HI! I am creating this blog mostly for my own benefit, but also because I know being on Accutane I am looking for as many personal experiences as possible, with lots of details, to know what to expect. Hopefully I can help someone else in the future understand what it is like to take this drug. Feel free to comment on anything I say.
I am a 21 year old female and have suffered with mild to moderate acne since the 5th grade. I just started 20mg Accutane Monday February 14, 2011 once a day (I always take it right after I eat dinner). I had moderate acne that could not be controlled by antibiotics or topical creams. My acne always left dark post inflammatory marks and a few have left some shallow pock marks, most of my acne is on my cheeks and chin. I also have extremely oily skin. I just started Accutane and I have not noticed any improvement or worsening. My skin is drier than normal, especially since I have stopped all topical creams and I am just washing with cetaphil gentle wash and moisturizing with cetaphil facial moisturizer. And since it is the beginning I have been spot treating on a couple of large pimples I had that I can't stand to just let go without anything topical on them.
I will hopefully update this weekly with a picture and a description...Maybe more than once a week if something interesting happens...?
A couple of days ago I went from taking 20 mg a day to 40 mg a day. I am 100% clear and have zero side effects. My lips aren't even dry. I still have post inflammatory marks but they are definitely fading, slowly, but fading. I don't know how sun sensitive I am since I don't want to take any chances and have been wearing spf 50 every time I go outside. I work outside pretty much every day and sometimes I will be out in the sun by the water for 6 hours at a time. I usually reapply sunblock once and I have yet to even get slightly burnt.
Overview ( since I probably won't be on here much now that I am clear):
I started 20 mg a day of Accutane in February for moderate acne. It caused the worst breakout of my entire life, it didn't even look like acne, but more as if I were a leper. After a month of suffering through the horrid breakout I was taken off Accutane.
For the second month I was put on Bactrim and prednisone to help calm my skin. That worked wonders, but by the end of that month my skin was still recovering from that first month of Accutane.
The third month I restarted Accutane but only at 10 mg a day. This time around I did not breakout and my skin continued to heal. but still by the end of the month some of my initial breakout remained, but there was a huge improvement!
The fourth month I was bumped up to 20 mg a day and my skin became much much clearer. I still continued to have a few pimples on my face.
The fifth month: I have just started 40 mg of Accutane a day and I am officially 100 % clear. Although I still have post inflammatory marks from my initial breakout that are healing.
Details of side effects and regime are in my blog. If anything changes with side effects and results I will be sure to post it on here!
Overall Accutane has been very effective and I am very happy about it!
I am about 95% clear. My skin hasn't looked this good in about 8 years. I have started to take the 20 mg everyday and I haven't had a headache in about a week. I don't appear to have too much sun sensitivity, which is a good thing since it's summer now. Everything is great!
I have been forgetting to do this every week because there isn't much to say. A week ago i started the 20 mg accutane. My doctor said to take the 20 mg pill everyday but i started out doing 20mg one day and then 10 mg the next day and so on because i had a few extra 10 mg tablets. The 20 mg started giving me headaches again so i have been only taking them every other day. The headaches go away when I take ibuprofen, so i doubt they are serious, but they are very annoying. In a few days I will try to start taking the 20 mg every day. My skin is still very very good. I have one large cystic pimple on my cheek that has been under my skin forever so I'm glad it's finally coming out, and a couple of little ones and that is it. The only thing that is preventing my skin from looking nice is the post inflammatory marks, but I have very few permanent pock marks. My skin regimen still has not changed since the last time I stated it. So far just dry lips and headaches are the only side effects I have.
Still breaking out very badly. I went to a new doctor Tuesday and she said it was probably because they started at too high of a dose. Apparently the higher the dose you start out on the more likely you are to breakout. I'm on 20 mg a day and she said I probably should have started at 10 mg a day. She said I could lower to 10 or just stay at 20 so I'm staying at 20. She gave me low dose Prednisone to help calm some of it down, but that didn't help at all. She said she could also put me on Bactrim if that didn't work, so I am going to call tomorrow and hopefully get some. It's a ton of medication, but I don't care anymore. My acne has never been this bad, it's embarrassing to go in public. I have still been using my usual regimen, but now on pimples that pop open I put neosporen on them and I even bandaged my face last night. So far this has been a nightmare.
On the positive side, the headaches are a million times better. Apparently there is a drug interaction with minocycline and other antibiotics with Accutane that causes headaches. I was off minocycline for two weeks before starting Accutane, but it can take up to a month or longer to get out of your system, so I think that is definitely what was causing my headaches. Also I think the blackheads are stating to clear up. Also my oily skin is gone but it isn't dry yet.
Initial breakout still in full swing. It's pretty bad...pretty much any type of pimple you could have is currently on my face. I keep thinking it's slowing down but it's really hard to tell. Although I guess they do go away faster, but they don't go away over night. It looks horrible, but it's much easier to take than any normal breakout knowing that it will definitely get better soon. My skin care regimen is still the same, I cut back to just spot treating the cystic pimples with salicylic acid because my skin is definitely more sensitive. Just a few days ago I noticed my oily skin is basically gone, which is definitely a plus and I think it's a good sign my skin will clear up soon. I am still getting mild headaches, but I feel like they are getting better too. I have my one month appt. this Tues.
Acne is definitely getting worse. I broke out in quite a few cystic pimples. Some went away without fully coming out while others are running their full course. I have the biggest pimple I think I have ever had on my chin. I think the really little bumps I had are going away slowly. I still do not have dry skin, but my lips are still dry and I think my eyes are starting to dry out more easily and my scalp is getting drier too. I was spot treating with the salicylic acid, but spot treating just turned into using it on my entire face. I think i will just spot treat the cystic pimples starting now because yesterday I did notice my face was a little red. I switched to using Neutrogena sensitive skin face lotion, because I felt like the Cetaphil lotion was making my skin even more oily. I am still using Cetaphil face wash and also I am using Neutrogena toner with no alcohol in it, I use it to get all the excess face wash and makeup off my skin.
One side effect I was getting that was a little concerning were headaches. Every night after I would take my pill I would get them and usually in the morning they were gone, but still come and go throughout the day. I did a lot of research and read that minor headaches are actually common when starting Accutane and that they were probably due to dehydration. I looked up what a dehydration headache felt like and that was exactly what mine felt like. They were minor and they would move around as I moved around and they were on and off. I started drinking a TON of water and it has seemed to help a lot. I've been drinking about 10 cups of water a day and nothing else for the past couple of days. I still get them but they are much better, hopefully if I continue to drink a lot they will go away completely. Other than that I have not had any other concerning side effects.
One thing that I may be imagining is my hair seems to be growing faster...I looked it up and have found some people with a similar side effect, but it doesn't seem to common, I hope it's not a precursor to it falling out!
Well not quite a week, but almost, I'm going to post on Sundays to make my life easier. I have still been taking a 20 mg pill every night after dinner. I have had no stomach issues or any serious side effects yet and hopefully never will. I would not say my acne has gotten worse, but it is different. A few days after taking accutane I broke out in very very tiny bumps on my cheeks. They aren't red and are so tiny that I can only see them in some lighting and at certain angles. I still have them but hopefully they will go away soon. Other than that my acne has been a little better or about the same. I have gotten a couple of new pimples since treatment, but some pimples have come and gone already, which is very quick for me since most of my pimples last for almost a month sometimes. My skin has become a little bit dry, but is still pretty oily. My lips are very dry but I just keep aquaphor on them and they are fine. I'm still washing and moisturizing with cetaphil products and spot treating with Neutogena 2% Salicylic acid gel. I find Salicylic acid to much more gentle than benzoyl peroxide and it works better for me.
Another thing I do that I'm not sure helps much, but definitely doesn't hurt is that every night I put a clean towel over my pillow. I have been doing this for months now and it obviously didn't cure my acne, but maybe if I didn't do it my acne would be worse, who knows. Also since being on accutane I have stopped drinking diet soda or any soda. I've only been drinking water and coffee and trying to drink lots of water.
I think just now the Bactrim is really starting to kick in. Everything on my face is drying up and I haven't noticed any new pimples in about a week. I have been off Accutane for about 3 weeks but my oily skin has not returned. This Tuesday I go back to the dermatologist and will go back on Accutane with either 10 mg a day or 10 mg every other day while staying on the Bactrim. Skin care regimen is still the same as it was described either last week or the one before. O guess that's about it.
Today was the last day of my prednisone dose. I can definitely tell the pimples I still have have been a little more inflamed since coming down off the prednisone. My skin has still been improving and recovering but still far from clear, but ever day it gets better. I really have only been on Bactrim for about a week and 5 days, but I do think it is already working. I have had zero side effects from the Bactrim. The only side effect I had while on prednisone was that I couldn't sleep, even if I took it in the morning, but it was a small price to pay for the results. I am still using the extra gentle facewash, but I am using neutogena salicylic acid face gel/cream since being off the Accutane. aaand I guess that's about it.
A week after my one month appointment my acne had gotten so bad that I had to go back to my dermatologist. I had huge cysts on my face, it didn't even look like acne, it looked like something was wrong with me. My doctor took me off Accutane for 3 weeks and put me on Bactrim and Prednisone. Before that appt. she gave me 3 days of 10mg Prednisone that did absolutely nothing. My new Prednisone dose is 40mg *3 days, 30mg * 3 days, 20 mg * 3 days, annnnd 10 mg * 3 days. That was about 5 days ago and the Prednisone has worked like a miracle! In 3 weeks I will go back on Accutane but instead of 20 mg a day I will start out with 10 mg every other day. For me 20 mg a day was too much to start out on, although it should have been low enough, I guess you can never tell how your body is going to react. If I had to give advice to someone starting Accutane, it would just to be aware that the higher the dose you start out on, the more likely you could have a severe initial breakout. Also if your acne gets significantly worse on Accutane tell your doctor immediately, I did not do this and just hoped everyday that it was going to start to get better, it never did and I think I may have a couple of scars from the ordeal.
My acne before I was on Accutane was mild to moderate...leaning towards the mild side. I can not believe how much Accutane wreaked havoc on my face. In the 5 days I have been off of it my skin has completely turned around, I'm pretty sure my acne was so bad my face was swollen. In order to help myself recover I have stopped drinking coffee and have been eating lots of fruits and vegetables annd drinking tons of water. I don't know if these things actually help with acne, but I figure it can't hurt. My skin regimen is still about the same but since I'm starting to see the Accutane effects fading I have started using salicylic acid all over my face, but still using the mild face wash.
I am currently on my last dose of accutane. I am taking 60 mg a day. My skin has been completely clear for about 2 months. My skin will get dry if I don't apply lotion a couple times every day, but it has become a habit so dry skin hasn't been too much of an issue. Same with dry lips, I never leave the house without chapstick. I can't remember what my last blogs said exactly but my regimen has not changed at all, I wash my face with neutrogena face wash, apply neutrogena toner and then usually use neutrogena face lotion. I do that twice a day.
Good Luck to everyone on here fighting with acne. My journey with accutane was long and difficult, but it was well worth it and I recommend it to anyone who is at the end of their rope.
I forgot to do this last week and then just decided to skip a post. I have now been on 10 mg of accutane everyday for two weeks and on Bactrim. last week I had a little bit of a breakout but nothing unmanageable, and it's already mostly gone. Some blackheads have returned but no where near as severe as before with the 20 mg a day. My skin is still better then it was before starting accutane. My regimen is the same as whenever I last stated it.
A few days ago I went from taking the Bactrim twice a day to once a day. I think it was starting to really upset my stomach, I already feel better from just taking it once a day. I go back to the dermatologist Friday and will probably stop taking the Bactrim all together once I'm done with this round. The only side effect from the accutane I have had is dry lips.
I have just started taking 10 mg Accutane everyday instead of every other day. My lips are now starting to become dry. The rash on my chest and arms completely went away. I haven't had a new pimple in at least a week or maybe longer. I can't say if that's due to the Accutane or the Bactrim, but I don't care, my skin is finally becoming better than it was before I started Accutane. It's still early with the restarting on the 10 mg a day, but things definitely seem to be much more under control than it was with 20 mg a day.
On Thursday I started back on Accutane. I am taking 10 mg every other day....so I have only taken it twice since Thursday. Friday morning I had 2 new pimples but today I had nothing new and things seem to still be alright so far. While on 20 mg a day my symtoms included dry lips, and headaches but now on the 10 every other day I am getting a rash. It's a small bumps that is mostly on my neck and chest. some small bumps are on my hands and arms...some are even on the palms of my hands. The rash on my arms and hands doesn't itch anymore but the one on my neck does. I'm pretty sure it's eczema and have been using cortisone cream to stop it from itching. So far it's not too bad or noticeable and I'm hoping it will go away. Thankfully I have not had any headaches or dry lips yet. I am still using a gentle cleanse and the salicylic acid cream all over my face. My dermatologist said that as long as it's not irritating 2% salicylic acid is fine to use while starting out on Accutane. I will probably start 10mg every day in a week or so as long as 10 every other day doesn't give me any significant flare ups. Also still on the Bactrim which is definitely helping, I will hopefully go off it next month.