I've been a silent observer to this website for a very long time. So long in fact that I have already made the life-changing decision to begin an Isotretinoin treatment and am currently on my 47th day of treatment. Reading so many other blogs has inspired me to create my own, especially when I've experienced the difference it has made for me to read the commentary so many others have provided throughout their Iso journey. So even though they will probably never read this, thank you to all of the users who have done such a service to people like me by blogging their very personal experiences!
I wish I had begun this blog earlier so that I could have properly documented my experience with Iso thus far. Honestly though, besides the improvement I've seen on my face, it truly has not been the life-disrupting, side-effect causing internal battlefield the whole world seemed to make it into before I started treatment. That's a huge part of the reason I wanted to create a blog in the first place--I feel very strongly that the stigma surrounding Iso needs to be dismantled, at least mostly. It's definitely no drug to mess around with but I feel that the general consensus of people who have been on Iso is that the drug has done so many people such good and those good experiences far outnumber the bad.
Several people in my family have undergone Iso courses, and a couple of those people completed those courses more than 20 years ago when the drug was brand new and freshly approved by the FDA. Even my dermatologist underwent an Iso treatment (as did many of her staff members at the office I visit) and ALL of these people encouraged me to start this treatment, assuring me that NONE of them experienced harmful or terrible side effects.
So my story is this: I first began experiencing acne at 11 years old. I would get super oily on my forehead and in the beginning, that was the only place I was really breaking out. Once puberty really started to hit was when my face actually started getting pretty bad. My skin would get so uneven and I'd break out in large, red, painful cyst-like pimples. I remember feeling so sad and embarrassed about my face--this continued through my early years of high school and then when I was 14, I was diagnosed with Graves' disease (a disorder of the thyroid). So when I was 15, I had a radioactive iodine treatment which ablated my thyroid. Long story short, my thyroid was overproducing hormones so the doctors killed it with the iodine so now it produces none of its own natural hormones. Instead I am on a daily dose of synthetic hormones which keeps my body stable. All of this to say that being chronically (slightly) hypothyroid makes my skin pretty dry. So I would consider myself combination-type skin which as many of you know is kind of hard to treat. And then in high school, after going on birth control, a kind of miracle happened and my skin totally improved! It never fully healed from acne or breakouts, but it was never anything that a course of an antibiotic didn't get rid of. This improvement lasted throughout college and then when was around 22 years old, it started getting worse again (mind you, I was still taking birth control and still am)...and it continued to get worse.
Now I am 24 and less than a year out from getting married. After years of trying antibiotics, prescription creams, fitness routines, diet changes, holistic teas and treatments, facials, expensive make up, ProActive, Murad, Dermalogica, you name it I'm pretty sure I've tried it! I never imagined I would be this close to 25 and still experiencing the frustrations of acne! I have spent so much time feeling down about it, not wanting to leave my house, feeling completely embarrassed at work when people look at my face...it's such a hopeless feeling, never thinking that you'll ever have clear skin. It has definitely done a number on my self esteem when I look at my reflection and think I could be so pretty, if only I could get rid of this terrible acne. And the physical pain is just as bad--cystic acne hurts!! I think most people on this website know the feeling of an achey cyst popping up around your chin or jawline! I can't wait to have it in my past. Leaving my house without makeup is still like a dream to me...but a dream I have never been closer to reaching!
Isotretinoin is changing my life. Next spring I hope to have clear and beautiful skin as I walk down the aisle toward my future husband! If this blog helps even one person to make the decision to go on Iso then it's definitely worth writing! And I hope for myself that this will be a therapeutic way to recover from almost 13 long years of acne and the toll it has taken on my self esteem. I hope for this to serve as a sort of introductory entry, as nerdy as that sounds, but my next entry will definitely be a lot more detail about my Iso journey! If you want to see pictures of where my skin started to where it is now, please visit my picture gallery! And to anyone out there just starting Iso or considering it, hang in there. I promise it will get better!! I'm only about a third of the way into my treatment and I already feel like my life has improved vastly because a miracle has happened and my acne is no longer the first thing on my mind when I wake up in the morning!