I am getting ready to start my second round of Accutane at the beginning of August 2017. Am I terrified? Oh, yes. Even after swearing by Accutane after my first treatment ended, I still have so much trepidation going into this second treatment... around 11 years after my first treatment ( age 15/16).
Let me state.... Accutane works. But it's so damn slow. Your body has to adjust, your skin has to change, you have to go through the side effects. Basically, you have to walk through hell in order to enter into heaven. But, according to 16-year old me, "I'd do it again". Little did I know... I would have to do just that.
Since my first treatment, I was clear for probably a good 5-6 years before the acne started to work its way back to my face. I never thought my acne was bad enough for another course of Accutane, so my derm would prescribe me antibiotics. Specifically, Solodyn which for a long time, effectively worked to keep the large, red and inflamed bumps at bay. That is until my newest derm told me that I couldn't keep resorting to antibiotics to clear my skin. 1.) My body was already building an immunity to it, thus the mgs had to keep getting increased, 2.) antibiotics are not safe for long-term use. So, when I started having my yearly acne flare-up (which had been occurring like clockwork around 8-9 months post-Solodyn), my derm decided to switch me to Tazorac and Spironolactone. The combo that initiated my downhill spiral into the worst acne I've had since high school.
I tried to stick it out, but after having intense cystic places on my cheek, I scheduled a follow-up appointment. I burst into tears right there in the office. My face hurt, my makeup looked wrecked, I was fatigued from getting such little sleep due to my acne anxiety.... so, she put me back on Solodyn without hesitation. Solodyn began to slow the occurrence of new breakouts, but I still... kept... breaking.... out. I tried to be patient. I tried to let it get into my system. Three weeks in, I saw little improvement and my stomach began to hurt, something it had never done before when taking Solodyn. During that "crying-spell" appointment, my derm stated that after this, if there was no improvement, she recommended that I take Accutane again.
To reiterate, three weeks in, I saw little improvement using Solodyn, Ziana & Aczone. My chin, a place I'd never had issues with before, had (and still has) deep, cystic places that would just spread and spread and spread. They were painful. I attributed these breakouts to the Spiro which targets certain hormones. It really messed me up hormonally , and I'm still waiting to have my period after 2 months being off of the medication. Anyway, during those three weeks I really started reconsidering Accutane again. I had already tried changing my diet, taking supplements, exercising, sleeping more, being more gentle with my skin, not picking, etc. But my skin would not make any postiive changes. It would not slow its breaking out. It was irritated. I was irritated even more.
So, I stepped out of my office at work and made the call to my dermatologist. I said that I wanted to take the plunge... I wanted a second course of Accutane. Things happened so fast. The next morning I was filling out the paperwork and within two days I was all set. First pregnancy test cleared (as you have to take two negative tests before getting your first prescription). My second pregnancy test will be taken through my bloodwork on the 31st of July. After that clears and I answer my iPledge questionare, I will be prescribed 40 mg (20 mgs more than my initial Accutane course).
So, what am I doing the month before my treatment begins? I am prepping. Mentally, emotionally, spiritually because I know that this process is... well, a process. I am getting by body ready for the dryness by "pre-moisturizing". I am making sure that I have all of the essentials: CeraVe lotions, Aquaphor, gentle hair shampoo (I opted for baby shampoo/wash), Eczema bath oats (as I got eczema the first time), eye drops (as I got an infection in both eyes), and the best of the best lip moisturizers. I am mentally preparing for another initial breakout (I had a pretty severe one my first time), and I am being selective on the information I choose to read/watch as to not spark any negative thinking before my treatment begins. I am being self-loving and gentle on my skin before I start the meds.
I have no plans to share my "before photos" until I start seeing an improvement. This is a skin journey for me, and I don't want to display my skin right now until I am comfortable with my process. However, I would like to communicate with any other users who are currently in the "waiting" period before their treatment.