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Hi all,

A bit of history....during my early teen years I never had acne that was really bad. I'd get a few breakouts here and there, nothing too serious. Some of it was probably because of me not taking care of my skin well enough. Blackheads were always my main issue and when I was 17 I finally decided to go to a Dr about it. Ended up on Retin-A and some pills (I think tetracycline was what I started with). When I as 18 or 19 I started to get really bad breakouts, mainly along my chin but also other places on my face. The breakouts on my chin have led to a lot of scaring in that area. I've tried quite a few different topicals and pills over the last few years and my derm decided last spring that Accutane was a good idea for me since I kept getting scars everytime I broke out. I'd go through periods where I was pretty clear for awhile and then a really bad breakout. I'd probably still be considered "mild to moderate" since my cheeks and most of my forehead are usually pretty clear.

I'm 21 now and I was pretty scared about taking accutane and put it off for awhile. I didn't want to deal with the side effects during the summer since I knew I'd be outside quite a bit. I started Accutane on the 24th of August. I'll try to outline what's happened so far.

Accutane (Claravis) 60 mg (40 one day, 80 the next). 21 yr old female, 125 lbs.

Week 1:

My lips immediately got chapped and the skin around my mouth was dry and flaking off like crazy. I also remember sleeping really hard for the first week or so and having a hard time getting out of bed in the morning. I never felt tired during the day but at night my body conked out. My blackheads also seemed to get bigger and almost stick out of my skin. It also seemed like there were way more of them than I'd ever noticed before.

Week 2:

My eyes and nose were both really dry. I had to get drops for both. Same dry lips and such as above but not sleeping hard like I did the first week. This was the week I had a bad breakout (worse than a usual breakout of mine), had a bunch of big red whiteheads all over my chin that did not seem to want to go away. Most of them finally did during week 3 but left scars and a couple of bumps. Blackheads still huge. I did end up with this scab looking thing on my right hand that I'm guessing came from something rubbing up against my dry skin.

Week 3:

The dry lips weren't so bad anymore and I got used to the dry skin on my face and it wasn't so bad. The rest of the skin on my body was dry as well but it wasn't that bad. After I shaved my legs I'd have to put lotion on right away or they'd start to burn. Blackheads were still pretty much the same.

The biggest issue I had this week was with my hair. I've always had really oily hair so when it started to dry out the first two weeks cuz of the accutane it didn't bother me at all, I thought it was kinda nice actually. But during week 3 I started to notice that my hair seemed a lot thinner. I'd started shampooing less and using a ton of conditioner since I was worried about how dry my hair was and about it being damaged from the dryness and whatnot. But the loss of hair really freaked me out and still kinda does. I feel like I've lost quiet a bit towards the front of my head, not so much in the back (but it has always been pretty thick in the back).

Week 4:

I'm currently in week 4 and everything is about the same as before. I had a puffy whitehead right under my nose and a large one near the mouth plus a couple of smaller ones on my chin. The blackheads don't seem as large as before and they aren't sticking out anymore. I'm using a gentle scrub on my nose once or twice a week, not sure if many of them are actually coming out tho. The scab on my right hand is mostly gone but the area still looks a little pink.

The hair issue continues to worry me and I'm kinda scared about it. If anyone has an advice about hair loss during accutane I would greatly appreciate it. And if anyone has any wonderful stories about how their hair all grew back and was thick again after accutane I would appreciate those greatly ;) lol.

My next appointment with my derm is this Thursday. I'll post an update after I see how that goes. Almost one month down! The derm said I'd be on it for four months, I hope I don't have to do it for any longer.

Stuff I've been using:

I don't wash my face in the morning since I shower then. I just use a Cetaphil moisturizer with SPF in it.

At night I use Clinique's face wash and Neutrogena moisturizer.

Aquaphor for my lips, chapstick whenever I'm out and about.

I've stopped using all of my topicals and other pills.

Thanks for reading this!

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Week 4 Cont’d

Had my derm appt this morning. My skin was looking pretty good considering I’ve had quite a few new breakouts on my chin this week that have been sticking around. My Dr seemed happy with my progress and is keeping me on 60 mg and is still predicting my course to be 4 months.

I mentioned my hair loss concerns and the nurse seemed really surprised that I would have that issue so early on. My Dr said not to worry about it and even if I was losing hair that it would grow back. I’m still thinking that I might start taking zinc supplements. Anyone feel like zinc has helped them while on accutane?

I don’t think I’ve experienced any new side effects. My lower back did hurt a bit as I was falling asleep a few nights ago but I think it’s because I went hiking that day. Hopefully it’s not the lower back pains that a lot of ppl seem to experience while on accutane. One thing I forgot to mention before is that I sunburn extremely easily now. Just walking to get food on my lunch break where I’m outside for 5-10 mins gives me a sunburn.

I’m happy to have one month down!

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Thanks for commenting on my accutane journal. :) And yes, you sound a great deal like me acne wise. I'm also worried about the hair loss thing since I've always been complimented on having glossy, smooth, soft hair. >_< I'm really worried since I've read some horror stories that the loss is permanent, but I'll try not to worry too much. Good luck with your 2nd month!

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You sound kinda like me... however i was too chicken to take accutane.

but I'm going to keep checking in on here... so keep updating :)

maybe if I get the guts and everything else doesn't work for me Ill try it.

Good luck!

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Halfway thru Week 5

I had my first blood test today. Hopefully the results will be normal. I have noticed that my skin is getting drier and is flaking a lot more. Now I worry that ppl are looking at my flaky skin more than they did my acne. =( I might stop using soap in the morning if my skin gets any drier. On a brighter note, my blackheads have gotten a lot less noticeable and I would say that roughly 1/3rd of them are gone now. I have one bump that I first noticed today that's coming up on my chin and I think I have a small zit forming on the side of my nose. Other than that I'm just dealing with old ones drying up.

The hair loss thing still concerns me. I bought some zinc gluconate at Target tonight (50 mg) and I'm going to start taking one a day. Does that seem like a good dose? I also bought some vitamin C, but I'm not sure if that helps with accutane side effects or not.

I've started taking my showers at night and letting my hair air dry, something I couldn't do when I had oily hair cuz my hair would be oily by the time I woke up. I think it's helped to be able to avoid blow drying it everyday. It's still very dry and breaks easily. I bought Head & Shoulders shampoo to use because my scalp was starting to seriously itch today and I'm using an intensive moisture mask every 2-3 days along with conditioner everyday. Any advice on how to deal with dry, dry hair while on accutane would be greatly appreciated!

I've also noticed that my arms were more dry this week than they have been. Oddly enough my hands haven't been an issue at all and the only time I put lotion on them it as night before I go to bed. Oh and I have noticed that my back hurts at night if I try to lay on my side, so I've had to stay on my back. Not the greatest thing to be experiencing when I already feel worn out (which I'm guessing is partly due to the accutane).

I'm really hoping that the new breakouts will stop soon. At this point I don't feel like I'm much better off than when I started with the exception of the blackheads. I know that it'll probably take more time and that I just need to be patient. It's hard tho.

Thanks for everyone's support!

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Week 5

Alright guys, time for another udpate. My skin is still really dry, I'm getting flakes everywhere on my face except for the top of my nose. My arms and legs have gotten a lot drier as well. My eyes are still dry and they get red sometimes but my nose seems to be doing much better. I've been doing pretty good about controlling my lips but I did manage to get one of those wonderful cracks in my right corner. Gotta love those.

I've been extremely tired all week and even tried to go to bed a couple of hours early a few nights and I still end up tired. When falling asleep I sometimes get backaches too.

My blackheads seem to be improving still, which is nice. I have one large zit that's slowly healing up on my chin and a few that are almost flattened out. I have no new actives at the moment, just a bunch of scars. <-- I almost hestitate to say that for fear of what I'l wake up with tomorrow lol.

Oh and I took some zinc the other day and ended up with a stomach ache (even tho I'd just eaten) so I haven't taken another one yet.

I have some questions for you experienced tane users:

a) I've stopped using soap in the morning and instead I'm only using water. I use a little bit of soap at night in the shower, mainly to wash my eye makeup off. Is this a good or bad idea? Should I still wash with soap in the mornings?

b) I need to get my hair cut and I usually gets my highlights touched up when I go in. I have naturally dark blonde hair and I get lighter blonde highlights put in. Is this a bad idea since my hair is so dry right now?

c) I'm developing a couple of really rough dry patches on skin on both my arm and my face. Is aquaphor ok to use on your face? There's a dry spot on the side of my nose where a breakout was a couple of weeks ago and the dryness just won't go away. I'm afraid that putting aquaphor on my face might cause a breakout tho.

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As for the face wash, what kind of soap are you using? I noticed my skin was peeling a lot so I swapped to a face wash that was just for taking off makeup/cleaning off oil, not for acne. The medications in acne based face washes dry out my face too much now that I'm on accutane.

If this is still too much, I've read up on a few people who swear by using oil based face washes. I know that sounds weird and counter-productive, but you might want to read up on homemade oil face washes. It seemed rather extreme to me, so I haven't tried it, but I hear it's really good for your skin.

Good luck!

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I'm using Clinique's liquid face wash. I use the "mild" version and not their acne version cuz I always found it too hard on my skin even when I wasn't on accutane. They have a "very mild" formula but I used to use that and it caused me to break out worse because it contained some sort of oil.

Putting anything with oil in it on my face scares me, but maybe I should give it a try. :think:

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Booklover - I was also very worried about accutane messing up my hair. My hair is very thin and usually very oily. A few weeks ago I went to my hairdresser and she said that my hair was not as dry as I thought, it was just normal now. Since I was used to it being so oily the side effects from accutane seemed worse than they actually are. She suggested using a product called Kholesterol on my scalp, if I thought it was overly dry. I haven't used it yet so I don't have any feedback but thought I would pass the suggestion along.

I also got my hair highlighted at that appointment (I'm a dark blonde who gets lighter blonde highlights too!), though she warned that it may make my hair a little bit dryer. I suggest sharing your concerns with your hairdresser and getting her/his professional opinion.

Good luck with your course!

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Coronet and hennie, thanks for the comments, they really help! Hennie, has your hair been thinning since you started accutane? And I remember you mentioning cutting it short, did that help with anything?

Week 6

Good signs:

-Almost no new breakouts. A couple of very tiny spots came up but went away within a day or two. The one large spot on my chin is finally starting to flatten itself out. One decent sized active came up on the left side of my chin.

-Blackheads are continuing to come out (slowly). In some spots I’m not sure if they’re leaving big open pores of if some areas are still partially clogged.

-The inside of my nose hasn’t been as dry as it was initially and I still haven’t had a nose bleed yet.

-Not as fatigued this week as I was last week although I still require more sleep than I did before tane. I keep waking up randomly a couple of hours before my alarm goes off and I never get fully back to sleep afterwards either.

The big side effects:

-DRY eyes. It’s killer when I have to look at a computer screen all day. I try to put drops in every night and in the morning if I have time. I don’t like to do it during the day because it ruins my eye makeup, but I may have to get over that.

-My hair is definitely thinner in the front than it was when I started. I don’t think I’m losing an excessive amount of hair anymore but the hair loss thing is my biggest concern at this point. My hair is definitely not what it used to be.

The mild side effects:

-Dry lips. I have to apply something about every hour or two. Aquaphor is still the best and I use Burt’s Bees when I’m on the go.

-The rest of my body is still dry. The rough patch on my upper arm is not going away.

-The skin on my face is still flaking a bit. It’s nowhere near as bad as it was when I still had a ton of actives. In the morning I gently go over my face with a washcloth and I think this helps a lot. Hopefully my skin won’t get too fragile for this later in the course.

One very strange thing is that I have this bump in between my bridge of my nose and my left eye that’s somewhat swollen and doesn’t really look like a zit. For awhile there was a tiny little hard bump on the skin there that I thought was either going to turn into a zit or flake off. Then one night I got out of the shower and there this large bump under my skin almost like it had been pushed under the surface. It almost looks like a blister and after a day or two it got red and that’s where it’s at now. I have no idea what to think of it. It was been itching a lot yesterday but I’m not going to touch it lol.

I’m 3/8ths of the way there! I can hardly wait to be done will all of this. :D

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Hey, took me a while to respond. ha ha

Umm scared of mostly the hairloss and joint pain, also my job involves me staring at a computer all day... ha ha

Yeah Im about 3 months from making that decision... I finally went into see a derm yesterday and she wants to put me on yasmin, along with my antibiotics and topical and see if i get any good results, and if not she said i should try accutane.

I think im more scared it will not work for me, or it will and then within a few months my acne will come back.

I really don't know what to do at this point, but you seem to be doing good with your accutane!

You may see my own accutane log... ha ha

Just wondering, were you ever on a bcp to try and control your acne?


Hi Rai,

What scared you about accutane at this point?

And it took me awhile to make the decision. So far I don't regret it.

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Just wondering, were you ever on a bcp to try and control your acne?

I started using the generic ortho-tri-cyclen right before starting accutane, but only because it was required. I thought that BCP might've actually helped my acne since it's often cyclic. I ended up not trying it because my acne tended to come in cycles but I wasn't able to tie those cycles to my period so I decided that BCP prob wouldn't help. I was also afraid of going on them because I've heard it can really screw with your emotions when you first go on them (which they did lol). I haven't noticed the BCP helping with anything at this point.

I have a large spot on my chin that's slowing coming up from under the skin and I just spotted a new bump forming under the skin under my jaw. I'm going to have my period next week so I'm wondering if hormones might be an issue. Although chances are lack of sleep and not drinking enough water could be the problem. The lack of sleep has actually been an accutane side effect I think. Great, eh? lol

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I woke up this morning with a slight bit of oil on my nose. It was strange to see after a month and a half of waking up to dry, flaky skin. Rather than taking a shower last night I just washed my face and then I gently used a scrub on my nose (which usually helps a bit with the blackheads). I made sure to moisturize afterward but I'm wondering if maybe drying out my nose so much made it produce more oil?

My skin and hair haven't felt as dry the last few days. Is it normal for the dryness to wear off a bit after you body adjusts to accutane or something?

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Booklover - sorry it took me so long to answer your question! I have noticed a few extra hairs fall out in the shower, but nothing that has me overly concerned. My hair has always been very fine. I did end up cutting it short. I think it helped my mind more than my actual hair! My hairdresser said that yes, my scalp/hair were less oily than usual but not in an abnormal way - just abnormal for me. Are you still noticing a big difference in your hair?

About the reaperance of oil - I think that may just be the body adjusting to the accutane. At first my skin lost all of the oil, and was extremeley dry. In the past couple weeks I've noticed it even out some. My skin is no where near as oily as it was before I started accutane, but it does have some oil to it.

It sounds like your course is right on track :)

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Hi hennie, thanks for the reply. =)

I think the loss of hair is a lot less than it was the first month. I find that kinda odd. It seems like most ppl experience hair loss later in the course or after their course. I'm still losing hair but I'm not sure it's an excess amount.

I can see where it's thinner around my temples tho. There's a section at the front of my hair near my part that's incredibly thin compared to what it used to be. Probably about 50% of what it used to be in that small section. Along the front hairline seems to be where most of the thinning has happened. Maybe a tad in the back but it doesn't seem like it.

I have an appointment to get it cut and highlighted (unless my hair lady thinks it would be too damaging given it's condition. I'm going to ask her how bad she thinks my hair really is in terms of dryness) on Saturday. I'm hoping that taking a few inches off will help the overall health of my hair. Or if nothing else maybe it'll make me feel like my hair is healthier. ;)

I'm also considering asking my derm about lowering my dose down to 40 mg. We'll see what he thinks next week.

Thanks for the support!

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Week 7

Changes Since Last Week:

-The large bump near the bridge of my nose stopped itching but it remains red and firm. It’s fairly large in size and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. The skin over it has started to flake a bit.

-My blackheads seem a bit worse this week. I’m not sure if I had new ones appear because of hormone changes during my period or what, but the front of my nose is still pretty covered in blackheads. And this one huge blackhead that I’ve had forever popped out a couple of days ago. Hopefully the pore isn’t still clogged with anything underneath.

-My fatigue issues are a lot less severe than they were a couple of weeks ago. I’m sleeping through the night once I fall asleep now too.

-The dry patches on my arms seem to be doing a lot better since I bought some Vaseline Intensive Care lotion that I’ve been using liberally at night before I go to bed. My hands are developing a few “rashes†however.

I currently have two big nodules healing up from last week and that one lingering one from a month ago is still causing a lot of flaking in that area. I have two or three tiny little zits that go away quickly.

I’m still concerned about my hair and I plan on talking to my Dr about it next week. I haven’t been noticing any abnormal hair loss in the last couple of weeks though. It seems to have slowed down since my first month. I’m hoping that I don’t end up with hair loss at the end of my course or after my course like some ppl seem to experience.

Everything else is the same.

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Week 8

Had my derm appointment this morning. I seem to be having a good skin day today (I always seem to have the better days on the days when I have my appointments, of course lol). My Dr said that he liked how I was progressing and to keep everything the same. No blood test this month.

I have one larger active on my right jawline with a smaller one next to it. The large spot on my chin finally flattened out and is now just a peeling spot. I've had a couple of whitehead recently, most of which cleared up quickly. One right under my nose was kinda annoying and is still healing up, but it doesn't seem to be active anymore.

It seems like my blackheads have been looking worse recently, I'm not really sure why.

All the other side effects are the same as before. The fatigue is back this week, but some of that may be partly my fault. I also thought my arms were doing better with not being so dry but after forgetting to put lotion on them for a few days I can definitely say that they're not doing better. Ended up with a couple of rash like spots on my arms and hands. A few good days of lotioning them up and they'll be fine I'm sure, but I've learned that I've gotta be careful. Here in Phoenix the weather hasn't really changed much yet, so I haven't been experiencing fall/winter cold and dryness. The weather is slowly starting to change though, so I'm expecting my dryness to get worse.

The only other notable thing would be that huge bump that I had on the side of my nose by my eye. It's been hanging out there for a few weeks. I pointed it out to him today and he said that it's a clogged oil gland (isn't that what acne is? haha) and he injected it with something. I can't remember what the stuff was called. I've never had anything injected before so it was fun having my first injection be right by my eye lol.

I hope everyone else is doing well!

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"I've never had anything injected before so it was fun having my first injection be right by my eye lol. "

Ill bet thats something you never thought you would say. ha ha

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Haha yeah. I was sitting there while he got it ready and I was like "You're going to stick a needle into it?!?!"

Luckily it didn't hurt as badly as I was expecting it to.

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Week 9:

I spent 4 days in Colorado and the elevation paired with the cooler weather made my face flake a lot more. I used SPF85 that my friend had and had no problems with a sunburn at all. My face does get red a lot easier now than it used to. The skin on my arms and hands got extremely dry and by the time I came home I looked like I had rashes all over my arms. A few days of lotioning them up before going to bed solved the issue though.

I had one small whitehead near my lip that went away after I got back home. The large zit on my chin continued it's slow healing process.

Week 10:

I don't remember anything happening during this week. My skin was doing pretty well at this point, I didn't have any new breakouts. I was extremely tired tho.

Week 11:

I developed a zit on my face yesterday that's practically gone away. I have two small whiteheads on my chin. The big zit from a few weeks ago still isn't completely flat but it doesn't appear to be active either. One thing that I noticed this morning is that the large bump that was on the inside of my nose (the one that was injected) seems to be coming back. I'm definitely not happy about this. Luckily I'm going to see the derm in a week so maybe he can inject it again or something.

I've noticed recently that my face is a lot more flaky. This may just be because the weather finally got a bit colder here in Phoenix so maybe it's just the usual winter stuff. I'm going to try gently using a face scrub tonight to see if that helps get rid of some of the dry skin.

As far as my hair goes I'm still babying it a bit by not blow drying it or pulling it back in ponytails as much. I don't feel like I'm losing a lot of hair and it doesn't feel as dry as it did early on. It still feels thinner to me, but at least it's not continuing the way it was in the beginning. My scalp isn't itchy at all either so I think it's producing a more normal amount of oil now.

My eyes still get dry for sure but they haven't been bothering me quite as much recently. My biggest complaint is still the tiredness, which varies from day to day. Other than that, I don't even notice most of the symptoms anymore. And until the last few days when I got a few new spots, my skin was looking really good.

I'm extremely excited that I only have 5 weeks left! I'll get done right before Christmas.

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Hi again guys, I obviously haven't updated here in awhile. I found that my skin and side effects weren't changing enough to bother posting any updates and then I got out of the habit.

I'm now more than halfway thru my 5th month, down to 40 mg now and my Dr was hoping for this to be the last month. I've still been getting a breakout here or there so the Dr said that I should continue. This month I've gotten 4 small ones along my jawline and one fairly deep one. It seems that I'm having a major case of PMS break outs. Kinda depressing considering how long I've been on accutane. I could be satisfied with my skin the way it is now, because it is a lot better than it used to be, but I'm worried about going off of accutane and my skin just reverting back to the way it was.

My side effects are pretty much the same. My eyes only hurt/feel dry after I've been in front of a computer for awhile (which is every workday). The skin overall doesn't seem as dry anymore. I'm not sure if I've just adjusted or if the lower dose changed things. My lips still get dry but I don't even notice it anymore because I'm so used to slathering them up with stuff. Haven't had any problems with fatigue, aches or headaches.

I'll update again after my Dr appt in a week and a half even if nothing much happens. I want to have a complete log for those of you who are reading logs trying to get more info about accutane. :)

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