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Hi everyone -

I am back on here after about 7 months of being away. I joined in 2012 because I had moved to Colorado and started having worse break outs than I had ever had in my life. I tried the oil cleansing method, amongst other things, which led me to getting very infected inflamed and cystic breakouts all over. I was put on antibiotics and spironolactone for a while, and it finally calmed down the inflamed acne. I had tons of clogged pores at the time caused by the oil cleansing method - after about 10 months of anxiety ridden acne hell, things got back to a manageable level. I moved back to Texas and got off all oral medications, but continued to use Retin a Micro and sometimes Differin when the Retin a was too harsh. After a few months I started getting more and more inflamed acne, including the occasional cyst. My face has not gotten back to the level it was in CO, but it goes in cycles throughout the month. I got back on Spironolactone for several months, but I still can't seem to get it completely under control. I have had mild acne since I was a teenager, but it has only recently turned into mild to moderate that is just so darn persistent. I am 28 and the Dermatologist has told me hormones sometimes do weird things at that age for females. Antibiotics help some, but can't be used long term. The Spirinolactone improves me about 20-30%, but the problem is, I am so petite that I can't take over 25mg without my period completely disappearing and muscle cramps starting. A higher dose might work better, but I can't go any higher. I have used every retinoid on the market over the years- Retin a micro and Differin work the best, but cause a lot of constant flaking and sun sensitivity after a while. I have been using Finacea for the past few months, which is much gentler than the retinoids, but still isn't cutting it. At current, my skin is super oily and always has clogged pores and black heads. I get inflamed pimples weekly, which increase 5 fold twice a month, especially around the period, with occasional cysts. I am starting to get some small scars now, which I attribute to aging.

My dermatologist has recommended accutane and we are talking about going on a low dose - maybe starting on 10-20 mg and then doing 20-30 mg for 8-9 months. Since my acne is not severe, just persistent, the low dose might work with less side effects. There are a lot of new studies showing that accutane is just as successful in lower doses for mild to moderate acne as it is in people on higher doses with severe acne. I have done my initial pregnancy test and am now waiting 3 weeks until the big plunge! I am hoping to get some advise from anyone who has fought moderate acne or used low dose accutane.

Initial break out?

What chapsticks and moisturizers did you use?

What supplements?

How long until results show and what kind of side effects?

How long was your course?

Anything to avoid?

Any tips are greatly appreciated as I begin this journey!

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The days are creeping closer! It's the week before my period and so I am entering into my lovely breakout phase. I have a bunch of pimples around my mouth and chin and a sudden burst of clogged pores and white heads on my forehead. It's amazing how in one day my face can suddenly double it's oil production and cause 5-7 sudden new pimples. The weird thing is this happens at least twice a month...so I am not sure of the relation to my hormones, but one of the times is always around the period. I am also genetically oily skinned...my skin was oily when I was in my early 20s and had very little breakouts and my Dad and Mom both have oily skin (my Dad actually did accutane in his 30s).

I am trying to figure out how to handle the sun sensitivity issue since I will be starting in May and live in Texas and love the sun....

Anybody have any comments??

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Hi there!

I am a super lover of low dose accutane, even though I have never tried it! I am a medium doser, ha ha! I have done 40 mg/day throughout my course and will continue with that. I'm in month six of a planned seven month course.

I'm super intrigued by the low dose research lately, though. I always thought I was at a disadvantage because I just can't take more than 40 a day - it makes me really nauseous. I started doing research, expecting to find that higher daily doses led to better outcomes, and it was quite the opposite.

It makes a lot of sense to me that suppressing your sebaceous glands for a longer time might be more effective, and why suffer the side effects if you don't have to?

Best of luck with your course.

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Did my bloodwork today....going for my appointment to get the accutane tomorrow!! I am excited/nervous. I really want this to go well and not have any terrible side effects. I bought some N-acetylcysteine (NAC) for liver support and biotin for hair/skin health to take while on it. I bought some Dr.Dans cortibalm and backup moisturizer in preperation. Anything else I need to prepare myself for??

Here goes...

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So.....went to the doc today to get my accutane prescription and apparently the medical assistant forgot to register me in ipledge when I came in and did my initial test a month ago....so I have to wait another month before I can start. They told me there was nothing they could do except lie and say I have had a total hysterectomy...so that is a huge bummer. They comped my office visit today and told me I wouldnt have to come in next month, they would just call me and tell me they had filled the prescription. Grrrrr :/

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Does anyone know if accutane helps heal very shallow acne scars ? I read conflicting ideas online, but it made sense that it would since it's a retinoid and greatly increases cell turnover.

I have never really gotten any scars before until this last 6 months when I started using benzyl peroxide and hydrocortisone... And now I have discovered that hydrocortisone impairs wound healing and thins the skin...so crap. I hope it isn't permanent. They aren't craters or anything you can see without getting super close in the right light..just slight thin areas of the skin. I read that it's reversible from hydrocortisone so here's to hoping. I'm using retinoids only now to help repair collagen.

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Sorry to hear about them not entering you in the system. That really stinks that you have to wait because of someone else's error.

My story is semi like yours. I'm 30 and took Spironolactone and gels but the Spironolactone was too much for my body to handle and I had side effects that I just couldn't deal with anymore (imagine your monthly cycle and all related side effects lasting.. all month). I'm on 20MG of Accutane now (Absorica) and I'm on Day 9. I wish I could help you with the answer about scarring but I can't.. so I will wait for someone else to help out. I've also read conflicting reports. I used to never scar then suddenly in the last few months I started and to me it's worse then the acne itself. Nothing makes me more insecure than knowing the side of my face has scarring on it and that I can't even cover it up with makeup. Ugh.

Chapstick, use aquaphor. Your dermatologist might even have samples to give you.

​For moisturizer I use Cerave. I have both a AM lightweight one and a PM cream one that is heavier and more soothing.

I've also started using body lotion on my legs as they started to get dry.

For sun sensitivity, always lather on SPF. My moisturizer has SPF in it, as well as my foundation primer. I also found this brand Coolibar that sells SPF 50 UV Clothing, really basic shirts and dresses and hats. In the Summer Time I pretty much don't go outside without a hat on now as I'm pale skinned and even more likely to burn. The hat is pretty cute too. ;)

Good luck!

Edited by CatMama
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In my case- I didn't have any visible pitting before, but since starting accutane I can see a couple spots in places I had breakouts that went away long before accutane. But my derm told me that accutane can actually help with the pitting in the end. So I'm hopeful!

Agree really sucks they didn't register you :( the waiting already sucks and now you're having to wait even longer. I'm on 40mg Absorica on day 28 and it feels like Ive gotten several side effects. Course most come and go and nothing that is too troublesome. Good luck to you, look forward to reading about your accutane journey!

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Have you guys noticed accutane starting to clear a certain part of your face first more than others? My forehead is really out of control right now compared to the rest so I am hoping it effects that. I keep wondering how long it will take to see results on a low dose. 4 days to go!!!

I am going to have to be extra careful during the summer as I am outside a ton. I usually have a pretty dark tan by end of summer because I play soccer and do a lot of outdoor activities. I have friends who like to sun baa the at the pool and my husband and I are moving to new apts with an amazing pool, so I will have to be really careful about that abd lather on the sunscreen.

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Week 1

I just finished week 1 (I started out taking 20 mg every other day, which I will do for 2-3 weeks to wean myself in then bump up to 20 every day as my dose for the rest of the course... Unless somehow I have 0 side effects on that and can bump up to 40 with no side effects but that's doubtful)

So far...absolutely no side effects except maybe that I feel I need a little more water. My face has gotten noticeably drier and clearer just in week 1 which kind of amazes me at such a low dose but I am pretty small and medicine sensitive. It still gets somewhat oily in the evening but overall it's producing less oil... I can touch parts of my face at 5 pm that would have been super moist and breakout prone before. In the past week I got 2 new pimples..both around my mouth. My clogged pores have been making an exit...they all seem to be coming to the surface faster and loosening up then either rubbing off in the shower or popping out with a small squeeze that so far hasn't left any marks....once I up dose I'll probably have to cut that out but hopefully I won't really have many clogged pores soon..My forehead has gotten the most clear...it's really strange that in a weeks it's smoother than it has been in months. It's my moist oily area...my T zone, and that area seems to have lessoned the most in oil. The chin cheeks and jaw area have broken out a lot more for me as an adult and they still have numerous clogged pores that will hopefully vacate with little convincing.

There was even one big one on my jaw that has seriously been there for 9 months that finally popped out and looks like it's finally healing correctly. Strange business.

So...so far results seems pretty good, I know this is only week one but I'm hoping it stays on this trend. That time of the month is coming up so we will see...I am still on 25 mg Spiro that my Derm says I will get off after a month or two of no breakouts.

Edited by lifeinfaith
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Start of Week 2 -

I am really looking forward to upping to 20mg per day at the end of this week instead of every other. I am ready for some more results and for my skin to get drier. I messed up and squeezed several clogged pores last night so now it looks like I have 3-4 pimples on my cheek even though I dont have any new actives....If I could just get that under control I would avoid half of my face catastrophes. You would think the fact that I am on accutane would deter me since you can so easily damage your skin. I put antibiotic ointment on to help them heal. Does anyone know if you can still spot treat with Differin while on a low dose of accutane?

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I just responded to your message in my log, but I saw your question about Differin on here. We are in like the EXACT same skin situation haha. I actually do spot treat with Differin when I get bad red marks. Healing seems to slow on Accutane, and I've heard it speeds up on Differin. I can't say whether it's a good idea or whether it has even helped me but I would only use a very little bit if you do. If your skin isn't super dry yet, it probably wouldn't have bad consequences, but I can't say for sure.

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Got a crazy huge monster pimple yesterday on my chin...the likes of which I have not seen in like 10 years...I'm thinking this might be some IB. I popped it last night but it came back for round 2 today and only popped a little bit...so I'm hoping it's done but am currently chilling with a welt the size of a quarter on my chin....I feel like I'm in college again...lol

Oh and my lips are dry pretty much all day now.

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Day 19- I upped to 20mg every day a couple days ago...and overnight I woke up with my skin flaking. Took a shower and a thin layer of skin came off all over. I am putting on Chapstick a million times a day.

That weird cyst type pimple on my chin died but left a fairly large hard "cyst" in its place. It's under the skin...feels like a lump of tissue...I've had this before after a huge pimple finally dies... Takes a while for the residual inflammation to go away. It's weird, I hadn't had this kind for a long time but I guess accutane will bring this out? I'm also getting a mediumish pimple in between my eye brows.

Good news is... Those marks from squeezing last Monday are gone...but I am noticing one or two more scars/slight indents that I could never see before in places that I havent even touched recently. I've heard this can happen on accutane before they eventually get better?

Well, here's to hoping the side effects don't get too much worse and I stop getting pimples!!! I've been a little more fatigued lately than usual also.

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IB ya!....last night another zit showed up in between my eyes then this morning was huge and swollen. I worked out and took a long hot shower and it came to a head in the shower, and I popped it after. Now its healing flat...but I don't usually get this many large swollen ones this closely timed...and they also dont progress this fast. My derm told me that since my acne was not severe my IB would probably be a few more swollen ones than usual, not a ton of pimples like some get, so it seems to be doing that. Hopefully this only lasts a week or 2 and then I will be closer to clear skin. I pretty much haven't had any white heads since starting accutane (I didn't get a ton of these before) and most of the clogged pores that are left are on the sides of my chin, and a few near my mouth. I have a few red marks on the left side of my face from some old clogged pores I picked (and one mosquito bite) and the left side of my chin looks kind of patchy and red from the monster zit last week..and its still healing. All these are easily covered with concealer though. The healing new pimple in the middle of my eyes kind of makes me look Hindu without concealer on...lol. But its healing now and should be gone in a few days.

Side effects on 20mg - dry lips (not as dry as the day after I upped my dose, that sucked!). Skin peeling every few days. I have noticed lower energy than usual..which could be some fatigue or the fact that I just finished a 6 week Ochem course and am about to start A&P 2 Monday, while working. Its a rough summer. My hair has been getting kind of drier than usual, this morning I actually only used conditioner. Not sure if that is the tane though because sometimes my hair just gets dry and I also switched shampoo, conditioner last month. Perhaps Biolage is too drying. No aches or pains yet. I have been having weird sleeping, been having nightmares that I wake my husband up with almost every night since starting....really weird. We did just move though...so we shall see if that persists. I went out on a boat 4th of July morning and used tons of sunscreen and a hat and this morning my husband and I swam and sat outside a bit (I am in Texas so the sun is blazing away every day all day now) and I haven't noticed an sun sensitivity yet. Making sure to sunscreen my face anytime I am outside. I am already tan though so that probably helps. Almost to one month!

Edited by lifeinfaith
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So one of the supplements I have been taking with Accutane has been biotin, to help protect my skin and hair. I was noticing the past few days that my hair is growing an insane amount of tiny flyaways, its like I have a whole layer of short hair under my normal hair, which is kind of cool but also annoying. I was thinking about how the biotin must really be having an effect on me (taking it for almost 2 months now) and then I looked it up online and found that it can actually cause acne....I wonder if this is the reason I started getting more inflamed pimples than usual (starting the week before I started accutane) and maybe it has not been the IB causing those these last few weeks...I dunno regardless I am stopping it. So the only supplements I am taking now are: juice plus for Vit C, D and E, Hyaluronic Acid, Calcium with D and NAC (for liver support while on tane).

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Guest

I would also suggest Omega-3's & Evening Primrose Oil. These will help with hydration and any joint aches you may have in the future! Also a B Complex for energy :) And if you wanna take it even further, Iron could be good too as I hear Accutane may lower your Iron levels which I suspect could be another cause of hair loss in some people! Iron will be especially beneficial if you're anemic like me :)

Good luck with your treatment!

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Day 22...

What do you guys recommend for moisturizing your face and hair? I have been using my normal oil free moisturuzer but my face is getting so flaky at the end of the day. And I stopped shampooing my hair cause it's dryyy. Other than that just my lips are really dry but not cracked yet.

Chin pimples are dead and their marks are fading but will prob take several weeks cause they were big. Rest of face looks good except a few clogged pores and some shallow scarring that's recently become more visible on my cheeks - I assume from the tane.

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Are you using any topicals? If so, you should stop. There's no need.
At night, use 4-6 drops of Organic Argan Oil under your moisturizer. Also try the Cetaphil Moisturizing CREAM on top of that, rather than the lotion if that's what you're using now. This should do the trick.
As for the hair, I've heard if you do an overnight Coconut Oil hair mask, it is extremely hydrating. Just make sure you shampoo your hair like 2x to get it all out the next morning. As far as shampoo and conditioner goes, the Herbal Essences hydrating shampoo and conditioner has been the best thing for my hair. They're in blue bottles and also coconut scented I believe!

:D

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So no active pimples right now..,little plugs are falling out of my face daily, it's pretty weird. This week the skin on my cheeks has been getting weird and rough looking...like slightly bumpy and uneven. Any insight on whst could be going on there?

Water and lip balm !! Going mountain biking the first time on tane tomorrow.

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1 month!!

I have been so busy this week and don't have much to report in the face realm. I haven't had any new pimples in about 2 weeks...ever since I got some cysty stuff on the side of my chin around that time of the month, nothing else had happened. There are some pink marks where those pretty much healed and I maybe have like 1 clogged pore on my whole face...it's kind of crazy. My face is so smooth and has no oil...not even at end of day now. The bumpy uneveness went away...I think it was the accutane flaking off some layers... For a few days it was like my skin was being remodeled and now some shallow scarring is less noticeable. I get slightly flaky near days end but not noticeable. My face hasn't been this clear in years. I really really hope it stays like this. I think I'm going to up to 30mg next week so well see.

It's like how I imagined normal skin to feel. Dry and fresh all day. I almost want to stay on accutane forever...

On side effects...mostly my lips are affected. They require lots of moisture and aquiphor at night, more irritated feeling than peeling. My scalp is itchy occasionally and I only have to wash it every other day which is pretty nice. I used to be an oil head by the end of the day every day. One thing concerning... Over the past week I have noticed my abdomen looking slightly bloated..like I have never seen it before. Has anyone heard anything about this?

Checkup next Wed! I'm going to ask my Derm then. I had a little bout of some lady issues down there this week, not sure if that's related to tane.

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Day 33!!

Lab work was all clear. Derm told me she thought it was probably the Spiro causing the abdominal bloating and breast pain so I stopping that. No more Spiro!!!!! Ths is day 2 of that. This evening I noticed a few tiny little possible clogged pores on the left side of my mouth, but other than that everything else is just chill.

Moving up to 30mg a day.

Edited by lifeinfaith
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Glad to hear it's going well, and leave those clogged pores alone! Haha. 30 mg is still relatively low I think, so hopefully it's enough to give you all the benefits and few of the side effects! Keep us posted!

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