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CatMama

30/f Smiling And Ready To Kick Acne Out!

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Hi new friends,

I have been lurking here forever and I just want to say how much you guys have helped me without even knowing it! I've researched products, advice and related to so many of your posts over the years. So a long due thank you is first in order. I've read over so many of these logs so I decided it was only fair to share my own story and adventure...

I'm Pamela. I'm 30 years old and I suffer from acne. I've pretty much suffered from acne since my early teenage years. I remember my mother taking me to the dermatologist in middle school and not improving much. Eventually I stopped going and I got to be in my 20's. In my early 20's my acne was mild but always there. I can say that I don't recall ever being clear since being... 13 years old? It's been a while. When I got in my late 20's I had hoped I was over this but unfortunately it came back with a vengeance. Not only did I start to break out more severely but they were cystic painful bumps, especially along my jawline. Over the last few years and many (!) different dermatologist visits I have tried Solodyn, Monodox, Minocycline, Duac Gel, Acanya, Ziana, Aczone, Tazorac, Atralin, Epiduo and Tretin-X. I also went off Birth Control for multiple months per suggestion from my Gynecologist and tried a dairy free diet for months. There was alot but nothing worked...

In February this year I tried to a new dermatologist, a female in fact. I'm not saying a female dermatologist was better but right off the bat she related to me on a different level and questioned my hormone levels. No male doctor surprisingly ever did this. She recommended Spironolactone to me and I tried for a few months. I didn't feel like it did much although I did lose some of the big bumps along the jawline. Unfortunately this medicine was brutal to me and had me in severe cramps (honestly, they were the worst) and made my menstrual cycle last all month long. Long story short, it wasn't a good experience. So then I finally made up my mind that I needed to try Accutane. I knew of this miracle drug for some for a long time but I was always a little scared of it. At my next dermatologist appointment I told her I thought it was time. She was completely positive about this and told me let's do it. So we began. On the same visit, she took my blood, took a pregnancy test and told me all about the pain in the butt iPledge system. She told me to make a appointment for 1 month later and then I could begin.. that appointment was yesterday!

Side note: I read multiple posts on here that said to fast when getting blood taken for Accutane. This is bad bad bad (!) idea! What to know why? I passed out the first time in the dermatologist office after getting blood taken. I didn't fast but my appointment was in the late afternoon and I only had breakfast that day. After getting blood taken, I thought I was fine and walked up to the receptionist desk to make a appointment... and then it hit me, I knew I was going to pass out. I grabbed a seat and then continued to blank out for a minute. I woke to amazing nurses surrounding me with ice packs, water bottles and fruit bars for me to eat. So don't fast! Eat... Treat yourself to a donut or a great lunch. Seriously though, eat. My doctor told me you should never fast before this. I also have to say how awesome my doctor and nurses were to me when I passed out. I can't even imagine if I passed out 5 minutes later while waiting for the subway... how horrible that would have been. The next day I sent the doctor's office a dozen of delicious cupcakes. Nurses and doctors love you for that.

So on Friday I showed up for my next blood test and to get my 1st prescription! I made sure to eat before it! The nurses again were so kind to me, both because they didn't want me to pass out again... and they still were raving about those cupcakes! Anyways, I didn't pass out!

My doctor put me on Absorica 30MG once a day for the first 30 days. She said I will move up on month 2. I am 125 pounds. She said most likely I will be on this for 6 months. She said Absorica is a new version of Accutane and absorbs into the body much better and doesn't need to rely on food or fat to make the medicine work at its best. With a coupon the doctor gave me it should cost $10 (with insurance).

So today being Saturday, I'm told my blood tests will be back on Tuesday, she will call it in, I will do my iPledge homework and then I will excitedly run to Target to start this journey!

I'm extremely anxious, excited but positive. I promised myself that even if I have a horrible initial breakout I will still keep smiling. So for that every photo I take for this log must be with a smile! In all seriousness though my acne has taken me to some dark places which I'm sure you can all relate to. It's hindered relationships, friendships and my professional career. I work in fashion and advertising and it's been of a self conscious bummer when you are having a meeting to possibly direct a big makeup campaign and you have acne. Or try having cystic bumps all over your jawline and literally standing next to some of the most beautiful rated women in the world while trying not to internally cringe. It's horrible to think this way, I know, but it happens. My husband has been incredibly (!) supportive though all the years of acne so I have to give him props on those cancelled dinner dates or the tears I have cried throughout the years. I've really been expressive to him on how horrible acne can be, but I think it's hard for those that don't have acne to truly understand the emotional damage it can do.

I am looking forward to the positive change this hopefully can bring in my life... Wishing for clear skin!

I'll leave you with some photos that hopefully help some.

See you guys on Day 1!

5/24/14:

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How much blood is needed for my monthly test. I didn't pass out! High 5.
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I kid you not, this is the official brochure for Absorica. Seriously a $ instead of a S? What were they thinking? This looks like a shady advertisement on the subway!
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Let's go!
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Thanks everyone!

I was supposed to start Tuesday... but my doctor confirmed me in the iPledge system almost as they closed for the day. Then I raced online, took the test (some of the questions are ridiculous) and ran to Walgreen's Pharmacy. Unfortunately they were all out and it would take 3 days to come in! So then I raced to Target and they told me they were all out too and it'd be in Thursday! AGH! I just want to begin.. so I said ok. So then I walked home from Target and when I got home I got a text that said my prescription was ready! I called them confused. It was there they told me! But I only had 5 minutes and no way I could get there in time.

Anyways, I got them today! HOORAY!

Without insurance they would have been $972.99. With insurance they were $20, but I also had a $10 coupon the doctor gave me so it came out to $10. An hour later I popped my first pill... now the journey begins!

Guess I better get used to seeing this lovely image everyday.

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Edited by CatMama
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Good luck!! I'm following your journey. Hope it's a smooth one for you. :)

I am also on absorica, but I am on 60mg/day. I also got the same $10 coupon which is very nice! Not sure if you know but you should be able to use it for at least 5 of your prescriptions.

Make sure you drink lots of water to combat headaches the first couple weeks especially.

Aquaphor will be your new best friend!

Edited by Bordercol71
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Good luck!! I'm following your journey. Hope it's a smooth one for you.

I am also on absorica, but I am on 60mg/day. I also got the same $10 coupon which is very nice! Not sure if you know but you should be able to use it for at least 5 of your prescriptions.

Make sure you drink lots of water to combat headaches the first couple weeks especially.

Aquaphor will be your new best friend!

Thanks for following! Good luck on your journey too! Thanks for letting me know about the coupon, they gave it back to me at the store so I will be sure to take it with me just in case on every prescription pickup.

Headaches are something I've battled with often in the past so I'm not looking forward to more of them. Yesterday I drank so much water I was running home to go pee! ;)

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Day 3:
This is my first "progress" update.
So far no side effects but I wasn't expecting anything for a few more days anyways.
I will say that I went to Yoga for the first time in my life yesterday to try to release some stress. This morning when I woke up I noticed that I had sore muscles and I saw a few small whiteheads near my mouth. I'm going to say these are both more related to Yoga/sweating then Accutane, but still acknowledging it. Basically Yoga kicked my butt!
Edited by CatMama
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Ha ha @ The shady subway ad. It's like something Dr Zizmore would put up. Good luck on your course. I've been to this rodeo 3 times already so if you have any questions, let me know.

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Day 5 - no real side effects yet. A few new pimples but they seem pretty normal. My skin is still oily as usual in the day. One thing I noticed is that when I apply my nightly moisturizing cream it tingles a little bit (nothing that hurts) in the corners of my nose. This is usually a sign that dry skin is coming for me.

Edited by CatMama
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Day 6: Dryness is slowly creeping on. The bottom of my nose is visibly dry. Also lips feel like something is changing. I'm not dry to the point of it's hard to put on makeup or flaking yet, but definitely starting to see small signs.

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Week 1: I made it a week! Yay!

No big changes to really talk about. Did get a couple new dots but nothing to run for the hills about yet. Did have 2 new spots more on the front of my face, compared to usually on the sides, which was a bit odd. Need to remember not to pick... it's hard though! Have noticed that my lower legs are extremely itchy, what I'm assuming is dry skin? When I get into the shower at night and the water hits them I can feel a little burn.

Anyone else ever get the dry legs?

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Its very hard not to pick, I have the same trouble reminding myself. However for me I have noticed that if you leave them alone they don't seem to last as long. Try putting some neosporin on them at night, I noticed a difference the next morning after doing so. I don't have dryness on my legs but Ive used lotion everyday for years so maybe it will come to me later. Good luck to ya! :)

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Day 10... first 10 pack gone!

Some observations from this week:

1. My scalp is getting dry. I washed my hair last night and afterwards while combing I saw skin coming off on my part line. I researched this and it seems like it's fairly common?

2. We've had a few hot days here lately (and many more to come with Summer around the corner), so with that along with my regular oily skin, I'm still looking as oily as ever.

3. I'm always prone to sunburn but with this I feel like it's even more strong. I started wearing a SPF 50 UV hat whenever I walk anywhere. I also got a special SPF 50UV shirt that I wear in our rooftop garden where the rays are particularly harsh. I noticed my nose got a little red from the sun by just walking to and from work, so I'm going to start to reapplying some SPF to help. This is something I wanted to get better at anyways as my skin usually doesn't get along with the sun.

My new hat/shirt to protect me from the sun in the garden... along with some broccoli we picked!

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4. Although I am trying not to pick, I notice that if I do, it's much more painful if I try to squeeze a spot. I think this is because lack of oil is starting and the skin won't stretch making it hurt. Note to self, it hurts... don't pick.... why can't I understand this?!

5. I got about 12 new spots this week, from the side of my face to the bottom of my chin to below my eyes. They're a mixture of white heads and cysts. I have no idea if this is the IB or not, but if it is, I'll take it as I know it could be worse! IB is what scares me the most...

6. It's very weird to stop using acne products. I've grown so used to applying gels, creams, etc to my face during the day and at night. I'm used to spot treating as soon as I see something new. Right now It's just cleanser, moisturizer and night cream so I put away my entire drawer full of acne products.... goodness did I collect alot of products over the year, I think I can open a little shop with everything I bought. I love how quick it makes my nightly routine... just a slather of night cream and I'm done!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Edited by CatMama
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Day 20. Surprisingly doing well.

Last week I hardly had any new spots until the end of the week then 3 cysts popped up on my right higher cheek. These ones are recovering now. I was feeling good with the early results last week and feeling even better when someone complimented me and said my skin looked smooth and glowing. Seriously, my skin? So after that I was high stepping for the day.

My lips are chapped (and feel heavy and dirty) and I've been using Aquaphor at night and Dr. Dan's CortiBalm on them during the day. I tried smiling with teeth in the below pictures but the smile looks uncomfortable with dried lips.. so closed mouth it is!

My skin is slightly chapped (more so closer to the nose). I have on tinted moisturizer in the below pictures, nothing else, so you can see how slight makeup holds to the skin.

No other side effects that are worth noting.

This Friday I go in for my next monthly dermatologist appointment.

Have a good week everyone!

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To compare, this was my right side on May 22, not even a month ago.
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Edited by CatMama
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Guest GetMeTheResults

What kind of a tinted moisturizer are you using? You look fantastic :)

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What kind of a tinted moisturizer are you using? You look fantastic

Thank you!

I'm using Tarte BB Tinted Cream. It's one of my fav products... ever!

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Guest GetMeTheResults

I reread your post to see what other things you've tried before accutane, because i also break out around the jawline since recently...and I've also had acne since a young teenager, but it was on my cheeks mostly.

I saw my derm on Friday and because of a new cyst and some nodules I need some more injections so I'll see him again tomorrow.

I think I am also ready to take accutane, still a little afraid of it, but idk what to do anymore.

What was your regimen the year before you got on accutane?

Thanks <3

Edited by GetMeTheResults
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Your before and month after pics look great I can definitely see a difference. Yay!! This past month I feel like there have been no new breakouts one week then the next week a couple breakouts. So up and down for me, but I'm loving my skin right now such and improvement from when I first started!

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Month 2 begins today!

Gosh what a journey it's been getting my 2nd month prescription.

So I went last Friday to my dermatologist and got the blood tests done. I didn't pass out - yay! Then my husband and I walked around the city a little running some errands. When we were about to jump on the subway I realized my doctor never gave me a prescription - ugh! So I quickly called them and they told me they would just throw the prescription in the mail right away. Since it only had to travel 4 miles to my home I thought it would be fine. Monday comes, I get a call from that my blood tests were good and I could hop on to the iPledge to fill out my questions. So I went online and answered my monthly ridiculous set of questions. I thought my prescription would come in the mail on Monday - nope. Tuesday - nope. Wednesday - nope. This is when I began to freak out. So I called the dermatologist and they told me they have no idea what happened, but my doctor is only in that office Friday, so if it doesn't come in the mail I could stop by the office and pick it up then. Well Thursday comes, no prescription in mail. So then it gets to today, Friday. I have bad fears because since I use Absorica usually pharmacies always have to order it. My iPledge runs out Sunday night. That means that if I go to a pharmacy today and they have to order it, it won't come in until Monday... which would not work. So I woke up early today and called my local Target. Nope, they wouldn't have it till Monday. Called 5 other pharmacies, nope, don't have it. Finally I called a 24 hour Walgreen's in Union Square and although they didn't have it, they told me the Walgreen’s at Astor Place has it. So I call them and they tell me they DO NOT have it. Then I explained that Union Square said it was in the system. The girl was annoyed but put me on hold. Turns out they did have it. I confirmed they had my MG and quantity.

So then I rushed to the subway to go to my Dermatologist office. It’s 90 degrees here and goodness was I sweating up a storm to get there quick. I get to the Dermatologist office and everyone is on lunch there so I felt a bit bad interrupting their lunch but they were nice about it (after all, it was their fault). They wrote me a new prescription and then I was on my way to the pharmacy. I got 2 blocks away and then I looked at the prescription. Agh. They wrote me a prescription for Accutane, not Absorica. So then I walked back to the Dermatologist. They saw they wrote the wrong one for me, so then wrote out a new one. Then I walked the 20 blocks to Walgreen’s hoping that they still had my Absorica. If they didn’t have it I was pretty sure I was going to be screwed with the iPledge system.

I get to Walgreen’s, give them my iPledge card, my $10 Absorica coupon and they confirmed they had it and it would be ready in 10 minutes! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!

What a stressful time, but I got it.

Price: $10 (with insurance, with coupon)

Insurance receipt says: Insurance saved you $1898.09. Ugh.

So Month 2 is here and my dermatologist changed me from 30MG once a day to 30MG twice a day. So it’s 60MG daily now.

Side effects:
Dry lips. They aren’t bleeding but they are dry and like I mentioned earlier, they feel dirty.

Dry nose (inside). Every day I wake up I have to pretty much stick a Q-tip with Vaseline up my nose. Throughout the day it stays dry and hurts if I press on it. I’ve never had a nose bleed in my entire life so I’m hoping I won’t get one.

Dry nose (outside). The only real place you can see my face is dry is on my nose. My nose looks like it’s pushing everything out of it, so you can see pores and black heads and skin. It’s weird to look at. You can only see this up close though. I made my husband stare at my nose a few days ago up close and he said it was wild. I agree.

Breakout: I had a few good weeks during Month 1 but towards the end I started to break out unfortunately. I got a few new big cysts on my upper cheeks which is a major bummer. I got some by my chin. I’m not in love with these big new spots so I’m hoping they disappear soon. I will admit to being a picker so I’m sure I don’t make things better but sometimes I can’t control myself. I’m bad, I know. Anyways, I'm trying to be positive and trying to not let the breakout affect my days. It's hard, but I'm trying.

Lately my lower back has really been hurting. I had a sore back prior to taking Accutane so I don’t know if this is caused by it or not. I noticed that if I walk or do work, it starts to hurt very quickly. It hurts right at the very bottom of my tailbone and the last few days it’s been pretty painful. Today when I was walking home I kept getting real sharp pains. Again, I have no idea if this is Accutane related or not. If it doesn’t get better in the next few days I will go to the doctor to get it checked out. I'll post a update when I know.

Question: Do you have a good makeup remover that is not super powerful with chemicals? My dermatologist told me that everything I use on my face should be very light. I have been using Cerave Hydrating Cleanser which I really love, but it does not remove makeup at all. It especially gives concealer a real hard time. After I wash my face at night you can still see my makeup hanging around on certain areas of my face. With it being so humid in the summer right now the makeup really sticks to my skin. I wanted to know if you guys had any good suggestions for makeup remover? Even something where I could just spot the areas that have the makeup sticking to them?

Happy weekend everyone!

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Guest GetMeTheResults

Hey girl,

I'm so sorry to hear that you had to jump through so many hoops to get your medication. This is a bit unrelated, but I thought I'd get on Accutane this Monday as I've already given blood and urine a week ago. I was wondering however, if there any possible hurdles that may come my way. For example, I went through the iPledge brochure and from what I understood I can go ahead and take it on Monday. Then I read a summary of the iPledge system on a PDF file and it said females should wait a month before starting. I was really hoping to begin treatment in 3 days, so I am really confused if I'd be able to.

Edited by GetMeTheResults
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Hey girl,

I'm so sorry to hear that you had to jump through so many hoops to get your medication. This is a bit unrelated, but I thought I'd get on Accutane this Monday as I've already given blood and urine a week ago. I was wondering however, if there any possible hurdles that may come my way. For example, I went through the iPledge brochure and from what I understood I can go ahead and take it on Monday. Then I read a summary of the iPledge system on a PDF file and it said females should wait a month before starting. I was really hoping to begin treatment in 3 days, so I am really confused if I'd be able to.

Hey there,

Are you from USA? If so, this is how it worked for me on the first time.

I went to the doctors, got urine and blood tests done. (April 22)

Blood and urine tests came back good. Doctor went ahead and entered me in iPledge. (April 24)

Then I made a followup appointment 1 month after when I got the original urine/blood tests done. (May 23)

Then on that appointment I got my prescription for my first month of Accutane. On that appointment I also took my next blood test.

Blood results came back on May 27. Doctor then entered my test results in iPledge. I went on their website and took the test.

I physically had the first month box of Accutane in my hands on May 28.

I know it stinks to have to wait a extra month from first test. During this time your Docor will enter you in the iPledge system, you will get your iPledge card in the mail (take this to your pharmacy when you fill a prescription), set up your online account, etc.

Hope that helps!

Your before and month after pics look great I can definitely see a difference. Yay!! This past month I feel like there have been no new breakouts one week then the next week a couple breakouts. So up and down for me, but I'm loving my skin right now such and improvement from when I first started!

Thanks girl! Right now it's just ups and downs for me!

Edited by CatMama
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