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Day 49

Not a lot has changed. My skin is still flaky. I think I've been using too much moisturizer, because I'm still getting pimples. I had a huge one on my cheek that was really 2 right next to each other. It's still healing, and it's been there for about a week and a half. I have consistently had 3-4 pimples that are active or healing since doubling my dosage up to 80mg. The red marks are still fading. My lips are really, really chapped. The inside of my nose is bloody and uncomfortable. That's about it. All very annoying! I never did take a picture. I'll do that in the next few days. How is everyone else doing?

Day 39

Well, I'm back to square one with the side effects this week after doubling my dose of Claravis on Monday. Ouch. Flaky & peeling skin, dry eyes, lips are so chapped they are cracking and bleeding, muscles are sore, knees ache, and I have 2 new big pimples. Oh, and the orange peel skin is back on my forehead. I hope that doesn't mean I'll be really oily again before I dry up. It's such a gross combination to be oily and flaky at the same time. To top it all off, I had a migraine for 2 and a half days....OK, enough of the complaining. The rest of my skin looks great, besides the new monster pimples and the peeling. I am wearing less makeup for sure, and the red spots are fading. Wooo and sigh.

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Day 34

**WARNING** Lengthy entry! I've made it through my first month on Claravis! Tomorrow is my one month appointment, even though I'm on day 34 today. My doctor is going on vacation, so they had to schedule me out a little more than 30 days. I had to skip a few pills over the 30 day to compensate, instead of quitting for 4 days. It hasn't seemed to make a difference, as my skin looks great now. I just have 2 pimples now and they're small. I've been on a quest to find new products that will help me through this, both good moisturizers and makeup. I pretty much had to replace everything that was for oily/acne skin. I have to worry about neither now. I have some pimples, but I certainly can't go slather benzoyl peroxie or tea tree oil on them, like I was before! I've also noticed that with the dry skin, my wrinkles and lines look worse. I've traded one problem for another. After a few trips to Sephora, where I'm pretty sure they know me by name now, I think I've hit the skincare jackpot! #1- Cliniques's Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector. I am not expecting it to get rid of my old acne marks, even though this is what it's promising to do. Thanks to taking birth control pills, I have hyperpigmintation above my lip, along with a spot under one eye, and a patch on my cheek. It's such a wonderful side effect! As my skin is clearing, it's more noticeable. #2- Philosophy's When Hope is Not Enough. I originally picked up Hope in a Jar, then came home and read some reviews from my favorite lady, Paula Begoun. This lovely product contains lavender oil causes cell death. WTF? I will not be putting that on my skin. It also includes sage oil, which is irritating to the face. Back to the store with that! I decided on Hope in a Jar's big sister, which is kinder and gentler. Whew. It sinks right in to my dry patches, which are the tip of my nose (weird!), and the corners of my mouth without feeling greasy. #3- Bliss Steep Clean. Where have you been since day one of my Claravis journey? They should hand you this along with your prescription, no joke. I can no longer live without this product. This is "if I were stranded on a deserted island" stuff. The nice girl in the Sephora store told me that one of the other employees that worked there swore by this stuff while she was on Accutane. I wish I could go back to the store, find this person, and hug them! It's a fruit acid peel that's in 2 chambers that you mix together in your hand, then rub into your face and leave it on as a mask for about 15 minutes. It has shea butter and something else in it, so it takes the dead skin off and leaves moisturizer behind! Genius. It is rather expensive, in fact all of these are way more than what I'd typically spend. This was $40 something... BUT, I'm committed to getting my skin healthy. I'll use it 2 times a week, so it should last for a while. #4- Make Up Forever HD High Definition foundation- The coverage on this stuff is so good, I don't have to use concealer. Now, I'm someone who is very self conscious about my acne scars and will cover every last bit up before leaving the house, and put concealer in my purse for touch ups later. I am very fair-skinned, so it's hard to find something that's not too dark or pink. There are many, many shades to choose from and you can build the coverage with this. I put it all over my face, then went back over the scars/pimples. It stayed put all day too. I love this stuff! It's amazing and will definitely save me some time during my morning routine. So there you have it. I feel like I could write a book on my experiences with this already, what's worked, what hasn't. Oh, wait...I kind of am here with this blog. There has been such a drastic improvement after 1 month, I can hardly believe it! I hope it doesn't get worse again when I double my dose tomorrow... eeek! If it does, I'm prepared. Thanks for reading. p.s. I'll post a picture tomorrow after my derm appointment.

Day 23

Haven't updated in a while because I cut the crap out of my finger this weekend and had to get stitches! Typing is slow and hurts. I just sharpened my knives too. Half my finger is numb, cut through a nerve. I'm hoping it gets better, because it's really uncomfortable right now. I type all day at work too. BLAH. Skin is waaaaay better, not oily at all. I have 4 small pimples, no cysts. All manageable, I can't complain! I've noticed over the past few days my scars are really healing faster and my old red marks are going away. SWEET! I'm still achy all over, lips are still very chapped, eyes are not as dry, and nose doesn't have as much blood in it. I'm using a wash cloth morning and night with the CeraVe face wash to get the peeling, flaky skin off and that's leaving nice, new, soft skin behind. Not too bad.

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Day 16

Just a little over 2 weeks down! Things are changing. Yesterday I noticed the skin on my forehead was getting tight. I'm dryer overall today for sure. Today was the first day I didn't have an oil slick on my nose and have to use any powder. I'm a little worried about how dry I'll get, since I'm half way through my first month at 40mg, then I bump up to 80mg in 15 more days. What will that do to me????? Eeeeeeeek! I also started to get a crack in the middle of my bottom lip, despite applying Aquaphor all day long. It hurt by the end of the day. I have a heavier lip balm I ordered from Paula's Choice a while ago that works very well. Do a search and order if you're having trouble with chapped lips, it's well worth getting. If you haven't heard of Paula Begoun, where have you been?! I LOVE HER! I've learned soooo much from her about acne and skin care. So, all of the new pimples that I've been getting have peeling skin around them now. They seem to heal much faster. I have one big, painful cyst on my chin and one on my cheek, and just a regular pimple next to the cyst on my chin. Everything else is almost healed or small enough that it isn't bothering me too much. My scalp is still flaky and itchy, still using Head & Shoulders every 2 days. I'm still having body aches, my lower back is hurting right now as I sit at my computer. It's not terrible though, just annoying. My arms and knees ache. It's just a little reminder. I'm adding flax daily for omega 3 &6, since that's supposed to help joints, skin, hair, etc. I'm also having 1/2 an avocado and salmon a few times a week. I'm doing what I can nutritionally!

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Day 13

Whoaaaaaa initial breakout hell. I stayed at my parents house this weekend, along with my brother and sister-in-law. I wish I could have stayed home instead, where nobody could have seen the mess that my skin has become. I forgot my Aquaphor for my lips too, I'll never, ever do that again. I keep a tube in my bathroom at home, and one at my desk at work. I need one in my purse as well. I tired using my good lipgloss, but that didn't work at all. My lips were peeling by the time I got home today. As soon as I put the Aquaphor on, they were back to soft and not all tight and crepe paper feeling. So the Aquaphor is the way to go for sure! Not as if I had a doubt for sure, but being without it, made me realize how well it was working for me. I think this is even harder to take right now, because I went on antibiotics again for a little over a month before starting Claravis, and that mostly cleared my skin up. I was enjoying that, now I have some big, painful bumps. My nose was peeling, but now it's just shiny and soft, like after a sunburn peels. My forehead looks great, and my pores are smaller there, so maybe that's a preview of what the rest of my skin will look like? I don't get many pimples on my forehead anyway, mostly on my chin, cheeks, and around my nose. Everywhere else is a mess. I have huge pimples, and small rashy ones, and then some that will heal before they even turn into a whitehead. My nose and forehead are still really, really oily. So much more than usual. I'm having to powder my nose a few times a day, or it looks weird. I have a combination of really nice, smooth skin, and huge nasty pimples. The places that are not breaking out have become softer with smaller pores! So strange. I think it makes the pimples look even worse. My makeup doesn't want to stick to the oilslick areas, and it's cakey on they flakey skin. I'M A MESS! This will pass, I know. It's just gross right now. I feel gross. Oh, and I took a picture tonight that I'll just consider my before, because my skin's getting pretty bad right now and I don't have any from before this last course of antibiotics, when it was REALLY bad. I posted it in my Accutane log thread, since we can't post pictures in out blogs?! And I can't get it to link to my blog! ACK! Anyway, if you click on my username, you can find recent post and it's in the Accutane log forum.

Day 11

My skin feels much better today. The orange peel look is nearly gone and it feels softer. I'm still really itchy and have dry patches, along with really oily patches on my forehead, nose, and chin. I still have the few huge pimples, with another one forming below the left side of my nose now. They are healing faster than they usually do. The palms of my hands are starting to look kind of pruny, like I've stayed in the bathtub for too long! More lotion! Also, my scalp is very, very itchy. I picked up some Head & Shoulders to see if that will help. I've also heard TGel shampoo works well too, but I'll use that as a last resort, as I color my hair and I don't want it to strip the color out. I'm hoping for a significant improvement by the end of the weekend, since the past few days have been a lot better.

Day 9

My skin's not much better today. It still looks rashy and puffy, like the texture of an orange. It's strange, I noticed this morning it's smooth around my eyes, then the orange skin texture below, starting on my cheeks. So attractive! At least I can wear make up. I have 2 new pimples besides the one on my forehead (that's mostly healed), and the HUGE one between my eyes. They are painful, since my skin is feeling tight, and raw right now. The best way to describe it is like a sunburn. Ouch. Also, the corner of my mouth is starting to crack and get red and dry, so I've been applying Aquaphor to that too. I've only told a few people that I've decided to go on Accutane, well Claravis. It's a personal decision and not something I want to discuss with everyone. I don't talk about my zits to everyone, so why would I want to talk about how I'm treating them? I have told my mom and 2 of my close friends. Today I mentioned to one of these friends that I was having a hard time already with my new medication, and I was uncomfortable today. Big mistake. I got a big dose of don't come crying to me, because you decided to go on his horrendous medication. My clear-skinned friend went and googled Accutane after I told her I was going on it. She said my skin was nowhere near the pictures she found and she would never risk her health, just to not have acne. I really started to get upset when we were talking. This wasn't a decisions I took lightly. I have known about Accutane for years, and it took me years to decide that this was the only option left for me. I truly believe acne is a disease and does affect many aspects of your day to day life. We all know that all to well. She told me to make sure I don't get pregnant (no $hit), and asked if I was seeing a dermatologist for advice. Huh? How could I not? So then we talked about how it's all very regulated now, the pregnancy tests before the prescriptions is dispensed, the 2 forms of birth control, etc. Then she said she heard I had to sign something saying I'm aware of all of the other side effects and asked if that was regulated. Sigh. I am fully aware of what this can do to me. I also have managed to go just about half of my life, around 15 years, and not got pregnant yet, so I'm more than likely not going to spontaneously get pregnant within the next 4 months while using an additional form of birth control! Seriously. Also, I am not some vain person who just wants to never have a tiny little pimple again, so I decided all willy-nilly to just go on this medication. (THAT COULD KILL ME! GASP) What I wish I would have said to her: Please give me some credit, because I am an educated adult who makes informed decisions about my health. That is all I have to say about that. And thank goodness for this website and everybody here who can understand what we're each going through, because you may run into people who are less than supportive of your choices, and you may not even know it....

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Day 8

Today I could cry. I am having some kind of reaction, I noticed it last night. My skin between my eyes and up my forehead and on my chin looks kind of puffy and is dimpled like an orange peel and really rough. It looks like hives, even though I've never had them in my life, but my skin's not red. My face feels AWFUL. My lips feel tight and are sucking up the Aquaphor almost as soon as I apply it. I am just uncomfortable. I also have a huge pimple between my eyes that hurts, and one on my forehead. Not terrible, as far as an initial breakout goes, but the pimples hurt on my puffy, dimply skin. I went and got CereVe moisturizer and face wash at lunch, along with some Benadryl to see if that will help, although I'm not sure it's an allergic reaction. I suppose I should call my derm. in the morning if it's not better. I'm pretty sure it's just my skin's way of adjusting. Oh, and I still have oily patches on my nose and forehead. OH MY HECK.

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Day 6

More dry patches around my nose, forehead, chin. Still just a few new pimples, 1 new one and 2 that are healing. This isn't bad for me and typical. I'm waiting for the initial break out to happen. Maybe it won't? The pimples I do have, seem to heal very fast, and then the skin peels all around them. My eyes are still very dry, skins still itchy all over,my lips need something on them at all times, my nose feels stuffy and is bloody when I blow it. I'm achy. I feel like I have the flu, that deep body ache. I want that to go away. Everything else is tolerable. I'm also very tired. One side effect I'm particularly worried about, is the potential for headaches. I am currently on 2 daily preventatives for migraine headaches: Topamax, and Nortriptyline. My derm. did mention the the Claravis increasing inter-cranial pressure, not a good thing for headache sufferers. I've already had one bad headache on day 2. I'm hoping to keep them under control, since I'm on the 2 medications. We'll see. I have to find a way to clear up my skin and keep headaches away. Oh, tonight I'll take some pictures. They won't be true before pictures, since my skin has cleared significantly since I was on the doxycycline for a month before starting the Claravis, but I have a lot of scaring. I wish I had true before pics....no, wait, I don't!

Week 1 and about me

Hi everyone, I'm so happy to have found this message board, so I have a place to come and share my experience with Claravis. I just started on Tuesday, May 11th. A little about myself- my name is Shana, I'm 31, soon to turn 32. I hardly had acne as a teen, it mostly started in my 20's. I've tried many, many things to get rid of my acne. I've used Differin, Retin A, topical antibiotic creams, oral antibiotics, over the counter, under the counter I've tried it all. Before going on my last course of oral antibiotics, I would have 10+ pimples at any given time, plus lots of scaring. My skin has cleared significantly over the past month, but I know that the antibiotics are not a long-term solution and my skin eventually gets used to whatever I'm on and will begin to break out again. This medication really is a last resort for me. I've tried everything over the past 10 years. So, this brings me to the Claravis. I was so anxious to start, and it seems like it's taken so long just to get to the starting part! There's the first negative pregnancy test, then another 30 days later before the prescription is filled, the labs, all the iPledge stuff. My second appointment, to fill the prescription, was nearly 3 hours. Yuck. I think the worst part of the derm. appointment is leaving the house without makeup on. I've become a master at covering my acne/scars. Nobody really knows how bad my skin is under all the makeup I so artfully apply each morning and touch up throughout the day. I can't even imagine what it will be like, not worrying about whether my makeup has smeared, if my pimples are showing, or talking to someone and seeing them stare at my acne. I am on day 4 today, starting out at 40mg for the first month, then 80 for the next 3, for a total of 4 months. I didn't expect to have side effects so soon. I did my research and stocked up on everything I think I'll need: Lubriderm lotion (practically in every room) various chapsticks/lipbalms, lubricating eyedrops, Clinique Super Rescue antioxidant lotion (for my face, when it starts to flake). I didn't expect to experience side effects so quickly. My eyes already feel like the Sahara, that started yesterday. I wear contacts, we'll see how long that lasts. Eye drops are already my new best friend. My face already looks drier. I noticed a flaky spot on my forehead, which is typically oily, along with my nose. I'm also very itchy, pretty much all over. I'm going to start applying lotion at bedtime, instead of just when I get out of the shower in the morning. This is only 4 days into it and at 40mg! What will it be like a few more weeks down the road, and at 80mg?!!! I hope I adjust... My skin was fairly clear when I started, now I have 2 active pimples. I'm a picker, which is terrible, I know. The pimples seem dry and strange, not the usual puss-filled monsters that I'm used to having. This must mean my oil glands are drying out already? Did I really just talk about what was inside of my pimple? Gross. So, that's what I'm doing. I hope to come here and update on a regular basis and read the rest of your experience and get tips. Thanks for reading. Shana

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