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EMT123

24F First Round Accutane Log

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Hello!
I am a 24 year old female (130 lbs, 5'6") starting my first round of Accutane. I hope to keep at least a monthly update log of my (hopefully) progress during this journey. My dermatologist had me start at 40mg of Zenatane once daily for a course totaling 6 months. Because this is my first post on the topic, I am sure this one will be a little long haha. I will bold the most important info, so that those who want to skip the story, can. I intend to upload pictures at a later date and post (again hopefully) progress photos. I would like to add that I took my first dose on 12/16/2016, so I have taken 4 so far.
 
Background:
My acne journey started at the tender age of 8 years old. I, for most of my childhood, struggled with primarily only cystic acne. My 7th thru 11th grade years were the absolute worst- I would get cysts well over an inch long in diameter. Positive? People would believe me when I just said I got hit in the face with a ball while playing baseball haha. Unfortunately, I also have horrible rolling scars from it.  But, as my dermatologist says, that will be addressed at a later date. My face is doing a LOT better comparatively, however I still get plenty of painful cysts that take weeks or months to heal. Recently, I've also started getting it on my back, shoulders, neck, and sometimes thighs- which I've never really had a problem with before. I've tried every topical treatment under the sun, as well as a few rounds of antibiotics (Doxycycline), and any other products my dermatologist has recommended or prescribed since I started seeing one at around 13 years old. When I was 14, my Dermatologist wanted to put me on Accutane. We got the process all set up with iPledge and did the pregnancy tests, bloodwork, started birth control, everything. However, when it came down to actually starting it, my mother freaked out at the last moment when reading the side effects and pulled me before I ever got to try it. Here I am 10 years later still struggling with it. Although, I can't say I blame my mother- I have a lot of concerns myself. 
 
Products using:
I guess I should also mention that I am an EMT that works night shift. So I take my Zenatane at night, which is technically my morning. I am not sure if effects someone in different ways if it is taken before bed or when waking up. I figure, if it is going to dry me out- it is probably best to hydrate after taking it.
Face Wash- Simple (that is the brand name) moisturizing facial wash. I use this with a face brush after removing makeup and just with my hands when I wake up.
Body Wash- Dove for sensitive skin
Face Lotion when I am awake- CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion for Normal to Dry Skin with SPF 30 (even though I am mostly awake at night haha)
Face Lotion when I sleep- CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion for Normal to Dry Skin
Body lotion- I bought Nivea Essentially Enriched body lotion with Almond Oil for Dry to Very Dry skin, haven't really used it yet though
To Remove makeup- I still am using my Neutrogena Oil-Free cleansing wipes for acne-prone skin. May change this later if that is a problem
Hydrate- I have this nifty water bottle that has times marked on it to make sure you are drinking a certain amount of water by certain times. It is a 32 ounce bottle that I fill up twice daily (or nightly for me). It also has an infuser in it so that I can flavor my water if needed. I also try to drink a bit of Gatorade in between to keep up the electrolytes. I should note that this may sound like too much fluid for me (yes it is possible to overdose on water and screw up your electrolytes that way), however, I live in the very hot, humid state of Florida and work at an ER where I am constantly on my feet and dealing with heavy people/objects. So I feel this shouldn't be a problem.
Chapstick- ChapStick(brand) Total Hydration 3-in-1 Soothing Oasis. I apply this throughout the day (night) when I think about it. Even if my lips aren't feeling dry, just to prevent it.
Makeup- Yes I still wear makeup daily as my face is still horrible haha. So I guess I will list what I use there. For base I use Almay's liquid blemish control foundation (may need to change this as it has SA in it) and Almay's SmartShade powder.
For the females: I have the Nexplanon Implant and chose male condoms for my second birth control option.
That's all I can think of that I have been using so far. My dermatologist was very adamant about keeping the routine extremely simple and cutting out almost everything I have ever used since I was a kid hah. She also recommended the CeraVe products.
 
My Personal concerns:
The symptoms I am most worried about include the possibility of making night vision worse- I already have pretty terrible night vision. Once, my eye doctor told me he wouldn't get into a car with me at night haha. Also, I work nights so it tends to be dark when I go into work. I also plan on possibly working on an ambulance soon, which would require night driving.
Joint/muscle pain- I work a physically demanding job, so this would be an annoyance. However, I have noticed these types of pains when I have become dehydrated in the past, so I am hoping that this won't be a problem as long as I stay hydrated. Also, I hope to start exercising more in the New Year, so hope that won't be a problem.
Brain problems- if you read the box, it states it can cause all kinds of brain damage problems- self explanatory freak-out reason.
Depression- I try to be a positive personality at all times, but can be depression prone.
Female problems- Without being too graphic, I've read that this drug can cause some problems for females in the bedroom. As a 24 year old female with plenty of years to go, I don't want this to be a problem haha!

Experience so far:
I am only on day (night) 4, so I feel it might be too soon to really give any information. I am not sure when symptoms typically begin to start showing up. The only notable thing I have seen so far is that I have started breaking out with whiteheads on my face, as well as my blackheads becoming a bit more prominent. However, my skin has always had really sucky reactions like this to lotion. So I am not sure if it is due to the Accutane or the lotion. I also have had a few bouts of lightheadedness. Again, not sure if this is due to the drug or the increase of water intake or other outside reasons. No dryness, abdominal problems, aches/pains, depression, brain problems, or female problems yet. Will keep updating!
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So I am on day 8 of Accutane. I had no symptoms the first few days, however on the 5th day my face felt very oily, so I skipped lotion. That next evening my face felt a bit sensitive, almost like a light sunburn. Around that time my scalp also started feeling a bit dry/itchy and my legs would occasionally start itching. Lotion typically helped alleviate the problem with the legs. Day 7 was where things picked up. All throughout the night my face became more dry and started peeling. Each time I would check, it was peeling more. Also, I feel myself putting on chapstick much more often. Every 30 min-1 hr. Following the same routine currently- adding body lotion. I can't wait until my face is clear enough to stop wearing makeup so that I can apply lotion more often. Also, probably going to switch my makeup remover and makeup soon, as they don't seem to be helping with the dryness.

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So I guess I skipped my one month update on here. Mostly because there has not been much change. Yesterday was my appointment to start month 3. All labs looked good, going to up the Zenatane from 40mg once daily to 30mg twice daily (total of 60mg a day).

So for month one- the dryness I talked about in my last post mostly subsided. I still had to apply Chapstick pretty often. I was still really good about keeping up on my routine as stated above. At some point, I did change my lotion/face lotion to Palmer's Cocoa Butter formula. I just really enjoy the texture of it, and it helps with healing and scars. I broke out a few weeks that month, and then my skin was suddenly perfectly clear- just in time for my dermatologist appointment. This was the first time I left the house without makeup in awhile.
Month 2- Unfortunately, the week of my dermatologist appointment- I broke out again. Back to makeup. I was pretty bummed after that. But, I understand that it isn't a miracle drug that works overnight haha. So this month I have been breaking out off and on. I continued with the Palmer's lotion. I switch up my Chapstick to whatever is available, pretty much. My lips seem to be the only thing that keep dry. I also get slight nosebleeds occasionally, mostly when I am at work- as the hospital air is very dry. I have slacked a lot on my water intake this month, mostly because my work schedule has been changing so much (I work nights 3 days a week and work days 2-3 days a week and school takes up my time between). Also, work has been pretty busy- so I tend to forget to eat, much less drink. I ran out of my Simple Facewash, so have been using my Dove Sensitive Skin in placement until I can get to the store. Two nights ago was the first time I forgot to carry Chapstick on me, and I worked a 12 hour shift. I will NEVER forget again. My lips became so dry, they burned, and a coworker even asked my if I had lipstick/lipliner on because of how red they were. They have yet to recover, and are starting to crack a bit.
The only side effects I have seemed to notice other than the dryness, was back/joint pain. My back has been killing me lately- but that could also be due to the increase in work. Also, I did yoga a few weeks, and my joints just couldn't handle it- I have never had this problem before as I actually have hypermobile joints.
I am a bit bummed due to the recent setbacks, but I notice a lot of people see improvement start the 3rd month. I am hoping that is the case with me, especially since this is the month we are upping the amount.

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so i see you have the  Nexplanon Implant , hows that working for you? i did accutane 5 years ago and im clear now, and i want a birth control impant but heard they are terrible for acne. 

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