I just wrote a thread, replied to a reply I got on my previous post, so I figured I'd do a quick update on my blog.
The minocycline antibiotics that I was prescribed last month worked. While on them I experienced 0 pimples, so that was nice. The entire time I was on them I kept thinking to myself, 'ugh, is an antibiotic really worth taking if my skin's not doing anything anymore?'
Well it turns out I totally missed that connection, because yes it was worth it! About a week and a half after finishing the antibiotics I got another breakout near my chin again. And then afterwards it happened on the other side. Attached to this post is the most recent picture of my breakouts, I took this picture roughly at the time of writing this post.
My breakouts occur ONLY around that area, and interestingly when I break out on one side it happens on the other, it's a strange pattern.
I saw my derm today who prescribed me 30mg Epuris, which is another form of Accutane. It is Accutane but it's exclusively sold in Canada and according to studies it is better absorbed than Accutane. Cool!
Here is my problem though: a couple months ago (maybe around the same time I started using this new Mane 'n Tail Shampoo after switching from Burt's Bees) I started getting these breakouts. I came across many posts that say that a particular ingredient: sodium lauryl sulfate, may be responsible for breakouts around the chin area as it's commonly found in products that foam like toothpaste and shampoo. Sure enough I have been using a different toothpaste too, so I don't know at this point, acne has a great way of driving you crazy!
I am thinking of switching back to Burt's Bees, it's 100% natural, no SLS BS! It never gave me problems. I am going to discontinue the Mane 'n Tail shampoos and conditioner (I'm so mad: the lady at the store told me it was all natural, what crap!) and see what happens. If I notice another breakout while on Burt's Bees then I will get my Epuris prescription filled and I will take it. I'm just thinking, why put my body through the harshness of Accutane again if it could all just be due to using different personal care products!
I've also been on a huge exercise kick where I've been working out 6 days a week going for nice long jogs during the day. Going on Accutane again would mean I'd have to become a vampire again, which is fine as I'll do anything for clear skin, but if we can avoid this whole ordeal it would be great. Also this year I came across the BEST hair removal method which is sugar waxing. Obviously that would be a no go on Accutane, which again would be fine as it's a small sacrifice in the grand scheme of things, but I'd rather check and confirm first: is it REALLY acne or is it just the bad ingredient in my shampoo that's causing me to break out.
Judging by my picture I am not clear-skinned at the moment obviously, but writing all this out has left me more clear-headed with what I want to do.
Link for more info about Epuris: http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/1192997/cipher-introduces-epuristm-isotretinoin-capsules-in-canadian-market
I just wanted to check in quickly to kind of keep a record of my progress. Obviously I finished Accutane about a year and a half ago, however over the last few months I've noticed that I get a big nasty pimple near my mouth. After a few days to a week it goes away, however a few weeks or a month later a new one comes back. :S
So far this has happened about 3-4 times. I can't remember exactly but it's left a red mark so I see about 3-4 'stains' where the pimples were. This last one that I just had was the final straw, I really start to worry so luckily was able to see my derm asap.
My derm gave me clindoxyl to use as spot treatment and also asked if I've been on BC regularly. Yes and no, as I had to have a small operation which forced me to go on antibiotics and then kind of made my cycle a little wacky, but I don't think something like that would have had such an effect. My derm reassured me that this has nothing to do with hygiene or touching my face as it's very specific to one part of my face.
Anyway, I was prescribed a month's supply of minocycline. I'm not sure if I will go on it because it's an antibiotic and I had a yeast infection a couple weeks ago and I'm really trying to keep that risk to a minimum again. The infection happened because it was my fault, I just literally went on a week long sugar binge. No joke, I was having chocolate covered raisins for breakfast lunch and dinner, and in between ice cream bars and whatever else was sweet. It was very stupid of me to do. VERY stupid.
I'm going to look into the antibiotics and then decide. I don't really want to take them but I have been taking a probiotic daily (acidophilus) to keep yeast levels normal so if I do end up taking them it shouldn't be a big deal.
I should really post a picture, right now I just wanted to post this as a reference to a timeline I can follow. I should update more often but this website's interface is just so awful to use. It was difficult for me to know where to log in and then I didn't know how to post an update. They should really make things easier considering they're going for a more cleaner look.
Anyway, will update in a month!
It's been a while since I've updated, and that is because there is nothing really to update on.
Which is a good thing!
I have clear skin now, so I've just been clear, and thus no real update!
I am extremely HAPPY that the Accutane worked. I am 23, and I started getting acne since I was 11 years old, so for half my life I never saw a clear face, my real face. I would skip school when I felt like my acne looked too awful. I didn't let myself really be myself around people, because I was always scared people were judging my acne and not me. I took on this self-depricating thought that my acne is my life. It felt like I was the only one with acne, and this penetrated a deep sense of inadequacy in me thinking there must be something further wrong with me if I'm the only one who has this. There was never anyone I could relate to, I did not have acne.org at the time. All I had were just tears coming out of my eyes everytime I looked at the mirror just frustrated and just begging God that this would go away one day. Everything about my personal routine felt calculated: there was specific ways I did my makeup, specific ways to style my hair that would cover most of my face, berets worn to cover my forehead, and almost always, sunglasses. I don't know if there's an anxiety disorder related to acne, "acne anxiety", but if there is, I definitely had it.
So now that I have clear skin I feel extremely happy that finally there is nothing holding back my spirit from shining through. I do not mean to brag, and I am not the type, but this is something I've never enjoyed in my life, and when I did have clear skin as a child, I did not know that I should be enjoying it. So now that my skin is clear I almost always instantly get tears in my eyes when I remember how awful it used to look.
However on the bright side, having acne did teach me valuable lessons that I think I wouldn't have learned so well had I have not suffered from my skin condition. Acne taught me that a person's value is not based on how nice they look, I value personality over looks any day. It taught me to not be shallow, to see past people's appearances, and to never judge people based on how they look because sometimes they can't help that they look that way. Suffering from acne also taught me there is more to life than just how we look, that we are a mere packaging for something that's greater on the inside.
Now, everytime I see anyone in public with acne I always want to gently approach them and tell them what worked for me because it was the ONLY thing that worked for me, so I feel like I've been in the pits more than anyone and have the authority to offer advice. But I've been in that situation where you get advice and want that person to shut up. So all I do is just wish the best for them in my head and hope they stumble upon a cure. If anyone asks for help though, I always offer it as I think it would be unfair to withhold information and experience, as well it satisfies this superstition I have about 'good skin karma' lol.
Am I happy that I don't have acne anymore? Yes!!! YES!
Am I more comfortable with the way I look?
This is because I still carry a lot of the anxiety that I used to have. I still go out in public with my sunglasses on, not wanting to be noticed and not wanting attention. Now I think it's perfectly fine to not want attention, I support modesty in character and dress, but I guess what I am still getting used to is just adjusting to feeling comfortable in my new skin. How crazy is that!?
Now that my skin is clear I have discovered that under all those pimples there's a beauty spot I have (who knew!) on one of my cheeks. I also have a little bit of scarring and a very faint redness still as the Accutane is still leaving my system.
The dermatologist recommended I now start getting my face lasered, specifically the Fraxel laser. I made the appointment, had the money saved up, but about a month ago after doing research and looking at pictures and reviews, I decided against it. It probably didn't help that I saw a "skin lasers gone wrong" documentary prior to, but I didn't feel comfortable doing it anymore, so I cancelled.
The scars that I have aren't too too bad given the hell I've been through, but I am now looking into alternative treatments. I don't want to be too abrasive with my skin anymore, I don't think you can use "nurture" and "laser" in the same sentence. Oddly, I find my acne scarring to be like war wounds, so if anyone ever points them out (which hasn't happened), I'll be happy and proud to share my story about acne and how I overcame it. It's taught me I am so much more than the condition of my skin, something you really have to believe when you're going through the suffering of being covered in pimples. Mind over matter, so hard to accept and believe, but well worth it. I believe having acne stopped me from becoming a snobby person, using my looks to get further ahead of people, and of course it protected me from being superficial.
For anyone wondering, I started Accutane May 1 2011 at 40mg daily for 3 months (or 6 months?) and then tapered down to 20mg daily the last 2-3 months. I ended Accutane around January 2012. I am still on the birth control (Alesse 21 day). Within a couple days I noticed a difference in the moisture (err, lack of it!) of my skin, and I think around the 2-3 month mark is when there was noticeable difference. I was a lucky duck on Accutane, as my acne didn't get worse before it got better (IB [initial outbreak] they call it), just since starting it always got better. Pheewwww, something finally worked!!
I will upload more pictures into my album, I took pictures very frequently so I could track the difference. Sometimes during a moment of weakness, I think my skin looks bad and all it takes is for me to look at an old picture and I remember to stop whining and be very happy with the successful outcome.
Before I end, I just want to quickly mention that my diet and skin regimen is very simple, I stick with what works and am not one of those people that does product rotations, maybe sometimes. I use Burt's Bees everything, it's natural, and it works, and it's not harsh on my skin. Another great soap is "Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps" (100% all natural, organic, non-GMO). My face moisturizer is the pomegranate serum by Desert Essence. I started using it while on Accutane, and because I've had no issues I have just stuck with it. I added an eye cream by Kibio, and today I purchased a face moisturizer by Kibio (an all organic, very pure line). I use very simple products, nothing like oxy pads, Cetaphil, Neutrogena, nothing like that. Just too harsh, and I'm sorry, if a moisturizer has alcohol listed in the ingredients how is it going to moisturize if alcohol dries you out! (I'm having a flashback of my dad wiping a cotton pad on my 12 year old forehead doused in pure alcohol).
I get very nervous after I go out for my runs, as I come back all sweaty and gross and just envision clogged oily pores. Those are the only times I exfoliate, a gentle exfoliator by Burt's Bees, and maybe I'll do that one to two times a week. For someone that had such bad acne I really don't do complicated or high-maintenance things, I truly think I can take things easy now.
As for my diet, I actually went vegan when I was on Accutane, and now I am "veganish", meaning I will sometimes eat things with eggs/dairy in them, but I won't actually purchase cheese or eggs myself. I never liked cow's milk, so I stick with healthy alternatives like almond, and my favourite being coconut milk. I do not eat junk food (very rarely) and I guess if we are going to impose labels, I'm vegetarian. But again, I'm on the cusp of being vegan still because I don't cook with eggs or cow's milk or butter. I use egg replacer, other milk, and Earth Balance (you'll never tell the difference!). I did notice my acne was aggravated by dairy back in the day. A few months ago I actually gained a lot of weight (about 12-15 pounds) because I developed poor eating habits. I will save the story on how I gained the weight because it's very repulsive, but I am happy to say that I've actually lost all of it and more because enough was enough!! I also hope this serves as a lesson to anyone who equates veganism/vegetarianism with automatically being healthy. As with any diet, it has to be taken seriously and good effort has to be made.
If you have any questions, just comment and I would love to help if I can! If you are suffering from acne, please consider Accutane, have hope, don't let your confidence sink because of it. It caused me a lot of pain and it makes me sad that there's others that suffer with the kind of emotional pain I had, so I am here to chip in and offer support however I can.
I haven't updated my blog in so long, I've been meaning to but nothing has been eventful with my face, nothing but continuous improvement. Every month my blood tests come back healthy, and every month it just seems like my skin couldn't get any better. At my last apt with my derm he said that I'm acne free,..."except for that one little zit there"...but now, no zits. I don't have any pimples, zits, cysts, even my backne is gone. This summer for the first time since I was 17 (almost 23 now) I was able to wear dresses that were strapless and didn't have the back covered, it felt really weird at first because all of the dresses I wore in public before were strategically ones that had a back to them so that my back didn't show.
It just feels good to not have to hide or cover up anymore. I am more comfortable in my skin, I feel like for the first time people are looking at me, not my acne.
Last weekend I leaned over to kiss my boyfriend and he quickly leaned back and started wiping his nose, a habitual reaction of his as my powder cover up would usually get on his nose (and we're two different skin tones). When he wiped his nose this time I told him he didn't have to because I wasn't wearing cover up. I was actually very happy that he thought this!!
I am seeing my derm this upcoming weekend to see how my most recent blood test went, and perhaps we will see how soon I can start lasers. He mentioned last time that he'll want to put me on a lower dose of Accutane before we completely stop, just to be safe. I think that sounds like a good idea, hopefully my acne is demolished....nothing has come back since that zit (which lasted like a day and a half) last month.
Just to put it out there, I switched over to a vegan diet, not sure if this has had any implications on my acne, and not sure this was safe doing without discussing it with my derm first, but hey the blood tests are fine. I wash my face once a day with Dr. Bronner's face wash (prior to switching I was using Burt's Bees deep clean cleanser) and I use a moisture serum on my face by Desert Essence. If I put too much on my face my face ends up looking really shiny/greasy, but I like to think it's a 'clean' greasy now, not a gross acne greasy. =D
I am so happy, elated, surprised, proud, everything with Accutane. I only wish I had have done it sooner, but better late than never!!
So with this post I'm going to attach Day 1 of Accutane, and today's picture, day 143. This is just from one angle, hope it works. I know I look oily in the most recent picture but that is from the aforementioned moisturizer
I haven't been here in a while and I do not have too too much to report on, even though I should be updating more.
Anyway, I saw my dermatologist a couple weeks ago for a check up on my monthly blood test results. Everything turned out fine as usual, and we discussed doing another course. He wrote me a prescription for 2 months more of Accutane (which I don't understand because isn't 1 course supposed to be 3 months?) I will ask him this in a month when I go back. Communication with him this time around was poor, he forgot to write me a prescription for my birth control, so before I left I had to chase him down in the hallway explaining to him that I was running out of that too. I know it's just birth control, but the whole situation made me feel like such a crackhead, "please doctor, I need more of this!", especially in a hallway and not behind closed doors. It was just really unprofessional and disorganized this time around. Not to mention it's always a minimum half hour wait before I see him for not even a solid 10 minutes. I hope it was just a bad day for him and that next month's appointment goes better.
So yes, I just have a few more days until my first course of Accutane is done. I have been represcribed the 40mg/daily again, however a part of me wishes it were 60 or 80mg. The derm calculated stuff out based on my weight, so I think 40 is what my body can safely handle.
I have seen lots of improvement with my skin. Sometimes I will have a day here and there where I will get really discouraged. Especially recently as I've noticed some androgenic acne popping up WTF!!! This is the type of breakouts around your chin and mouth. I've gotten them near my mouth, and then one right below my nostril which is just nasty. I've noticed that these kinds of breakouts haven't surfaced until I started using the steam room at the gym again, so that *might* have something to do with it. I'll keep going and see. I don't know why the steam room would be bad (the derm even said it was), because I hop in the shower immediately after I get out and wash my face so all the sweat is washed off.
Despite the hang ups and minor breakouts on my skin I am overall very happy with my treatment this far. ESPECIALLY when I look at old pictures of myself, these are pictures I take every week to 2 weeks and compare them. Needless to say, I know my skin isn't perfect yet, but it is at a much better stage than when I first started. In fact, when I look at the day I took a picture of myself the first day on Accutane, I really can't believe I used to go out in public like that. I'm embarassed, relieved, happy and sad all at the same time.
I am hoping that the next course of Accutane will be the part that really shuts the acne down for good. I can't wait to be done so I can start lasers. My projected time finishing Accutane will be at the end of October. It's funny how my perception on the state of my skin changes as it improves. First it started off as, "imagine how my face will look clear without the pimples" to now "now that it's clear, imagine what it will look like without the scars". I hope that the lasers give me that final touch I am looking for to have flawless skin.
I thought that was it, but then I realized I recently made some big changes in my diet. I have recently decided to become vegan which means no eating animals or animal by-products. No meat, no dairy, no eggs, no fish, no honey. You get the drift.
I am enjoying this very much because I want to 'live lighter' and I know it's good for my health, the environment, and of course animals. This was on my mind for a bit but I'm happy that I've made the transition. There is still some milk products in my fridge like margarine and soup, so I'm finishing up food like that which I already have, but I am buying everything vegan from now on. I am really happy with my decision, and I have started to lose weight thanks to going to the gym and not eating so heavy. There is still meat in my fridge like chicken strips, meatballs and fish sticks, but I'll cook those for my bf when he comes around. I don't foresee myself eating meat again, I really don't want to. Not that I was a heavy carnivore to begin with. I just did some research on this, and the diet shouldn't affect my treatment. Although this might be wise to bring up to my derm next month. Also, I haven't made the 'full' transition yet as I still have non-vegan items I'm finishing up before fully taking the leap.
I have noticed my mood is off. This could also be due to the birth control pills. I get very dark and sad thoughts sometimes, anything random triggers it and it gets so bad that I either can't sleep or have to call my boyfriend who provides amazing mental support. He reminds me at these times that it's just medication not me who is really thinking bad things, but the problem is that those feelings feel so real. I am glad I have him for support, and it feels weird writing about this on my blog but I do want to track it. Obviously I'm not going to share this with my derm because I'd rather not share info which might stop my treatment. In other words, I'm handling my mood changes in a responsible way, however I have noticed my mood change very much since starting. I'm keeping tabs on this.
Another thing is just my hips hurt all the time. There are days I walk A LOT and my hips will start to hurt, luckily the sciatic nerve pain stopped for me. No matter what position I sleep in, or how long I sleep, the pain in my hip frame seems to be there. Sometimes I don't walk for long, and it feels like I can't walk no more. As such, I only go to places that are necessary like work and the grocery store, but to go stroll around a mall or park is out of the question!
I think that's everything, I'm super tired and am having trouble falling asleep so I'm going to keep trying.
I will organize and post pictures to anyone who would like to see.
I just wanted to quickly pop by and say that I have a little over 3 weeks left until I am done Accutane. I just took pictures of myself and compared them to before pictures and there has been a huge and wonderful difference in terms of blemishes and breakouts. It seems as if Accutane has really helped the red marks go away a lot (which my derm told me was acne in and of itself). I just never associated it with acne because they weren't pimples, just red splotches on my skin.
If I get fully clear by the end of this month that's great, if not I am totally open to doing another course because I feel like that might be the final one to put an end on everything, permanently. I think I'd stick to 40mg/day, I will not go lower than this.
I am tempted to put olive oil on my face again, however I'm just so scared of breakouts like last time.
I have started going to the gym again which I absolutely hate because now I'm very worried that the past 3 months of Accutane will go to waste if I start working out and sweating. I will be so pissed if this happens because I've come so far. I hope working out and breaking out into a sweat won't affect my improvement, there are no words to describe the frustration I have and would have over this if it happens. I don't like to say 'just wait and see' because the truth of the matter is I'd rather NOT see because all I have ever seen is acne.
That is it for me, I am in a foul mood tonight and it probably shows, so hopefully next time I am nicer.
But to anyone that is considering trying Accutane don't let my mood discourage you. This medication has given me dramatic results and it doesn't hurt to try. My monthly blood test is coming up this week and I'll be seeing my derm next week. I wish he had a better memory so that he could be as impressed with the results as I am.
There really isn't nothing new to report. The big breakouts from the sunscreen/olive oil saga are subsiding. They were never really breakouts, just big mounds that rose out of my skin. The one on my cheek is going away the fastest along with the one on my forehead, but the 2 on my chin are still quite visible, and I think another breakout is forming on the other side of my chin. I'm not really sure what's going on but there isn't much for me to do other than to wait it out. There was such a difference in the first month I was on Accutane, that now I won't be surprised if I see more of an improvement in the next coming weeks despite this setback.
There is nothing else to say. I don't know whether I mentioned that the back of my hands are extremely dry...to the point that they feel like scales. When I hold them up to the light I see a ton of cracks, so I'm moisturizing and drinking water as much as possible.
I dealt with a very troubling dry nose earlier this week. My nostrils felt like hot sand everytime I breathed through them. I was spraying saline spray, which only worked temporarily until my nose came back (what felt like) even more dry. My nose was very bloody, not a nosebleed, but anytime a kleenex or q-tip went up my nose it was very bloody. I looked up some stuff and came across 'the neti pot'. It's basically this small pout with a very long snout and you put water/saline solution, tilt your head to the side, insert the snout in one nostril and the water comes out of the other nostril. (Youtube it!) I tried this with a watering can I happened to have, don't really know what the difference is since it also has a long snout. I put an 90-10 solution of water and saline spray just to try it out and WOW! I recommend everyone try this at least once. My dry nose went away and it felt like I rinsed my brain. It felt like my sinus was clear. Right before trying it I was in the mood to nap, and then right after I felt like I had so much clarity and that fogginess I was feeling was gone. I should have done this earlier today instead of napping so I could have gotten some work done.
I believe I have a blood test to do within 2 weeks from now or so.. it's all on my calendar. I'm still taking b12 vitamins as well as vitamin d now because I'm getting less sun due to Accutane. I also cover up more than the average person during summer (actually all year long) so I never really let myself get that much sun. This is partly due to the fact that a sunburn last year equated to a second degree burn, so I'm never taking my chances again. There were a lot of good home remedies for sunburns, but the one I accidentally came across and worked best for me was putting vitamin e oil all on my body. Not lotion, the original oil. It is extremely thick and doesn't come in generous sizes, but I painted my face and shoulders and chest with it and the redness and burn was gone in a few days. Makes sense since it is a very good moisturizer as it is, but make sure it's the oil because the lotion won't do.
Anyway, I think that's it for me, I have a little over a month left, very exciting to see where the end of my treatment will bring me and I can't wait to upload more pictures of the improvements.
Well technically I am over halfway done my Accutane course, and I know now is really where all the change is supposed to be happening. I still have some bumps from last week's breakouts from what was either the olive oil or SPF 70 that my derm gave me. I hope it was the SPF 70 that made me break out because I'll feel better putting the blame on my derm
I am definitely going to be taking pictures today because what I see in the mirror and what I see in comparison to previous pictures is much different. There is an improvement on my face but there is still a long way to go.
I want to point out that when I first went to go see my derm before starting Accutane it was to get his opinion on some laser treatments. He told me that lasers make acne worse and that before we pursue lasers we need to 'turn the acne off'. I really hope this will be the end result, because the sooner the acne is 'turned off' then the sooner I can start lasers, which means the scarring that I have won't be prolonged. I am not saying this to be dramatic, but it makes me want to cry when I envision the type of scarring I am vulnerable to have one day if I don't do anything about my already damaged skin. So I really really hope that this next half of my course is the pivotal phase where any red blemishes are eliminated. I am optimistic because there has been an improvement to where I am today. If in reality different results transpire then I am open to the idea of doing another course. I don't care what anyone says, this shit works!
I am still enjoying being dry because it means I don't sweat and my hair doesn't get oily as quickly as it did before. I'm low maintenance with this sort of stuff, so it's just even better that I don't HAVE to wash my hair like before.
I am dry to the point where my hands feel like scales if I don't moisturize them. I guess this is a very susceptible area of dryness for me because I wash my hands more than the average person. I am not OCD, but interestingly I'd like to point out that I get sick less frequently than the average person does. Germs spread so wash your hands!
Before it wasn't a big deal, but now after showering I have to apply body lotion. I've gotten up from bed in the middle of the night because I wont' stop itching myself until I have moisturized. My elbows also seem to be dryer than the other parts of my body. I find my body isn't picky about cream, so I just have this litre of Avon oatmeal body moisturizer.
Lip balm is part of the necessity checklist before I leave my home, if I don't have it with me it's a bad day and makes me look weird for licking my lips every 3 seconds.
Other than that I have no other things to really report on. I am done summer school this Thursday (with the exception of an exam the following week) which will be a big relief. I am taking summer school for the second part of the summer but it's only one course this time, not 3, and NOT intensive! I know my stress levels will decrease and anticipate this having an effect on my skin (hopefully).
I think that's it, but before I go I want to point out that I've noticed my diet isn't affecting my skin. I'm still not much of an egg and dairy person, but when and if I do consume it I don't see any adverse effects on my skin.
Just a sidenote, switching from a refined food diet to a more basic one is great for your health and wallet. I was spending up to $60 a week on food when I used to buy crap. With more fruits and vegetables (and no dairy or eggs) in my diet I've easily cut my costs down by half. I also don't walk aimlessly around the grocery store, I know exactly what I need. Sometimes though I will look at prepared and frozen food to get inspiration for what I should make myself
I've been doing a terrible job with doing any exercise, but I think there are fundamental things in my diet that have prevented me from 'going over the edge'. This includes not using any white refined sugar (honey only), no salt, no dairy or eggs, and light meat. I am looking forward to going to the gym more, I really think that's something I could commit to once school is done for this month.
I know I went on a tangent and that doesn't have a lot to do with skin per say, but I know from experience that before Accutane there were certain foods I knew would make me break out more, despite being healthy.
Okay, that's it I think. Oh! One more thing, I am only using Burt's Bees products because they are over 98% natural and it feels REAL. There is nothing synthetic about my skin regime anymore (aside from the Accutane lol) and I find that it shows. I have been having trouble with a face moisturizer that is long-lasting, or at least that makes the white flakes on my face disappear. Some days it's worse than others and I find that this is in correlation to how much water I drink. Same goes with nose bleeds. So with that said I am going to make something for dinner and go fill my brita jug.
Around last mid-week I began to notice my skin getting red breakouts on my forehead and on my chin and the left side. I don't understand why this could be, especially since a lot of progress has been made so far.
I'm trying to figure out why this may be and have come to the conclusion that it may have been the olive oil I was putting on my face, or the SPF 70 sunscreen that my dermatologist gave me (which is Neutrogena and full of chemicals). Or it could be a combination of both.
I stopped using both because those were the two things that I was doing differently thus far. I am not happy about this, especially when I have my own self to blame for making my progress worse. I haven't noticed a difference yet, so it's too soon to say if those 2 things impacted my skin in a negative way but I'm keeping a close eye.
That is it for me, but wanted to update about this part. It's sad though because my skin was so dry, my nose felt like a crispy chicken and the olive oil was the only thing that seemed to help. My dryness has subsided but I think it may have to do with the fact that I'm also trying to be more hydrated.
I guess my lesson is to not get too comfortable, but it's okay, it's still such a great improvement than before. Also, worse case scenario I'll just be on it for the rest of my life.
The majority of my week consists of me getting up really early and then rushing the last 10 minutes to get ready. I don't understand why this happens as I have a ton of time to get ready! And I'm always late, I hate it! This leaves me with little to no time to do my makeup. My makeup routine consists of black liquid eyeliner on my top lids and black mascara. Some days I'll wear brown. I don't know, sometimes the black looks a little harsh on my fair skin so I switch it up.
Anyway, this leaves me with not a lot of time to really 'look' at my face but this morning I couldn't help but realize how beautiful my pores on my nose looked. I was trying REALLY hard to find a blackhead, which would have been easier to do before, but now, I really don't see any. I am thrilled about this, I can't believe my blackheads are gone!
There are still some splotches of red here and there but I think the inflammation has really gone down. I really can't get over how I have no blackheads on my nose, I don't think I've seen my nose this clear since I was 8.
I went running yesterday, for a total of maybe 10-15 minutes. It was just 2 blocks then back up, I wouldn't have gone had my boyfriend not dragged me, but I promise him I would after having cake the other night lol. It was my first time exercising in months because I stopped around the time I had exams as well as when I started Accutane. I guess it was alright, but to be honest I really felt worn out afterwards. I made a schedule and would like to go at least 3 times a week. I'd go swimming but there's too many components that don't sit well with me (no swim cap, long blonde hair turning green, chlorine drying my skin out, smelling like chlorine) so yea, just doing some weights and stuff for now. The sciatic nerve pain is gone for now so I'll just see how far the working out will take me.
I hope starting to exercise more won't make my face turn gross. I asked my derm if I could go in the steam room after my workouts at the gym and he said it's okay, but generally makes acne worse. I thought this was weird as I read somewhere that steam rooms are a good detox and rid your body of toxins. I plan on washing my face after working out, then heading into the steam room, then showering. Jeez, I would have to say that most times I'm in the changeroom longer than I am at the gym. I only go for the women's only hours so whether I like it or not it's just 1 hour that I get to exercise.
Anyway, I think that's everything. I'm glad my 6 year old 'digital' camera is still working although I doubt it has a macro feature, otherwise I'd post a closeup pic now of how great my pores look.
Oh yea, I also started to use olive oil as a night moisturizer on my face. It is wonderful under the eyes, it just smoothes everything out, I feel like a baby, and I'll put it on my lips too. I highly recommend it because it's super moisturizing and does not clog pores! If you research it online you'll find lots of info about this for anyone that is interested. Despite using it, I seem to have this stubborn dry patch on the tip of my nose, no matter how much I moisturize it, it feels like scales.
I will post pictures soon, I anticipate seeing more of a difference than my last pictures! I hope!
I just had an assignment due at midnight and am now officially done with (one of) my summer school courses. I am so happy because this means I have a whole 3 days (which will fly by) until my next intensive course starts!
Anyway, yesterday I had an appointment with my dermatologist to assess how my body is coping with Accutane after the first month. My blood test results came back normal. Then he asks me a question (just like last time) regarding my lifestyle. I don't know if he thinks asking me questions will make him feel like a fortune teller if he's right, but he simply asked me if I exercised the day before my urine test. I told him I was avoiding exercise all month like the booklet said to. Then he casually says there was some protein found in my urine.
At first I froze. I didn't know whether his silence had something to do with revealing I'm pregnant or something crazy, but I needed to know what the hell that meant! I asked him and he said it usually comes up in urine after exercising a lot. Then he added that strange things in general show up when urine tests are taken during a girl's period. Well I'm glad it's not pregnancy, I would have felt like the biggest jackass ever!
Anyway so tonight it came across my mind again and I googled what this could possibly mean. I kind of regret doing that because I learned protein in urine can be an onset sign of kidney failure or diabetes. OMG! So now of course I'm worried that my kidneys might fail or that maybe I've been eating too much sugar lately or something. I don't know what to make of all this, so I'm just gonna continue with my life, take another urine test, and look forward to next month's update.
Also, my derm asked me if I want to be switched from 40mg/day to 20mg/day. I gave him a weird look, why would I lower my dosage? He said that usually people now take a lower dosage but are on it for longer. Screw that! I'll take the higher dosage and be done sooner!
I asked my derm about the whole initial breakout process. He said that it doesn't have to happen in order for Accutane to work. He said there are stronger differences in the second or third month for a lot of people, so it's nice to know that I'm halfway there! It's also reassuring that I don't have to overanalyze any new pseudo-breakout that I get. Like right now I have the tiniest little red whitehead bump (I really don't know what it is) on my forehead, but just like any other breakouts I get while on Accutane, they literally are gone the next day.
My derm also gave me a sample of Neutrogena sunscreen SPF 70. He seemed to be a little annoyed when I asked him if it was necessary, as I heard elsewhere that this whole crazy high SPF thing is just a marketing gimmick by skin care companies to scare you into thinking you need more products with more SPF. I didn't mention the part that I read all of this off a poster in a tanning salon once LOL. Well, apparently the higher the SPF, the more UV types it protects you from. Whatever, I have a free sample, I'll use it.
I am dry and I am LOVING it! I love the fact that I don't have to wash my hair every other day. When it gets hot during the summer like it has been recently, there's no question that washing my hair becomes a daily chore. So now, I think the longest I went without washing my hair was 5 days, and it was still very nice and dry. Also what I love is that my hair feels thicker.
The skin on my face is a little annoying. When I put moisturizer on it the flakes on my skin turn into balls of white because they mix with the cream. I don't know what do about this, it's kind of annoying.
I went out for dinner for my boyfriend's birthday last weekend and wore powder foundation for the first time while on Accutane. I have to say it went on very well, but I'm not so sure about evenness (but good thing it wasn't an issue, the lighting was dimmed at the restuarant lol).
That's it for me, I get to sleep in with absolutely nothing to do tomorrow! =D
I wanted to pop in and update as it's my one month anniversary since starting Accutane.
Perhaps there has been some slight improvement. Often times I'll notice slight little whiteheads and the weird thing is they'll be gone by the end of the day. I don't know what's up with that but wanted to make note of that.
Another thing to mention is the recent surge of hot weather Toronto has been having. It was literally raining for what seemed like 4 weeks, and now it's all of a sudden hot and what I know is the onset of our usual muggy weather.
The reason this is relevant is that I currently have no AC in my apartment and I've been sleeping with my balcony door open. So far, it's bearable. But what I find amazing about all of this is that usually I'd be sweating and be gross by the end of the day. Nope! While I get slightly moist, I'd have to say Accutane has really dramatically decreased my oil production.
Take my hair for example. It is very fine, and I could go at the most a full day and a half before it was obvious that it was oily and needed to be washed. So usually I'd wash my hair every other day in the past. But with this hot weather recently, I am SO surprised that it feels as clean and nice as it did the first day I washed it, and I can honestly say I can go a solid 3-5 days without washing my hair. I think that's AMAZING! Honestly, when I run my hands through it, no oil. Not to mention it feels much thicker now as opposed to before when it was very fine. I like!
Anyway, that is about it, I guess I'll be taking a picture of my face to mark the update somehow, but really I wanted to write about this whole non-oily non-sweating hair observation as I completely love it!
I finally organized my pictures. The date on my camera was completely off and from 2004, so I had to 'convert' it to the current days. It was only a matter of simple addition so I guess I could have done it sooner, but anyway, without further ado here are my pictures.
For simplicity, I'm only going to post my before pictures (like 1 day before I started) and my current day's pictures. I've got pictures for almost every 2-4 days but just from my personal preference, I don't like an overloaded picture update.
I *think* I see a difference, some slight improvement. If anyone is reading this, PLEASE comment and be completely honest with what you see and think. I'd appreciate a second opinion!
I also wanted to point out that these were taken virtually in the same spot so that the lighting wouldn't affect the appearance of my acne.
CLICK HERE TO SEE MY PICTURES!!! (Sorry I didn't figure out how to post them in-blog, if anyone knows how please let me know!)
My skin is gross. It's flakier and those painful bumps I had before aren't painful anymore, they're just bumps that sort of seem undecided on what to do with themselves. Then I think I've got some whiteheads. Overall same old, aside from the new breakouts.
I don't know if I may have jumped the gun on thinking it's my IB. I am not on birth control this week as to induce a period, so maybe the breakouts were related to that somehow, I don't know.
This post is lifeless, I am beyond exhausted!
I am fasting right now because tomorrow morning I'm getting blood work done. The results will rule out how my body's holding up with Accutane, as well to see if there are any improvements with my B12 levels. I'm really really curious about all this! I miss exercising and sitting in the steam room afterwards. Well, I don't know if exercising will be that good of an idea considering the sciatic nerve pain I've had lately.
And completely unrelated, but the Invisalign braces I've started wearing just annoy me to no end. Nothing but constant pressure on all my teeth, which is necessary to align them and fill in the gaps.
Why am I being an emo! Despite feeling and not looking my best, I would have to say I am at my peak in terms of my thinking which has made for some great conversations and thoughts lately.
I should just hang on and be grateful instead for my opportunity to have free Accutane and the chance at changing my life. I'm fasting for another 11 hours but at least I know I get to eat unlike a lot of people in the world.
I just wanted to update quickly that today I woke up with a few noticeable (and quite painful) bumps on my face. I've got one on a cheek, forehead, around my jaw etc.
Also, the breakouts on my back are quite bad, cystic-like. I've even got a breakout on my front shoulder, and on my neck. 2 very unusual and uncommon spots where I normally would break out.
I hope this is my initial breakout brewing! =D
This will be just a quick update as I have nothing to really update about. All I've been noticing, or rather feeling, are painful pimples under my skin, but then within a day or two they subside. And the other day I had a giant whitehead and today it's gone. I wonder if my skin is slowly boiling up for it's initial breakout.
But then I've been thinking, and even posted, about this whole IB. Does it really have to happen? Can Accutane cure you without the initial breakout? I guess we'll just wait and see what happens with me. I still have lots of hope with this medication.
I was looking at pictures today from 2 years ago, WOW. My skin literally had volcanoes on it, I really, truly, can't believe my skin was that bad. How the hell did I live with it?! How did my bf even find me attractive?! Compared to now, my skin is a million times better but it's still not clear. Also, it doesn't help that I'm pale as every blemish goes noticed. It was a good reminder that things could be worse!
In other news though my back is having big bad painful breakouts.
That's it for me for now!
Today is day 18 for me and I wanted to update and go back to writing on every 'even' day lol. I am so OCD about stuff like that. As for the pictures, unfortunately they were just literally dumped on my desktop and now I have to go through the fun of sorting out which day was which. I am determined to organize them properly, and what would be really cool is if in 2 days I update with a before, day 10, and day 20 picture.
To be honest, no difference yet. I am serious. My lips were severely dry this week, they are better now, but other than that nothing else to report. No breakouts on my face, yet at times I see/feel potential breakouts but then they're gone within a day or two. I'm still anticipating this whole initial breakout experience but it hasn't come yet. I don't know whether that's a good or bad thing. Without a doubt there is a difference in my oil production on my face because it is much dryer. If I take my index finger and slide it down my forehead I no longer feel any oil residue like I used to before.
For some reason I keep imagining, or rather, my intuition is telling me that 40mg/day is a little too low for me given my condition, and that it could quite possibly be the case that my first course finishes without any change and that I may need to start a second course again but instead with 80mg/day. I hope I wrong, it would be nice if Accutane does its job right the first time and that no extra problems arise. But it's interesting though...I must admit that I feel like this is what I'm foreseeing because thus far I've seen no results. Hopefully I'm severely wrong and breakout into severe cystic acne this weekend as a confirmation that the meds are really working lol.
In other news, and don't know if this is Accutane related, but a lot of my joints have been cracking a lot more, and in fact I have sciatic nerve pain (sharp pain in the small of my back that then goes down my left thigh, 'through' my knee and all the way to the soles of my feet. I don't want to point the finger at Accutane mainly because 18 days in sounds too early to have something like this happen, and at the same time I've had cracky joints for a while. I'm hoping it's related to my B12 problem or something.
At the beginning of my day I am usually fine with walking and everything is good. However after a typical day of physical activity like walking around (as I'm not allowed to exercise yet on Accutane) my back hurts soooooooo much. To stand on one leg would be impossible for me. For anyone that is reading this, please eat your vegetables and adhere to a good lifestyle! I don't know what the cause of this is but I've never been afflicted with something so debilitating. I must must must see my doctor about this! Unfortunately I didn't look over my schedule the other day so I just assumed I had class when I didn't so I thought I wouldn't be make it for an available time slot they had. Yea, turns out I could have made it. Technically, I could have gone to my parent's house tonight and been back on Monday (lonnggggg weekend!) but oh well.
Sorry to say that no crazy differences have arisen out of my Accutane (yet). I mean, no new acne so that is an improvement. Perhaps everything will just happen next week or something. Can you tell I am starting to test my own patience?
In other news, I got braces. This is a really interesting time for me because I'm changing what feels like so much about my looks. The braces are Invisalign and are clear. No offence to anyone reading this, but I would feel like a total freak to wear metal braces while dealing with my acne. Not because I would look like a freak, but I would completely feel like one I think, so I am really happy and blessed to not have to go that route. If anyone has had metal braces AND acne, KUDOS to you, you have my respect because it's not easy to have to rock something like that.
Well, I am exhausted. I'm taking an intensive summer school course, so instead of getting a half credit in 6 weeks, I'm getting it in 3 weeks. Everything is sooooo jam packed, which is really cool because the material is fascinating and nothing drags on, but it's just constant stress mode. Also, you have no time to procrastinate, things just need to get done. So now that I realize I have tomorrow off I think that means I'm gonna not do any readings I thought I had to do tonight and just go to sleep. Yes!
This past week has been so nuts, I've been so busy, and when I haven't been busy I wanted to update but the wifi wasn't working at my parents house so I gave up early.
Anyway, I am back at my apartment now because I started summer school today.
To report; I have a couple little tiny breakouts. These are the kind I've never gotten in my life before. Maybe it's the onset of the anticipated breakout episode, but until my face gets worse, there is no way of knowing for sure.
My appetite is still high, though not as high as it was before because I'm learning how to properly feed myself so that I'm not eating 'empty carbs'. Luckily I'm not craving crap food, I wake up in the morning craving steak with mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables with herbs....oh wow! I really need to be careful as I don't want to put on too much weight. I am not exercising at all because it's dangerous to do so while on Accutane. I will ask my doctor about this after my first month's blood test results. Only then will they know exactly what's going on with me just as I am, and whether there is safe room for me to exercise. I hope so because I like working out and going in the steam room!
Well last week when I was at my parent's house my family doctor called and wanted to see me to go over my blood test results. I felt sooooooo sick to my stomach about this. Firstly, my dermatologist had already gone over the blood test results and told me that my iron was only a little low, and he was the one that prescribed the Accutane. Well anyway, I was able to see the family doctor the next day and she asked me what was going on because she never ordered blood tests. So I explained to her that my derm put me on Accutane and ordered blood tests before I start the pills. I told her that I even saw him about the results, so I'm really nervous about what she has to say lol. She told me her concern was that she wasn't the one who ordered them, despite her name being beside the 'ordering physician' label on the blood test. Weird.
Then she tells me she is concerned because my Vitamin B12 is lower than she'd like it to be. It's at 133, which is low-normal (or something like that) and she wants me to start taking Vitamin B12 pills everyday. I got her approval to do this with Accutane, and she even told me she did a study on Accutane and pregnancy. She said not to get pregnant while on Accutane because the effects on the baby, if they are permitted to be born even, are very devastating. I can't believe some women actually go through their pregnancy while on Accutane... on my pill packet there is a picture of a pregnant stick figure that has a red circle with a diagonal cross over it. Kind of like a no-smoking sign, but instead of a cigarette it's a pregnant girl. Jeez.
Anyway, so I asked her what could happen with having low B12 and she said it helps with the nervous system, and when it's low I could experience tingling in my legs and feel light-headed and could possibly turn into anemia if I don't do anything about it. She mentioned B12 shots but said to start off with these vitamins first.
Well, this whole low B12 thing really got me nervous. I did research on it, and sure enough, having persistent low B12 levels can lead to permanent nerve damage. So now I'm scared! Because after going over the symptoms (being pale, hair falling out, tingling feeling, tired all the time, unbalanced, light-headed, out of breath quickly) I realized I have EVERY single one, and now I'm scared that I might have incurred nerve damage somewhere already. The reason why I think this is because my feet are ALWAYS tingly and freezing cold. I could go out barefoot on hot concrete laying out in the sun and my feet will still be freezing cold. Is that permanent nerve damage already? My feet are so cold to the point that they hurt.
I'm glad that I know all of this and it certainly explains why I've been feeling the way I have for a while. Now I'm taking these vitamins everyday and eating spinach as a salad hoping that will help with something.
Back to the Accutane, my joints are 'cracking' a lot more when I bend. My knees for example, make a sound when I bend, my wrists. Sometimes it's associated with this light pressure that I feel like I need to pop. I've had this before Accutane but I'm just paying attention to it more now because it feels like it's either a) happening more often, b) I'm so paranoid.
The update with my pictures is still coming. I took a lot of pictures, and now I need to organize them by day properly and will post something. I'd like to post a before, week 1 and 2 pictures to do a short comparison of any differences with my face.
Well, when I was making my mind up about Accutane and reading other people's blogs I noticed it was annoying when they would talk about a specific pimple somewhere, and what seemed like hourly updates on them, so I won't do that here as I found it quite boring lol when I read it.
As a whole, everything is same old. This might sound mental but I don't think I see a difference, yet I 'feel' clearer. I mean, that's just nuts, but also relates to how I haven't had any big noticeable breakouts since starting Accutane. Lips are dry, it was brutal sitting 2 hours in class with no lip balm! My face is noticeably dryer, tiny white flakes (I would lovvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvve to exfoliate!!) no matter how nicely I put on my face moisturizer.
Oh! I was going to finish but just remembered. I am seeing a big difference with my back. I have back acne, backne?, and now I'm super breaking out there. I haven't been taking pictures of my back but wish I did so I could compare the dramatic difference. Big breakouts that I seem to want to itch. Maybe the Accutane is starting to have an effect on my back before it does on my face?
Who knows, anyway I will keep in touch. My pattern is all ruined because I'm updating on an odd day (well technically I haven't taken my day 15 pill yet so it could still be considered day 14) but that's okay, I don't mind sharing more.
Well today is technically day 9 but I haven't taken my ninth pill yet so let's just count it as day 1.
I've been at my parents house since Friday night and it's been so great here that im coming back again tonight. Had to leave this morning and am on my way to the dentists to see my braces. Invisalign is great because it shows you a custom animation of your own teeth and what they will look like after wearing the plastic aligners. And because of that you're able to know ahead of time how long your treatment will be.
Anyway, here is a review in point form of the observations I've made of my first week on Accutane. I hope this can help someone out if they're having second thoughts about going on Accutane.
For the record, I am a 22 female, 130lb, 5'6" on 40mg/day for 3 months as well as on birth control. I am taking the generic brands of Accutane (Clarus) and Alesse (Aviane), but this does not matter.
-My face is starting to flake even after moisturizing, you can see white flakes
-Lips are a bit dryer
-Hair feels dryer
-I have a voracious appetite as of late, especially for savory foods, not junk/sweets
-Since starting, no new breakouts!
-No change in skin appearance (yet)
-Mood is same, if anything, better
I think that's about it for now, if I remember anything later on today I'll be sure to add.
I just want to point out that those are the biggest most apparent things that I've noticed. The appetite might be from the birth control pills, I don't know. Right now I don't think that's a bad thing because I like to eat LOL.
I am currently writing my update via iPhone. I am visiting my parents for the weekend and my mom says I haven't changed in terms of my skin. I agree with her, it's only been six days right, the skin takes a little while to change. I can't even imagine how simply insane it would be if skin appearance like acne could change within days or even hours. Anything is possie in the future!
I have nothing to report. I take pictures every other day but since I want to post pics every week I will post one tomorrow. Hopefully that goes smoothly.
I went to walmart today and picked up Burt's Bees hair conditioner and day lotion with SPF 15, finally! I applied it tonight before bed just to simply test out how shiny/greasy/smelly it is and I must say it is very light, doesn't feel greasy and doesn't make my face shine, as well it has a pleasant (not too overbearing) smell. I am happy!
My dad is home from his trip and brought me back the organic olive oil that he got for me. This will be my night lotion and quite possible body lotion as I am really fed up with how hard it is to spread the body lotion from Kiss My Face. Perhaps I'm not dry enough yet to be thankful for it lol.
Also I picked up some saline spray for my dry nose, finally! Though the salty water tastes horrid when it gets in the back of my throat. My mom was laughing profusely as she watched me open the car door and just spit out what I could. I spit so hard and so much my gum flew with it lol.
I definitely didn't drink enough water today, not too pleased with myself about that. This needs and should be habitual for me by now.
I think that's about it, I'm not used to blogging on my phone but I wanted to make it a priority to update my progress, even if it's just a short entry. Maybe that's good for a change!
So today was day 4 on Accutane and I finally have a noticeable side effect: DRY NOSE!
Normally my nose is always a little dry, it's not uncommon for it to be a little bloody at times, but now it's unbearably dry. It feels like there is a desert up my nose. It sucks because at the time that I noticed this it was too late to go to the drug store and pick up some saline spray for my nose. And I don't have any salt in my house, so I'm just sitting here drinking water by the gallons, but that's not doing anything for my nose and instead I'm just peeing nonstop lol.
I took my pills a little later than usual (about 20 minutes late) because my stupid alarm on my phone was not set. I didn't realize I have to enable it each time, but I'm glad that the novelty of this whole thing is what made me aware of me almost missing my time.
I returned those stupid overpriced lotions I got and noticed a new natural health foods store that opened up in my hood. So I went in and found Burt's Bees day and night creams (sadly the day cream didn't have any SPF) so I just bought the night cream. I didn't check then, but when I got home I realized the year printed on the box was 2009 and it says to be used in 12 months. Wtf! I got sold an expired face cream, that's as good as nothing! So tomorrow I must return, and depending on how that goes they will either get another chance or they'll lose my business. Hopefully the former, I like to be nice!
Because my boyfriend and I have experienced me on birth control we know that I can get moody, so tonight he gave me good advice on how to emotionally prepare myself for the BCP and Accutane that I'm taking. He made a good point, because I have a sign up on my wall by my door that says "Don't forget meds!" and so I should also take into consideration how those meds might alter my mood or perception. So I made additional notes and stuck them beside the door and above the mirror in my bathroom. I hope that prevents any psychotic moods birth control puts me in, and it feels like I am more in control of myself and my mind now that I have those notes posted. Of course, now anytime I have a visitor come over I will need to cover them so as to not look like a weirdo that has some obvious pill problem LOL. A part of me just doesn't care and wants to be daring and wants to leave them up there. If they ask, I can explain, since no one knows (besides my mom and boyfriend) that I'm on Accutane. It really might be out of my comfort zone because I've NEVER EVER told any of my friends how much my acne bothers me and how much I feel it hinders my life. I'm that self-conscious.
Nothing else is really new, I took new pictures today and organized and labelled pictures of my face in sequencing order, how exciting. Of course there are no differences yet, I think I will post one picture per week or something.
I know Accutane is a serious medication, but if anyone is doing research about it, I would have to say my advice would be not to do too much research. Reason being is because I am so paranoid about every little thing that I might see as change. For example, today after I brushed my hair I noticed white tiny particles in my hair (dandruff?) and also I had a headache after taking my pill, although I think I had one before I took it, so I'm not sure if it's directly related. And also, I'm feeling a little itchy right now all around my body. Because I read up on all the side effects now anything (that could be just normal and not correlated to Accutane use) is just making me think, omg, is this a side effect?! I need to take it easy, I just know for sure that I DEFINITELY have a dryer nose. The novelty of that really wore off FAST lol. I was so happy to notice a side effect because it means my medication is doing something, and then 5 seconds later I just was tired of my dry nose. I can't do anything about it which sucks. I know for a fact no lotion should go up my nose, although that would be a dream at this point, since vaseline like that can get into your lungs. I'm just going to face it!
I just wanted to mention that besides trying to fix my face I will also be getting braces soon (Tuesday!) although they will be Invisalign. This is a really exciting time for me because I feel like I'm just this work in progress this year. Everything that I wanted to fix about myself is finally going to change, and despite the rough path ahead of me, I am extremely optimistic about it and calmed by its temporality. If anything I am learning to have patience and to maintain positive thinking during not so great times. Although people might think anxiety about acne is superficial, there is actually a lot it can teach about who you are on the inside. So it's good to keep that in mind rather than the grief it causes you. You wouldn't put an anchor on a sinking ship right?
I think that's about it. I'm going home for the weekend and will have to pack my face cleanser, pills, and body lotion.
Today (technically yesterday because it's past 3am now) was my second day of Accutane. I finished my period yesterday so I just thought because that's when I'll be starting my birth control then I might as well start the Accutane too. The first day of taking Accutane nothing happened aside from my excitement being through the roof. I took my birth control and Accutane together, and then 10 minutes I was looking in the mirror KNOWING there wouldn't be a difference, but somehow I just felt very happy to be starting my course, I was giddy just thinking about what I'll look like 89 days from now. Although it is inevitably uncertain, I am allowed to be optimistic of how things will turn out, right! Plus I feel like it's a good idea to be more positive since I know things are going to get worse before they get better, so immersing myself with positive thoughts will play a large role in getting through the tough times. Right now I'm like "ohh I don't care if I break out real bad!" but I'm human and I know I can have my moments of weakness. I'm trying this new thing where I'm being more realistic lol.
It is interesting to see how acne is such a personal yet public issue. It's on my face and I don't see it, so I *should* feel good, but because I know everyone who interacts with me in person sees my face, I then start projecting my insecure thoughts onto them. "Are they looking at me or my acne? Do they think I'm gross?" lol. Acne wouldn't be such a huge issue if appearances weren't so valued in our society. But that's life, and that's human interaction, and regardless we all are a contributing part of it, whether we're acne-prone or not. The thing that really frustrates me about my acne is that I don't think having a "clear face" will make me a better person or will fix something inside me, I really don't. I am happy with who I am on the inside, and that's not a conceited thing to think at all. I know I have a good personality and I can get along with others, I judge this by the relationships I have in my life. I want to show that completely, not walk around with a mask of insecurity and ugliness that is my acne. I don't want my personality to be hindered by my face, I want the person that I am on the inside to shine through the person that I am on the outside. I don't think there is anything wrong with that, quite frankly I think I'm coming from a good place unlike MANY people today who think they will be happy if they fix something about their appearance. I'm not trying to fix, I'm trying to match!
Yesterday I didn't do much, I just had a headache, I feel like I might be coming down with something, but to be honest I feel like maybe I really won't if I just get up and do something. I just finished up my semester a few weeks ago so I've been doing a lot of nothing and just errands and stuff that I simply didn't have time to do during school. I'm relishing this time off since I start summer school in a couple weeks, all the way through August, so I just want to RELAX. I really wanted to go away somewhere for vaycay with my boyfriend but he's a little busy and I don't feel right about forcing him to take time off when he simply can't. I can't get my way all the time and maybe the future holds a better vacation for us than if we had have taken one now.
Okay, so the key with Accutane is to take it with meals, so I take my pills (birth control too) around 10:30pm every night. That is usually when I have dinner. Everyone thinks I have dinner late, but for me 10:30 is prime time in terms of my energy and work, so it's likely that I'll be cooking in the kitchen around that time or be eating. Today I made beef stir fry with vegetables, really simple. I don't eat beef often, am surprised it cooks so fast (or maybe my gas stove was turned on too high). I really like the time that I take my pills because odds are I will always be awake at this time and somehow accessible to food lol.
Because I am such a forgetful person, I set an auto alarm on my phone. Also I taped a piece of paper that says "STOP! Don't forget your MEDS!" and stuck it on the wall above where I keep my apartment keys right beside my door. So if I leave, I need my keys, and if I get my keys, I'll see the note. Thank God I don't have a lot of visitors because if my friend had a note like that on her wall I'd be a little concerned LOL.
I showered tonight and I don't know if I'm just being paranoid but my body felt a little 'tighter' after showering, and it really shouldn't be since I am using Burt's Bees which is over 98% natural (also dryness after 1 day?!). I moisturized to calm my paranoia but also to get into the habit of moisturizing after my showers. I am anticipating a lot of dryness, so I'm trying to adopt new habits like wearing lip balm all the time and drinking water all day long.
If anyone is reading this and is wondering what I'm using, I have started to use the Burt's Bees line. Like I said, it's over 98% natural, doesn't have any parabens, sulfates or phthlates (however it's spelled) and it doesn't do animal testing as an added bonus. And yes, it contains HONEY! I was using the Neostrata line before along with a prescribed clindoxyl moisturizer with SPF but my dermatologist advised me to stop taking anything with glycolic acid as it will irritate the dryness I'll be experiencing. So now, I'm just using a Burt's Bees deep clean cream cleanser. I love it! It feels SOOOOOOO minty, my face feels like a giant peppermint after I've washed with it. I don't use any toner or moisturizer now that I've started Accutane, I pat my face dry but I'll stop doing that tonight because it's better to air dry. I just spoke to my dad yesterday, and he happened to be at a Costco so he was able to score me a few litres of organic extra virgin olive oil. I'm really excited about this as that's what I plan to use on my face. I know at first it sounds nuts because it's OIL but olive oil is one of those miracles that doesn't clog your pores and just moisturizes well. We'll see what happens, if my face should react weird to it I won't mind using the olive oil as a body lotion. I picked up a Kiss My Face body lotion, but to be honest I find it is too thick and you really need to rub it in. Maybe soon I won't have to but I'm thinking of returning it. I don't like the idea of taking forever to moisturizer, and wondering hmm where am I going to rub all this lotion in?
In anticipation of this dryness as well, I am using a Burt's Bees shampoo. Everyone should use this shampoo, BIG DIFFERENCE. I don't even know where to start with this shampoo. Okay, the bottle looks small, but it will last forever, so therefore don't let the $10-13 price fool you for a bottle. On top of that, you don't need to use a lot and once you're done showering and drying your hair (I air dry mine), you will feel like you maybe didn't wash your hair properly because it might still feel a little oily. THAT'S NORMAL. It means that because of the lack of chemicals in this product, it didn't strip all the essential oils of your hair and left it extra dry. And "oily" is an exaggeration. Yes, my hair feels clean and I know I cleaned it, it just doesn't feel dried out. AND I find that it's made my hair feel thicker, which is great because I fall under the thin hair category. And because of it not completely drying out your hair, you will find that your hair looks shinier! I can't believe I wrote an entire paragraph on this shampoo, (I still feel like I'm forgetting something) but if you're able to get Burt's Bees or can get a sample of it, then you won't regret it. I don't make product suggestions like this lightly.
Anyway, I do still have my headache, yes I've only had it since starting Accutane, I think, but it could be just from not going out and doing anything. Tomorrow I plan on doing everything that I wanted to today. And my boyfriend is coming by tomorrow night which is exciting because I've been in the mood to cook lately, which he'll appreciate. A part of me would like to not see him for the next 88 days just so I could surprise him with my new face lol, but I know that would be next to impossible because I can't go without talking to him for more than an hour lol.
I am really excited to be taking pictures of my face...the only thing is is that it's 4:30am now and I just really want to sleep now. I promised myself that I'd take a picture EVERY day but I didn't take a picture of myself the day I started Accutane, I took one a day before I started taking Accutane and I think I'll take a picture now right after I wash my face. There is definitely no difference, and that's okay (for now) lol. I am one of those people that want results fast, so it's going to be a test of my patience.
That's it for me, I'm going to make a countdown on my calendar too just to put my excitement towards something lol. Also, I almost forgot, tomorrow I'll be going to a honey store to be picking up "Manuka honey" from New Zealand. It will be delicious to put on toast as well it has great moisturizing and healing properties for acne. I've become a huge fan of honey being used as medicine, also known as apitherapy.
In terms of a moisturizer on my face, ideally I'd like to find a natural one that also has some strong SPF. The weather in Toronto is really stupid, you can get a sunburn on a cloudy day, so I don't know what I'll do about this once the sun's rays get stronger in the coming weeks/months. I never leave my house without a huge hat and big sunglasses (so as to hide my face anyway) so I know that can double as some partial sun protection in the meantime while I find a good SPF moisturizer.
I just got back from my visit to the dermatologist's office. I went in because I read the Accutane booklet I got on my last visit and had some important questions that needed to be addressed. Specifically because heart disease is rampant in my family and I wanted to make sure this would still be okay to use. Also, I wanted to ask what type of face cleansers and moisturizers would be okay to use as I anticipate extremely sensitive skin that will be dry. I got all my questions answered and was encouraged even to document my progress by taking pictures. Now I know that I'll be closely monitored with my monthly blood tests, and the one I took a couple weeks ago came back normal, yay! The only thing is that my derm asked if I experience hair loss, which I do and I found it strange he could determine that just by reading my blood work. He said that my iron was a little low and that might be why I experience it.
Since I plan on starting Accutane this week, I am NOT going to start taking any iron supplements because the booklet I read warns against taking any supplements, vitamins, ANYTHING in addition to Accutane. I don't want to have any bad drug interactions which could do more harm than good, so I just plan on learning about which veggies are high in iron and just add them to my diet here and there. There isn't anything I'm not allowed to eat while on Accutane, so that seems like a simple way to improve my diet and learn about foods I should be eating more of anyway.
I am going to try and stay consistent with blogging because I want to document everything so that I have a record of where and when I saw any changes. I just want to do a very good job at taking this seriously because of the serious medication that Accutane is. Also, if I don't do a good job at taking it everyday and not knowing if I see progress or not, then what was the point of being on such medication? I want this to work because nothing else has and this is my last resort. If Accutane doesn't end up working for me at least I know I took it the best of my ability and properly.
I really don't want to put all my eggs in one basket, but I can't help but see the beautiful before and after pictures of people who took Accutane. If I have a shot at this and am privileged to have this all covered by healthcare, then why not?
Along with my doctor I have a very caring boyfriend who will also be keeping tabs on me regarding my health. I know his concern is more about the depression side effects since I am known to be an 'emotional person'. Lol, that is sugarcoating it but somehow saying I can be psychotic sounds a little extreme, yet true.....some times!
As awful as acne has been to me, it has taught me important things in life. My true friends are people who look past the superficial and see the beauty INSIDE me. Also, there is more to life than having a pretty face, even that is so valued and judged. At the end of the day, you can't just skip out on life because you're not happy with your face, so while it does add some anxiety to your day, it is rewarding to know you can be a responsible accomplished person while dealing with a disease like this. And finally, it has taught me a lot about having patience with my body and myself. Even though I have my weak moments, I have learned to be patient and give things time, especially when it comes to my body. The only difference between now as I begin Accutane and 3 months when I'm done my first course is just time.
Since I've done lots of research and found out that my face will get worse before it gets better, I am expecting and anticipating to be upset and antsy about this whole process. But somehow, because I expect it I feel that I will be able to deal with it far better. I hope I don't completely go off my rocker when I start my medication, I plan on reading over my blog for support as I go through the 'worse' part. Hopefully the Accutane doesn't oversaturate my rationality lol.
So just some notes for myself so that I remember:
-Get a gentle cleanser and don't be too concerned about washing your face. Accutane is supposed to do everything.
-All the stuff that I'm taking for my face now will be too harsh for it, switch to more milder things (which I already have). This includes my face cleanser.
-Monthly blood test. At minimum day 30 go for first blood test. Mark it in calendar as soon as you take the first pill so that you remember.
-Before and after pictures. I wonder if I can post those here, but regardless I will have a special folder full of them.
To end, I realize that of course my dermatologist is condoning Accutane and will tell me things that will encourage me to take it. I do want to point out though that my initial consultation with them was regarding laser treatment, however I learned that lasering your face that has acne will only make it worse. He sees Accutane as a permanent stop to what my problem is, and once it is eradicated, then we can move on to lasers. If I get nice skin after being on this stuff I can't even imagine doing lasers, unless of course my scars are really that bad.
My dermatologist also told me that because I'm being monitored with monthly blood tests, anything that might go wrong will be indicated in my results and they will know right away. He gave me an analogy, say if I were to die young at age 40 for example, regardless if I take Accutane or not, nobody knows that. But Accutane on the other hand has results that show whether something is off balance.
I just wanted to add one more thing, but this is really off topic. I definitely have some intolerance, sensitivity or allergy to dairy. I bought a french vanilla on my way home and it made me sick. I thought this was a temporary thing because I started having more dairy in my diet, and this just confirmed that I should really stay away from dairy if I know what's best for me. And to anyone reading right now, I can tell you from my personal experience that in the few weeks last month that I stopped eating dairy my face did improve. It was a hard time for me because my love affair with cheese stopped and I was surprised that a food I loved so much was in fact hurting me. If you are someone who is interested in changing up their diet, then I would strongly encourage doing an elimination diet like I did and pay attention to food that doesn't make you feel good after eating it. There are certainly patterns our bodies have and it's our job to be in tune with them. Permanent changes in my diet, (and I recommend this even if you have perfect skin), include:
-No white sugar. To sweeten anything use natural honey only.
-No dairy (easier said than done, there are hidden culprits in almost everything).
-Lots and lots of black pepper, helps your stomach lining/digestion.
Ideally I'd like to go gluten-free and vegan for 3 weeks to just see out of curiosity what that would do, but I can't imagine adopting such a rigid lifestyle. I like to eat!
I have not been here in a while but I've taken it upon myself this year to just truly fix everything I ever wanted about myself. One of these areas of progress is my acne. There hasn't been much progress at all, I'd have to say that the ampicillin and everything I've been taking from almost 2 years before has stabilized my acne, but there is still acne.
Last week I went to the dermatologist's and he said I still have acne, after what I just thought were blemishes. My self-perception has been distorted because I haven't seen myself with clear skin for over a decade. I don't remember what it was like to have clear skin, and I don't think that at the time when I did have clear skin (as a child) that it was something I was taking for granted or was even aware of. Skin was skin and I was just a kid.
Now I am 22 and this has been an exciting year for me because I am now sitting beside a paperbag from the pharmacy that contains BCP and Accutane. I was prescribed both these things on my last visit, and tomorrow morning I am going in because I have some questions that I need answered before I start what could be the beginning of the end (I hope!).
I have done so much research, and I *just* finished looking at before and after pictures of people on Accutane, so now I'm of course so eager to start my treatment. Initially I had a very bad feeling about this medication because of the warnings and cautions and dangers and insane side effects of this medication. But I find that depending on what I read about this medication, that is how I feel at the time. So now that I've seen pictures of pizza faces whose faces are now perfect, I of course feel so good about taking Accutane now. When I do research about side effects and stuff like that then I get apprehensive. I believe I can handle the dry skin side effects, however it's the emotional stuff like depression and suicide that really has my eyebrows raised because I know I can be psychotic (especially around the time of my period).
I'm thinking the questions I have for tomorow's appointment are legitimate concerns to me and that this will really put my mind to rest about starting this whole process. I already took some pictures today of my 'before' face lol, but also in addition I took pictures of my hair too because I'm starting this spray which will lighten my hair. I really would like my hair to be nice and lighter because it feels as if it went really dark and brassy since last year. Considering Accutane will make me want to be indoors all summer I need to somehow get the benefits of sun shining on my hair, so I guess taking this spray is a better and safer alternative (I hope).
Right now I feel so good about starting Accutane. I can't wait to have my before and after pictures, and I really can't wait to just have a face that doesn't have to hide behind powder.
Now when I look in the mirror I just tell myself that soon the acne will be all over and that I will eventually look in the mirror and see clear skin one day. I know that all of this takes time, but seeing the before and after pictures really helped and I now know I should really have patience with this medication.
It is the beginning of May and I feel like it's the perfect time to take my Accutane because I'll be taking summer school and if I break out into cystic acne (before it improves) I feel like I'll be able to deal with that on a smaller level, as compared with regular school that would make me feel so self-conscious. Right now I wear a hat and big sunglasses if I want to go anywhere. I even where all this stuff indoors. Some days where I feel like my acne is really bad I'll just leave my sunglasses on all day, regardless of where I am. I have found that I have started to wear a lot of fancy clothes and put more time into my outfit. One reason is that it builds a distraction around my face.
I know they say that "seeing is believing" but seeing my acne doesn't make me believe I'm a good person, and I'd really like to match what's on the inside with what's on the outside.
Well, I can't wait to start. I am happy to be aware of all the side effects beforehand as I feel like I'm prepared for what I'll be going through. I am so happy that this stuff really looks like it will work. And if it does work, then it will be the first time in over a decade that I will see myself with clear skin. So really if you think about it, it will be the first time in my life.
I am looking forward to many firsts to come my way in life, no matter how big or small, or how short or long I have to wait!