Ok so I have been off accutane for a little over a month and no bumps!!! My face looks better than it has in almost 1 year. I mean don't get me wrong I have tons of scars and a lot of hyperpigmentation but my skin finally feels smooth and no more bumps . My last derm appointment was June 2nd and the doctor injected all of the bumps I had with cortisone and it actually helped. He wrote me a script for Ziana gel and I've been using it since this Saturday so it's only been 4 days. It's starting to dry my skin out a little but that's fine. I wait at least a half hour after I wash my face every night and I apply a very small amount all over my face. then I wait another half hour and use shea butter all over my face to moisturize. I'm still taking the spironolactone 25mg twice daily. I've been taking that about 3 months now and I know for sure it has helped tremendously because my testosterone level went down from in the 100s to 17. My derm was very impressed. I hope that this is not temporary and that my skin continues to improve. I just need it to finally heal but seriously this is the first time in over a year that I have not had any cysts on my face.
Well let me give you guys some key notes from my experience...... 1. The side effects from the accutane which were most bothersome such as joint pain, chapped/dry lips, dry flaky/scabby skin, gum tenderness, headaches, etc were dose dependent. Meaning the higher my dose was the worse my side effects were and soon resolved once I discontinued the medication. I would say by week 2 post accutane they were a distant memory. 2. Your skin sometimes does not look like skin. At least mine didn't, I think because I had so much acne and always so many spots forming and clearing and it just looked like my skin would not heal. My skin always looked raw. Shiny and very bumpy with scabs. All in all it was a bloody nasty mess. Still looks like a lot of healing needs to happen. I will update later. 3. Every single bump you feel and see on your face... for instance a slight bump that you feel when you wash your face but is not visible or a small white head under the skin that is only visible when you stretch the skin... well unfortunately all of these must come up to the surface of the skin while you are taking accutane. For me this was awful because I developed so many clogged pores because of my high testosterone and every one eventually got infected and would not go away until the plug was removed. I literally did a count down and I think I'm down to just 3 when I originally started with over 100 clogged pores. 4. For any ladies that are having acne due to hormones as mine was, insist that your doctor test your estrogen and testosterone levels. Go to endocrinologist if you have to like I did and ask the doctor to consider adding spironolactone to control your testosterone level. I am 100% sure my results would have been different and I wouldn't have been so resistant to accutane had I not messed around with the bio-identical hormones and instead had used spironolactone in combo with the accutane and birth control pill. 5. Be patient. I know it's hard and I cried myself a river plenty of times. Trust me it will get better. I remember the frustration of seeing improvement only to wake up with 4 new cysts on my face. It sucks, but look I finished my accutane thinking it was a total failure and I am just now seeing results after finishing my course. Who knows maybe it's the spironolactone that's doing it for me. I really don't care why. I'm just finally happy. I look at my face in the mirror and I see tons of scars and all the dark marks and I'm still happy because there are no bumps. That's what I hated the most. The scars I'll deal with later. The doctor said 6 months after the last day of my course I can get lazer treatments or peels. So gotta wait till November. I think I'll try the peels first.
Good luck everyone!
My last day of accutane was May 21st. I was on the medication for 207 days. My face does not look like what I envisioned it would after a 7 month course. I presently have 4 active cysts and a few brewing under the skin. On a positive note none of these are new breakouts. I'm not sure if this has happened to anyone else but I developed a lot of clogged pores while on this medication and they get infected and most become cysts. They will actually keep getting reinfected until the plug is extracted. It's so crazy. My derm wants to put me on a 2nd course after a 3 month break. I think I will pass. My face is not really oily and like I said I'm not getting new breakouts. I have to say that it can be VERY DEPRESSING if I think about it so I try not to. I guess now I just have to wait it out. I can actually count how many clogged pores I have and my skin will not be back to how it used to be until all of them are gone.
I know that I am going to need some kind of facial resurfacing due to the numerous scars. I'm not just talking about dark marks I have a lot of indentation. People keep telling me I look thin that my face looks really thin. It's actually from all the scarring I have. It's like I've lost some fullness to my face. It's so horrible. SO SAD.
I don't want to discourage anyone from using this medication because I have spoken with many people who have had great success with it. Unfortunately most of my problems were due to hormones. The good thing is that my testosterone level has finally normalized so maybe once everything does clear up I won't have to deal with this anymore. Good luck to everyone.
Still breaking out. Presently I have 6 active spots 5 of which are cysts. 3 of which are huge! My skin looks like it's starting to heal in areas that are clear but still many white heads under the skin that have to break thru. Wow, this is my 5th month and I have such a long way to go still. Kinda sux but I've decided I'm just gunna be whatever about it. It's completely out of my hands. No sense beating myself up about it. I have good news. I went to an allergist who specializes in food allergies and he said there is absolutely no correlation between what you eat and acne. He says that used to be the belief but that was debunked. Studies show that is not the case. The only time you may see skin changes from a particular food is if after you eat something you have severe itching, hives, or breathing problems. So that's great news for me cuz I was so sad about possibly having to give up my daily bagel with cream cheese and coffee light and sweet.
I can't wait till I see my new derm in two weeks and he ups my dose. This dose decrease has really messed things up for me. Some of these cysts on my face have been there over a week and a half. They just aren't drying up. So hopefully when he increases my dose everything will finally dry up and go away. I have to stress how easy it was to change derms on the i pledge system. I urge anyone who is not happy with their progress to get a 2nd opinion and if need be switch derms. It doesn't change anything else and it was very easy.
Oh more good news. My testosterone level is at 53 which I think is within normal range. I have to call the Endocrinologist office tomorrow to see how I proceed. So maybe now things will fall into place without all that testosterone fighting the accutane every step of the way. I'm thinking he may want me to start the aldactone but I'll have to check with the derm 1st to see if he's ok with that. I guess I'll know more tomorrow.
So I went to a different derm today for a 2nd opinion. To start off, when I got out of my car in the parking lot I realized that I had forgotten my wallet on my husband's desk. No driver's license, no insurance card, no visa card. I had a panick attack and almost lost it. I called my husband crying and he said to calm down he would scan my license and insurance card and e mail it to the office. Thank God I had cash on me so I was able to pay my copay cuz you know they will not even give you the time of day otherwise. So this is how my life usually is. A freakin mess.
The Dr came into the room and started off by telling me no way I looked 40. I pretended to be shocked by that and then he said you know that! So back to my disgusting skin..... He said I should definitely have seen results by now and that only 1 in 100 people are resistant like me. Do you believe it... Lucky me, fu*# my life. This kind of crap always happens to me. He said that he would have given me the highest dose for my weight which is 60mg/day and doesn't understand why my Dr decreased my dose for this month. He also said that he does not let his patients use the Amnesteem generic. He considers it to be an inferior generic and has seen people worsen when switched to this generic. He said that in my case I'm probably going to be resistant so he would do the max which is 2mg/kg if no results on the 60mg/day and if I still have no positive results we can take a break and restart full on again after a couple of months and that should definitely do the trick. He also said I should be using a topical on the beauties that keep popping up so they can dry up quicker. He wrote me a prescription for Clindamycin gel to apply once a day to active spots. He looked at my face and said that I have a lot of white heads under the skin which need to push through. Wow... this terrifies me because I can see no less than 100 of these and they have been getting infected and coming out. I wish they would just all explode all at once I swear. I'm so over this crap.
Well I gotta say I liked what he said and decided to switch to him. By the way, he said I could easily pass for 28 before he left the room to get his nurse. Not bad considering my face is absolutely grotesque, I had no make up on, and this is coming from a dermatologist. So my face may be full of zits and bumpier than the surface of the moon but at least I look young!!!
So I changed my prescriber on the I pledge and now I have to continue the Amnesteem 40mg a day until I go for my labs for this month which is due on the 15th and I see him on the 17th for a new RX for Claravis brand 60mg/day. Let's hope that finally does the trick. I have my fingers crossed.
I couldn't do it. I could not gather up the courage to spackle my cysts, hide all the red marks and go to work. I just figure I did everyone a favor. Anyone who would have come in contact with me would have been way too distracted to be productive anyways. So I slept till 10, got up poked holes in the cysts that looked like they were going to explode and let them drain. I know I'm not supposed to pick but they looked like puss filled balls sitting on my face. It didn't do much good. Now I have scabs. I don't know about anyone else but my suckers are big time bleeders. Sometimes when they drain little clots come out and then a huge purple mark will form under the skin. It's sick. I seriously find myself so hideous and I avoid my reflection at all costs. If I use the bathroom at work I look away from the mirror when I wash my hands. When I open my car door I look away from my reflection on the tinted windows. I just don't need to look and then be depressed for an undetermined amount of time.
Well I felt kind of guilty about not going to work but I just was not mentally able to do it. I worked out, that was good. 50 minutes on the eliptical and 20 minutes of weights on bis and tris. My arms are looking fierce!! Then I took a shower, washed my hair and cried for approximately 15 minutes. Got dressed, dried my hair and called my insurance about getting a second opinion from another dermatologist. So now I have an appointment tomorrow at 10:15 with a different dermatologist and I also have a 7:15 appointment on Wednesday with a immonology/allergist specialist. So I guess I'll miss work tomorrow too. I wish they'd fire me then I could get unemployment and hopefully my face would clear by the time that would run out. That will never happen, they love me at my job regardless of how hideous I am. I don't want to be conceited but I'm the best Pharmacist there, its another curse I bare. LOL.
Hopefully this new dermatologist will tell me something different. I kind of fear that will not be the case and he'll just tell me to hang in there and let the medication work. But seriously when is this God foresaken medication going to start working? The right side of my face has soooo much inflamation under my skin it's ridiculous. I don't know I was hoping the new guy could inject all the bumps or maybe give me a medrol dosepak but what do I know.
On a lighter note my kids are so great. They know I hate myself right now and they are constantly hugging me and telling me they love me. One of my twins changed the wallpaper on my laptop and wrote you are beautiful in every way!!! accross the screen. I have great kids I'm so blessed. My son who is 16 is always telling me it's not so bad, it looks better. I don't know what I would do without them and all of the other people who are always trying to reassure me.
I saw the dermatologist on the 17th and he insisted that my face looked better which it did not. He lowered my dose to 40mg per day and said this is will probably be my last prescription. He did something different this time and actually injected 6 bumps with cortisone. I know that accutane works differently for everyone but I really don't think it's going to help me. This really sucks considering all the dry itchy skin, headaches, the sensitive gums, joint pain, and the dry peeling lips. Today I have 11 bumps, 5 of which are really big cysts and are all on my upper cheeks. I'm so depressed and feel so hopeless. I cried my eyes out today for about 10 minutes. I have done everything I'm sjupposed to do. I take my medication every day and I have absolutely no control. It's like my body is betraying me. I don't even want to leave my bedroom anymore. I hate leaving my house. I've been consumed with dread all day just knowing I have to go to work tomorrow.
I got a call from the endocrinologist concerning my labs and the nurse said my testosterone level has gone down to 64 which is good but that I shouldn't be taking the Aldactone until my levels are completely within normal range so I stopped taking it. I just went back to get more labs done Saturday and now I'll have to wait for those results. If my levels become elevated again then I have to undergo a bunch of tests to try and figure out where the extra testosterone is coming from. I'm starting to think maybe I should see a specialist that deals with allergies. Is it possible my acne is from allergies? I don't know anymore. All I know is that 6 months ago I started breaking out like never before in my life and it has not stopped for 1 day since then. I never before had gotten a cyst. I would get maybe 2 small pimples if that a month and because of my period. Now I have a minimum of 3 cysts on my face every single day. 1 dries up 3 more come in. This is so depressing, not to mention all the scarring I have and red marks. I HATE acne. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.
Am I the only person this far along into treatment with no improvement? WTF?!? I'm at the point where I don't even care anymore. I am still having daily breakouts. I currently have about 5 sposts that are drying up and 4 new ones. I have noticed all the new ones are infected milia. The problem is that some are in clusters so when they get inflamed it looks like a cyst. The scarring and flaky skin is ridiculous. If I don't see some kind of improvement by the end of this month I am not going to continue with it. What's the point.
I saw an Endocrinologist on the request of my Derm and low and behold he wrote me a script for Spironolactone. He thinks the bio identical hormones is what's screwing everything up right now but he thinks I can benefit from an androgen blocker. So the plan is to do labs to make sure my testosterone levels are decreasing and then start the Spiro. Now if the levels don't decrease or increase then I have to undergo extensive tests to figure out where the excess is coming from before I can start the Spiro. You know I just want to strangle my derm because I asked him to put me on Spiro but he insisted on Accutane. I remember a while back I was on Yaz and my skin was flawless. Yaz has a component in it that is equivalent to 25mg of spiro. I had to discontinue the Yaz due to horrible side effects and that's when all hell broke loose on my face. First it started with occasional breakouts. Nothing horrible but more than what I was used to and then turned into severe cysts which I am still battling.
The Dr prescribed 25mg twice a day of the Spiro but wants me to wait till the labs come back to make sure the testosterone levels are going down but I don't care I'm going to start now. I'm sick of waiting. As for side effects, I still have dry lips, flaking skin, some itching on my face, still some gum tenderness, and crazy joint pain. I just hope all of it goes away once I'm done with my course. I've been applying chapstick like crazy, I ice my face every day- it helps keep the swelling down on all the bumps and eases some of the itching and as for the joint pain I'm just dealing with it. I'm still working out and looking damn good if I say so myself maybe its the testosterone. I have a lot of energy I haven't missed a day sometimes I run on the elliptical for an hour and a half and my arms are looking good more defined. I may not be able to control how my face looks so why not work on the body. Ok I'm gunna keep my fingers crossed that on my next blog I can say that I haven't broken out in...... I don't know, even one day without a breakout would be an improvement for me.
I saw the dermatologist on Wednesday. All of my labs were not in yet but he checked my testosterone level and it turns out it is 135 the max range is 75. F*&ck my life!! The Derm said that's why the Accutane is not making the full impact it should. Now I have to see an Endocrinologist. So for any ladies out there like me who's acne is due to hormone fluctuations DO NOT invest in biohormone replacement. I know that's the reason my testosterone level is so high. I paid $400 plus dollars had some freakin pellets inserted in my ass thinking that would help balance out my hormones and now look! My dermatologist saw how upset I was and he hugged me. How pathetic am I? Hope I don't grow a penis! LOL.
Well actually even though my face is not completely clear I think there is some improvement. I have 4 active spots on my face 2 of which are bigger than just a regular zit but not quite cysts. I've been applying tea tree oil on them since I'm allergic to benzoyl peroxide. I went to GNC today since I'm almost out but they wanted $29 for a little bottle. NO thanks, I'll wait till they get the smaller bottle in stock. I found out from the derm that those billions of bumps on my face are called millia and he said most of them will go away from the Accutane. When I wash my face it feels so bumpy because of that and they are all slowly surfacing. Actually I think the 4 bumps I have right now are infected millia, if that makes sense. My scarring is sick!! I just seriously can't look at myself in the mirror too long. I think.... is that really me? How in the blue hell did this happen to me.
Side effects still the same. A new side effect is sore gums and some bleeding when I brush my teeth. My muscle and joint pain is crazy. I feel like an arthritic geriatric patient. Getting out of bed in the morning is comical. I'm all bent over and holding my back until I'm able to straighten myself out. Whatever, I'm not going to let that stop me. I've been working out like a beast!! Running on the elliptical every day for a minimum of 1 hour and weights every other day. Might as well put that testosterone to good use.
Well my dose will remain at 60mg/day since this is actually a little over my max for my weight. I have done the calculation and figure I will probably be on Accutane for 2.5 more months to reach my cumulative dose. Now I have to find an Endocrinologist that will take my sorry ass insurance and will see me right away not after I'm done with my Accutane course. Still keeping my fingers crossed.