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About this blog

Writing about my first experience taking Accutane at a fairly low dose (20 to 30mg/day).

Entries in this blog

 

Pill 24

I've been taking 20mg every other day for a few days just because my 30 day supply will be up a little before my next appointment. I'm sure it doesn't matter, but I thought I'd stagger instead of not taking any for about seven days. Current Skin Condition I had a TERRIBLE cyst on my left cheek and a TERRIBLE cyst on my right cheek. The kind that get so huge and hurt so much...but they're both drying right now and I don't really have any other active spots except for ONE that might be emerging on my right cheek. It's so frustrating, but I have faith in this drug. Other than that, tons of hyper-pigmentation. Current Side Effects NO OIL! It's amazing, really. I'm so used to a shiny face and hair that gets oily super fast that this is exciting to me. I finally know what it feels like to be normal (at least in regards to oil production). Nothing else, really. Some flaking on my face and my lips get dry if I don't put anything on them.

ahmu300

ahmu300

06/07/2011

 

5/30/2011: Pill 21

No change in my skin from the other day. The active spot is still active and the drying spots are still drying. I was thinking about how long I would be on this medicine if I stayed at 20mg/day and I’m thinking about asking my dermatologist to up my dosage to 30 mg/day for next month and possibly for the rest of my course. If I feel comfortable enough, I might up it to 40 mg/day. I think I’m pretty much in control (considering my blood work is fine) because she wanted to start me at 40 mg/day for a few months and then move me up to 60 mg/day. When I did some calculations on how long it would take to reach a cumulative dose of 125mg per kg of weight, I realized I’d be on this for 11 months. If I switch to 30 mg next month I’ll only have to be on it for 7 more months to reach my cumulative dose. It’s still a long time…but it’s a low dose with (hopefully) fewer side effects. Current State of Side Effects My dry, flaking, itchy scalp is gone! I had all kinds of dead skin last week that I constantly itched and picked at; I couldn’t take it! It was reminiscent of what happens to me after I get sunburn on my scalp/part. I honestly had a hard time sleeping because it itched so much. My hair is noticeably less oily (which is a positive for me). I’m hoping I don’t have to go through another round of dry scalp when I up my dose to 30mg/day. No problems with the hemorrhoids anymore, either. That was just the first 14 days; I guess my body had to adjust. My lips are dry and peeling. If I don’t use something on them they look a little gross but, as long as I keep them moisturized, they’re fine. My facial skin is starting to flake a little bit and it’s NOT OILY! I have no shine whatsoever. Like I mentioned in a previous post, I used to be a grease ball. This change is extremely exciting to me. My pores appear a bit smaller, too. That’s it. I haven’t experienced anything too negative yet. I’ve still been running and exercising as usual. The high school where I work lets out for summer vacation in 6 days and I can’t wait to direct all of my energy to my health and well-being. Taking the Pill + Supplements If you’re curious, I take my pill in the evening after dinner or with a high-fat snack. I make sure I eat it with at least one of the following: walnuts, flax oil, olive oil, or avocado. I supplement with Zinc, Vitamin C, and nutritional yeast (for B-Vitamins). Occasionally I take biotin, MSM, or a multi-vitamin.

ahmu300

ahmu300

05/31/2011

 

5/29/2011: Pill 20

I’m curious to see how my skin reacts after what I ate this weekend. I went and visited my parents and they definitely don’t eat a diet as strict as mine. Typically, I bring my own food home but I just went with it this time and ate what they served (minus the meat). I consumed “food†that I almost never eat: dairy, refined sugar, and fried food. While I’m not convinced that minor slips make my skin worse, it will be interesting to see if anything negative happens. Current Skin Condition: There is still nothing on my forehead (just the red marks and a little scarring). My chin is also fine minus the old, drying cyst right under my chin. I have a few red marks fading. The angry cyst on my left cheek is drying and has been for a couple days. It definitely didn’t stay inflamed very long (3 days compared to 3 weeks). It’s still a lump...but at least it’s a drying lump. Nothing else active on this cheek, but I have some serious red marks still. My right cheek has one inflamed spot. It’s a smaller cyst than the one that’s on my other cheek, but it’s still active and painful. I hope it dies soon. I have two drying spots and a lot of red marks. The spots on my lip are gone. They dried and went away; I’m just left with some slight red marks.

ahmu300

ahmu300

05/31/2011

 

5/23/2011: Pill 13

I spoke too soon yesterday; I think my skin is getting a little worse. The difference between breaking out now and breaking out in the past is that I feel like there might be an end in sight this time. THAT makes all the difference in the world. Current Skin Condition: Nothing is on the forehead (just red marks and a little scarring). My chin looks fine, but I can feel three little cysts…nothing inflamed. The cyst on my left cheek is angrier; I’m hoping it leaves soon. My right cheek has a minor little cyst at the moment and a few drying spots. Fading red marks galore on my cheeks and some scarring. I have a small, inflamed pustule on the edge of my lip. I’m pretty sure this has to do with my constant slathering of greasy lip products! It was bound to happen, really. I’m just hoping it dries up fast!

ahmu300

ahmu300

05/31/2011

 

5/22/2011: Pill #12

Damn this stuff is powerful! I honestly cannot fathom being on a dose higher than 20mg/day. I’m only on my twelfth day and I’m experiencing dry lips, a dry, itchy scalp, and some painful bowel movements (hemorrhoids…as my doctor warned me that EVERY mucus membrane dries out). The lips are perfectly fine as long as I keep them covered in ONE of the following: Dr. Dan’s Cortibalm (amazing), Aquaphor, or a Kiss My Face chapstick with SPF 15. Now, the dry itchy scalp is another story. This side effect is driving me crazy! I’m so used to being a grease ball that I don’t know how to handle this situation. I bought some all-natural shampoos that are supposed to be gentle and moisturizing. I thought about getting Head & Shoulders or another shampoo of the sort, but I thought it might be too harsh. The painful bowel movements are also weird because I’ve never experienced hemorrhoids before…but I think it’s getting better already. I wash my face with Cerave face wash and follow with moisturizer by the same brand (AM in the morning and PM at night). My dermatologist recommended this and it seems to be keeping my skin from getting too dry. Other than that, I’m SHOCKED by how fast this seems to be working. It’s crazy to think that I’ve spent ten years trying numerous products that never worked and this magical little pill seems to be working in just a few weeks’ time. Current Skin Condition: I feel a tiny cyst on my left cheek but it’s very similar to the few that I have on my chin: I can feel them but I can’t notice them in the mirror. The other spots on my left chin and temple have healed and left behind some beautiful red marks. No real active spots on my forehead; I just have a few red spots from some cysts I had a couple weeks ago. My right cheek is what makes me think this stuff is seriously doing something. I’m prone to getting MONSTER cysts on my cheeks that take FOREVER to heal. I got one in January that lasted over a month and the red mark is STILL fading. Anyway, these two big spots appeared two days ago. I could see the pus under the skin and I could feel it; however, they were NOT red, tender, and inflamed. They stayed extremely calm and, as for right now, they are both completely dried up and just begging me to peel the dry layer of skin away…but I will resist. I got another pustule on my right cheek but it also dried up and went away really fast. As of right now, I’m very happy with this drug. NO INITIAL BREAKOUT YET! I’m hoping it stays away or, if it does happen, I just hope all the spots heal as fast as they have been lately.

ahmu300

ahmu300

05/31/2011

 

My Acne Story: 1001 "Cures" (Pill #2)

I started getting a spot or two in middle school and then my face got significantly worse my junior year of high school. After visiting the dermatologist and going on a course of tetracycline and the topical Differen, my skin looked beautiful when I started my senior year of high school. I remember looking in the mirror on my first day of senior year and loving what I saw: clear, radiant skin. The problem, though, was that no one told me that stopping the antibiotics would wreak havoc on my skin. Needless to say, I stopped and my face absolutely exploded. It is hard for me to look at pictures from my senior prom because my face was such a mess. So, I go back to the dermatologist and start a round of minocycline with the two topical creams Tazorac and Benaclin. This worked wonders and my skin was fairly clear when I started my first year of college and, by that following summer, my skin rarely broke out with even a single spot. I started taking Ortho-Tri-Cyclen for birth control purposes in my second year of college and I decided to stop the minocycline because I didn’t feel comfortable being on the antibiotics for so long. My skin did get worse, but nothing like what I had experienced my senior year of high school. I would get painful cysts on my chin and some rare inflammatory spots in other places. It would definitely go up and down, but I could handle it (for the most part). I continued using the topical creams and I also started researching other avenues. This is when I started trying the “1001 Cures.†First, I tried ProActive (which did nothing). Then, I ordered this ridiculous cream that supposedly killed mites living in your eyebrows that can cause acne (I’m not an idiot, I swear). I started a detox diet that involved eating a million apples a day for three consecutive days and then drinking a half cup of olive oil with lemon juice. Luckily, I stopped after two days of apples and I didn’t go through with the drinking of the olive oil cocktail. Then, I started a very simple routine and just continued the topical creams given to me by my dermatologist. I dealt with my mediocre skin throughout the rest of college as I mostly just got spots on my chin. I started graduate school and my skin was pretty much the same until my final semester, which is when my skin exploded once again. I had an extremely stressful semester that involved little sleep, erratic eating habits, and constant worry. At 24, my skin looked just as bad as it looked when I was 18. This time, though, I was getting more painful cysts as well as inflamed pustules. I thought it would get better that summer when my schedule eased and, while it did, I wasn’t seeing the improvements that I wanted. I went to a new dermatologist who automatically recommended Accutane. I was too scared for it at the time, so she put me on Bactrim (I think…) and Tazorac. This helped…but I was still getting the occassional deep, painful, scarring cyst. Six months later I saw a new dermatologist who also recommended Accutane. Once again, I turned it down. She put me on Doxycyline, Epiduo gel, and Yaz birth control. During this time, I also tried multiple products promising to ‘cure’ my acne: BlueMD blue light, some anti-cyst liquid, Dermify, DermaCleanse, Anthony’s anti-acne regimen that involved a MILLION supplements (it’s somewhere in the message boards), and I played with my already very healthy diet by removing most gluten, dairy, and sugar. As you can imagine, my frustration level was through the roof. I felt like my skin should reflect my overall health which, according to my initial blood work, is exceptional. I’m 5’6 and 125 pounds. I train for half-marathons and I eat a vegetarian diet comprised of all-natural, unprocessed foods. Despite all of this and despite everything I tried, I still had skin worse than just about all of the 16-year-old kids that I teach. This is when I started researching Accutane and I stumbled across studies that discussed low dose regimens and their effectiveness. I read some blogs written by people who took a low dose and I decided that it was worth a try. I understand that I could still encounter some nasty side effects but I am aware of the risks and I will take the blame for willingly ingesting the pill. So, that’s my long acne journey. Hopefully it will be over by 2012. ïŠ Cheers to pill number two and to me no longer throwing money away on products that are not scientifically proven to do shit!

ahmu300

ahmu300

05/31/2011

 

Miracle Poison: May 10 / Pill #1

After years of avoiding the highly praised and highly vilified acne drug, Isotretinoin, I’m finally ready to start taking this miracle poison. I’m ready to swallow the one and only pill ever clinically proven to “cure†acne. I’m not one to opt for the “quick fix†as I’ve spent the last ten years trying to find a way around taking this frightening drug; however, nothing has worked and I can’t stand the idea of going through another decade of inflammatory spots. I’ve turned down Accutane at least four times due to the horror stories surrounding the drug; I thought it was foolish to compromise my impeccable health for vanity’s sake. However, after years of frustration and after years of trying just about everything, I have finally had enough. Acne isn’t just affecting my appearance; it is affecting my mental health as well. I spend countless hours thinking about my complexion and researching different products, diets, and all natural approaches that promise to finally “fix†the problem. A little over a month ago I decided that enough was enough and it was time to just give it a try. It was obvious to me that nothing, and I mean nothing, was making a significant difference. While I don’t have a face full of spots anymore, I’m more prone to extremely painful, deep cysts that stick around for weeks and then don’t completely fade for months. I’m a 26 year old female and, to put it bluntly, I’m too old for this shit. I took my first 20mg pill a few seconds ago and this marks the start of my low dose course. After going for my usual run this evening, I ate a healthy dinner comprised of a spinach salad with lemon juice and olive oil dressing and a walnut spread sandwich with roasted red peppers and pears. I downed that little pill with a full glass of water and the hypochondriac in me is now waiting for my hair to spontaneously fall out, my vision to fail, my colon to burst, and my head to explode…all while giving birth to an alien baby. Current Skin Condition: Healing spot on forehead and left temple. Two healing cysts on left cheek (one still slightly inflamed) and a healing cyst on my right cheek. One inflamed cyst on my chin (one that hurts and you can feel it if you touch it…but you can’t really see it). I have a LOT of hyper-pigmentation on both cheeks and mostly superficial scarring (hopefully the miracle pill will help that out as well).

ahmu300

ahmu300

05/31/2011

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