A lot has changed since I wrote my original post. When I wrote it I was regularly getting deep cystic acne on my chin and cheeks, and it got so bad that I ended up going to my dermatologist and getting claravis. Well, about a month after starting claravis i began to notice blood in my stool. That was my wake up call. I realized that taking this harsh medication was not the solution for my acne, it was a way for my dermatologist to sell pills. I realized that the real solution was to attack my cystic acne from the inside out rather than the outside in. And that is when I decided to become vegan. I did hours of research online about holistic remedies for cystic acne and found that all of the sources agreed that cutting out dairy was the best way to combat the inflammation that causes cystic acne in the first place. So, I completely cut meat, cheese and most refined sugars from my diet. It was tough, but I knew my skin would be thankful for it. Fast forward 5 months and my cystic acne is gone. I haven't gotten a big swollen cyst on my face in months and my skin looks better than it has in years. I am not saying I don't get acne (I'll get the occasional white head if i forget to wash my face or if i cheat on my vegan diet) but my cystic acne is completely gone. Also, once my skin began to clear up I decided to also begin exfoliating regularly and using apple cider vinegar on my skin as a toner, which is also doing wonders for my face. So the moral of the story? CUT OUT DAIRY!! Going vegan has changed my life and it can change yours too!
Additional info about diet and skincare routine: Diet - No meat or dairy products. Red meat and dairy are scientifically proven to be inflammatory, and guess what causes cystic acne... Inflammation! Swap meat and dairy out for beans and green veggies so you can get your protein, iron and calcium. - Very little processed foods. They are high in refined sugars which are bad for your skin. - Lots of water. Obviously. - Buy a probiotic. Be nice to your gut! Your gut health is directly linked to your skin health. Skincare Routine - Mornings: I wash my face with Shea Moisture African Black Soap. I use an apple cider vinegar toner (one part acv two parts water), I spray it on my face out of a spray bottle to avoid touching my face. then I apply shea butter as a moisturizer (I only do this on my chin bc that is the area that gets dry). - Nights: Same as above, but instead of moisturizing I take Epiduo gel (I still have it from when I used to got to the dermatologist and will probably stop using when I run out) and rub a thin layer over my problem areas. Epiduo usually dries my white heads out within a week. - Exfoliating: I exfoliate 3 times a week (recommended for very oily skin). This step is so important because it washes away all that dead skin that clogs your pores and causes acne in the first place! I use a grainy exfoliant but I am getting a chemical exfoliant today and will update to tell how it is. - Cold water splash: After you wash with hot water just splash some cold water on your face. It's very refreshing and closes your pores.
To start off this blog I feel like it's a good idea to describe my experience with acne and how I ended up trying Claravis (or Isoretinoin/Accutane/whatever).
I am a 19 year old black male with very oily skin. I have had acne since I was about 13 and I usually have breakouts on my chin, nose and sometimes my cheeks. I would say that my acne is mild to moderate most of the time, and I don't have the amount of skin coverage that may people with acne do. Most of the time I'll have a few small white heads scattered across my chin, and those will go away within a few days. The frustrating thing about my skin is that every couple of weeks I will get a huge deep cyst. And when I say huge i am not exaggerating. Often times my cysts will cluster on one small area on my face and form a large mass than can be up to a cm or more in diameter. These cysts are usually very painful and last a few weeks. I'm also very prone to scarring because I have dark skin so these cysts hang around for a while.
As far as products, I have tried basically every topical you can imagine. The topical treatments work great on my small breakouts but they have proven to do absolutely nothing for my larger cysts besides dry out and irritate the area. I've also tried changing my diet by cutting out super fatty and processed foods and drinking a ton of water, but just like the topicals, it has worked on my small mild breakouts yet my cysts still prevail. More recently I have discovered cortisone shots, and although they shrink my cysts in a matter of days, they always end up coming back within a week. And even though I have insurance, paying $30 every time a large cyst pops up on my face adds up (especially for a poor college student like myself). And so, that brings us to Claravis (I will probably just end up calling it Accutane because it is more familiar and sounds a lot cooler). During my most recent trip to the derm for a cortisone shot, my doctor told me that the shots are a very temporary solution especially because my cysts often come back pretty quickly. That is when he suggested Accutane. I was very surprised because I thought Accutane was only an option for people with very severe acne, but he assured me that it would be a great solution for my breakouts. So I filled out some forms and a few days later I had this magic drug in my hands (I was prescribed a months worth of 40mg Claravis and got it for $9, yay insurance).
And so now my first week is complete. So far I have not seen any results. In fact, a huge cyst has just popped up on my chin and the cyst that I went to the derm to get injected when i was prescribed the Accutane has just come back with a vengeance. So now I have two cysts on my face. On the bright side, I have read from many internet sources that Accutane takes a few moths to start working, and the first month is usually the worst because of the initial breakouts. As far as side effect, the only one I have right now is dryness, especially on my lips. But that has been easily solved with a combination of vaseline, aquafor and blistex (yes, I am stocked on lip balm). I have also been kind of sad/negative the last few days but that always happens when I get bad breakouts so I can't blame the drug quite yet. Overall I am very nervous and excited about this journey and hopefully the next few months will end with clear skin.
P.S. If anyone has any advice for someone who is new to Accutane or any stories about their experience please feel free to comment!