I've never been one to blog but felt compelled to share my experience on Accutane after reading countless blogs and reviews from others. I feel that other people's stories about being on Accutane has helped me enormously during my own experience with it thus far so I feel it is my duty as a fellow acne suffer to share my story in hopes of helping others who are either starting or contemplating starting the 'tane!
First let me give you some background information about my personal struggle with acne. I literally remember the first pimple I ever got. I was about 14 and it was a cyst right under my lower lip. Since that time up into now (I'm 25) I have been battling with moderate cystic acne. I've tried countless presciption creams, antibiotics, over the counter products, homeopathic pills, vitamins, changes in diet, cortisone injections and even multiple types of birth control. You name it, I've probably tried it. At times my acne has seemed manageable, mostly in college. However, once I graduated and entered into the real world my acne seemed to get worse, perhaps because of stress from adult life or hormonal changes as I get older. I get pretty shiny in my T zone and tend to breakout in white heads, comedones, and the dreaded cysts mostly in these areas. Acne is somewhat genetic within both sides of my family, and while my parents never really suffered from it, my cousin, aunt and grandpa have dealt with acne as well.
This year as I hit my mid twenties, I started realizing that my rationale of "everyone gets pimples not just you" wasn't really applicable anymore when I noticed that my co workers and friends had relatively normal skin. My anxieties about letting my family, friends, and boyfriends see me without makeup increased and I felt like all I ever worried about more than anything else was breaking out. Now, I know this may sound superficial to some, but tell that to any acne sufferer and they will understand. The feeling of literally not being comfortable in your own skin is just awful, especially when you feel like you have no control over it. To make matters worse, I found myself feeling so conflicted between leading a relatively natural, healthy lifestyle but then still packing on the foundation when I'd do thngs such as camping or going to yoga.
After doing research for months, I decided to finally throw in the towel and pursue getting prescribed Accutane. I felt it was my absolute last resort after 10 years of a losing battle. Fortunately, my dermatolgist took one look at me after hearing my story and agreed that I was a great patient to have it prescribed to. After the routine bloodwork, pregnancy test, and iPledge registration I started Accutane and have been on it for 3 weeks this Wednesday. Here is my experience and products I'm using thus far:
I felt that I had the "initial breakout" fairly early within starting Accutane (I'm taking the generic brand Zenatane which is covered under my insurance provider. I highly recommend calling your insurance company to find out which brand they cover so you pay the least amount, after all it's all the same stuff, isotretinoin). I am on 40mg a day with the end goal of bumping up to 60mg within the next few months. My skin was already in pretty bad shape when I started it so the intial breakout wasn't too disheartening plus I tried to mentally prepare for it the best I could since I knew it was inevitable. Other than that, the only other side effect I experienced was a slight change in moods. I felt a little more emotional, but knew this was normal of Accutane and would eventually pass, as it did.
I was still breaking out, mostly on the bottom half of my face and jawline. My lips started to get slightly dry. Nothing too noticeable however. The mood swings also started to subside. Hooray!
As I approach the end of week 3 I do notice some significant changes and side effects. I did get slight lower back pain as well as random twitching pain in various parts of my body. For two days a joint in my left pinky really hurt which was sort of strange but it eventually went away. My lips have been getting fairly dry, not flaky but if they don't stay moisturized they start to hurt and feel chapped. My skin has been dry on my face but not too bad, mostly after a shower. It has started to flake throughout the day but only at spots where there was a pimple that has now started to heal. I've noticed that my pimples start out feeling cystic but either come to a head within a day or so which makes popping them easy or they simply dry up and then flake off. My scalp has been a little itchy too. The breakouts on the bottom half of my face have started to subside but I've had a somewhat bad breakout on the middle of my forehead (the worst!!) that is finally starting to clear.
For those who are curious about partying while on Accutane, I did have more than the recommended 2 beers in one night (I drank 4), however I spaced them out and drank lots of water in between and was pretty much fine. I'd just stay away from liquor if you must drink.
I am excited to go into weeks 4 and 5, I heard that this is when Accutane users have started to see some results. Until then, I am staying optimistic and not stressing about the purging cycle too much since this is completely normal. Plus, what is one more breakout with the potential to never breakout ever again 5 months down the line?!
Cetaphil Daily Facial Wash
Cerave PM Facial Moisturizer (I use this both morning and night since it is a heavier moisturizer)
Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil as s body moisturizer
Vaseline Lip Therapy
Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24 Hour Makeup (this stuff is the absolute best for long wear, even coverage makeup!)
The Beauty Blender sponge (I dampen this before stippling my foundation on my face and it helps not only give flawless coverage but doesn't rub your skin to make it flakier and has SPF in it)
I have also kept neosporin on hand for a few pimples that got a little too scabby.
Until next time,