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Accutane Prep



Idk if anyone is going to be reading this, but I thought it would be good for me to document my accutane experience either way. I am a 17 year old girl and I've had acne since the beginning of middle school very mildly, but it has gotten much worse in the past few months. It is still only categorized as moderate acne at most, but I have many black heads and any spot I get will scar on my very pale skin. Since I've known my dermatologist for years now, she recommended that I go on accutane (I had already tried clindamycin, topical retinoids, and antibiotics). When she suggested this, I was extremely apprehensive, as I had heard many horror stories. After further research and speaking to my regular doctor whom I trust very much, I decided that it was the right choice for me. Because I am a girl, I had to deal with the whole iPledge thing, so I have one more blood test to take before my appointment on Monday to get the actual prescription. Because I already have eczema, that I've been able to keep under control under normal circumstances, I'm taking the dryness warning and trying to get myself prepared. I went to target and sephora to stock up on products that will hopefully minimize my side effects. In case anyone was wondering, I'm currently stocked with:


Cetaphil moisturizing cream (already use every night due to relatively dehydrated skin)

Cetaphil cleanser (again, I already use this)

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream (I like to use this in the morning)

Caudalie SOS Thirst Quenching Serum

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Sunscreen (meant for face)

Protopic (prescription cream for eczema that my derm gave the ok for during accutane - awesome for dry spots/flakes on face)

Hopefully these, along with the other lip balms I have in excessive amounts, will keep my dryness under control. I'll post again once I have my appointment on Monday with any updates.


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Hey! I am definitely not talking you out of Accutane by any means. I took it and it did work to clear my skin. However, it did not solve the real problem of why I was getting acne, which was my hormones were a bit out of balance as a woman. Do you breakout a ton more during that time of the month? I used to so much. Accutane worked to clear my face for a while, but the acne came back once I was off it because the hormones built up again and increased the oil production in my skin.

It took 5 months for me to see results with Accutane and i wish I had tried the regimen I am currently on. I had SO many side effects that I dealt with on Accutane--dry skin, dry lips, dry eyes, achy joints sometimes, dry scalp/a lot of dandruff, etc. Accutane is a concentrated form of Vitamin A which is given in a pill. This gets the vitamin A concentration into your bloodstream and it goes to all of your body, which is how it affects your skin, but also your joints and hair, etc. The regimen I am currently on, I use a topical retinoid which has the same ingredients as Accutane, but it is applied onto your skin and ONLY targets your skin.

Both make your skin purge out the built up oil beneath and close up/ make your pores a lot smaller and complexion SO much more even, almost glowing. But Accutane has some intense side effects, it's very expensive (even with insurance) for the pills and blood tests, and it takes a LONG time to see results.

I'm on Spironolactone (75 mg/day) which is a pill that regulates your hormones so you don't have too much testosterone being released into your bloodstream, esp. during that time of the month. I also use a creamy benzoyl peroxide face wash (PanOxyl 4%) in the morning and CeraVe moisturizing lotion after. Then at night, I use CeraVe moisturizing cleanser and CeraVe moisturizer and then an hour later, I apply a small amount (a pea size) of the topical retinoid in a thin layer on my whole face. I use Atralin 0.05%.

I really encourage you to ask your Derm about this regimen and see if it might be right for you. I wish I had last year. It would have saved me SO many bad side effects, money, and a TON OF TIME! I could have had clear skin in 3 weeks instead of 3-4 MONTHS!

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Sorry that was so long, I just really wish I had someone recommending this to me last year, even though I was SO set on Accutane.

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Also, if you decide to still do Accutane, check out my old blog posts for recommendations for how to deal with dry skin, lips, scalp & hair, etc. CeraVe moisturizer in the tub is AWESOME. Head and shoulders & then a few drops of Jajoba oil mixed into your conditioner & put on your scalp works great, or a great leave-in conditioner. Carmex is great to HEAL AND moisturize your lips and then put Aquaphor OVER the Carmex to seal in the moisture (Aquaphor is moisturizing, but doesn't heal like Carmex does).

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Sorry that was so long, I just really wish I had someone recommending this to me last year, even though I was SO set on Accutane.

No Problem! I really appreciate that you took the time to give me more info on the topic. I definitely agree that where the acne comes from is the real problem that needs to be solved. My derm knows me and my parents pretty well, so she knows that my acne is more genetic than hormonal. When I had asked her a few months ago if birth control would help control it (as I had heard it can help reduce acne) she told me that it wouldn't be targeting the root of my problem. I do get a few new spots around that time of the month, but they are different than what I usually get (the main tell being that its a couple spots on my chin as opposed to the usual clusters over my forehead).

I can assure you that I'm not taking the decision to go on Accutane lightly - I didn't even want to at first. But, with my second opinion and the fact that what I have is more genetic vs. hormonal, both doctors agree that this is what I should pursue for now. That being said, I will still make sure to ask her about it when I go see her within the next few days.

Random, but if you have any suggestions for products to be using during my treatment (lotions, cleansers, lip balms, etc.) to minimize the side effects and makeup for special occasions thats good with dry skin please let me know!

Thanks hope2013!

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