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roxygal

Accutane: Take 2

Hello everyone!

Here's the story of a college girl...and Accutane:

So I've had acne since I was 11 or 12, starting in about the fifth or sixth grade. It was always a nuisance, it was nothing I couldn't handle. I used tetracycline for the first few years, and it worked pretty phenomenally.

During junior year of high school, however, my acne turned from mild to severe; my face was red and inflamed constantly and I began developing cysts. Make-up wouldn't cover anythinganymore and it was almost embarrassing to be seen. Actually, not even almost...I HATED leaving the house - Ugh! After trying literally everything (proactiv, retin-a, differin, tetracycline, minocycline, light therapy, zeno, and all the OTC topical products available), my derm brought up the idea of using Accutane. After doing a lot of research with my mom, we went back and decided to start the process.

My first course of Accutane officially began in January of 2007, taking 40 mg every other day and 80mg every other day for a five month cycle. It was, hands down, one of the best decisions I have ever made. My initial breakout was fairly mild (it may have had something to do with how incredibly broken out I was already, but let's not mention that, ha) and even though my lips and arms became incredibly dry and I had back pain every now and again, I was just excited to be on my way toward clear skin. And oh, man!! It worked amazingly! By the tail-end of April, my skin was almost pimple free and by the end of May, I had no pimples at alland my skin was radiant :)

After that, I had nearly flawless skin for two years - I loved it! My derm put me on prescription Bactrim after nine months off the Tane to maintain the clarity and I spent my senior year of high school and freshman year of college being completely confident in my skin. It was SO great not having to worry about acne!!

Then, in April of this year (2009), I started breaking out again. My first thought was, "Oh, crap! This again?" Especially now that I'm a sophomore in college? I thought I was done! I tried changing up my diet by cutting out dairy and taking an herbal acne treatment, but it wasn't effective. The Bactrim also stopped working and the breakouts continued. It was fairly manageable until the end of July, when the cysts and inflammation came back. Gah!

I went to my dermatologist in August, who asked me what I would think of a second round of Accutane. I had already been strongly considering a second course of Tane, so I quickly accepted the idea. Waiting for September to get here was THE longest month I can remember.

Last Friday (the 18th) was the moment of truth - the day I started Accutane, Part 2. Even though I know that treatment is no picnic, I was CRAZY excited to begin! This time around, I'm taking 60mg a day. My first week hasn't been as friendly to me as the treatment I had in 2007. This time, I've have a big time initial breakout, lower back pain, headaches and my face is already peeling like an onion. But aquaphor lip balm and multiple water bottles have made the dryness quite controllable, thank goodness!

My derm said that my taking 60mg every day and being older than I was the first go (I'm 19 now) means that I'll most likely see positive results in a shorter amount of time; maybe even 1 or 1 1/2 months! I can't wait!

___

Ahhhh yesss. That's progress so far. I know that Accutane works wonders for my skin, so even though these months are going to be really rough, they'll be worth it. So while I focus on the end goal, I'm also doing my best to look at everything day-by-day; every time I cross off a date in the calendar, I make sure I say, "One day closer to clear skin!"

Edited by roxygal

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Hi Roxygal! It is so nice to know that the side effects so early on are not my imagination. I started my course on Monday the 21st, I'm taking 80mg a day (120lbs) and I have also been experiencing some lower back pain, headaches, and incredibly dry eyes. I have been slathering on Aquaphor so I haven't had any problems with my lips yet. It is really nice to find someone who started just a few days before me, please keep me posted so I know what to expect in the coming days!

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Hey there,

Good decision. I did course of accutane in college and waited 7 years to take another one..... what I feel was a big mistake. Some of us just need more intense help. What would we do without accutane?

all the best,

lisie

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Thanks for the support guys! :)

Update: Day 10 -

These past few days have been really rough. My IB has gotten quite a bit worse, and I now have a lot of new pimples all around my lips and underneath my nose. Even though I know this is part of the "purging process" it's still tough, especially trying to get things covered for classes and extracurriculars.

My face isn't actually that dry, which is interesting, but the redness is overwhelming and inflammation makes using make-up difficult.

I just called my derm and got a prescription for a very low dose Prednisone to help calm down my initial breakout - it worked wonders during my first course of Tane two and half years ago, so I'm hoping it'll work again! It'd definitely make these next few weeks a LOT more bearable!!

I'll definitely keep everyone posted!

Edited by roxygal

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Hey roxygal! We have similar stories(in regards to WHEN the acne started). :)

I think it's good that you know what to expect where the meds are concerned, having been on them before. You have that advantage over the rest of us, lol. Continue to update us!

Edited by kimminz

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Update: Day 10 (part 2)

Just took my first dose of Prednisone - hopefully it'll get rid of this horrible IB!

Edited by roxygal

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Update: Day 11

Prednisone is amazing!!

I woke up this morning with my skin looking significantly less red and puffy, and so far no new pimples! I'm still quite broken out, but this definitely put a smile on my face :D

Hopefully things continue to improve; I got asked to a dance in two weeks, and I know I'd have a lot more fun if my skin wasn't causing me as much grief :)

Edited by roxygal

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Prednisone rocks! At first I was skeptical, fearing that prednisone may cause weight gain. My sister who is an MD said the dosage was very small so I shouldnt worry.

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Prednisone rocks! At first I was skeptical, fearing that prednisone may cause weight gain. My sister who is an MD said the dosage was very small so I shouldnt worry.

Totally agree! It's a pretty much a live saver! :) I was worried about the weight gain as well, but the small dosage my derm prescribed helped me get over it. What was your dosage? I'm at 20mg a day for two weeks.

And thank you, Melissa!! It's so nice to know I have someone rooting for me! :D

Edited by roxygal

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You look like Alicia Silverstone in your Avatar picture :/

At the end of your first course, how long did it take your redness/redmarks to go away when your course was over? If you had any that is. Also, when did your skin go back to being oily or a little more oilier? Or did it?

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Are you on 20mg of prednisone? I am on 5mg.

Yeah, 20mg of prednisone. I'm only on for a really short period of time and two years ago I didn't gain weight either, so I'm not worried. I'm just happy it has been effective, lol :)

How long are you on 5mg?

You look like Alicia Silverstone in your Avatar picture :/

At the end of your first course, how long did it take your redness/redmarks to go away when your course was over? If you had any that is. Also, when did your skin go back to being oily or a little more oilier? Or did it?

Thank you:)

Oh, I definitely had redness and red marks! My skin is incredibly fair, so not only does it get red, it stays red for a long while. I had a five month course my first go, and by month four, the redness was almost completely gone, which I thought was amazing. The redness had vanished by month five, and was totally gone for the two years my skin was clear. It was an amazing perk!

As for the oily thing, I think it would depend on how oily your skin was pre-Tane. I had SUPER oily skin before the medication, then after my course was over, I think it was at about the three month mark that the shininess returned, but no where near the degree it was before. There was a significant difference pre/post-Tane in regard to the oil production, I'd say.

P.S. I really wish I was brave enough to post progress pictures! haha

Edited by roxygal

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Update: Day 12

My skin was REALLY flaky today! Covering it was a pain in the kaboodle, but semi-manageable, haha. All of my pimples are starting to get heads on them and I'm doing my very best not to pick anything. No new cystic pimples in three days, though, so that's super positive! :dance:

The redness has also stayed down, thanks to the miracle that is Prednisone.

I've noticed that my hands are starting to get a little dryer, so I'm keeping lotion close by at all times - as well as my trusty water bottle:)

In other news, I had my first midterm of the semester today and hopefully I did okay on it :pray: I wouldn't want any breakouts because of stress, lol!

Check in later!

Edited by roxygal

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She only wanted me to be on it for 30 days. I saw her yesterday and she gave me a prescription for 2 more weeks but told me not to fill it unless I had a breakout.

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Thanks, El Violador! :)

Update: End of Week 2

A LOT less redness! But, a lot more dryness. It seems like a lot of the cystic pimples I had very deep under my skin are starting to come to the surface - great sign! The breakout that has been around my mouth is finally clearing up (thank goodness!) and my skin and hair have started getting not as oily.

My lower back was a little sore earlier today after my workout and yesterday I had a TERRIBLE headache I'm almost completely sure was Tane related, but other than that, side effects haven't been that bad:)

Edited by roxygal

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Hey. Are you sure the headache isn't related to dehydration? Accutane makes us dehydrated so maybe that's the cause and not the 'tane itself. Have you been having enough water? Test the theory and see, unless you've already been drinking tons of water, in which case I guess it really is the 'tane.

Continue to update us :)

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Kimminz, I think it was a mix of both - I definitely didn't have as much water as I should have that day...NOT a smart decision! haha.

Update: Day 16

SO DRY! I can't even adequately describe just how flaky my skin is now, ohhhmygoodness! The redness is down and I thought the IB was tapering off a bit, but I woke up to a bunch of new heads all over my face - ugh! It's so hard not to pop them too. Tomorrow I have classes, so I really hope covering everything isn't the pain it was last week. :pray:

Because...I felt incredibly self-conscious last week, and it kind of really sucked. I even avoided talking to people, which is so unlike me. It's dumb, but with my face the way it is now, I feel embarrassed about my appearance, you know? I'm sure I'm making a bigger deal out of it than anyone else is. :/ Here's hoping this next week is way happier:)

In side effect news, the lower back pain is only bothering my now after work-outs. I'll consider that a plus since it was agitating me pretty constantly for about a week, lol.

Anyway, I'll keep posting!

Edited by roxygal

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Update: End of Week 3

Yay! Yay! Yay!

My IB is over!! :D

My skin this week has been making me very happy! A lot of the ones that were deep, deep under the skin have begun to make their way to the surface, but everything clears up within a day, which is fantastic. The dryness is still there, big time, but if I put enough lotion on, even the flakiness is completely manageable. Aquaphor continues to be my lifesaver, and my lips have stayed totally moisturized. The only thing that is really still a both is the lower back pain, and I'm getting that less and less. Overall, fantastic week! :)

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Update: Day 24

So apparently, I had a LOT of stuff deep down under my skin. All the cystic ones have decided to join the pimple party on my face (especially my right cheek) and, oh man. It feels so bumpy right now. It's hard to think that new active pimples is something positive - cuz it definitely does SEEM good to have so many now! - but I keep telling myself, purging process, purging process, purging process. Ah. Overall appearance IS improved though, so that's happy.

Lower back pain? Still...a pain in the back. ha. It flares up most during/after a workout. Anyone else dealing with the lower back pain? Does anyone know any stretches or such that help ease it? I've just been kind of suffering through it so far, lol.

In other, non-Acne news, it's been snowing and it looks so beautiful! The cold weather is kind of drying things out a bit more on my face, so lotion's become my best friend. Still - I LOVE Colorado in the fall. Mmm.

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Oh how I WISH I could have some snow here too. It's still blazing hot and I get the feeling this will continue until maybe mid-November. Send some cool air down here please! Lol.

Sorry to hear about your back pain. Try using those menstrual cramp heating pads on it. I suppose it will heat the muscles and deal with any tension they are causing. Try it and let me know.

Purging process is fun, fun, fun! *rolls eyes* Lol. It'll soon be over.

Take care!

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Hey you! : )

Just stopping by and read your latest post!

Snow already?! I live in so-cal and it's actually been so gloomy and cold and drizzly, I LOVE it.

Anyways, don't worry, the purging process is the worst >:(

I think I've already gotten through with mine and I'm just barely starting my 2nd month! Hope I don't jinx myself!

I'm SO there with you, regarding the lower back pain.. If I bend down for too long, actually not even that long, and try to straighten back up, I have to go back down and work my way up slowly straightening my back out because it's so sore! I feel like an old lady! I think I'm going to see my chiropractor.. See if maybe a good back manipulating will help the issue.

Take care!

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Will do, Melissa! Hope you're doing well, too!

Kimminz, I wish I could send some snow your way! The colder weather has been fabulous (not only because less sun means my blemishes are less noticeable haha) :P Oh! And I tried a heating pad and it worked fantastically! Thank you SO much!!

The purging process is the best! [/sarcasm]

Hopefully it won't go on too much longer, lol.

And hey, Kim! =)

Yeah! One thing I love most about Colorado is the weather's unpredictability: it can be a blizzard in the morning and 70 degrees by mid-afternoon. The gloomy, drizzly cold of So-Cal sounds amazing; that's by far the best weather in the world:)

I'm so happy for you being done with the purge! I'll keep my fingers crossed for you that it doesn't come back!

OH MY GOODNESS! I think we have the exact same back pain experience going on - every time I bend over and then try to stand back up, it's like I'm an old lady! Let me know if the chiropractor helped any, and I'll be checking your log too!

Update: Day 29

Stillllllll purging. Ugh! I really am glad these cystic pimples are coming out (the sooner they see the light of day, the sooner they heal and are gone forever) but do they really have to appear all at once? Come on, face! haha. It's okay, though. They're all on my cheeks, which is annoying but definitely something I can handle:)

Positives:

*My forehead is lookin' awesome! I have two really small active pimples, and that's IT! There is a lot of peeling and dryness, but it's so smooth - and that's quite happy.

*The overall redness of my face has gone WAY down.

*My nose was covered in blackheads before Tane, and all of them are sort of coming to the surface and then wiping away, which is awesome, let me tell you! So my nose is getting really smooth as well. During my first course, it was my forehead, nose and chin that cleared up the fastest, and the progress that they're already making puts me in a great mood, lol.

*Less oily!!

Negatives:

*Still have the back pain. The heating pads do help, however. I wish I could use them at school!

*The muscles in my chest hurt too - to describe it, I guess I'd say that it feels just like the back pain, but in my chest, ha. And it usually happens at night, after laying down. Has anyone else experienced this?

*Lots of dryness and flaky skin, but lotion and aquaphor work wonders.

Mmm, yes.

In other news...

This week was fabulous! - I didn't let anything get me down. My midterms? Aced 'em! Tomorrow I'm getting my Tane blood work done (an ugh-moment for sure, because I'm kind of a needle-phobe) and also getting a flu shot (again, ugh, haha) then going shopping with my best friend! My derm appointment is on Wednesday, which means the "official" start of month two - exciting!! I also have jury duty next week for the first time ever, which should be...interesting.

I'll keep ya'll posted on everything!

Edited by roxygal

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