After lots of lurking, I figured it's time to introduce myself and start my own log. As my user name suggests, I am SO done with having acne. At 26 years old, I've now officially spent half of my life battling acne, and have seen something like 10 different dermatologists over the years, tried basically every Rx med on the market (and spent the equivalent of a down payment on a house on all those copays, plus all of the other over-the-counter solutions I've tried!)
My acne has always been classified as "mild to moderate," at times bordering on moderate/severe, and at a few (glorious, wonderful, heavenly) times, in complete remission. The story of my skin seems to be that something works for anywhere from 3 months to a year, and then quits on me. Apart from a brief, horrific stint with birth control pills, I've never had cystic acne - and for that I count my blessings.
Most recently, I was on a regime of Spiro (50mg), Duac (derms kept prescribing that, no matter how many times I told them it was worthless), and a now-discontinued sulfur cream at night. With that my acne was reduced to mild - maybe 4-6 active pimples on a given day - but then I moved abroad and no longer had access to Spiro, and my skin exploded. Until I started Accutane two weeks ago, my skin was a complete grease pit - I would seriously have to use 3 of those Clean and Clear oil blotter things at a time (and would soak them through - ewwwww) to get the oil off my face. Plus, I was breaking out like crazy - new postules every day, and a new outbreak of forehead acne, which I've never had before.
After two dermatologists refused to prescribe Spiro because it's "just not used for acne here" (I'm in Europe), I finally went to a terrific derm who a) was willing to prescribe Spiro but b) took a look at my face and the list of meds I've tried, and immediately suggested a low dose of Accutane.
So, here's the plan, according to that derm:
I will take 10mg a day for anywhere from 1 - 4 months. From then on, my dose will be reduced at regular intervals: first 10mg every other day, then 2 times a week, then once a week. They said it will likely take 6 months, and seemed certain that this would clear me once and for all.
I just took my 14th pill today. The first week was great - my skin actually improved, noticeably. Fewer new pimples and the old ones seemed to be healing. As of a few days ago, my skin is acting weird: basically, all of my pores suddenly look clogged, although they haven't developed into whiteheads of postules. When I squeeze the pores (this is gross, sorry), sebum comes out, and judging by how it looks, it seems like these are old clogs. I'm wondering if this could be the Accutane bringing all of this to the surface? If this is my IB, I'll take it, but I don't think I'll get away so easy.
On side effects, so far I've not really felt anything. Had a headache the first two days but then it went away, and had chapped lips one day. Otherwise I feel totally normal, even my lips no longer feel chapped. I've noticed that the oil is finally starting to dry up - today when I used a blotting sheet, I only soaked through half of one. Now that's progress.
Anyway, would be curious to hear if anyone is doing a similar regime, or if anyone has a hypothesis about all these weird clogged pores. It's not such a big deal, just makes the texture of my skin look quite odd. Also, should I squeeze these guys or let them be?
Ok, enough for now. Will post updates when I can! (But no pictures - way too shy for that!)