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faithinhim

Focusing on JOY through Accutane

I never, in my wildest dreams, thought I would be taking Accutane. I first started visiting this board in 2004. I was 14 and, like most young teenagers, was dealing with acne. My parents decided they didn't want me to have to suffer with acne throughout high school, so they took me to my first dermatologist. A combination of Adoxa (doxycycline), Klaron, and Differin cleared my skin. It worked! Even after I quit taking the medication, my skin stayed pretty clear. I mean, it wasn't flawless, but it was nothing to complain about. I was able to keep the odd breakouts at bay with otc products.

My skin actually stayed mostly clear all the way to college. I arrived at college with clear skin, but that soon disappeared. Another doctor, not a dermatologist, prescribed me Benzaclin and Doxycycline. My skin cleared up some, but I was still constantly broken out.

Summer of 2009, after dealing with acne all of my freshman year of college, I'd had enough. I decided to go back to the same dermatologist. Expecting to be put back on what I'd taken in 2004, I was surprised when I was prescribed 3 entirely new drugs. Yaz. Solodyn. Ziana. The dermatologist told me that it would be 16 weeks before I saw noticeable results.

2 weeks later, I discover I'm allergic to minocycline (Solodyn). Not a fun experience, to say the least. At my 8 week checkup, the derm decides that the drugs aren't working fast enough and I should start Accutane. Now, I'd read about accutane before, and I knew it wasn't a drug to take lightly. Yet, she was pushing me to sign up for Ipledge that very day without doing any research at all.

After this appointment, I decided to change dermatologists. There was no way I was going to take Accutane.

Fast forward to November. New dermatologist. "Have you ever heard of Accutane?" I told her I had heard good things and bad things. She gave me a packet of info and a month to think over Accutane. She also prescribed Duricef (cefadroxil) (500 mg twice a day.) It's from a different family of antibiotics then minocycline.

This dermatologist actually told me why I should consider accutane.

1. My acne is deep.

2. Because my acne is deep, it is causing a lot of scarring.

3. By the age of 20, I probably won't be growing out of my acne any time in the near future.

So, here I am.

I started Accutane on Friday, Jan 8, 2010. I'm currently on 40 mg of Claravis. My dermatologist wrote a prescription for Amnesteen, but the pharmacy didn't have that brand. I hope this doesn't cause any setbacks in my treatment.

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How long will you be on it for?

I wish you nothing but the best of luck on the treatment. I think it's one of the best things anyone with acne could ever possibly do for themselves. Take care :)

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Congrats and good luck! I have heard that Claravis is the best generic - hopefully other people can confirm that for me?! but I wish you the best of luck! Time to kick Acnes Butt! hehe

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kimminz: My dermatologist hasn't given me a specific length of time, but my I have a standing order for bloodwork through the end of July. So, I'm guessing 6 months??? You're log has been a real inspiration to me! I read through it when I was researching accutane.

readytosmileagain: Thanks for the encouragement! The side effects haven't started to kick in yet, but I'm definitely going to need all the encouragement I can get once they do.

Day 4 Update

Well, I just took my fourth pill, but I don't have much to report at all. I haven't had any new pimples or cysts since starting. However, I think my face might be a little redder than normal. I'm hoping the fact that I'm taking 1000 mg of antibiotics/day will help keep my initial breakout to a minimum.

The lovely winter weather brought me dry skin and chapped lips before I even started Accutane.

I went to the gym this morning. No joint pain to report yet. I've made it my goal to work out at least once a week. I've never kept a New Years Resolution in my life, so this year I'm calling it a goal. I also picked a goal that was attainable. For once, I'm going to achieve my goal!

I have been having headaches, but I was having them before starting Accutane, too. The dermatologist did tell me to limit my intake of ibuprofen or Tylenol. However, I had to take some yesterday night, or I wouldn't have been able to sleep at all.

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Day 6 Update

Well, technically it's day 7, but I won't take my 7th pill until this evening.

My skin is definitely getting drier and flakier. Even with my moisturizer, my nose is rough and flaky. My lips haven't gotten to the point of cracking, but I think I definitely have to apply Carmex more. I'm going to try to pick up some Aquaphor this weekend, just to be prepared.

I thought I might have been getting a bloody nose this morning as I washed my face. There definitely was blood but just a little bit.

I noticed yesterday that I'm a little thirstier than normal.

I still haven't gotten any new actives since starting. However, the ones I had when I started are still sticking around.

How is everyone else doing?

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Yay, another Aquaphor convert! I love Carmex, but Aquaphor is so much better for cracked lips.

If you want to ward off future nosebleeds, here's a gross but very effective cure:

Take a q-tip, shmear it liberally with Vaseline or Aquaphor, and swab away at the inside of your nose. Take it from a former chronic nosebleed sufferer, it works. I grew up in Arizona, and the dry climate used to give me chronic nosebleeds. This was the only way to get relief.

As I just put in my log, I'm 2 pills in and feel no different. Heh. Not much to report.

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headtrip_honey: Thanks so much for the advice. I'm definitely going to try it!

Day 7 Update

Well, my skin is getting drier and flakier every day. So far, I've only gotten one new pimple. It's a tiny whitehead, but it's definitely there.

The corner of my mouth has cracked, and it hurts so bad! Last night, I could barely eat dinner. I had this happen two weeks ago when I went to the dentist, pre-accutane. It went away eventually after a few days of apply Neosporin. I can deal with chapped lips. I just want to be able to open my mouth without wincing in pain!

I've survived the first week of classes of the semester. Surprisingly, the week went by rather quickly. I'm very excited for a three-day weekend, though.

I ended up making it to the gym 3 times this week! Considering the fact that I went a total of one time all last semester, I consider this success!

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Day 11 Update

Since starting Accutane, I keep expecting something big to happen. My skin hasn't really cleared or gotten worse. Other than the one new pimple that I wrote about several days ago, I've really had no changes at all. My face is a little drier and redder than normal.

My lips can't go very long without Carmex or Aquaphor!

I got my first tube of Aquaphor this weekend, and it's already a must have. I always keep a tube of Carmex, etc in my purse. Well, my tube ran out on Saturday while I was away from home, and I was MISERABLE.

Aquaphor has made my lips much smoother and comfortable.

Now that I have aquaphor in my possession, the dried blood in my nose has gone away.

I keep reading about people being able to go a day or two between washing their hair. I'm so ready for this! However, I guess I'm just not dry enough yet.

The nurse told me that 40 mg was a relatively low starting dosage for Accutane, and I might not be as dry as I've heard others describe.

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HereComesTheSun: Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I've loved reading your log!

Day 14 Update

The whole blood/nose situation. Well, it's back. I don't know what made it disappear for a few days...

I think some of my blackheads might be starting to purge. They just looked a little bigger this morning when I was looking in the mirror. I could be totally wrong though. I've had them for so long, I barely pay them any attention anymore.

No new pimples to report. The one pimple I got after starting Accutane is all scabbed over. I actually started Accutane with only two actives. One has pretty much gone away, but the other seems like it is here to stay.

My lips still require tons of carmex and aquaphor. My skin is fine as long as I moisturize 2x a day. It's a little flaky in places, but nothing to get excited about.

I haven't noticed any differences in my joints yet even though I've been working out.

I don't really have anything else to report. Someone told me today that my skin was looking better. I wouldn't necessarily say it was looking better. It's just not looking worse. I still have tons of scarring and red marks so my face looks a lot worse than it actually is.

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Day 18 Update

Nothing too exciting to report.

I've noticed a LOT of blackheads on my chin that I don't remember being there before. I'm sure there were a few but not this many. Is this part of the purging process?

I got a tiny new active today by my mouth. I'm thinking it may be from all of the Aquaphor I've been slathering on my lips. However, I'm actually strangely happy to see this pimple. I know that sounds weird, but I really want my skin to purge itself before it clears up.

Even though I coat my lips in Aquaphor before I go to bed, I still wake up with lips as dry as the Sahara. As long as I keep carmex or aquaphor on them during the day,though, they're manageable.

I saw a friend today that I hadn't seen since the beginning of December. I'd talked to her about my decision whether or not to take Accutane. She was really supportive of me. Anyway, today she asked me if I'd started. I told her I had, and she said that she could tell. My skin was looking so much clearer. I don't think I can attribute this to Accutane though. I think it was the duricef (antibiotic) I was taking during my 30 day waiting period that really cleared up my skin. I'm still taking it now to deal with the initial breakout. I'll continue the duricef through the end of February or so.

Isn't it amazing how much a compliment on your skin can brighten your day?

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Day 18 Update

Nothing too exciting to report.

I've noticed a LOT of blackheads on my chin that I don't remember being there before. I'm sure there were a few but not this many. Is this part of the purging process?

I've got the same thing going on. I had very persistent blackheads on my chin, but all of a sudden it's like they went forth and multiplied. And they're a lot bigger, like they're being pushed out.

Isn't it amazing how much a compliment on your skin can brighten your day?

Definitely. Last night I mentioned to my mom how nice it was to not have to put makeup on in the morning, and she asked, very seriously, "You're not wearing makeup right now?"

Heh, made me feel good. I never wore a ton, but enough to even out my complexion.

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Yes, the same thing happened with my blackheads! At first, as my skin began to dry, they became more prominent and noticeable. But then, after they were all dried up, they just came out without much effort. It was so satisfying.

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Day 26 Update

Well, I went to the lab this morning to get my blood drawn and a pregnancy test. Last month, my derm had given me a lab order form with standing order written on it. So, this morning I sign in at the lab, and they ask for my form. I inform them that I have a standing order. Then, they start asking me all these questions-birthday, doctor's name, reason for tests, etc. Turns out, they don't have a standing order for me. So, they have to call somewhere and get my old lab order form faxed to them. They never entered it in the computer.

In good news, the lady was able to find a vein this time. Bad news, it took multiple attempts to get the needle in the vein. I've got a nice lovely bruise on my arm. It also hurts a lot more this time than last.

I have my one-month derm appointment this Friday. I'm really hoping that she bumps up my dosage. It's sad. I kinda want at least a tiny IB now. I know there have got to be pimples and cysts lurking beneath my skin. I'd really like to get rid of them now once and for all.

I've really been lacking in motivation the last few days. I don't think this has anything to do with Accutane, though. I've got an essay due tomorrow that I've barely done any work on at all. I just don't feel like writing 5-6 pages over Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. I'm a math major. I shouldn't be writing essays.

Side Effects

* The Hand Rash persists. It doesn't itch or anything, and it's not really bothering me. It's gotten a lot better, though.

* I haven't really noticed my skin being as dry lately. Sometimes, I'm too lazy to even wash it. I'd read on other people's logs about Accutane making you lazy about your skin--it's true.

* Lips are still as dry as ever

My blackheads are getting ready to purge, but they're not there yet. My nose definitely feels like sandpaper. It's like there's a tiny little something poking out of almost every black head. I guess they'll eventually come out on their own.

So, I've finally gotten around to posting progress pictures. The first four pictures are pre-accutane. I started seeing the derm in June of 2009. I started Accutane January 8, 2010.

headtrip_honey: Congrats on the progress! I love keeping up with your log!

Termolyt: Wish granted :)

Clear As Day: I can't wait for this blackhead purging to actually start! So far, my blackheads have just become more noticeable than ever.

Kenzie123: Thank you so much!

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Day 29 Update

So, I had my one-month appointment this morning, and it went very well. My dermatologist said my triglycerides were a little high-but nothing to be concerned with. This is probably a result of what I've been eating. I'm a vegetarian, and I've been one my entire life. But, let's just say being a vegetarian in college is hard. The cafeteria has very limited veg options. So, I usually end up eating something that's either covered in cheese, fried, etc. I need to make a better effort to eat healthy.

I only have one new active at the moment. It appeared yesterday morning. I'm almost positive it's a cyst. It's right by my ear, so I'm having trouble seeing it.

She decided to keep me on 40 mg for another month since I was doing so well on it. I am, however, stopping taking the antibiotics. I'll finish off the last few pills that I have. She said she's no longer afraid of my skin flaring up.

The nurse told me after the doctor left that I was ahead of the curve in my treatment.

ANOTHER POSITIVE THING TO REPORT: One of the reasons I am on Accutane is because my acne is scarring. I have a lot of depressed scars on my forehead. But, today my dermatologist said that my skin is responding well to Accutane, and she thinks most of the scars may fill back in. I just hope she's right!

I had no trouble filling my prescription today even though it hadn't been a full 30 days. I was a little worried about that.

mallory: Thanks!

Termolyt: Thanks! Your observation is correct. My skin had substantially cleared by the time I got ready to start Accutane. The two months of Duricef really helped before I started. However, my derm and I decided to still start Accutane because my skin had not completely cleared and my skin was scarring.

tv_viewer: Thank you!

Your comments truly make my day!

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Day 33 Update

Well, I still just have the one active from my last update. My face is pretty red this evening. I had blamed it on the cold weather, but I've been inside for a while now, and it's still red. Other than that, my skin is dry. My lips are dry. The hand rash seems to have cleared up, but I didn't really do anything to it.

I've been making an effort to eat healthier in hopes that it will help my triglyceride levels. Even if it doesn't help them, it's still good for me!

It feels so weird not to be taking antibiotics 2x a day. So far, I haven't had any adverse effects from stopping the duricef, but only time will tell.

I can't wait for all my redmarks to start fading. Even though I only have one active, my face just seems so much worse looking.

PICTURES: I've attached a progress photo that is current through Sunday. The other photo was also taken Sunday (Day 31). It shows my current active right by my ear.

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post-10247-1265761965_thumb.jpg

post-10247-1265761690_thumb.jpg

post-10247-1265761965_thumb.jpg

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Day 29 Update

So, I had my one-month appointment this morning, and it went very well. My dermatologist said my triglycerides were a little high-but nothing to be concerned with. This is probably a result of what I've been eating. I'm a vegetarian, and I've been one my entire life. But, let's just say being a vegetarian in college is hard. The cafeteria has very limited veg options. So, I usually end up eating something that's either covered in cheese, fried, etc. I need to make a better effort to eat healthy.

I only have one new active at the moment. It appeared yesterday morning. I'm almost positive it's a cyst. It's right by my ear, so I'm having trouble seeing it.

She decided to keep me on 40 mg for another month since I was doing so well on it. I am, however, stopping taking the antibiotics. I'll finish off the last few pills that I have. She said she's no longer afraid of my skin flaring up.

The nurse told me after the doctor left that I was ahead of the curve in my treatment.

ANOTHER POSITIVE THING TO REPORT: One of the reasons I am on Accutane is because my acne is scarring. I have a lot of depressed scars on my forehead. But, today my dermatologist said that my skin is responding well to Accutane, and she thinks most of the scars may fill back in. I just hope she's right!

I had no trouble filling my prescription today even though it hadn't been a full 30 days. I was a little worried about that.

mallory: Thanks!

Termolyt: Thanks! Your observation is correct. My skin had substantially cleared by the time I got ready to start Accutane. The two months of Duricef really helped before I started. However, my derm and I decided to still start Accutane because my skin had not completely cleared and my skin was scarring.

tv_viewer: Thank you!

Your comments truly make my day!

wow!! your face looks great, and only a little after a month?! Sucks that you're still developing cysts (even though it IS only one)...but I'm sure by the middle, and definitely by the end, of treatment you probably won't have anything popping up on your face at all.

That sucks about being a vegetarian at your school...my school is completely the opposite. It actually was the reason why I decided to change from vegetarian to vegan while still living on campus...every dining hall on campus has vegan and vegetarian options, soy milk, dairy-free ice cream etc. The sit-in campus dining halls have fresh-prepared vegan meals every day, including home-made desserts.

Maybe its just the overall student population here? There are a lot of vegetarians, and a lot of my friends--including all my meat-eating roomies-- also love eating tofu, imitation beef tacos, etc and vegan desserts that my school makes. Plus there is a "natural foods store" in my town, and it has substitute butter, cheese, etc, which makes it easier for me to make and cook vegan things.

Funny enough I had high triglycerides too (that was before I went on tane...haah woops!). All I ate was oreos, potato chips, soy ice cream...really unhealthy and sugary stuff. I'm trying to eat healthier now too. I think its funny most people just assume vegetarians and the like are "healthy"..but you can be unhealthy on any type of diet. The key is to limit how much you eat of something, not what you eat.

Sorry to hear about that though....I can honestly understand how hard that must be. The availability of vegetarian foods at a school has a huge impact on how hard it is to keep up w a diet :(

anyways....looks like iso is doing its job! hopefully my face looks close to that good around my 1 month.fiiingers crossed.

Edited by Coda73

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your face looks so good! i KNOW what you mean by saying it looks worse at times though. Accutane is all ups and downs...its been a down week for me. I just took my 60th pill today and go to the derm tomorrow--hopefully all will be well!

btw, you have gorgeous eyes! :-)

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