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Shanrenae

My road to clear skin...is Accutane my final exit?!?

Day 6

(I had posted this yesterday....but today when I logged in, all my posts were gone!!!! - What the heck?!?)

I'm ready for this ride so I'm going to buckle up and hold on! Accutane, let's go!

Like so many others on this forum, I'm finally at my witts end with my battle with acne. Just sitting here and thinking about my struggles with acne drains me! I'm 25 years old and I've had persistent acne since the 8th grade. I've tried everything...you name it, I'm sure I've tried it. My patient record at the dermatologist is pages long...it's embarrassing when the nurse asks what year I tried a certain medication and it takes her 15 minutes to read through my 10 years of files to find what she's looking for. I've been seeing a dermatologist since my early teens and Accutane has always been an option, but I always thought it would go away and I wouldn't have to subject my body to the potentially harmful side effects. WRONG! I still have it!

So, how did I finally decide Accutane was my next step? When I turned 25 last July I decided...let's see what happens if I stop taking the antibiotics. My face had been rather clear for the past year so I was hopeful it was not only the antibiotics making my skin clear, but I had finally grown out of my acne (was that possible?) At that moment, and for the past year my regimen was amoxicillin 3x day, aldactone 2x day, brevoxyl medicated face wash 2x day, retin-A micro 1x day and duac gel 1x day. It was definetely working. I took myself off everything but the topicals. S-L-O-W-L-Y, one by one...the acne was making a reappearance! Damn!!!!!!! I tried a couple different birth control pills to see if my hormones could adjust and maybe that was the key. No luck. So, my options were to go back on the antibiotics and wonder - will it ever be gone?? OR look further into accutane. Here I am. I did lots of research and read A LOT on this forum. It really helped me make my decision...thank you to everyone for candidly documenting their joys (if there are any) and struggles with accutane. I was very hesitant to begin because of all the side effects, but I figured, what the hell? Should I be miserable the rest of my life or for 5-7 months...I think I'll take the 5-7 months thank you!

So...my dear friend acne - I'm done. I'm tired. I'm ready to live a life without the daily hassles you bring to my life. I can't even imagine what that would feel like or what that life would be like, but I am hopeful someday I will get to experience it! When getting ready for bed = brushing your teeth and simply washing your face vs washing your face with medicated soap, applying 2 topicals and staring endlessly in the mirror in hopes those pimples will be gone before morning. When you don't have to ruin anymore towels or clothing with bleach stains resulting from the harsh topicals you apply daily. When you don't miss a fun night out with friends because you hate what your face looks like that night. When you don't have to remember to take this pill 3x a day and that pill 2x a day and apply this topical only at night but this one in the morning and night. When you don't feel like you have to wear your hair down all the time to hide your face. When you won't have to cringe at the thought of leaving the house without makeup on just run to the grocery store quickly...that fear of maybe seeing someone you know. When you don't have to edit your photographs so your skin doesn't look so red or oily. When you are cuddling with that special someone and they brush their hand up towards your face sweetly and you won't have to feel like you need to turn the other way so they don't feel those small mountains on your cheek. When you don't have to listen to your acne-free friends complain of how badly they are breaking out and bite your tongue when all you see is one small little pimple. Oh, the list goes on and on and on.

After going through all the i-pledge stuff, I'm finally on accutane. I tell you what...it would be 10x easier to be a guy and go on accutane. It is like being on lock down to get a hold of this stuff (I understand how serious the side effects of pregnancy are, but man oh man...give me the pills already!)

My doctor started me on 40mg pills and for the first 2 weeks I am taking one pill every other day, then progressing to one 40mg pill daily. She said this will hopefully help my body slowly adjust to the med and maybe my initial breakout won't be as bad (by the looks of me now...that theory is out the window).

So, I am on day 6 of my course but have only taken 3 pills.

I am already noticing a few things...

- I've head a steady headache since 3 days ago, nothing I can't stand but I notice it is there.

- My eyes hurt off and on...more of a stinging sensation

- I'm starting to breakout along my jawline (is this my IB?)

- My face was REALLY, I mean...you can see your reflection off my face oily...today - Yuck!

- My are starting to dry out...it's not like the normal chapped lips I would normally get...it's more like flakes of skin are coming off my lips

- I am thirsty, thirsty, thirsty....I am already a huge water drinker, that is all I really drink...today at work I drank 3L of water in 8 hours and I am still thirsty!!!!!

I've already gone out and bought a few products (a $15 prescription turned into a $60 trip)

- I'm using Systane eye drops 1x day

- Aquaphor constantly on my lips

- Aveeno Ultra Calming Foaming Cleanser 2x day

- Aveeno Ultra Calming moisterizer in the AM

- Aveeno Ultra Calming Night Cream in the PM

Any advice here would be great...I know I should be on vitamins, supplements, etc but I'm not yet. What are others taking or what should I be taking? Fish oil? Vitamin B?

I know the upcoming months will be very difficult, but if the end result is clear skin...it will be worth it all!!!!! Thanks for reading and I'll keep everyone posted!!!!

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Day 12

Ok, so I think the IB has began and I am really struggling with looking like this! My god, overnight - literally - overnight I have 5 new cystic spots - very red and large! I am amazed at how they just pop up! I hate looking in the mirror, at work - I just avoid it. But, here at home...I find myself running to the mirror first thing in the morning....any new ones??? A few have whiteheads and I just wanna pop them - but I know not to. I'm also noticing knee pain in my joints. I'm on my feet all day at work, but I've never had a problem in the past 3 years. I'm a little bummed because I wanted to start training again for a half marathon and I have a feeling the tane is gonna keep me from doing it. Anyone have bad luck exercising while on tane? I'm just really frustrated right now, It's going to be a long 5 months!

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Hi there! Just wanted to send you a quick note and say good luck with your treatment. I'm 26 years old and our experiences sound pretty much the same - trying BCP, spiro, breaking out on jawline, etc. I am on month 2 of 60 mg and just got done with my IB. Honestly, I know that it sucks, but it's getting all of the bad stuff out. It will get much better soon!! Please let me know if you have any questions or ever want to vent! :)

Also, I am also a runner and wanted to train as well....I had some knee problems in my first month, but now it's not so bad. I hope this is the case with you as well!! :)

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Hey my regimen is probably eventually going to look pretty similar to yours.

What did you use in the past prior to starting Accutane? I stopped Retin-A and BP last night, since I'm starting Accutane today. I'm so worried I'm going to have a horrible IB and suprisingly my skin has been the best in months!I've been on BP forever (12 years). It's like my baby, even though I hate what it does to my skin.

Well, good luck with your journey!!! I'll be following along.

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Good luck! It sounds like we had similar pasts with our acne. I am currently in my second month and its working wonders so far.

I am also using the Aveeno face wash and moisturizers. When my arms and back started getting really dry, I started using baby oil as soon as I get out of the shower, and I also apply Vaseline Intensive Rescue Moisturizer. It helps with the itching.

As far as vitamins, I took the advice of another member and I take a B Complex, Omega 3,6,9, and Vitamins E and C daily. Drinking lots of water helps with the dryness too, but it sounds like you have that covered!

Anyway, I wanted to wish you luck on your journey!

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Day 17

So...I just had the worst nose bleed I have ever had in my LIFE! Oh my! I thought I was going to bleed to death - ok, not really...but geez. Time to add another side effect to the list :D HA! b I guess I should go to the store and buy some nasal spray or gel to help with moisterizing my nasal passages. I started to run a humidifier in my room overnight so hopefully this will help.

I'm noticing my hair is SUPER DRY now. I normally wash it daily (sometimes twice because I workout) but since it's Sat I won't wash it (because I'm not leaving the house looking like this - lol) and see if that helps. It feels fried and brittle which is a huge 360 from my norm...my hair is normally really oily if I miss one day of not washing and today it is dry as a bone....weird! I'm still nervous about the hair thinning because today I noticed some dry hairs fall out when I brushed my hand through it....not normal for me. Here is what I am thinking with this hair loss stuff....I started Yaz BC pills about Sept and noticed increased hair loss since then and my doc said that was normal because of my hormones changing in my body. Then about the end of November I stopped taking my acne antibiotics (Spironolactone and Amoxicillian) to prep for accutane. I started doing some research on hair thinning recently (because I'm freaked out :shock: ) and read that spironolactone is actually used as a treatment for hair loss. I had been on that med for 2+ years straight and then went off.....I'm wondering if my hair thinning now has something to do with me not being on spironolactone now - like my hair is having withdrawl or something LOL! Would this happen? I've only been on tane for 17 days and have noticed hair loss since on BC....I'm assumming it's from these other things. BUT, now I am even more freaked out because I know hair loss/thinning is a side effect of tane! Any thoughts????

My face isn't horrible (knock on wood) right at the moment. I have about 8 actives but they are dying down and not in the nasty huge inflammed stage! I have one right by my lips that has 3 whiteheads on the one zit - it is so NASTY :sick: and I'm doing everything in my might not to pop it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So GROSS!!!!

Also something - I slept funny last night I think because my neck is in a lot of pain today. But, the pain is awful, almost to the point of tears with no relief from IB profen or heat...I'm wondering if the pain is intensified from being on tane...it's so bad that if today were a work day I'd be calling in. I'm just a mess today!!!!!!!!!!

So, for my to do's - I need nasal spray and more vitamins for my hair. I'm currently taking biotin and flaxseed oil -I'm going to buy fish oil too and up my dose of biotin. I also need to look for some new shampoo/reconstructors for my hair since it is now dry and not oily.

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Hi Shannon, thank you for posting in my blog. I wanted to wish you too good luck with your treatment! Don't get too down about your initial breakout - think of it like it's detoxifying your body! That's how I look at it. I don't know if that makes it any better or not...but it's a different way to look at it. It helps me atleast. You aren't too far ahead of me so I will definitely be keeping up with your blog and checking how it's been for you. I love this forum too. It's relieving to come to one place on the internet and read and talk with others who are going through what you are going through. From what I hear, accutane is no joke! Take care!

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Hey my regimen is probably eventually going to look pretty similar to yours.

What did you use in the past prior to starting Accutane? I stopped Retin-A and BP last night, since I'm starting Accutane today. I'm so worried I'm going to have a horrible IB and suprisingly my skin has been the best in months!I've been on BP forever (12 years). It's like my baby, even though I hate what it does to my skin.

Well, good luck with your journey!!! I'll be following along.

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Day 17

So...I just had the worst nose bleed I have ever had in my LIFE! Oh my! I thought I was going to bleed to death - ok, not really...but geez. Time to add another side effect to the list :D HA! b I guess I should go to the store and buy some nasal spray or gel to help with moisterizing my nasal passages. I started to run a humidifier in my room overnight so hopefully this will help.

I'm noticing my hair is SUPER DRY now. I normally wash it daily (sometimes twice because I workout) but since it's Sat I won't wash it (because I'm not leaving the house looking like this - lol) and see if that helps. It feels fried and brittle which is a huge 360 from my norm...my hair is normally really oily if I miss one day of not washing and today it is dry as a bone....weird! I'm still nervous about the hair thinning because today I noticed some dry hairs fall out when I brushed my hand through it....not normal for me. Here is what I am thinking with this hair loss stuff....I started Yaz BC pills about Sept and noticed increased hair loss since then and my doc said that was normal because of my hormones changing in my body. Then about the end of November I stopped taking my acne antibiotics (Spironolactone and Amoxicillian) to prep for accutane. I started doing some research on hair thinning recently (because I'm freaked out :shock: ) and read that spironolactone is actually used as a treatment for hair loss. I had been on that med for 2+ years straight and then went off.....I'm wondering if my hair thinning now has something to do with me not being on spironolactone now - like my hair is having withdrawl or something LOL! Would this happen? I've only been on tane for 17 days and have noticed hair loss since on BC....I'm assumming it's from these other things. BUT, now I am even more freaked out because I know hair loss/thinning is a side effect of tane! Any thoughts????

My face isn't horrible (knock on wood) right at the moment. I have about 8 actives but they are dying down and not in the nasty huge inflammed stage! I have one right by my lips that has 3 whiteheads on the one zit - it is so NASTY :sick: and I'm doing everything in my might not to pop it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So GROSS!!!!

Also something - I slept funny last night I think because my neck is in a lot of pain today. But, the pain is awful, almost to the point of tears with no relief from IB profen or heat...I'm wondering if the pain is intensified from being on tane...it's so bad that if today were a work day I'd be calling in. I'm just a mess today!!!!!!!!!!

So, for my to do's - I need nasal spray and more vitamins for my hair. I'm currently taking biotin and flaxseed oil -I'm going to buy fish oil too and up my dose of biotin. I also need to look for some new shampoo/reconstructors for my hair since it is now dry and not oily.

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Day 18

Oh my grossness!!! I just washed my face and my nose is all bumpy - my blackheads are surfacing and started to pop out of the skin. This is SO WEIRD, but exciting :D I can't imagine not looking in the mirror and not seeing those things!!!! When I run my fingers over my nose you can feel some of them.

Ok day today, my large cyst type acne have now turned into whiteheads on the end. I tried to pop one yesterday (with a lance, not squeeze) and it didn't work so well, then today the darn scab was hanging off so I picked it and...now, I'm pretty sure I'll have a scar there. It's so hard not to pick and leave them alone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Still freaked out about this hair crap, lots and lots came out after showering today. I bought a deep conditioning hair mask from Nioxin (good product line for thinning hair) that I used today and will use 2x a week. So, keeping my fingers crossed it's not from tane and will end soon!

Feeling positive today, but as we all know - tomorrow is a new day!

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Helga~ You are a brave woman for having to deal with that damn thing! Wow!!!! Good luck Andrea! You will do great on accutane!! We'll keep one another updated! Your log is already in your signature so no help needed there wink.gif

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Day 19

My skin is finally drying out I think...all the oil is gone. It is very weird, I'm so used to using 10 oil blotting sheets throughout the day at work and now my makeup stays on - no oil sheets needed and there aren't even creases in my eyelids where my eyeshadow is. I like this part of accutane :D I just wish it'd stay oil free when the tane is over!

So, today when I was working with a patient (I'm a therapist at a rehab hospital) I got a bloody nose - when I was standing right over them!!! I was so embarrassed! I couldn't get it to stop and had to end their therapy early! I used nasal spray and gel this AM. Going to start using it 2x a day and I'm running the humidifier at night! This is crazy. Before tane, I hadn't had a nosebleed since highschool.

Tonight at dinner somehow accutane got brought up and that I was on it and my friend's date (who is also a nurse) said he was on accutane and he couldn't say enough times how bad it is and to get off of it immediately. He kept talking about all the horrible side effects and how it dried up his stomach and he got sick and it didn't even work that great. Initially it kind of freaked me out, but then I thought...no, I'm doing this with side effects and all. I've done countless hours of research and read lots of success stories - I don't always want to wonder "what if I would've tried it". I figured, my doc wouldn't have said - OK and I'm being monitored with all the blood tests so what the hell.

I finally went and exercised today. My knees and back were hurting and aching pretty bad the first 3 weeks but now that I'm taking all the supplements and vitamins I'm feeling better. I only ran 2 miles and biked for 10 min, but for my first workout in 3 weeks I was pooped and feeling it in my legs...which I normally don't. So, we will see how my muscles feel tomorrow and if it's any different than normal. I really would like to run the 1/2 marathon in May but don't know if it's a good idea while on tane. We'll see how my body handles these smaller runs first.

No new big actives on my face, just the old ones healing and getting smaller. The new ones are all small ones with whiteheads. I'll take this anyday - just hoping it continues along this path! Blackheads are continuing to surface a little.

Until next time...

Oh yeah - I have pics from each week, I just need to quit being lazy and upload them! I will later this week!

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Hey! Just wanted to wish you the best.

With my research about Accutane prior to me making my decision to take it, I found that just like any other medication, there are those who benefit and those who do not. Many people have taken the drug and seen amazing results but I'm sure there are those who couldn't handle what was going on.

My best advice - despite being on it for three days - is to simply worry about your own side effects. If you're not getting the stomach pains or other complications that people occasionally describe, why worry? It sounds selfless but when you're doing something like this for yourself, you have to become concerned with your own well-being, not just how other people handle the situation.

I'll definitely check in to see how you're doing from time to time.

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Its funny you mention the person at dinner who had bad experiences with Accutane...I ran into a friend of mine in a vitamin store about a week ago, and it came up that she had taken it. She had a horrible experience with it and seemed to try to talk me out of it. At first it scared me off a little, but like you, I decided to focus on what its doing for me, not others. It went out of my head that minute. :) I trust my body to let me know when things are awry and until then, I will keep taking it!

I noticed that my knees hurt a little more than usual after running, but nothing that a warm shower or a nice stretch doesnt take care of. If you decide to run the half marathon - good luck! Thats really awesome. That is my goal as well. I love running, but that far...eek, thats a long way! But good for you, thats really cool.

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Hey Shanranae,

Haven't heard from you in awhile. How's the IB? I hope it's going well. I'm finally starting my IB and Im getting depressed already :(. Hopefully it won't be too bad. Good luck.

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