Sorry y'all this was supposed to have posted 2/25 but this site is so buggey. Last time I use that "publish at a certain time" feature.
DONE! FINISHED! COMPLETED! CEASED! I am fiiiinnnniiissshhheeeddd with my first course of accutane. I have taken my last pill and am, like I've said, DONE. Woohooo! Quick update and then we'll reminisce.
So, my skin has been a little more iffy lately. My back has had some white heads popping up lately and in the pictures that I will add, you can see one of them. My face and lips have also been peeling really really badly lately and I'm so glad that hopefully that will be over in a couple of days/weeks.
Ok. Time to reminisce. So, I was looking back at my old posts and pictures and thinking, "wow, my skin has changed so much." I remember saying I was so fed up with having to fight my face and I feel like I've had to fight it a little less. I don't have anymore blackheads, my pores are smaller, and there is definitely a significant amount less of acne. And yes, I know I was super pissy about it and I still will be because THIS. PROCESS. SUCKS. I'll say it again... ACCUTANE. FREAKIN'. SUCKS!!! It dries you out and makes everything hurt and unpleasant and dry. I've gone through at least 20-something chapsticks (some of which didn't work), 3 bottles of lotion, and maybe 1.5 moisturizers.
So, like I said, I would show you guys the day I stopped, 15 days after stopping, and 30 days after stopping. As promised, here are the pictures from the day of. This website has been super funky so I'll be adding pictures to posts instead. I will talk to you all in 15 days or sooner if something else pops up that I feel the need to tell you about.
Well, it's been a month since I've talked to you guys and not much has changed. At all. There just hasn't been enough happenings to report on to you guys. But, I figured since I'm almost done with my course that I should check in.
I am 5 days away from being finished. Well... 5.5, I have tonight's pill and then 5 more days worth. I'm so stoked to be finished but a little disappointed that I might have to do another one. I have decided that, if the medication really didn't work and I'm still covered by my insurance, that I will continue with a second course. I don't know if I've told you guys but I have not paid a dime out of pocket for any of my meds. I have awesome poor people insurance that enabled me to get it for free so as long as I still have access to no co-pay on the medication, I might as well do a second course.
So, just to let you know: I plan to do this post, a post the day after getting off the medication, 15 days after, and 30 days after just to give a baseline and a timeline. Also, I took some pictures of my back and my face at the start so we'll do some side by sides to show the difference. There definitely has been some improvement (and maybe I just say that because of how bad this medication made my acne in the beginning) and I'm just hoping that it stays this way, if not better. We'll see but fingers crossed.
Things I am looking forward to: not having to put on 80 lbs of moisturizer every day, not owning 900-something chapsticks because I might die without one, being able to wear lipstick without my lips falling off, my lips NOT FALLING OFF, makeup without the hard lines, no more accutane rash, no more constant facial redness! I'm sure there's more but I'm running out of free time to finish up this post.
So! Until next time!
Pictures from day 168 (sorry, I know they're sideways) - This website is finickey and won't let my post pictures to my album so here are a few for now.
I'm back! I'm sorry to have been neglecting the blog but really not a whole lot has happened. My acne is pretty normal now, no random heads popping up. And when I say "normal," I just mean it hasn't changed a whole lot. It has not improved or gotten worse. The worst areas are still under and around my nose, my chin, along my cheekbones, and on my neck and chest. My back seems to be alright - haven't gotten a whole lot on there lately. I just checked and I have 34.5 days left to go. That is, if I keep remembering to take it. I have been constantly forgetting (maybe because since it's not working, I don't care anymore) and if I continue to remember I should be done on February 23rd.
I do have to mention one touchy subject for women though... Candida. More commonly known as yeast infections. I've only had one once in my entire life and that was years ago and was easily treated with an antibiotic. But since starting accutane, I've noticed that my lady parts have been really sensitive. At first I thought it was just me and my body being weird but recently I discovered that it may be a side effect of the accutane since it dries out EVERYTHING. Took it to my doctor a few weeks ago and she gave me the same antibiotic that fixed things up last time. She actually gave me two and it didn't help... not one bit. Neither has anything else. For those of you who might be able to offer any reassuring words that it will clear up when I'm off the medication here's a little extra detail: there is no stinging, it's just predominantly itching.
So yeah, that is my week at a glance. Ladies, I would appreciate any thoughts or remedies you have to offer and gentlemen, I apologize if I weirded you out.
Fun fact! So far, I have spent 34.52% of a year on this medicine. Really puts it in perspective...
Well, good news and bad news. Good news first because the bad news kinda null and voids the good news... I only have one month and 14 days left for this course! That is... if I remember to take my pills every day - I've been forgetting a lot lately. But, that means I will be done by February 20th... ONE DAY BEFORE MY BIRTHDAY! Woohoo! Now the bad news: the accutane is not acting as well as my derm would like it to. Therefor, one course may not be enough. So, basically, you guys can look forward to a whole other course worth of blogging. But, insurance companies require that a patient take a break before the next course and I'm hoping that once this medicine gets out of my system, the breakouts will be significantly less and I might not have to do the second course. I honestly don't want to do the second course. I don't think it's worth it, but at the same time, I'm becoming so accustomed to the side effects that maybe a few more months won't kill me.
So I have new side effects for ya. My feet are becoming very very dry, cracked, and peeling. Pictures in the album. They were just small little white circles on my feet for the past few months but in the past few weeks I started noticing they were getting bigger and peeling pretty badly. Like I've established before, I'm really bad at picking at things so I've picked off quarter sized pieces of skin and just when they start to heal, they end up getting even bigger. About the same time that my feet started peeling, my nose also started running and that isn't a problem but because of the dryness of everything (including my nose), it is pooling at the base of my nostrils, crusting over, and making it very, very hard to breathe. I have not added anything new in my life recently so I'm not sure what the exact causes of these two side effects are so I can only blame it on the accutane.
This next part is mostly for the ladies, so gentlemen feel free to tune out and I'll talk to ya next week. I know I've mentioned a few times some makeup products that worked for me during this course and I have a few more for you. Accutane completely drys out your face so some problems that I've been experiencing are either the make up flaking right off with the skin or large patches peeling off and making it just look terrible and impossible to touch up. Even with a thick layer of moisturizer, it never lasted for more than an hour or two. Problem solved (at least for me). I recently discovered Nars Tinted Moisturizer (in the color Finland) and it is a little thin in color but if you put on at least two layers, it most certainly helps. The first layer mostly handles the redness and adds some color and then the second layer starts to cover like make up would. Add another layer if you feel like it and top off with some powder and you should be set for 5 hours+. Unfortunately it is on the pricier side of the spectrum and goes for about $45. Another product I discovered is Ole Henricksen the clean truth cleansing cloths. You can use them as simple facial wipes or to remove make up. They smell awesome, they feel great, they don't dry out your skin, and the actually brighten your face. I promise I was the biggest sceptic about products like this but I ran into Sephora the other day and they tried it on me and my face was noticeably brighter when I got home and I didn't have to slap on a layer of lotion for another few hours. They go for about $8 at Sephora. So those are my make up recommendations for the day.
Well, have a fantastic weekend and I will see you all next week!
Happy New Year!!! I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday, got everything they wanted for Christmas, drank to their heart's delight on New Year's, and enjoyed a break from me complaining about my acne. Unfortunately, it's time for me to starts complaining again haha. One of the most ironic things is that the thing I wanted most for Christmas is what is causing me the most of my problems. A while ago I talked about "accutane rash." It is a red/yellowish, raised rash that people experience on their hands, arms, and sometimes legs. I get it mostly on my hands and arms. Sometimes it's just THERE but for the past two weeks, the rash has been there, irritable, and painful. I have two big patches on both sides of both of my hands as well as down the tops and bottoms of my arms. My jacket at work tends to irritate it the most and it does not respond to most lotions. In fact, the lotions are sometimes what makes it worse. Water, as well. If it gets wet at all, the water doesn't bother it but the response to air is what kills it. It isn't itchy per se but it still bothers me a lot. How is this affected by my christmas present? Well, for christmas I got an apple watch and unfortunately the chafing and sweat build up that it allows both underneath the strap and the watch body itself is causing patches of the rash to pop up. I've tried just switching hands and giving the 1st wrist some time to heal and if the other wrist starts getting the rash too, I'll switch back. So, how am I combatting said rash? I'm pretty much NOT. Lots of lotion, 2x a day, mostly when I'm fresh out of the shower because it absorbs better. Besides that, acne has been... ish. My acne has absolutely improved from the acne that the frickin' medicine caused in the first place but it hasn't done a whole lot from my original acne. I still get white heads from time to time but my face has been nowhere near clear. Just to recap, because I know a few of you may not have been following me since the beginning, my daily routine to take care of my face is the Neutrogena ultra gentle daily cleanser in the morning when I wake up, followed immediately by Equate Beauty Moisturizing Lotion (literally JUST realized that this is not a Cetaphil product and that might actually explain a lot 0.0) and used as needed throughout the day. At night, I use dove sensitive skin nourishing body wash in the shower, both for my skin and face, followed by the moisturizing lotion before bed. Lips wise, I have tried Chapstick medicated lip balm, Carmex, Ranbaxy, Petroleum Jelly, etc. So far the only thing to really work is the Vaseline/petroleum Jelly sooo yeah. I have not tried Aquaphor because I don't feel like spending $10 on something that might not even work. Well, acne still sucks, skin is still hecka dry, and I'm still not sure if all of this is worth it. BUT I ONLY HAVE LIKE A MONTH AND A HALF TO GO!!! I get one more month's worth of prescription at my appointment on Monday and then I still have half a month left from when I was still being prescribed 80mg but only taking 40mg. So, blood work on Monday and derm appointment Monday so you guys will have a full update next Thursday. Until then!
So it's been yet another week and guess what?! Improvement! Lots of improvement! I'm actually unbelievably happy that my face is clearing up the way that it is. Nothing too painful but I've been getting itty bitty white heads every once in awhile and my face is still red if I rub in moisturizer too hard or if the temperature is bothering my skin. The only weird thing that's happening is I'm getting acne in weird places... for example, my ears, my ear lobes, my very lower back, etc. Weird stuff, never had acne there before but I guess this medicine is supposed to rid you of everything sooo I'm accepting it. The worst part of the odd acne is... to be as discreet as possible... one of them was soooo flipping painful and oddly placed that I thought I had a broken tailbone... 0.o My lips have also been kinda funky. They're not peeling any more than normal but the very top of my lips have been peeling further than my just my lips, and onto my actual skin. But they did that before. But this time, the areas of skin are hardening and puffing up. It's very possible that it's my new lip balm because I bought a medicated chapstick the other day because I left mine at home and was desperate. So, it's mellowed down now and not as bad so I don't know whether it was the medicine or my lip balm or what. So, that's basically it for this week. Pictures in my album. I'll see you all next week... or maybe not since next Thursday will be Christmas... so if so, I'll see ya then, and if not, Merry Christmas!
So it's been yet another week! If you're keeping up with my journey then you'll know that I recently went back to my 80mg a day. So far, it's worked fabulously. My skin has cleared up from my acne that I had before. There is still some there but not... a whole lot. My neck has majorly improved. I have some pictures in my album that aren't uploading at this exact moment but keep an eye out! Unfortunately, the paronychia has also returned. I've been trying to take my 2, 40mg pills as far apart as possible so as not to overwhelm my body with the medication. My fingers and toes also aren't infected looking or red at all, they're just a little puffed up and hurt a bit. It's nowhere near as bad as last time and I have my fingers crossed that it stays that way. During this past week, my face started peeling a whole lot and in the beginning of the week it was just in patches. So, a circular piece of skin would pop up, with the edges starting first, and the very middle holding on for dear life to my face. That lasted about 4 days and now my skin is coming off in rolls whenever I touch it. Putting on lotion/moisturizer and rubbing it around on my face causes my skin to slip right off and form little bunches, or rolls of dry skin. But my skin feels like it's new skin all the time; that soft, slightly moisturized feeling. I've been switching between Gold Bond Healing Lotion and the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizer lately. The clinique is good for the day time when you don't want your face to look like it's seeping oil and the Gold Bond is good for overnight. I've just gotten lucky that they aren't turning my face red (knock on wood). Well, that's all for this week. I hope this progress continues! Until next week!
Two posts in one day?! WHat?! Yeup. 2 posts. 1 day. I just had a story (ok, more of a rant) that I wanted to share with you guys about CVS Pharmacy and Zenatane. So, if you're on accutane or isotretinoin, you probably... aren't on "accutane" or "isotretinoin." Instead, you're probably on something like "absorbica," "roaccutane," "claravis," or (like me) "zenatane." If you've been following my accutane journey, which is currently starting its 4th month, then you know all of the trouble that I have had with getting my medication. BUT, I'm not the only one who has had trouble getting their medication; a few other people I've talked to have had the same problem. The 2 things that we had in common? CVS Pharmacy and "zenatane." The first month it took constant hounding on both my pharmacy (CVS) and my insurance which resulted in me picking up my medication mere hours before the deadline. The 2nd month happened almost the same way except for this time it was hounding of my pharmacy and my dermatologist which resulted in me picking up my meds, again, mere hours before my deadline. Third month came around and it took constant hounding of the pharmacy to get my medication. They had me on several long holds to where it was faster for me to just walk in the store to find out what was going on. The girls who I talked to simply told me that my insurance would not allow them to fill the medication and offered no solution. No "let's call your derm" or "maybe it's a mistake." Just "nope, can't do it! Bye bye." Every single one of these times, CVS has told me that it is a problem with anyone but them: my derm, my insurance, iPledge. In the 3rd month, when I finally asked to speak to the pharmacist, who went on her lunch before talking to me, she finally understood what my problem was and fixed it. She told me it would be filled later that day and that they would call when it was ready. They called me to say that it was ready about an hour before closing and I was nowhere near able to come pick it up which resulted in me having to then hound iPledge to allow me to pick up the prescription because I was now a day late. Once iPledge finally allowed me to pick it up, a day late, I asked what I needed to say or do to make sure that this delay doesn't happen in the future. She said to have my derm write the prescription for "zenatane." Didn't say why, just blamed it on the prescription written by my derm. This week, at my derm appointment, I told my derm how much trouble I've been having getting my meds and asked her if she would kindly write the prescription for "zenatane" to make things easier. She looked at me kinda funny and asked if my pharmacy was CVS. She then explained that CVS is contracted to give out Zenatane as their accutane/isotretinoin brand. It was never a problem with my insurance, or my derm, or iPledge as the pharmacy has been telling me, it's a problem with them not wanting to fill my prescription because they are contracted to a specific brand. So when I said that the actual pharmacist knew what to do it's because she was the only one that knew that when people get prescribed "accutane" or whatnot, that she could change it to "Zenatane" because that's what they're being paid to hand out. The pharmacists' aids don't know how to do that so they just turn people away. They're playing the game of "no, you didn't write it the way we want it so we're not gonna help you." So, that was just some interesting information that I found out this week and for those of you that have CVS and have experienced the same problem, now ya know. Needless to say, I got my prescription on time this month.
Guess what!!!! I'm going back to 80mg! Woohoo. Now, I know that probably doesn't sound like something to be excited about (and it kinda isn't) but it means that I don't have to add another month to this stupid process!!!! So woohoo!!! So, bloodwork was normal. But the girl who drew my blood had me a little worried because my arm wouldn't stop bleeding and she asked me repeatedly if I was on blood thinners or aspirin or anything - I wasn't. But everything turned out fine! My dermatologist visit was fine too. She asked how I was doing, I told her that I'm not seeing any improvement and that it's actually been worse than ever before and she attributed it to the changes in dosage and said that with me back on the 80mg a day this month, I should absolutely see improvement. She checked on the paronychia (the infection with ingrown nails) and it feels like it's completely gone but she told me that if it comes back during my next month to just do the 40mg a day again. My face has improved a little but nothing to cheer about. The big cysts on my forehead and the ones on my chin are shrinking but still no improvement on my neck. And guess what - they hurt now I tried a "mattifying" green tea mask from Sephora and it really didn't help but it felt really nice and didn't turn my face red so I might recommend using that if the redness is bothering you. I got my nails done twice this past week (they turned out really bad the first time so I had them redone) and both times required soaking my fingers in acetone which is really drying so i expected the paronychia to come back but so far so good. Side effect wise, everything is pretty much the same. Joint pain in my ankles, peeling facial skin, dry skin EVERYWHERE. I'm pretty sure I mentioned it before but I've felt like my vision is declining a little. I already have prescription glasses to see distances but I'm finding that it's becoming harder. I'm not sure if it's the medicine or me just adjusting to having glasses but I figured I'd throw it out there. The only big difference I've noticed in the past week is that my face is starting to peel really badly again. My lips aren't responding to chapstick of any kind and when they peel they pull of pieces of my skin around my lips which bleed incessantly. I don't know how much this will change with the jump back to 80mg but we'll see. Also, I've been really sick these past few days and it's drying me out pretty badly so my water intake has been 2x as high with this cold/flu/whatever it is that I have. So that's it for this week and I hope I'm not boring you too much. Until next week!
Wow... 4 months in.... and still not a whole lot of improvement. You could almost say that my acne is worse than when I started. And hey, maybe it WILL all clear up at the end of this process but I've said it once and I'll say it again: this process sucks Because things around here have been so hectic lately I keep forgetting to write in my accutane journal but again, not much has happened. No new side effects, not really any new acne -- just old acne getting worse. There seems to be a few cystic heads popping up on my back so those are super unpleasant when sleeping or leaning back against chairs. My face has been beet red most days (no, I haven't been in the sun enough for it to be sunburn or windburn) and sensitive to the stupidest of things like water and air. Splash water on it for 2 seconds and it starts to sting a little and get uncomfortable. Even just when I have moisturizer on it still hurts just a little, especially if I feel wind or random gusts of air from fans or whatever. I've tried switching moisturizers or laying off of the face washing a little and not a thing seems to be helping. Maybe it's time to bring back out that honey/milk/salt mask again. So, I was thinking about my dosage the other day and my persistent acne. Might it be possible that this is another "initial break out"? I had one when I started the 40mg, I had another when I started the 80mg, and now I'm back down to 40mg so I don't know, but it's just a thought. But it gives me hope that it will eventually go away. So that's all for this week. I have bloodwork on Tuesday and then my derm appointment on Thursday so I'll let you know how those go. Fingers crossed that they let me return to my higher dosage!
Good morning! Well.... good morning, good afternoon, or good evening based on where you are in the world and what time you read this... So, I don't have many new things to talk about this week because I started a new job and have been sooooooo flippin' busy trying to manager school, job, and health that I kept forgetting to keep up my own personal day-to-day acne diary. Y'all get the condensed version. But even with the job I've still been eating clean with the occasional junk meal. No, I'm not a health freak but I do believe in trying to stick to healthier things when you have the options. I've been wearing a lot of make up over the past week for the new job and it doesn't really seem to be helping (as it has salicylic acid in it and supposed to help with acne) or making it worse though. Two little white heads popped up under my cheekbones and the areas around my forehead are still taking most of the hits for my face. Neck has had ZEEERRROOOO improvement, if it's not getting worse. No clue what's happening with the ingrown nail situation. It was getting better after laying off the dosage but I've had to wear socks and close toed shoes for the past week and even longer with this cold weather around and they're becoming irritated (but not pustular or infected) again. Also, in the neighborhood of side effects, my shoulders, back, and neck have been BEYOND sore. It has been super easy to pull a muscle (?) if I turn my head too sharply or put my arms over my head when doing things such as washing or curling my hair and the pain lasts anywhere from 3 days to a week. I forgot to take my zenatane one day this week, yesterday, and I might just double up today because a) I missed it and b) I know I can handle 80mg a day. So, yeah! That's my not so interesting week and I hope everyone enjoys their day!
Greetings ladies and gentlemen, So, it’s been yet another week but it’s been pretty easy I guess. I was off of my accutane for 6 days. Why? Well I guess my insurance covers accutane but only under the name of “zenatane” so every time my derm writes the prescription for “accutane”, my insurance doesn't allow my pharmacy to fill it and phone calls have to be made and it takes forever. So, it was not filled until the night of my last day to pick it up when I was completely unavailable so calls to iPledge had to be made which took an extra day and it was just not a fun process. BUT! I am back on it now. Like I mentioned last time, my derm has me back to 40mg a day and based on how I deal with it this month will determine whether or not I jump back to 80mg next month. So, my ingrowns are doing alright. The ones on my toes are just there. There is no pain and no CLEAR infection, but they are red. The ingrown on my hands have let up and I only have ingrowns on my right thumb and middle finger on my left hand. And even those aren’t that bad, but the middle finger one breaks open and bleeds often. Tried some cuticle oil on my fingers and it worked for maybe a day but doesn't seem to be preventing more. Acne is ehh. My worst acne is mostly on my forehead and my neck. The ones on my forehead are… red, whiteheads. No cysts and there are only about 5 or 6 of them. My neck is NOT improving at all; more and more keep popping up and they're becoming more cystic. The line of cystic heads along my cheek bones are still there and don’t really seem to be making progress. Ok this is kinda gross but great news- that giant cyst on my chin finally popped and is slowly disappearing. It was a compilation of 3 and I’m just glad it is on it's way out. My back has been alright too, now it’s mostly my shoulders and chest and those are alright to deal with and not too unsightly unless I pick at them. But if you read my first post ever then you know how bad I am at not picking at them. That rash on my arm is still a problem. Just seems to be crawling up my arm. Now it’s past my elbows and keeps on moving up. Acheyness has stopped but i still feel it in my ankles when I wake up or get up from sitting for a while. Something I haven’t mentioned yet is my eyesight. I had gotten glasses a few weeks before I started accutane and my eyesight was in no way troubling or bad. Now, I feel like I’m becoming more and more dependent on my glasses. Maybe I’m just hyperaware of the medicine but if I recall correctly, trouble with eyesight was an issue so that might be something i bring up at my next visit. Well, that’s pretty much it and I will leave you with the picture below. Until next week!
Well... I guess I need to change the description on this blog. It's not going to be a 4 to 5 month process... it's going to be a 6 to 7 month process and maybe even longer... S@!%
I met with my dermatologist on Tuesday (today is Thursday) and she told me that based off of how badly the side effects are affecting me, especially the paronychia (ingrown nails), it would be better to lower my dosage back to 40mg a day. She's still prescribing me the 2x 40mg pills a day but only wants me to take the 1x 40mg. Apparently, our insurance only allows them to write 5 prescriptions during our course so if it needs to be longer than 5 months, they just give you everything anyways but have you save it till later. So... that's the plan. Which I honestly don't want to do. This process sucks and so far I've seen very little improvement -- I saw more improvement on the 40mg in my 1st month than I have with the 80mg; It's almost like it's even gotten worse -- so I, IN NO WAY, want to draw it out. I'd rather suffer double for the normal course than have to add yet ANOTHER month to this stupid process. My derm told me that she wants to cut down my dosage because people quit when the pain of the side effects become greater than the want to get rid of the acne so she doesn't want my side effects to worsen. Hey - if it works in the end, great, but right now I'm feeling very discouraged and I'm mad because it almost doesn't feel worth it...
Ingrown Nails: They got better and then they got worse. While I was still on the cephalexin, they were still pretty bad but it looked like they were getting better -- I only had 3 on my feet. Then I finished the cephalexin and they, almost immediately, got worse. Not only do I have the 3 on my feet, but I also have one on EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. OF. MY. FINGERS. It's really unsettling to look down at your hands and see your nail covered in blood cuz they keep opening up cuz it's impossible to not use your hands in your daily life. My derm has me on another 10 day course of the cephalexin but who knows if it will help. This is the biggest reason why she's cutting down my dosage - she doesn't want the pain to continue and deter me from finishing this process. But you try living your daily life with an ingrown nail on all of your fingers and 3 of your toes... it blows.
Acne: I honestly have 0 clue. My face goes from alright to really bad and then back to alright. I think it's alright right now but my neck is freakin' terrible and just keeps getting worse and worse. The acne starts off as white heads and then turn to cysts for a while and then forms back into white heads. My chest is currently very dry and almost to a peeling state. Same with my shoulders. My back is fine.
Everything else: I've been really achey lately. I know I've talked about it being mostly in my ankles and lower back and it still is, it's just worse. Granted, I did do a whole lot of heavy lifting on Sunday and Monday so I'm not surprised about the pain - just that it's taking so long to go away. I've also noticed a rash that started out on the outside edges of my hands and knuckles (pictures in my album). It just looked like red, splotchy skin at first but then it became hardened, slightly yellow, and scaley and has made its way up both of my arms to my elbows... yay. I've been very subconscious about stuff like this lately so I've been covering it with long sleeves and sweatshirts - luckily it's been cold enough for it but...idk. I showed my derm and she just said "ohhh! accutane rash! just put moisturizer on it." Wasn't all that helpful to know I might have to deal with this for 3-4-5 more months but I guess it's good to know that it's normal.
I have currently been off of accutane for... 4 (?) days now because I ran out and I'm still waiting for my prescription to be filled. So, obviously I'm not happy at all right now - here's to starting month 3 and hoping things change for the better in the next few weeks.
Heyyyyy! It's been another week already and now I'm done with TWO. WHOLE. MONTHS!! Whoop!!! Btw - I'm counting 1 month as 4 weeks and 1 week as 7 days. So 56 days = 8 weeks = 2 months.
Ingrown toenails update: They have improved a whole lot, at least in the pain department, but they're still pretty red. Taking the Cephalexin (500mg 2x a day for 10 days - today is day 8) seemed to majorly help and then another derm (because my derm wasn't available) prescribed me Triamcinolone which is a topical corticosteroid that I am supposed to put on 2x a day. It seems to have helped a whole lot but again they're still kind of red and I'm occasionally pulling off penny-sized pieces of skin. Pictures to come.
Acne update: Acne seems to have cleared a little on my face. Old ones are still there but there doesn't seem to be any new ones coming up. Shoulders, chest, and neck are still breaking out pretty badly and they're taking forever to go away. I ended up at a Clinque stand this past week and the lady working the counter walked up to me and said, "ya know, you put this baking soda mask on your face - it'll fix all that acne." Soooo... if that doesn't tell you how bad my face was, I don't know what will (also - I've tried it). Thanks to one of the people I've reached out to, I now have a new facial routine that seems to work so much better. I'm still using the Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser in the morning but I've cut out the Cetaphil products completely because I have determined that they are the cause of my facial redness - my face was only turning red after I applied the moisturizers. Now I have added Clinique Clarifying Lotion for Very Dry to Dry Skin. It's a gentle exfoliant that you swipe on with a cotton ball. It drys pretty fast and gets rid of all that peeling skin. I've also added Clinique dramatically different moisturizing lotion+ which has been a great moisturizer as well as Clinique custom repair serum which has been helping to get rid of the redness. I've been using all 3 of these 2x a day - morning and night.
Side effects: My eyes keep switching back and forth between watery and dry and this week they have been extremely watery which I'm not really sure how to handle. People keep asking me if I'm ok, thinking I'm crying. I've been extra achey this week - ankles, shoulders, arms, and lower back. Peeling hasn't been bad AT ALL with the new product use.
Well - I'm done with 2 months and my 2 main concerns are 1) when will my acne start to clear up and 2) what about after this is all over? I've done my research but everyone is different. A lot of people have said they started seeing clear skin anywhere from the end of the 2nd month to the middle of the 3rd. So my fingers are crossed that my skin decides to be nice in the upcoming weeks. For after, I might be getting ahead of myself, but I'm so afraid this won't work for me.... I seem to have experienced the side effects a lot faster than most people but my acne is persisting longer as well. Also, people have said that their derm has just prescribed them topical retinoid after it's all over and doesn't that just really defeat the purpose...? If you went on a 4-5 month acne cleanse with accutane, why do just add a topical cream to the mix after it's all over? Shouldn't the medicine not require that in the end? Yes, I understand that this doesn't work for some people and I assumed that risk but I will CRY if it doesn't... I don't know - those are just my concerns for the week.
So I've been thinking and the one piece of advice that I can really give for people just joining this acne community is REACH OUT. Look up tags on posts or search a hashtag of your medicine on instagram. I guarantee you'll find some answer or at least a hint of what you're looking for. I searched #accutane on instagram in the 2nd week and found someone going through the same process and we're relatively close in # of days. She and I have compared products, side effects, routines, etc. and I've learned from her experiences as much as she's learned from mine! I owe her to saving my peeling face and helping fix the dryness with the Clinique suggestions.
Well, I have my blood work scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 31st and my derm appointment for Tuesday, Nov. 3 so you will have those updates next week! Until then!
If you read my SOS message then you know that ingrown nails are becoming a problem for me (pictures in my album - they're not too gross). I have no previous history and I take very good care of my nails (which I guess might be the problem) so I don't think it's anything I'm doing plus I've googled and most podiatrists and dermatologists say they're common with accutane/ isotretinoin. I have one on each foot, on the same toe and these are preventing me from my daily routine. I am not attending tennis because it would hurt too much and possible worsen my condition. Also, my school is big and the walk to and from classes is unpleasant and painful with these little buggers. Solution? Well... I don't really have one yet. I was keeping neosporin and bandaids on them and I just got ahold of my derm this morning who set me up with an appointment for them to see my toes and told me to take an anti-biotic she had previously prescribed for me. Back in week 2, I mentioned that my acne was really terrible and painful and that she had prescribed Cephalexin - which fights infection - for me. I never took it because, basically the day that I got it my face cleared up. So, it's just been sitting in my medicine cabinet. She knew I never took it and just told me to take it for this so we'll see how that goes. She also told me to keep the bandaids off of it because they need to air out and be dry.
In other news, my glasses are also starting to bother me. Pictures are in my album. But the part of my glasses that touches the bridge of my nose and the sides of the bridge were getting irritated, becoming red, and peeling. It didn't sting unless I put the moisturizer on it so I tried that and it was alright but I don't need my glasses all the time so when I'm not wearing them it looks weird. I speak in past tense because in the past few days the red marks have gone away, but I also haven't been wearing my glasses too much.
My acne has been weird. First bout of weirdness, I was in the shower so my face was wet and out of nowhere, it just started stinging. I put on my moisturizing body wash which I usually use to wash my face anyways and it still stung. Second, the big pustular cystic heads have been popping up along my chin but they're popping really easily. Which would be good except they just ooze for forever and form all over again. Third, my neck is still breaking out really bad. I have 2-3 cystic heads but mostly whiteheads otherwise. Fourth, I have about 8 big cystic heads on my back, predominantly on my spine, so chairs are fun. They hurt really badly and do prevent movement. Good news though, whereas my back used to be just covered in blackheads and the pores were elevated, there are now minimal blackheads and a good part of it is clear. Most of the acne is now concentrated on my lower back, along the bra line, and on my shoulders.
Well, here's to hoping that the Cephalexin goes well and that my acne starts to clear up soon. I keep thinking... "what if this doesn't work?" This process honestly sucks, so far, and if it's worth it, I will praise accutane forever but if it's not..........
So, I know I'm breaking my once a week policy but I'm only talking about one thing right now... INGROWN NAILS.
If you've ever had one, even a mild one, you know these are painful and have the potential to become infected and in severe cases, require surgery... not fun. So, general note: take care of your nails at all times. ESPECIALLY ON ACCUTANE.
Turns out, one of the less talked about side effects of accutane is ingrown nails... yay. I'm only talking about it now because it's becoming a problem for me and YES, I take very good care of my nails so it's nothing I'M doing. I showed you guys (in my album - Day 35) the picture of my fingernails biting into the soft edges of my fingers and causing a mild ingrown nail- which are termed "spikers." Luckily that one went away; the problem now is on my toes.
It started out like this on day 45 where the skin around my toenail was peeling. This makes the skin that my toenail rubs very vulnerable to being cut open repeatedly and getting infected:
Now, 3 days later on day 47, it looks something like this:
Yes, I'm aware that's my other foot but they both started out about the same time. This one just seems to be moving along a lot faster. Also, this picture is after I had cleaned it up a little. It had scabbed over and the scab was soft closest to the skin (meaning that it was open or at least recently open), but crusty on the top and obviously infected.
After some research, it does seem that this is a common side effect for people taking accutane or isotretinoin but it doesn't seem to show up until their 4th or 5th month... I'm midway through my 2nd month... Also, most people reported their dermatologists not really knowing what to do or their advice not working. I will call my derm tomorrow and see if she has some answers, but in the meantime I'll be applying neosporin and a band-aid.
SO... people of the acne community, this is where you come in, HELP ME OUT!!! I know I've previously mentioned this but I'm a tennis player so I'm on my feet, running and suddenly stopping and switching direction a lot and I need help fast. Any home remedies or previous experience with stuff like this? Any help would be much appreciated.
Trying to stay positive here! General update: Accutane is NOT fun so here's to hoping that it's worth it. So I left it last week saying that the side effects were definitely doubled with the higher dosage. This week, a lot of those side effects have either toned down or disappeared completely. I'm not SAD or DEPRESSED or ANXIOUS (at least not right now), I'm still pretty dry but I've gotten a handle on how often I need to moisturize, and I upped my water consumption by A LOT which does seem to help.
SO, I did in fact wear make up last week and today so for the girls who are wondering how that goes, here ya go (if you're a dude you can skip this part). Last week I put a very light amount of moisturizer on and then my liquid foundation and then my powder and my face peeled as soon as I was done applying my foundation... super fun. The powder didn't help either but as soon as I was done touching my face, it was fine for the rest of the day. My lips also did relatively well with lipstick on. You couldn't tell that they were peeling or dry and it DOES help to consistently add chapstick or lip balm or what have you throughout your day. Today, I put on a larger amount of moisturizer, probably the size of the tip of my finger, and let it sit for a few minutes and the peeling wasn't as bad when I applied my foundation and powder. Peeling was minimal and has stayed that way and I've had it on for... at least 9 hours now. In other words, make up IS possible, you just have to be careful how you do it.
(Guys you can jump back in now) Acne update: Since last week, I would definitely say that my skin is in the initial breakout stage of the higher dosage. New heads are itchy and they break open a lot easier but they're mostly only the white heads. The heads basically open up every time I wash my face and they just kind of scab over now. Also, like I said last week, my forehead has finally caught up but I'm getting them mostly around my hairline. For me, it has been a huge problem because they are deep and painful and I have long hair so whenever I am messing with my hair such as brushing it or putting it up or even towel drying it, it pulls on that acne and it hurts.
In general, I'm feeling alright. My skin is super super super SUPER SUPER itchy though. It's the worst on my forearms and thighs but it is everywhere. The one thing I have noticed though is that my skin is breaking a lot easier. Things that have NEVER cut me before are cutting me now and the cuts are staying around for a lot longer. There are a few pictures in my album that show these cuts that I've been getting, mostly on my hands and arms. I also tried one of my exfoliating aloe vera masks that I used before accutane and boy! was that a bad idea. It stung on contact and I was only able to handle it for about a minute and a half before I went running to the skin to wash it off.
So that's basically it for this week. I uploaded some photos throughout the week to show you how bad the peeling is and how it does improve with the cetaphil. But 2 things I want to say: 1) if you guys need someone to talk to, my door is open. Whether you wanna talk about how anxious this drug is making you or if you just want to gossip about how much you hate acne, I'm all for it. Also, if you have questions, feel free to ask; sometimes I leave some of the more personal stuff out but in a closed environment, I would be ok sharing. 2) And then also, shoutout to @thedayacneceased. I think that is such a clever name - love it!
SO! I am now 5 weeks in and let me tell you: going from 40mg to 80mg is actually a BIG change. I am twice as dried out, peeling twice as much, and twice as sad.
I started my 80mg dose (40mg 2x a day with food) on Oct. 3 which was 30 days in. Almost immediately, I was peeling much more and a lot faster. My face is consistently peeling, even with tons of moisturizer now and whereas it was just my chin and around my mouth before, my forehead has joined the party. My lips are continuing to dry out, crack, and bleed and again, it's gotten much worse. It's much easier for them to crack. My eyes are also SUPER dry and a good 1/4 of my bottle of eye drops is already gone. Still trying to drink lots of water. My goal is about 3 water bottles a day but lately I've gotten about one so maybe that's why I'm so dry.
I have also been in a kind of... funk for this past week. I wouldn't label it as depression, maybe just anxiety, but I've been super sad and quiet and cried over the littlest of things. But it hasn't been just single-tear-for-a-few-minutes crying; it's been curl-up-in-bed-and-sob-for-a-while crying. It's gotten significantly better but it started basically the same day I started the higher dosage and lasted maybe 4 to 5 days. As of now, I'm fine though.
Joint pain has also gotten worse. Again, it's not something that keeps me from doing stuff but it does hurt. Early on, it started with my lower left back and my shoulders. Recently, it has moved on to my ankles. Especially after I wake up, my ankles hurt a lot and it takes me a few minutes to walk around and get rid of the pain but it dies down after that.
My acne is still pretty consistent. If new acne pops up it seems to go away a lot faster and not be as bad. Acne on my neck seems to be the worst right now but my face isn't too bad. Also, just to answer a question, I do NOT wear make up regularly to cover it up. I've always had trouble with make up adding to my break outs and I just don't want to risk it. I'll still wear it on occasion but not on a regular basis.
So far, no hair loss. I can't remember if I mentioned it in previous posts but I just color stripped and re-dyed my hair to try and get back to my natural shade (I'm more of a dirty/sandy blonde and I dyed it auburn in July and I desperately want it back) and usually that's damaging to your hair but nothing fell out more than normal. So, hopefully I'll skip the hair loss side effect. And yes, it takes far longer for my hair to get as greasy and dirty. I'm shampooing every other day or so just because I don't want my hair to dry out too much but I still want it to be clean.
So, nothing too interesting this week. Minus the effects of the dosage change, but even that wasn't too bad. Just FYI: I'm not feeling discouraged or anything based on those side effects. I've got a great support group and if Accutane is as miraculous as people say it is then I feel that it's worth it.
Greetings fellow acne haters! So I have completed ONE MONTH on Zenatane (accutane)!!!! Gonna talk about two things today. 1) this past week and 2) my dermatologist visit. 1) This past week: My skin is still persisting in the dryness department. My forearms and legs are suffering the most and I'm still seeing the white, flaking circles/patches everywhere. I spent Monday working while on my knees a lot and when I got home that day, I noticed that there was piece of skin that was dried out and peeling that was the size of a quarter. I wish I had taken a picture of it, it was just so weird to see. Also, I should've mentioned this in my last post but I didn't realize it till that night BUT I got this weird kind of... rash on the back of my neck. I don't know if you could call it a rash but it was this little patch of skin where all of the pores and/or hair follicles were raised. They weren't irritated and were only slightly red but I just thought you should know. Only lasted about 3 to 4 days and there's a picture in my album attached to this blog. Touching again on the dryness, my lips are also suffering. Instead of just being consistently dry and peeling, they have become saharan dry and started to harden, crack, and bleed in some places. If I smile or laugh or talk and my mouth moves too much, areas of my lips will begin to crack and bleed. It's a real hassle while eating. Onto my hands! The top of my hands are now also forming the white circles and flaking and it's moving over to my palms. The areas between my forefinger and thumb are super itchy because of the dryness. The tips of my fingers are also starting to dry up and flake a little. Also, at my job, we have sanitized rags to use for cleaning things and my skin seems to be super sensitive to it; it doesn't burn but there's an uncomfortable tingling when my skin comes in contact with the solution. Acne wise, it's all been pretty consistent for a while now: still itchy, still dry, but less cystic. 2) My derm appointment: All went well. Blood work was normal, side effects weren't unheard of. She was very surprised though that my initial break out had started so early. We discussed the lower back pain I was having and she said it was normal and as long as I didn't think it was preventative to my daily routine, I should just keep an eye on it and move along. Also discussed the "off" heart beat that I had had about a week ago and she said it wasn't a side effect they had seen with the pill before and that it probably would've persisted for longer but again, to just keep an eye on it if it pops up again. The way my derm put it, she said that the first month is mostly a trial to make sure that your body can handle and process the medicine well before they put you on an amount that is sufficient enough to start drastic improvement. So, she is moving me on to two pills a day at 40 mg so we'll see how that goes. My major questions with the higher dosage are: 1) will I have another break out? and 2) is it going to dry me out more??? Well... that's basically it. I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend and here's to hoping that not much changes with the new pills! Ya know... except less acne. That I'm hoping changes haha.
Happy Friday!! I just wanted the check in and I promise this will be brief. I finished three weeks yesterday and am quickly approaching the end of my first month. Acne is pretty consistent now. Nothing too bad or unsightly but it has been SUPER itchy where new ones have popped up. Facial peeling seems to have gotten a little worse so I've started putting on the Cetaphil lotion at night before I go to bed and in the morning before I go out. It does seem to help so far. Skin in general has been super dry. On my forearms and legs especially, you can see the area around the hair follicles start to turn white and flake a little. Using the Cetaphil cream for that now but it just seems a little too thick so I'll probably switch over to the lotion soon. A few times in this past week I've been having some heart trouble where it either skips a beat or beats extra hard every few beats. But I'm not 100% sure if it's a side effect of the medicine or if it's just... me. It lasts for about 15-30 minutes with about 1-2 minutes between each "off" beat. This lasted for about 2 days and I haven't had anything since (that I've paid attention to). Also!!! I go in for blood work on Tuesday for my dermatologist appointment on October 1st so we'll see how that goes. Well that's all! I hope everyone's day is going well and I'll see you all again next week!
Hey guys!!! I know I only posted a few days ago but I want to try and post every week. I know I'm a day late but I figured rather late than never. So, I left off on the 15th so it's only been, like, 4 days - ish. I'm still using the same regime and I've completely switched over to the Carmex - it does wonders for my lips and feels so much better. I can get away with not applying it as often as other lip balms I've used without all the pain and dryness. Still consuming lots of water which seems to help with the dryness a little. Still consistently taking my pill at night time (between 4pm and 10pm) with a fatty meal. Good news though - my skin has started to clear up a little! I know that I mentioned in my first post that around day 3, my initial break out started and it was reallyyyyyy bad. Since then I've tried everything I could think of to get it to calm a little. I tried washing it often, moisturizer, the milk/honey/salt mask and nothing seemed to help it after a while so I just let it be. But, if any of you are familiar with the handmade cosmetics store, Lush, they have a few different face masks. Back when I just had my normal acne, I bought their "Mask of Magnamity" and it actually helped a little. I tried that at about day 11 before I showered and it dried out my acne pretty badly, resulting in a very ugly peel. That night, I put on the Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion to try and get it to at least look better and woke up the next morning with 1/4 of my acne -- GONE! I thought it might've just been a coincidence but I tried it again the next night and the same result happened. Mask of Magnamity -> dry skin -> Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion (not a lot) -> noticeable blemish improvement. I'm in no way saying to go out and buy it or promising that it will work for you, just that it's working for me. Last but not least, a few more symptoms have popped up. I've been getting some lower back pain on my left side. It's more of an ache and if I lean the wrong way, it hurts but nothing that keeps me from my daily routine. That and my eyes have also been super dry. It kind of feels like when you're really tired and your eyes feel dried out and hurt a little. So, I got some eye drops for that. That's all for today and I'll be back next week to keep you updated! Thanks y'all!
Hi guys, So, like a lot of people on this website, I'm starting Accutane and want to share my journey with y'all. Mostly because I came to this website with questions and actually found answers. So, I figured I'd add to the pot of information. The more the merrier, right? I am an 18 y.o. female who has struggled with acne my whole life. I had large black heads in elementary school which then turned in to cystic bumps and whiteheads in middle school. I can actually recall always having this one cystic bump on my chin (along with all the rest) throughout all of middle school and it was so embarrassing because I was one of the few kids who had acne like that. Unfortunately, acne does seem to run in the family. My mom has relatively clear skin but my dad struggled in his younger years with acne. He tried everything (antibiotics, sun tanning, 2 rounds of accutane, etc.) and still gets spots from time to time. I'm starting accutane because 1) I've tried EVERYTHING else and 2) I'm so tired of fighting my face!!! I can, at one point, compile a list of things I've tried and what did/didn't work. I get acne primarily around my mouth, on my chin, along my jawline, my neck, my chest, my shoulder, my upper back, and lower back along my spine. My back is mostly blackheads but from time to time it will turn into cystic bumps or whiteheads. I wash my face daily but I'm really bad at keeping my hands off my face. I am currently on day 12 of my process. I started on September September 4th 2015 and I am taking 40mg a day of Zenatane. I try to take mine at night or late afternoon and I know they say to take it with a fatty meal but I've noticed that just eating it with something works. However, after some research, it is said that the fattier the meal, the more the medicine will absorb and work better. So I will definitely be keeping to the fatty meal regime. Everything was normal day 1 and 2 and then on day 3 my face started to peel. Not badly though. If you've ever over-washed your face it was kind of like that. Day 4, my skin broke out like crazy and hasn't stopped since. I know a lot of people say they don't see their initial breakout until weeks or months in - I got mine on day 4 so it is possible. 1 week in: The unsightly cystic bumps and whiteheads continued along with the facial peeling but my acne on my back, shoulders, and chest was pretty dormant. My lips started their super dry spell at about day 6. But my lips weren't "dry," per se; I could have a whole layer of Vaseline, Ranbaxy, etc and they would just kind of sting but would still be somewhat moist. I've taken to talking less and using straws with drinks so that it won't remove much of my lip balm. My skin is not responding well to sun. I'm a tennis player and spend a good amount of my time out on the court and on contact with sun, my skin will burn and itch. I don't mean it will turn red and leave me with a sunburn. I mean it starts -- to BURN! So, long sleeves and hats have become my best friend. Almost 2 weeks in: At about day 7 my forearms started to get red and splotchy but not very noticeably. Just kind of looked like a weird sunburn that went away by the next day. The dry lips are starting to become unbearable and I have to put on my Ranbaxy lip balm (the one my dermatologist provided) about every 10 minutes. Starting to itch - my arms, my stomach, my scalp, my knees/thighs. Trying Dove's Sensitive Skin Body Wash, will see how that pans out. I've had to start taking Tylenol to relieve some of the pain in my face because it's gotten so bad. I’m also drinking a LOT of water. I don’t feel dehydrated but the more water I drink, the less my face hurts and the less dry my lips feel. Tried a honey/milk/salt facial mask because the pain was so terrible and my face was so inflamed. Actually worked like a charm! Cleaned out a little, moisturized, exfoliated, and my face felt so much better and wasn’t as red as it had been before. Today, on day 12, it seems the the rest of my acne on my back and chest and shoulders is starting to pop up again. There are circles forming around them and they’re starting to peel. Also, I’m primarily using Carmex lip balm because it feels soooo much better than the Ranbaxy and lasts longer. I want to look into Dr. Dan’s Cortibalm but that'll be another day. My daily regime is - Neutrogena Ultra Gentle daily cleanser in the morning - Dove Sensitive skin body wash in the shower (on my face too) - Cetaphil moisturizing lotion (As needed) - Cetaphil moisturizing cream (As needed) I tend to shower at night so I don't usually wash my face at night but if it's particularly bad - I will. Also, I like the Cetaphil cream rather than the lotion. I couldn't tell you why but it just kind of absorbs into my skin better. I will only use the lotion or cream if my face looks particularly dry. Otherwise I risk breaking out with the extra moisture. Well, that's all for today. I hope you enjoyed my ridiculously long intro and feel free to suggest, question, etc. I will try to post weekly and add pictures! Thanks y'all.