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After series of failures and wasting of time, money and nerves on various products and unfriendly dermatologists, I have finally found a great derm expert who is also a wonderful person.

I belong to that group of people who have had mild-moderate acne with extremely oily skin throughout the puberty and beyond and who didn't respond to any other conventional treatment.

Some dermatologists I previously went to were reluctant to prescribe Roacc. and I just thought I'd grow out of my acne, so I let this problem plague me for so many years (for which I feel so stupid now) and hadn't done anything to try and improve my condition (meaning get another derm willing to prescribe it and actually having lots of experience with it). That cost me a couple of scars that I have now and that are probably permanent.

Also, I myself was afraid of Roaccutane because of all the horror stories on the Internet etc. but also because of other doctors' negative opinions about it. After speaking to my new derm for more than half an hour I finally realised there's nothing to be afraid of, it's a medication like any other, having side-effects and risks like any other and if you are a good candidate for it, you don't sit for years and months thinking whether or not to take it while scars keep coming, you forget the risks for a while and let yourself go and be medicated and cured.

There's no hassle with any ipledge or anything where I live, so I was able to get a prescription and start Roaccutane the next day, which makes today my third day on it. I also got an injection (some steroid I think) which is supposed to help with the inflammation and possible IB during the first month.

The worst part of the whole process, but in perspective the best at the same time, was the process of coming to terms with how I look without make up. I was so shocked to see my photos without make up, in daylight, high res etc. I also started looking at myself in the mirror without make up after a very long time and it was painful. Also, the process of telling my friends and family (which I decided was the best thing to do) made me feel uncomfortable as if I was confessing some darkest secrets I had for ages. Thankfully, everyone's been really supportive. I still use make up when I go out, but I feel so much better about everything.

As for my skin on day three everything's the same as when I started. I had a bad breakout two weeks ago which left horrible red marks and it's slowly healing, I stopped with all other topicals, BP, etc. I also stopped picking. I don't think I have any active acne right now. I'm on 40 mg a day which is around 0.7mg per kg of my body mass, I weigh 58kg, which is around 130lbs.

Here are the pics of day 1

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I started yesterday - we're almost the same age and it sounds like we have the same type of acne. I'm looking forward to reading your log! Good luck!

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Thanks guys :)

Day 4

Is this the quiet before the storm? Everything's the same, I have neither side-effects nor any effects. I'm curious about the steroid injection and what it does, whether I'll manage to skip the IB with it. For the time being everything is just fine.

The important thing for me is that I stopped picking. Since the beginning of 2009 I've been constantly picking my skin, which resulted in bright red marks. Things got way out of control this summer and especially the past few weeks when I discovered the needle and how I can squeeze everything out more effectively using one. It was very self-destructive and I did that out of pure frustration and desperation that nothing is ever going to change. It feels much better now that I'm on Roaccutane, it was like some switch in my brain suddenly turned on and I no longer feel desperate and no longer wish to damage my skin.

I also can't believe that after so many years of being afraid of Accutane I don't feel scared at all. I have some issues with anxiety (which was completely acne-induced) and I've been doing fine, not as cowardly as I might expect.

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Day 6

I had a small breakout on day 5, two medium-sized inflamed comedos on my cheek (the same type of acne I normally get), the rest is calm and healing. Lips are somewhat drier, skin is still oily, I had some back pain, which again I normally get if I sit in front of my computer for so long, so nothing extreme, nothing unusual.

I'll update pics at the end of week 1...

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Week 1

Nothing much has changed. I had a small breakout on my right cheek, but I still can't call it an IB, since I normally get breakouts like these all the time. I'm still oily and that's what I'm most curious about, whether even Accutane is able to stop my oil production (I know, I know it's still early)...

How long into the course does the oiliness usually subside?

Other than that, no side-effects, back pain is gone, lips are normal, no dryness anywhere else.

week 1 pics update>

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p.s. pics are high-res, it makes it difficult to look at them, but in reality, with make-up, it does look slightly better.

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Hi Arwena,

I'm intrigued with your log, as we have similar issues. My skin is EXTREMELY oily as well. I did a previous course of accutane in 1999, and that helped the oil and acne tremendously. After my 2nd child was close to 2 years old, my hormones were completely out of whack again and oil levels returned, as did acne.

I do not have severe acne, just mild/moderate, and very tenacious. I've been on too many topicals to count.

This is my second month on Claravis, but really only my 11th pill, as I stopped early last month due to some abdominal issues.

I'm hoping a lower dose (20mg) will help with this.

I'll stay tuned, and I wish you luck!!

Oooh, forgot to add, it takes about 2-3 weeks to see a decline in oil, but it will be drastic. Like one morning, you'll wake up, and there will be zero oil. It's magical!!

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Replying here instead of on my log! I know what you mean about the oil - maybe it's psychological but my face seems more oily than it was before I started. I'm still waiting for side-effects too. The tops of my hands and feet do feel different but not really in a dried out way, so who knows!

I hope what SpecialAgent says is true and we both wake up one morning next week oil free! Good luck!

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Days 8 & 9

The only thing I notice is much drier lips. It's annoying, I wonder what it would look like in month 3 or 4 or 5. But, at least it's telling me Roaccutane's working. It turned out to be pretty scary the other day when I forgot my lip balm at home (I can't believe that happened :ninja: ).

I made a terrible mistake today and probably will never do such a thing ever throughout my course. Since stopping all other meds for the past week my face has been a lot oilier and tons of tiny bumps and comedos showed up (I haven't had many inflamed acne, only 4-5, which is the average). So, I started squeezing them I just couldn't stop because a ridiculous amount of gunk was coming out (my picking issues again :rolleyes::confused: ). What happened was that my face turned very red and felt like I was flushing. So, it's definitely getting more sensitive and picking is forbidden from now on. On the other hand, everything came out a lot easier than ever before, so maybe it is another sign it's working.

I really need to stop picking and be more patient.

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OldTactics, it's true, I promise! I remember during my first course (1999) that I went to bed not thinking much had changed with my face, and I woke up and looked in the mirror. Instead of the typical puddles of oil all over my face...it was matte. Completely matte.

I also want to add that last month I only took 7 pills (40mg). I stopped because of stomach issues, and a week later (after being off accutane for a week, remember), the same thing happened. Woke up with no oil. It keeps working even if you stop taking it (although after merely a week, the effects don't last, unfortunately!).

Arwena, I know what you mean about the picking. I made that mistake once, and turned a zit into a giant scab. Our skin is so much more delicate on this medication!

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Hey! Congratulations on starting! I start in 3 weeks! I just wanted to say that I know how the picking thing goes, I am the worst, and was the same way when I learned about a needle, I also bought one of those professional extractors that dermatologists use, its horrible, I have more scabs right now then I do acne, Ugh! I keep telling myself that I am just making it worse, but when stuff comes out it's like a relief! But anyways my point being, you aren't alone and I know exactly how you feel, hope we can both stop picking through out our course! I'll be keeping up with your log!

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Hi Arwena, just wanted to drop and and give my support. I am 30 yr. old and just finished my 2nd month of claravis. I found that dry lips was the first side effect that showed up. The oily face subsided somewhere w/in the first month.

I can relate to you completely on looking at myself w/out makeup. I didn't even get up the nerve to take pics until I was finished w/ month 1, and I wanted to cry when I did. The pictures just don't look anything like the "me" that I imagine myself looking like - the me w/ makeup.

I also pick, I get better at not doing it sometimes, but then I go back to it again. It just gets so hard, b/c my acne is flaking away right now, and it's so easy to just flake it off.

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Days 10 & 11

My lips are starting to fall apart, really and I am a little concerned it is happening this early into the course. I woke up today to find my whole lower lip in small kind of blisters or raised tiny bumps and I freaked out at first, but it's calmed down by now. At first I thought it might be an allergic reaction or something, but it's probably just severe chelitis, or whatever this dry lips condition is called. Maybe it's because I forgot my lip balm the other day and spent a few hours not applying it. I'm constantly smearing it every half an hour from now on. I'm using Eucerin Lip Repair, it's a liquid type in a tube, supposed to work great.

Acne's been popping up for the past few days, maybe owing to my squeezing from a couple of days before. Again, I can't call it an IB, this is what I normally get when I break out.

No other problems for now.

Thanks for all your support and understanding, girls :)

Edited by arwena

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Day 12

I think this is an onset of the IB. Some smaller papules that I had turned into inflamed cysts, it happened before and it is also the week before my period, but it somehow feels different than most breakouts I usually have. The cysts are in the worst possible places. One of them is actually an ingrown eyebrow I think, which got inflamed, and the other which hurts so bad is on my temple. I had one on my nose as well, but it was deep down and never surfaced (it's still not healed), however, it left a red mark.

My lower lip has peeled off and I'm left with raw skin underneath. It hurts and stings, it's difficult to eat and brush my teeth, let alone go to a dentist (and I have to go tomorrow) :/

The oil's not ceasing yet, although it seems sliiiightly better. Usually, without any topicals my face would be much oilier.

I am getting afraid of Week 2 pics which I plan to take in 2 days.

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Day 13

The trip to the dentist went unexpectedly well. He is very gentle and skillful and he didn't hurt my lips and mouth at all. I also went in there with a ton of 2 different lip balms, vaseline and who knows what else on my lips, and it helped. My lips are doing a little bit better, but they are still very raw and they sting if I leave them for one second without the lip balm.

I haven't had any new acne, cysts are still there, I popped one of them (I couldn't help it) and it was gross gross gross. I am sometimes truly amazed with the amount of the stuff inside. I mean I am disgusted but fascinated at the same time. I feel like some freak of nature.

I am still oily, although noticeably less, but nowhere near even needing a moisturizer. I am getting a hint of how my skin might look like if it were normal, not ridiculously oily and it looks great, I almost want to cry.

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I haven't had any new acne, cysts are still there, I popped one of them (I couldn't help it) and it was gross gross gross. I am sometimes truly amazed with the amount of the stuff inside. I mean I am disgusted but fascinated at the same time. I feel like some freak of nature.

I am still oily, although noticeably less, but nowhere near even needing a moisturizer. I am getting a hint of how my skin might look like if it were normal, not ridiculously oily and it looks great, I almost want to cry.

Hey arwena. I want to hug you right now. But I wouldn't. Because hugs from other people involve that sickening FIGHT OR FLIGHT @#**&^#@ impulse. What if the person sees my face up close? What if part of their anatomy touches it? Bloody hell I simply CANNOT leave a makeup smear on their cute little The North Face fleece down jacket not to imagine touching their bare skin oh no oh no oh no OMG WHATEVER oh please I'm going to go crazy now here they are coming in steadily advancing nooo ok ok I'm not going to run not going to run not going to run oh god oh god I can do this I can do this *inward whimper* So um. You can see in my eyes the burning desire to hug you mixed with the pain of the prospect of employing the Fend Off The People Keep at Arms Length Stiff Body Without Actually Overtly Rejecting Them Maneuver.

Don't feel embarrassed about the gross pleasure of squeezing, ok? That would mean I would have to feel embarrassed too. And I don't want to do that. In the deepest recesses of my soul I know that the people who say they don't enjoy it are lying. We are all masochists at heart.

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Hey chick. Are you in Australia by any chance? I tried Dianne too, and it worked a charm. I went off it when I broke up with my bf, my skin went nuts, then when I went back on it it didn't do anything. How are your lips feeling now? And how does one pop a cyst? I didn't think it was possible. Is it worth it? I've been trying really hard not to pick as well, because you scar pretty badly on Roaccutane. Just let the meds do it's thing, and put up with the breakouts while they're there. Hopefully they will subside soon! It took ages for me to need moisturiser as well. Have you been wearing make-up? Good luck with it all!

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Day 17

Things are definitely getting different. First of all skin is getting noticeably drier (finally!), it started last night and today when I woke up and instinctively reached for my nose to check, it was much less oily than usual. At the same time, my skin tone is getting slightly more red, but nothing extreme. Some of the existing pimples are drying up fast (unbelievable!), but some new ones (papules and a cyst) have been popping up. For now, I'm noticing that the red marks are fading faster and that popped pimples heal faster, much faster than when I was using BP. It took three days for a popped pimple to dry up and the scab to fall off, now it's within 1 freaking day (again unbelievable).

Side effects-wise I've been having headaches for the past 2 days, on and off. That is nothing new to me, although I haven't had one this strong in a long time. I'm not drinking enough water and I'm spending a lot of time staring at the computer screen - it's like I'm doing everything wrong just because I feel low because of the recent breakouts (that's such a familiar pattern of behavior for me :rolleyes: ). On top of that I had tons of stress and stuff I had to do and I got my period so it probably all mounted up to the giant headache.

On the bright side, my lips are better! I found a Eucerin product for extremely dry and chapped lips (Eucerin acute lip balm), which I think is similar to Aquaphor, and it's much better than the previous one.

I'm currently without my camera (I meant to update pics every week), so you'll have to wait until week 3.

__________________________

wide_eyed, thanks for your encouragement! Actually, you can pop a cyst. You can't pop a nodule. A cyst can have a tiny tiny head and if you are an experienced pimple popper like me :proud::ninja: , you'll be able to pull it off lol. I have these lingering cysts that just turn into a small sack of something underneath the skin and stay like that for weeks. I can't stand it, so I pop them. I can't stand the picking either. I know about the risk of scarring on Roaccutane and I'll try to eradicate the picking now that the dryness is settling in.

I'm using make up and it's liquid foundation - Vichy Norma Teint, supposedly specially designed for acne-prone skin, meant to cover and cure at the same time. Unfortunately, we don't have a large variety of mineral make-up products here, which I am more than willing to try. My goal is to ditch the foundation as soon as I get at least 50% clearer and use only compact powder. I'm sick sick sick of make up for the rest of my life.

Btw, I've read about your ex bf saga :) I can tell you from my own experience (not trying to be intrusive or anything) that you'll probably get over him and that you'll be amazed at how things can change and how insignificant he can become in your life. Some of the situations and feelings you wrote about reminded me exactly of myself. Sorry if that wasn't my business!

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Day 18

Oh my God! My skin is normal for the first time since... I can't really remember. I put on my make up at around 3pm and by 8pm, and that's five freaking hours, not a single droplet of oil has come through. It's amazing, miraculous, I'm sooo thrilled, I feel like I'm dreaming! Can't believe the solution was there all these years, and I wasted so much time feeling horrible and hiding when I could have done this earlier and be over with it much sooner. The best part is - it's not even dry (for now), it's normal. I expected it to be peeling and dry but oily underneath at the same time (like with all other previous meds), but it's not, it's soft and normal.

Even though I had some more papules and a giant nodule on my forehead (which can't be seen, only felt) I feel much better today, the stopping of oil made it up for everything else. If my theory was right, and that was that I had acne b/c of extremely oily skin in the first place, I should stop breaking out soon and everything should start healing and red marks fading. How I hope it will be the case...

On the other hand, some not so good news is that my hair started falling out in larger quantities, meaning that when I comb it or wash the shampoo out, 5-6 hairs fall out each time I run my fingers through it. I attribute it to not washing my hair for 2 days (I didn't have to, it also stopped being oily) and wearing it in a bun, which might have disabled the natural shedding of hair which occurs every few days. We'll see.

No more headaches, lips are back to life and doing good, no dryness anywhere else.

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All I have to say is YAY. Hopefully the hair loss is just temporary - I'm so happy to hear about everything else! Every day I wake up and even if I have spots on my face, I can tell that I made the right decision by going on this. Glad we finally bit the bullet, glad you'll be clear soon!

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Day 23 (I think)

Things have been going up and down, and currently they are up, so that's good.

After the oil stopped, I had a breakout, and they were mostly cystic (randomly located - chin, upper lip, right temple, root of the nose, forehead), and one giant nodule on my left cheek (oddly, it wasn't red, just huge painful flesh-colored lump). I picked at some and they burst, and I ended up with some minor scabs, but some were still there, so I was again feeling depressed for doing the squeezing thing again. I just can't be patient, I'm so sick and tired after all these years. I keep thinking that some of those hard little bumps just have to be extracted, otherwise they'll stay forever and not even Accutane can push them out. I still have a long way to go and yet to see whether that's true or not, but for now I just stubbornly refuse to be patient.

Currently, the break out's going down, drying up and flaking away. My lips are dry but manageable with Eucerin acute lip balm. Skin is not dry, it's just soft and velvety, I'm using a light fluid moisturizer (Eucerin Hydroprotect) with spf 15 during the day.

No new side-effects, no back pain or joint pain, no more headaches, hair is still falling out in larger quantities when I brush or wash it, but at the same time looks much thicker (I went 3 days without washing it and it didn't get oily or smelly or anything).

I took some pics with my cell, you can't see anything basically, but at least I have it as a sort of reminder to help me track my progress later.

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Day 23 update

I now realise that the pics I took with my cell might be very misleading, so Melissa don't think it has radically improved. It is better, especially in the last 2 days, but nowhere nearly as good as it looks in the pics. I need to get my camera back and take proper high res pics.

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Arwena, It looks like you're already improving a lot after only about a month! Thats really exciting, congrats! Stick with it, and it will be worth it in the end! I am in the month-long waiting period before I can get my prescription from my derm and it's killing me! haha! Anyway, hang in there, and I'll keep checking your log! :)

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