, 06 May 2013 - 11:13 AM.


#3 Flaxen

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 11:04 AM

hi, I can only tell you my accutane experience and it was not a good one But you did ask...

I had acne on and off for years since I was 12. Its always been mild but last year it became cystic. I have tried the usual topicals, antibiotics and changing my diet, all of which didnt help anymore. I decided to ask for accutane in April of last year. My derm assured me the risks were "very low" and accutane has a 'bad rap" because of a few isolated incidents of suicide, which could not  be proven. I decided to try it as I cannot get pregnant I wasnt worried about birth defetcs.

I will make a long story short: I only took accutane for 1 month at 10 and 20 mg. Alsmot from the first pill I didnt feel well. I dont know if I had an initial break-out but my acne was a bit worse for the first two weeks. After two weeks my skin started to become less oily and my acne was clearing but I also had exxtremely chapped and bleeping lips, nose bleeds and fatigue. After two weeks I began feeling very depressed and it got to the point where I was suicidal. No joke, I attempted suicide and was in a mental hospital for over a week. The only way I can describe feelin on accutane is that everything is wrong, there is no joy or light and everything is useless that combined with a vague dread of living. It took 3-4 months for me to get out of that depression. I took antidepressants and had someone with me 24/7 if I hadnt done those two things I would probably not be here now.

I can attest, yes acne is depressing, nobody is happy to have it but I was never severely depressed nor suicidal until I took the drug. Sure people have had "success" stories and others have had side effects and you really dont know until you take it yourself. But its a pretty big risk you must think about it carefully, I just assumed nothing bad would happen but I was wrong.

Also, the drug companies flat-out lie about the percentages of side effects/suicidal thoughts I didnt report mine and a lot of thers havent reported theirs either. Accutane is a chemotherepy drug for cancer if youve seen what chemo petienst look like you can believe its no health tonic.If you take this drug it bac clear your acne for a while...but a) you may have awful side effects some of which can be permanant b) you may get mood changes or depression, and perhaps the biggest irony c) most peoples acne returns because acne is hormonal, so even if accutane works for a year or two, chances are it will come back anyway. Since youre female Id try a birth control pill, spironolactone, anything before you take accutane. I had acne for 20 years, I took yaz and was clear in 4 months Im stil clear 8 months later. Birth control pills can cause problems too but, accutane is in my opinion worse than rat poison and heroin. For me it was nearly the end.

Good luck whatever you decide. But you should know the risks before you jump in headfirst. There are much worse things than acne, trying to kill yourself is one of them.

 

Gosh, I'm sorry you had such a terrible experience but thank you for sharing it with me. It sounds like I have been too dismissive of the depression side effect now you have provided an example of such severe depression clearly linked to taking the drug. My bipolar is pretty well controlled these days but I'm still more vulnerable to depression than most people... I think you're right though that there is no way of knowing how you will respond to a drug until you take it as people have such varying experiences.I guess it's all about if it is worth taking the risk. I'm about to start a new job, I can't afford to be depressed for 3-4 months as happened to you... But that said... I have tried everything else and my skin does cause me alot of grief and I really want to make it better. I'm on dianette (generic) and that hasn't really helped. I can't have spiro cos I'm on lithium and anyway my derm said the birth control was better and spiro wouldn't give any additional benefit. She was very keen for accutane... It is interesting you said you didn't feel right from the very first pill. I wonder if now I have been warned I can watch for that and if I think I am being affected maybe I could stop taking it before it got too bad... Anyway, thanks again, I think this was something I really needed to hear and I will continue to think about.


Post (Ro)accutane Regimen:          

 

Morning

Cleanse: Olay Essentials Refreshing Face Wash

Exfoliate: Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

Treat red marks: Superfacialist Vitamin C Glow Boost Serum

Moisturise: Simple Kind to Skin Protecting Moisture Cream SPF 30

Lips: Nivea Lip Care Sun Protect SPF 30

Makeup base: Estee Lauder Matte Perfecting Primer, Yves Saint Laurent Teint Touche Eclat - BR10, Clinique Blended Face Powder - Invisible

 

Evening

Cleanse: Olay Essentials Refreshing Face Wash, Original Source Mint and Tea Tree Shower Gel

Exfoliate: Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant

Treat red marks: Differin (0.1% Adapalene)

Moisturise: Simple Kind to Skin Replenising Rich Moisturiser

Lips: Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm

 

100% acne free and stubborn red marks disappearing!


#4 AuguriesofInnocence

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 11:10 AM

You will definately know if you feel off, stop taking it immediately.I should have but I was so keen to have my skin fixed... Does your prescribing doctor know youre bi-poplar?To be honest if youre bi-polar I wouldnt dare take accutane it messes with seratonin and dopamine levels.

I understand how helpless you feel. Try yaz birth control if you can its the only thing which cleared my acne. Than you for not being dismissive. I care more about peoples well being than the state of their skin. However I think you are honest when you say you will stop taking it if you feel bad.


Edited by AuguriesofInnocence, 06 May 2013 - 11:14 AM.


#5 Flaxen

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 11:35 AM

You will definately know if you feel off, stop taking it immediately.I should have but I was so keen to have my skin fixed... Does your prescribing doctor know youre bi-poplar?To be honest if youre bi-polar I wouldnt dare take accutane it messes with seratonin and dopamine levels.

I understand how helpless you feel. Try yaz birth control if you can its the only thing which cleared my acne. Than you for not being dismissive. I care more about peoples well being than the state of their skin. However I think you are honest when you say you will stop taking it if you feel bad.

She does know, she wants to write to my psychiatrist for his opinion before prescribing it so maybe he will veto it anyway. As you say, depression is much worse than acne so I will be cautious, but it is a rubbish choice to have to make! I bet some time in the future they'll find a decent cure for acne and look back at accutane as totally barbaric! Anyway it is actually very reassuring that you say I will know if I feel off; it makes me more keen to try it and just be prepared to stop if I need. I guess I would be tempted to stick with it as you did but with my history and life circumstances and having heard your experience I guess I need to be disciplined! -So you really have helped me alot :)


Post (Ro)accutane Regimen:          

 

Morning

Cleanse: Olay Essentials Refreshing Face Wash

Exfoliate: Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

Treat red marks: Superfacialist Vitamin C Glow Boost Serum

Moisturise: Simple Kind to Skin Protecting Moisture Cream SPF 30

Lips: Nivea Lip Care Sun Protect SPF 30

Makeup base: Estee Lauder Matte Perfecting Primer, Yves Saint Laurent Teint Touche Eclat - BR10, Clinique Blended Face Powder - Invisible

 

Evening

Cleanse: Olay Essentials Refreshing Face Wash, Original Source Mint and Tea Tree Shower Gel

Exfoliate: Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant

Treat red marks: Differin (0.1% Adapalene)

Moisturise: Simple Kind to Skin Replenising Rich Moisturiser

Lips: Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm

 

100% acne free and stubborn red marks disappearing!


#6 whereismymind

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 01:10 PM

Hey-

 

I'm almost 2 months into my second course of Accutane.  Both times I've had breakouts in the beginning, but they weren't really WORSE than before, just DIFFERENT. My spots came and left more quickly and I broke out a little in places where my skin is normally clear. Around the 2 month mark I was pretty much clear on my first course and at this point on my second course I'm clear, though I could breakout again for all I know.

 

As far as Accutane and depression goes, I do think that you have to be very careful, but I also think that people make Accutane sound scarier than it actually is.  It's always the horror stories that come through the media.  

 

Good luck with whatever you decide to do!



#7 Flaxen

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 01:24 PM

Hey-

 

I'm almost 2 months into my second course of Accutane.  Both times I've had breakouts in the beginning, but they weren't really WORSE than before, just DIFFERENT. My spots came and left more quickly and I broke out a little in places where my skin is normally clear. Around the 2 month mark I was pretty much clear on my first course and at this point on my second course I'm clear, though I could breakout again for all I know.

 

As far as Accutane and depression goes, I do think that you have to be very careful, but I also think that people make Accutane sound scarier than it actually is.  It's always the horror stories that come through the media.  

 

Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

Hi, thanks for your help! I guess the reason why I'm particularly scared of breaking out at the beginning of treatment is because I know I'll have to stop benzoyl peroxide and the only time in the past seven years that I've tried that my face got into such a huge horrifying mess :( Having breakouts a bit worse than I do now would be ok but having breakouts as bad as or worse than I do without bp is a terrifying prospect! It is very helpful to know that you were clear about two months in both times round though. I guess you can still get alot of lasting damage in two months but it is good to know I could at least expect the end to be in sight...


Post (Ro)accutane Regimen:          

 

Morning

Cleanse: Olay Essentials Refreshing Face Wash

Exfoliate: Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

Treat red marks: Superfacialist Vitamin C Glow Boost Serum

Moisturise: Simple Kind to Skin Protecting Moisture Cream SPF 30

Lips: Nivea Lip Care Sun Protect SPF 30

Makeup base: Estee Lauder Matte Perfecting Primer, Yves Saint Laurent Teint Touche Eclat - BR10, Clinique Blended Face Powder - Invisible

 

Evening

Cleanse: Olay Essentials Refreshing Face Wash, Original Source Mint and Tea Tree Shower Gel

Exfoliate: Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant

Treat red marks: Differin (0.1% Adapalene)

Moisturise: Simple Kind to Skin Replenising Rich Moisturiser

Lips: Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm

 

100% acne free and stubborn red marks disappearing!


#8 AuguriesofInnocence

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 12:51 PM

Im glad if I helped, I know you will listen to your mind/body so Im not too worried.

You will definately know if you feel off, stop taking it immediately.I should have but I was so keen to have my skin fixed... Does your prescribing doctor know youre bi-poplar?To be honest if youre bi-polar I wouldnt dare take accutane it messes with seratonin and dopamine levels.

I understand how helpless you feel. Try yaz birth control if you can its the only thing which cleared my acne. Than you for not being dismissive. I care more about peoples well being than the state of their skin. However I think you are honest when you say you will stop taking it if you feel bad.

She does know, she wants to write to my psychiatrist for his opinion before prescribing it so maybe he will veto it anyway. As you say, depression is much worse than acne so I will be cautious, but it is a rubbish choice to have to make! I bet some time in the future they'll find a decent cure for acne and look back at accutane as totally barbaric! Anyway it is actually very reassuring that you say I will know if I feel off; it makes me more keen to try it and just be prepared to stop if I need. I guess I would be tempted to stick with it as you did but with my history and life circumstances and having heard your experience I guess I need to be disciplined! -So you really have helped me alot smile.png



If you had no depression issues your in the fortunate majority, however dont downplay others' bad experiences. I can honestly say accutane was the scariest experience of my life. Not everyone is affected that way but if you are you never want anyone else to suffer that.

Sorry if I sound scary but look around, it can be a scary world. I wish her the best in any case.

Hey-

 

I'm almost 2 months into my second course of Accutane.  Both times I've had breakouts in the beginning, but they weren't really WORSE than before, just DIFFERENT. My spots came and left more quickly and I broke out a little in places where my skin is normally clear. Around the 2 month mark I was pretty much clear on my first course and at this point on my second course I'm clear, though I could breakout again for all I know.

 

As far as Accutane and depression goes, I do think that you have to be very careful, but I also think that people make Accutane sound scarier than it actually is.  It's always the horror stories that come through the media.  

 

Good luck with whatever you decide to do!



#9 spartan32

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 04:29 PM

I am in a similar position to you.  I am almost 26 and probably going on Accutane but the initial breakout is scaring me the most.  I am considering asking for an antibiotic to take for the first 2 months or go on a strict anti-inflammatory diet.  There really isn't much information available on how to avoid it.