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Betty Lee

Accu Log From A Product Junkie :)

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Hi all!

I began my first course of accutane one week ago, Marsh 23rd. I have been addicted to researching the drug ever since. It is a scary step and it is important to me to thoroughly understand the risks and take any measures to avoid them. But once I made the decision to take accutane, it was so helpful and inspiring to read about all the success stories on here! So I decided to begin this blog in the hopes that in 4-6 months, I might be an inspirational success story too. smile.png

My ulterior motive is that I am a bit of a product junkie and would like a place to rate and review the mounds of products that will inevitably be accumulated throughout this process. And maybe save some money with some of your reviews as well? wink.png It has only been a week but already I have wasted about $50 and learned that "for dry, sensitive skin" does NOT cut it for accutane skin.

So here's my story so far:

I have moderate but persistent acne, mostly around my chin. Topical products don't work for me and I am allergic to the tetracyclines. I weigh 125 lbs and have been taking 40 mgs for a week now. I will have follow up blood tests in 2 weeks and see my doctor again in 3 weeks. He will bump me up to either 60 mgs or 80 mgs. I am hoping for 60 mgs so that I can build up slower, as I tend to be quite sensitive to medications, and it is exam time. I do not want a repeat of my minocycline reaction which left me nearly incapacitated and shaking from the steroids and massive doses of anti-histamines for three weeks right at the end of my semester! Not fun.

So far I have handled this drug surprisingly well. I have been dry all over. I have been a little bit itchy too, which freaks me out because of the minocycline thing, and have had very minor and transient rashes. I have little bits of blood when I blow my nose in the morning. My back and knees have been a teensy bit sore. Wounds have taken longer to heal; I got a blister from breaking in my springtime flats a few days before starting the accutane. It was healing really quickly until I started taking the pills. Can't wait till I have to break in the flip-flops.

This is really long. Okay I'm going to start a new post getting to the fun part. smile.png

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Okay. So.

The most rewarding thing I have purchased so far is my Rubbermaid BPA-free water bottle. I usually hate carrying around water because it's heavy, but this bottle has made me very happy. It has a finger loop for easy carrying, a big hole for drinking instead of a straw - which also makes it easier to wash - and it's pink! smile.png


I bought some Aquaphor since so many people had given it rave reviews. Ick ick ick! It's just like Vaseline! EW. Also, it left oil stains on my PJs. sad.png Maybe it will be more appropriate later, when I am drier. Also, it would have to be a bedtime moisturiser, since it has no SPF. And I will be sure to wear crappy PJ pants and a long sleeve shirt to not leave oil stains everywhere!

Olive oil: Simple, cheap and amazing! Same grease stain problem but it soaks in much more quickly. I put some in a glass and after my shower, while my skin is still a bit damp, I rub it in everywhere besides my face. I feel like Aquaphor sort of sat on top of my skin, but olive oil soaks right in. Again, head to toe PJS after, including socks. Or you could just prance around naked for fifteen minutes, which is good for building your confidence and your sex life! smile.png

Butterfly Weed Herbals - Green Wisdom All-Heal Salve: Love this stuff! I put it on my little rashes and they clear right up! I've also been using it on my aforementioned blister and it has been helping. It has all those lovely wonderful hippie moisturising things as well as tea tree oil, which is an anti-septic.


Ugh. Stupid face. My make-up looks so flakey. I am currently using a foundation for combination skin, so that might be making it worse. I should buy one for dry skin soon. Any suggestions?

This whole not exfoliating thing is killing me! Even though it says not to on the accutane monograph, I tried using St. Ives - Apricot Scrub for Sensitive Skin. It only made things more peely. sad.png

I have been using Dormer 211 in the daytime. My dermatologist recommended it. So far, I'm not crazy about it. I don't think it is doing enough. But I am not ready to pass judgement quite yet.

I dug out my tub of Nivea - Granny Cold Cream (not the official name) last night. I didn't use it before since it was so thick and greasy that I thought it would make me break out. But it really helped with the flakey make-up skin this morning! I think I will stick with it as a night time moisturiser, since it has no SPF.


ARGH! I was already totally addicted to lip balm so I thought I could handle this without a problem. But, um...Big problem!

Let me just say...Vaseline kind of sucks. A lot of people love it, I know, but I find it masks the problem. It sits on top of the lips but the moisture doesn't penetrate.

Rosebud - Strawberry Lip Balm is much better. It lasts a while before reapplication too. Though it doesn't quite cut it either. Also, it has no SPF.

I am going to try making some sort of almond oil, brown sugar scrub one of these days and see if that helps. Also, I have been researching on sephora.com and makeupalley.com and will be buying Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm SPF 25 soon.


I rubbed some Vaseline inside my nostrils and the bloody spots went away. And I didn't moisturise my ears for the first few days, and they got itchy, so I greased 'em up too!

My scalp has been dry and itchy. I haven't tried anything so far, as it is pretty manageable and I am not so familiar with hair products and don't know what to try. I am sort of distrustful of dandruff shampoos. Especially Neutrogena - T Gel, which I know a lot of people love. It just freaks me out. It has tar in it! Anyway, if this becomes a bigger problem, I'll tackle it then. Maybe I'll just break out my beloved olive oil and do a mask a couple times a week. smile.png

Also, I usually have dry eyes, but they have been especially bad. This sucks, as I am really bad at putting in eye drops. I've been using Tears Naturale II a little bit, but not enough to review. Again, I'll tackle this later if it gets much worse.

Aside from dealing with the dryness problems, I haven't needed to do much in terms of coping with side effects. I have been avoiding vitamin A in my diet. My dermatologist told me that this wasn't necessary, but I am a vegetarian and probably consume more than the average person.

While I'm at it, does anybody know if green tea is dehydrating? Not because of the caffeine, but because of the diuretic factor. I tried to research it, but there seem to be a lot of opinions and little conclusive evidence.

Wow. That was fun. I hope I didn't bore you all out of your minds, but I know that I am a junkie for these kinds of blog-reviews. smile.png

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Our start dates are very close! I just started on the 27th.

I have been very itchy & I am only on day three. My makeup is looks flakey by the end of the day.

I hope we both have success with Accutane. smile.png

Edited by kaydon
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Kaydon - Cool! We can be accutane buddies. :) I find it surprising how dry I am already. Especially since my derm is going to double my dose in a few weeks. Eek. What dosage are you on? Are you super excited for a summer of not drinking and avoiding the sun like I am? ;)

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I am also very dry already! It's amazing how strong this drug is. I am on 60mg/day. I am pretty bummed that I'm going to have to avoid the sun this summer and not have fun nights of drinking! That's going to be so hard. But I think that it will be so worth it. :)

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Agreed. I don't drink much, but I sure do like the option! Particularly during the summer months. I live in Quebec, where we have a long, brutal winter and everybody lives for summer months drinking in the sun. Ah well, maybe I'll take up knitting or something.

I'm managing the dryness pretty well, but it's just so much work! I can't believe I'm going to have to do this for at least 4 months! But again, it'll be worth it.

Have you noticed any other side effects? How is your acne reacting? I feel like I cleared up quite a bit after 2 days of taking it, and then everything came back. But my skin looks less irritated. I have rosacea and I think I'm reacting badly to my daytime moisturiser, so I get a bit of fire engine face in the morning, but in the evenings my complexion looks more even toned, besides from the individual pimples.

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I've got 5 months & I'm definitely kind of nervous about dealing with such dryness. I'm hoping that these months fly by.

The only other side effects that I've noticed was an awful back-ache two days after starting. Also, I had a couple awful headaches, but I get headaches quite often so it might not be because of the Accutane. My acne got worse after a few days of starting. I'm only on my 5th day and my acne looks less red and irritated, & some small blemishes have completely disappeared. I'm very happy with the results so far. I've also noticed that if I moisturize enough my makeup looks smooth & a lot nicer than it did before.

Edited by kaydon
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Hi Betty Lee! First of all, welcome aboard and good luck with your treatment J I am 4 weeks in myself and I have seen amazing results so far. Fingers crossed you are the same!

So I’ve just read your first posts and I have to say totally agree with you about the products – there is definitely a lot of trial and error and wasted money involved! I'm not sure how much my experience will help you since I am in the UK, but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to tell you a bit about it anyway since it has taken me aaaages to get products I am fairly happy with…


I have been using Cetaphil face wash and moisturiser in the morning and evening, which I do like but I find the moisturiser to be REALLY greasy. I have continued to use it though, because all others I have tried have not been nearly strong enough to keep the dryness at bay. If I find any better ones I’ll let you know…

Like you, I have also been exfoliating my face but only once a week. I have been using Botanics Organic Facial Exfoliator from Boots, and (after my initial heavy-handed attempt which ended in a major case of red face) I have been using it as gently as I can so it only skims the surface of my face. That seems to get rid of the dead skin without adding to the peeling.


This is where I have been using Aquaphor. Like you, I didn’t like it as a regular moisturiser, but for lips I think it is amazing! I put LOADS on before bed and my lips haven’t been nearly as dry when I wake up.

I have been using Blisteze lip moisturiser during the day too, which is great. You may already know this, but someone else on here pointed out that ‘lip moisturisers’ work much better than ‘lip balms’, as a balm will only trap in the moisture you already have in your lips – which on Accutane is none – but a moisturiser will replace any moisture you have lost. I have found this to be totally helpful when trying to find products. I have also been exfoliating my lips with a soft toothbrush when I brush my teeth too, which gets rid of the flaky look quite well!


I have tried about 5 different body moisturisers since I started, and the best I have found (by far) is a product called Palmers Cocoa Butter, which leaves me moisturised but not sticky like some other rich moisturisers do.


E45 dry scalp shampoo (really gentle) and Bumble & Bumble Super Rich conditioner. I also got an amazing tip from my hairdresser, who told me that if I feel like I need extra moisture in my hair/scalp to use olive oil as a deep conditioning hair mask. Warm it up, apply it to damp hair and leave for 20 mins, then wash off and shampoo hair as normal. This is a tip they give to people suffering from chronic dandruff apparently, but do note that you don’t need much – my hair looked a bit greasy the first time I did it because I used too much!

Anyway, sorry for hijacking your log with my huge post, hopefully some of my ramblings will help you!

J x

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Wow Joannarama! Great tips; I love it!

Maybe if you tried using Cetaphil at night and something lighter in the morning the greasiness would be less problematic? I have been using Nivea cold cream, which is super thick and greasy, at night and Clinique Dramatically Different Lotion in the morning. I was using the Clinique before Accutane and it doesn't do much, but my make-up goes on smoothly. Maybe this will change when I increase my dosage though. The facial dryness has evened out since I stopped using the Dormer 211 which my dermatologist recommended but I had a bad reaction to.

I didn't know that there was a difference between lip moisturisers and lip balms! I will have to investigate this further! Unfortunately all the pharmacies I have been to have really lame selection for lip products. Maybe an excuse to hit up Sephora again? :)

Great tips about the olive oil hair mask and the Palmer's Cocoa Butter. I was considering trying both of these things and will definitely do so now that I've heard that they worked for you!

Have you heard of a brand called First Aid Beauty? I have been reading really good reviews and am thinking about ordering some. It's a bit pricey though.

What dosage are you on? When did you start to see results?

I am on 40 mg for my first month, and I am 10 days in. I can't tell if anything is changing yet. I still have pimples, but I feel like everything is a bit less red and irritated. Did you experience this?

Kaydon -

Oh no! That sucks about the backaches and headaches! Do you know why Accutane causes those? I'm curious. I have seen them listed as side effects but never the reason why. Maybe the headaches might be from dehydration? I have had pain in both of my knees. It's pretty irritating as I tend to sit cross legged most of the time and this is no longer comfortable. Overall though, these are just minor irritations and I am quite impressed and surprised by how well I have reacted. It's not so scary at all!

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Hey! Sorry for the late reply, I visit this site at work and every time I've tried to sneak on this week I've been asked to do something so I've not had much chance :D How dare they ask me to do something work related?!

Anyways, glad you liked some of the tips. Hopefully they work for you, but you know what these things can be like - amazing for one person and terrible for another.

To answer some of your questions, I have never heard of First Aid Beauty but I am definitely going to look into it now. I have been known to spend a small fortune on products in the past too, so I'm sure the price won't be too shocking! (And I wonder why I have no savings...)

In terms of dosage, I was on 30mg for the first month and am now on 60mg for the next 3. As far as I am aware, I am only on a 4 month course, but I really want to speak to my derm about that as if I finish then I won't have reached the minimum dose for my weight.

As for results, I noticed them properly after about 2 weeks. As of today, I still haven't had an IB, and my old acne is pretty much gone now :D I genuinely can't believe how lucky I've been! I'm actually scared to believe it because I've always been someone who had no luck with treatments of any kind.

An update on the Cetaphil too - since I upped my dose to 60mg (10 days ago now I think) the dryness has really increased, so I am much happier with it now.

How are you getting on with your course?

J x

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hey! your thread caught my eye since i'm a total product junkie too, haha. my drawers are FILLED with acne-stuff, all of which i can't use anymore since i'm on accutane shifty.gif

for lips - def get the jack's intense therapy from sephora. just bought the lemon-scented one yesterday, LOVE. aquaphor is the popular vote on these boards it seems, but it feels too greasy/oily for me. i mean, i have tubes of it everywhere, but not my favorite. just ordered dan's cortibalm online, we'll see how that goes =) i also like carmex and blistex in the blue tub quite a bit.

face - i've been using some evian spray before moisturizing to lock in moisture since our skin seems to not produce any anymore and it's been REALLY helping with the flakes! my foundation usually balls up and kinda "cakes" now in little patches by mid-day since i'm so dry (NEVER a problem before, i'd just be an oil slick) but after spraying with evian and immediately moisturizing and then applying my foundation, seems to be much better/smoother :D you can get the little travel size bottles at sephora!

body - in shower lotions! olay! look it up. i'm lazy, so i prefer these :)

i still use an exfoliator on my face actually, it's too freaking flaky. have you head of this asian product called cure natural aqua gel? (http://www.amazon.com/Cure-Natural-Aqua-Gel-250ml/dp/B001ABLKK2) it's HYPER POPULAR in asia, and it's mostly water based, but when you rub it on your skin little balls of white flecks gently roll up and are removed from your skin! i also really like LUSH products - i'm using angels on bare skin and it seems to be gentle enough (i'm on my third month now).

i dunno, just some things hehe -- let me know your favorite products!!! makeup-wise too, i try to find more liquidy concealers (touche eclat, givenchy). foundation i'm still experimenting with finding the perfect one (i've gone through so many for dry skin, MUFE for face&body, lancome teint miracle, nars sheer glow-- blah, they were all just okay but i'm scared of them breaking me out) but hopefully i'm almost there haha. =)

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Sorry for neglecting this! At first I was waiting for something worth mentioning to happen, and then the end of semester collided with a nasty cold and a new accutane side effect - complete exhaustion - but I have a week's reprieve before my next exam so here goes...

As for results, I noticed them properly after about 2 weeks. As of today, I still haven't had an IB, and my old acne is pretty much gone now biggrin.png I genuinely can't believe how lucky I've been! I'm actually scared to believe it because I've always been someone who had no luck with treatments of any kind.

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Okay, and now for an update:

I am 3 weeks in now. I think I might have had my breakout last weekish, though it wasn't terrible. I was feeling pretty bad, but when I compared my progress pictures I definitely saw improvement. I'm still getting at least one whitehead per day, but only one small cyst is sticking around. My father - a very sensitive individual - came over yesterday and said "Hey! I didn't even notice your skin because your face looks so normal! All that volcano shit is gone!" Thanks Dad. I'm just getting pimples in weird places. Like on my neck or under my chin. Which is yucky and hard to cover up. But everything is definitely smoother and less irritated.

My skin dryness is manageable, even with my stupid cold. No nosebleeds so far, even with my stupid cold. My knees are getting better but my back is getting worse. And I am fucking exhausted! I think it's the accutane meets end of semester meets cold, but I am just wiped out like I have never experienced before. I usually hate naps, but I've been taking them sometimes - lucky it's exam period and I can do that! But my summer school is at night, so I'm worried about how I'll manage that. :(

Back to my experiments:

I bought the CeraVe lotion since so many people swear by it. I don't love it, but I like it. I find it a bit filmy, which feels yucky. But it definitely soaks in a bit, which is good. I'll probably try the cream for night time. As mentioned earlier, I really like Palmer's Cocoa Butter, but I need to find an unscented body moisturiser for when I wear perfume. Maybe I'll use the CeraVe cream for my body too.

My lips are pretty frustrating! I knew that they would be dry on accutane, but I didn't realize that it would be non-stop. As in if I go 10 minutes without anything on them, they will crack. It's crazy high maintenance! Anyway, I've been using Aquaphor when I'm at home, including loading it on overnight. I don't love it, but it's comfortable enough, which is the most I think I can ask for right now. For during the day, I bought Eucerin Intensive Lip Balm. It's okay. Doesn't last as long as Aqauphor, which isn't saying a whole lot.

I still want to try this First Aid Beauty stuff, but the Sephoras are in the suburbs, which is really annoying! They didn't have at one location, I'll try the next when some charitable soul is willing to drive me. I want to be able to test it before buying, since it's not cheap and accutane dryness is incomparable to regular dryness.

Anyway. I'm just starving to death right now. I had a Passover seder last night and ate dessert at about 10. I have to go for a blood test today, having fasted for 16 hours. Argh. Also, a question for whoever is willing: I have a doctor's appointment next Thursday. I am 125 lbs, on 40 mgs for my first month. I think he said he wanted to increase me to 80 mgs and that he wasn't sure yet if it would be a 4 or a 6 month course. Is it just me or is 80 mgs insanely high for my weight? I do like him, but he's a bit gruff and pushy so I don't want to get trampled on and end up with a prescription I'm not comfortable with.

Thanks for reading my whining. I get cranky when I'm hungry. :)

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