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Yes, Another Accutane Newbie!

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Hi all! Thank you so much for posting all your Accutane logs. Reading about your personal experiences with the drug has been wonderfully helpful to me and ultimately was the deciding factor in my choosing to take Accutane.

A little about me: I am 41 years old and have been dealing with acne since I was 12. I have pretty much the same story as all of you when it comes to treatments: benzoyl peroxide, BHA treatments, BCPs, acne washes, doxycycline, Retin-A, Retin-A Micro, Tazorac, Bezaclin and Differin have all been pretty helpful in treating my moderate acne--but nothing has totally taken it away.

My main problem is oiliness. Everything is oily--my skin, my hair, my chest and my back. I need to blot my skin literally every two hours. Daily hair shampooing is a must, not an option. Every time I have skipped a day washing my hair has resulted in a blocked oil gland that grows over the years until it has to be removed surgically (yes, really--my derm has excised five of them). My sister (who has the same skin as I) and I both joke that we always stand out in group photos: we are the two "shiny" faces in the group.

So as if the terrible feeling of greasiness isn't bad enough, my job is a spokesperson for the organization I work for. I never thought my skin looked shiny/bad until HD video cameras came on the scene. Seeing my face on my large TV screen in HD was a horrible wake-up call.

I was offered Accutane 15 years ago but declined because I was planning to get pregnant at some point. My husband and I have a wonderful 10-year-old daughter now, and I have no plans to have any more. So I decided to start Accutane because I'd had enough of my oily skin and pimples (which leave marks when they go away).

First of all: the iPledge system--this is an insult to my intelligence. In America it is easier to buy a firearm than it is to receive Accutane because of iPledge. So of course I want to start Accutane ASAP but I have to wait a more than a month to take two pregnancy tests. For the record, my husband has had a vasectomy and I take birth control pills to control heavy periods (sorry guys). Having kids in that circumstance is slim to none. I know how to use birth control. I've been pregnant once in my life because I wanted to be pregnant. Sheesh.

Anyway, I had my first pregnancy test last Thursday and I can't get my other one until April 7! I am SO eager to start this medication therapy as soon as possible. The waiting is the WORST.

Sorry this is so long--I used to be a writer, plus my skin condition has been a burden on me for almost 30 years. Thanks for reading, and I look forward to starting this journey with you all!

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Welcome to Accutane, person with almost identical screen name! Lol!

I am currently at day 116 of my course and doing great. I live in Canada, so I don't deal with ipledge, and I am so glad for that!

Hope you get through all the paperwork okay - it will probably be a bigger annoyance than the Accutane side effects (mostly just dry lips!)

I think you will find lots of support here. :)

Best of luck with your course!

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Wow, our names ARE similar! I know I have read your blog, but I can't remember what your dosage is. Also, did you have terribly oily skin as well or would you say that wasn't a problem?

You are SO lucky you don't have to deal with iPledge. The hoops you have to jump through to get this drug are unbelievable. I'm counting down the days until I can pick up my first prescription (28!). :)

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Hi Kim,

After reading your post, we both have very similar stories as well. My OVER-THE-TOP OILY problem has drove me crazy for years. I can forget about enjoying the summer with oily skin, it sucks!! Good luck on your journey. I am coming along for the ride right along the side of you. :-)

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Hi imeybu, thanks for replying! Yes, sometimes I wonder which is worse, the acne that won't go away or my terrible, greasy skin. Hopefully Accutane will solve both those problems. Have you started taking it yet? How soon did it take down the oiliness?

I got my blood work back today via email, and my cholesterol is a little high. I think I'm genetically inclined to it--I'm 5'9" and 130 lbs., eat a pretty healthy diet and exercise regularly. Anyway, I'm terrified my doc will tell me I can't take it because of that. It's just outside of normal range--it should be below 200 and I'm at 210. Wish me luck!!

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Yes Kim0728, I actually started March 6th. So today is officially week 1, day 7th. I have started a blog on here as well so I can keep track of what's happening to me. I can say that while my face has begun to become very dry, I still have some areas where I feel like an OIL BALL...lol When I look in the mirror, I look ashy and dry but my T-Zone is still somewhat oily. My lips feel like they are going to fall off, so I constantly soak them with blistex and aquaphor but don't think these will remain in my daily use. I must find something else that works better.

No need to be nervous, I was too. I think I was just more eager to get the ball rolling. By day 4, I started to experience dryness......and it doesn't stop!

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I can't WAIT for the dryness to start...earliest I can pick up my prescription will be April 10. Seems sooooo long but I'm trying to be patient. Counting down the days...

I'll check out your log imeybu! It's so nice to be on this journey with people who are going through the same thing. I've already bought a tub of Aquaphor for my lips and lubricating eye drops. I haven't bought a facial moisturizer yet, only because I won't believe my skin will actually need moisturizer until it's happening.

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I can't WAIT for the dryness to start...

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I can understand how that might sound weird to someone. I feel like I never have relief from the discomfort of oiliness. I'm so clogged, and the greasy feeling is AWFUL. At the end of the day, if I didn't blot, it would look like someone rubbed cooking oil all over my face.

Thanks for the moisturizer recommendation! Any recs for moisturizer w/spf?

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I can understand how that might sound weird to someone. I feel like I never have relief from the discomfort of oiliness. I'm so clogged, and the greasy feeling is AWFUL. At the end of the day, if I didn't blot, it would look like someone rubbed cooking oil all over my face.

Thanks for the moisturizer recommendation! Any recs for moisturizer w/spf?

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Thank you Michelle!! :)

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Thank you Michelle!!

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In response to the question about dosage - I am just doing 40 mg a day. Any more than that causes issues for me, so I have chosen the slow and steady path.

I was VERY oily before, blotting a few times a day and still feeling gross. That all stopped about two weeks into my course. I did keep breaking out for longer than that, but no oiliness.

Now I am battling some dryness around my mouth, but it's not bad as long as I moisturize well and don't leave my makeup on too long.

Hope all is well!

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Excellent, thanks so much Kim28! Good to know your experience.

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Hey just wanted to say I start accutane April 10th also and would love to keep in touch with our experiences....and for moral support, I'm nervous lol

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Thanks all! I'm a little worried about the increase in cholesterol. I had my baseline bloodwork done and my cholesterol was 210. I have a family history of high cholesterol. I'm pretty skinny but I do need to eat healthier and work out more. I hope a diet and lifestyle change will help. I'm so worried that my cholesterol will skyrocket and my doc will take me off Accutane. :(

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Kim, first of all I enjoyed reading the start to your log. Second, I TOTALLY agree that iPledge is insulting. Some of the questions are ridiculous, and they seem more concerned that you know ALL about the effects of birth control (including that it does not protect against STDs.... as if THAT is their top priority) than they are about the well being of the patients who are preparing to take a drastic step toward bettering their health both mentally, and physically.

About cholesterol... I was surprised, and thrilled to find that my cholesterol actually went DOWN during my second month blood work. My triglycerides went up slightly, but that was all. Hopefully the derm will see that you are borderline, and will work with you on that. :)

Good luck!

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Hi Kim! I also have semi-high cholesterol, although it is because my HDL (good chelesterol) is about 30 points higher than the average (yay Mediterranean genetics!) which puts my total over 200, but my HDL/LDL ratio is just where it needs to be. Anyway, my point was that for most people, triglycerides (which is what they are most concerned about) do increase, and return to normal shortly after you stop taking accutane. My doctor explained to me that as long as my triglycerides do not dramatically spike, a small rise with each month is to be expected for most people over a certain age.

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Kim, first of all I enjoyed reading the start to your log. Second, I TOTALLY agree that iPledge is insulting. Some of the questions are ridiculous, and they seem more concerned that you know ALL about the effects of birth control (including that it does not protect against STDs.... as if THAT is their top priority) than they are about the well being of the patients who are preparing to take a drastic step toward bettering their health both mentally, and physically.

About cholesterol... I was surprised, and thrilled to find that my cholesterol actually went DOWN during my second month blood work. My triglycerides went up slightly, but that was all. Hopefully the derm will see that you are borderline, and will work with you on that.

Good luck!

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Kim0728, I laughed when I read your description of iPledge. So true.

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Kim0728, I laughed when I read your description of iPledge. So true.

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I cannot believe this. I took my second pregnancy test today, blood serum, after taking my initial one 31 days ago. I also took a complete blood panel 31 days ago. Now, my doctor's assistant tells me I have to book an appointment to see her AGAIN before I start the medication. That is the complete opposite of what the doctor told me. She said last month that because they would already have my initial pregnancy test and blood work on file, that I simply needed to take a second pregnancy test and she would send the prescription to the pharmacy once she got the results.

Now her assistant is saying the complete opposite! I'm waiting to hear back from my doctor. Ladies, do you remember the procedure the first month you took Accutane? Ugh!! All I want to do is start this darn medicine!!!

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I just took my first pill!!!! I am SOOO excited!! So, here is the official first day of my Accutane log:

Have about five active pimples on my forehead (two are cysts), three big ones on my cheek and a lot of little pimples, clogged pores. Face was an oily mess today, just like all day, every day of my teenage and adult life. I can't WAIT for the oil to stop...I hope it's soon!

BTW I am taking 40 mg of Zenatane, once daily with a meal.

I'm assuming I should quit using Differin. Doc didn't say anything, but I think I've read to stop retinoids.

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Day Two - All pimples/cysts have reduced in size (I'm sure it wasn't because of the Accutane). Face is still oily and shiny--no change there. I spoke to a colleague who's taken Accutane in the past, and he said it was about four days before his dryness started. I know this is probably different for everyone--I hope mine starts sooner rather than later.

I'm taking the Zenatane with my breakfast in the morning (directions says all isotretinoin brands must be taken with food, except Absorbica). I'm eating a typically lower-(bad) fat diet, but I'm also taking a fish oil capsule and calcium supplement with it. I can't find any contraindications with those two supplements.

I'm ready for my oil-slick face to dry up!

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Day 3: all pimples are gone or dried up except for one near the side of my forehead where my hair touches the skin. That's always a guaranteed zit. I wear my hair off my face in long layers, but sometimes locks of hair rest against my forehead. Anyway, it's small but it has a whitehead, and I'll resist the urge to pop it.

Face is still oily all over, same with chest and back, although there did seem to be a bit less oil than usual. Tomorrow's my fourth pill, and I've read a lot of posts that have said day four was when the changes started. I hope it's that way for me! *crossing fingers*

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