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Month One

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I am a 24 year old woman; I have had moderate acne since I was fourteen. My trouble spots are my chin and mouth, my chest, and my back. I have been through all the antibiotics and most prescription topicals. Sulfamethoxazole worked wonders for me for years, but last July it stopped working...I tried two more antibiotics that did nothing, which brought me to the end of the line so to speak. I did my research, and decided to try accutane. I found personal journals helpful, and I decided that I would document my experience so as to help other people with their decision.

Before I started accutane: My skin looked pretty good...I was recovering from some breakouts, I had a few spots around my chin, and one healing on my lip. One on my chest and a couple on my back/shoulders. I started accutane on May 25, 2012. I had been consistently broken out since July 2011.

Days 1-4: Everything is drying out, my face and back/chest look better. I am taking 30mg once a day. I am 5' 8" and weigh 150 lbs.

Day 5: IB arrives! Slightly cringeworthy but nothing I haven't seen before. 3 on my upper lip, 7 more around my mouth/chin. Cheeks and forehead are clear as usual. No new body breakouts.

Days 6-11: still broken out, I got a couple of new ones but overall appearance has not really gotten better or worse. I've noticed that my skin is way more sensitive to picking...normally I consider myself a pretty smart, careful picker, but everything is different on accutane. Neosporin is a good idea. I also use aquafor and occasionally trentinoin cream as a topical-- although this make my skin very dry. I have still been drinking some...summer in Chicago!

Day 12: Skin has started looking better, most of the IB seems to be healing at the same pace. We will see. I am hopeful I am one of the lucky ones who clears within a month, but I am feeling good about my choice to take accutane, even if it takes me longer to get clear.

Side Effects:

  • Very dry lips
  • My skin and scalp are slightly more dry...I am somewhat itchy, especially when I am trying to fall asleep.
  • I got a blister on the bottom of my foot walking an average distance in my favorite flip flops. Not sure if this is related, but it has not happened to me before.
  • Dry vagina! So far my least favorite side effect. Uncomfortable but not painful.

***All these are very treatable with a trip to Target! Nothing to be afraid of!

Day 14: Still continuing to clear, nothing new to report.

Day 16: Skin looking better, although the pores on my chin, nose, and forehead seem bigger...lots of blackheads. I can't pop the ones on my nose as I usually do... nothing comes out! Strange. I went to the beach today. I wore 55, a big t-shirt, and a hat. I am not messing with the blister burns I've read about.

My skin looks similar to what it was before I started the course. About 5 around my chin and mouth, and a couple on my forehead. Also got one on my chest yesterday. My back is pretty clear, although I think the pores there are enlarged as well. This is definitely true of my chest/breasts.

Day 18: Pretty consistent. I still have several healing but nothing to cringe about. Pores seem a little smaller? Maybe the same. Not worse. My hair is still beautiful...it stays clean for days at a time but is not dried out...not bad! I haven't been wearing make up because it looks weird on my skin...flakey. Seriously happy I decided to do this.

Day 21: Chin and mouth broke out again. Lip is mostly clear. Not as bad as day 5 breakout, but not great. Pores are still a weird texture on my nose, back, and chest. Hopefully will start to clear soon. I got my brows and lip threaded today...ouch. Can't wait for clear skin. I have my eye on a snow white costume for Halloween to celebrate.

Day 24: lip is clear, still broken out on my chin. My nose is smooth now, the pores seem to be disappearing. Hopefully my chest and back are not far behind. My skin is smoother in general; I think I will be able to wear make up again soon. Slight set back in that I will not be able to refill for month two until I see my dermatologist on June 29...this means I will miss 5 days. According to the nurse I spoke with this is not big deal, but I am not happy about it. It's a bumpy road to clear skin. Bumpy...get it?

Also, my side effects are less noticeable. I have to carry aquafor around for my lips. I have been using head and shoulders a couple of times a week, and I moisturize after I shower...the side effects are a non issue for me.

Day 26: My lip is still clear, my chin is looking better. My forehead and cheeks are clear, as usual. My nose is smooth, but the pores and on my chest and back were still a weird bumpy texture, almost as though raised up. I was at Target this morning and I got an exfoliating body wash. I had been using a really gentle body wash, because I read that you should not exfoliate while on accutane. However, I had reached the end of my patience with this weird thing my pores are doing. I used the new body wash, and my skin is so much smoother...it looks great, not irritated at all. This was a good move on my part! So, apparently some of us can exfoliate while on accutane. Currently I have one healing on my chest, one small one on my shoulder, and two small ones on my upper back.

Day 30: My skin is not great. The right side of my chin especially is very broken out. The left side and center are less broken out, but definitely not clear. My cheeks, lip, and forehead are clear. It seems every time I think that the drug is working and my skin is getting better, I break out again. I am not so much discouraged as impatient. I know that this will work, but I want it to work faster. My body acne is minimal, just one stubborn one on my chest. I have an appointment with my dermatologist on Friday (in five days). I will get my month two dose then. Hopefully it only gets better from here.

Day 36 (aka day 31): I had my dermatologist appointment today. My skin is the worst that I can remember. I have been consistently broken out my entire first month on accutane. I was off accutane for five days, and started my month two dose today. I have close to thirty pimples on my face right now, the majority are in clusters around my chin and mouth. They all seem to be healing at the same pace. I have been fantisizing that they will all disappear at the same moment and my life with clear skin will begin. I usually don't let myself cancel plans or not go out because of my skin, but I have made an exception this week. I am laying low at my parents' house. I am really hoping that this is the worst of it. I don't think this major breakout has anything to do with the interruption in my course, this was definitly brewing before day 30. I just keep reminding myself that this means the drug is working, am trying not to pick at my skin too much, and drinking lots of water.

I'm doing my best to keep my chin up! (not literally, of course, as my chin is covered in acne.)

As always, the side effects are a non issue for me.

I will update towards the end of month two, wish me luck!



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