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iwantprettyskin

Accutane - The (Hopefully) Cure To My Acne Woes

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Here's my story (I'll try to keep it brief):

Around age 12-13, I started to have acne. It was the normal, typical, hormonal teenage acne but a little worse than most of my friends' acne problems. Both my parents had had acne as teenagers so this wasn't too surprising. I hated make-up, still do, so I wore very little, which probably made my self-confidence issues worse. Throughout middle school and high school, I had white heads, black heads, etc. pretty much anywhere and everywhere you can imagine having acne.

Freshman year of college, my acne gets worse, far worse than it had been previously. I started developing cystic acne on top of the acne I already had. By the end of my freshman year, my mother wanted to cry whenever she saw my face without make-up so she immediately called all of her friends to find the best dermatologist in DFW. Luckily for me, she found an excellent one.

Over the four years that I was in college, I tried 3 different types of birth control (Seasonique is AMAZING but it doesn't do squat for acne), Dynosin, Minocycline, Tazorac .1%, Solodyn, Spironolactanone, and others that I've now forgotten. The only combination that ever made any difference was Seasonique with Solodyn and Tazorac and even then my skin was never completely clear. Fall of my senior year, three things happened that affected: 1)my dermatologist strongly encouraged me to consider starting accutane since the strongest non-accutane treatments on the market had not worked; 2) my dermatologist moved to Boston and her replacement kind of sucked; and 3) I sprained my ankle and the doctor that saw me was concerned about the length of time I had been on antibiotics for acne and my risk of developing Lupus. So after all of this occurred, I stopped taking the Spironalactanone, which wasn't doing any good anyway, and used up my remaining Tazorac and stuck with the birth control. My acne got worse but I didn't want to deal with accutane.

For two years after college, I did not have health insurance so I couldn't take anything, birth control included, that might help with my acne. Trust me, there is nothing like having your face in nearly continuous pain for 2 years to make Accutane sound like a really good bet.

So now that I have health insurance again I am back on Seasonique and I have started accutane with another dermatologist. At my first appointment I handed my derm a list of everything that I had taken with the dosage information and time duration that I could recall. I then informed her that I wanted accutane. She immediately agreed, given my history, and I am starting week 7 of my accutane treatment.

Here's my progress on Claravis thus far:

Month 1: 40 mg/day

Month 2: 60 mg/day average, 80 mg one day and 40 mg the next

Side Effects:

Cottonmouth - only on the first day

Heel Spurs - my feet always hurt when I initially stand up

Lips are a little drier than usual, think middle of January versus middle of August, this seems to be decreasing in intensity because my lips hardly bother me now although that could also be the Aquafor

Bloody nose - 3 times in first month, none since (knock on wood)

Dehydrated - I get dehydrated extremely easily now. Water is a must.

Overall the side effects haven't been too bad. I will happily put up with my heels hurting in exchange for clear skin. I drink at least 16 oz. of water with my Claravis each morning and I eat breakfast immediately beforehand. I probably drink an additional 48 oz, on average, each day. My skin is finally showing signs of progress. I used to go through 4-5 of those oil-absorbing sheets in one sitting less than 6 hours after washing my face but now I never need them. Whiteheads and blackheads seem to be clearing up. I still have several cystic pimples, but those usually last 6 months so I'm not expecting quick results with them.

I go to see my dermatologist on Friday. Hopefully my blood work will be normal and she'll be happy with the progress we've made. If you've read all this, thanks for reading my saga!

Edited by iwantprettyskin

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Sounds like you have had a terrible experience with your skin! I'm really happy for you that the accutane is starting to work & hope this treatment will be the end of this saga for you. I also took spironolactone (not now since I'm on zarah) and solodyn, but used ziana instead of tazorac.

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You know the saying, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger"? That's kind of how I feel about my experience with acne. I'm not a very emotional person so dealing with acne has really helped me to become more sympathetic of others who are dealing with the same or other medical issues. Jess, how come you quit accutane, if you don't mind my asking?

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Update: My cholesterol is higher, but I'm not surprised because I had finals last week on top of interviews so my eating habits were out of wack, so I have to continue getting blood tests, which in my opinion is more hygienic than the whole peeing in a cup pregnancy test. I will now be taking Claravis 40 mg twice a day, which kind of sucks since I have classes 12 hours apart. Due to the stress of the last two weeks my skin has been freaking out but I'm hoping that it will calm down now that I'm entering Month 3.

So my progress:

Month 1: 40 mg/day

Month 2: 60 mg/day average, 80 mg one day and 40 mg the next

Month 3: 80 mg/day, 40 mg every 12 hours

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I didn't quit taking accutane (claravis). I'm just still on month 1 and I don't know what my next dosage levels will be yet. Good luck working the 2x a day into your busy schedule. So far I'm only taking it once a day, but my first derm follow-up is this Friday.

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Well I just finished Week 9 and I have to confess that I'm starting to get a little frustrated. I'm hoping that the stress of finals and interviews is what is causing my acne to suddenly worsen but it's a wait and see game at this point. Over the weekend, my skin exploded. It's probably my own fault. I'm terrible about picking at my skin. My lips are slightly drier now that I'm on 80mg but otherwise everything is normal for me. Actually, I'm kind of disappointed that I haven't had any of those weird accutane dreams that I've heard others talk about. To try and get my cholesterol under control, I'm completely eliminating fried foods from my diet. I did this last summer to try and lose weight, to no effect, and I know that I'll feel better by doing it but darn it's hard to be Southern and not get to eat fried foods!

Does anyone have any recommendations on how to stop picking at one's skin?

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Accutane dreams? Lol what's that?

And yeah i'm a terrible skin picker as well.. Not looking in the mirror is just not an option for me, i'm addicted to mirrors :-p What helps for me is to really think about how picking is going to lead to scarring and that it's only going to make it more red and noticeable. But yeah, i don't really have great tips, just try not to do it :P

Good luck!

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Some people have reported having really strange dreams while on Accutane. I've been lurking on this site for a while. :)

See my problem isn't so much mirrors, because I finally threw away my 10x magnification mirror a year ago, it's more that I constantly need to have something to do with my hands so when I'm sitting and don't have anything to occupy my hands with, I start feeling of my face and frequently pick at it. I guess I need to find something small that I can keep with me and play with when I don't have anything else to do. Any ideas?

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Somehow I think that I would accidentally light myself on fire so I'll avoid lighters :)

I'm washing my skin as infrequently as possible to keep from drying it out. Given that my skin isn't too dry, I think that it's working. My lips are definitely drier than the last two months. Some of the cysts seem to be shrinking slowly. So progress! Thank goodness!

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First post in a while. I just completed Month 6 and my skin is completely clear (sort of). Yay! Unfortunately, I have had a few small pimples in the past month so my dermatologist is extending my treatment for a 7th month but back at 40 mg per day. I'm disappointed that I had to extend my treatment but we chose to extend it for practical reasons. I'm starting a new job in July and moving across the country and with busy season (tax) I won't have a chance to do a second round of accutane, which will hopefully not be necessary, until October or November at the earliest with a completely different doctor. I have a few spots that are still healing but I haven't had any new pimples in a couple of days.

Apparently alcohol really screws up your bloodwork because mine was off the charts back in October and November. I have also had to significantly cut back on the amount of Vitamin-A rich foods I eat to keep my lipids or something down. Currently my cholesterol is slightly elevated but that doesn't really surprise me since both of my parents have high cholesterol and high cholesterol is a side affect of accutane. My nose bleeds are finally under control, which is nice. Lips are dry but not too bad thanks to Burt's Bees, Aquafor, and Rose Salve Treatment.

My dermatologist said that after I finish treatment my skin will gradually become oily again although it should not be as oily as before accutane. Has anyone else been told this?

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I'm DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yay! After 7 months I am so ready to be done. I took my last pill an hour ago. I hope that the changes in my skin will be permanent but realistically that's highly improbable for my type of acne so I've accepted that I'll probably get a few months off and late next fall I'll probably have to do a second round. I really really hope that I'm wrong but I doubt that I am. Best of luck to everyone else!!

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