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Hi guys,

I've been a long time reader of the posts on Acne.org for advice on a range of topics and thought it was about time I created an account and started participating!

I guess I should start with a little about me...

I'm 26 and have been struggling with acne on and off since I was about 12. When I was a teenager, my acne was concentrated on my forehead and the rest of my face was totally clear. When I was about 21, the pimples on my forehead cleared up and I started getting them on my cheeks instead. The acne on my cheeks persisted for about 6 to 12 months and I took a course of Doxycycline, which cleared me up perfectly! I would get the occasional cheek zit, but all in all I was pretty much acne free. Fast forward to around November 2010 and the cheek acne started to rear it ugly head again. It started off with a lot of blocked pores, which I think were caused by switching from my Almay liquid foundation to MAC Studio Fix Fluid. These blocked pores then became large papules and pustules. I tried another course of Doxy, without any success. I then tried Minocycline, but no luck. I had also been using benzoyl peroxide (both proactive and just the regular chemist brand) religiously each night since I was 21 (I have ruined a whole bunch of pillow cases, sheets and towels!!) The BP worked great for 5 years and then for some reason just stopped being effective at the end of last year. I have also tried topical antibiotics, various cleansers, toners, moisturizers, salicylic acid and natural remedies. I have changed my diet, cut out as much sugar as I can and said good bye to dairy. At the beginning of 2010 I was diagnosed with fructose malabsorption so have cut out wheat based products along with a lot of fruits and vegetables. I drink heaps of water and each morning have a multitude of vitamins and fresh lemon juice in warm water. I also drink bucket loads of green tea and think I live a generally healthy lifestyle (despite the fact I'm not much of an exerciser!!) For me, the worst part of having acne is the emotional effects. I hate the way it makes me feel so ugly and even though my husband and parents assure me it isn't as bad as I think, it still doesn't help to make me feel better.

In June this year I had finally had enough of pimples and failed attempts at trying to clear my skin and decided to see a dermatologist. After telling her my story and all the things I have tried for my skin, she prescribed me Roaccutane and a course of Alprim (an oral trimethoprim antibiotic to help combat the dreaded inital breakout). I was so scared to take the Roaccutane because I had read so many horror stories, so just started with the antibiotics. After 6 weeks of taking them and not seeing any changes in my skin, I bit the bullet and started the Roaccutane. Being a small girl (161cm and 50kgs) I stared on an initial dose of 20mg per day. I then increased to 30mg (20mg one day and 40mg the next) and then upped it to 40mg each day. I am currently on day 52 of Roaccutane and the journey so far has been a bumpy one!!

I'm still getting pimples, which is very annoying, but I know it is to be expected at this stage of the course. I know I'm not supposed to pick, pinch or squeeze while on accutane, but I just find it impossible to walk around with a massive pimple smack bang in the middle of my cheek! Mostly the squeezing hasn't caused too much damage, but there have been a few pimples that have become scabs. Ooops. At the moment I've got a big round red scab on my right cheek, which is where I get all my pimples, and another new one forming right next to it. I've got it covered in sudocrem right now and have been putting rosehip oil on it before bed to speed up the healing and hopefully reduce the appearance of the red mark once the scab heals.

Since being on accutane I have noticed my skin is really different. Hardly any oil production and it is much more fragile. Since taking 40mg per day I have experienced heaps more side effects and have been suffering from dry eyes and a rash on the back of my hands which is sore, but I manage to keep it under control with hydrocortisone cream. The worst side effect I have experienced so far is my lips. On Tuesday this week I noticed a little cluster of blisters in the corner of my top lip. I looked like the beginning of a cold sore (which I have never had in my life), so I went to the chemist to get some antiviral cream. By Thursday, both by entire top and bottom lips were covered in blisters. By Thursday night, all the blisters had popped and were weeping and my lips were so swollen! OMG, it was disgusting. I went to the dr on Friday and she said that it was a side effect from the accutane (which I had assumed anyway). I have been slathering on paw paw ointment and sudocrem to help the cracks and they seem to be getting better, although still hurt. At the moment I'm taking a break from Roaccutane until my lips heal and then I will be taking a daily dose of 20mg for the rest of my course. This will mean I will have been taking the medication for almost a year by the time I have finished, but if it clears my skin for good, I don't mind.

I have also been getting heaps of nosebleeds, which is annoying, but doesn't worry me. I've noticed too that I have been really tired, even though I have been getting at least 8 or 9 hours of sleep on a week night and sometimes 12 hours on a weekend.

I will try to keep posting regularly and keep updating on my progress. Fingers crossed the rest of my journey is uneventful and I am over the worst of it!!

Edited by AliJay

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Wow, sounds like you've had a pretty eventful start to your course, Ali! surprised.gif Fingers crossed that the those initial side effects heal quickly and you can soon get back to your course. It's kind of interesting how it can start out this way, really goes to show that each person is different and perhaps each course has to be adjusted accordingly. If you do end up having to take it for around a year, hopefully it will be a case of "slow and steady wins the race". :)

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Wow, sounds like you've had a pretty eventful start to your course, Ali! surprised.gif Fingers crossed that the those initial side effects heal quickly and you can soon get back to your course. It's kind of interesting how it can start out this way, really goes to show that each person is different and perhaps each course has to be adjusted accordingly. If you do end up having to take it for around a year, hopefully it will be a case of "slow and steady wins the race". smile.png

Paul,did u finally get ur accutane prescribtion?

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No, not yet. My skin got better and I figured I'd see how it played out. Then it got worse and I didn't really want to go and see the doctor when it it was like that. I should have done, of course, because then they will have seen what it gets like sometimes. Now it's kind of alright again but in the back of my mind I know that it'll be an on-going thing for a long time unless I kill it once and for all, and that's where Accutane comes in. Deep down, I think I'm just scared of how well I'll be able to cope with the initial breakout and side effects. I'm seeing a therapist at the moment regarding self esteem and confidence, stuff like that, so I'm thinking she may be able to add a bit of weight to my cause so that I can get my doctor to give me a referral for the dermatologist. I'll see...

Edited by PaulH85

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Hi. My name is Melissa. How long have you been taking it for now?

Hi Melissa smile.png

I'm up to day 53. Took a break from the meds for 3 days while waiting for my blistered lips to heal (which thankfully they nearly have), but will be back on 20mg tonight with dinner.

Wow, sounds like you've had a pretty eventful start to your course, Ali! surprised.gif Fingers crossed that the those initial side effects heal quickly and you can soon get back to your course. It's kind of interesting how it can start out this way, really goes to show that each person is different and perhaps each course has to be adjusted accordingly. If you do end up having to take it for around a year, hopefully it will be a case of "slow and steady wins the race". smile.png

Thanks so much for your support Paul smile.png It really is a tough ride, but I am hoping everything will be smooth sailing from here and my LONG 20mg/day course will be the answer.

Edited by AliJay

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Day 54

Today is the last day of antibiotics. Eeeeepppp!!! I'm scared how my skin will go now that I'll be just taking Roaccutane and nothing to combat the IB. Hopefully I am far enough into the course to be passed the 'mega breakout from hell' stage and I'll be ok.

Have started taking a taurine supplement, as I have read that it is good for skin healing and hyperpigmentation. Will keep track of my results and see how I go. Am still taking fish oil, spirulina and zinc too, so hopefully all of those together will stop my skin from being crazy now that the antibiotics are gone.

On another note, was getting ready for work this morning and out of nowhere vomited!! I had taken all of my vitamins, but not roaccutane as I take that with dinner, and had some water and a cup of green tea. Am wondering if it is something to do with drinking tea on an empty stomach? I usually have lemon juice in water first thing, but am taking a break from that because my lips are still a bit stingy. It's defs not the vitamins either, I've taken them plenty of times as soon as I wake up and never had a bad reaction. Oh, and no I am not pregnant, I have an implanon implant and am very careful about all of that stuff!! Hmmm, weird. I will investigate the green tea/nausea/vomiting thing and see if anyone else has experienced the same.

Edited by AliJay

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Day 55

Nothing new today. No actives, just red marks. Happy days.

Also did some research re: green tea and nausea/vomiting and apparently it can be a common side effect if consumed on an empty stomach! Who'd a thunk it? Didn't have tea this morning, just water and vitamins and no nausea. Will keep tracking progress and see how I go.

Have managed to combat the dry skin/eczema on the backs of my hands too, thank you Sudocrem!

Here's to positive thinking and moving onwards and upwards in my journey :)

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Day 58

Another big pimple is forming on my right cheek this morning. Gah, when will this end?? I'm so frustrated. Every time I think my skin is looking ok and everything is finally getting better, I get another set back. It's so depressing. I had a feeling something was going to surface too, I kept getting this tingly, hot feeling yesterday on my cheek and was hoping it was all just in my head, but unfortunately not.

It also looks as if a new blister is forming on my lip. I really hope it doesn't spread like last time, especially since my lips are almost completely healed now.

I am starting to wonder whether Accutane is worth all of this, especially if all the hype about the long term side effects are true. Maybe I should just quit it and got back to using BP, since it always worked before this year.

Oh I was so looking forward to this weekend too, I was feeling good about my skin and excited about going out and doing stuff. Now all I want to do is stay at home and hide from the world :(

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How are you feeling today, Ali?

I don't suppose any of us could tell you what to do for sure as it's always your choice, and I don't have any direct experience of Accutane myself but if I were in your position, I'd want to battle on. However your skin is responding to Accutane right now, it's happening for a reason. Each bad day should bring you closer to the good days and, in the end when you get the results you'd like, the many, many good days you have ahead of you will far outweigh the few months you currently face.

I hope you've managed to make something of your weekend, too? Shame to let it pass by if you had things you were looking forward to.

My insecurities are always there, whatever my skin is like, and I always feel like things take effort. But I've been out in public several times this week and you know, I feel so much better for it. Not that I really did anything amazing, but otherwise I would have just stayed indoors the whole week and missed out on the sun we've been having here. But I braved it and you know, I feel better for it and I think my skin looks better for it as well.

Stay strong, think about the end results, you can get there. You're not on your own and we're all here to support and encourage you. :)

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Hi Paul,

I'm feeling a little better today, thanks :) And also, thank you again for all of your kindness and support. It makes a lot easier!

I think you're right too about sticking with the accutane. I'm 8 and a half weeks in, so I really hope the worst is over. I keep trying to focus on the end result, rather than these little hiccups. I think there is a lot to be said about the power of positive thinking...now I just have to get my mind in the right place and go from there.

I did end up getting out and about this weekend too. It was the football grand final and the team I support was playing, so went to my parents house to watch the game. Ventured out into the sunshine yesterday afternoon and spent some time with my husband, which was good.

Glad to hear your excursions made you a bit sparkier too :) I know what it's like to walk around with a dark cloud of insecurity hanging over your head, but on the days when it can be pushed aside and you can get yourself out there it has an awesome effect on mental health. Depression and anxiety and the insecurities associated with them are really difficult illnesses to deal with and I'm proud of you for telling yours to bugger off last week lol.gif

Fingers crossed you and I are both a little step closer to beating this!

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:hifive: Good for you! Did your team win? razz.gif

I had to go into town today to see someone about group therapy sessions I'm starting next month. Rather than go straight back home, I decided to go to the park and sit in the sunshine. Carrying on from where I left off last week I suppose. Even if I'm by myself, it's so much better than hiding at home.

Wish my approach to things, whether or not I do them, and my mood weren't dependent on the condition of my skin, but the antibiotics I'm taking may well remove that problem for me as my skin hopefully keeps getting clearer. I guess we just have to take these things as they come and learn to feel better and be happier in ourselves, one step at a time.

I think my biggest concern, for lack of a better word, is what I'd be like when I do get clear. I was often seen as "the kid with acne" and that's how I came to see myself. That's years ago now and I'm not even in touch with the people who caused that, but even at 26, I still feel like "just some kid with acne".

I guess it will be interesting to find out who I am and who I see myself as being once the acne's gone. But like I said, one step at a time... smile.png

Edited by PaulH85

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Day 65

Not much new to report really!

The blister on my lip from last weekend went away without spreading, which was good. I got another little one in the corner of my mouth last night, but I attacked it with some Sudecrem and paw paw ointment and it seems to be healing up nicely.

During the week I made the ultimate mistake of trying to pop a pimple that I should have just left alone. I wrapped my fingers in a tissue on squeezed WAY too hard and took the top right off. Yuk. Blood and weepy stuff everywhere and no gunk out at all :(:( It was so horrible and I couldn't even cover it up with makeup on Wednesday morning because it was bleeding too much and the makeup wouldn't stick. I so badly wanted to stay home from work and hide, but I am so busy at the moment and had an important meeting, so had to go and sit there with this mega scab right in the middle of my cheek. Not cool at all. Luckily though, it has healed up with the help of rosehip oil and sudocrem and it's now just a little patch of pink dry skin. Urgh, will I ever learn!? Every time I do that to my face I vow not to squeeze again and then after a little while I seem to forget and history repeats itself. I think part of my brain thinks I am cleansing the zit by getting the infection out and that it will heal faster than if I just left it alone, which in reality we all know is not true. Urgh....

As for my dose or Roaccutane, I have upped it again to 30mg and everything seems ok. Here's to hoping!!

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