Holy Isotretinoin Batman, It's Another Accutane Log!

177 posts in this topic

Hang in there, Meg!

I can SOOO relate to your last post. I remember going to my one month derm appt, and the look on her face. She said something like "well, we're far from calling this a failure". I know she meant "it's early, so don't worry", but what I heard was "holy shit you look bad, this might totally fail". Then she proceeded to ask me if I wanted some topical antibiotics for "all the pustules". So lovely. The couple days before the appt had actually been not too bad, but she managed to crush my hope in ten seconds flat. I cried A LOT. Then I went home and discovered a new big cyst on my cheek. It was a super day.

I'm at day 74 now, and it has been a bit of a roller coaster, but I can say for sure now that things are better. I read your actives list (I think all Accutaners have these!), and it reminded me a lot of mine thus far. I keep a short one on my computer because my log is so wordy it can be hard to see progress. I make a note to myself every ten days and it has gone like this: Day 10: 8, Day 20: 11, Day 30: 8, Day 40: 5, Day 50: 3, Day 60: 2, Day 70:1. Ta da. So close to zero I can TASTE IT! And it is yum. See you here soon.

Kim you're the best. I just want you to know- you've really helped someone today. Thank you :)

What does zero taste like? Does it taste like confetti cake cupcakes? 'Cause that would be awesome!

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Here's some input for you, not sure if it'll help much though...

Hair bleaching: I'm naturally a dark blonde and got highlights the first week I was on accutane, before my skin and scalp got dry, so not too much experience there. Your hair is probably more brittle than normal with it being so dry, which can lead to more damage from coloring it. If you absolutely need to color it while on accutane, I would go a few a day without washing it before coloring so your natural oils help nourish and protect your hair when it's colored. I don't think coloring will affect your scalp and the flakiness too much, especially if you allow your natural oils to protect it before coloring.

Nightime moisturizer: I have been using Ole Henriksen African Red Tea See the Difference Serum. It's very moisturizing. Sephora gets me hooked on their fancy expensive products because of those damn addictive samples they send out with each order, so that's how I ended up with it this expensive moisturizer. A good not-so-pricey alternative is CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion PM. I had a few samples of it from my derm during the first few months and it worked pretty well. Because I'm in my late 20s and starting to get wrinkles, I also use Josie Maran argan oil around my eyes before putting any moisturizer on, this stuff is also apparently really good for super dry skin according to reviews. Sephora's samples got me addicted to this stuff too.

Eczema: If it doesn't go away, the best thing I've tried is Aveeno Eczema Therapy Cream. It might even be good on a super dry face because it's pretty heavy duty stuff.

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It sounds like your derm is very insensitive. :( He is right about one thing... you WILL beat this! You'll kick the DJ out, and shut the party down, and eventually have that skin that you want. It's the reason that you started this.

I get cold related rashes on my hands, sometimes, and they've increased HUGELY since I started accutane. I did get a rash on the backs of both hands that wasn't cold related, and I put Aveeno Creamy Moisturizing Oil on it. I was amazed at how quickly it went away. It isn't greasy at all, and it goes on nice and smooth.

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Here's some input for you, not sure if it'll help much though...

Hair bleaching: I'm naturally a dark blonde and got highlights the first week I was on accutane, before my skin and scalp got dry, so not too much experience there. Your hair is probably more brittle than normal with it being so dry, which can lead to more damage from coloring it. If you absolutely need to color it while on accutane, I would go a few a day without washing it before coloring so your natural oils help nourish and protect your hair when it's colored. I don't think coloring will affect your scalp and the flakiness too much, especially if you allow your natural oils to protect it before coloring.

Nightime moisturizer: I have been using Ole Henriksen African Red Tea See the Difference Serum. It's very moisturizing. Sephora gets me hooked on their fancy expensive products because of those damn addictive samples they send out with each order, so that's how I ended up with it this expensive moisturizer. A good not-so-pricey alternative is CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion PM. I had a few samples of it from my derm during the first few months and it worked pretty well. Because I'm in my late 20s and starting to get wrinkles, I also use Josie Maran argan oil around my eyes before putting any moisturizer on, this stuff is also apparently really good for super dry skin according to reviews. Sephora's samples got me addicted to this stuff too.

Eczema: If it doesn't go away, the best thing I've tried is Aveeno Eczema Therapy Cream. It might even be good on a super dry face because it's pretty heavy duty stuff.

Thank you for the input Queen! Your advice regarding the hair coloring is excellent! I'll wait until my hair starts getting oily-ish and then I'll go in

It sounds like your derm is very insensitive. :( He is right about one thing... you WILL beat this! You'll kick the DJ out, and shut the party down, and eventually have that skin that you want. It's the reason that you started this.

I get cold related rashes on my hands, sometimes, and they've increased HUGELY since I started accutane. I did get a rash on the backs of both hands that wasn't cold related, and I put Aveeno Creamy Moisturizing Oil on it. I was amazed at how quickly it went away. It isn't greasy at all, and it goes on nice and smooth.

I'm glad to know I'm not alone In this rash thing! Thank you for the words of encouragement Jess! I hope you are staying warm.

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Dose 32 (I think):

My internet has been out for 4 days, and it seems it will be out until Thursday when (hopefully) they can fix it. It might actually be a good thing, as it makes it much harder to google "weird accutane side-effects".

I NEED a new moisturizing regimen. My skin is starting to look very, very crypt - keeper-y if you know what I mean. I'm thinking of adding in some kind of fancy-shmancy serum, but I've never touched the stuff before for fear of breaking out. Now I can I add the fear of looking like newly-tanned leather to that list. Thanks accutane!

On a positive note: The earth-shattering meteor shower of an event that was my IB (in my world, anyway) seems to be subsiding. Now I am forced to evaluate the damage, and it's not looking great. Red marks, well, more purple than red, abound. There are still bumps under the skin that I am hoping are left over inflammation that will eventually flatten out - but I should know better than to hope for that, shouldn't I? I fear one cyst-cluster will turn into a hell of a scar - cluster. These guys were so inflammed that I thought they were all one HUGE cyst. I just figured out a couple of days ago that in fact the one cyst was three when the inflammation started to go down (and 3 lovely white heads showed up).

Side-effects:

Except for desiccated eyes, lips, skin and hair, nothing at all. No joint pain, no headaches, no reflux or bowel weirdness. Thank goodness for that, I suppose. The rash on my hand has subsided after applying Rx steroid cream for a couple of days. Keeping it uber moisturized seems to do the trick.

Edited by megtree

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Yay to the end of the IB being in sight.

I have been trying not to analyze the damage too much while it is still healing. I limit my looking in the mirror, and I have found that by doing this, when I do have to look close once in a while, I'm usually surprised by how much better it's gotten. It seems silly, but I found that from about day 30 to day 45 things really changed a lot in terms of redness and skin starting to look more like normal skin (ahhh, normal skin!). So hang in there, and don't get too critical with the right now. I was a fucking mess at day 30, and it is so much better now. And still improving - and until it isn't improving I have nothing to worry about. You will be amazed. Just wait.

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Yay to the end of the IB being in sight.

I have been trying not to analyze the damage too much while it is still healing. I limit my looking in the mirror, and I have found that by doing this, when I do have to look close once in a while, I'm usually surprised by how much better it's gotten. It seems silly, but I found that from about day 30 to day 45 things really changed a lot in terms of redness and skin starting to look more like normal skin (ahhh, normal skin!). So hang in there, and don't get too critical with the right now. I was a fucking mess at day 30, and it is so much better now. And still improving - and until it isn't improving I have nothing to worry about. You will be amazed. Just wait.

Thanks Kim, and - Oh, boy would I lOVE normal skin! Even semi-normal skin. Even slightly abnormal but very predictable skin would be good!

Day 37 -

The Flare-up that I am hoping is my IB has stalled. Again, I am in that part of the month where my skin typically clears up (right before, and a little after my period), so I am very, very wary about getting my hopes up that it wont get just as bad again around the middle of next month. I have to present my research at a conference in a couple weeks, and if I have the pattern right - my face should be in full cystic rage right about then! Yay!

Right now - I am enjoying the calm before the (probable) storm. I have no actives at the moment, just inactive under the skin bumps left over from my most recent flare-up, and I have a line of red marks flaming across my right cheek like a bad paint job. Because all my breakouts happened in an almost perfect line right under the cheek bone on that side, it gives the right side of my face a strangely chiseled, contoured look. I would say "If only these things could be symmetrical" but I don't want the Voodoo Gods of Acne to hear me and fulfill the wish *LOUDLY KNOCK ON WOOD*.

So in terms of skin:

Right now, no actives. 1 inactive under the skin bump on my left cheek as well as a few closed comedones on my cheekbone. On the right, closed comedones on my upper cheek-bone, and about 7 or 8 under bumps that are inactive at the moment. The skin is very dry and sallow looking, although layering moisturizers seems to help somewhat. My hair and eyes are also still very dry.

Still no other problems. Honestly, if it wasn't for the dry skin and hair, I see absolutely know difference in how I feel now vs. before starting isotretinoin.

Edited by megtree

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Day/dose 40 -

My skin is very uneven and cloggy. I am not sure why, but it coincides with what happened last month about a week before I had my flare-up, so I am preparing myself mentally for another round of cystic horror. I feel like every flaw, scar, enlarged pore, etc. is just extremely, extremely noticeable right now, for some reason. I do research in the behavioral sciences, so I am very aware of the acne sufferer's proneness to dysmorphia, but I just don't think it's that. I look in the mirror under the light, tilt my head slightly, and BAM! It looks like awful, awful skin. Prematurely aged, lined, with enlarged pores, indentations, blah. I just don't know what to do.... Perhaps it is because I am so oily (again), and the shine from the oil accentuates the flaws. It appears that my skin is going from weirdly oily to old-lady skin dry over the course of a few hours for the past couple of days. I don't know why, but I am over trying to figure out why my skin is doing what it is doing. My hair is still very dry and damaged looking, I really need to cut it and just get it over with, but every time I mention it to my boyfriend he sighs and says "Do whatever you want, you know I'll think you're beautiful no matter what" and gives me that sad eyes/fake smile/martyr-y look that says "If you do that, I'll still love you, but I won't like it".

I guess I just feel very, very unattractive right now. I mean, acne always makes me feel unattractive, but I disassociated my own skin from the acne. Now, I just have this feeling that my skin is crappy, I am aging prematurely because I have faulty genetics (growing up with a Greek mother and half sister with perfect, flawless Mediterranean skin has given me an inferiority complex, I guess) and things will only get worse, not better. I feel like I look COMPLETELY different than I did just a year ago before my skin started getting severe. I know I need to avoid feeling so negative - but every time I look in the mirror and see how bad the damage is, my heart just drops. It's like, I honestly don't know how to feel beautiful anymore - not necessarily in the cosmetic sense, but in terms of self-confidence and self-esteem.

Argh..I just want to have a good skin day. Please skin Gods, spare me your smiting.

Actives: 0

Healing/inactives: 6

Side effects:

Skin:

Face: Cycling from oily to dry over the course of the day. Skin underneath oil is very dehydrated and sallow looking. Pores look enlarged, and skin is very uneven and bumpy looking. Skin tone is very uneven. Scarring looks very likely based on most recent flare-up

Body: Some dry patches come and go. My skin is very, very easily damaged. I scraped the back of my knuckles very badly just picking up my dog from the sidewalk. I keep getting random scratches and cuts. No strange bruising or anything though. My lips are still very dry, but they are not getting dryer or more inflammed. My eyes are ok, and my nose dryness seems to be abating.

Joints: Joint pain is starting to become noticeable, especially in the mornings. My right knee in particular (I tend to shake it alot, nervous tick) gets very sore at the end of the day, as do my hips, my left shoulder, and my jaws. It's nothing that gets in the way of my daily functioning, though. I wonder if stretching or yoga might help?

Bowels: I had some very bad gas/ acid reflux last night after a couple bites of dinner, to the point that I was almost crying from the pain. However, this has been happening to me occasionally and randomly my whole life. Usually a combo of tums, gas-x, and pacing helps clear it up after about an hour. Doctors have never found anything wrong, so I don't attribute it to the Iso. However, if it happens again or more regularly, Ill mention it to the derm, just in case.

Mood: Obviously, not so great. I feel more angry and irritable, and maybe a little more fatigued. Things just seem to get to me more easily. I don't think it's worth talking to my psychiatrist about just yet - but I will keep an eye on it.

And that's that.

Edited by megtree

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Meg, I can so relate to how you are feeling. Even though my skin is doing better, the situation in general is so much worse than it was even just a few short months ago. I feel like I spent 9 years getting my scars to heal to the point where I didn't notice them all the time, only to have it all reversed in a few weeks. So even though I am clearing up, this really only makes what will be left behind more obvious.

In Sept, right before things got really nasty for me, I went to camp with my students. I wasn't a huge fan of them seeing me without makeup (it was an overnight trip), but I wasn't horrified either. I certainly wasn't thinking "oh, now they will know about my terrible acne" - it was more like "I don't really want them to see me without all my makeup - I will look old". Lol. If that trip was today I would get a doctors note to get out of it. NO ONE is seeing me without makeup for a LONG time now.

BUT, I do know that I felt awful about the redness and marks the last time, and it did get way better over time. I also know that even in the past couple weeks I have seen some huge improvement. It is so frustrating to be back in this place, but there are a lot of good things in my life to be thankful for too, so I try to focus on that, not analyze my face too much, and assume it will eventually be back to something I recognize.

And BTW, 0 actives sounds pretty good! Hope you are feeling better soon.

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Well, it sounds like things are progressing a bit, and to have NO ACTIVES! That must be a great feeling. There is a definite commonality of acne sufferers that they tend to be insecure and anxious (not all but some, myself included) and have a hard time feeling beautiful even after the spots and scars have faded. I told my husband just yesterday that I feel like I am super insecure now. At school, my job and even around friends and family I am so much more ...guarded? That might not be the right word, but for lack of a better one, I'll use it. I feel like it's going to take a lot more than clear skin to build up those insecurities but I'm really going to have to work on my self esteem and try to focus on the things I enjoy about myself and my life! I know these feelings are much, much more than just zits and scars, I have been mentally and emotionally destroyed by my acne. So I feel like I can relate to you on that level for sure!! I also have noticed that I am looking a bit older, and my HAIR is so brittle which is so weird for me! I think that these first few months are going to be rough for us, and it's so nice to have people like you to talk to about it! Hang in there girly, and keep your adorable positive vibes and funny humor around to ease the frustrations of this dreaded thing we have called acne. Duh Duh Duuuuuuuh!

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Meg, I'm sorry that you are feeling so "un-beautiful". My derm refers to Iso as "the next best thing to the fountain of youth." She assures me that once the initial side effects and things have worn off, it will enhance your skin, and make it better. I will surely be keeping things crossed that she is right, for all of our sakes.

We rely on your sense of humor, and positive attitude around here, so much (at least, I do, and I'm sure others do as well). But it isn't possible to be "up", all the time, so now is our time to step in and encourage you.

In the mean time, maybe a conditioning treatment for your hair, and then a trim, if you and your hair-dresser still think it is necessary? Not sure what kinds of options are available, because I haven't been back to the salon since I got a crappy cut in October, but surely your hairdresser could recommend something? And maybe your boyfriend would be okay with a bit of a cut if he saw how happy you are with it. :)

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I hear ya on the random scratches/cuts, especially on my hands. The skin there is so damn sensitive! I just try and keep them moisturized, which is kind of tough given it's cold/flu season and I wash my hands like it's my job.

Your bout with reflux sounds a bit like mine did. It was even around the same time frame (I think) and like you, I had only had a few bites of food and it was instant pain and suffering. It's flared up mildly since then every so often, but again, very mildly...not nearly as bad as before. Either that, or I'm catching it earlier on and taking meds to mitigate it/prevent it from worsening. I take Zantac 150...works great.

Cheer up, buttercup. You've got this in the bag. Accutane is a weird drug and produces some weird side effects, but we'll all get through it to the other side with clear skin. You can do it! :)

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I am not sure why, but acne.org is not letting me quote anyone's responses...anyone else have this problem and have a fix?


Anyway, Kim, Emmy, Jess, and LLV, thank you so much. Your words of encouragement were amazingly helpful. If you know anything- know this - you have a friend in me. Your opening up to me and talking me through my ups and downs is what gets me through these rough patches, and I will be forever thankful for it. :)

I try very, very hard to stay positive - but as you all probably know, this experience just feels so LONELY sometimes. I want to look in the mirror and see something that I am happy with, and I cling so desperately to the hope that I will see my image one day and say "Holy crapola Meghan, you are kinda pretty!".

So thanks to you all for getting me closer to that goal. :)

Now for my log -

Weird ugly things are still happening to my skin, but surprisingly, the acne is the least of my worries. I have one white head on my chin that popped on its own yesterday and is healing pretty well today. Other than that, nothing is really changed. The texture of my skin just seems so dramatically different all of a sudden. I don't know if it's dehydration or now that there is less inflammation other things are more noticeable, but I have never seen my skin look this...unhealthy before. It's not dryness, it's not oilyness...it's sadness. I am trying to be hopeful about it. I woke up late today so I had to go to work without makeup. I don't mind because I work in a lab with just 5 people in it, and I'm not self conscious around them. I am just trying very hard not to look at myself in any mirrors until I can get to a bathroom to cover up the scary. I am thankful for the skin clarity at the moment, although I know that my time is coming, based on previous patterns, I'll probably break out mid to late next week.

On a side note - yesterday was official dippn' dots day here in Texas! Why you ask? IT SNOWED DIP'N DOTS! To explain, it never snows here. It rarely precipitates here, actually. The biggest weather problems we have to deal with is drought. So, imagine my surprise when I woke up yesterday morning, looked outside, and saw the ground covered in "snow"! When I went outside to play with said snow - I realized the snow was actually tiny white freeze dried pellets of white powedery snow, like...Dip'N Dots? Anyway. I am calling it snow because gosh-dernit if it's white, and it's on the ground, and I can make little white freeze-dried pellet men out of it... IT'S GOSH DERN SNOW!

Side effects:

Skin- Face: Very uneven and rough looking. I don't know if they are scars from the last breakout (eeek) or atrophy from the cortisone shots (I am hoping and praying it's this, because that means It'll be back to normal in a month or so) but my skin looks very uneven and dimply in the areas I had my IB. My pores are HUGE-UNGO. I never had small pores to begin with, of course - but they are very, very noticeably larger.

Body: Small rash spots that come and go on my shoulders. Nothing concerning, I only notice them after I get out of the shower. Moisturizing seems to keep them at bay. Weirdly, the skin on my body is very nice. Probably because I neglected to moisturize it before I was on accutane, but everything seems much smoother and glowy. I just wish my friggen' face would get the message.

Hair - Better. It's still rather dry, but it doesn't seem to be getting dryer, which is good. I broke down and bought a bottle of 100% Argan oil at my neighborhood health food store, and it actually seems to be helping quite a bit. I do still need to get it cut ,but I am putting it off as I truly need a new hairdresser. The one I'm seeing is...meh.

Headaches: If I don't drink coffee, I get a massive headache. This never happened to me before I took accutane (I liked coffee, but I never needed it to function). I know this because I didn't have time to pick up coffee this morning, and I can feel the headache getting slowly more and more pound-y. This happens to me every Friday when I have to come in earlier than normal to run experiments and I don't have time to pick up coffee. I am hoping someone will take pity on me and go get me some, but it's not looking likely.

Joint pain: No change, it seems to come and go, but it is never very painful. Sometimes if I stay in one position for too long I feel a little stiff, but it doesn't bother me at all.

Bowels/ Stomach issues: I had a little bit of stomach pain again the day after I wrote my last log, but nothing since then.

Mood: Still feeling "meh", but somewhat more optimistic. I plan to talk to my dermatologist about the state of my skin during my next appointment, and I am praying he won't dismiss my questions as the dysmorphic ramblings of a self-conscious woman on iso.

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Meg, I think I know what you are talking about as far as "Sad" skin. My skin is red, with a weird texture. The dryness is there too, and so is the general icky-ness. Hopefully your derm will be a little more sympathetic to your concerns this time.

I don't think I would be brave enough to go out without makeup, so Hooray for you, for being able to do that. Right now I kind of look like... sunburnt orange peal. That's about the only way I know to describe this, between the texture, and the redness. I suppose orange is better than Ugli-fruit.

I'm glad you were safe through Dippin' Dots Day!

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Day 53:

I have't posted here in a while, my apologies - I have had a very, very busy week! I just returned from a conference where I presented my research. I was able to meet some great contacts - I felt so confident! I don't know if it has to do with the state of my skin , but it was wonderful to shake hands and meet new poeple in my field without the constant anxiety over my face. In fact, my skin has been at the bottom of my worry list, it's amazing! It is so wonderfully freeing not to have that little voice costantly buzzing behind everything else, whispering an inner monologue that goes something like: I wonder when is the next appropriate moment to go to a bathroom with good lighting? Is that itch on my cheek a new cyst? Ok Meghan don't touch it DONT TOUCH IT oh great you touched it. Oh man there isn't something there yet but there is totally the potential for something to be there in like 1 hour crap-o-la it's gonna be huge! it feels warmer than the rest of my skin and it definitely feels bumpier than usual...oh wait that's an old cyst I'm touching. Or IS IT?! IS IT AN OLD ONE GROWING BACK?! Crap. This person is probably wondering why I am palpitating my face like I forgot what it feels like. Just excuse yourself to go to the bathroom. CRAP THE ITCH IS BACK. Don't think about it...don't think about...stop thinking about it...just get the concealer and cover that bad boy right up....OH GOD I FORGOT MY CONCEALER

But that voice has been decidedly absent, or at least quieter than usual. I am currently breaking out, but compared to my previous flare up, it's a cake walk *knocks on wood*. My numbers as of today:

4 actives on my right cheek: 1 healing nodule, 2 smallish pustules, and 1 active cyst

NO Actives on my left cheek, one dormant one that likes to play games with my mind.

I has my dermatology appointment today. He said my labs looked fine although my cholesterol has risen, and again he didn't seem concerned. He said my skin looked "Markedly better" and duh duh duh DUH: "Absolutely NO scarring". He said my skin is definitely dehydrated which can contribute to the appearance of uneviness and large pores. He explained that because I am fair-skinned, the top layer of my skin is basically "transparent". He explained that all the inflammation from past activity happens below that top layer, but because I have "trasparent skin" (makes me think of science fiction for some reason) all of that post-inflammatory-healing is much more apparent. Makes sense to me.

He seemed very, very pleased with my progress (For once I get to experience that response from a dermatologist! Who would have thunk it?). He raised my dosage to 60, and said I would be sticking with that dosage for the rest of my treatment. He said I might experience another flare up (grrrreat), but it shouldn't be too bad. We'll see about that. I know I need to post another picture, I'l try to do that soon.

Side effects:

Skin: Starting to peel a bit. Also, this is weird - but the skin on my nose feels like literal sandpaper (not an exaggeration, it literally feels like a very high-grained sand paper). From what I can tell, the reason for this texture is what looks like tiny, tiny clogged pores raised above my skin. They are too tiny to be white heads, and they don't look like blackheads. Anyone else experiencing this? It's not really bothersome or that noticable unless I am looking up close, I am just curious about what is causing it. I forgot to ask my dermatologist, of course.

Hair: still very dry, still need to do something about the color.

Lips: Crusty. Ew.

I am experiencing NO other side effects, at least no noticable ones.

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Hooray for you! For your boost of confidence, for your healing skin, and for a positive commentary from the dermatologist!! Also, Hooray for learning new things (like transparent skin, which brought a sci-fi reference too my mind, too), and for an opportunity to present your research! You're on a roll, girl!

Has the derm recommended a lotion or cream for your face? Or even prescribed something?

Also wanted to tell you that I love the name Meghan. Beautiful .

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Hooray for you! For your boost of confidence, for your healing skin, and for a positive commentary from the dermatologist!! Also, Hooray for learning new things (like transparent skin, which brought a sci-fi reference too my mind, too), and for an opportunity to present your research! You're on a roll, girl!

Has the derm recommended a lotion or cream for your face? Or even prescribed something?

Also wanted to tell you that I love the name Meghan. Beautiful .

AAAAAAAAH MY QUOTES FINALLY FREAKING WORK!!! I am so excited!! I am a little alarmed by how excited I am about this being fixed. But....Meh. I'll take excited where I can get excited.

Thank you for the words of encouragement Jess! It is nice to see progress. I know things will probably go a little down-hill again, and I know with the dosage increase I might have to deal with another breakout, but I also know now that things will get better because I can actually *see* it getting better!

The dermatologist didn't prescribe anything for the dryness, but I didn't even think to ask. Has your dermatologist recommended anything for dryness? I am just kind of trucking through it now, but I suppose I should be a little more concerned given the dosage increase.

And, I appreciate the compliment on my name! People always ask me if I am Irish (Unfortunately, I am not). In fact, I am of Greek heritage on my mother's side (which means I was raised to be 100% Greek. To Greeks, Greek blood vetoes non-Greek blood. Narcissism IS a Greek word, after all...). My mom wanted to name me "Ionna" (pronounced Ya-na), but my very Heinz-57 American father vetoed that, and...Meghan is my name. I'd like to think I was named after the Greek Demi-Goddess Megera, but alas - it's more likely I was named after a line in a baby book.

Edited by megtree

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So glad you are seeing some progress! Also, I love Meghans with 'h's. As a teacher I see a lot of spellings for that name, and the 'h' version is my fave. My mom wanted to name me Hillary, but I also had a dad veto come to the rescue! I would make a horrible Hillary. Kim is actually my middle name - I'm one of those who don't like to use my real name on the interwebz. Strangely, I am kind of getting used to being called by it here!

Anyway - soooooo glad you are feeling better! Me too! It's up and down, but nothing like my IB has happened since those first few weeks, so I really think we are in the clear from horrible awful shit now. Yay!

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My derm did give me a prescription cream for the dryness, but I never got it filled, because the flaking seems to have eased off. :P Since the pharmacy kept the scrip sheet, I can't tell you what it was. :( I believe it began with an R.

I absolutely love your name story. :) Mine is rather involved... the short version is that I was named Jessie Maxine when I was born (Don't like either of those), and I was named Jessica Anne when I was adopted as a 14 month old. Of course, Jessica and Anne are 2 extremely common names, so I always longed for a more unusual name, so I'd know if someone was talking to/about me, but they are much better than Jessie Maxine. :P

I have 2 cousins with names similar to yours. One of them is Megan, the other is Maegen (which is said Maygen, not Mehgan). It's a name I've always liked, and you don't really see a whole lot of variation in spellings, so the H in yours is really cool.

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Hey megtree, I've been checking in on your log now and again because I, too, am in my mid-20's with persistent (hormonal?) cystic acne and I've recently been considering Accutane. I still haven't made up my mind.... it's a hard decision.

Anyway, this is acne-unrelated, but I noticed you mentioned you presented your research at a conference. What are you studying? I'm doing my M.Sc right now. You actually commented on my thread where I was saying I couldn't focus on my thesis because my acne and scars were bothering me so much. Thankfully, I got on track... and I am sending my thesis to my supervisors today! So thank you for the encouragement a month or so ago!

I'm glad Accutane is working well for you!

Edited by Apple Blossom

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Hey megtree, I've been checking in on your log now and again because I, too, am in my mid-20's with persistent (hormonal?) cystic acne and I've recently been considering Accutane. I still haven't made up my mind.... it's a hard decision.

Anyway, this is acne-unrelated, but I noticed you mentioned you presented your research at a conference. What are you studying? I'm doing my M.Sc right now. You actually commented on my thread where I was saying I couldn't focus on my thesis because my acne and scars were bothering me so much. Thankfully, I got on track... and I am sending my thesis to my supervisors today! So thank you for the encouragement a month or so ago!

I'm glad Accutane is working well for you!

CONGRATULATIONS! I will be sending good vibes your way in hopes that your committee approves it without delay!

I did actually finish my M.S. in Experimental Social Psychology last year (a mouthful, I know), and I work as a research coordinator/ data-manager in a psych lab right now. Interestingly, I didn't have many issues with my skin until after I finished my thesis, but I will say this: One thing that helps me get my mind off my face is diving into my research. I LOVE researching things. I don't just like to know something, I want to KNOW that I know something - and there is nothing that takes me out of my self-focus like learning and contributing to a body of knowledge! Even acne can't take away the feeling you get when you master a subject or topic you love. :)

Accutane was definitely a hard decision for me too, and it does have it's ups and downs. Ultimately, though, I am very happy. The thing that helped me decide: I researched the F-word out of it! I read so many dermatological articles citing support and lack of support for isotretinoin treatment. I read about dosing, I read about side-effects, I read about the statistical likelihood for long-term adverse effects vs. long-term remission. I read about the dangers of mental health changes and the preventative measures I could take. I read anecdotal reports, forums, and logs. I looked at picture after picture and I did my best to understand all of the hypotheses of how iso works to eliminate acne. When I made the decision to start, I knew I was going into it as informed as I could possibly be.

Now with the stress of writing a thesis almost off your plate, go have a drink and enjoy being an Almost-Master! :D

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Day 60-

Officially the last day of my second month on absorica! Tomorrow I start my dose increase to 60 mg. I am keeping my fingers crossed that it won't upset my skin, but I guess we shall see, won't we?

Unfortunately, I have been sick as a dog since last Thursday. They say it's the Common Cold, but I don't remember feeling this crappy from any cold! Unfortunately, the combination of cold medication and accutane has sent my skin dryness into overdrive. I am dry, dry dry. I am also very snuffly, my voice sounds very deep and sultry (but the liquids pouring out of my face negate any of the extra sexiness imparted by my voice) and I just feel rotten. I am hoping I will be getting over this thing as soon as possible, and I am hoping that the dose increase won't make things worst. Everything just feels miserable when your sick, but at least I have an excuse to look like poop.


Here is my activity rundown:

0 Actives!

5 healing: 2 are cysts that will probably live to fight another day, 2 were smaller run-of-the-mill pimples that barely left a mark.

Side effects:


Skin is very dry with patches of roughness, probably exacerbated by the cold medicine

Lips are a complete mess, poor things. It is so bad that strangers are offering me their chapstick; it must look so painful that I would be willing to risk infection just to sooth them. They are red, swollen, peeling and scaly.

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Hope you start feeling better soon! You create such images with your words that I was sitting here giggling, even though I do feel bad for you. I have been battling a cold myself. Although, I have been keeping it in the beginning stages, mostly. I'm drinking a lot of orange juice, and using zinc tabs. Seems like a winning conversation so far!

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Congrats on having 2 months down! I'm sorry you're sick too, that must suck while on tane. If your lips are still pretty bad, try slathering some maximum strength cortisone cream on them, followed by aquaphor or whatever lip ointment works best for you. I did that routine a couple of times a day for about two days when my lips got severely chapped and it greatly improved the condition of my lips.

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Hooray for completing 2 months! I hope you feel better soon and the dryness starts to go away. I just wanted to let you know that your posts have been so encouraging for me. So thank you. I'm starting Accuatne next week, and I'm nervous.

A little over a month ago, my face started erupting with deep bumps. The onslaught was so abrupt and spread so quickly that I knew something was wrong. The first couple days, I was so ashamed of my appearance that I could barely look anyone in the eye at work. I felt like I looked like a monster, but I keep telling myself that beauty is also about what’s on the inside. I went to a family practitioner, and she wasn’t sure what it was. So I went to my dermatologist, and he said I have a rare skin disease called pyoderma faciale (basically rapid inflammation and puss that tunnels through skincells). My dermatologist recommended a short (low dose) of steroids followed by 5 months of Accutane. But as he began to list the side effects of Accutane, my heart just beat faster and faster. Accutane sounded so scary that I wasn’t ready to make a commitment in his office. Two days later, I started to panic because the bumps were spreading, the pain is worse, and I worried about permanent scarring on my cheeks. Ahh! So I decided to take the leap and join the Accutane Wagon. Woohoo! Your blog has been so encouraging in helping me realize that if other people can make it through this process then I’m hoping I can do.

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