I've been reading a lot of blogs and forum posts on this website, and thought it should be informative to write a blog about my own progress in taking Roaccutane, especially for those who are over 30 (there seems to be more younger adults taking accutane than older). Hopefully the journey will be a good one, and hope this will be helpful to someone as so many blogs and posts are for me.
First, some details about myself before starting treatment
I am 31 years old. I've had acne when I was a teenager, but it was for the most part completely manageable and nothing that warrants any worry. My real acne problems started about a year ago, a year or so after I went off birth control pills (which I have been steadily taking through my 20s - during that time it wasn't completely acne free, but always manageable and nothing serious at all). I'm about 5'4", and weigh 60 kgs or so.
First it was the frequency at which I get acne (the pimples themselves are small and not painful, but I almost always have a pimple (or 2 or 10) somewhere on my face. (Generally they reside in the Tzone area) Then several months later, the pimples I got were bigger, more painful, and won't die (until I eventually couldn't deal and pick it, at which the pain and the zit portion subsides, but it leaves a mark on my face). The frequency was still manageable until about half a year ago when my cheeks, which rarely gets any pimples (if at all in the past), started flaring up as well and maybe 4 or 5 'bumps' started appearing there. Some are just bumps, other grow to be those painful cyst-like ones that we all hate. And subsequently, almost every zit I get on my face is a big painful cyst that will basically stay on my face for weeks or months. No easy to deal with zits anymore. I don't have the volume that some pics I've googled had, so the quantity is maybe moderate at most, but the 'quality' of the individual acne is definitely quite severe. And at the age of 31, one would expect to worry about dry skin or faint wrinkles or whatever, but me? I'm worrying about acne and why it is so much worse than ever before. It became an issue for me when I started avoiding going out at night and being with friends because I gave up on trying to hide every single zit on my face. Too much work, and I'm so self conscious about it it's impossible to feel confident at all when you think anyone you talk to is looking at your zits.
So, in September, I decided to consult a doctor finally, who explains that either the sudden acne influx is the result of being off birth control pills, or that the reason I didn't get such acne in the past is because the birth control pills curbed them...until now. I didn't want to always have to take a birth control pill to be able to control my skin (plus, who knows if I want to get pregnant in a few years?), so he puts me on
3 weeks of antibiotics - 300 mg lymecycline/day.
20% azelaic acid cream to use every other day
He said if I don't get any new additional acne while I'm on this, then all is good.
Of course, that wasn't the case. My acne didn't get worse, but it didn't get any better either - I still got new ones that were equally cyst-y as the old ones, and my face remains pretty much status quo.
Last week I visited my doctor again for a checkup, and that is when he puts me on roaccutane. After my blood tests and I qualify as a candidate, he puts me on
5 weeks of Roaccutane (20+10mg isotretinoin capsule/day)
3 weeks of 500mg clarithromycin modified release tablet/day (I only just noticed I have 3 and not 5 weeks worth of pills. Not sure why that's the case)
And to keep using the 20% azelaic acid cream (though I'm wary of how useful that is exactly since it doesn't seem to do anything on my skin so far).
I will have a blood test in the fourth week again, and I will see him again after the 5 week trial.
So that's the beginning. I am on day 9 now, so I guess stay tuned for that?