Well, I took the plunge and started Isotretinoin last week! (the 28th of March, to be precise). I'm keeping this blog to track progress, and hopefully it can eventually be of use to someone, like so many other blogs out there have helped me make this decision.
A brief history:
I had mild to moderate acne throughout high school. My junior year of college, it started to get pretty bad, so my doctor gave me Yasmin. It worked PERFECTLY for four years...I mean, if I went to bed without washing my face, nothing happened, and I didn't have to worry about topicals. Fast forward through graduation and two years in the real world - and four years after having great skin, this past summer, it got really bad. I had the worst breakout and it was uncontrollable. Even the type of acne I got was different - it just would not go away. Warm compresses, SA, sulfur, and BP did nothing except dry out and irritate my skin. I started grad school, and the last thing I wanted to deal with was acne. My dermatologist put me on Yaz, which may have helped a little. finally, in February, I went to a new derm, who suggested isotretinoin. I almost cried, since it is a drug that I never thought I would have to be on. But as I thought about it the next few days and worried about all the risks, I would see my reflection in the mirror and wonder what it would be like to live without acne. I thought about how I was currently on four prescriptions, none of which were working. So I decided to do it.
My acne: I guess I don't get a ton of zits at once, but when I do, they take forever to go away (as in, months). And the hyperpigmentation/scarring is some of the worst I've ever seen. I have very fair skin, and I can't even cover the red marks with makeup - it makes everything LOOK worse than it actually is. But that is something I'll deal with after the acne clears up!
My main fears are: the initial breakout, hair loss, joint stiffness (I am a musician and need to have finger agility), and dry skin that won't go away. I'm trying to be proactive in preventing these things.
I got the blood tests, made it through IPledge with one minor setback, and have now taken the pills for a week and a day. Here is what I have so far:
Month 1: 80 mg (40/40)
-No new cysts
-Previous acne is diminishing
-No major change in oil â€“ if anything, less dry, possibly due to discontinuation of Epiduo
-Lips are beginning to get dry
-Joint stiffness â€“ hopefully not in fingers
-Some new flesh-colored bumps
-Itchy all over
-Some tiny flesh colored bumps in chin and jawline.
-Wash with cetaphil
-Moisturize with Aveeno sensitive skin in morning and Aveeno at night
-Spot treat with BP, SA, and Epiduo (not supposed to, I'm going to try to stop)
-Aquaphor on lips morning and night, Burts Bees throughout the day
-Neutrogena body lotion
-Use moisturizing shampoo (2 days) and volumizing shampoo (1 day) as well as spray-on nutritive oils
I'm trying to eat a more balanced diet and exercise five times a week. Once everything at school settles down, I'll worry about getting more sleep.
I hope this works. 5% done!!!!