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Accutane Log, 24 year old male, Canada

Background:

I never really had an acne problem even in my teenage years until summer of this year (~June 2011) then I broke out like crazy. My cheeks got it the worst, my body has pretty much remained the same, just my face was assaulted.

I tried Dan's regimen for around a month (clean, treat and moisturize) and it may have helped prevent new breakouts but it more or less dried my skin out like crazy and irritated it quite a bit. I still do use the acne.org cleanser though, but that's it.

I saw my doctor (general practitioner) and was prescribed Minocycline in the summer, I felt really out of it when taking it so I stopped that in less than a week, I know I should have given it more time but I experienced what some would call an out of body sensation.

On a side note I've suffered through depression in my early 20s and was weening myself off the anti-depressants this summer since everything was going well, I don't know if this contributed to the breakout in anyway or not. Needless to say I'm back on the pills after acne kicked my self esteem to the ground.

I was then prescribed Bactrim, I took that for a month in conjunction with clindamycin lotion, since a BP mix would dry me out like crazy again. After a month I saw my doctor again and I documented my progress via photographs and there was little to no difference before and after the Bactrim, it may have actually gotten a bit worse.

So here I am, after my first blood test, after the antibiotics with my Accutane, and yes it is actual Accutane by Roche, not a generic brand. I took my first pill yesterday (September 19) and my second tonight.

Of course I've noticed no changes so far, but am cautiously optimistic that I'll clear up.

First Impressions:

The pill gives me the slightest headache an hour or so after consumption, like if you stand up too fast or go up a tall building quickly in an elevator, but that subsides pretty fast and feel back to normal quickly.

Physical Information:

I'm about 78-80 kgs, 5'11", on 40 mg once a day for a month, I'll be taking a blood test in about two weeks since I want to be cautious and if that comes out okay then it'll be once a month. I figure I'll be on it for 5 or so months. Initial results came back great. I excercised (ran) a bit during summer but school is back in now so I have to cut back.

Diet has improved from years past, more fresh foods, vegetables, fruits, chicken, fish. I eat some dairy mainly yogurt, no soda or anything like that, no alcohol. I truly believe that diet does NOT have an influence on breakouts, at least for me, so I'll eat gluten, dairy, red meats, etc... but no junk food.

Psychological:

I could write a book on this topic, but in short, acne has taken my low self esteem I had pre-acne and made it worse. BUT it has opened my eyes greatly, in that I don't judge anyone anymore, everyone is equal. I used to be pre-occupied staring at girls, but now that doesn't matter as much to me, I rather have someone beautiful on the inside, since that really is what matters.

I'm in my last year of university and have struggled through my first two years, but in my third my performance increased greatly, now if I let something like acne stop me, I'll always regret it.

I still go to school, no attempt to cover up my face at all, I go on like nothing's wrong. Yes, acne has made me feel bad, but in a way made me feel better about myself, since I've discovered there's so much more to life than looks.

Don't let me fool you, I'm still self-concious, but I've told myself I have to be strong. So many more people are out there worse off than me or you, it may bring you little consolation but you truly have to view things in perspective, if you don't then you don't see the world.

Acne sucks, it sucks a lot, but you know what's worse? Losing, if you let acne bring you down permanently, you've lost.

I'm not saying that "Oh I love my appearance! I don't care if I have acne!" I'm fighting it how I can as best as I can, but at the same time not letting it bring me down.

I'm like Charlie Sheen, baby!! Winning!!!!

I'll update as often as I can or when I remember to. Hope you follow along and can offer me advice!

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wow, its funny how these drugs have different effects on different people. i took minocycline, and it did wonders for me. iam hoping it does the same again, now that iam back on it. if not, ill be taking your journy as well..

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I love ur opening post ;)

My ride has been epic, however, I can not agree w/ u more regarding this whole exp as eye opening.

I wish u luck and send u good vibes!

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Thank you all for the replies, and thanks Crystal I can use all the luck I can get!

Just a small update

Day 4

I took my fourth pill tonight and really am feeling pretty normal, nothing really strange happening. Yesterday I felt slightly sore like after exercising, the feeling persisted until about this evening. I was pretty stressed out today though due to my schoolwork and my boss calling me in to work even though I told him last week I couldn't, so I was rushed all day. Other than that I'm physically and mentally good. My lips are getting a touch drier, but not enough to the point where I need lip balm.

I think another reason why I was stressed today was because some of my whiteheads blew up while in class, so embarrassing :( , so I was self conscious more than usual today, thank god I carry tissues with me.

If anyone is curious my 30 pills of 40mg Accutane cost ~$17.00 after insurance and about $75 before.

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Day 7

Still feeling pretty similar to my last update, my lips are getting drier, enough so that I have to use lip chap before bed, but none during the day. I woke up sore this morning but it wasn't too bad, the soreness went away later in the day. No mood changes or anything, just a touch of soreness and a bit drier. There are some small itchy rash like spots on my legs but truthfully I've always been an itchy person, absent mindedly scratching occasionally, but even so my skin is healing well so I can't really place the blame on the drugs.

Let's see how the next week goes, I'll be doing a blood test Oct 3.

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Day 13

Well my lips are now dry and have to constantly use lip chap, I had an extremely minor nose bleed while in the shower this morning. No mood changes, in fact I feel pretty good. Any soreness has more or less gone away. My nose is a lot less oily for sure, but there still is some oil but it's thicker than usual, it's weird.

Years ago, before I was ever on or heard about Accutane I had some the symptoms of its associated side effects, dry lips, dry skin, nose bleeds (it got bad enough that I had nose bleeds once a day almost) and minimal acne. This summer, I was not dry at all and my nose bleeds disappeared, at first I was happy but that was short lived as soon as my face exploded. Oh well, so far so good I suppose, blood test on Monday.

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Day 19

My blood tests came back pretty good, my ALP was 133 where the upper limit was 130, pre-accutane it was 120, however it seems that ALP limits can vary from lab to lab, I've seen up to 140 and lows of 100 I did eat a bunch of pork ribs 12 hours before my blood was drawn (soooo good those ribs). Needless to say my doctor is continuing me on another month of 40mg and I'll do another blood test in November.

I feel pretty good, today was stressful due to a report I had to get done for school, I don't know if it's a direct result but I think a few whiteheads have popped up, but they dry up and go away fairly quickly. I'm hoping they go away by Tuesday since Monday is Thanksgiving up here.

My lips are constantly dry and so is my nose, I think any oil production from my body is very limited and the oil I feel is from the clindamycin lotion I'm using. But yeah, I'm waking up each morning thinking that it's getting better, just a little bit of hope each day. I'm self conscious around cameras, not so much around people anymore.

Still optimistic and still fighting! Keep it up my fellow warriors, we can win this! BE STRONG!

Edited by Internets

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Day 30

Well my first month of Accutane is done, a combined dose of 1200 mg taken. But comparing pictures, my face is definitely in worse condition now than it was a month ago, more red marks and bumps :( totally bummed out but I'm still hoping for the best. I guess this is my "initial" breakout.

Physically and mentally I feel alright, but kind of disappointed. Not much else to report, next month will be 40mg as well, I hope to see some improvement soon.

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Day 60

Can't believe it been two months, seems like not long ago I was just starting my semester and Accutane. An update, I took another photo at around day 42ish and the bumps on my forehead are definitely going down and it's becoming slightly less red. Taking photos aren't exactly high on my priority list.

ALP levels came down so doctor increased my dosage to 60mg a day, consisting of a 40 and two tens. Blood tests all came back cool. Now that I've been in school for a while, I've noticed that it's true people don't really treat you differently, I've had one comment and it was from an idiot who just happens to be in my final design project group, but he's not a native Canadian so maybe his customs are different, whatever.

I'm lucky to have some supportive friends, one especially, he never mentioned it when I saw him after an entire summer but I let him know I'm on Accutane and he's watching me just in case.

So here I go into month three! For my fellow peers, keep with it, let's get through this together!

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Thanks man! Social support is probably the best to help a guy get through this, even if it's online so at least we know we're not alone!

Once I feel like it I'll post up pics, but again it's not exactly a top priority for me.

Did my first 60mg today, I think I'll stay at this dosage for a while.

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Day 101

It's been a while since I last updated, firstly I hope everyone had a good holidays. I finished my seventh semester of university and start my eighth and final on Jan. 9. I was really lucky that I had some good friends to help me out through the last few months. Remarkably the ONLY people that have really said anything about my acne was one idiot "friend" the first day of classes and mostly old people like grandparents and nosy aunts, most people just STFU which is the way I prefer it. I'm still not fond of pictures being taken of me, I didn't mind pre-acne though.

All active acne is more or less devoid from my face maybe one or two tiny ones here and there but mostly gone. On my left jawline there's still persistent little buggers hanging around there, so that's goddamn annoying. Mostly now it's post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, some subtle scarring is noticeable but again it's the PIH on my cheeks and some on my forehead.

A recap of my course is:

Month 1 & 2: 40 mg

Month 3 & 4: 60 mg

I'm currently in the start of month four about, all blood tests have come back fine. Hair is a tad thinner but not falling out (knock on wood), some eczema like rashes on my forearms and backhand but those are slowly going away, they popped up after I upped my dose to 60 mg. I was a bit sore after upping, very similar to when I first started in September. I highly doubt that I can go higher than 60 mg.

I'm trying my improve my looks elsewhere now, I have a completely new wardrobe after getting lots of clothes for Christmas and some confidence is coming back with the lessening of my PIH (knock on wood). Here's the the next few months.

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Day 1 Post Accutane

Recapping my doses

Month 1 & 2: 40 mg

Month 3 & 4: 60 mg

Month 5, 6 & 7: 40 mg

For a total of 9600 mg (if my math is correct) over 210 days and I weigh about 75 kg at most for 128 mg/kg total. I actually finished my last pill yesterday April 15. I’m a bit nervous about what will happen now that I’m off it, but no more so than starting Accutane in the first place, less so actually.

So what happened to me over 210 days? Well my face was a mess before starting the drug last year, in October it was the worst it has ever been, I cringe looking at photos back then. I saw improvement gradually after that. Today, there is virtually no acne at all, maybe one tiny 1 mm pimple that’s going away quickly. The main things now are the remnants of acne, post inflammatory hyperpigmentation and scarring. My face is smooth, I can honestly say that but red. There is improvement, slowly the red is fading and scars I think I can live with. Since I am Asian, I suppose we are more prone to PIH, which sucks. Still it looks kind of like I went outside on a cold day and got rosy cheeks kind of red.

Side effects were thin hair no real hair loss but it was also dry. Some nose bleeds but nothing too bad, joint pain in the first few months but that was fairly minor. Tiredness was another thing that got me, I didn’t know if that was a side effect but my doctor said it was, but it was bearable, school kept me busy. Dry eyes early on and dry skin with some eczema like rashes on my arms, it wasn’t bad though. Some lotion my doctor gave me really helped. I also have thinner skin I noticed when I scratch anywhere I have to be careful not to scratch too hard or it’ll get kind of raw. No other effects really, no loss of vision, no wrecked digestive system, etc. My blood tests all came back fine and I think it’s important to keep up with them.

So from now on it’s a post Accutane journal. I would recommend the drug, but be cautious about the side effects, just because it didn’t really affect me doesn’t mean you’ll be exempt. I hope now that my PIH fades. I’ve gotten some confidence back but still difficult to talk to new people, especially girls but I’m REALLY trying to meet one. Also I’m wrapping up my undergrad degree, 8th and final semester ends April 26, BSc in mechanical engineering from the University of Alberta, I thought about taking a semester off to let my face heal, but if you’re considering it for the love of god DON’T DO IT, keep going!!! I’m glad I’m off the drug now, I can finally drink again! It’s been months since my last drop.

Best of luck to all of you out there, whether you’re on Accutane or not, you can pull through it, I did! The struggle never ends, it just gets manageable.

Perhaps photos later on this summer, stay tuned for updates!

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