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tduddits

My Accutane Venture 27Y/o Female

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I've been ready for this for awhile now.

This is a way to track my progress, but more importantly, to help others who are thinking about taking Accutane or to connect with a fellow acne sufferer. I'm tired of feeling like I need to cover my inflamed cheeks with my hair. I'm tired of looking at myself in the mirror with hard downlighting that shows all my bumps and divits. I love hibernating in the dark because I feel more comfortable that people can't see my skin. Understanding and encouragement is what I need and am sure everyone else reading this needs when they are feeling discouraged, insecure and alone with there acne problems. I am here to tell you that you are not alone. Maybe we can be acne bff's?! Just a thought.

I am a 27 y/o female, 5'1", 105lbs who has had some form of acne since I was 14. The bad areas would move from my chin to my forehead to my cheeks (which I stress the most about because of scarring). These widdle divots have added up over the years and I've been noticing them now more than ever. Nothing terrible, but noticeable.

I've tried everything over the years - OTCs, multiple derm visits with god knows how many prescriptions of topicals, antibiotics and even Spironolactone. Spironolactone helped for a time but when I wanted to try having a baby I went off of it and my face exploded and I instantly went back on it. That was almost 8 months ago and my face still hasn't cleared up. I even tried switching birth control pills and to no avail. Nothing has helped but only has progressively gotten worse over time.

I almost went on Accutane about a year and a half ago but was too scared of all the side effects. I thought I could still find a way to cure it without going off the deep end of the dreaded -tane! But I'm at a point where I am willing to take the risk. I'm tired of obsessing about clear skin and not feeling like I need makeup when I leave the house. Hell, even still having a small pimple every now and then would be a miracle for me.

So, without further ado, here is my current routine with some fancy extras I use when needed

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Prescriptions

Absorica (month 1): 30 mg once a day - do you think that's too little?? I usually see people on 30mg twice a day

Loestrin Fe

Gabapentin - when needed for Intersticial Cystitis; I hope Accutane doesn't make my IC worse. There's not much research on this.

Face Products

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser - nothing awesome, does its job

Eclos Daily Facial Cleansing Oil - gentle, hydrating and won't clog pores - great for taking makeup off after a long day

CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion with SPF 30 - mm it's ok. I'm looking for something better so if anyone has any SPF moisturizer they love please let me know!

Unscented Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera - seals in moisture, hydrating, all natural astringent that kills bacteria - affordable and I use a ton of this stuff! I really feel like it prevents my pimples from getting massive.

Clinique Redness Solutions Daily Relief Creme - just started using this - haven't gotten too red yet so I hope it helps when the dryness gets bad

Peter Thomas Roth Viz-1000 Hydrating Serum - lightweight and absorbs well

E-ra Organics Complete Moisturizer - has aloe vera and manuka honey; found this on Amazon; amazing reviews and I wasn't surprised when I fell in love with this stuff, non-greasy and absorbs really well!

Kinerase Scar Treatment - when needed on red marks after the pimples are gone; also put this on those pesky little divits to help reduce roughness on both old and new scars

Lip Products

Neosporin Overnight Renewal Therapy

Carmex

Aquaphor Lip Repair

Body Products

Alba Botanica Very Emolient Body Lotion with SPF 15

SPF 100 for the Body

Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus All Natural w/Vitamin E shower gel

Makeup

Lancome Tient Idole Ultra 24Hr - amazing coverage without feeling heavy; someone told me afterwards that Kim Kardashian made this foundation famous. Mmm, no ma'am, I didn't buy this because of her. Even though I wish I had her flawless skin. A girl can dream right? ;)

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Day 5

Face Status

Left Side - 1 cyst on the lower cheek; two smaller nodules with no head on my upper back cheek.

Right Side - 3 smaller nodules and 1 big whitehead that came off when I was washing my face. Ugh I'm worried about scarring. I really try not to mess with them but sometimes I can't help it when I put on all this product even with being gentle.

Chin - Two small to medium cysts and I feel other hard bumps way under the surface. I hope they don't come up with a vengeance

Chest - I very rarely get anything on my chest and I woke up today with this deep cyst-like bump - what? oh well, at least I can cover that shiz up with a shirt

Side-Effects

Skin is more oily than normal which is scary because I'm oily as it is. Can't I just get dry already? Then I'll feel like the drug is working. I know I need to be patient but geez.

Some minor body itching; redness like almost sunburning feeling which is weird because I've been extra paranoid with SPF. I better watch that as I progress even more.

Lips aren't noticeably chapped but when I do put on any lip products it dries up really fast instead of just sitting on my lips for awhile.

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I would love to hear from any of you about your experiences or advice. I will try posting every few days or if anything changes worth noting.

As a fellow KC Royals Fan - C'est la Vista!

Edited by tduddits
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Day 6

I feel like the only thing distracting me from my breakouts and oily skin is my job. Work has been going great lately and I hope that lasts because it really helps to not dwell on the negative things in life and to focus on the positive.

Face Status

Same as yesterday. I think the big whitehead that accidentally came off is healing up. I put Neosporin on it right when it happened and put some more on when I went to sleep. I did wake up feeling like a had a layer of dry skin on my face but the oil is still very much present. It's weird feeling really oily as well as having a layer of dry skin. To moisturize or not to moisturize? That is the question.

Sometimes throughout the day I feel like all of my clogged pores are somehow trying to come to the surface - almost like a stinging pressure? Nothing bad but I feel like things are changing, hopefully for the better. I'm willing to go through the IB but I only hope it passes quickly.

Side-Effects

Skin is still a lot oiler than normal. Ugh gross I hope this passes quick.

Still red on my body but not really dry. Maybe this is the calm before the storm? We will see.

Lips are getting dryer but nothing major. I make sure to put Carmex on throughout the day when they start feeling chapped and Neosporin Overnight Renewal Therapy at night.

Overall I am seeing changes happening and looking forward to improving.

Edited by tduddits
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Good luck on your journey through it!

As for the dosage, I weigh 97 lbs and I'm on 40mg! My doctor says that usually after the first month, the dosage will most likely increase so maybe you will get a higher dosage after your first month, but yes, it is dependent upon your body weight :)

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Hey, good luck! I'm also on Absorica!

I completely can relate to hibernating in the dark so people can't see my skin. It sucks and is depressing at times.

I think dosage is completely up to your doctor. I've read a lot of people on low dose, high dose, etc. Most people start at a low dosage to begin so you could also bump it up later if need be.

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Thanks Av0cad0 and daredevil for confirming that the dosage amount of 30mg isn't abnormal. I think I'm just being impatient and want things to work right away. I know it's not an on and off switch and I need to remind myself to be patient when I'm feeling frustrated.

Day 7

Face Status

More pimples are starting to show their ugly faces on my bottom left chin. I also feel a lot of little bumps around the new pimples. I'm nervous.

I feel like the pimples I got 4-5 days ago are just sitting there not drying up like the good pimples they should be. I don't want to pop them so I'm really going to be patient and as my skin gets dryer hopefully the pimples will dry up as well.

Side-Effects

Skin is still oily but I can tell I'm producing less and less everyday. Still using Laura Geller Matte Maker in the morning to reduce oiliness during the day. So I guess I'm not that dry. Lol

Lips definitely feeling chapped now but nothing crazy. It's weird because they don't burn like when you normally have chapped lips. It's like the skin is just hard and rough. I'm being really persistent with always having a lip product on at all times to prevent them from getting bad. Ugh I hate cracks in the corners of your lips so I'm really trying to avoid that symptom.

If any of you have any advice and/or experiences about your acne/accutane journey I would love to hear from you. Feeling like I'm not alone in this is very much appreciated. :wall:

Edited by tduddits
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Day 11

Face Status

The pimples that I was nervous about are drying up. Mostly because I'm thinking that I stopped using hydrating cleansers and used a salicylic face wash for the last few days. Since my skin hasn't gotten completely dry yet and I still get oily throughout the day, I am very careful to feel out my skin before putting acne face wash on until I start naturally feeling drying. I think this has helped me not break out initially until the dryness really starts to kick in. The pimples on my chin are drying up and the only "sore" pimple I have is to the left of my lips that showed up a few days ago. Other than that no new pimples and the pimples I do have are not getting bigger. Yay!

Side-Effects

My lips are dry and chapped. Nothing crazy still but if I don't put chapstick on my lips for a few hours I will get a thin layer of rough skin on my lips. I also have sore nostrils from wiping my nose because of allergies. The skin on my entire body isn't dry per se but it is very sensitive.

Overall I'm feeling more confident because even though I do still have some blemishes, they aren't as sore and swollen. I can't be too confident because when I double my dosage on after the first month I will probably have another breakout and be super dry. This is probably the calm before the storm. :)

Does anyone have any advice about how to stay confident throughout the day without feeling so insecure about your acne? Some days I'm confident and other days I just wanna go hide in the corner...

Edited by tduddits
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Day 13

Face Status

The storm is coming or hopefully here and will be gone soon. I woke up today with two deep painful cysts on the left side of my face. One on my upper cheek, close to where I'm insecure about scars I already have. I'm hoping this doesn't do any long term scarring. :( My other one is on my left temple which is weird because I never get pimples there. I realize that a lot of other accutane users get that same side effect during an IB. I really hope my IB isn't too bad and these pimples that I am getting dry up and clear quickly.

Side-Effects

Lips are still dry but I constantly have Carmex with me (for some reason I like Carmex better than Aquaphor but that might change when they get super dry). I also coat on some Neosporin Overnight Renewal Therapy before bed so they don't get too bad.

It's weird because my skin is still oily - especially around my chin area. The skin around my nostrils is flaky and around my eyes can be dry so I make sure to hydrate them with the Peter Thomas Roth Viz-1000 Hydrating Serum. If they get to dry I will have to get a heavy duty eye cream.

Does anyone know about how long an IB can take? ~a week or two? I know it's different for everyone but what are your experiences?

Edited by tduddits
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Day 15

Face Status

The storm is definitely here. I was so focused on the two cysts on the left side of my face that I didn't notice this whitehead on the upper right cheek next to two small postules. I don't know how much more of this I can take emotionally. I'm all over the place. One day I'm fine and can handle it and other days I just feel hopeless in this. My skin is STILL oily as ever - maybe due to the fact that my doc wanted to give me a low dose my first month? Anyway, I saw that whitehead on my upper left cheek and freaked out about it and had this inner battle in my head and eventually popped it in like 2 seconds. Then right after I had this overwhelming guilt of not leaving it alone. I put Neosporin on it and I will pray it won't scar. Why do I have to go through this?! I ask myself that all the time why some other people don't even have to think about there nice smooth skin everyday.

I really just wanna cry. Shit - now I'm crying.

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Keep strong! It's hard...but hopefully this will be the hardest time of our lives, and after this we can just move on. You're just going through an initial breakout...it's hard, before I started accutane I was like, pfft...I don't care about an IB my skin can't get any worse! And when it did...well... I took back my words, haha.

If your skin is oily it probably just means that everything is coming out, which is good :) But yes, try to avoid popping! Although...I have never popped a spot in my life and they've still left hyperpigmentation. I think Accutane just messes with our skin. I assumed that accutane would make my skin look AMAZING, but I think the reality is that our skin will always look bad while we're on it, and will only look amazing once we stop because it reduces our skins ability to heal.

But cry...cry all you want. I cried every day for about 4 months when this started -- literally not a day would pass. I didn't leave the house, instead choosing to stay in and cry. Now I would say I probably tear up about once every week and a half -- and that just shows to me how much I am improving mentally as well as facially.

(Also...if that's you in your profile pic...you're stunning! Don't ever worry about being ugly or what not!)

Wishing you the best :)

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Lore91 - Thank you so much for your kind words! It really means a lot while I'm super down and feeling defeated with acne and scarring - and it's not just hyperpigmentation. That I'm cool with because that will fade over time. I've gotten some mild divot scars on my upper left cheek that kinda freaked me out a bit and I'm doing everything possible to not get more. I need to just remember to breath and remind myself that nobody's perfect and let the medicine do its thing. I can always look into treating my scarring after Accutane. I'm really hoping it works and I can focus on more important things in life like being great at my job or planning a family and someday being a good mom. Acne is a superficial thing and I need to try be more positive no matter what happens. You know it's really easy to type that out and another thing to feel that way everyday.

Anyways, for the past two days I haven't woken up to any cysts. Yay for me! The old ones are still lingering and slowly drying up. My doc is going to double my dose next month so I'll probably get another IB. Ugh not looking forward to that!

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I started out on Absorica 30mg too. I was really worried about having another IB when my derm doubled my dosage to 60mg but it's been 19 days since I was upped and I haven't had one. I still have little breakouts but from my nose up my face is clear. The only side effect that increased was I can go 3 days without washing my hair instead of 2 and the skin on my arms is a bit drier. And while I wouldn't say I'm still oily, my skin isn't flaking off either-it's pretty normal actually, maybe a little dry but nothing bad. So I wouldn't worry too much about a second IB :)

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Hey, I posted on my thread but wanted to tell you to keep your head up high! I read on your post that your skin was still oily as ever. I had THE OILIEST skin in the world! I mean, I would literally get out of the shower with squeaky, clean skin... wait 10 minutes, and would already see the oil on my face. People would always comment on how shiny my skin was and I had to lie to them that it was a special moisturizer I was using. One month on accutane, my oily skin is gone. I've done a ton of research before going on accutane and I think all people get dry skin. My dermatologist told me that if I didn't have reallllly dry skin, he would need to up my dosage. Stay strong!

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