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After 15 years with acne, here goes nothing!

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Day 64

Day 66 Its been quite awhile since my last post. Honestly, not a lot has been happening with my skin these past couple weeks. Its still looking pretty good. MUCH better than three months ago, before I started taking Accutane. I had my regular bloodwork/check-in with the derm last week. She said that everything looks good and that I should continue to see improvements. I'm still projected to be done at 120 days, which means I'm over halfway there now. Woohoo! And she kept me at 60mg of Amnesteem/day. Current skin condition: -Dry and peely on my nose. I had a cold last week, and the constant nose-blowing mixed with the winter weather and the Accutane has led to my nose looking prety horrid right now. -The patch of rough bumps on my chin is STILL a bit of a mess. It gets inflamed, then dries up, then peels, then feels smooth. I asked my derm about it last week. She suggested I try my best not to exfoliate or pick at it, even when its peeling. She said to treat it like a scab, and let it scab over completely and it should go away. We'll see. -Very little oiliness on my face these days. YAY! -Only two very small new actives in the past week (both on my chin). Otherwise CLEAR! Current side effects: -None other than dry lips and some fatigue. Current products/skin care routine: -Have started to use Olay Daily Facials both night and morning rather than face wash. Loving it. Makes my skin feel very soft and moisturized. Have a good week!

BobcatGirl

BobcatGirl

 

Day 44 - Things are looking up!

Day 44 Its hard to believe I'm already more than six weeks into my treatment! Time is flying. After my dosage was upped two weeks ago from 40mg/day of Amnesteem to 60mg/day, my skin went a little haywire. I started the higher dosage on day 31, and I would say that days 34 to 40 were fairly bad. I got some new actives around my eyebrows and on my chin. And, but of course, the horrible dryness and peeling from the first couple weeks of my treatment came back big time. I also started to have constant feelings of a bladder infection, as well as (warning...TMI alert!!) some trouble with constipation. I was feeling pretty uncomfortable all around for about a week. The past couple days, I've started to feel better. And my skin is looking a lot better! Knock on wood, but I have gotten NO new actives in several days. Awesome! Current skin condition: -Dry and a little peely, but nothing unbearable. -The patch of rough bumps on my chin keeps going through a cycle. It gets a bit inflamed, then dries up, then peels, then feels smooth. This happens on a weekly basis. I'm hoping its just trying to go away completely. -My oily face is a lot better these days. I still get a little oily on my nose and forehead, but NOTHING like before. -I've developed some rough, scaly skin on my shoulders and biceps. Eczema, maybe? Not sure, but it looks and feels pretty gross. -My blackheads are looking better. I've seen a big improvement in the ones on my nose. I never experience them "falling out" as I've read about in others' blogs, but they seemed to just be less and less noticeable over the past week. Current side effects: -None to speak of at the moment. My bladder/bathroom issues have been better. I've been sleeping better and not having weird dreams. All around, I'm feeling pretty darn good! Current products/skin care routine: -LOVING my leave-on face lotion/Vitamin E mask from The Body Shop. I use it morning and night, and it really helps with keeping my skin fairly moist. -I keep a little tube of Cocoa Butter lotion (CVS brand) at my desk at work, and if I notice any little flakes appearing on my face throughout the work day, I just rub in a bit of the Cocoa Butter, and the flakes are gone! Hope you are all having a good 2011 so far!

BobcatGirl

BobcatGirl

 

Day 32 - Bring on month two!

Day 32 Well, I've made it through the first month of my Accutane course! And I have to say, it really hasn't been as bad overall as I feared. The worst thing has been the dryness and the sleep problems. Otherwise, I hardly notice that I'm on it anymore. I had my first check-in with my derm two days ago. My dosage has been upped from 40mg/day of Amnesteem to 60mg/day, which is apparently the maximum dose for my weight. The derm told me to expect to be even dryer, especially for the next couple of weeks while the higher dosage is kicking in. Things have been pretty good since my last post. Only a couple of new actives and looking better overall! Woohoo! I just hope the higher dosage doesn't bring on a new breakout.... Current skin condition: -Still pretty dry on and around my nose and lips, but not much worse than it usually is this time of year. -The cyst I got on my chin at day three is FINALLY gone! -The cyst on the side of my chin is still hanging around, but is just a fairly small, non-painful bump at this point. -Blackheads around lips and on nose are SO apparent! It almost looks like I have freckles across the bridge of my nose. Ew. -Only a couple of new actives in the last ten days, and they are mostly gone. -The patch of small bumps that I've had forever on my chin are still there, although quite a bit less noticeable than when I started my treatment. -My skin is a lot less oily nowadays! LOVE it! And I can actually go more than one day without washing my hair! This is monumental!! Current side effects: -Dry, dry, dry. Sometimes I feel so dry its almost overwhelming. I wake up in the middle of the night and feel like my skin is just shriveling up because its so dry. There's no amount of water I can drink or lotion I can apply to get rid of this feeling. NOT fun. -Sometimes I feel like I'm getting a bladder infection within the first few hours after I take my pill each day. It usually feels better by evening. I think its related to Accutane. But since it never flares into a full infection, its not that big of a deal. -Still a lot of trouble with falling asleep, night sweats, weird dreams. This leaves me feeling tired a lot of the time. Current prodcuts/skin care routine: -I started using a leave-on face lotion/mask from The Body Shop. Its a Vitamin E mask and has been helping a lot with the dry skin on my face. -Still loving my Neutrogena Glow Sheers makeup! I would highly recommend that anyone starting out on Accutane give this a shot! Happy New Year, everyone!

BobcatGirl

BobcatGirl

 

Dentist + Accutane = NOT fun!

Day 22 Hi guys! Just a quick update. Not much has changed since my last post. I've gotten a few new smallish zits here and there. The weird thing is, they're in places I usually wouldn't break out. One of them, for example, is about an inch under my left eye. I don't think I've ever gotten a zit under my eye in my life, but yet, my chin (which is my typical breakout zone) is doing quite a bit better than usual. Hmm. So, I went to the dentist today. Let's just say that between my dry, chapped lips, flaking skin and remaining acne around my mouth, it was not a pleasant experience. My dentist is super nice, but my mouth and lips hurt so badly I wanted to cry. And worst of all, one of the stubborn cysts on my chin that has been trying to heal forever and a day started bleeding because of my dentist bumping it with her hand. Ugh. Talk about embarrassing I have to go back on January 18 for a filling, and I hope and pray that things will be better by then! I was also happy to hear that my dentist's office is having a bridal event in April with free teeth whitening and facials for all spring and summer 2011 brides! Please, please, please God let me have clear skin by then I would love to be able to go enjoy a free facial right before my April 30 wedding! Have a good evening, everyone!

BobcatGirl

BobcatGirl

 

Day 20

Day 20 Nearly three weeks into my Accutane journey. Time is actually going pretty quickly! And I'm hopeful I'll be out of the worst of it before long. Not a lot of change since my last post. One GOOD thing I've been experiencing is a decreased amount of oil production. My skin is much less oily. Typically, I apply powder to my face probably six-ten times per day to keep the shininess at bay. Recently, I've only applied powder a few times a day. My hair is also usually an oily mess by the end of the day, but its been a TON better the past couple days. Its currently been about 28 hours since I washed my hair, and its not greasy yet. This is a record for me - it rarely goes beyond 12 hours without starting to get greasy. The worst part at present? Definitely the dry skin on my face. The zits that I do currently have aren't so bad, but my face is looking pretty darn dry and scaly, so its hard to be too excited just yet. Current skin condition: -VERY dry on some parts of my face, mostly around and on my nose, as well as on my chin and around my lips. -A lot of cracking/peeling on and around my lips. Carmex helps, but if I slack and go outside in the cold without applying it first, I almost immediately feel my lips chapping further. -The cyst I got on my chin at day three just will not die! It keeps coming and going. Sigh. -The cyst on the side of my chin is dying out. I have no other active zits at the moment, just a lot of redness and peeling bumps where zits are apparently trying to heal. -Blackheads around lips and on nose are very noticeable. My nose looks speckled. Gross. Thank God for makeup! Current side effects: -The only side effect that's been getting to me is all of the dryness. I can deal with it, but geez, its persistent. And its exhausting to constantly be moisturizing, only to feel like the dryness just gets worse. -Still having really strange dreams and waking up a lot at night. Current prodcuts/skin care routine: -Haven't changed anything. Carmex and Aqauphor are my BFFs My next appointment with my derm is coming up on Thursday. I am supposed to be kicked up from 40mg/day of Amnesteem to either 60mg or 80mg/day. I'll let you guys know how it goes. Cheers!

BobcatGirl

BobcatGirl

 

Day 16 - A bit of improvement?

Day 16 Things have been better the past couple days. Whew! Forehead breakout is gone. Chin breakout turned into a flaky mess and is almost gone. The only major zit I have at the moment is a fairly large cyst (about as big around as a penny) on the right side of my chin/jawline. My hair covers it somewhat, though, which is a relief I've only gotten one new zit since last Friday - a painful whitehead near my lower lip that is now almost gone after just one day. I've been feeling more positive about this process again. The first 16 days went by surprisingly quickly, and although its been a little rough here and there, it really hasn't been that bad of an experience thus far. Onward and upward! Current skin condition: -Not as dry and flaky as last week, but still some flaking and peeling around my lips and nose. -Yesterday I was really oily. Today, not very oily at all. Funny how it changes day to day! -Lips and the rest of my body really haven't been too dry. -All of the little bumps that I've had on my chin forever don't seem as inflammed as they normally would. Still rough and bumpy to the touch, but I don't think they're as noticeable. Current side effects: -Eyes feel dry and burn a bit at times. -Still having really strange dreams and waking up a lot at night. -Last night, although it was only NINE DEGREES (bbrrrrr!!) outside here in Ohio, my fiance said I felt like I was burning up while we were trying to cuddle and fall asleep in bed. Usually I am always freezing and he complains that my hands and feet are ice cold. Last night, though, he said I was too hot for him to cuddle with me. I thought maybe I was getting sick and had a fever. But today I feel just fine, so who knows. -I itched my arm the other night - just as I normally would - but it turned really red and felt like it was on fire. WTF?! I also knicked myself with my razor while shaving my leg in the shower, and it has felt so painful for two days now! This is not normal. I'm chalking it up to my skin being ultra senstive due to the Accutane. -Itchy scalp. But nothing terrible. -I feel like I've noticed an increased amount of hair in the shower drain after I wash my hair. Am freaking out that my hair's thinning. BUT, trying to convince myself its all in my head. I'm a total girly-girl and would just die if my hair was actually falling out. Praying that is NOT the case! Current prodcuts/skin care routine: -I've been putting a bit of Aquaphor around my nose and lips in the morning before putting on makeup. Definitely helps with the flakes! -Aveda Scalp Benefits Shampoo (which I've 'borrowed' from my fiance, hehe) seems to help a lot with my itchy scalp. Hope everyone is having a good week! More updates to come.

BobcatGirl

BobcatGirl

 

All I want for Christmas is clear skin!

Day 12 Does Santa deliver clear skin for Christmas? That's all I'd like this year! I would really and truly be happy with that and nothing else! So, the past few days have been a bit rough. Literally. I started breaking out a few days ago - around day nine, I'd say. I have four new, decent-sized zits on my chin and jawline, and three new ones on my forehead. This isn't a terible breakout for me. About average as compared to what my face usually looks like. But when you mix in the increased redness and dry, scaly skin that has developed over half my face, its not looking pretty. Trust me. I've been feeling depressed the past few days. I know I got my hopes up too soon that my skin would just magically clear up. Now reality is setting in, and I am realizing I've got a long way to go with this whole Accutane process. I have a holiday party tomorrow at a friend's house out of town. There will be five or six of us there - my college girlfriends. I don't see them often, and am bummed that my skin is such a mess right now. Plus, I'm spending the night there, and that's just never a fun thing - having to deal with my gross skin in the morning around other people. Ugh. Anyways, here's my day 12 breakdown. Current skin condition: -Very dry and flaky on my nose. Cracked and some bleeding by one nostril. -Scaly and flaky on my chin. VERY bad peeling in the areas where last week's zits are trying to heal. -Lips are still a bit dry and chapped around the edges, but not too bad overall. -No noticeable dryness on hands or elsewhere on my body. -Current zits: three on forehead, four or five on chin/jawline, a couple mostly healed on chin, noticeable blackheads and large pores on nose. Current side effects: -Have been unusally tired and irritable this week. My fiance has commented on it more than once. -Have been having really strange dreams and waking up a lot at night. -Feeling pretty down because of the recent breakout and the way my skin is looking. Current prodcuts/skin care routine: -Still on the same routine, but started using a bit of Neutrogena Glow Sheers makeup in the morning before applying my powder foundation over it. It doesn't provide much coverage, but I do think it makes the dryness look a little less severe and helps me have a bit of a "glow." -I've still been very self-conscious about my face, and have to check it in the mirror about every half hour at work to make sure no flakes of skin are sitting on it, or nothing is cracked and bleeding. I'm hoping that maybe this is the IB, and it will run its course and then improve. I really don't think I can handle much worse than this. In good news, its FRIDAY! Hooray for the weekend!!

BobcatGirl

BobcatGirl

 

Day six - So far, so good!

Day Six Six days in, and I'm pleasantly surprised so far with my progress! (Knock on wood). The breakout on my forehead has mostly gone away, as have the zits I got around my nose a few days ago. The cyst that developed on my chin earlier this week is starting to go away, and my usual patch of small red bumps all over my chin seems to be drying up and becoming less noticeable. I've had VERY oily skin and hair most of my life. The past couple days, both seem to be less oily overall. My skin is a little dry and flaky in spots, but overall seems to be smoother and more even-looking. I don't mind the dryness so much. I'd rather be a little dry than mopping oil off of my face all day. I was thrilled that three people commented on my skin in the past couple days - all GOOD comments! Two of my co-workers/friends who I rarely see both said that my skin was looking good. And my fiance also said he thinks its looking better. Yay! Last night I went to dinner at a friend's house and it was amazing to sit around the table having food and drinks and not be thinking about my bad skin the whole time. And I even went a solid four hours without re-applying makeup or powder to my face. This is a like a record for me! Still scared this may be the calm before the storm, but hoping its the start of something good! Praying that the IB decides to skip me Current skin condition: -A bit more dry and flaky than usual, mostly on my chin and around my nose and eyebrows -Lips are a bit dry and chapped around the edges -Small cyst on chin starting to go away -One other decent sized zit on chin -Small zits on chin and around nose are showing improvement -Less oily than usual -Hands are dry Current side effects: -Seem to be having some backaches and muscle aches in my legs. Again, still not sure if this is related to Accutane or just from working out. -Haven't been having any trouble sleeping the past few nights....woohoo! Current prodcuts/skin care routine: -Still on the same routine as before. Thinking of switching to a different foundation to replace my usual powder makeup. Something that would work better with dry skin. Anyone have any recommendations? Hope you all have a great weekend!

BobcatGirl

BobcatGirl

 

Accutane Day Three - Nervous and Waiting

Day Three Three pills down. Forgot to mention previously that I am currently on 40mg/day. I feel like I am constantly awaiting bad side effects and/or the IB to start showing up. So far, neither has happened. I think that, as I go, I will regularly update my blog with my current skin condition and any side effects I'm having. So here goes! Current skin condition: -Slightly dry, but not any more so than usual. -No significant change to the amount of zits on my face. -One painful, smallish cyst has formed on my chin as of this morning, but that's not unusual. -A couple new whiteheads around my nose. -Breakout on forehead has mostly cleared up. Current side effects: -Hands are starting to feel very dry. I got a manicure at lunch time, and rather than my hands feeling soft and moist after a manicure as they usually do, they feel dry and kind of tight. -Have been having some aches and pains here and there. Not sure if this is related to the Accutane, or just a result of my post-Thanksgiving attempt at working out more often. -The past two nights, I've woken up feeling sweaty and anxious and have had trouble sleeping in general. Again, not sure if this is related to the Accutane or not. I think I am worrying myself so much about possible side effects, that I'm making myself overly anxious about it. Current prodcuts/skin care routine: -Body Shop Tea Tree Oil face wash mixed with Cetaphil face wash (both morning and night) -Body Shop Tea Tree Oil moisturizer (morning) -Oil of Olay Eye Moisturizer (morning) -Pur Minerals foundation, bronzer, blush (morning) -Dabs of Clean and Clear Spot Free Treatment as needed (night, mostly) -Daily multi-vitamin and vitamin D -Drinking a TON of water! -Coco butter on my hands and body -Carmex on my lips I have to host a holiday social tomorrow night and have four more holiday parties coming up in the next two weeks, so I'm praying that the IB (if it comes) will wait until later on in December! Then at least I will be off work and home for the holidays, and can avoid going out in public so much... More updates to come!

BobcatGirl

BobcatGirl

 

The Journey Begins

Accutane - Here Goes Nothing! Now that my 30th birthday is on the horizon, I've really started to have it with my acne issues. I've had trouble with my skin for over 15 years. I've tried literally EVERYTHING to manage my acne. Various perscription drugs, topical creams, OTC products, Proactive, Acne Free, and even the acne.org regimen. At times, my skin has improved to the point of fooling me into thinking its getting better. But, inevitably, it always flares back up into a bumpy, flaky, red mess. Sigh. My bad skin not only makes me feel unattractive and self-conscious, but it also causes me to feel depressed and have social anxiety issues. I hate feeling like people are looking at my gross acne lesions when they talk to me. I hate taking forever and a day to get ready in the morning in order to cover up the bumps. I hate the feeling that I cannot travel or stay overnight at friends' houses because I dread having to expose my ugly skin without makeup. As a "career woman," I also hate that my skin makes me feel as though I look like an unprofessional kid with pimples rather than a confident, outgoing business person. Also, my wedding is coming up on the horizon - April 2011 - and the last thing I want is to be a broken-out bride . So, after recently switching to a new dermatologist, I've decided to give in and take a shot with Accutane. I got started yesterday, and just took my day-two pill. I know its very early, but so far I haven't noticed any side effects or changes in my skin. I currently have the usual small, rough patches of red bumps and whiteheads on my chin, along with a slight breakout on my forehead and a few bumps around my nose. I would say my skin is "typical" right now in comparison to how it usually is. I'm nervous about side effects, and also have a rare autoimmune disease which I am concerned about being flared up because of the Accutane. Only time will tell, I suppose! Fingers crossed that Accutane is the "cure" I've been searching for. I will continue to update this blog regularly to track my progress. I also took some "before" photos last night, which I will post in the near future.Cheers!

BobcatGirl

BobcatGirl

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