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About this blog

My account of taking accutane at age 37

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The most boring blog ever!!

This may be the most boring blog anyone has ever written! I have only 8 weeks to go on accutane now and it's been VERY uneventful. I am thankful for that though! I still have very dry skin, scalp and lips. THAT much has not changed throughout the entire course. I never experienced any excessive hair shedding. I had only a couple of blood nose episodes in the beginning then nothing. I have not had a single pimple since starting treatment, no breakouts or purging AT ALL. I've had dry eyes which can be bothersome at times, but I just use drops or close them more often. I've had some other little "side effects" like minor muscle soreness but I really don't know if I can attribute those things to accutane or if it is just because I'm getting old All in all it's been quite boring, but VERY effective on the cysts...ie they are gone! I am looking forward to finishing the course just because I'm SICK of having to apply carmex every few hours. I'm really looking forward to wearing lipstick instead. So have I helped anyone out there? I don't think I have really! I've answered questions in the forum, but as this seems to be a younger person's drug I don't know how relevant I am here anyway. Still, it's been good to record this and I have enjoyed reading about other experiences too. PS: the red marks are very faint now and probably not noticeable by other people, but I still obsessively cover them I'm confident they'll disappear with time.

matureacne

matureacne

 

I made tinted carmex!

Haven't written here for a while because not much has happened really. My skin is still really dry, but being kept under control with moisturizers. My lips are still VERY dry, but being controlled with Carmex (my lips are never without a coating of this!!). And I still have not had a single pimple! As the title says, I made tinted carmex today. I got a pot of carmex and stood it in boiling hot water for a while, then stirred (as it got soft) and added in some mineral pigment I had. I used a pigment called "Rose Gold" which is a lovely dusty pink with gold shimmer. The result is very subtle, but prettier looking lips. Well, prettier than just plain carmex anyway! Things I'm hoping will happen soon: my scars will fade
my tiny nose blackheads will fall out
my flakiness will reduce
I have noticed dry eyes over the last few days actually. Nothing too bad, but definitely a change. I've also had a bit of muscle soreness. Again, nothing too bad though

matureacne

matureacne

 

I love my hair right now!!

I've heard that accutane can cause hair loss. This never happened to me the first time around and I don't think it's happening to me now, BUT I am LOVING my new dry scalp! I haven't washed my hair with shampoo in a week and my hair is rewarding me with shine galore. It's because I'm not "stripping" my length, so my hair just feels nicer and has more body. I love not having to wash my hair because of my oily roots. My hair is coloured, so it is a bit more dry than virgin hair, so anything that doesn't remove the moisture is great. On the other hand, I have to be careful of my dry scalp which flakes if I scratch it. I'm going to be scalp massaging with coconut oil before every wash from now on. Hey, accutane has to have ONE good side effect doesn't it??

matureacne

matureacne

 

I cut my hand :(

Yes, the title of this post IS relevant because Accutane can effect the skin's ability to heal itself. I cut my hand pretty badly the other day while chopping vegetables. The cut was deep and there was lots of blood. I was really worried it would be a real hassle to nurse it while it healed. It was in an awkward place on my hand too. Anyway, I kept it covered with a bandaid for a couple of days and then when I took it off, it looked REALLY good! It had healed remarkably well, especially given that I'm on accutane. I'm obviously not suffering THAT particular side effect then My skin is still looking GREAT!! No pimples at all and the old marks are fading slowly. One thing that is annoying me is the constant flakiness. It is impossible to wear any kind of foundation. I've tried liquid/moisturizing ones, powder ones, BB cream but they all emphasize the flakes and just sit on top of my skin and look wrong. I've tried different moisturizers underneath too. I've even added moisturizer over the top to try and blend the makeup, but it's no good. The best I can do is concealer and a tiny bit of rice powder, but of course there is not much coverage in that. I don't have any pimples to cover and my skin looks really clear, but I do want to cover some uneven skin tone and redness (it just looks better in photographs!). Oh well, small price to pay I guess.

matureacne

matureacne

 

First blood nose!

Oh dear, today I had a blood nose! Now, I have just had a nasty cold so my nose has been through a bit of trauma these past days, and also the accutane has dried everything out. I should have been EXPECTING this! Anyway, it wasn't too bad and stopped pretty quickly. I have decided to start using Fess Nasal Gel which is a moisturizer for your nose. I have a sample here, so after I use that up I'll know if it's good enough to buy a full size. Last time around I used vaseline on a cotton bud and just smeared it up there every night before bed. It seemed to do the trick. Although last time around the nose bleeds were only at night and only in the last couple of months of treatment. Another weird symptom: I had redness around my eyelids yesterday. It looked like I was wearing eyeshadow! It's gone today, but was kinda strange

matureacne

matureacne

 

Almost 3 weeks in. Supplements...

I'm almost 3 weeks along now and things are great. I thought I might post about the supplements I'm taking. Daily, I take the following: vit B, zinc, fish oil, Vit C. I read that these might be beneficial to reduce side effects of accutane, and I know that in my case it seems to be working. I'm thinking of taking some spirulina too, but want to wait a while to make sure I'm not going to flare anything up. Weird symptom of the day: tight scalp. My scalp feels really tight, like it's pulling from ear to ear around the back of my head, like I'm wearing an invisible head band or something. I have no itchiness or flakiness, just this tight feeling. I'm going to massage my scalp with coconut oil tonight and see if that helps. It's really weird though, I don't remember ever feeling this before!

matureacne

matureacne

 

Things are looking GREAT!

Well I'm over most of this cold, hard to say if accutane is giving me any other side effects at the moment because I've been sick anyway. I did have a HUGE headache yesterday, but as I said: can't really blame it on the accutane. As for my face, well, it's looking amazing! It's totally clear and soft My chin has improved greatly and is hardly red or flaky anymore. It's still dry (as is my whole face) but definitely controllable with large amounts of moisturizer. In fact, I used my extremely gentle Trilogy exfoliating cream in the shower the other day and I really think it helped to reduce the flaky "rough" feeling of my chin and my moisturizer seemed to sink in better. During the day I've been using Dermaveen, then Hamilton Face sunblock over the top of that. I sometimes use a tiny bit of concealer over my old red spots (but they are fading fast) and I use my Burt's Bees tinted lip balm if I'm going out. If I'm at home, it's just plain ol' Carmex. At night time, I use rosehip oil and then Dermaveen over the top of that. I tried using my BB cream the other day actually and it was a disaster! It just sat on top of my face, emphasizing my dry parts, and it felt really thick. Yuck! I ended up taking it right off again. I think it's one of those products I'll have to wait for after accutane is over. I must say, my moisturizer Dermaveen is FANTASTIC, but it's one of those products that really only seems to work well for me when I'm using accutane. When my skin is "normal" (even if it's feeling dry), Dermaveen doesn't really feel all that good. Right now though, I don't know what I'd do without it. It really is my saviour. So although I'm really happy that my skin looks so lovely right now, I'm a bit worried that I have missed the initial breakout and maybe it's still to come when I least expect it??!! Right now though, it doesn't look as though there's any HINT of a pimple or cyst coming up, and the initial redness of my face is all but gone. At this point (last time around), it was smooth sailing.

matureacne

matureacne

 

Another weird "side effect"

My cold was REALLY bad yesterday, but a bit better today. I have read that accutane lowers your immune system, so I guess it's not so suprising I got sick. My chin is still very red and feels kind of rough when I moisturize in the morning. I'm still using a few drops of rosehip oil under the dermaveen moisturizer and it seems to be keeping the flakies at bay. I just really don't like the redness I'm blotchy and I'm not sure I can cover it with anything either, so I'm just hoping this passes quickly. No zits though and the soreness has definitely reduced. A weird thing I've noticed (and there's always WEIRD things with this drug!) is that my urine smells strange. Not bad smelling, just different. Kind of a chemical smell. It's hard to explain.

matureacne

matureacne

 

Sore face and I have a cold :(

Well I think today I was officially unsuitable for public viewing. My chin is quite red, my face is peely and to top it all off, I have a cold My youngest son has a cold, so I probably got it from him. I spent most of the day just laying around feeling sorry for myself. My face is really SORE too, mainly my chin. I kinda remember this from last time (man I WISH I'd kept a journal back then!!) so I know it's "normal". It just sux. I got my BB cream today, so I'm looking forward to trying that out this weekend (I have a party to go to). I tried it on my hand and it looks quite nice, so I hope my face has calmed down a bit by then. Also, my right eye feels a bit achey when I blink, like a bruise. I hope I'm not getting a sty or something. It's very hard to tell if accutane is effecting my mood as I have a cold at the moment anyway, but I was quite snappy today. My poor husband is bearing the brunt I'm afraid

matureacne

matureacne

 

My chin! My chin!

No, it's not breaking out, but it's looking quite funny. Not funny ha ha either! I woke up this morning and it's quite red and blotchy. The skin is flaky (as it's starting to be all over my face) and it has a "waxy" appearance. Very hard to describe, but kinda plastic looking (not in a good way). It may be the extra moisturizer I'm piling on or it may be that my chin is slightly swollen! It looks a bit fat all over. There are no pimples, but it looks blotchy and unattractive. I'm still kind of happy though, I like that accutane is working and I know from experience that this "ugly" phase doesn't last long. I think of it as an acid peel where you look like a hideous creature for a few days, but then once the skin comes off you looks porcelain smooth I warned my husband today that I may have to go into hiding for a few days, that means I don't want to go out or have people over. He understands that it's just temporary and I just want to avoid questions and embarassment. It's funny, because I'm quite a confident person except when it comes to this. It's hard to explain about acne at my age. If someone sees me, I'll just say I had an allergic reaction to something. You know I think it's in my head mostly and I must not look as bad as I think, because my kids (who are at the very HONEST ages of 6 and 8) have not said anything about my face Other symptoms at the moment are dry eyes, fatigue, dry/sore lips and hang nails. Nothing is too bad though. Oh, the other weird thing is I feel kind of crusty bumps around my hair line. I'm not sure what that is, maybe dry skin falling off or maybe I have blackheads there that are coming to the surface? (I have been known to get hairline zits!) Anyway, I'm trying not to scratch them off. Also, the old cyst mark I had on my forehead is not quite gone as I had thought. It's very tiny, but there is a little crusty scab over it (looks like a flake of dry skin) today which I am just going to wait until it drops off. I think it may be the last traces of the pore blockage (that caused the cyst in the first place) coming to the surface.

matureacne

matureacne

 

Day 10 - 3rd day of 40mg, things are happening

Yesterday was Mother's Day and we went out for the day. Seeing as I've been noticing my insane level of photosensitivity, I slathered on sunblock and carried around my favourite parasol all day (if you're looking at getting one, I highly recommend abitshady.com.au). I'm pretty sure that no sun touched my skin all day My face is becoming a bit red and flaky now, in particular my chin area. I'm pretty stoked about that actually, as it means the drug is working. My chin is my worst area, so I'm glad it's working on that first. The old cyst on my forehead just kinda flaked off yesterday too, thank God after all this time! My lips are a bit stingy and dry and my skin overall is a bit tingly/stingy/sensitive. I've been using my Rosehip oil (night time and in the morning, a few drops under my sunscreen) and this seems to be keeping it under control. I used a tiny bit of makeup today and it looks a bit weird on my skin right now, like I'm trying to cover sunburn or something. I'm also having to reapply lip balm every couple of hours, but that's expected. All in all, I'd say it's going well so far I don't have any pimples right now btw, just some old red marks. When will the IB come? Will it come at all? Stay tuned.....

matureacne

matureacne

 

First day of 40mg

So today I took two pills instead of one, that's 40mg per day which will be the norm until I finish my course in several months time. My skin is a little flaky today, but nothing too bad. No new pimples since I started the course and my leftover cyst mark is still not gone On an unrelated note, I dyed my hair red today At least my hair can look good even if my skin sux for a while

matureacne

matureacne

 

Still oily....hopefully not for long

Day 6 and as the title says, I'm still oily. The weird thing is, my skin feels "dry" at the same time, like moisturizers (and my skin's own oil) are not penetrating. Weird indeed. Actually my hair is still quite oily too, can't wait until THAT changes. That is one side effect of accutane I'm actually looking forward to! I bought some Burt's Bees tinted lip balm today in "watermelon". I already own "fig". Watermelon looks LOVELY, so I hope it will be moisturizing enough in a week or two still. I'm also about to purchase (online) some L'egere BB cream. It's had great reviews, so I'm optimistic. If it was designed for traumatized skin (ie post laser treatments or peel treatments) then it's got to be OK for accutane skin right? We'll see I guess. Of course I will report the results here Hey btw, I've asked this in the support forum but it seems that even mods don't know how to post images in blog posts. If you have a blog here and know how to do that, then pleeeeeease let me know? Thanks.

matureacne

matureacne

 

Products! I still want to look pretty :)

Day 5 and things are starting to happen. It's not much, but my lips are feeling a bit tight when they are without carmex and I think I have a slight rash developing on the bridge of my nose. My skin also feels a bit sensitive all over. I recall these symptoms from last time and it means the accutane is definitely starting to do it's thing. Amazing how half the dose does the same thing! Btw, my skin is still clear (just the left over cyst from weeks ago and even that is going away now ) The small changes have got me thinking about which products to use. I'm a bit of a product researcher, ie I love finding new products and reading reviews. I'm a member of several hair and beauty forums and it's what I do in my spare time. I used to be a commercial makeup artist in my younger years, so it's in my blood. I'd like to insert a table here actually, showing what I used last time I was on accutane, what I use when not on accutane, and what I'm thinking of using this time around. (why don't the BB table codes work???? grr.... Had to insert an image!) The only other category would be make up, but I don't think I wore any last last at all (maybe eye makeup occasionally). Normally, I don't wear much except concealer (mineral powder applied with a brush), eye makeup and lip gloss. This time around I'm planning on using concealer for the red marks (if skin is not too flaky), BB cream, eye makeup and tinted lip balm. You have to remember that I'm older now and "need" more on my face

matureacne

matureacne

 

Flushing and clear skin!

Well day 3 came and went without much to say, except for my flushed face in the afternoons and evenings. Day 2 and 3 were flushed days for me. My face got hot and red at about 2pm and stayed that way until bed time. It has been a bit warm here (weather wise) and I do have a habit of flushing in the afternoons, but definitely not two days in a row and not for so long a time period. I'm sure it is linked with the accutane. On the bright side, no new pimples/cysts at all. My skin is looking quite clear, except for the remnants of a cyst RIGHT in the middle of my forehead. I mean, if you measured my forehead and worked out the absolute centre point, then that is where this cyst is/was! Such an obvious place and I've gotten used to people's gaze wandering when they talk to me. I feel like saying right up front before we start our conversation: "Yes, that is a cyst on my forehead. Have a good look now, then we can get on with what we're talking about". They're not being rude, just curious. Hell, I'm fascinated by how disgusting those things are and it's on ME! This particular one has been there for a couple of weeks and I think it's FINALLY starting to go away, at least the top part of it kind of flaked off yesterday, leaving the raised bump less raised. It's also not very red anymore. Still, I'm trying to avoid down lighting for now My skin is not really any less oily yet and my lips are normal still. I'm sure this will all change when I start the 40mg on Saturday. I'm hoping this slow transition into accutane at 20mg per day for the first week will avoid the dreaded IB, but time will tell. I'm wondering actually, do I take the 2 x 20mg pills together in the morning next week or do I take 20mg in the morning and 20mg again at night? I'm favouring the former method, but I'll ring the derm today and just make sure that's what she intended me to do. Hey, if anyone has a comment, feel free to post

matureacne

matureacne

 

About cholesterol

I'm on Day 2, and of course I have nothing to report in the way of skin changes! I am sore right now, but that is because of my hardcore once a week Pilates session which always leaves me sore on the weekends. Perhaps I'll have to give that up for a few months? Accutane does cause soreness and this can be exaserbated by hard exercise. I've been thinking about the side effect of raised lipids in the blood: ie cholesterol. I had my blood test before I started and I'm 5.9 which is on the high end of average. Nothing to worry about in itself, but it would be expected that this number will increase over my course. Being older, my cholesterol is higher than most accutane patients, but I am very fit and healthy and eat an excellent diet. In fact I have been following a "Primal Diet" (Mark Sisson) for around 4 months and have never felt better. I'm an ideal weight and am happy with the way my body looks. A feature of the Primal way of eating is that you don't worry about eating fat, that is to say you don't limit your saturated fat intake at all. When my derm was telling me my cholesterol score, she told me not to worry but to watch my saturated fat intake so that the number didn't get too high! Well, I'm not intending on changing my diet, but I'm a little worried that my derm might take me off the drug if my cholesterol does get high. Yes I know, I'm worrying prematurely but it would suck if that happened. Anyway, I'll continue to update

matureacne

matureacne

 

Day 1 (and the back story!)

Hi. I'm 37 years old and back on Accutane. I've suffered with mild-moderate acne since my teenage years. Nothing too bad, but it persisted until my late 20s when I finally took my first course of accutane. My problem was with cysts. In fact, I hardly ever got "normal" pimples. My cysts would occur mainly on my chin and were painful and obvious. You just cannot cover those things! (and I was a professional makeup artist, so I know). Along with that, I had oily skin and a constant "shine". My first course of accutane was just after my 27th birthday. I was on it for 6 months. The side effects were: dry skin, dry hair and scalp, ridiculously dry lips, blood nose occasionally. Nothing was too bad and I was a fanatic with the moisturizers which helped I'm sure. I recall an initial breakout within the first two weeks, but nothing too bad. The worst thing about the first two weeks was a red, sunburnt looking face and peeling skin. It was so weird, my skin peeled on my face, in my ears, on my hands and even on my eyelids. I could see the old blackheads literally falling off my face! It was pretty cool actually. After that, my skin was clear. I completed the course and my skin remained perfectly clear and "normal" for almost 10 years!! Yes, perfect skin for 10 years. I felt so lucky. People would always compliment me on my "beautiful skin". The red marks faded to nothing in the first few months, so you could never tell I ever had a problem with acne. I was so happy I'd been "cured". Fast forward to age 36. My skin starts to get oily again and pimples start appearing. Only 1 or 2 every month which, although annoying, I could live with. Then by the time I had turned 37, the cysts were appearing. First 1 every couple of months, then I started getting them every month, then 3 a month!! Let me tell you, at my age those suckers take longer to go away and leave worse scars than on a young person. I finally resigned myself to a second course and booked in to see the same derm I had 10 years ago. She agreed with me, and so here I am. I've been started on 20mg per day for a week, then the full dose of 40mg for the rest of the course. I'll be on it for around 6 months again. I'm hoping for at least another 10 years of clear skin....and ultimately a cure for life! (I mean come on, is it possible to even get cysts again at age 47??) Today was my first pill. No noticeable difference of course, but this afternoon my face feels quite red and flushed (it could just be coincidence though). I am of the opinion that if the side effects are going to happen, I'd rather they start sooner rather than later. I just want to get them over with. I've stocked up on moisturizers and lip balms, nose moisturizers and eye drops. Also taking vit B, zinc and fish oil supplements. Fingers crossed. Deep breath. Here we go again.........

matureacne

matureacne

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