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Before I Start Accutane---Need Advice...



Well, i'm 23- ill be done with school in about two months.

Im in school to be a nutrionist/personal trainer. and having good skin would be pretty ideal in this profession. but... thats not the case for me right now.

I've struggled with acne since I can remember, some months better then others. I've tried so many things I can't even remember the names of them all. Antibiotics, topical solutions, cleansers, etc.

I've been seeing my dermatologist for two years and we finally both agreed to start accutane. December 5th I go in and see him to get the prescription-- i've been taking the required birth control for almost a month. My doctor (MD) was really worried about me getting on accutane, she is hoping the birth control will clear up my skin but I doubt it.

Right now... I have been 'sort of' doing this websites regimen... I am using 1. Neutrogena fresh foaming cleanser 2. Retin-A Micro: (tretinoin gel),microspher, 0.04%

3. Moisturizer with jojoba & aloe in it, and then sometimes CeraVe moisturizing lotion because it says "non-comedogenic" right on it.

what do you think??

So far, I started getting serious blackheads-which I literally hardly ever had them before, just some around my nose area... but now they are taking over my forehead & chest region, even on my shoulders which i never got before. My skin is super red and flaky, so the mositurizer is great. I made the mistake of getting to close to my eyes and the skin around there is soooo sensitive. I've gotten a few 'pimples' little red ones that don't like to pop for the first day then they pop out some white stuff.

However, i've read this is just the initial breakout because my skin is cleaning itself or whatever you want to call it.

I've also read that people break out severly at first while on accutane--- and then others say they did not because they still kept doing their regular regimen...

I guess my question would be should I keep doing the regimen and while taking accutane to help cease the intial breakout??? because, that would be wonderful to avoid.

The best product that has worked for me was taking the antibiotic-but of course you cant stay on that forever... I'm praying the retin-a will work, i used to before and it was great, i think i stopped using it too soon.

Any advice would be great, precautions etc.... I'll upload pictures soon of me now etc.


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I used to have cystic acne... not much of a blackhead problem.... I did not have the initial breakout (thankfully), however, within a week or two I had to find my own regimen to wash my face... I used to have very oily skin so I was doing step1, 2, 3. With very dryng agent (even then my skin was still oily). So when I started accutane, I only used Clinique moisturizer (2 of them) and cetaphil as a cleanser. My face was SO DRY! peeling, even over the make up! ... my lips got super dry too... and my hair... oh my hair! I had to condition it every day. No more shampoo (maybe once a week).

The birth control will help with your breakouts but it's only temporary. A year after I started birth control, I was breaking out again.

I have dark skin, so the sun didn't affect me much, but make sure you put sunblock everyday. Aquaphor for your lips is the best you are gonna find.... anything just ask I'll be happy to answer.

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I don't even know what you could call my acne, my derm just says "you have adult womanhood ance" ;(

wow, that is so crazy about your hair, I don't even condition mine now because it is so thin and gets oily easy. and I've never taken birth control prior to this... so hopefully it'll help too while i'm on the accutane and keep the breakout to a super minimum.

my derm said all his women patients had tremendous results, including his wife who was on it for 3 months and hasn't had a pimple since...lucky!

All in all would you say it was worth it? and did you have any other side affects like they say happen (joint pain etc.)

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Hey Tiffany, thought I would leave some tips. I've shared this to numerous people starting/on accutane, so I feel like a broken record. I was on accutane for 3 months, 20 mg in 2009. It cleared my cysts and major acne, but unfortunately acne still came back- THOUGH NOT nearly as bad.

First thing, I think you will see about a week or two into accutane that you CANNOT use retin-a or really any other chemical on your skin. My skin burned if I used ANY kind of fragrance soap or cream. Your skin will peel and be very very dry, so the best thing you can do for your skin is moisturize, moisturize moisturize. I used a dove facial cleanser and used eucerine repairing lotion...I'll talk about moisturizer later...

I remember only washing my hair maybe once a week. It got soooooo dry. I would get dandruff (I NEVER had it before in my life) because my scalp was peeling. You just want to use a great conditioner and be very gentle with your hair. Try not to blow dry or straighten it. It may get very brittle.

Ok, so your skin will overall just be super super sensitive to everything- heat, cold, sun, chemicals, etc. (I have fair skin, so maybe I had the extreme case). It will be very fragile and thin, so any picking, scratching, shaving do very gently.

Ok, about moisturizer... I used aquaphor on my lips at night (I actually still do sometimes if they are very chapped- and my lips are very soft in the morning), and used eucerin repairing lotion on my face and body. However, I would not recommend this lotion. It has AHA+ in it, which is like a chemical peel, so it may burn your skin. Plus, the lotion is waaaaay to greasy and thick to use on your face. I had used a high quality moisturizer after accutane from my esthetician, but slowly acne came back. I believe it was because of moisturizers/makeup. Now, I use moisturizers from Pratima. They are organic, no preservatives, no alcohol, and no silicones. I'm not sure if they will be moisturizing enough for someone on accutane, but I would maybe give them a shot. They are expensive, but it has revolutionized my skin. Never will I go back to any moisturizer or sunscreen!

Anyways, this is way too long, but I hope you get all the advice and learn as much as you can to prepare yourself! :)

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First off, this is not to long- I appreciate every line you took time out of your day to write, seriously. so THANK YOU.

where can I get Pratima? I will give that a shot. Also, did you like the dove


Honestly i appreciate the advice, i'll take any and you may think you sound like a broken record but i'm soaking it up because I want to be prepared.

Did you have any of the crazy side effects that some get? like the joint pain etc. my mom has been really really lecturing me about all the people she hears about having organ problems, brain problems etc which basically prompted me to do reseach which led me to this site, which Is a total blessing!

Thank you again! i look forward to hearing from you.

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Hey tiffany, I'm sure you got good tips above but i thought I'd give you my two cents. I'm 23 as well, and I'm on my 4th month right now and its been going pretty well. As the others mentioned, I would definitely not continue with your regimen, that is way too harsh and your skin will be so horribly dry and sore. All I use is a cleanser to remove my makeup and a night cream. If I get a breakout I will spot treat it with BP, which I maybe shouldn't even do but I can't help it and its worked for me. As for side affects, I was also worried. So far all I've experienced are dried lips, and now that its winter my nose is dry. You will ALWAYS have to carry chapstick just in case. Sometimes, like right now, my lips are normal, and other days I'm applying it every

15 mins. I also had very oily skin and hair, I'd wash it daily and have to blot my skin after a few hours. Now, my skin is not oily at all even after an

8 hour work day, and I can go 3 days without washing my hair. This has been such a blessing! My hair and skin are so much easier to deal with. Overall, my skin looks great and I'm happy I'm on it. I do still get a breakout or 2 around my period, but I can handle it. I know how awful having bad skin can be, so I would say try this. As long as you and your derm monitor it, there shouldn't be problems!

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thank you so much @inga, I really appreciate your input. its deff good hearing about it as much as i can, kind of calming my nervs as much as i can before i start on it. I'll stick to my regimen right now, trying to clear this recent breakout which i am assuming is from starting this regimen.... I am seriously hoping and praying that i don't get a huge initial breakout when i start the accutane treatment...

what kind of cleansor and BP , mositurizer are you using right now?

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I know what you mean, when I started I was on message boards every day! I have read that some people get really dry skin, mine hasn't been too bad, no severe flaking or anything. At night I use CeraVe and in the morning I just use a neutrogena lotion with an SPF 15. For the 10% benzoyl peroxide, I use targets up and

up brand, I got all my lotions at target. There I also found my face wash, its by Johnson and Johnson and the product name is purpose, its gentle but still takes off my make up. When I did get dry patches I'd put on some nivea cream (in the blue container) or coconut oil. From what you said it doesn't sound like you have severe acne, and I didn't either. My derm told me I probably wouldn't get a bad initial break out, and luckily I didn't. I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary, my skin started feeling better very quickly. Hope you have the same results!

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hey Tiffany,

I didn't get very bad side effects like joint pain... but I did have the dryest skin in the world, cracking lips, and maybe two nosebleeds. The only two nosebleeds I've ever had in my life lol. I have not decided whether I have GI problems now because of accutane. I have traveled to many 3 world countries and have thought it may be some parasite I've picked up. If I could call it something, I would say it's IBS- irritable bowel syndrome. I go through weeks of diarrhea, no matter what I eat. Then I eat super healthy- no wheat, cheese, meat, etc and then I'm sorta fine. Then I have days of constipation, but it seems like my whole life I haven't really had a "normal" or healthy digestive system. *shrug*

I didn't seem to have an initial breakout....honestly it was so long ago, and a time that I knew I wanted to block out so I didn't really keep track of my skin. Maybe a long term side effect is that my skin scars much more easier now. It still seems more....fragile and is SUPER sensitive to fragrances and chemicals.

On accutane, your pores will shrink super tiny, so I imagine some moisturizers won't really be able to clog your skin lol. You can try the cetaphil, but honestly that stuff burns my skin. And to think of it, most lotions seem to make my skin tingle. I haven't tried neutrogena moisturizer but my two best friends use it and are clear (granted they are on Dan's regimen).

What I like about Pratima's moisturizer is that it doesn't have alcohol in it. Alcohol (usually labeled cetyreal alcohol or something llike that lol) is actually very drying and a known skin irritate, so I really don't know why it is in lotion and moisturizers. Their website is pratimaskincare.com. Unfortunately, the shipping is very expensive for some reason....maybe the packaging and they want to ensure none of the glass jars/bottles break...but... that's pretty much the only bad thing I can say about them. I was reading about their essential oils and am thinking of getting it. I would definitely recommend something like this when you're on accutane. People think that moisturizers with "oil" in it are bad for acne-prone skin, but it all matters on the kind of oil...You will need to moisturize to HIGH heaven. I remember moisturizing 2-3 times a day. (Even days, when I don't wear makeup, I apply moisturizer again and my skin feels refreshed).

I hope this helps!! yeah, I would quit the retin-a or at least maybe cut the use/dose in half....even now since you may damage your skin. A reason why accutane will work if you let your skin heal...and it can be difficult when it's shedding 50 zillion more skin cells than it normally does lol.

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Oh, I forgot to add about the Dove cleanser. Well, a few years ago, I really didn't research acne or products or what to do. I had used proactiv for years and was clueless :) I liked that it was very mild and didn't burn my skin like everything else, but I don't think it did a good job of removing my makeup and layers and layers of eucerine lotion lol. It's probably because the eucerine was soo thick that the makeup didn't come off easily. I used bare minerals. But you should NEVER let any medicated cleansers touch your skin when you're on accutane....your skin will be very sensitive. Plus it's too drying.

I dont know if this will burn your skin, but since September I think, I've been using bioderma crealine h20 to remove my makeup, and it doesn't seem to give my skin problems. It doesn't even dry out my skin. I buy a huge bottle (500ml) and go through it in a about a month and a half- two months. I use it generously though.I soak maybe 2-3 cotton pads lol. I want to make sure ALLL my makeup and previous moisturizer come off. This seems to reduce the surface acne/bumps/clogged pores that I would get from makeup not being removed well enough. Also what I like about it, is that if I go camping or am in a place I can't wash my face, I just use the bioderma to cleanse.

The only soap I use for my face now is papaya soap after I use the makeup remover. Maybe you can get away with cetaphil (I used that for a few years after accutane- though it may be too drying when your on accutane). If I didn't wear makup that day, I just skip the bioderma. Even though it's a non-cleanser (you don't have to rinse after) I still do to make sure AGAIN that I get whatever residual makeup/products off my skin lol. I use the papaya soap on my body, but you will soon find that your skin everywhere will be dry...so you may not need much soap except for the stinky parts :) Ok, so I've said way too much again! lol. out of breath and going to bed :)

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For my face I use Clinique products.. awesome solved the peeling problem on my face. And washing with Cetaphil. And now reading these comments I also remember getting dandruff on the second month! ew! dry itchy scalp that was the worst! For my body Aveeno (you can get it at costco) towards the 4th and 5th month I got dry eyes, so any tears I could find at the pharmacy worked. For my lips Auaphor lip repair! I think I went through 6-7 tubes... always get more and have them everywhere (you won't be able to go without it for more than 1 hr). As for the sun, i took a hiking trip to AZ during the summer, a LONG hike... I just covered up pants and a white long-sleeve blouse, and a hat od course.... It was fine. My skin was fine they only thing I broke out during that trip and i think it was because of all the dirt. oh well..... forget about waxing! For the shower any body wash. Don't use soap (unless is Dove), but I was already doing this before accutane.

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Thank you so much!

This site is amazing, i am so happy i decided to post on here.

I am really liking the Pratima's that you recommended; i'm going to order some.

let me know if you do get that oil product from them and how it works!

I don't want to put any alcohol on my face... just from this new little regimen i've been using my skin is SO sensitive, i look sun burnt but I am finally starting to heal from this last breakout, even though Zitzilla decided to appear on my forehead---seriously, i've never had anything like it- i had to wear a hat today and it won't freaking pop! its just this big ol red hurt bump deal. Anyways, TMI!

Thank you so much again. I have a shopping list of things to go check out this weekend now ;)

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hey thanks so much for responding, I really appreciate it, I felt like i've said that a lot on this site but REALLY Thank you.

So you are saying towards the 4th and 5th months how long were you on it total??

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No problem :)

I just noticed you use a moisturizer with jojoba oil in it. I used jojoba oil for about 6 months earlier this year when on Dan's regimen, and after as a makeup remover. But I would still break out and my skin had these little tiny bumps/clogged pores everywhere. I never reall thought it was the jojoba oil.

Flashforward to September and I was using the Pratima moisturizer and bioderma to remove makeup. My clogged pores and acne reduced like 70%. I believe that at least for me, jojoba oil breaks me out.

I still put drops of it in my moisturizers that I put on my arms and legs. I put it on my feet at night if they are dry and wear socks and it softens the skin. But now I avoid products/makeups with jojoba oil. Anyways just a tip.

Not sure if I will ask for that essential oil as a christmas gift, or just order it. Because shipping is so expensive, I feel compelled to buy more lol.

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I stopped using that moisturizer, it had a little more than just jojoba in it and it was super thick!!

I'm thinking I'll stick with with Cerva and add just the jojoba with it....

I actually found some natural products yesterday by Neutrogena. They don't burn at all, so I'm liking that.

Im on the pratima site right now, i just want to buy the whole damn store. AHHH. look what you've done! :)

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