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Accutane / Round 3

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Day 23

It's funny, I got my hair done-- and because I'm so focused on adjusting to that, I haven't really paid any attention to my face. I have two problem spots that look bloodyish (sorry)-- and then I have wannabe pimples all over. They're annoying. The are pink, some big-- but not fully formed. My chest has small ones ALLLLLL over. I'm getting tired of those! My strapless bridesmaid dress needs to be worn in two and a half weeks... please please PLEASE let all of these tiny zits go away. There are a lot of stressful events coming up in the next month or so. I'm worried my stress level will get out of hand and cause my skin to go crazy. These events include: - Adjusting to the big change at work (I got a new manager and a new design team.) - I get my review from my old manager in 1.5 weeks, and figure out if I got a promotion or not - My sisters wedding in NY, so-- a big vacation with my family. Yikes. - My 26th birthday. I'm not too excited about this one. I think it'll depend if I get my promotion or not-- I need to feel like I'm moving forward in SOME aspect of my life. My personal life is kind of on a standstill at the moment. Birthdays make me reflect too much on where I am and where I'd like to be. Maybe my skin will be that thing I can cling to that's improving in my life. Side Effects: -Dry lips -Thirsty -Headaches, occasionally

me_vs_skin

me_vs_skin

05/09/2011

 

Day 20 - Two Packs DONE

I'm sitting here with a mirror in hand, trying to figure out what to report. Biggest issues with my skin at the moment: The zit under my chin (I think it formed last week?) is a scab that keeps opening up when it gets wet. Accutane definitely makes my skin heal differently. Maybe slower? I put neosporin on this spot every night. I have a large scab near my left eye/hairline. The cracks of my nostrils get ultra dry. I have very tiny clusters of zits all over my cheeks. They are flesh toned, it could be worse I suppose. Overall, has there been an improvement sense I started? I will give a definite yes. It's hard to compare, because my skin is so different in texture... before I was drying the CRAP out of it with 10% benzoyl peroxide. Now my skin is shiny from lotion, and dry in only certain patches. But overall, the color has smoothed out-- which makes it look better in general. I have more -tiny- zits, however. But I haven't had many new large ones (when I was getting three large ones every day, previously.) One thing I DON'T miss? F-ing benzoyl peroxide. It was such a chore. I had to be so self aware when I put it on. It had to be the VERY last thing I did at night-- I always made sure I slept with my face on something white (I bleached out my friend's mother's bed and breakfast sheets a few months ago because I forgot to notice that the pillowcase was a color!!) I ruined SO many shirts by accidentally touching it with my fingers after applying it on my skin. Ick. So, in conclusion-- these twenty days have definitely provided a CHANGE in my skin tone. It's not the same at all. Is it better? Sure. Is it -good- skin? Not yet! But I can definitely see improvement is on its way. I'm getting my hair done tomorrow. I hope my dry scalp isn't as bad as I think it is... I don't want to disgust the hair dresser! Side Effects: -Dry ears, nostrils -Chapped lips -Dry scalp -Dry eyes (I've lost two contacts so far in this process...)

me_vs_skin

me_vs_skin

05/06/2011

 

Day 18 - Here comes the hard stuff.

Soooooo yeah. My face is broken OUT. Things to note: -I have lip flakes. What the hell is that, you wonder? On the edge of my lip, my skin has decided to flake only half way off so it remains on my face. Twice today, someone said "you have a flake on your lip." So, yeah, THAT'S happening. I also saw a flake hanging out on my face while I looked at myself in the reflection of my metro car window. -My skin is just... awful. I guess I've had worse days in general, but I have little ones EVERYWHERE. My chest... awful. I had to wear a decretive scarf today to cover up my chest... and it was 80 degrees today. -My nose is separating from my face. You know, that spot behind your nostril? It decided to get extra dry and crack. So, that's been a blast. Fact: Make up cannot cover a skin separation. Besides feeling like a dry circus freak, my spirits are ok. I still feel like I'm on my "journey" to better skin.

me_vs_skin

me_vs_skin

05/04/2011

 

Day 16 - I cannot stop analyzing my face!

Okay, so yesterday I did some serious pickin'. I've been so good recently, not sure what that weak moment was all about. But there were three whiteheads on my upper lip yesterday (I guess that's what they were? They were string zits. You know, when you push on them and a long string comes out? Sorry. That was gross.) Today they are nonexistent, so I'm pleased with how it went... but the one on my left cheek that I also messed with... I am NOT pleased with how that one looks today. Also, I popped two chest zits that were next to each other. They are red. Wups. I realized today, that my bridesmaid dress for my sister's wedding is a strapless dress. That means it shows EVERYTHING. Back, arms, chest-- everything. Granted I'm doing okayish... but I really hope by the end of this month I care wear it confidently. Side Effects: -New side effect alert! I had my first nose bleed in years. It caught me off guard.... I felt it in the back of my throat before it came out my nose. I guess I should start walking around with some tissues for emergency situations. -Dry scalp and ears. -Lips doing ok. Face: Well, my left side is acting up, my right side is healing. I still look okay. The most annoying zit i have right now is one under my chin that won't seem to go away. Chest: A work in progress. The two zits I messed with yesterday are RED.

me_vs_skin

me_vs_skin

05/01/2011

 

Day 15 - eek.

My left side of my face, which is usually the "good side" (before Accutane, even) is breaking out. I have 3 new ones-- on the smaller side, sure-- but they are RED RED RED! I hate it when a zit is redder than your lips. It really makes me feel like i have christmas lights on my face. I wonder if this is finally the start of an initial breakout? I was wondering where it was... Side Effects: -Last night I went out with friends... we were up late, we talked a lot, and I suppose when I talk a lot I lick my lips. By the time I got home my lips were destroyed and chapped. -Dry scalp and ears -Dry eyes! My contact fell out yesterday morning. Maybe it was about time I changed them though... Face: -New breakouts on left side. -Annoying scab chin zit. - Hairline zit scar still prominent Chest: -Little breakouts on shoulders - A few even on my back, which is rare. - Really brown scars, not any lighter yet. Feeling a little discouraged at the moment, but I know day 15 is still early. It could be a lot worse right now... but getting a cluster of new breakouts all at once always makes me annoyed. I really want to go get my hair redone for the summer/my sister's upcoming wedding. My scalp is SO dry i'm afraid my hairdresser will be horrified. I'm sure they see some bad scalps though. And yes, I've been using dandruff shampoo every day. Soon I'm sure the embarrassment of my roots will outweigh the embarrassment of a dandruffy scalp. Also-- does anyone else plan out their hair appointments based on good skin days? I ALWAYS do this. If I notice I've having a better than usual day, that's when I go. I mean, you have to look in the mirror the entire time. And salon lighting can be horrendous. The place I go in DC is this ultra-hip place with a lot of nooks, so I feel like I have some privacy sometimes. I'm excited for my skin to get good again so I won't have to think like this-- sometimes it's hard to imagine that people who don't break out don't plan their lives around good/bad skin!

me_vs_skin

me_vs_skin

04/30/2011

 

Day 13 - TWO compliments today!

Not one, but TWO people told me my skin was "glowing" today. One of the complimenters knows I'm on accutane, the other doesn't. Side effects: -Dry ears -Dry lips Face: -Not many! Underneath chin zit the worst. Right cheek/lower jaw a few scabs. -Two forehead scars (large.) Chest neck: -Lots of little ones. -Three dark scars on chest still there. Last night...OMG I had some restless leg syndrome going on. I experienced it for the first time during Accutane Round 2-- I forgot how bad it feels. I'm wondering if Accutane messes with my iron levels in any way (as that's what seems to be a main cause of RLS?) It was awwwwful. Overall though-- in general-- I am very pleased with how my skin is looking! I hope everything continues to smooth out.

me_vs_skin

me_vs_skin

04/28/2011

Last Reply:
04/30/2011

 

Day 12 - Unsure of what's to come

Sorry boys: Today, I got my period. This is worth mentioning, because I did not get any traumatizing zits to alert me that my period was even coming. This is UNBELIEVABLE to me. It's only been 12 days. Can this really be happening already? I always get at least ONE if not TEN "period" zits. Face: Lots of little zits, nothing big. The hairline zit had definitely closed-- it's a creator scar at the moment. My right cheek is worse than my left. My jawline and underneath part of my chin is the main problem area at the moment. Overall, fairly good. Makeup can cover everything easily. Chest/neck: This is were the bad stuff is. Because I haven't been picking, it's not too red. Side Effects: -Feeling dizzy? It might be the heat. -Dry ears. -Dry scalp. -Dry lips. So far I am extremely happy about my third round of Accutane... should I stop preparing for an initial breakout?? I hold my breath as I walk over to the mirror every morning.

me_vs_skin

me_vs_skin

04/28/2011

 

Day 10 - First package DOWN.

So, my "great" face skin is doing a little less great today-- but still, not awful. I'm breaking out in really strange places... not my typical zones. For instance, I have a large zit underneath my chin. Who gets prominent zits there? Definitely not what I would consider an "oily" area. Also, my neck. I'm getting a lot of new ones there...my neck was never that bad of a spot. A lot on the BACK of my neck, too. Like-- deep ones. However, the areas on my face that are typically bad-- my cheeks and forehead-- they are still relatively okay. Some flesh colored spots on my forehead-- the really bad scar near my hairline. A red irritated zit on my right cheek. In the grand scheme of things though-- it's ok. Hairline, back of neck, the shadows on my face (the underneath part of my chin)-- all of these places are great locations for breakouts. My hair can cover most of it. It's not a rudolph zit or a hawaii formation. Side Effects: -Itchy scalp. -Dry ears -Lips doing better Really happy i'm done with my first pack-- hrm, this adventure has only just begun, hasn't it? I have a beach vacation scheduled for July. I REALLY hope my chest skin clears up-- the vacation is going to be with friends, and while they all KNOW i'm on this medication for my skin, it would still be nice to be just as confident as them in my bikini. It's easy to go to work every day wearing shirts that cover most of my chest... my friends definitely don't see what I see. It'll get better, I know it will. The question is just how long it will take. I'd like it to be better for my sister's wedding next month, too. But also: wearing a dress vs wearing a bikini is a LOT different.

me_vs_skin

me_vs_skin

04/26/2011

 

Low Dose Accutane | Day 9 - Good skin day?!

I wish I could tell what's causing what. It's the 9th day since beginning my third Accutane journey... and my skin looks healthy? I'm talking the skin between the current zits. It's just so...smooth. Is this due to the Accutane? Is this due to stopping the Spironolactone? Is this due to the lotion I'm using at night (CeraVe)? Is this due to stopping the 10% benzoyl peroxide cream? (Maybe my skin hated it?) Is this due to drinking more water because Accutane has been making me thirstier than usual? Granted, my chest is still a work in progress. It's VERY spotty and unhealthy looking. But my face...today it seemed to glow. I hope I didn't just jinx myself. Maybe it's just a good face day. My zits are very coverable. (Btw, I'm still using Everyday Minerals, ever since I discovered it during my Accutane round 2 in 2008.) But man, today I'm excited to go outside and have natural light hit my face. Where is my initial breakout that I know so well? I read that Spironolactone takes two weeks to leave your system completely... so is it just that I have two drugs fighting acne right now so I'm having a good face day? Anyway, lets get on to the usual stuff: Side Effects: -Dry scalp, dry ears -Lips chapped, but manageable -Headache this morning but responded to pain medicine Face: -good skin day. smooth feeling, between the zits -Open hairline zit no longer raw, and it's coverable with makeup. Very deep scar though. -Concerning zit on right cheek, watching it... hoping it will go down. -Two zits on forehead, very coverable Chest: -Small breakouts all over... I hope this is my chest cleansing itself. -Three very dark brown scars. Still putting neosporin on it every night. Tomorrow I will finish my first pack. This will feel nice.

me_vs_skin

me_vs_skin

04/24/2011

 

Low Dose Accutane | Day 8

It's officially been over a week now!!!! So today: holy CRAP i slept forever. I had been feeling a little worn out this week. And after waking up at 9 am this morning, I went back to bed at 11 and slept until 3. I vaguely remember doing this when I was on Accutane Round 2--so I'm going to consider this normal, and it's just my body adjusting. (Or maybe my week at work was just more tiring than normal.) I drank again last night. The doubleish date thing went okay-- I definitely think we're more on friend terms, and that he wasn't interested in me. I've had really good luck with men in the past year, so I'm going to try and be okay with his disinterest. Anyway, we went to a really fancy cocktail speakeasy place (the door was unmarked, you have to knock, someone answers, and if they have room they'll seat you.) So because everyone was drinking cocktails, I still stuck to beer so I could drink slowly. As I did, and I think it worked out okay-- I didn't have that much. Now, I will stop for at least a week, as I don't want to overdo it! Side Effects: -Lips, chapped. -Dry scalp and ears -Tired Face: -Okay, that open one by my hairline. It's less open, but really ugly looking. It's currently a creator scar. I hope it fills in, and becomes less red! -Two slightly concerning zits on my forehead. -1 concerning zit on my jawline. -1 slighting concerning zit on my right cheek. -Small ones all over, but not concerning to me. -Overall, without makeup, I look spotty. Chest: -Most annoying ones are the really brown scars in the center of my chest -Little ones still all over my shoulders -New ones on my neck At least I'm past the first week! I'm VERY curious what my skin will look like the week of my period. So far Accutane hasn't given me the severe initial breakout I'm used to. Typically in the past, it was traumatizing. Maybe because it's such a low dose it's not pulling it out all at once, but instead one by one? I should stop making up theories. I have NO idea what i'm taking about.

me_vs_skin

me_vs_skin

04/23/2011

 

Low Dose Accutane | Day 6

Things to note today: 1. Upon leaving my apartment this morning, I ran into a neighbor in my hallway. (We've never talked, he cannot speak much English, and he's at least 30 years older than me.) I see him often when we're both heading to work-- but we never speak. But when we were in the elevator, he struggled to communicate, and what he said was, "Today. You look. Very. Beautiful." Well look at that! I felt great about my skin for the rest of the day. I felt like I did have a "glow" this morning-- it might just be all the lotion I'm putting on! 2. I drank half a beer after work. Now, you're not supposed to drink on Accutane, and I know this. I'm not a huge drinker, so it was never hard before-- and when asking my doctor about it, she told me I was on such a low dose that it shouldn't really matter and to "not overdo it." Well, I drank half a miller light at an after work happy hour-- and my stomach felt weird. Not sure if it's the placebo effect happening-- but it makes me nervous. Tomorrow I'm going out on a double date situation for happy hour, so I'm going to keep it under two beers. Maybe I'll just try to have one. Typically this isn't a problem, maybe once a week I find myself in a social situation with alcohol, and I definitely don't drink all the time, and if I do, not a lot. I'm a tiny girl, so it doesn't take much! Just thought I'd point out that I felt weird today, and that I'm not looking forward to doing it again tomorrow. 3. Today when I got home, I had to put Aquaphor on my lips!! I think the chapped lips are here. Side Effects: -Chapped Lips -Really dry ears (I know, weird.) -Dry scalp -Headache this morning, but responded to pain medicine Face: -It's funny, when you record acne, you start realizing HOW long you've been dealing with an annoying zit. So that open one near my hairline? STILL manages to open up when I wash my face. Granted, the area is getting smaller every day, but it still opens up! Thank GOODNESS it's in my hairline. -a few zits on the forehead, the red ones from yesterday are getting flatter -my left cheek is doing surprisingly well -small breakouts all over, in general. But flesh toned. Chest: -Still small breakouts... might be getting worse? Overall, my skin tone is really improving due to the CeraVe lotion. It's amazing when I'm not putting benzoyl peroxide on my skin every night how healthy it can look in between the spots with zits!

me_vs_skin

me_vs_skin

04/22/2011

 

Low Dose Accutane | Day 5

Soooo. Yeah. My skin is continuing to break out. I know I know. I've been through this before, I know when you start things are rough. But ugh. Side Effects: -Dry scalp, dry ears, some dry patches between my nostril and face? -Lips still aren't chapped! Just drier than normal. -Slight headache this evening -Contacts are bothering me some Face: -That raw spot near my hairline? Still there. And raw. Seriously? -Two new zits on my forehead that are red. -Small breakouts continue, but, are flesh colored. Chest: -Small ones still around my shoulders. -Three big scars still noticeable in the center of my chest. Also: the packaging is harder to open than I remember it being. 4 out of the past 5 days I had to take scissors to cut my pill out! I must look crazy at my desk.

me_vs_skin

me_vs_skin

04/21/2011

 

Accutane Round 3 | Day 4 | Low Dose

Side effects: -Starting to really notice some dry skin. The skin behind my ears is flakey (I know, weird). Also, while I always use a dandruff shampoo, I feel like my scalp has been itchier than usual. -I had the world's WORST headache yesterday. It was unresponsive to migraine medication. -Lips still not chapped, but, dryer. Face: -That open/raw zit that made me stay home yesterday is still sore, but not at ugly. Everyone complimented me on my hair today... which amused me greatly, because I styled it different in order to cover it up. -Several new small forehead bumps appeared this morning. Flesh colored... so... I guess it could be worse. Just a lot of them. -A weird underneath zit is on my right cheek. It will definitely develop into a biggin'. Chest: -I still have a bunch of small shoulder zits. Had to only put makeup over one area with the shirt I wore today. Luckily, most of my chest breakouts are not currently where a v-neck shirt exposes. All in all, I'm fairly happy with the placement of the breakouts I DO have currently. What a weird thing to be thankful for! Other notes: From my last Accutane round in 2008, this has been a walk in the park so far. I started on 40 mgs then-- and I'm only taking half the amount now (20 mgs). But it's a big difference. I'm hoping that will mean my initial breakout won't be as awful this round... here's to wishful thinking.

me_vs_skin

me_vs_skin

04/19/2011

 

Day 3

Day 3 of my low-dose Accutane course at 20 mg per day. So I'm not entirely proud of this: but I called out of work today. It's a "sick" day-- but it's actually a "bad-skin" day. The location of the awful zit isn't even that bad--- it's pretty close to my hairline. A zit couldn't be in a better location. But it's open and raw-- I cannot imagine sitting there all day thinking about it. I could position my hair over it, but then I couldn't make any sudden movements. Also, the raw part is larger than a dime-- my hair ends up sticking to it and re-opening it up. Sorry for the gross detail. Other than that-- my skin was a little better when I woke up this morning. I'm hoping the initial shock my skin went through of stopping my three other medications is over. Side Effects: - Lips are still tingley, not chapped though. - My back was sore this morning. Face: -Lots of -little- breakouts (more than I usually get!) and the BIG, raw one on my hairline. And yes, the big one was self created. No idea why it got so bad-- could my skin really already be turning into that thin-as-tissue-paper skin Accutane gives you? Chest: -Not too awful, lots of little ones near my shoulders. Right in the center, I have three brown scars from larger zits that happened two weeks ago. I've been putting Neosporin on them, nightly-- and CeraVe on them every morning. The chest ones I got two weeks ago were the worst I had in years. I had to wear shirts up to my neckline (or a scarf) every day to work. I cannot help but think, "really skin? It's about to be summer. Please get better so I can wear a V-neck shirt, at the very least." Random recommendation: I'm typically a Cetaphil girl during Accutane rounds-- but my doctor gave me a coupon for CeraVe, and I'm loving it. Cetaphil moisturizer always seems a little think and hard to spread. CeraVe takes two seconds to put everywhere when I get out of the shower. Seems to sink in quickly, too. It's really the lotion for lazy people who hate to moisturize.

me_vs_skin

me_vs_skin

04/18/2011

 

I'm back. Day 2.

So, the last time I wrote in this thing was August of 2008. Back then, I used this blog to record every single day of my second Accutane experience, so I could monitor my progress. Well guess what? I'm now embarking on my third round of Accutane. First round: 2002-2003. Results: Cleared up my MASSIVE back acne problem. Acne on face and chest fully came back 2 years later. Back acne never returned (woohoo!) Second round: 2008. Results: I'd say it kept my face and chest acne at bay for about 5-6 months after getting off of it. It slowly came back. Third round: 2011 (now!) Why am I being put back on it? Okay, my acne definitely isn't as bad as it was the first or second time. But I got a new dermatologist, she put me through a rigorous course of Spironolactone and Doryx and two topical creams for a year-- and nothin'. I told her in my past, Accutane is the only thing that has worked for me... and so she's trying me on a "low dose" course. My acne isn't like it was, but it's not responding to anything, and it's getting worse every month. So, she's "attacking" it before it gets worse. My dosage for this month is 20 mg. I -think- the plan is to keep me on this dose for a long time. Here are my current, ridiculous fears: 1. I kept such a detailed journal during my second course... so I have the power to look back to see what's in store. The first month seemed to be AWFUL for me. Breakouts galore. 2. I'm only on half of what I was on during my second coarse. (in 2008, I was started on 40 mg every day.) Of course, I'm thinking... "Will it take twice as long to kick in?" 3. I really don't know how I can handle an initial break out. This is going to sound cheesy-- but during my second round, for the first 4 months I was unemployed (I had just graduated.) So I could stay at home with a broken-out face, and it was fine. By the 5th month I got a job, and my skin was no longer in that super embarrassing phase. Well-- I'm still at that same job, and it's a "professional" atmosphere. I have NO idea how I'm going to feel confident while I deal with the woes of initial breakouts and the awkward dry skin period while everything tries to balance out. (You know how you have to re-learn how to do your makeup in the morning when you switch your acne treatment?) 4. What if only the super-high dose works for me? Of course, when I saw results in my first two rounds, it would be on month 4 or 5 when I was taking 80mg a day. Did I respond to the length I had been on it, or the amount I was taking?! 5. What if I do this low dose course, and it doesn't work, but makes me immune to the only acne drug that I have EVER responded to? Okay, ridiculous-fears rant over. Current side effects: 1. More zits on my face than ever. This isn't probably a side effect of starting accutane-- but rather, a side effect of me stopping the three things I was on previously. I was told to not put ANYTHING topical on my face at night. This is such a horrifying request. To all you fellow acne sufferers, you know what I mean. It just seems ridiculous to go to bed at night without putting on a cream or gel that fights acne. It's the 8 hours a day where you can freely attack your skin! Anyway. It's amazing how many zits have appeared in the past two nights. 2. Lips are tingly. I assume that means they are drying out. 3. I was EXTREMELY thirsty yesterday. This might have been more of a side effect of stopping the Spirono, too. And no: I didn't think I'd be back for round 3... I'm excited to just get the ball rolling again. I just want these first few months to pass quickly.

me_vs_skin

me_vs_skin

04/18/2011

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