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LucyTwinTips

Return of acne after Roaccutane.

This is my first post having just joined this community.

To say I'm pissed off is a huge understatement, you see I'm at the point again where acne has become the bane of my life. At 31 (six years ago) I started a course of Roaccutane after finally a GP took me seriously and referred me for specialist treatment as from the age of 20 or so I had tried EVERYTHING, from topic lotions, diet, exercise, creams, potions and pills. I went on the Roaccutane for 2 months and was completely and utterly devoid of spots, pimples and plukes for a blissful 6 years! I couldn't believe my luck, it had worked...that was until about 2 weeks ago, when eruptions started on my chin with a vengeance.

My acne was always on my chin, usually the cystic type where one spot could last a month and each spot would spread to the size of a 2p coin. I would also get the tiny tiny spots that would just ooze clear liquid and would then suddenly become very painful and swollen resulting in big dry scabs. Roaccutane I thought was a miracle cure, I did have my concerns over the scare stories about women who went on to have abnormal pregnancies but this hasn't been a problem for me and I really thought I'd be acne free forever...sigh.

I must admit I'm a bit stressed at the moment due to a relationship breakup but other than that, I'm super healthy, no junk food, I'm training for a marathon so keep fit and I avoid tobacco and alcohol. So I'm mystified as to why these nasty soul destroying spots have come back. I've got some retin-a which I'm going to start using today to see if that helps and works as a longer term solution, but as you can imagine, I'm just at my wits end again.

When I was on the Roaccutane all those years ago, I found keeping an online diary immensely helpful and being part of an online community had huge benefits, so my fellow acne sufferers I'm back here again, to join in, share stories and provide support to anyone I can and to ask for maybe a little bit of comfort from you too.

Thanks for reading, Lucy x

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Hey Lucy - welcome! I feel your frustrations! Start slowly with the retin-a and understand it may get worse before it gets better. I am curious that you only took accutane for 2 mos - most people take it for a minimum of 4 months and longer to achieve the cumulative dose. I am sure your stress has something to do with your breakouts and it could be hormonal. A lot of us women struggle with cystic acne on our chins/jawlines and it is so maddening!! That would be my brand of acne (mostly chin, ugh). If things don't look up in the next couple of weeks you might consider a visit back to the derm! Good luck!

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Hi Lucy,

Roaccutane treats the symptoms not the cause, thats why the acne comes back.

I had the exact same experience.

Please take a look at my regimen for getting clear (in my sig) and let me know if you have any questions.

K

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Thank you so much K and ID70 for your kind replies.

I only took Roaccutane for a couple of months as it was quite a high dose I recall, it did work instantly, but as you say K it only treats the symptons for so long.

I really like your regimen K! My skin does seem a little better this week and I reckon over the last two weeks I've put so much effort into a similar regimen, running every day, eating healthily and sleeping well. I think that your skin plays two-week catch-up with your activities so maybe I'm feeling a bit more relaxed then I was a month ago too (I'm moving out of the house I share with my husband following our seperation so not feeling so fraught with stress). I reckon that another cause is that I seem to sleep with my hand on my chin, so I've been really conscious of not doing that and not touching my face, sometimes I know you just can't help it sometimes - feeling for lumps and bumps.

I would also add cutting out all sugar, eating more veg than fruit including cutting out fruit juice for clean water. That seems to help. I have been using the retin-a, but just very very thinly and only on the affected area once a day, usually at night. Not wearing any make-up (might not apply to you!) I also use a cleansing facial wash, toner and very light moisturiser (Loreal or Clarins) twice a day.

So I'll keep on posting on how things are going and thanks again for your replies.

Lucy x

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Thank you so much K and ID70 for your kind replies.

I only took Roaccutane for a couple of months as it was quite a high dose I recall, it did work instantly, but as you say K it only treats the symptons for so long.

I really like your regimen K! My skin does seem a little better this week and I reckon over the last two weeks I've put so much effort into a similar regimen, running every day, eating healthily and sleeping well. I think that your skin plays two-week catch-up with your activities so maybe I'm feeling a bit more relaxed then I was a month ago too (I'm moving out of the house I share with my husband following our seperation so not feeling so fraught with stress). I reckon that another cause is that I seem to sleep with my hand on my chin, so I've been really conscious of not doing that and not touching my face, sometimes I know you just can't help it sometimes - feeling for lumps and bumps.

I would also add cutting out all sugar, eating more veg than fruit including cutting out fruit juice for clean water. That seems to help. I have been using the retin-a, but just very very thinly and only on the affected area once a day, usually at night. Not wearing any make-up (might not apply to you!) I also use a cleansing facial wash, toner and very light moisturiser (Loreal or Clarins) twice a day.

So I'll keep on posting on how things are going and thanks again for your replies.

Lucy x

You're very welcome Lucy,

It sounds like you are on the right track, I'm sure you'll see improvements soon =)

You are right, there is a delay with your skin I dont know if it's 2 weeks though. Since pimples are wounds the body still needs time to heal it up so they wont disappear overnight unfortunately!

Cutting out sugar is a great idea, eating fruits I believe are fine but I would definitely leave out bottled fruit juice.

Basically just live better, its easy to know when you are living better because your emotions will tell you, basically you will feel better.

Good Luck!

K

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Roaccutane is no different from antibiotics as in it is a quick fix but the thing is, acne will come emerge again within 2 to 3 years or even months after you stop taking it. And don't forget about the severe side effects that it can cause if you are taking a large dose at a time.

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Hi Max,

Thanks for your reply too, large doses can have severe side effects whilst you are taking them, I was aware of that at the time, I recall having the aching joints, dry lips etc, what I didn't get was the depression that has been found by other users. Are you aware of any other longer term effects that can emerge after you have stopped taking it? I just wonder if any longitudinal studies or research has been carried out with users of Roaccutane years later. I did ask my GP and he wasn't aware of any. I think it would be really interesting.

My skin is definately clearing with my healthy regimen and the retin-a, I think I'll carry on using it until the tube runs out and then take it from there, fingers crossed!

Thanks again for your reply and kind regards

Lucy

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You don't have to actually cut out all sugar. You have to avoid any meals, snacks or drinks that have a high impact on blood sugar. It's the GL of the meal that matters, so you want a combination of protein, fat and fiber whenever/before you have sugar or high GI carbs. I'm able to remain clear on a not particularly strict diet. I make most meals very good nutrient dense meals, but I have some treats. The only thing I'm strict about is never drinking sugar. And that would include fruit juice.

And I had severe acne for which accutane did absolutely nothing, btw.

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I don't know if it is the same for a Woman but alot of people here have had joy with Niacin. Please see my blog or posts.

I am replying because I am 39 and was on Roactuane in my early 20's [never again]

I played many sports and feel it is not a fittness issue but stress is ringing alarm bells.

Put some dead sea salts in a vitamin bath with some lavender oil and burn some lavender oil as well anf relax.

Than try to figure out how to beat it, then let us all know.

Good luck

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Hi Lucy!

I just joined this site today and saw this thread I have a similar story.

I am 37. By age 30 I had tried EVERYTHING - OTC, Prescription treatments, Antibiotics you name it. Finally I told my derm ENOUGH and I went on Accutane. I had INCREDIBLE results and actually documented my journey via a webiste I created (now it would be called a blog lol). I had moderate side effects mostly itchy skin, sun sensitivity, dry lips and some back aches but it was tolerable I continued to play active sports throughout and still do so. (Softball during the summer and co-ed floor hockey two nights a week) I have NO long term side effects and am one to believe that Accutane is not some horrible drug that will harm you for life.

My Acne started to return oh 18 months ago... it started slowly with the oily skin, then the small breakouts, then my chest and back and omg my scalp 8 hours after washing my hair... I was FREAKED OUT. I went back to Proactive and that helped for a while (still using it now) I also went BACK on birth control and that did help some BUT not with the oily skin. Then two months ago, it was the worst it's ever been and was not getting better. It's taken 8 weeks but I'm back on Accutane (generic now they don't make brand name any longer) took my FIRST dose this morning. Let me tell you what my derm told me (this a different derm than I had 7 years ago) He said that 65% YES 65% of Accutane users need at least TWO COURSES and sometimes three to be completely effective and CURE YES CURE for the long term. EVEN IF YOUR SKIN CLEARS the first course, he said current trials show you need to do another course after say another 5 month break OFF of the medicine. He also said that a higher dose is not shown to be more harmful to body organs and that it actually has shown to significantly increase remission or eliminate a need for another course completely! I had such great LONG LASTING results from the first course he said this very well could do it for me. And you know what, I will take those almost 6 years of being acne free and rejoice in them and do it all again for 6 more years or hopefully more/forever this time. If this being true, then Accutane doesn't treat "just the symptoms" if it did why do some people do one course and never have acne again? OR even two or three courses? This is fact, if after one to three courses the vast majority of its consumers are acne free how is it treating only the symptom? I don’t claim to know everything but this is the information I’ve been told – so another side, another opinion. What I do know is that I’m giving it another whirl and I am SO EXCITED (yes a little nervous about the dry skin but I’m stocked up!) to not have to put on makeup for a quick run to the store or feel embarrassed when I swim in a pool.

I hope a few other adult acne multi course Accutane users post too… let’s share ongoing experiences!

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Try a long-term, low-dose of Accutane. The cumulative dose will be exactly the same as a typical course, though with this kind of application the side-effects are greatly reduced.

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Try a long-term, low-dose of Accutane. The cumulative dose will be exactly the same as a typical course, though with this kind of application the side-effects are greatly reduced.

Thanks Pop I've heard that as an option before however, I plan on having another child at some point. I have a 3 year old now and of course will wait until the Accutane is completely out of my system, but you can see that low dose for that reason alone will not work for me at this time.

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Try a long-term, low-dose of Accutane. The cumulative dose will be exactly the same as a typical course, though with this kind of application the side-effects are greatly reduced.

Thanks Pop I've heard that as an option before however, I plan on having another child at some point. I have a 3 year old now and of course will wait until the Accutane is completely out of my system, but you can see that low dose for that reason alone will not work for me at this time.

Yes, I can see how that would get in the way. I suppose another dose may help bury it for a while though. Possibly give you a more manageable platform to work from. From then on topicals may be all you'd need.

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I am hopeful this will be ALL I need going forward. As I mentioned I had a complete remission for 6 ish years. No topicals needed during that time. It wasn't until last year the acne returned. I am hoping that as my derm said after two courses I may be "cured" for life.

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I believe that for most adult acne sufferers, the '20mg per day for life' approach, is the best one:

http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=17707930

It is the general medical consensus among the dermatologically educated, too. If you GP needs to brush up on his knowledge, quote the report when asking for your next Accutane prescription! ;)

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Update:

I've been on Isotretinoin (sp is wrong I know) for 6 weeks and it's going GREAT. Side effects yes but since this is round two (I did Accutane brand 7 years ago at age 30) I was prepared! I know what to expect and am trying to be pro-active. I have my journal from the last course and I'm doing way better this round. Clearing faster but, I wasn't as bad as last time I guess. SO SO SO HAPPY I did this again!!!

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