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Isotretinoin (Claravis/Accutane)

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Finished Week 6 (a few days ago)

Well, the good news is that all those tiny white surface bumps are gone. Just like that. The bad news is that I got about 5 new zits this week, although to be fair, some of them have been lurking underneath the surface for awhile. Comparing pictures, it's still better than when I started, but worse than last week. I'm sick of this! This week's new symptoms: severe dryness/peeling on forearms and shoulders, and a rash on my hands. I recommend Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Concentrated Therapy cream. It's really helped. Sleep, exercise, and eating habits are bad, and stress is high. And...I had a lot to drink this week! So starting this weekend, going to be healthy again.

mg123

mg123

05/14/2010

 

Finished Week 5

Well, I am officially one-quarter of the way done! Finally got camera batteries - and I compared this morning's picture with the picture I took before starting treatment- and there was quite a difference! Very few (if any) red bumps - but tons of tiny white ones that you can't really notice unless looking closely. I hope they go away though - it makes my skin texture rough. New side effect: rash on the backs of my arms and on my hands. Gross. I will have to figure something out. Had one beer this weekend. No noticeable problems. Otherwise, I'm stressed, missing workouts, eating terrible food, and getting 5 hours of sleep each night. Just a few more days of that, though, and I'll start taking care of myself - I just need this semester to be over! Take care!

mg123

mg123

05/05/2010

 

Finished Week 4

I went to see my dermatologist today because I'm almost done with one month of isotretinoin. Overall, things are good - he said he notices some improvement on the right side of my face, which is good. I'm still breaking out a lot, but less severely - not as red or deep. However, there are a lot more bumps. My doctor said that I won't see a constant and consistent improvement - things will worsen and improve over the course of the treatment. Lips are really dry. I bought biotin supplements (supposedly good for hair growth), and the TGel shampoo is helping my dandruff. I do have an annoying rash or something on the backs of my hands. My pledge to really take care of myself has fallen by the wayside this week, due to a very hectic schedule. I've been eating out most nights, sleeping only 4-6 hours per night, not really exercising, and drinking lots and lots of coffee. I also had three alcoholic drinks this week. My doctor didn't say anything either way about alcohol, but I'm sure that the less you drink while on this medication, the better. Hopefully the iPledge system will work with no problems and I'll be able to pick up my second month prescription tomorrow. Hang in there, everyone, and think positively! I realized today that I am 20% done, and once things really start improving, I'm sure it will outweigh the negative side effects.

mg123

mg123

04/28/2010

 

Finished Week 3

Not much new to report. The side effects seem to kind of change every week, but honestly, I'm getting used to the medication. I especially notice dandruff, dry lips, and joint pain - if I sit or fall asleep in a weird position, I can really feel it. My vision is worse and I'm quite tired, but I'm not sure if either of these symptoms is related to the medicine. Still breaking out, not significantly better or worse. I have to go for blood tests this weekend and I'll see my doctor next week. I've been taking pictures, but my camera is out of batteries so no record of progress this week. Hang in there, everyone, and take care of yourselves!

mg123

mg123

04/21/2010

 

Finished Week 2

Two weeks down! Lots of changes this week. My lips are incredibly dry. I have to use Aquaphor multiple time per day, but it works really great - seriously. Chapstick just doesn't cut it. It's a weird kind of dry - my lips are dry from the inside but aren't really cracking or bleeding. I think that's because I'm being very careful about it. My hair isn't as oily as it was, which is great. I am getting dandruff however, which has never really been a problem. I just bought some Neutrogena TGel, so I'm going to start using it tomorrow. I also am trying to blow dry my hair less - I used to do it everyday, but now I'm just going to do it if I am going out or have a performance or something. I've been reading a bit about Biotin, which supposedly helps hair growth. I may start that soon. I definitely notice the stiffness. I just bought glucosamine chondroitin with hyaluronic acid (supposedly it rebuilds cartilage and lubricates joints). I started taking it because I don't want any permanent damage, since I play a musical instrument. The other day, I took a nap in a chair and woke up after about 45 minutes with a neck so stiff I could barely turn my head. Speaking of naps... I have been EXHAUSTED this week. Yesterday, I could have gone to sleep at 1 p.m. and not woken up until the next morning. I don't know if this has to do with the drug, my schedule, or something else, but as soon as I get through this busy week, I'm going to make sleep a priority. Someone said that when on this medication, you should take care of yourself as if you have the flu, and I think that's great advice. It's really hard on your body! My eyes are dry, so I bought artificial tears. DO NOT get Visine. The purpose of Visine is to get the red out, and in order to do that, it constricts your blood vessels. It treats the symptoms. My skin has no real change in oil. I love the fact that I don't have to use (or am not allowed to use) topicals. Epiduo and benzoyl peroxide BURNED my skin. It was red and peeling all the time. I would go overboard and pile it on, which this site recommends, but personally, that does not work for me. Although it apparently works for some people. I have no new cysts, but lots of bumps around my chin and jawline. My hyperpigmentation and scarring is really bad. My skin was only really dry one day last week, but I moisturize religiously (morning and night) and it really helps. One thing that is helping me is that I'm working out a lot. This enables me to see a physical change in something right away, and I FEEL better. I've been thinking: take care of yourself and love yourself. Your skin condition is not what defines you. There are so many things that are more important, like being a good person, spending time with family and friends, and working hard at something you care about. I know, though, that it's really hard to put it into perspective when you think that your life will not begin until you are acne-free. Don't wait for your acne to go away...live life to the fullest anyway becuase life is good regardless.

mg123

mg123

04/14/2010

 

Finished Week 1

Well, I took the plunge and started Isotretinoin last week! (the 28th of March, to be precise). I'm keeping this blog to track progress, and hopefully it can eventually be of use to someone, like so many other blogs out there have helped me make this decision. A brief history: I had mild to moderate acne throughout high school. My junior year of college, it started to get pretty bad, so my doctor gave me Yasmin. It worked PERFECTLY for four years...I mean, if I went to bed without washing my face, nothing happened, and I didn't have to worry about topicals. Fast forward through graduation and two years in the real world - and four years after having great skin, this past summer, it got really bad. I had the worst breakout and it was uncontrollable. Even the type of acne I got was different - it just would not go away. Warm compresses, SA, sulfur, and BP did nothing except dry out and irritate my skin. I started grad school, and the last thing I wanted to deal with was acne. My dermatologist put me on Yaz, which may have helped a little. finally, in February, I went to a new derm, who suggested isotretinoin. I almost cried, since it is a drug that I never thought I would have to be on. But as I thought about it the next few days and worried about all the risks, I would see my reflection in the mirror and wonder what it would be like to live without acne. I thought about how I was currently on four prescriptions, none of which were working. So I decided to do it. My acne: I guess I don't get a ton of zits at once, but when I do, they take forever to go away (as in, months). And the hyperpigmentation/scarring is some of the worst I've ever seen. I have very fair skin, and I can't even cover the red marks with makeup - it makes everything LOOK worse than it actually is. But that is something I'll deal with after the acne clears up! My main fears are: the initial breakout, hair loss, joint stiffness (I am a musician and need to have finger agility), and dry skin that won't go away. I'm trying to be proactive in preventing these things. I got the blood tests, made it through IPledge with one minor setback, and have now taken the pills for a week and a day. Here is what I have so far: Month 1: 80 mg (40/40) Week 1: -No new cysts -Previous acne is diminishing -No major change in oil – if anything, less dry, possibly due to discontinuation of Epiduo -Lips are beginning to get dry -Joint stiffness – hopefully not in fingers -Some new flesh-colored bumps -Headaches -Itchy all over -Some tiny flesh colored bumps in chin and jawline. Regimen: -Wash with cetaphil -Moisturize with Aveeno sensitive skin in morning and Aveeno at night -Spot treat with BP, SA, and Epiduo (not supposed to, I'm going to try to stop) -Aquaphor on lips morning and night, Burts Bees throughout the day -Neutrogena body lotion -Use moisturizing shampoo (2 days) and volumizing shampoo (1 day) as well as spray-on nutritive oils I'm trying to eat a more balanced diet and exercise five times a week. Once everything at school settles down, I'll worry about getting more sleep. I hope this works. 5% done!!!!

mg123

mg123

04/07/2010

Last Reply:
04/14/2010

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