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Right, where to begin really? I'm nearing the end of my course on roaccutane (which i will go into greater detail), and recently i began thinking that i should give back something to the community as i've often visited various websites for a bit of a boost sometimes and perhaps even get some advice.

First off a bit of background info- i'm a 20 year old male student in my final year, the acne i've suffered is purely facial (that is none on my back whatsoever), and i'd consider myself to be more than healthy in that i gym it a lot, do a few half marathons and play a good amount of tennis. That's that bit out the way.

My acne 'career' if you like probably began a year or so before sixth form, when i was 16. It began with the odd spot or so and became progressively worse as i got older. The acne i got was never particularly spread out, more often than not being nucleated or indeed focused on a couple extremely noticable, deep and generally painful spots. To this degree, i would claim my acne to be that of a 'moderate' scale.

In any case, i've always been very aware of how i look and generally try to take pride in my appearance. Nothing annoys me more than not being able to fulfill potential and to generally be able to do things to the best of my ability, and as far as i was concerned my acne was preventing me from looking my best and therefore had to be sorted out. Just for the future reference, at this point in time i wasn't anywhere near as healthy as i am now, my diet was generally poor and though i did play sport it was to a just higher than average amount.

So i was 17 (and if we want to be specific here- 'and a half') when i finally went to the doctor about it. I would like to say that after my acne episode and my various trips to the doctors, any good opinion i was had has pretty much withered and died. There will be rants later. So the first doctor i happened upon had a quick look and tried to persuade me it was essentially a part of life and it was that bad and it was no big deal. The first of many battles. After some persuasion i was reluctantly perscribed, if i remember rightly, 'oxytetrocycline'. I can't remember exactly how these were meant to work, so i'm not going to guess and give a totally wrong answer. Needless to say, i had absolutely zero success with them; my acne seemed to get sligtly better for a very short period of time (slightly more than a week), but then again that could have just as well been coincidence. The flawed aspect of these treatments being that it takes about 3 months to see if there will be any improvement at all, but then if it fails you simply have to go on to the next one and repeat the process. Difficult to say the least.

Meanwhile my diet continued to be poor (i keep mentioning diet, but by the end of this tale i'll have contradicted myself on its relevance) and i'd taken to the habit of using plenty of 'anti acne' rememdies. I'm talking here about products such as clearasil etc, the ones where adverts on tv dig up people who've never had a spot in their lives and they exclaim about how wonderful and helpful said product is. Yeah right. Bearing in mind everything i say here is from my own personal experience, i just do this from the basis that hopefully someone, even if it is just one person, will benefit from this; that i regret having used anything like that, and if you are using it then stop. Stop now. It doesn't help, it really doesn't, and if anything it makes matters worse (and they're more often than not bloody expensive). The difficulty i also ran into was that no one in my family ever had spots (life really isn't fair) so i had little to no advice there, only sympathy, which did generally tend to make me quite angry a lot of the time as a vent for my frustration. Not helpful at all really.

At this point i was also doing everything wrong, i was picking at my spots, trying to burst them (absolutely foul now i look back on it) and just generally tearing my face up. I was literally at war with my face, and there were no prisoners being taken on either side. God that sounds cheesy, but it makes the point. If there's one thing i've learned, it's that you've got to treat your face with the greatest deal of respect, regardless of how it pisses you off when covered with spots.

So the next stage. University was upon me, i was dispirited that oxytetrocycline had done little to help me out when giving off first impressions. I did my very best to not let it get in my way, and to a large degree i succeeded. However, i was not happy. So off i went to the uni doctor, and my lord, how i learned to hate that guy. He first proscibed me 'minocycline', a fairly powerful antibiotic if i'm not mistaken. This was also coupled with two topical medicines- zindacline to be used in the morning, and adepelene cream at night. This combination actually went through a noticable margin of success for a while, until my acne decided it was a battle that could be overcome and came back with a flourish. I was on this treatment for about 4 months.

So the review came with the doctor a while later and i told him that i was still disatisfied. I would also like to mention here that i was constantly told that 'there are people out there with far worse' etc and that i shouldn't be so bothered about it. I know i've probably made a good impression of sounding like an angry bastard in this story, which is very far from the truth; but quite honestly i felt like murdering this guy on the spot sometimes when he was practically preaching to me. I remember he always used to bring out a chart with pictures from scale of 'limited' to 'severe' and point out i was somewhere in the middle and therefore life wasn't so bad was it? My view is that i truely don't care how others feel, but if i feel bad in myself then something needs to be done, and i completely stick by that.

So i put forward the notion to him about going on roaccutane. I'd had two friends on it, one ironically i didn't really know well until after uni (but you couldn't tell he ever had a spot in his life), and another i'd known for years and years and suffered from rather chronically bad acne, been on roaccutane and had a good deal of success. Suffice to say my doctor may as well have laughed in my face for all the consideration he gave me. My query was swifty dismissed and he'd hear no more of it.

So the end result was that i'd managed to wrangle a new proscription off him, this time it was 'lymiscycline'. As far as i know, this is the unwanted bastard child of 'minoscyclone', hence sharing the near same name, doing the same job but simply to a lesser degree. How this was meant to help i don't know.

My lifestyle was however on the up. I'd been swept into the get fit vibe within my uni, it's a fairly sporty place, and i lost about a fair bit of wait and put on a lot of muscle from my newly found obsession with the gym. There are worse things to be addicted to.

The lymiscyline ejoyed about as much success as the impotent oxytetrocycline had and barely anything changed. Meanwhile i was still plugging away with clearsil and all its buddies, deep and painful spots still plagued me and left scars. It just wasn't fun. I decided that a change was needed and began looking more deeply into acne, its causes and various suggestions from websites such as this.

All doctors seem adamant that diet doesn't affect whether you have acne or not, though there are many contradictory articles coming out, especially recently. However, my view is that diet doesn't effect acne in the least. For that matter, nor does smoking or drinking heavily. I have 6 flatmates this years, one of which both eats crap, drinks loads and smokes like some kind of steam train, another who drinks loads and eats the most hurrendous rubbish and the others just generally eat very poor food. They all have completely, and utterly, spot free skin. I was basically on the verge of going vegitarian from all i'd read, i can't remember the last time i had fast food and i never ate red meat. No difference. No difference. I'd like to repeat this as well: No Difference. For all my exercise, diet changes, chopping and changing with products; i never gathered together any evidence that anything has any control over acne other than your own body.

I was getting pretty desperate at this point, and i'd lost all faith in doctors. I went to speak with a beautician, even had a facial (well if the Italien PM had one why not me?) to see if that helped. It didn't and nor did the chat. Usleless. I then caught wind of this new laser treatment that was meant to be revolutionary. So i took myself on a short journey into London and went to visit a clinic on Harley Street to see what could be done. Basically, my impression was what slimey bastards. They offered me a course that that would cost £900 and guaranteed absolutely no results. No way was i going for that deal, seemed to me almost as bad as being sucked in by a bunch of 'cure your acne in 3 days!' ads that are foating around the internet. If you really do have something that great, why would be such an arsehole as to charge someone for it?

And so life carried on for a while, until i really, really couldn't take it. I think i honestly understand why some people with truely chronic acne commit suicide over it, i really do. So i gathered up all my arguements, of all the things i'd tried and done, and took myself with a great deal of purpose back to the doctors. Finally i had a breakthrough. I convinced the doctor i was seeing to write a letter to a dermatologist to request a meeting. A couple of months later i got the go-ahead.

So i arrived at the hospital, once again armed with all my arguments and reasons i wanted this treatment and ready to fight for what i saw as my last chance. I was pretty much at the stage where i would have killed a man to cure my acne...i'm honestly not like this i promise, i only say these things to get my point across. However, all my readiness for a confrontation was entirely unecessary. The dermatologist couldn't have been a nicer guy. I explained to him all my reasons, what i felt i'd been through to get here and he took the decision to start me on a course of roaccutane much to my relief.

Finally we come to the part that is relevant to this thread. I'm sorry if i posted in the wrong place, and i also apologise for various spelling mistakes etc that i'm sure this post is litered with. In my defence it's nearly half one in the morning- i just felt i needed to get this done. So i have the blood test, results are fine and i begin taking the tablets. I weigh 74kg and it's 1mg per 1kg, the doctor begins me on 20mg to ease me in, that's just one tablet a day (since this is the weight of one tablet). After a few days i notice the dryness beginning to settle in. My skin has always been what i've diagnosed as 'oily with a dry base'. Seemed like a contradiction in terms to me, but apparently that's what it is. The grease on my skin was drying up, i would descible some of it like tiny grains on sand i could literally brush off my face (disgusting i know...). I also bought an electic razor, my skin was ultra sensitive as it was and wet shaves always gave me greif, so i votef for a safer option. I was also prepared for the dreaded 'initial breakout' phase. I think something like it happened, certainly a couple of large spots appeared, but to be honest that my well have just been that the medication hadn't taken effect yet and my body was just being its normal irritating self. Things began to get better. After about 2 and half weeks, the dose was then upped to 60mg a day (3 tablets).

There was a definite improvement. Yes my skin was drier, my lips were drier, and i had the odd nosebleed, but the deep spots that had plagued me were gone. I use 'Simple' moisturiser, but that was no big deal as i'd always had to use it in the past anyway, before accutane (like i said, oily with dry base...). I suppose being a student on it was easier for me in many ways. My timetable leaves me with copious time at home, so i could always moisturise at any time if i needed a top up, and i had both the light and rich moisturiser that i chop and change depending on what's needed. I don't bother with any face wash products, i feel that these only dry your skin out more. I also don't drink on roaccutane. At all. I burned up a lot of the crazy in my system in the first and second years of uni. Having so said, i probably went out more in the first part of my final year than i did in my second for some reason. However, when the course started, that was it for me. I told my mates in advance why i would not be able to drink, that is to say, i didn't tell them the truth because i felt too embarrased, but a vague story about medicle worries for a couple of months was a good cover for the tablets. Somtimes a lie is easier than the truth for everyone. So in any case, things were good. I was confident and taking pride again in my experience.

Things weren't quite as good when i was ending that phase, but after a month or so i was then onto the final phase- 4 tablets a day. This is technically i believe over what you're supposed to have (being that my weight was 74kg and this was aimed at someone 80+), but only just. My view was pretty much 'bring it on' if it was going to get things over with sooner. But i was no prepared. Not in the least. Quite honestly, if i hadn't had the amazingly good fortune of being at home during holidays when the dose was upped i don't know what i would have done. As it was, i was able to hide.

If the breakout period hadn't struck at the begining of the course, it didn't now. It started with what i thought was at first an amazingly vibrant rash on my neck, but turned out to be just many, many spots. It also burned a little. I tried moisturiser but to very little avail. Sudocrem i found was the best for this for the record. If the effects weren't so utterly monstrous, i would have found them quite amazing. It literally worked its way up my face. Thankfully none of the spots i got were deep (which is credit to starting on a smaller dose), so i wasn't worried about any scarring or long term problems. But my face was covered with sores and many, many spots all banded together. I'd truely seen nothing like it before. I also got one incredibly large sore on my chin, of which the aftermath i'm dealing with right now. I would personally recommend savalon for this, and lashing of it. I'm also trying some sudocrem right now which appears to be helping. My skin was also chronically dry, my lips cracked and bleeding around the ages when i woke up. This being down to the fact that i can't apply vaseline petroleum jelly (i would have to so pretroleum jelly is the ONLY way to go as far as lips are concerened, nothing else has even come close to dealing with the dryness roaccutane inflicts upon your lips) in my sleep. I would also recommend some eye-drops from somewhere just to moisten things up. Nosebleeds also went up, and i got this extremely horrendous smell in my nose as it leaked some corruption a bit. Not pretty. This extremely horrific phaze was over in roughly 2 and half weeks. Absolutely chronic, i doubt i shall ever forget it. It was however incredible how fast my face recovered from it, so my words of advice- don't panic about it.

So my course finishes in just under 2 weeks now and i'm very happy with the results. Once i've finished grapplying with the annoying little sores on my chin i will be happier still. I would seriously recommend accutane to acne sufferers, i pretty much disregarded all the horror stories, as i said, i would have done nearly anyting to get rid of my acne; but then again that's just me. Well, that's the end. Should have probably waited until i'd actually finished my course completely, but it was just on my mind a lot this evening and i wasn't able to sleep. But it's 2am now, so that should help my cause. I sincerely hope this is of benefit to someone, even if it isn't it was refreshing to write it. Take it easy everybody, i wish you the very best of luck with everything, regards.

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Hey, firstly nice choice of name :D and secondly congrats on your success man, glad things worked out for you in the end, Im in a pretty similar position, I also took accutane a lot later then I would have liked to (but that was due to my own stubborness and faith in another particular drug) and now Im nearing the end of the course and my skin is alot better then when I started but Im still not happy with the results. I reckon if I can get my derm to extend my dose (which i dont think is likely) things might turn out better.

Ha I also went to the same bloody clinic as you except it as the one in manchester, my first impression was "sales pitch" and then left as soon as possible

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Hey man thats a great review, thanks for taking the time to post it.

I was particularly interested to read it because we are pretty much the same age and weight.

My derm has started me on 30mg a day and it will be reviewed at the end of the first month.

One thing that was unclear from your post is the duration of the treatment? How long was your course? I'm assuming that it wasn't 7 months if you got bumped up to 80mg per day.....


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Re-read the post this morning, a few words amiss in there haha, don't think my hands could quite keep up with my brain. Just for clarification, i was on 20mg for 2 weeks, 60mg for 2 months and i've been on 80mg now for just over a month and i'm due to finish in the next couple of weeks. Hope this helps.

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