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Just Started - Female - 33 - 60mg

Hello to you all! Thanks for the great advice, thoughts, and ideas. It's taken me a long time to reach my decision to kick acne with Accutane -- all of you had a great deal to do with that.

I'm a 33 year old woman, living in Vancouver, BC. My acne (face and scalp) had been moderately troublesome since I was about 15 and has become increasingly worse over the last three years. The impact this problem has had on my life has been tremendous, as all of you understand. I'll skip those details, as we all seem to have much in common throughout our histories with acne.

I started my 5-month course of Accutane four days ago. I take 20mg in the morning, and 40mg in the evening. I had a headache for the first two days (now gone), stomach upset and loss of appetite for the last two days. I expect the side-effects to evolve as my body adapts, so I'm not really concerned about any of this. I noticed a bit of dryness of my face this afternoon -- after I stood out in the sun for fifteen minutes (Woops! Note to self: Buy sunscreeeeeen.).

While at the gym yesterday, I noticed something quite remarkable: For the first time in over seventeen years, my skin looked less bumpy -- almost smooth -- beneath the wretched fluorescent lighting.

Why didn't I do this long ago? I suppose, I thought it would 'go away' eventually -- not become painful and disfiguring. I thought that I would eventually find the 'miracle product' and my face would become perfect, glowing. I was concerned about the potential side effects of Accutane, and didn't push for it hard enough. I allowed physicians to use me as a lab-rat (sorry, rats!), I spent thousands and thousands of dollars on ineffective prescriptions and OTC crap, I allowed acne to scar me in a deeply significant way ...

Makeup has adorned my face since I was very young -- and no-one has EVER seen my face bare. People often say, "But your skin looks great. It's glowing!" And I check my makeup in the mirror while they aren't looking, just to make sure they really believe what they're saying. Thanks to acne, I have become a master makeup artist -- but somehow, it hasn't been truly satisfying.

Over the last three years, it has become increasingly difficult to cover up the lumps and scars and oozing spots. Painful. Sad. I see others with clear skin and dream of the day that I might be able to go camping without having to keep my 'face' on for the entire trip. I can run and bike and ski without the embarrassing layer of makeup for all to see. Maybe I could even go swimming -- with my head submerged -- layers of makeup will not be there to melt away. One day, I'll wake up beside my partner (and the chances of me finding one will be greater) and not feel that I must immediately rush off to the washroom with my makeup bag cleverly stashed somewhere discreet. Oh, and maybe I won't have to spend an entire hour on my face each morning before I'll allow anyone to see me. I'll stand in the washroom at work with my co-workers, confident, not feeling as if the fluorescent lights are shining blazing spotlights on my acne. Acne -- the bane of my existence -- be gone!

[After my gym workout yesterday, I walked home, into the sunlight, and felt good in the bright light. I smiled at people -- allowed my face to be seen. Although my acne isn't yet 'healed', I felt better. I know that I *will* achieve a true state of 'glowing'. It was really, really nice.]

Me - 33 year old woman - 160lbs, 5'10"

Accutane -- 60mg

Vitamin E - 800IU

NutraSea - 2 tbsp

Lush - Dream Cream

Weleda - Rosemary Hair / Scalp Oil

Juice Beauty - Lip Plumper

Burt's Bees - Beeswax & Royal Jelly Eye Cream

Body Shop - Peppermint Intensive Foot Cream

P.S. Although many of you are so brave as to have photos of your bare faces -- and I admire you for that, sincerely -- not one single photo of me with a bare face exists. I may be able to dig up one or two in which I look particularly 'lumpy' thanks to the lighting. I'll be sure to post it if I can. Take good care!

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i enjoyed reading your post. i guess because i can see so much of myself in it. i am 26 and have been on accutane once before (august 2000 to feb 2001). let me assure you, it worked wonders. it was an absolute miracle for me. my face was completely clear afterwards and i never worried about breaking out. this was such a relief considering i had been on over 5 years of more than 15 prescriptions without improvement.

fast forward to present time.......

my face is broken out although not nearly as bad as before. i am positive it is because i just had a baby and it has completely whacked my hormones up. my face was perfect before pregnancy and that.

i just want you to feel assured that accutane will do it's job. no doubt you will have to encounter some very annoying side effects along the way, but it is well worth it. let me tell you. in fact, i hope to be going on a second course soon because i know it works. if it were so bad, i wouldn't want to go on it again.

i wish you luck and offer you a few pieces of advice:

aquaphor = wonderful on accutane lips and inside your nose at night. i know it sounds gross, but just put it in there before you go to bed. it's much better than waking up with a crusty, bloody, dry dry dry nose.

not moisturizing face 24/7 = bad as in not pretty looking. your skin will dry out alot and it will be flaky white without anything on it. cetaphil for sensitive skin is my favorite. definitely. i used it on my face immediately after my shower in the morning. and after i washed my face at night (with cetaphil bar soap) i applied it again and slept with it on my face. i'm serious, you don't want to go at all without some type of lotion on there. i would also keep your complete body lotioned up. i always applied lotion to my body right out of the shower.

i remember losing some hair while on accutane, nothing scary but it did get thinner in front. good news is it "fulled" back up after ending accutane. i also remember VERY itchy scalp and face (on jawline) VERY ANNOYING - UGH!!

never ever ever leave your house without some type of chapstick or aquaphor or vaseline or something. i only made that mistake once and NEVER did it again!! my lips have never been so split and bloody and wrecked looking.

oh, by the way, i was on 40 mg twice a day. 5'8" and 125 pounds (i wish i were still that weight!!)

i don't know if this helps you, i hope it does. this is how i made it through my accutane experience and hopefully, if i go on the medication again, i will stick to this again myself.


p.s. you should create an accutane log documenting your experience. and you should definitely post some pictures of yourself when you have a chance. makeup or not!!

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Thanks so much for the kind words and the advice. You know, I tried to find Aquaphor everywhere here in Vancouver, with no luck. I find a few of the Eucerin products scattered around at most of the large drug-store chains, but never the Aquaphor. It looks like the product may not be available in Canada.

I have to avoid petroleum-based products as they cause my skin to break out in a rash. Sadly, I think Aquaphor might be a petroleum-based product, as is Cetaphil ... but I could be wrong. I have quite the arsenal of all-natural moisturizing stuff here (a habit that stuck from when I lived in a very dry climate a few years ago). Vancouver's climate is pretty moist, so I've had the advantage of not having to use much (that, and my face is usually an oil slick) until now. The Dream Cream from Lush has revived many a mountaineering-induced sunburn for me, so I know it works well

Upon waking this morning, I noticed that the oil is not really there anymore. I'm accustomed to waking up with a nastily oily face and scalp and feeling that I must wash it, and my hair, immediately! I haven't washed my hair in two days, nearly three, now. I have long hair, and don't want it to dry out -- my scalp is less oily now, too!

I operate a home-based business right now, so I don't see people often during the day. I already feel like I want to show off my face, though. Like, maybe I'll answer the door with no makeup on for the first time in my life! Heheheh. I can't wait until winter is over and I have magically new skin!

I was using a home microdermabrasion kit well prior to starting Accutane, and it helped to smooth out some areas that weren't too infested with acne. I suppose I have to wait to use that for a while, eh? It's too bad, as it works fantastically for removing some moderate scarring. How long should I wait? 6 months after stopping Accutane? One dermatologist mentioned having to wait three *years* after stopping before doing anything as such to the skin.

I put on a moisturizer with glycolic acid last night before going to bed, and it stung like never before. Yikes! Skin looks really good today, though, I must say!

Bonne Chance!


P.S. I was 135 lbs three years ago. It was much easier to bike race and run marathons then! Sigh ;) I started lifting weights because I was self conscious about my skinny arms, and I got ... bigger. Rather unexpectedly, too. So, do you think 60mg is going to be good for me? I thought it might be too much at first, but now that I've adjusted to it (and feel really good today, actually), I think it's fine. How long were you on it for? How long after Accutane did you get pregnant? I'm not concerned about side effects, but more that my clock is ticking :rolleyes:

Partly why I'm doing this now, while I'm rather single!

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Hi Martine,

Just wanted to drop by to wish you lots of luck with your course. I started a couple weeks ago, so I understand some of the side effects you're going through! I also live in Canada and haven't seen Aquaphor around. I haven't really looked all that hard though. If I really need it then I'll start looking harder! I heard that you can get it on ebay though.

I also relate to some of your comments. I panic whenever someone drops by my place if I wasn't planning on going out that day and have no make up on. I too have become somewhat of an expert at applying makeup, but yeah, I want to be done with that. I would love to be able to go workout with a buddy, but I can't because I feel too self-conscious to see people I actually know at the gym without makeup.

Keep us updated on how things go!

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Hey, thanks! Where in Canada are you? I'll let you know where, if ever, I find Aquaphor. Although petroleum-based products give me a rash, I may need it for my nose should it get really dry! eBay ... good idea!

Good for you for tackling acne before you're my age. I waited too long and will always have a slightly lumpy face from the scarring.

Yoga does wonders for the back, especially the lower back. I've signed up for ashtanga yoga for the next six months while on Accutane -- and I try to do some gentle yoga at home before bed. Got to keep limber :-)

Take care!


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Hey Martine

Just wanted to let you know that a product that I use when I'm at school and I cant lug around a tub of vaseline is Carmex. You should be able to find it at any shoppers drug mart or CVS or whatever it is you have in BC. Its in a little white circular tub with a yellow lid ( similar to the tiny blistex tubs). IT HAS A MONEY BACK GARUNTEE - HERE ARE THE INGREDIENTS:


so i know you have an aversion to petroleum based products, but this doesnt feel like it has alot of it...very waxy and the SA helps to exfoliate the lips so u dont have the peeling and stuff. Really portable and works.

yea...aquaphor is not availabe in Canada as far as i know


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Thanks for your story, I really saw myself in what you said. I'm 31 (also in Canada), and since early teens I've walked with my head down so people couldn't see my face. Same as you, I really thought it was something I would eventually grow out of, but the last year it's been worse than ever, so I decided to try it. My sister had done it years ago and she was quite successful with it, so I'm hoping my outcome will be the same. I also started on 60mg for the first 2 weeks and am now up to 120mg/day. I'm 6 1/2 weeks in, and my side-effects are minimal so far, other than a horrible, horrendous IB right away and a lot of dryness, but I survived the first 3 weeks from the IB and my face isn't nearly as dry as it used to be. My acne is pretty much gone now and the scars are quicly healing. I hardly have any cover-up on my face anymore. I asked my husband the other day if my scars were fading as much as I perceived them to be, and he said he couldn't tell with my makeup on. I smiled and said "I don't have any on!". I damn near cried that day. I too hope that some day I can go swimming, or camping without the worry. I play hockey and never shower at the rink for fear of someone seeing me without cover-up on. Coming up to a new season very soon, I can only hope that will change. My goal is that, and to maybe go down a waterslide without having to sit up, again for fear of makeup being washed away. Some day I'm going to lie down on the water-slide and enjoy it!

I also don't have many pictures, but I'm really regretting that now. I was too horrified of my IB, but to see how far I've come so quickly from that, I wish I did so I can show people how much this stuff truly works! It's a blessing, and my only regret is not doing this years ago.

Thanks again for your story!

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Ah, yes, showering whilst trying to avoid getting one's face wet. Damn! I hated that. The man I was with previously for several years would occasionally shower with me -- and I'd freak out if he sprayed water on my face accidentally. I'm sure he knew, but he was so kind as to always say that he thought my skin looked great. Then again, maybe he never really looked at me :-)

And forget showering at the gym. No way!

I feel really lucky to be living in this moist climate here in Vancouver-- I think it will really stave off the dryness. So far, I'm a little dry on the face, but nothing unbearable. I've got some fantastic organic skin products that I'm hoping will work throghout the next five months. I'm doing a wee bit of research on the subject. This organic lipbalm I use is superb (and tastes wonderful) -- and I hope it continues to work. Problem is, I bought it when I lived in Victoria last year and now have to mail-order it!

So, ty13, you'll be done your course well before me. I can't wait to hear your success story. You must post some photos. I'm working on some myself here.

I feel fortunate that, in Canada, we have less hassle in obtaining a prescription for Accutane. I got mine from a GP after I broke down in his office saying that I couldn't wait months to get a dermatologist appointment -- I'd been waiting for someone to give me the OK for years as it was. I also wanted to do this now, during the cooler, damper months -- as I am outside a lot in the spring & summer sun because I'm a competitive cyclist and runner. He had no problem with it at all!

Fortunately, I'm single now -- and pretty much ... uh ... celibate. Here's to spring 2007!

[Keep me updated on your progress!]

Bonne Chance!


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