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DawgDaze64

Old Lady On Accutane50, Female, 40Mg

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I debated whether or not to keep an Accutane log on here and then figured, what the heck. I don't see any logs for anyone close to my age, so maybe my journey will add to the information available for guys and gals in their 40s and 50s who still struggle with acne, and are considering isotretinoin therapy as a result.

This isn't my first go round with this drug. A course of Accutane at age 25 left me completely clear for 15 years. When I went off the pill in early 40s, acne slowly crept back. My acne is intermittent but inflammatory and stubborn. I'll be clear for months, then I get hit with up to a half dozen pustules, nodules, and the occasional cyst, some of which have caused new scaring. Sigh. I'm supposed to be combating aging, not acne-ed, skin at this age. And there are few anti-aging/scar minimizing procedures I can do without being fully clear.

After about 8 years of trying just about every therapy under the sun short of exorcism or voodoo, (including a heavy-hitting six-week flirtation with Spiro earlier this year that left me exhausted and wondering what planet I was living on), I thought, feck it. I'm going to give Accutane another shot.

Popped my first pill this morning, not without a bit of fear. First go 'round, I hardly knew I was on the drug. Except I experienced totally clear skin pretty much from the get go. Dry lips, dry nose, itchy eyes, that's about it. Even though my body is 25 years older, I hope it responds in the same way.

So, on DAY 1, I ironically have little to report, skin-wise. Woke with two tiny pustules, one on each side of my chin, and that "burning/stinging" feeling under another spot that may or may not indicate a cyst just waiting to self actualize. Will it, won't it? We'll see . . .

Good luck to all taking, or considering taking, a similar journey!

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Hi ya DD..

Being 47 I completely understand what you're going through. Totally sucks to be dealing w acne at this age. Like you I can go for weeks and weeks clear, and then BAM i'll get a terrible breakout, unfortunately I get cysts :(...

About 2 years ago I tried Accutane and unfortunately it wasn't for me. It wreaked havoc on my eyes, I was only a month in on a 5 month course and thought it was best to stop it. If I was well into it I wldve stayed on it, but with 4 months left was too scared to. It took some time to get my eyes back to normal and to this day my eyes aren't 100%. I wish I had tried Accutane years ago when I think my body wldve handled it better.

I was doing great upto a couple of weeks ago ..and bam...I think I got around 6 cysts on my chin. I'm a cortisone shot junkie..if I get a cyst I go straight to the derm and get them shot. My tend to get quite big and I just cant have them sitting there. Unfortunately my skin marks so much now even when I get shots, so now im dealing with brown spots which will take awhile to go away.

I'm seriously thinking about spiro now, i'm totally at my wits end. It gets really depressing. You would think after 30 years of suffering acne I would be able to handle it better..but actually I think I handle it a lot worse. Then again my acne didn't turn cystic til my early 40s and that's when the big time anxiety started with my breakouts.

Its funny bc when I first started to get acne I was told it will stop in your 20s...now i'm told I have a good chance of it stopping after menopause..lmao..great like that helps..thats still a few years away for me..and with my luck it wont change a thing.

sorry i'm ranting on your post, lol. Its just I don't see many of us at this age still suffering!!

I will be following your journey and I wish the best of luck to you!! I think it will work great for you!

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Rant away, no worries at all! It's terrible that we're still dealing with this crap at our age and we have few outlets for our frustrations.

I'm sorry Accutane didn't work out for you, and it sounds like you made the right decision. A friend of mine who is a year younger than I couldn't tolerate Accutane, either. Contrary to my experience, though, she LOVES Spiro and it's really helping her. So definitely discuss it with your doc. Most women tolerate it very well, and for some of them, it's a miracle. I just couldn't handle the exhaustion and out of body feeling. But if Accutane doesn't work, I may just have to suffer through it, give it another shot. I hear it takes at least 3–5 months to see results.

I'm not sure if age plays a factor in response to Accutane. I think there are so few people our age on it, that no one really knows. I asked my dermo if she regularly puts women my age on Accutane and she said, "Some." Okaaaaaaayyyyyy. Not helpful.

I'm terrified of all the things I didn't experience the first time around, including hair loss and eye troubles. But I'm trying to think positive.

So I guess I'm a guinea pig, if only for myself. :)

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Guest GetMeTheResults

I don't know how anyone can say Accutane didn't work for them when they haven't run the full course. That's like taking birth control pills only for half the time of the month, and when you get pregnant you say "Birth control didn't work for me."

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I don't know how anyone can say Accutane didn't work for them when they haven't run the full course. That's like taking birth control pills only for half the time of the month, and when you get pregnant you say "Birth control didn't work for me."

Yup. But many people can't stay the course, for whatever reason. Some of the side effects are just too much for some. Others, like me the first time I took it, hardly noticed anything different, except perfectly clear skin.

Based on my many years of research, I think Accutane is the best treatment we have and it's a shame there is so much scare-mongering. If not a "cure" in the traditional sense, it is a powerful drug that knocks acne into long term remission for the vast majority of people who undergo a course. Men in particular seem to respond to it very well. I know several who took it in their mid twenties who decades later have yet to have even a tiny pimple pop up.

Treatment for women I think is much more problematic, given the hormonal component. For instance, why was I so totally clear for 15 years and then my acne came back when I stopped the pill? Was it the pill that kept me clear? Probably not, as I was on it for five years before starting Accutane and my skin was a mess. A combo of the pill AND Accutane? Maybe. Or were my hormones so shocked once I finally went off, that the only way they could respond was by taking it out on my face? Who knows? Also intriguing is why instances of acne post twenties are on the rise. If I were to go into a medical field today, it would be dermatology—seems like there is still much work to be done.

At any rate, too early in DAY 2 for any kind of report, except I just finished breakfast (irony: Amnesteem must be taken with a little bit of fat, but fat makes the cholesterol rise, which is a problem for some on Accutane, including moi, so, ugh.), popped pill #2, and am about to go for a run.

Edited by DawgDaze64

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Hooray for day 2!

Yes it was so disappointing for me to have to stop my course. It had taken me so long to finally to make the decision to go on it, and not being able to finish it was truly heartbreaking. It had taken me about 10 days to decide to come off of it. I was taking a pill every other day to see if a lower dose wld lessen the side effects, but mine just kept getting worse. My eyes were so swollen that my derm also had given me prednisone to take down the swelling. It was so upsetting to stop, I really do believe Accutane is the miracle drug for tons of people. I actually have jealousy for people that are able to finish their courses.

DD wishing you luck everyday! You must be very excited knowing your first course was such a great success!!

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Your eye story scares me. I was having eye issues for almost 2 weeks, it was purely miserable! It was scary to keep using it with all the issues but just as fast as they came they went away (so far anyways).

15 years clear? Thats amazing! So hope it goes that well for me. I would do accutane even with all the crazy side effects just to go a couple years clear (course always hope for longer).

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Awww Mandy, didn't mean to scare you. dry eyes are a very common side effect and it seems the big majorityof people get thru it just fine. I happened to be in the small minority. If the margin of my eyes hadn't gotten so swollen I would never have stopped. I think you will be just fine, especially since they already calmed down. Don't be scared..you can always stop if you think they are getting bad. As I said, if I hadn't had such a long way to go to finish my course, I wldve finished it..All the best Mandy, I always love hearing the success stories!!

DD..hope you're having a great day 3!!

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Good luck, DD!

I have a similar story to yours. Clear for ten years after a round of Accutane at 25, and then it slowly crept back when I went off the pill a couple years ago. Damn hormones! I had a lovely first course, too. This one was harder, but I am in a happy place now and hoping it will stick. I did decide to go back on the pill too, because I am just too afraid of it all coming back again and I can still do that for at least a few years. I'm trying not to think about what happens after that.

I wish you all the best.

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Good luck, DD!

I have a similar story to yours. Clear for ten years after a round of Accutane at 25, and then it slowly crept back when I went off the pill a couple years ago. Damn hormones! I had a lovely first course, too. This one was harder, but I am in a happy place now and hoping it will stick. I did decide to go back on the pill too, because I am just too afraid of it all coming back again and I can still do that for at least a few years. I'm trying not to think about what happens after that.

I wish you all the best.

Howdy Kim28! Interesting! Could be there is something powerful about the Pill/Accutane combo. If so, is it possible, I wonder, to be on some kind of low dose Pill forever? I've never thought about it. Will have to ask my doc. At any rate, I've been following your log and am happy to see that you're doing well this second go round. I wish you continued success and thanks for visiting!

So . . .

DAY 4:

Q: What's more difficult to break into than Ft. Knox?

A: An Accutane pill dispenser.

I swear, it's like the manufacturer is saying, "We made you wait 30 days, take a million blood tests, answer a dozen idiotic questions about pregnancy prevention, and pledge your immortal soul, but just to make sure you're really really serious, we're also going to make it nearly impossible for you to pop a pill."

Other than that bit of frustration, not much new to report. Day before yesterday, my eyes really bothered me: irritated, stinging, itching, watering. Could have been my makeup, the Accutane, or a combo of both. Then again I've always had dry eyes (contacts are a no-go), having been born, raised, and currently living in the high desert. The humidity doesn't creep much over 20 percent, even when it rains. My eyes were fine yesterday, but I didn't go out (I work at home), and so wasn't wearing any make up.

No breakouts, other than a few very small little pimples here and there: tiny, red, and non-head forming. They pop up throughout the course of the day on my lower cheeks, chin, and above my lip, but are gone by the next morning. One spot on my chin that has been trying to self actualize into a cysts for the past week now has not gone anywhere, but I can still feel a tiny bump underneath the skin and if I press it, it hurts in that distinctive, pre-cyst kind of way. Skin is still pretty oily.

Other than that, just hanging out, tapping my feet, waiting for the ol' IB.

Edited by DawgDaze64

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Guest GetMeTheResults

Does it burn like tazorac after a BP wash lol? I'm just curious to know... For me it'd be a bitter-sweet pain :)

Also, are you expecting an IB as a long time user of strong retinoids?

Edited by GetMeTheResults

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Does it burn like tazorac after a BP wash lol? I'm just curious to know... For me it'd be a bitter-sweet pain

Also, are you expecting an IB as a long time user of strong retinoids?

Ouch, LOL! It's a very intense itching/sting. Lasts about 10 minutes, then stops. Better if I moisturize first, but that's not always a guarantee.

Hey, here's a thought: are you using Tazorac after a BP wash? If so, that may render the Tazorac ineffective. I hear the two don't mix. I always BP'ed in the a.m., and applied retinoids at night.

Good question about the IB. Hadn't thought about that, but there may be something to the fact that my longtime retinoid use will keep it at bay or at least not as explosive. I didn't have an initial breakout on my first course, but that was a coon's age ago, so who knows how my skin will react now.

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Guest GetMeTheResults

Maybe you'll have one, but it will be minor, because your skin must have been really well exfoliated over the years. I've been on retinoids for 8-9 years and I was hoping not to go through the IB, but now that I'm thinking about it most people have been on retinoids before Accutane...so there's no escape! My doctor told me to use the BP wash and wait 5 minutes after which I should apply the Taz, but he didn't mention that it would be ineffective. I hope the itchiness subdues! Keep it up and Happy 4th of July!

Edited by GetMeTheResults

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DAY 8

Today marks my first full week on Accutane. Yay!

So far, not much to report. Just hanging out and waiting for things to happen. Still pretty oily, although my lips are starting to feel dry. Also, my breakouts have changed slightly. I do have one cyst, one of those annoying, pea-sized and rock hard things up by the left side of my ear (hair thankfully hides it), and one that wants to start down on the right side of my chin on the jawline, although I'm hoping it won't actualize (the other one I'd been watching all week didn't). But otherwise my breakouts have morphed into something I've never battled before: tiny pimples that pop up overnight, come to a head, and then disappear in a day or so. Right now, four of them, but at least they resolve quickly and don't scar.

This breakout pattern has been so weird, in fact, that I couldn’t help myself: I applied some topicals a couple times last week before bed: Tazorac one night, BP the other. I know I won’t be able to do that once I’m in the full throes of the dry and irritating stage, but man, it’s been difficult to not break out the topicals more often.

Haven’t noticed any side effects, except perhaps my eyes seem to be way more sensitive to wearing makeup than they used to be. My right upper shoulder and neck are killing me, as is my right hip, but I’ve suffered for years with aches and pains that I've always attributed to being so active—running and working out—so I can’t say that this is due to the Accutane. Although, now I wonder if my first round wasn’t the cause of all my aches and pains. Impossible to know.

One thing I need to watch very carefully now is my cholesterol. No alcohol and no saturated or trans fats. First round with Accutane 25 years ago, my cholesterol shot up to 300 and stayed there for the duration, but that was considered normal and the doctor wasn't concerned. Relatively high cholesterol runs on my mother's side of the family, so I tend to float between 165 and 220, although my tris are very low and my good cholesterol is high. But this dermo is very wrapped around the axle about it—if I don't get it down to below 200 she will put me on a statin. Which I absolutely DO NOT want to do.

Hope everyone enjoyed a great holiday and here's to a brand new week!

Edited by DawgDaze64

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Day 11:

Have no idea if this is the calm before the storm or if my skin is just going to behave this way the entire course until it is fully—hopefully—clear.

Right now I only have two actives (regular ol' red pimples, no cysts thank God) and four others that are in the healing stage, all on my chin. Skin is that weird mix that I've read others describe, of shiny/oily on top, but with a underlying feeling of dryness, if that makes any sense. Skin looks kind of rough, with slight orange peel texture and some pores around my nose look larger.

Lips are just now becoming VERY dry. Must have something on them at all times.

Am loaded to the gills with Aquaphor, medicated Blistex ointment, Cerave (really good cleanser, seems to get off all makeup, too, unlike Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser, with which I also have to use a removal wipe), sunscreen, and Ayr, since a visit to the dentist the other day revealed that my sinuses are "cloudy," whether from allergies or Accutane, who knows. Also, a couple different kinds of eye drops, including one specifically for red, itchy, allergy eyes, and Systane for moisture.

Other than my dry, itchy eyes (which my doc thinks are allergies, although I'm sure Accutane isn't going to help) and my dry lips, am experiencing no other side effects.

Edited by DawgDaze64

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Day 13:

Lips are super dry now. Regimen is set: Blistex Medicated ointment, followed by Aquaphor followed by lip gloss or a super moisturizing lipstick. Bye bye for now, all my lovely MAC mattes . . . Oh, and eating anything spicy? Fuggedaboutit!

Skin still pretty shiny. At this point, wouldn't really call it oily. I just has this sheen, like a newly waxed floor. Very weird. Powder is my friend, to say the least. Makeup too, to cover up all the red marks.

In my attempt to get my cholesterol down before my next round of blood work, I have been eating super healthy and avoiding all sat fats, sugars, and alcohol. Weekends are hard, though. Last night was catch up with some good friends at a local pizza parlor. I had a salad and only one small slice, but woke up this morning with a massive headache, probably due to the half pint of apple cider I indulged in. Ouch. Tonight is dinner and a play with friends, so that's more temptation. Blood work is July 23 and I do not want to hear those dreaded words: We need to put you on a statin.

Sucks so bad, because this is hereditary. I'm not overweight, I don't smoke, my blood pressure is terrific, and my sugar levels are normal. I have always been super active (run, bike, swim, golf, lift weights, rock climb). But my numbers rarely budge below about 220. My tris are good, my "good" cholesterol is high, too. My primary care physician has never been alarmed by my numbers, but this dermo is pretty wrapped.

Oh, and something weird happened a couple days ago, maybe a side effect? I work as a freelance editor and writer, so am in front of the computer 24/7. I have "cheaters" for very up close work, and prescription lenses for distance and night driving. However, I have always been able to see my computer screen just fine. No blurring at all. Now, I can't. I have to wear my up close lenses. This seemed to happen overnight. The Accutane or the drops I'm using? I'll have to research . . .

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I had this same blurred vision over the weekend and my artificial tear drops got rid of it. I was told my eyes would be ok once I'm well hydrated (I've been using 2-3L of water daily but I suppose it's not enough).

I've also had both the "orange peel" skin and the freshly waxed floor and both were helped by moisturiser. I think I underestimated just how much moisturiser I would need to apply in the beginning. Now at nights I apply what looks sufficient, then apply another layer. Maybe this time since your skin is older you need a little more moisture than your first time on accutane.

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I had this same blurred vision over the weekend and my artificial tear drops got rid of it. I was told my eyes would be ok once I'm well hydrated (I've been using 2-3L of water daily but I suppose it's not enough).

I've also had both the "orange peel" skin and the freshly waxed floor and both were helped by moisturiser. I think I underestimated just how much moisturiser I would need to apply in the beginning. Now at nights I apply what looks sufficient, then apply another layer. Maybe this time since your skin is older you need a little more moisture than your first time on accutane.

Yup, and those with oily, acne-prone skin have learned over the years that most moisturizers are just too heavy and pore-clogging, so it's hard to switch gears. What do you use? I've been using Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Moisture Gel for years, but probably need to up my game. Skin is beginning to flake and feel slightly irritated, especially around the blemishes that are healing.

Thanks for the advice!

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I've been using the neutrogena oil free moisture for sensitive skin. I apply a lot and wait for it to absorb into my skin. It's nice... Doesn't feel like there's a ton of lotion on, even though there is. on most nights after I apply the neutrogena I add some ponds dry skin cream around my eyes and areas that were starting to dry out when I started accutane (like my neck)

When my skin doesn't seem as moist as it should be I'll switch my cleanser to one of the dove beauty bars since they don't dry me out. I also bathe with these.

I skip makeup since my makeup removal routine is pretty harsh and drying. But I did switch from using foundation to using garnier's bb cream on the rare occasion that I do use makeup. I'm not using garnier because it's particularly good or anything just because it's the only one I can find where I live. I'm sure you can find better but it's less drying than foundation. I apply less powder.

A tinted moisturiser might be a better substitute for foundation.

On my the rest of my body I just moisturise with whatever smells nice and it works. Hope this helps.

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I lather on CeraVe PM like it's my job any time after washing my face, and if I'm washing my face during the day (i.e., morning, or an afternoon face wash) I'll wait for the PM to soak in, then add a layer of CeraVe AM for some added SPF protection. My skin has certainly been dry and I can't avoid the flakiness completely, but I've found that this helps some. It also comes in waves. I'll get a week of crazy dry skin, then it will look and feel fine (not oily, just normal). Just depends what kind of hell Accutane feels like putting me through for the week I guess.

Hope your course is going well and you can keep up with your running. I've noticed it feels a little tougher running, but my times are pretty consistent and I haven't dropped my mileage. Basically, I feel more tired but not enough to keep me inside or slow me down! Hope it stays this way!

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Thanks tanna23 and BreakItOutNow for your advice on moisturizers and hydration. I have used, and liked, many of Neutrogena's products over the years, and I hear good things about CeraVe as well—I really like their cleanser. Another trip to Walgreen's is definitely in order soon.

DAY 17:

And . . . I'm still not all that dry, but my skin IS itchy. Husband and I went out with some friends on Saturday so I had my evening face on and I felt like I was going to go nuts, my face itched so badly. Probably some of it was the makeup, but I'm sitting here now without a stitch on my face and the itchy crawlies are the worst! I feel like I need to hold a cold, wet washcloth against it or something. Gah!

Lips must have something on them at all times now. Bare is not an option! Thankfully, my two-pronged approach of Blistex medicated ointment topped by Aquaphor is a winner, with no peeling in sight. Just tight, tight, tight.

Eyes feel great, and are slightly less blurry when I look at my computer screen. Probably all the artificial tears.

Have not yet had what I'd consider an IB—I'm still breaking out, and breaking out more frequently than I was, but these breakouts are totally different from the inflamed pustules and cysts that have plagued me since March of this year, with almost no breaks. These come and go within 24/48 hours, always come to a head, and not only don't scar, they don't leave much of a red mark, either. But something is always there. One heals, another pops up to take it's place. But they've been easy to deal with and cover up.

Also been noticing a lot of blackheads coming to the surface after I wash my face. Takes mega amounts of self control not to use a BHA to help them along in their progress. In fact, takes mega amounts of self control not to spot treat with anything. Or scratch my face!

No aches or pains or headaches, either. Mood is excellent, no change in how I feel. I'm in the middle of a couple of really stressful projects and so far have not felt the need to bite any of my clients' heads off.

As for my running, I was pretty winded on my morning run today—first time that's happened. Kind of alarming, since it wasn't a long run and I wasn't going all that fast. I'll have to monitor those, could have just been one of those days. But I'm definitely committed to keeping up my athletics, even if I do slow down or scale back a bit—or itch like a mother while doing it.

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I'm on day 27 and my skin is not dry at all. The inside of my nose is a little dry, but nothing big. I'm moisturizing like crazy but I really expected more dryness. Maybe it will come later...

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I'm on day 27 and my skin is not dry at all. The inside of my nose is a little dry, but nothing big. I'm moisturizing like crazy but I really expected more dryness. Maybe it will come later...

Maybe when our dosages are upped to 60mg?

I didn't journal my Accutane experience first time around so I may be misrembering, but I believe I was given 80mg right off the bat and stayed there for five months. Still, I don't remember that my skin itself was ever all that dry. My lips and the inside of my nose were awful, though. Lots of tightness, peeling, and bleeding.

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Day 19:

So mad at myself I could spit.


What's the number one rule when it comes to Accutane-ed skin? (Say it with me now . . .)

DON'T PICK!

Oh, but it's only a lil' clogger, I said to myself. Right there on top of my right cheek, looking like a normal blackhead that just needs a . . . gentle poke and press and all will be well. Okay, go ahead. Be gentle, I said. I was. And all was well. Until several days later, I noticed that perhaps I hadn't gotten ALL of the clog out. And proceeded to poke and press some more and now I have a great big ol' ouchy, right in a spot where I NEVER have ouchies, all nice and lumpy and hurty and red. When I smile, I look ridiculous. Like someone punched me.

Lesson learned: leave the lil' cloggers ALONE.

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