It's been a while hasn't it?! In fact, it's been 1 year and 2 months since I last took an Accutane pill, and I'm delighted to say that my quality of life has improved vastly since.
The Early Days
A few months post-treatment I still got a few spots, which seemed to be brought on by stress and hormones, but that has calmed down further where I get a (usually) small, pimple-like rather than cyst-type, spot every 2-3 weeks, and the life-cycle of these spots is usually a day or two rather than a week of growing bigger and angrier. When I tell new friends I used to have acne they literally don't believe me and demand evidence, as I am now considered to have 'good' skin, not average skin, 'GOOD' skin * dreamy sigh*. The first time someone said that to me I left the room and literally shed a little tear, I never thought I'd hear that said about me. All that dry skin, bleeding lips and random toe ache was worth it.
The Emotional/ Psychological Damage Caused by Acne
As you may remember I had LOTS of psychological issues caused by having acne, i.e. social anxiety, which I received Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for as I could barely leave the house without feeling unbelievably anxious. Well, either i coincidently gained confidence or the few sessions I had made something click because I have no problems anymore. Of course I still get anxious now and then, but in the sense that I'm just generally quite a shy person, not because I have a deeper problem. In fact, since getting rid of the acne I take care of my skin a lot more than the average 18 year old girl, making sure I always remove my make-up, moisturise, exfoliate, tone and apply bio-oil every night, and I also treat myself to the odd honey and oatmeal facemask...so maybe it did me some good in the long-run.
The Good News
All this confidence building (and good skin of course!) enabled me to eventually net my first boyfriend. Although the relationship didn't work out, there were points in my acne-life where I thought I was too unattractive for anyone to ever want to go out with me, so I'm still glad it happened as it has helped me to further remove myself from the old, negative mindset I had and move on from 'acne Renn'.
All the problems I had with my acne has motivated me to take Psychology at university level, as I hope to one day be in the position of the woman who helped me through this. Uni and my new social life is the reason for not updating (sorry!), I never knew it was possible to be so busy, it's such a massive comparison to the life I had previously, where I was practically housebound for months and months. Oh, and I just have to say THANK YOU to all you bloggers for being so supportive during my acne days, I appreciate it so much
The Not-So-Good News
Well after sorting out my acne and getting that out the way, I decided to sort out my other medical issue. As you might recall I mentioned having joint pains and dry eyes, which I believed to be due to taking Accutane and because I have hypermobility and often have sore joints. Well after some tests it appears that I in fact have Lupus (an autoimmune disease) which has potentially been lying dormant for my life until now. I've read some journals which state Accutane is considered to cause temporary lupus-like symptoms (until the patient stops taking the drugs) and it is possible, according to my doctor, that my Lupus was drug-induced. Of course the predisposition was already there as I carry the gene, but the Accutane may have triggered it to rise. So if it's not one problem it's another. If I could go back and choose not to take Accutane...I still would anyway; personally I found the acne harder to cope with than having Lupus is, but it's early days, a few years down the line and I may not have the same opinion.
So would I recommend Accutane? YES. If it works for you it can transform your life. It's the best decision I have EVER made (minus turning down tickets to go see One Direction). I have lost nothing from taking it, but have gained confidence, friends, entry into the dating world, an education, knowledge (in the sense that it lead me to discover I have Lupus, which was caught early and can now be treated far better than I would if found later in life). I would like to upload photos, but you may have noticed I deleted all my albums. I chose to do this because my friend typed in 'Accutane' on Google Images and my face popped up and I was really freaked out, but believe me I am 'cured' . I may upload a close-up skin picture soon
Hi, it's been a while! Well my skin has been great overall, the tone of it is getting clearer with the help of this sunny spring weather. I'm extremely happy because I can see my freckles! Back before getting acne I hated my freckles, but now I couldn't be happy to see my little friends appearing again. When I had acne for the past three Summers I couldn't see any freckles, basically because I couldn't see any decent skin under the lumps and bumps, and I really missed those little guys. Being able to see freckles popping up every day reminds me of when I was younger and clear skinned, it's funny how opinions on appearances can change when something like acne hits you, you stop taking little 'imperfections' for granted.
I've been logging any pimples that have been coming up in a diary, trying to find if they correlate with some external variable, like food or emotions. So far nothing has jumped out at me, it just seems to be worse in the gap in my pill cycle, so I think hormones could well be the cause. The spots I have been getting are of a different standard to what I got before accutane. They're not really spots a lot of the time, they remind of me of that little sharpish bump you get in paper after proding it with a pin. It's been a few weeks since I've had any sort of spot, so that's a good sign.
Hopefully this Spring/Summer will improve my skin even more, just a few little red marks left now. I'm looking forward to having even more freckles
I have three spots on one cheek and one just under my eyebrow, all within a few days One of the spots on my cheek is similar to the type I used to get, sore and with pus inside (although the pus is gone because I *shockhorror* squeezed it-it was ready to pop. I took my last Yasmin pill in the cycle on Monday so maybe it's come from that because I'm due. I hope so. Can't deal with acne again!
Could have cried this morning before going to school, not because of the spots themselves but the thought of being back to square one. 4 months of accutane for 2 months of clear skin doesn't sound fair. I haven't yet experienced totally clear skin seeing as I still have scarring that is healing, so acne, please hold off till it's healed, just so I can have that for a little while! I'm breaking out, I'm hormonal, my mam's in hospital after surgery, I get A2 exam results next week and my doctor wants me to take a test to find out once and for all if I have inherited psoriatic arthritus from my mam after developing signs of it, the likelihood of having done so being around 80%..not feeling great (although I know this hasn't caused my spots because I haven't felt the stress of this till now, and my spots were developing a few days ago). My whole eating healthy thing hasn't worked out, I didn't realise how much I relied on chocolate to function. My doctor said I have 'severe anxiety' and is consulting me to see a psychologist. Apparently this anxiety can cause chocolate cravings, and it would explain my constant fatigue. Because being in school takes me so much more energy than a 'normal' person (with energy being wasted through fidgeting, heart racing, breathing, sweating, using so much adrenaline and being so tense) when I do get home I am shattered and crave chocolate due to the rewarding chemicals that create an instant relaxed sensation in the brain, which my body craves after a day on high alert. Maybe this counselling will help me drop a few pounds Looking on the bright side-it's almost the weekend!
My 'after accutane' skin care routine is to apply mild Retin-A at least once a day on my red marks and problem areas (areas prone to spots when I'm in my 7 day Yasmin break). I also apply bio-oil twice a day all over my face, which helps restore moisture and is also supposed to help even out skin tone. After sticking to this consistently for around 30-40 days, my skin definitely feels clearer and smoother-it's even helped blur out a scar on my nose! I've always looked a bit young for my age (mam calls it a baby face, I call it a fat face) but now I look even younger with clear skin, with people actually pointing this out. Acne seemed to age me, I got into way more films that I shouldn't have . I'm 18 in 2 months and I was asked for ID to buy a DVD rated 15, and when I said I didn't have any he said he wouldn't sell it to me because he believed I was under the legal age to purchase such an item! Watched Spongebob that night instead. I think it was partially because I wear way less makeup than I used to, with my foundation not being so thick, so it's a good thing in a way.
Diet wise I've been limiting the amount of processed, junk food I eat. I don't believe acne is a direct consequence of diet (for me anyway) but a good diet does promote healthier skin. I'm trying to eat more fruit and drink lots of water, and I'm also doing an hour or
fexercising every day, or when I'm too tired at least 30 minutes. I've been taking vitamin C supplements too because I'm constantly tired and fatigued, and by now accutane should be out of my system, so I'm thinking the sleepiness must be caused by something else. Also, I have terrible nails (weak and uneven texture) so this combination hinted at a deficiency in that particular vitamin. It's probably healthier to eat foods rich in this rather that take supplements, but I hate anything citrusy/bitter, and the majority of foods rich in V-C follow that sour route.
In terms of building my confidence, I've been following some tips I've gathered on the net:
1.When I feel people are ignoring me, instead of thinking 'they don't like me' I tell myself that they're probably wrapped up in their own day-to-day business. (I learnt this from a CBT website). This usually happens to me when I feel particularly self-conscious.
2. Avoid comparing myself to other girls.
3. Remember that people in magazines/ on TV are airbrushed and it's not possible to look so perfect.
4. Try not to stress and worry over little things.
I need to get my hair cut, which I'm scared about. I hate sitting looking in a mirror at myself for half an hour and having attention directly on me by the hairdresser. I always focus on the negatives in my face and leave feeling incredibly ugly and self-conscious. I'm going to try force myself to see the positives and not stress about the negatives this time, and hopefully I won't dread the experience as much anymore.
Pic of my skin now:
On Tuesday I went for my post-accutane check at the hospital. I had to do my regular pregnancy test, where as usual my mam decided to strategically slip in her usual joke of "imagine if it came back positive-it'd be like you were Mary having Jesus", while teenage boys were sitting beside me. Yes, remind me of my non-existent relationships in front of all these people, that's cool. Also, the nurse gave me a thin tube to pee in. I just stared in confusion at him until he said "oh, sorry! I was thinking about male samples." and he gave me a cup. A male pregnancy test?...we are trusting our health with these people
My Doctor said that if my spots keep appearing like around Christmas I'll have to go back on antibiotics for 3 months before being considered for accutane again, because it's routine. I know it's a way of avoiding unnecessary side-effects from accutane, but i know antibiotics don't work, I was on them for years, so surely it would be worse for my health to be on them for 3 months followed by months of accutane? Gah. It annoys me how things have to be followed precisely by the script with accutane, even when it might not be the best course of action.
My Derm suggested I get counselling (in a nice way, not in a 'you're crazy, get out' way). I mentioned how my confidence is still bad and she said she'd write to my doctor about it. In a way it would be nice to talk to someone, but I feel I can predict what they're going to say and I know it won't help: 'You need to push yourself", "get out of your comfort zone", "focus on the positives". Not that that's bad advice, but I've already tried to do that and it only works in the short-term, i.e. if I push myself to go out when I feel down, I fake confidence on the surface for that one event. It doesn't change anything internally or in the long-term. I feel I've managed to push my surface/fake confidence as far as it can go. For example, today I splashed my face with warm water, shoved on some tinted moisturiser and a bit or mascara and threw my hair in a messy bun and left for school. That would never happen before accutane, where I'd spend ages on washing my face, putting on foundation to cover my spots and doing my hair so I could have it down to cover my face as best I could. I think I've made a huge step, I never thought I'd get here, especially doing it on my own (with the support of acne-org of course!) I felt quite good today considering, but I think that's because my insecurities were blinkered by the fact that I had a 2hr exam this morning, so all my stress was attracted to that. The exam went quite well considering I still seem to suffer fatigue since being on accutane, meaning my memory was crappy. Also, after the exam someone out of the blue said "Renn, your skin looks really good", which made me feel more secure. Nobody had mentioned my skin since wearing the tinted moisturiser to school, and seeing as it was such a noticeable leap from the foundation I was beginning to think people weren't mentioning it because they could see scars or something but, yet again, I overreacted.
So anyway, I feel like today I've achieved/learnt something. I now know I can tie my hair up and the world won't end I don't have to feel that I have to cover my face anymore, and I should just learn to not care what people think or say about me.
General skin update: I Did have a spot between eyes (again) but it popped (it looked like an inflamed blackhead). I have a painful cyst just below my ear which should be ready to pop tomorrow. Still have red marks which, when irritated or when I haven't gotten enough sleep, can look quite bad.
Hey, finally have time to upload some pictures because my exam is out the way now...
I just have redness now but that's really improving since I started using bio-oil. I thought it was just a fad product but seems to be working really well. I put that on twice a day on my cheeks and when I feel a spot coming up I put Retin-A around that area. I feel a lot better now that I'm not stressing over exams and I don't feel so down. I haven't had any spots since my last entry, and it seems whenever I have gotten them in the past whilst on/just off accutane it's around the same time every month, so it might be hormones or something (which would also explain why I feel so emotional when I get them too).
I've finally started to wear lighter make-up. It's a bit like a tinted moisturised thing and is way lighter than my usual foundation. It's kinda liberating to actually be able to feel a breeze on my skin.
It's been almost two weeks since finishing accutane and I wish I could say it's been brilliant but it hasn't. On Christmas Eve, a few days before I was planned to take my last pill, I got a spot. I couldn't believe my luck, weeks and weeks with clear skin and I suddenly had a massive one between my eyes a day before Christmas. That one burst and was drying up by Boxing Day, and then a few days later I got another one. Now I've officially been off my accutane for almost two weeks and yesterday I felt another spot emerging on my chin. I covered it in Retin-A and it seems to have went down a little but I can't believe that they're still popping up I see my Dermatologist at the end of this month so she can check how I'm doing, but the last time I saw her she said she wouldn't put me back on accutane if they started coming back by the time I saw her because my body would need a break (which I don't understand, surely it would be better for me to go on for an extra 2 months than wait a few months and go back on it for another 4 months). I'm so upset and angry, I've cried almost every day, normally when I'm trying to get to sleep and I start thinking about stuff. I've felt so down over the Christmas; where normally people would put on a few pounds over the festive season I've lost 4 or 5lb. I don't really know how but I have been exercising more in an attempt to de-stress and I've lost my appetite. Whenever I feel a spot coming up I find myself feeling down and sick. I have three scabs from past spots on my face and I know there's gonna be more to come. I feel so hopeless, if it's only been a few weeks since stopping accutane, what about in a month? A year? I'm going to be back to square one. I could see the finishing line on the horizon, I could almost touch it, and acne is dragging me away from it. I've found myself having very disturbing nightmares, and reality isn't much brighter; I feel I can't get away. Whenever I have a day feeling confident the next day my body seems to compensate by making a spot appear and making me feel like crap, like I'm not allowed to ever feel good about myself and I'm always going to be ugly. I feel insecure, not knowing whether these spots are a temporary glitch or an inevitable future. I think I need to talk to a specialist or someone because I'm so low at the moment. I'm not a religious person at all, yet I've found myself praying in my head whenever I cry, asking for them to disappear. Sorry for the depressing rant but I just needed to get it all out. Nobody understands how I feel at home because nobody has had acne like me, but I know here lots of people are in the same boat.
Went for my consultation today and the Derm was really impressed. She said I'm one of the few who take really well to the drug really quickly, and she would see the main professor while I did my pregnancy test (which was negative; no miraculous conception for Renn this Christmas) to ask if she should up it for one last month/2 months. When I came back she said they decided it was ok for me to finish-was not expecting that, I didn't know what to say! In one sense I was so happy, seeing as I could finally lose moist moustache, scaly lips and co., but in another way I wanted to scream Rick Astley's hit 'Never Gonna Give You Up" into the envelope in my hands containing all my scrunched up accutane prescriptions. I'm losing my accutane armour which has shielded me from acne these past months, and all I have now is some Retin A topical treatment.
Also, today I had to do my DNA sample for the Acne study I talked about last month. I thought I'd do it seeing as it would be helping people in the future, but mainly because it would be quick and easy (I'm lazy). How wrong I was. I was given a little pot and told I had to spit in it until it reached a measurement line. It looked reasonable, seeing as the pot was so small. Then she said I might find it easy if I massaged my cheeks/wiggled my tongue in my mouth to produce 'proper' saliva, as 'bubbly saliva' wasn't the kind they wanted. She left me in the room by myself, while I tried to produce the specifically clear saliva she asked for. It was like searching for the Holy Grail in my mouth. I was so dry, and every time I felt I had produced a massive amount of saliva I'd look into the pot and it just looked like a mouse had shed a tear. At one point I started fantasising about chocolate cake and sweets, trying to arouse my glands (I felt like I was in some bizarre sperm clinic for obese people. They should have provided magazines with scantily dressed, sugar drenched foods). After 15 minutes I practically gave up and just slavered bubbles, but I'm sure there was enough decent stuff in there for the scientists to experiment with. I think I have saliva impotence.
So yes, I'm done with the 'tane, which I must thank for restoring my life. I go back in 6 weeks so they can check me over (hopefully one last time) to make sure the acne's still gone. The best thing about all this is that I'm acne-free for Christmas, hurray!
My face is like a baby's bottom (minus the microscopic faecal matter and large crack down the centre), but my lips are like little scaly, swollen red slugs. I bought cocoa butter Vaseline but it still had petroleum jelly in it, which isn't good for lips long-term. I went to the Body Shop and bought some beeswax cocoa butter, which I'm sure feels lovely on already moist lips, but when slathered on my lips it just lingers on the top layer of rough skin and doesn't sink any deeper. Cost me 4 quid too, for a pot with similar measurements of that of an eyelid. I tried exfoliating my smackers but the bristles on my baby brush are too soft and I'm worried anything tougher will make them bleed, seeing as kissing a feather is enough to make me look like a sloppy Vampire that just had his brekkie.
I can't take any photos of my skin because my brother broke the camera, so I thought I'd draw you an accurate representation:
As you can see my eyes are a bit irritated and I have a bit of a moist moustache (though I must point out my new moisturiser has started to settle it) My hair is dry and staw-like, lips slug-like and bleeding a bit and my eyelashes are thin. I still have a bit of redness concentrated mainly around my cheeks and glabella, but it's fading.
I went shopping the other day and realised that now I actually enjoy it. I don't have a niggling voice in the back of my head telling me that people are staring at my horrible skin anymore. Also, I used to wash my hair every day, even though it wasn't dirty. For some reason, being confident with my skin has lead to me being able to leave it like a normal person and wash it every second (maybe third seeing as my hair is dryer) day. It's like I used to compensate for having bad skin by doing my hair and trying to draw attention away from having nasty acne, or maybe it was my way of trying to feel extra hygienic, seeing as acne can make you feel like you're dirty or something. I used to get nervous a lot too, over the stupidest things, like getting a bus and answering the door. Now I don't even think about it, I just do it. I'm getting a bit better at talking to men, but I'm still not quite there. I still get very stressed, avoid eye contact and find it hard to display a personality greater than that of a door knob. The thing I don't understand is that I'm like that around men I don't even fancy, like teachers who are twice my age (and not in Bruce Willis way). I was in a classroom by myself the other day with a male teacher and I just wanted to sink into the ground, it was horrible, especially when awkward conversation ensued. I told my mam about it and she said it's quite 'endearing' how nervous I get. Yes, sweating + racing heartbeat + looking at the floor = sexy beast. It would be so much easier if I was a lesbian or an asexual .
Another quick before & now picture
Obviously there's a huge improvement but I've still got red marks that are difficult to see on that picture because they kinda merge with the freckles. The ultimate result would be my face skin looking like the skin on my neck, that would be incredible.
Side Effects update:
I've noticed that under my eyes is a lot darker than usual, and it's very obvious when your skin is as pale as mine. A teacher literally asked me if I was ok today because I 'looked so tired'. I'm hoping this is just due to fatigue and not a sign that my liver is struggling with the meds. I'm sure I was due blood tests but the docs didn't tell me to book in for some so I'm a little confused about that.
My lips crack and bleed almost every time I smile. I also just read that petroleum jelly Vaseline shouldn't be used on dry skin because your skin doesn't absorb it and it actually makes lips drier in the long-term. I'm gonna buy some cocoa-butter or Aloe Vera Vaseline instead because lips only absorb natural oils.
Tiredness has returned. I had a good 8+hrs sleep last night but I came home from school and went straight to bed for a quick snooze.
On the plus side, I found out that my moisturiser has been triggering off my moist moustache. Since changing it to a less rich one my sweaty lip is easier to handle-Down boy!
Been reading loads of accutane topics on here and I'm already worrying about when I stop my course and stressing over whether I've permanently killed acne or if it'll creep back after a few months. My parents keep telling me not to worry because adult acne doesn't run through the family but is that all that it comes down to? When people have been on accutane and their acne comes back, is that because they have 'adult acne'? There's bad hormonal acne in the family but I could be the odd, unlucky one who has something a little more complicated than that. I know I just have to think positive but the thought of going through all this for only a few months of clear skin seems so unfair, I want lifetime good skin! (who doesn't?) It seems success stories (as in years later they're still acne-free) are very rare compared to returning acne stories.
I have uploaded skin pics into my gallery if you're interested in how my skin's looking. I've uploaded one in my regular light, one in a strong light and one in natural light. What can I say? I'm just a talented photographer.
It's freezing cold here in the North of England and I'm wearing three pairs of socks because my toes feel like icicles. My dad is very stingy about heating costs so we have to just wrap up as best we can and hug the nearest fluffy dog for warmth. The weather combined with the horrible atmosphere in my house is making me comfort eat, so I'm going to make a huge bowl of porridge soon to try and fill me up and avoid gorging on sweeter, highly calorific food (i.e. nice food). Yeah, the atmosphere hasn't improved much. Mam actually said two or three sentences today to me though, but mostly interrogating me about my dad, looking for any reason to start an argument with him-urgh-so annoying. I'm sitting trying to do an assignment but with this mood in the house it's difficult. My mam just walked into my room as I was typing the previous sentence and she's blaming her mood on PMS (I thought I was bad). I still think it's deeper than that...I'm a bit worried actually because I just remembered her moodiness started around the time of going to the doctors about a weird mole on her back, so I hope it's not because of what the doctor said...I'll have to ask her.
I go for my monthly consultation a week on Tuesday and I'm considering going without make-up. I can get dropped off at the hospital but I'd have to make my own way home, so that last bit's worrying me. I don't think I could walk around town without my 'mask', even though I know my skin looks alright. The chill would bring out all the redness and then the moist moustache would start and ta-da, sexual predator look activated. The Doc doesn't mind me going with make-up on, and I make sure it's sheer, so I could always bring my skin pictures along. Hopefully they'll see it's improving again (last time I went it seemed to be going downhill with more pus-filled spots and little pimples) and suggest I'm on it only 5 months rather than 8.
Wow-wow-wee-wow, I've reached triple figures! That sounds a bit like I expected to die during the treatment or something, but what I mean is that I can't believe it's gone as smoothly as it has. Ok, there have been days where I've not felt great, and some weeks have seemed to go by slower than a nan carrying some thick bling, but the past few weeks have flown past, leaving great improvements. I've been using Neutrogena Blackhead Eliminating Toner which I found buried in my box of past attempts to kill acne. It never used to do much, but now, combined with my Accutane, it's fantastic. The 'tane seems to push the dirt to the surface while the toner helps kill it off-hooray for teamwork!
I said to my friend today "100 days now, that I've been on my tablets" and she said "you can really tell, I was looking the other day and realised how clear your skin is". My other friend then also nodded in agreement. It wasn't much, but it put a smile on my face, knowing that others can see a difference. I remember when it was bad and I had to cover it with loads of foundation. It took 3, sometimes 4, generous swigs of foundation to cover the mountains on my face, and now it only takes 1-1.5 little swigs. I can put it on lightly now and get just the amount of coverage that I need.
Of course something has to ruin this good feeling. My mam is extremely moody and is taking it out on everyone. Yesterday I was telling her that when I was little I would watch a cartoon character who used to eat baked beans without chewing them, and I would then copy this action whenever eating beans myself. I laughed, thinking about how silly I was, and she just turned and said "that was why you were so fat". Ok, I was really overweight when I was little, and normally I'd just laugh a comment like that off, but it was the way she said it, like she didn't mean it in a jokey way but to purposely hurt my feelings. It annoyed me so much because I was overweight because of family problems that I was hidden away from, even though I knew something was going on. Counsellors would come to our house and I was made to go upstairs while my parents and brother sat downstairs talking to her. I was often left to my own devices and would just sit alone in my garden, eating, seeing as I was too young to go out by myself and find something productive to do (I was about 10). Thankfully I've lost that weight now, and I can see the humour in being chubby as a kid, but it was just the way she said it, knowing the reason behind my ‘fatness’ was a lot deeper, and it really hurt my feelings. Now she's maturely going around the house, slamming doors and demanding cigarettes (even though she quit years ago-cigarettes that is, not slamming doors). She tells me off for being negative, but she casually walks around the house saying "my life is so shit" and various other depressing phrases. She was doing it this morning, when I was revising for a test I had that day, so I couldn't concentrate during the remarks, and afterwards due to thinking of the remarks. Consequently I've probably failed said test; thankfully it was just a mock. I understand that mams have bad days too, but I hate it when people take it out on others. She's literally looking for any little thing to spark an argument from, like she enjoys engaging in them. In addition, she is happy and nice to my 20 year old brother who's hardly here, but I feel she's uninterested in me and only ever talks about depressing things with me. If my brother talks to her she stops what she's doing and listens attentively, wheras when I talk she continues watching the TV, reading or whatever she's doing. If I complain that she's ignoring me she says 'I wasn't I'm just tired' or 'I was watching something'. It might be because my brother's always out and is considering moving, so she's making an extra effort to make home look enticing, but it makes me feel so unwanted sometimes, like I did when I was shoved upstairs when the counsellor came.
There's so much more I wanna rant about but I'll spare you all I might be overreacting but that feeling of treading on eggshells is creating a build up which I had to get out. I hope her mood improves tomorrow because I can't take another day like this. It's going to cause arguments which will affect our Christmas, I just know it -_-.
I’ve spent the day sleeping and soaking. We ran out of bubble bath so I squirted a ton of my brother's Lynx (Axe) shower gel into the tub. I lay in there for so long that it must have seeped right into my skin because, 2 hours later, I still smell like a teenage boy. The stench is so strong it burns my nasal passages. It's not even one of the nicer editions of Lynx. It's called 'Instinct'-what instinct, repulsion? Fear? I cannot describe how much I hate this smell. If you had to pick a smelly, why not buy one of those French colognes? They even sound sexy; Givenchy, Bleu de Chanel...Baguette? I don't know any more.
Oh, and like I promised, a picture of my other dog, Jake:
He's a Bitsa (bits-a this and bits-a that), no idea what breeds his parents were but we think perhaps he has Collie genes in there somewhere.
My skin feels really good at the minute. The texture of my skin changes a lot because of accutane, so one day it's hot, sweaty and very porey, and then a few days later it feels soft and clearer. It has felt clear for a few weeks now, so I'm hoping this is a permanent transition. I think my red marks are calming down too, they're more pink than red, and I can actually see my freckles again, I forgot I had so many! I find I'm able to look into a mirror and not feel totally repulsed by the reflexion. It's weird, because I can actually see my face properly, the face that was hidden beneath layers of acne for years and years. The last time I saw my face without spots I would've been 13 or something. Really looking forward to a near-clear christmas complexion
I am so ill. My throat is dry and tickly and my eyeballs feel like hot coals. I'm so out of it that I got up this morning, picked up my advent calander and opened door 3...and carried on opening doors! I opened about 6 more until I realised I was only supposed to open the one. Oh well, might as well eat the rest now. The cold weather is really hitting hard now too, so my skin is extremely dry on my hands and lips, to the point where I can't wash the dishes because they crack and sting. Oh my. What a shame.
I sent my UCAS off yesterday, so this time next year I could be studying Psychology at University! My choices were Psychology, Psychology with Counselling and Psychology with Criminology. I'd rather Psychology on its own because I prefer the University, but I'd be happy with any really. Think that's what I need, you know, a massive change in my life to get myself to where I want to be psychologically (no pun intended). New friends, new surroundings...a fresh scene.
I'm going to help my mam bath my dogs today because they smell horrible. I have a feeling when I'm brushing them a dead guy will just tumble out from their fur, and I'll say to myself 'THAT'S why they smelt like decomposing flesh!...oh dear.' Ollie loves getting washed, he likes all the attention
By the way, even though he has grey on him he's only 5. He was the last puppy to be picked because he wouldn't be allowed to be entered in dog shows with his little patches on his face and paws I feel we're alike; his grey is in my acne-zone, and he feels rejected and bitter We were made for each other!
I managed to find a picture of my skin when it was all disgusting and had a staph infection. I was on 4 flucloxacillin tablets a day for, I'm not sure exactly, but a long time. It died out eventually, but I felt so crap when I had it, like I was diseased.
It's not great quality because it was taken on a mobile phone. I wish I had taken proper photos of my skin when it was at its worst but whenever I did take some with the flash on I would get too upset and just delete them. Just happy I'm not in that situation anymore!
I must mention the 'vulgaris' thing again, because I found out it doesn't derive from the word 'vulgar' but is 'a Latin adjective meaning common, or something that is derived from the masses of common people'. They should still call it something a little less phonologically negative, like acne popularis or acne alltherangeis, even acneuniversalis (but that one sounds a bit like a theme park).
My dry skin is getting easier to control because I'm in a routine of moisturising now, but the dry lips is still bad. My toes are hurting, like an over-sensitive feeling, and the moist moustache is creating a little river valley in my philtrum which could end global water famine. My hair is dry so I have to apply deep conditioning masks and my eyelashes are thinning/eyebrows are becoming gappy. However, they're still outweighed by the side-effect of returning confidence and the concept of clear skin, so thinking of the long-term it's no big deal.
Since my confidence has been creeping back I've been thinking more and more about Summer, when it's 'prom'. I'm saying 'prom' because nobody wears typical meringuey dresses and you don't have to bring a guy, because we're from an all girls' school and, well, we know we can have a good time without them. It would be nice in a way though, to have a guy to bring, especially if it was that guy I mentioned many entries ago, but it would be way too Hollywood for that to happen I might just drag a random drunk from the street, give him a quick spray to mask that musky 'I was just sick on myself and ate it' smell and introduce him as my dedicated partner, just for effect.
Whenever I have to choose which restaurant or cafe to go to I will always go to the same places, even if I don't particularly like them, if they have a 'flattering' light. If it has that dim, sepia glow about it it's good, but if it has that horrible, doctor's surgery light it's not an option. It's gotten to the point where if I'm in such a strong light I give off vampiresque side-effects, like hissing and melting into a puddle of glitter. Slightly exaggerating but I do sometimes use the excuse of 'I get a headache' in order to move somewhere else or close the blinds. If I walk into a room my eyes focus on the best seat, the one in the dark. You end up building up a reputation when you repeatedly go to the same cafe, sitting in the corner of the room, lingering in the shadows with the only bit of light dancing on your moist moustache while you run your tongue along cracked lips, narrowed and dry, bloodshot eyes burning into the table.
2. Eye contact
I find it hard to make eye contact now. It was never a problem till acne, and at one point I couldn't even look at people's faces, I'd just look at the floor or pretend I was looking at something in the distance (I must have looked extremely rude). It's so annoying when you know you have spots all over your face and the person you're talking to is constantly scanning your face, a subtle expression of repulsion on their face. You get an urge to squeeze a spot and splatter the contents on their face...or maybe that's just me.
3. Weird treatments
I used to put random things on my face, thinking I'd discover the cure to acne. Some of the things I remember trying are: toothpaste, milk, tea, banana, apple, salt, ice cubes, glass, flowers and I think at one point my cocker spaniel.
I used to make up excuses to not go out with friends and family. Instead of just saying 'my skin's crappy' I'd say I was ill or busy. I was 'ill' so much I think people thought I was properly diseased, like with the black plague.
5. Make-shift masks
I used to sit watching the telly covering my face with my dressing gown, hand/hands or pillows. I don't know why I did it now, seeing as I was only sitting with my parents or brother, but I was even self-conscious in front of them.
I'm sure there are other weird things I did/still do but they're the main ones. Quirky.
Left-18 days, Right-87 days
I've been surfing the net, and can I just say that I hate that phrase. Why 'surf' and not 'skate' or 'pogoed'? Surf is quite inappropriate actually, seeing as computers and water is a no-no. Anyway, back to the point, I've been on the net looking at evolutionary explanations of acne. They're just theoretical ideas as they're not backed by any real evidence, but I thought it was all quite interesting. I thought I'd do a little round-up on here; see what you guys think of it all.
Females with acne
Young women with acne would not be seen by other women as a social threat, therefore such young women would be able to stealthily climb the social ladder. Upon reaching a better social standing their reproductive prospects would increase, i.e. they could reproduce with males that would pass on better genes to their children and also be better fathers and providers.
The unattractiveness of acne deters potential partners, helping to delay reproduction until the person is more mature and will be a better parent. In ancient times many women would die during childbirth due to them being too young to cope, or even cope with childbirth but fail to bring up the child due to being too immature to do so. It would seem acne would be advantageous to the woman.
Males with acne A useful analogy for the following theory: Male Orang-utans in the main are large and very aggressive. About a quarter of male Orang-utans are very short and basically look like adolescents that haven't grown. However, they do very well sexually because many female Orang-utans like these rather gentle, unassuming males and mate with them and have babies with them, which is why a quarter of all males have this trait. The other males don't recognise these 'dwarf males' as competition, so they're quite happy for them to slip along and reproduce with their females when they're not looking because they don't recognise them as sexual threats.
The Stone Age was a very dangerous place. The murder, death and violence rate was high. Young people dying of violence was a common event, and one of the things that really caused people to fight and die was fighting over women. Acne takes young men at a time when they are most likely to engage in fights with older men over young women and in a sense it removes them from the equation. They look less attractive and therefore the older men will probably not see them as a threat. And yet actually it may be that some of the young women will still mate with these males because in fact they'd be kind and gentle and self-effacing. But in any case, they're more likely to survive because no one has killed them and when their acne does go they have survived that very dangerous time when older men would see them as a threat. Eventually, when they are finally seen as a threat, they are better equipped to fight.
Male and Female acne
[*]Adolescent acne has a role in mate choice. The fact that acne, which is almost universal, is initiated at puberty by the action of pubertal hormones on likely distinct, pro-acne follicles, and typically resolves in one’s early twenties when prefrontal cortex development is complete, suggests that the condition’s timeframe is meaningful. Acne’s noticeable appearance on the face, and its ability to cause disgust and avoidance in observers, suggests a possible role in sexual selection. Far from being a disease, adolescent acne is a normal physiological process, a psychoneuroimmune interaction that functions to ward off potential mates until the afflicted individual is some years past the age of reproductive maturity, and thus emotionally, intellectually, and physically fit to be a parent.
Obviously there are limitations to these theories:
[*]It suggests acne is attained only in adolescent years. What about adult acne?
[*]It suggests people with acne would be bad parents. There are plenty of parents, young and mature, who have acne but are also great parents.
[*]There are people who suffer from acne who are still attractive and are in/ have experienced healthy relationships.
[*]It suggests only humans suffer from acne-there are cases of hairless dogs such as the Xoloitzcuintle suffering from acne.
[*]I'm sure a lot of men would see a man hanging around his girlfriend or wife as a threat, acne or no acne.
So there you have it, there may be an actual reason behind having acne.
Credit to all the professors and scientists that came up with these theories.
Had my derm appointment and instead of seeing the doctor I usually see I saw the professor of Dermatology. He asked how I was doing with the side-effects, and before I could say anything he blurted "you look a bit depressed!". Someone else said I looked down the other day, and I am, but I don't intentionally show it so I don't understand what I'm doing that gives it away. It's not like I'm sitting with black eyeliner smudged down my cheeks whilst slicing my wrists with an expressionless face. He gave me the choice of upping my dose or keeping it the same and I really didn't know what to do. I seem to be getting spots again, big painful ones, but he said that was normal. I wanted him to decide for me but he said it was my choice (I hate making decisions!) He didn't mention how much he'd raise the dose, but he did say the side-effects would be worse. He also said if I stick to 30 the side-effects will calm down a little eventually. I finally decided to stick with my 30mg, but I left feeling really upset (just for a change. I blame the hormones...again) because he mentioned I'd be on 6-8 months. Ok, 6, not too bad, but 8-that's seems so long, close to a year on drugs for spots, it seems ridiculous but I've been on antibiotics for longer so I shouldn't be such a drama queen. I think part of me still expects it to cure my skin overnight, and I'm not the most patient person so it's hard to grasp that I need to wait even longer.
A nurse approached me just as I was leaving and asked me to take part in a study called 'a case-control study for genotype phenotype associations in severe acne vulgaris'. I agreed, and basically next month when I'm getting my check-up and pregnancy test I have to give a saliva or blood sample (which made me wonder, why would you choose to have blood extracted from you with a needle rather than wipe a swab through your mouth? Must be more masochists around than we thought) and also go through a interview where they ask you questions like how much your life has been affected by having acne etc. I'm quite excited, it'll feel good to help towards finding better treatments for acne in the future.
Also, acne vulgaris. VULGARIS?! Surely they should have something a little more confident boosting, seeing as the condition itself detracts so much from self-worth? Acne sexiibabi3hawthawtbootaaay is a much better candidate. And it has such a latinate twang about it.
So I'm almost into my third month and could be finishing my treatment in another 40 days, when I hit 4 months. 120 days sounds like nothing when compared to a previous 1460 days of acne hell (that's 4 years for those without a calculator). I've had dry skin and lips for so long now it's just part of the routine and doesn't even bother me anymore, it's just the random sweating that's irritating but it's a teeny weeny price to pay to have good skin. I've started healthy eating properly today because I think my body needs some TLC. I think it was screaming for it today when I woke after a good 9hrs sleep, had my breakfast, then was shattered all of a sudden and went back to bed for another 4hrs. I'm going to avoid chocolate (shock-horror) and try and replace it with fruit. I already eat quite healthy meals so it shouldn't be too difficult, although I'm pretty addicted to chocolate-I even suffer withdrawal symptoms similar to that of drug addicts (according to Google)-so perhaps I'm being overly optimistic about this.
Tried a new foundation yesterday because I got a free sample, and as my nan says, 'owt for nowt!' (translation from Geordie to English: anything for nothing) It's called 'Laura Mercier-Silk creme foundation'. It's good for pale skin apparently, and it was a great match for my colouring, but it was impossible to put on and looked crap. I must've lost a good 50 calories just trying to spread it across my face, and at one point had a little rest before continuing to do the other side. It just kinda slumped into my pores, and then the good old moist moustache started. Yes, brilliant timing. I went to dab it off a little and the foundation just slid off; it had no holding power. I then touched my cheek after it had 'dried' and it just rubbed off instantly. To conclude, I'll have to stick with my current one for now, even though it's still slightly too dark in my opinion.
And now I feel I must apologise (or at least show my sympathy) for those who read my last depressing blog. I'm terrible with the PMS and seem to turn into a different person- I was even worse before the Dianette-so yes, sorry guys. I already pity my future partner because I'll probably lead them to a monthly mental breakdown. Maybe I should just live with some cats instead, for the good of humanity? Although cats aren't really me...I'd rather be 'the crazy sloth lady' or 'the crazy star-nosed mole lady'.
'How is the title relevant?' you may ask. Well, basically it isn't...but everybody likes to breathe.
Hi, just thought I should let you know I'm still alive and consuming enough fatty foods that I'm beginning to look like Aunt Bessie, and the redness of my face gives me a similar blush to her, which is just fantastic...
I have a huge blue bruise on my upper arm from where a bucket of potatoes fell onto me this morning. I think they were drawn to my Aunt Bess-esque aura and wanted me to make them into some roast potatoes. I never used to bruise, and it's only since 'tane that I've been getting some whoppers. It's quite exciting actually, knowing you're going to get a bruise after injuring yourself and waiting for it to appear-oh, what form will it take? The shape of a country? An animal perhaps? Or maybe an exotic plant or a biblical code?... I'm sad and lonely.
I honestly have very little to add other than I've been feeling pretty down. I feel like my confidence has fell again and I'm not sure why, and I generally feel kinda crap I'm sick of 6th form, but then I think 'all I do is go to 6th form-my life is 6th form', which makes me feel like my life is really poop. I wish I was one of those naturally confident people that could just socialise with anyone without getting sweaty palms, avoiding eye-contact and getting a twitch (yes, my upper lip sometimes twitches when I'm really nervous, it's so embarrassing ) It's frustrating because I know I have a big personality but it will only come out when I'm with my close family or when I have the assistance of a keyboard and screen. I feel like I have a person I don't like taking over my body and pushing out the real me, but I have no idea what to do to stop it. Sorry, this sounds so sappy and over-dramatic but if I don't vent I'm just going to explode. I always feel like this but usually it stays as a niggling pain in the back of my head, but whenever I start to PMT it comes centre stage and upsets me.
Anyway, I have recent pictures in my gallery if you're interested in how my skin's looking
So I haven't posted in a while but, well, nothing has really happened...apart from developing the watery moustache.
The watery moustache is the name for the phenomena where my upper lip sweats non-stop all day. That, along with my watery eyes and dry, crusted lips, gives me that 'nervous sexual predator' look every self-conscious, desperate-to-fit-in teenager wants. I don't understand why I'm all of a sudden getting this though. I did get it a little when I over-exerted myself or became too hot but now there seems to be no trigger and I can't think what I could be doing/using that is making it happen all of a sudden.
Emotionally I'm very sensitive, where I'm literally reduced to tears over things I'd just brush off before Accutane. I don't think it's serious or anything but the up-and-downness is irritating because half the time I don't know how I'm feeling so I might push myself to do some work and end up over-stressing myself and crying. It's like 24/7 PMS. I think it's impacting on my work at 6th form and I have exams in January...
Not much else to say seeing as my skin is improving so slowly now. One thing I have noticed is that the spots I am getting now are large lumps without a head, just filled with a strange watery liquid. I like to think this is the infection in my pores being purged out; cheers me up to think that maybe I'm in the last stages of killing the acne. Also, those two, hard pebble-like spots that i had under my skin have shrunk a lot-one is pretty much gone-so I'm glad of that seeing as my Derm said they might be long-term/permanent calcium or keratin deposits. Still want them to up my dose and I'd love to be off it for Christmas because if I'm not I'm going to be conscious of what I'm eating (for blood fats) and I won't be able to drink any alcohol (well, technically I could have a little, but I'd rather not when my liver will already be under stress). It's a good thing I'm not really a big fan of alcohol, otherwise I'd be dreading the temptation coming my way.
My skin is getting redder and redder as each day passes. Perhaps Accutane is not only purging out spots but also a baboon's bottom which has been living dormant under my face for the past few acne-corrupt years of my life? It would explain my craving for bananas and urge to 'ooo ooo, ahh ahh!" at people.
Below is a picture of said skin today. Compare the skin on my face to the skin on my neck (which is deathly pale) and you might understand why I'm still reluctant to go out makeup-less.
Also, I've been putting my foundation on a lot thinner than usual so you can still see the red marks peeking through my makeup. I could probably cover it better but I don't want to fall into the trap of feeling I have to wear really thick makeup again. I'd rather the red marks to be honest.
I have another paint picture for you all. This time it's of a rat (inspired by the one living-probably dying now due to Council intervention-in my garden) You may be wondering, 'why is he wearing boots?' Well...rat feet are hard to draw.
Isn't he just so realistic? *sense my sarcasm*. Just to remind you, yes, I am 17, not 7. There's nothing wrong with a bit of paint! Unless you're a solvent abuser or something, then it's just too much of a temptation.
Short blog today because I'm swamped in Psychology work so-catch ya on the flipside! Whatever that means...
Today has been one of the most boring days in my 6th form life. I was so bored that in Psychology I decided to draw a dinosaur on paint:
That was my excitement for the day. Also, I balanced a pile of 5 Jaffacakes on my left cheek, which was satisfactory.
My skin feels like it's burning up constantly which is pretty annoying. I solved the problem of my eyes constantly watering by buying eye drops. Don't get how putting more liquid in my eyes would help but it has! My lips are the worse, they're not dry but they feel...rubbery? I have this urge to jump face-first onto the floor and see if I bounce.
That's it. Very short blog but I wanted to share my image of Francis the Dinosaur.
THERE'S A MOOSE LOOSE ABOOT ME garden. Well, technically it's a rat-grey, about 6", excluding the tail, with a medium build (this is starting to sound like a description on Crimewatch). It was dining on some of my dog's finest excretion and ran away when I opened the door-didn't even pay the bill! We've had to phone the Council because apparently it's illegal to have rats in your garden(?) which I don't understand because it's not like people purposely smuggle rats into their gardens for the pleasure of their company. Unless they're one of those crazy cat ladies, but are too indie for cats and choose to obsess over vermin instead.
[Realistic ghost noise here] It's Halloween! Not that I've got anything to be excited about. Don't go trick-or-treating and never have, "Nar yu not gannin trick-a-treet'n. It's a form ov beggin', man!"-said in broad Geordie accent, dad-style. Also, there's no kids living on my street so nobody comes trick-or-treating. I live on a street full of 80+ year olds, and because of this whenever I hear the phrase 'girl-next-door' I picture a saggy woman with a perm called 'Glenda' or 'Helga' with a wobbly voice. Why does your voice go wobbly when you get old anyway? Does all the jelly you've eaten over your lifetime accumulate?
Now I'm getting tired and hungry so the following might be missing a few verbs:
Hips hurt clicking noise ow, knee creaky ooo hate it, lip spot go boom red, yesterday stingy now burny.
I'm going to post today's blog in invisible bullet points. Chic? I think so. Indie? Kinda. Plan B after normal bullet points appeared in random places, deleted original post and lead to a mental breakdown? Yes.
In yesterday's blog I wrote how happy I'm feeling in life, so my life has decided that that's just weird, Renn having a positive outlook? Let's fix that. I woke up this morning feeling like I'd been run over by the stampede that killed Simba's dad. What was Simba's dad called again? I know it began with an 'm'. Mulan? No, that's the Disney film about the wartime transvestite...Mowgli? No, wrong animal... Micheal? Mikey? Meg? Google tells me Mufasa. Moving back to the point, I'm hurting. I've got that 'day-before-you-have-a-flu' feeling, where your body aches and head hurts etc. Also, I hurt my knee the other day on the Wii. Accutane + Hypermobility = avoid exercise altogether, apparently. I was only on a game for 15 minutes! It's still hurting bad so I might have to get it checked out if it doesn't improve soon. When I try to walk up stairs I look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, but with less sophistication and more cursing.
Back to 6th Form on Monday and I still haven't finished all my homework. Geography essay and two English essays, urgh. Why do I always leave it till the last minute? Maybe my body gets a buzz that I'm unaware of.
Weather is horrible. Depressingly cold and rainy; stereotypical English dampness. The plants are shrivelling and the leaves are throwing themselves off of tall trees. Even the bird in my garden looks like it's about to pull out a twig and slit it's wings or impale itself on top of a Hedgehog. I just want to sit with my friend Cadbury Chocolate, alone, with a hot cup of tea. Days like today reaffirms my belief that English babies are injected after birth with a drug which makes them immune to the gloominess of England, helping lower the migration/suicide rate.
Skin-wise I'm also in pain. That huge monster of a cyst near my lip is surfacing, and every time I move my mouth it stings. I've put toothpaste on it to try and dry it out because I've read that works. I'm getting desperate now though, I want it gone before Monday so I won't have it in class (it's so distracting) I might try other household objects, perhaps smother it in gravy or sprinkle it with paprika, or balance a Jacob's Cracker on it...bash it with a Baguette like an easy version of the game 'Whack-a-Mole'. I'm hungry now.
*pic of monster spot in gallery