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About this blog

Hey everyone,
A few important details of my Accutane journey:

  • 33 years old, 125pounds/56kg/ 5' 6"
  • Starting off at 10mg
  • Started taking Dianne 35 after realizing Alesse (which I started a few months ago) made my breakouts much much worse. 
  •  I have tried Birth control, many types of antibiotics, over the counter topical stuff, prescription topical stuff, changing my diet (I have been dairy free for many years now and mostly eat all organic). I have even tried spirolactone, which I had good results with but the side effects even from the low dose of 25mg were too much for me and I went off of it. I had all day everyday nausea and also lost all my sex drive. When I went off of it, I gained close to 15 pounds and got cellulite on my lower thighs.  However if worse comes to worse after Accutane, I will go back on at a lower dose and see how it goes. 



 

Entries in this blog

 

6 months post Accutane

Well here I am almost 6 months post Accutane and no cysts have occurred!! It is amazing. So happy I decided to use Accutane, I love the freedom of not having to deal and worry about acne. I get one or two teeny tiny pimples a month but other than that a clear face. The biggest thing is to not pick at any imperfection on my face. Sometimes a very small almost hive like bump will pop up but as long as I leave it alone, it's usually gone the next day. The hair is the same as my last post, I have been tracking it along side my menstrual cycle and am figuring out that the greasy times coincidence with those hormonal changes. I am hopeful for the next 6 months! 

SkittlesMM

SkittlesMM

11/19/2018

 

The good and the not so good- 2 months Post Accutane

So I've been off Accutane for 2 months now and it's been interesting to see how some things have changed. The first thing I noticed was about 3 weeks after stopping Accutane my hair started getting oiler and oiler. I now can barely go without washing it every other day whereas on Accutane it was over 3 days. I was hoping it wouldn't go back to this but at least it's not as bad as before Accutane....yet. About a month after stopping Accutane, my face got oiler (though that could have been the extreme summer heat also). Now there are days where i don't even moisturize and I've had to change my products again. I have also gotten a couple small pimples since stopping but nothing to really worry about at all. The best part is that I still have not gotten any cysts and that is really all that matters to me. I know it's still early but i'm hopeful that 6 month or a year from now I will still be cyst free. When I went off of Sipro, I began getting cysts worse than ever about 4 or 5 months after stopping so we shall see.  

SkittlesMM

SkittlesMM

09/12/2018

Last Reply:
10/04/2018

 

8 Months

So I have officially been on Accutane for 8 months now. Cyst free for over 5 months! A couple weeks ago I decided to go down to 20mg (10mg in morning and 10 at night) as the sides of my mouth were so raw and peeling the size of a penny. I looked like the joker, haha, but really it wasn't funny. As soon as I decreased the dose, it healed up and so it will just take me a week or so longer to finish up my course. While my lips are super dry, the rest of my skin isn't and I just need my regular lotion once a day. Hair has been status quo and besides one tiny whitehead a week ago, skin has been great. I'm excited to get off of Accutane but also quite nervous. I'm trying to be hopeful. Though the knowing that I could go back on if needed is a helpful safety net (even if it's not a guarantee it will work a second time). 


 

SkittlesMM

SkittlesMM

06/04/2018

 

7 Months

So it's been exactly 7 months since I first started Accutane. My doctor FINALLY realized the dose and length of time needed and so I have 2 more months to go. I have been clear (no cysts) since January and it is the best feeling ever. I actually have had the occasional nightmare about getting a cyst, shows how scared I am to go back to that life. My red marks have faded and the only place I use concealer now is under my eyes. It truly has transformed my life physically, emotionally and socially. Maybe it's sad to say but I am a better spouse, mother, worker and person when my skin is long-term clear. I am not scared for people to see me without make-up and I even let my partner take pictures of me without it, which is huge for me. My side lip cracks (both sides now) are annoying but not as bad as the last time I wrote. I am willing to put up with them like this for 2 more months. Eyes are still dry but managing. I love how my hair is not greasy all the time, I really hope it doesn't go back to that. 
I went off birth control a few months ago and thankfully I have not broken out due to it. I know it could still happen as my body is returning to it's normal after them but so far the skin is good. Like I said last time, I am more sweaty and my skin a touch more oilier as I haven't had to use as much lotion. 

SkittlesMM

SkittlesMM

05/04/2018

 

5 months 1 week

I continue to be cyst free! Since going off of Dianne 35 birth control 2 months ago I have noticed a couple of things; I am sweating more than I was and the odor is more potent however, my emotions are also much more stable and I've lost some weight. I also went up to 30mg a day about a month ago and I did notice a tiny push of black heads and a tiny back break out of little pimples. On 30mgs I have noticed lips are very dry and I got the cut in the side of my lips that is difficult to heal, it's been close to a month and I am hoping it doesn't last the remainder of my time on accutane. Speaking of which, I have approx 3 and 1/2 months left! Pretty excited and a little scared as I'm happily getting used to waking up and not freaking out about the day's new spots. Other side effects are quite dry eyes, a hand rash and joint pain again as I did the last time I upped my dose. 
  

SkittlesMM

SkittlesMM

03/13/2018

 

Week 17 or 4 months-

20mg in the evening and 10mg in the morning. No longer taking Dianne 35

In a few days it will be 4 months since I have been on Accutane and yes, I am now among those that am saying it works amazing and I wish I would have went on it sooner or that the doctors would have suggested it sooner. Even though I was just breaking out with cysts on my chin, it had damaged my self-esteem so bad that there were many days that I turned down opportunities and activities because of the way I looked. I thought so negatively about my appearance and it affected every area of my life. Now I am happy to say that I am still cyst free and not hiding in my house anymore.  A little under eye concealer is all i use for work now. I am not embarrassed to go barefaced in front of people anymore. I used to get a cyst at the slightest irritation or contact with my chin but now I don't stress when my jacket or blanket hits my chin or when I lay on my partners chest. I allow him and my son to touch my face now and my goodness is it freeing to know that it won't result in a cyst. I should be careful not to get to confident though as this is the first month I will be without the Dianne 35. My partner has a confirmed vasectomy and I am emotionally unstable during period time if I am on birth control so I made the decision to come off of it. I also didn't want to get done Accutane and then go off birth control pills only for it to mess with my hormones and bring back my acne. Hopefully going off will not negatively affect anything. 

Side effects continue to be dry eyes, lips and skin continue but my face dryness isn't too bad. 

SkittlesMM

SkittlesMM

01/31/2018

 

Week 13

Week 13 - Just this week I started doing 20mg at night and 10 in the morning every other day and 10mg at night and 10mg in the morning the rest of the days. I hope to be at 30mg everyday within the next 2weeks. 

So this was the first month that I was cyst free! It felt amazing to go through Christmas and New Years holidays with a cyst free face! I am not sure if my antibiotics from my kidney infection and then for after my surgery helped bring cyst free cause after being off of them for a week I got a inflammatory bump that didn't quite turn into a cyst or zit but was definitely trying to. I dunno, this could have been from missing 2 days of accutane because I forgot to pack it when I went out of town and or the fact that the 2 nights before I got the somewhat bump I woke up in a pool of my own drool stuck to my chin. Who knows, but I thought it was time to up it. Hopefully when I see my doctor at the end of the month she will agree. When I saw her 2 weeks ago, she mentioned if i'm clear at 6 months she is thinking of taking me off accutane. I definitely expressed my dislikeo of that idea and not wanting to do that so she said we can negotiate that when the time comes. I'm thinking the fact I still got a bump will help convince her to up me slightly so that I can be at least at the recommended dosage for my weight and cut my length to 8ish months.  I still have redness and a white scar area from past cysts and I wish it would look a little better without make-up but oh well, I'm happy. I still get almost sweat teeny tiny bumps but they go away quickly as long as I don't pick them. 

I can not tell you the freedom and emotional strength that has occurred with being cyst free. While I still need to work on self-confidence, it is SOOO much easier to do being cyst free! I feel so free. I know it's not without it's side effects, the dry skin and tired dry eyes are pretty bad but nothing horrible. OVerall, I'm just so thankful. 

SkittlesMM

SkittlesMM

01/10/2018

 

Week 10

Week 10- 20mg split dose, dianne 35 birth control, and antibiotics. 

I've had to add some antibiotics this week as I have another kidney infection. I go for surgery next week on my kidney but they say there should be no interaction with Accutane and I can continue on it as is. Despite skin being dry and fragile, it is doing really good; no cysts, but the next 2 weeks will be the true test.  Only other symptoms this week are lips and eyes continue to be very dry. 

SkittlesMM

SkittlesMM

12/12/2017

 

Week 9

Week 9 - 20mg split dose and Dianne 35
So it's been 2 months since I've started on this journey. While I still have got a cyst every month, it is better than the multiple ones I was having every month. My complexion as a whole has improved and while I am still getting the occasional teeny tiny pimple, they are now often small enough or go away fast enough not to pick. The dry skin and lips is a constant battle, especially in this dry winter weather. The new products continue to help though. Other side effects are dry, tired eyes and fatigue. I did notice a dip in mood again recently but it went away quite fast and wasn't as severe as last time. And like I've stated before, I am not sure whether that is a combo of birth control, accutane and winter blues or what.  

If I get another cyst this month, I will be asking my doc to increase my dose to 30mg for the next month. I also plan on going off of Dianne 35 in Jan or Feb as my partners vasectomy will be tested as all good. I'm nervous about going off of it but I figure it's better to go off of it while on accutane than not. 

SkittlesMM

SkittlesMM

12/06/2017

 

Week 8

Week 8 - 20mg split does and dianne-35 birth control pill 

I got so fed up with my dry skin that I got all new products. I got a serum and another intense moisturizer plus a very gentle exfoliator that I have been using when needed (usually every other day). I have noticed a big positive difference in my skin and it's too much of a coincidence with the new products. My skin is now more plump and soft and the tiny bumps went away. I have not noticed any breakout associated with moisturizing and if anything my face looks much better without the tiny bumps. 
My cyst last week was different than the cysts I would get. Within 24hrs it felt like it was going to pop by itself and leak everywhere. There was actually a bit of a head (which never happened with previous cysts) and some junk did come out. There was a bit of deeper down stuff but it is completely flat after a week versus the month it used to take, so that is a positive. Blood results are all good, but my doc wants to keep it at the same dose for now. My hand rash is almost all gone and other side effects are the dry lips and tired eyes. 

  

SkittlesMM

SkittlesMM

11/30/2017

 

Most of week 7 - argh

Well I decided to write early because well, it's my birthday and what did I wake up to? A nice big, painful, deeply inflammed spot. Almost a month exactly since my last cyst. Didn't quite make it from period to period. I don't know whether to BP it or just leave it or what. I'm pretty disappointed. I was SOOOO hoping I was done with this. It doesn't seem as much of a solid nodule as before but who knows what time will bring. I realize it is only week 7 and break outs are still common and such but ARGH I hate this rollercoaster. One day my skin feels covered in teeny tiny pin needle bumps, the next it looks pretty good. Also, my hands broke out in a really bad rash and now are scaled over. It's mentally difficult to think the thing i'm on this drug to stop is still happening and yet I'm having these crappy side effects. Overall, I know it's helped, just not quite enough yet. I'm trying to have hope. I'm trying to tell myself,  just give it one more month. 
Other side effects are the same; dry lips and tired/dry eyes. Mood was pretty good since last week's drop but with this new cyst I'm feeling a bit down, not like last week though. 

SkittlesMM

SkittlesMM

11/20/2017

 

Week 6

Week 6 -20mg split dose and dianne 35 birth control  
No new cysts! Definitely had spots that would have turned into cysts before but they were gone the next day. I'm hopeful this continues but scared to be hopeful because if I end up getting cysts again I will be devastated. It is quite interesting to see the changes in skin on a daily basis. A couple little spots pop up one day but are gone the next. My skin continues to be quite dry and flaky and so I have decided to very gently exfoliate every couple days/ when needed and that seems to be helping a lot along with switching day moisturizers. I used to be really good at doing my make up and never had problems putting my makeup on, now I am struggling not to look like a corpse with how dry and stiff my skin is. Trying to use less but still enough to cover the healing red healing spots. I can tell the initial breakout is slowly diminishing and so more and more I go most days without make-up which is a nice feeling. My skin is VERY thin and sensitive, I had a small piece of dry skin that I barely touched to get off my face and big piece of skin came off. That and I've had to throw out (well stash it in the very back of my drawer) my BP cream, it burned my skin really bad when I put a tiny dab on my face earlier this week. 

My other symptoms are dry lips and hands as usual, and my eyes get dry and tired by the end of the day. I take a calcium tablet and that seems to have eased the sore knees or maybe the symptom subsided on it's own? I also increased my vitamin D dose because I noticed my mood and energy were getting low and that has seemed to help along with other interventions. But I do want to mention my mood for a minute here. I have been depressed before and I am also a counsellor and therefore I am extremely aware of mood changes in myself. The change in mood last week, for about a week, was reasonably concerning but thankfully I believe I am on the upside of it and never had any self harm thoughts. I've never experienced this type of feeling sad, lonely, needy and irritable for no reason in this concentrated form before. I would cry at the drop of the hat and felt so alone. I reached out to friends and worked on my thoughts a lot as I do not want to deal with the possibility of stopping Accutane. I don't know if it was the Accutane, or the Birth control (as I am only a month and a half into this brand) or if it was the fact that winter is here and it's dark and cold and the sun isn't out as much....who knows, but I do know I was concerned and am ecstatic that I seem to be out of it. 
 

SkittlesMM

SkittlesMM

11/14/2017

 

Week 5

Week 5 - 20mg split dose
Well the good news is NO new cysts!! I was able to enjoy the busy weekend with minimal embarrassment. My old cyst  bumps continue to go down. The not so good news is my skin is so itchy and i'm getting almost hive like spots pop up more and more along my jaw line and neck and places I wouldn't have issues. I noticed that scratching them only makes them worse and they take quite a bit of time to heal so I am trying my hardest to keep my hands off. Speaking of keeping my hands off, I have noticed that Accutane has made my skin very very thin. I have attempted to squeeze some tiny hard whiteheads as they seem like they were half out of the skin but even with lighter pressure than normal I broke the skin somehow that I end up with 2 or 3x the size of broken skin that the original pimple was. The blackheads seem to be continuing to come out of so many pores and places where I never had issues before. I'm  not going to lie, I'm a bit frustrated with my skin at the moment. Nothing is worse than cysts, but i'm wishing I could have my old skin just with no cysts on my chin  
Despite feeling a bit down, I'm trying to stay positive that I will continue to be cyst free and the rest of my skin will settle down. 

SkittlesMM

SkittlesMM

11/07/2017

 

week 4

Happy Halloween!

So I went to my doc and she said the 20mg is all she wants to do right now. I'm not sure if she is educated on the cumulative dosage, relapse rates etc and I wasn't in the mood at that moment to discuss with her and show research data. I am looking at a year if I stay at this dose as well as a higher rate of release according to the research. I'm ok with it for another month as my body continues to get used to the drug and minimizing breaking out but I want the best chance at not relapsing too. Maybe she thinks that because it's localized to my chin and only a couple a month that this dose is ok. I'll have to have a better discussion next month. 

Week 4- 20mg split dose. Tried to find research on split vs. single dose and not much out there. I found one that concluded it doesn't make a difference. 
I am sooooo TIRED. I'm falling asleep around 8 and quite exhausted through the day. This might be a positive to only taking one dose at night; less exhaustion. My hands are quite dry but nothing lotion won't help. My face is drying out and i'm having to moisturize more. My skin is less smooth this week and more tiny little bumps with itchy skin. The purging of blackheads is still happening on my chin. not sure whether to squeeze them, leave them, or maybe get those blackhead strips and try that? No new cysts which is the ultimate goal of mine. I can deal with the little spots but not the cysts. It's way too early to celebrate and every morning and really every time I look in the mirror I have a fear of finding a new bump that I know will turn into a cyst. I still have a decent bump from the one a week and a bit ago and a tiny bump from a cyst 3 weeks ago. I got my period this week and if I can go from period to period without a cyst, then I will be one happy human with less fear! Ha.  My boyfriend's Birthday party and an important work party of his are this upcoming weekend and I'm just hoping so much that I can at least experience this weekend without shame, embarrassment and low self-esteem.   

SkittlesMM

SkittlesMM

10/31/2017

 

Weeks 1-3

Hey everyone,
Just going to repost the description details in case anyone missed it and wanted the info:
A few important details of my Accutane journey: 33 years old, 125pounds/56kg/ 5' 6" Starting off at 10mg Started taking Dianne 35 after realizing Alesse (which I started a few months ago) made my breakouts much much worse.  Been suffering from hormonal cystic acne for just over 10 years now. At first it was a couple a year and progressively has gotten to the point where it's continuous with a couple a month, sometimes multiple at the same time.   I have tried Birth control, many types of antibiotics, over the counter topical stuff, prescription topical stuff, changing my diet (I have been dairy free for many years now and mostly eat all organic). I have even tried spirolactone, which I had good results with but the side effects even from the low dose of 25mg were too much for me and I went off of it. I had all day everyday nausea and also lost all my sex drive. When I went off of it, I gained close to 15 pounds and got cellulite on my lower thighs.  However if worse comes to worse after Accutane, I will go back on at a lower dose and see how it goes.
I will combine these first weeks, as I didn't think I would share my journey but finding others logs so helpful I decided to as well. 

Week 1: 10mg
I noticed within a few days my oil production in my face and hair decreased. I could finally get out of the shower after washing my hair and not have greasy hair! My lips are quite chapped and I have found the only thing that is helping is vaseline or Bioderm chapstick. Burts bees and blistex and others are not enough. Blackheads are coming to the surface and easy scraped away. I noticed the white gunk that has been in places for years coming to the surface. At the end of this week, I got a skin infection in one of the cysts I had before starting and was put on antibiotics and antibacterial facial cream. I also got a kidney infection and was put on more antibiotics. That was a fun long weekend away with my boyfriend spent with a freakin bandaid on my face! So can't wait for the days when I don't have to deal with this. 

Week 2: 10mg
Lips are quite chapped. The BioDerm chapstick is my saviour! oil production is varying, never as bad as before, but some days are more than others. A new cyst forming but smaller. this may be due to the cream and massive amounts of antibiotics i'm taking. It seemed like I was about to get another cyst but it got stopped in its tracks. I'm so hoping I don't get another cyst! 

Week 3: 10mg till day 17 then 20mg (10mg in the morning and 10 at night. Has anyone else heard/read that two daily doses versus one daily dose is better?)
Went off antibiotics and of course another cyst pops up. I didn't think it would be so bad cause it wasn't as angry red as usual but nope, it got bigger than a pencil eraser and was such a swollen lump. Another weekend trying not to let it affect my time with loved ones. I hate how it does though. It has gone down and is flaking a lot faster than it normally would. On a positive note, the rest of my skin looks pretty amazing. All the pores have shrunk and besides my chin, I'm loving how i'm looking without make-up! I hope, hope, hope that was my last cyst. 
Lips are still chapped and I expect them to be for this whole time. Eyes are a bit dry too, but nothing that eye drops can't fix. I've noticed a bit of joint pain in my knee but it's gone down now. 

I see my Doc at the end of the week and I am hoping to up my dosage to 30 or 40mg but I do not want to have a bad breakout and I feel like I risk that the higher the dose I go. 

Here's to hope for all of us on this journey! 

SkittlesMM

SkittlesMM

10/23/2017

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