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Hi, I'm Lizzie and I'm 22. I have had acne since I was 12 and it ranges from mild to severe- with no rhyme or reason for the changes! Over the years I have been on 4 different antibiotics and used more over the counter treatments than I can count but none of it has ever done anything more than get rid of a couple of my spots. Back in June, I decided that enough was enough and asked for a dermatology referral from my GP. This took 5 months to get sorted out but I have finally started my treatment.

As with many others o here I was prescribed 'Accutane'. I started taking them today and aim to document any side effects and changes t my skin as I go along. My doctor told me to take 45mg twice a day which I think is ridiculously high so I am going to ignore him for the first week or so at least. I did a lot of reading about the drug before agreeing to take it and all the research seems to say that you can get just as good results taking a lower dose with fewer side effects, so I will only be taking 45mg once a day until my body is slightly more used to it.

I do have a few concerns about it, given that I have a history of depression I worry that this will bring it back. I also take part in a lot of sport and the muscle weakness/joint pain/ back pain scares me a bit. I would hate to have to give up the things I love doing. I have to remind myself throughout this that I am taking this drug for a reason: I want to be able to start my teaching career off well, feeling happy and confident and not still looking like one of the students with my spot covered face! Hopefully this one course will be enough and I can say goodbye to spots forever!

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Hi Lizzie,

I think it is very important to focus on the reason why you are doing this instead of what could happen, even if it is very hard. I am about to start the treatment as well and I will follow your progress.

Good luck!

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Good luck on your treatment!

I have a bit of a similar situation as you, my doctor also put me on a very high dosage of 40 mg/twice a day. I'm only 114 pounds so I thought it was really high to start off with. I took my own initiative as well and took just 40 mg a day for a full week and then started on twice a day.

I'm four days in on taking 80 mg. The side effects have definitely increased but they are manageable for now. I've mainly just had some light body aches and head aches. Hopefully yours don't get too bad!

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Thanks, you too!

My skin already feels quite dry, but I don't know if that's the medication or the cold. I get eczema anyway and I think I may just be being a little paranoid!

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So now up to day 4. My skin is drying out quite nicely, had a couple of newbie spots appear but less than I normally get. I can't comment too much on the side effects as I have a bad head cold so can't be sure of what's causing the headaches and things.

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So been on this for nearly a week now. My skin is really dry and stings when I put moisturiser on so think I need to find something a bit more 'sensitive skin friendly', but I've only had 1 new spot pop up which is good. No other side effects so far but this will likely change soon. I'm going to increase my dosage tomorrow to what my dermatologist actually prescribed me after giving my body a bit of time to adjust. Even though I'm only a week in, I can't wait for this treatment to be over!

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Great! I will also upped my dosage to 1 mg/kg in a couple of weeks and I am stressed about it! So many here are doing a low dose on a long period course! Glad to see I am not the only one with a shorter course. :)

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So day 3 of full dose (act. day 10!) and no new side effects to report! Skin is still a bit dry but after investing heavily in Nivea products it's perfectly manageable and isn't really noticeable which is great! Slight breakout (i.e. 2 new spots) on my chin but they aren't particularly big or painful. Feeling positive today :)

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2 weeks in, finally had my IB. Had several large, painful spots along my jaw and chin, but not much anywhere else. My back is drying up quite nicely leaving lots of gross looking scabby spot remnants. Skin is still quite dry and gets flaky if I forget to moisturise enough. I find though that moisturising feels counter-productive. I spent so long avoiding it for fear of clogging up my skin that using it all the time makes me uncomfortable. I feel like it's making the breakout worse but if I don't do it I look like I've got leprosy and chunks of skin start falling off. Feels like I can't win right now!!!

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I really do understand! I am in the same situation right now. It's hard to know what to do. It's like having to deal with a new skin. I am under the impression that the ''life cycle'' of my pimples have speeded up. Like pimples appear, inflame and ''die'' faster than usual. Is that your case too?

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I'm on a high dose too (60mg/day), and I can totally relate to the moisturiser problems. Like you, I had avoided moisturising for a long time, and was perfectly happy. Now my skin often feels really hot and dry and begging for some moisturiser, but when I put it on, it stings and feels all clogged. But I'm already on a specialist super-sensitive-eczema-prone-skin moisturiser from the pharmacy, so not sure changing the cream would help. Oh well, I guess I'll have to live with it for the next 6 months... (and I'm only on day 6!)

Re life cycle of pimples, I got the effect that Mary describes when I was using the topical tretinoin (adapalene), but now no such luck, and I'm tempted to blame it on the moisturiser (but it may be that accutane hasn't fully kicked in yet.)

Edited by someone*else
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Re life cycle of pimples, I got the effect that Mary describes when I was using the topical tretinoin (adapalene), but now no such luck, and I'm tempted to blame it on the moisturiser (but it may be that accutane hasn't fully kicked in yet.)

I noticed it on day 11. The new pimples I get are hurting like crazy tough. Yesterday evening, I noticed a pain in my back that was due to a big pimple, and it was hurting to the point that some movements made water come to my eyes. (I don't usually get back acne). Today, it does not hurt anymore and its size has diminished. It's very strange!!!

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I am also finding that they come and go a lot quicker than they used too, but they are more painful. I also get the stinging thing which sucks! I am also using a moisturiser for extra dry sensitive skin but it still burns, although slightly less than my usual one.

Despite my minor complaints, I am more than willing to deal with it for the promise of spot free skin in 3 and a half months time!

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Fun new discovery a couple of days ago: I can now go up to three days without washing my hair and it still looks clean!!! This has not been the case since I was about 11 so it's very exciting!

Hope things are going well for everyone else too!

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Accutane also has some nice side effects! I wash them just for the smell of the shampoo and also because I got some flaking scalp skin but I could probably go one week without washing! That's nice in winter!

Edited by MaryC
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The fabled lower back pain is now making itself known. It twinges whenever I lie down, and is particularly sore after scrums at rugby. Not nice but manageable!

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A week into month two: back pain still here, dry skin still here, a few spots on my chin (somewhere I never got spots before!) but my forehead and cheeks are completely clear so I've stopped wearing most make-up except for a bit of powder, eyebrow pencil and mascara (if I don't use the last two I look like I don't have eyebrows or eyelashes and it looks very weird!). Still feeling very positive about it all- even had a few compliments on how good my skin is looking which is nice!
Hope everyone is doing well and is full of holiday spirit!

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Half way through month 3 now, only 6 weeks left to go! The back ache is still here (it's v. persistent!) but my skin is nowhere near as dry as it was at the start. Still getting the occasional spot on my chin but they come and go far more quickly than before. Had few bad ones on my neck last week but they are finally going. My back is looking a bit worse unfortunately. I'm hoping that the clearing up is just moving from the top of my head down; my upper face is completely clear, jut my chin to go, then my neck and back will clear up next. Looking forward to it all being over now and I'm very glad to have had a fairly positive experience whilst on it as I know a lot of other people have quite a hard time. Hope everyone else is doing well!

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Hi Lizzie,

Happy to read that's it's not so bad for you!! And the end is near!! :D

I have almost done 2.5 months and I can't say that I'm improving. I can't remember having seen my face with so many pimples (active and healing ones). It's funny how my face is breaking out from one zone to the other. My left cheek used to be pretty clear but now it has 4-5 small ones. I have to admit that I don't have any monster digusting zits for the moment so I'm staying positive. Just getting a little afraid that it might not work on me. My side effects are pretty mild, but that might be thanks to my humidifier and to my obsession with lip balm. My body aches (mainly my back) but it's bearable. I did not have to stop climbing, which is good!! I've got 2-3 really hurting ones on my back... strange since I didn't have much back acne before. Ok so far so good, but I'm still dreaming about that day when I will be able to say that I am starting to clear out.

Good luck for the end of your course, keep us updated. :)

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Sorry to hear that Mary. Hopefully it'll all clear up quickly, but a lot of people said their skin kept getting better even after finishing the treatment.

Yeah I didn't give up rugby either, I just have to take a couple of 30 second breaks during a game to lie on the floor and get my back sorted out and then deal with quite a painful day afterwards but it's worth it!

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I have almost done 2.5 months and I can't say that I'm improving. I can't remember having seen my face with so many pimples (active and healing ones). It's funny how my face is breaking out from one zone to the other. My left cheek used to be pretty clear but now it has 4-5 small ones. I have to admit that I don't have any monster digusting zits for the moment so I'm staying positive. Just getting a little afraid that it might not work on me. My side effects are pretty mild, but that might be thanks to my humidifier and to my obsession with lip balm. My body aches (mainly my back) but it's bearable. I did not have to stop climbing, which is good!! I've got 2-3 really hurting ones on my back... strange since I didn't have much back acne before. Ok so far so good, but I'm still dreaming about that day when I will be able to say that I am starting to clear out.

Hi Mary, I just read your comment and I can relate to a lot of what you said! I've been on it for around 5 months but it definitely got worse before it got better, and I've only really been getting decent results after 4 months or so. And I seemed to break out on areas which were relatively clear before too. So yeah, don't lose hope, it just might take longer to show results for you,

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Thanks for this post

Im just over 2 mnths and getting frustarted..just when things seem to settle down a bit I break out again and in places i have NEVER broken out before

Im going nuts worrying if its my moisturizer or something im eating or if its just going through the motions of tane

Kim

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Hi Kim,

That just seems to be how to works. I never used to get spots on my chin and now that is the only place on my face I ever seem to get them! Luckily they clear up faster than they used to.

I'm sure it's not any of those things. I was really worried at the start about moisturising as it was something I never did before because it was a guaranteed way of ending up with tons of new spots in the morning- not anymore though thankfully! Just make sure everything you're using is oil-free and it'll be fine. Just hang in there!

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