So, like a lot of people on this website, I'm starting Accutane and want to share my journey with y'all. Mostly because I came to this website with questions and actually found answers. So, I figured I'd add to the pot of information. The more the merrier, right?
I am an 18 y.o. female who has struggled with acne my whole life. I had large black heads in elementary school which then turned in to cystic bumps and whiteheads in middle school. I can actually recall always having this one cystic bump on my chin (along with all the rest) throughout all of middle school and it was so embarrassing because I was one of the few kids who had acne like that. Unfortunately, acne does seem to run in the family. My mom has relatively clear skin but my dad struggled in his younger years with acne. He tried everything (antibiotics, sun tanning, 2 rounds of accutane, etc.) and still gets spots from time to time. I'm starting accutane because 1) I've tried EVERYTHING else and 2) I'm so tired of fighting my face!!! I can, at one point, compile a list of things I've tried and what did/didn't work.
I get acne primarily around my mouth, on my chin, along my jawline, my neck, my chest, my shoulder, my upper back, and lower back along my spine. My back is mostly blackheads but from time to time it will turn into cystic bumps or whiteheads. I wash my face daily but I'm really bad at keeping my hands off my face.
I am currently on day 12 of my process. I started on September September 4th 2015 and I am taking 40mg a day of Zenatane. I try to take mine at night or late afternoon and I know they say to take it with a fatty meal but I've noticed that just eating it with something works. However, after some research, it is said that the fattier the meal, the more the medicine will absorb and work better. So I will definitely be keeping to the fatty meal regime.
Everything was normal day 1 and 2 and then on day 3 my face started to peel. Not badly though. If you've ever over-washed your face it was kind of like that. Day 4, my skin broke out like crazy and hasn't stopped since. I know a lot of people say they don't see their initial breakout until weeks or months in - I got mine on day 4 so it is possible.
1 week in: The unsightly cystic bumps and whiteheads continued along with the facial peeling but my acne on my back, shoulders, and chest was pretty dormant. My lips started their super dry spell at about day 6. But my lips weren't "dry," per se; I could have a whole layer of Vaseline, Ranbaxy, etc and they would just kind of sting but would still be somewhat moist. I've taken to talking less and using straws with drinks so that it won't remove much of my lip balm. My skin is not responding well to sun. I'm a tennis player and spend a good amount of my time out on the court and on contact with sun, my skin will burn and itch. I don't mean it will turn red and leave me with a sunburn. I mean it starts -- to BURN! So, long sleeves and hats have become my best friend.
Almost 2 weeks in: At about day 7 my forearms started to get red and splotchy but not very noticeably. Just kind of looked like a weird sunburn that went away by the next day. The dry lips are starting to become unbearable and I have to put on my Ranbaxy lip balm (the one my dermatologist provided) about every 10 minutes. Starting to itch - my arms, my stomach, my scalp, my knees/thighs. Trying Dove's Sensitive Skin Body Wash, will see how that pans out. I've had to start taking Tylenol to relieve some of the pain in my face because it's gotten so bad. I’m also drinking a LOT of water. I don’t feel dehydrated but the more water I drink, the less my face hurts and the less dry my lips feel. Tried a honey/milk/salt facial mask because the pain was so terrible and my face was so inflamed. Actually worked like a charm! Cleaned out a little, moisturized, exfoliated, and my face felt so much better and wasn’t as red as it had been before. Today, on day 12, it seems the the rest of my acne on my back and chest and shoulders is starting to pop up again. There are circles forming around them and they’re starting to peel. Also, I’m primarily using Carmex lip balm because it feels soooo much better than the Ranbaxy and lasts longer. I want to look into Dr. Dan’s Cortibalm but that'll be another day.
My daily regime is
- Neutrogena Ultra Gentle daily cleanser in the morning
- Dove Sensitive skin body wash in the shower (on my face too)
- Cetaphil moisturizing lotion (As needed)
- Cetaphil moisturizing cream (As needed)
I tend to shower at night so I don't usually wash my face at night but if it's particularly bad - I will. Also, I like the Cetaphil cream rather than the lotion. I couldn't tell you why but it just kind of absorbs into my skin better. I will only use the lotion or cream if my face looks particularly dry. Otherwise I risk breaking out with the extra moisture.
Well, that's all for today. I hope you enjoyed my ridiculously long intro and feel free to suggest, question, etc. I will try to post weekly and add pictures!