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SlowIce

My Accutane Journey - Moderate Persistant - 22M

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Hi, so this topic will go through my accutane journey. I'm having a hard time getting through this. Acne really sucks, and not being able to control it sucks even more. So, I felt like by recording down how I was doing, and my stages, I could probably help some other people. I know it helped me reading what other people go to. Also, I'm emotionally low right now. Ranting about this stuff really let's me get it off my chest. And that's good, cause no one else in real life cares about this stuff, and just assumes I'm a "dirty" person cause I have acne. 

Edited by SlowIce
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Pre:

I've had acne issues for a long time, ever since past puberty. It went here and there but it started getting really consistent and somewhat cystic around winter 2014. My skin was looking awful. I tried different things like oil cleansing, using softer products, and I broke the bank many times to try and find something that worked. I tried BHAs and AHAs, benzyl peroxide, zinc tablets (but I stopped them cause they gave me headaches), multivitamins, fish oil. Tons of stuff. I can't even list all the stuff I used. The acne started to super duper hurt me, so I went to a my university's clinic and saw a GP. He said my acne was "moderate" and put me on a oral dose of antibiotics (doxycycline) and a lot of tactupump (epiduo is what they call it in US). My acne went to shit on that stuff, and at around the 10th week, I was fed up. The GP then told me to take another antibiotic but I told him I really didn't want to do that. Even if the anti-biotic works, the moment you get off of it, it just goes back to shit. I then went to another GP and she gave me accutane. I took 40mg for 2 months. But due to reasons out of my control, I had to stop taking it. In those 2 months, my skin cleared up. It took around 4-5 weeks for me to see a little improvement. By the 7th to 8th week, I had clear/smooth skin with tons of PIH. I stopped taking it. I got rid of all the PIH in around 4 months, and I had pretty clear skin. It was awesome. My oil production came back around a month or so after I stopped taking accutane. 

But, then the acne came back. I started getting a few pimples. It was ok, I had some BP. But then it got worse and worse, and I couldn't remove old pimples before the new ones. After around the 3rd week of this, my face starting going back to what it used to look like before I started acne for the first time. I went straight to the GP and started accutane again. And here is my story. 

Week 1:

I was prescribed 30mg of isotretinoin (it is called epuris). First couple days, I got extreme headaches and couldn't sleep. Noticed no change in my skin. Around the 5th or 6th day, I noticed my face as no longer greasy. I started getting a few pimples here and there, but nothing different from when I was off accutane. 

Edited by SlowIce
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Week 2: 

This week was totally shitty. I got no pimples at all on the right side of my face, but the left side was bananas. I got like 40 white heads, 3 cysts in total. Most spread out around my forehead, and on a lot on the left side of my face. Nothing on my chin, right side of face, or near my lip. May have been because I just had cysts I cleared up on the right side of my face. Lips started to become dry but I had my carmax. I would have to apply around ever hour or two. At night, I would put on carmax and vaseline on top of it. I also had to hydrate a ton, I drank tons of water. I only washed my face with lukewarm water, and I didn't touch any of my pimples. I put on moisturizer every morning and every night. Didn't notice any side effects yet other than dry skin ad chapped lips. I don't really feel the dry skin cause I have a sick moisturizer. 

Pimpes were coming and going. Yes, I got alot, but they would heal within 2-3 days, and then I would get new ones. It is pretty cool tbh. I noticed very little scaring in places where the pimples died. The marks I had from before I started accutane from previous pimples were more visible than the scarring left by bigger pimples that died during week 2. Things are looking somewhat better at the end of week 2. I didn't' have any intense redness, just tons of little dots. I still have 3 cysts but I've been icing them and they don't look so bad. 

My sister and my dad noticed my acne was shit. I had to go to a lot of holiday functions, but I just kept my chin up. It's temporary. I broke down once, but I just keep reminding myself it will be worth it. 
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Hang in there! I know its hard and annoying, but stick with it! Be sure to drink tons of water and take your pills with fat! I've stuck with my course for 200+days now, and am happy with the results. I'm sure when your course is done you will be happy too!

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Week 3: 

So I just took my 30mg pill and that marks the end of week 3/day21. Things have improved in terms of breakouts in comparison to week 2. There is definitely a lot less inflammation on my face. However, I have tons of red marks from the IB. My forehead is full of them, and so do my cheeks and my temples. I had to switch moisturizers. I was initially using Aveeno Skin Relief Moisturizer with Shea Butter (this was my shit, it was great) and used it every morning and night, but my face would still end up getting dry after around 4-5 hours. I switched to Cerave in the Tub, and it has been working for me great. I wasn't able to use Cerave in the Tub prior accutane as it was simply too heavy and greasy, and never absorbed properly, but since now that my face is super dry, it works wonders. I have been using carmax and vaseline for my lips. No other side affects. 

I have got a few little cysts, but they would literally disappear in under 24 hours. I also put ice on them before they too big, and it's been great. Really small pimples coming and going. Maybe I have around 4 right now. All the blackheads and clogged pores are releasing their gunk. It is very hard to notice, unless you are like an inch from the mirror. Every night, when I wash with lukewarm water, there's little blackheads coming out. I remember when I first took accutane, my face turned to sandpaper around this time. It is much much more mild this time. 

I would say generally, my acne is probably 80% of what it was pre-accutane. Pimples are really small and quickly come and go. I am careful not to touch anything to minimize scarring. It is been going MUCH BETTER than week 1/2. Those weeks were really painful. Looking forward to the results!

P.S. I will post photos at the end of my treatment. I take photos every 3 day.  Edited by SlowIce
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Week 4: 

I spoke way too soon. My skin got to it's worst right at the end of week 3 and the beginning of week 4. This was probably the worst my skin has ever looked. My forehead exploded in redness and pimples. I had to go to a wedding the very day that I woke up with them, it was not a fun time. I also started getting pimples on the right side of my face which was pretty much clear. Things were getting a lot worse. Slowly slowly throughout the week, it got better. I know have maybe 9-10 active small little pimples, and lots of PIH. My nose and area around my nose are super smooth, all the blackheads are gone. 

No change in side effects. I got some aquaphor, doesn't really do a better job than carmax. Carmax is also way cheaper and wildly available. 

I did my blood test on around the middle of the week, and I'm seeing my GP on Day 31. I am missing a single day since my GP's schedule was really busy, and I couldn't see her within 4 days of me calling in. If all goes well, she is going to bump me up to 60mg. LETS FUCKING DO THIS AND CRUSH ACNE.
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Week 5:

This week, my dosage was changed to 70mg a day, and I weigh right around 70kg. Fortunately, I haven't experienced any intense side effects at all this week. I have been using Eucerin Lip Balm for my lips at night and when I'm at home and Carmax during the day. Skin is dry, but it is no problem at all with Cerave in the Tub at Night and Aveeno Shea Butter Moisturizer in the morning. I also have been sleeping with a humidifier. Got a little headaches during the first few days of taking the extra pill, was hard to sleep the first night but otherwise, nothing bad at all. I was really worried that taking 1mg/kg would be really intense, but it hasn't been. 

In terms of skin, much better than week 4. I think my skin has returned back to what it was pre-accutane, except I have tons of PIH especially on my forehead. I did break out like crazy right at end of week 4 that I did not mention. That was the worst my skin has ever looked ever. But things have been healing. I have maybe 4-5 active pimples, and they are all super small. My nose is completely blackhead free. My cheeks are pretty much clear except for a single pimple. my forehead and near my eyebrows are really still going at it. 

But, I expect that I will be clear by week 8. Last time I took Accutane, my skin was much worse, and it cleared up by week 8 and I was only taking 40mg (I weighed the same). So, I believe I got through the worst of it. 

ALMOST THERE ACNE GOING TO DIE
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You got this!! I feel you on people thinking you're dirty because you have acne....I work so hard on my skincare routine and buying products it's ridiculous. Unlike my friends who can wear makeup for days on end and not get a single pimple. 

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@mysticalheavens56 Yeah It's a big pet peeve of mine when people think I have bad hygiene cause of my acne. Some people are just blessed with nice skin, and they could literally wipe grease all over their skin and not get a pimple. 



 

Week 6 (Day 42): 

This week has been going okay. I've now felt the side effects of going up to 1mg/kg. It's still manageable. I'm having to reapply aquaphor /carmax to my lips every 20min.  I ended out switching from Cerave in to the tub to cetaphil cream at night. And I have been using the gentle cetaphil cleanser in the morning (The cleanser is slightly moisturizing). They have really super duper helped. I don't feel skin dyness at all till late right before I do my night skin routine. I always use to break out to cerave, and it never felt or looked good on my skin. Cetaphil is a completely different story, it absorbs, it gives my skin a nice glow. It actually makes my skin look better. 

As for pimples, definitely an improvement. I am still breaking out slightly but they are not huge cysts so they do not phase me. No pain at all. I have around 4-5 active pimples. I noticed more dry small blackheads coming out of my nose area. I believe going to 1mg/kg is pushing more gunk out. Overall, my face does not looked inflamed and pimply like it used to be. The pimples are there, and they are small and red, but they are dying. My skin texture is improving. Everyday seems to be slightly better. There is still tons of hyper pigmentation from previous breakouts but they are slowly going away. It was really nice cleansing my face in the morning and not feeling so many bumps.

ACNE GOING TO GET REKT

 

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Week 7 (Day 49)

This week was really nice in the beginning, but half way, I started breaking out again. Bunches of little pimples in the familiar places (the temples, and side of cheeks). I also got two cysts. One of my forehead, and one of my cheek. The forehead one luckily just turned into one slightly big pimples. The cheek one turned into 3 big pimples. Shit is dying slowly. I haven't really felt any bad side effects, I am taking 1mg/kg. Lips are dry but I use aquaphor/carmax every 20min. The cetaphil cream is a blessing at night, and I only cleanse my face with cetaphil gentle cleanser. Drinking tons of water. My skin doesn't exactly look healthy and hydrated but it doesn't hurt. I've noticed the redness is slowly going away. The cysts are slowly getting smaller. 

On my first course of accutane, where I took only 0.5mg/kg (40mg) and had much more severe acne, I cleared up within the 8th week. I unfortunately had to stop, but I stayed clear for around 4 -5 months. Here's hoping, the magic of accutane comes up next week. I've been really putting off social stuff because I'm embarrassed of my skin! I'm also going to speak to my doctor and ask her if I can complete at least 4 months to prevent a relapse. So far, I am handling the medication well and my bloodtests were fine. 
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Week 8 (Day 56)

I had two cysts divide into multiple pimples at the beginning of this week. However, things are getting a lot better. Only 2 active pimples right now on my face, the rest are scars + PIH. I have tons of redness from inflammation I got during the initial break out, but things are slowly getting better cause of the very little active acne. I was really happy this week as I was finally able to cleanse and moisturize my face without running into any bumps. Skin is looking much better! Hope I stay clear!

I haven't felt any additional side effects. Just dry lips and skin. Which can be easily countered with moisturizer and aquaphor. I'm going to try at least 4 months. 
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Week 9 (Day 64)

I just took my 30mg and 40mg pill, and today marks day 64. Holy it's been a long time. I visited my GP 4 days ago, and she thinks I may have to be on the drug for 6 months. This came at a surprise. Initially, we thought it would go to 3-4 months. This is cause back when I first took accutane, where my acne was much worse, I cleared up within 2.5 months taking 40mg. So, my GP thought I would be clear by now, but she said that my face has not really improved since she say me month 1. She says I will keep going wit the treatment, and when I come clear one month, she will give me on more month of accutane and I'm done. She also said I should not experience any more flare-ups. 6 months is a long time.. I am going on vacation in 4.5 months of this treatment. 

But anyways, doctor stuff aside. My skin has been doing a lot better since last week. I just have redness from previous marks, and the cyst that I had on my right cheek is slowly fading. I did get a few super tiny bumps around my eyebrow area (I always get pimple's here, inflammatory acne, stress-related), but they are gone now. When I wash my face, I feel no bumps, and that is an epic feeling. Side effects are the same and super manageable. I do feel down but that is of course, cause of my face. I am super hopeful. Each week is slowly getting better.

Also, I started using my holy grail moisturizer, Aveeno + Shea Butter Lotion in the morning. It's tackled the dryness I feel super late at night right before I do my nightly skin routine. 

ACNE GOING TO DIE :D
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Week 10:

This week was the same as the past 2. However, scars are getting less noticeable. I got maybe 4-5 pimples throughout the week, and a bump on my right temple. No change in side effects. No change in skin texture. I shaved today, and I noticed that my left side is WAY better than my right side. When I started, my left side got like 20 pimples, and cysts came out while my right side was completely clear. Now, it' s the exact opposite. It seems to me that accutane will break you out in every possible place.

However, I'm trying to look at this in a positive light. All these pimples coming out are what was stuck under my skin. I'm still "purging". I want to continue this for 20-24 weeks and be clear. Life was epic when I was clear. It's coming. I also only have 6 weeks left till my braces come off. Exciting.

Acne is slowly dying.

FUCK YOU ACNE 
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Week 11:

Much better. I only got a single small pimple (I went to two birthday parties, and wasn't super healthy). My skin is smooth as hell. I don't feel any cysts or bumps. I got a haircut, and my skin didn't look super gross when I looked in the mirror during the haircut. Things are looking much better. I still have some redness and dark spots, but thankfully no big bumps and no scars! It's nice to finally finally see some results from accutane. My skin is better now than it was pre-accutane. 

In terms of side effects, totally manageable. I was really depressed for a majority of this treatment, but that was because of the breakouts but not that they are gone I feel much better. My skin does get dry, but it is easily countered by humidifier when I sleep + moisturizer morning and night. I probably have to put on chapstick once every hour (not bad at all). I have not felt any weakness in bones or back pains but I am still taking it easy just to be safe. I am so glad my acne is going away. The rest of the course feel s easy now that I don't have to worry about intense acne. 

1-0 ACNE
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Week 12:

Hello Folks,

Acne: No change, I am pretty clear. I have 0 cysts, maybe 1-2 small pimples around my face. I have a lot of discoloration from PIH but I've seen tons of improvement in comparison to 3-4 weeks ago. They are healing, albeit very slowly. I have 0 physical scars (THANK YOU). Also, my skin is not oily at all and it's great. I do moisturize every morning and night, and still my skin is very matte. I hope that my skin doesn't get to it's oily mess as it used to be after my treatment. 

Side Effects: No change, very easily to handle. It takes like maybe 2 hours for my lips to START to chap, and I just reapply. This is really easy considered my dose is 70mg, and I weight around 72kg. It is getting sunnier now, so I've been putting on sunscreen, nothing bad at all. 

I'm going to see my doctor next week, about to start month 4. I am really impressed about what happened this month, hopefully things will get even better by next month! I do not mind doing 6 months of accutane, it's actually been easier on accutane. I'm not paranoid about my oily skin, and every single food that I eat.  Edited by SlowIce
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Week 13 (Starting Taking 100mg Daily. I weight 72kg, so taking 1.38mg/kg daily): 

Acne: Clear. I did get 2 pimples last Saturday right after I posted my week 12 update. They were red and small and they appeared right center on my left cheek. They died within 4 days completely. Right now, I am absolutely clear. Skin is smooth and no bumps. I have no physical scars, just redness from previous pimples. The redness is slowly going away albeit extremely slowly. I trimmed my little beard today, and I literally felt nothing, it was so smooth. I am really happy with these results.

Visited Doctor: I visited my doctor and this was super early in the morning, and I just got those 2 pimples. She upped my dose to 100mg per day (1.38 mg/kg/daily). I felt kinda lucky that I got those two pimples tbh. I really don't want to relapse hard again, so taking more accutane is good. I weight 72kg, so the cumulative dose that studies recommend is around 120mg/kg - 150mg/kg, so around 8640mg - 10800 mg for me. After this month, I will hit 8100 mg. And I can do a single month to get in between the range, and lower my risk of relapse. My doctor is very clear about putting me on one extra month after I clear to also prevent relapse. So, I should be looking at 5-6 months max. I am in month 4 right now. 

Side Effects: Everything is the exact same. Totally manageable. I think Epuris is just way better than roaccutane. I remember my time on roaccutane on much lower doses to be way harder. I was only taking 40mg and I hated it. 
  Edited by SlowIce
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Week 14 (Day 98)

Acne: 
Got 2 very small pimples around my right cheek/temple area. It took almost the whole week for them to go away. My temple area is always the first to go crazy when I breakout. I believe I got these pimples because my dosage increased. Otherwise, skin is clear. I do have PIH that is slowly fading. I did notice my skin texture get worse while going on this higher dose (skin is dryer), but it has seemed to normalize now. The discoloration is the only thing I have left. My skin is quite light so It is noticeable in certain lighting. But, those will go away. I am happy to have no scars or bumps. 

Side Effects: Thankfully, I have not felt any additional side effects. I can get away with putting on aquaphor lip blam maybe once an hour (which is completely manageable). I have not felt the dry skin. 

Looking back at how my acne used to be, before I started accutane, and during the first 2 months, I am pretty happy with my progress so far. Hopefully things will be even better in month 5. 

 
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Week 15 (Day 105):

Acne: Hallelujah! Life is good. Clear! Face has been looking good. Scars are slowly fading. Skin texture is pretty consistent throughout the day, like I remember pre-accutane, If I didn't sleep enough I looked absolutely terrible. Now, I look pretty good and I'm all matte. Like, I don't look sick. Really happy with how things are going! 

Side Effects: No change in physical side effects. I can get by putting on aquaphor every hour or two. Skin is never too dry, I just put on moisturizer every morning and night. However, I am feeling the downs. It may be that I am ending university soon, and I'm going to miss it, and that my exams are coming up. It kind of goes away and comes back. I was really sad that that this year I got this serious acne. It really put a dent on my social life cause I was so self-conscious. I wish I went on this drug sooner and did have waste so much time hiding in my room cause I didn't like how my face looked. But right now in the present, I've been doing really well. In this last week of classes, I've been actively doing things, and man it is fun. I wish I could have done this for all of uni. 

Really happy with the progress. My doctor said if I come back at the end of the  month clear, she will only put me on one month more. That's 5 months, and then I can go back to being awesome. 


 
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Week 16 (Day 113)

Acne: 
I got 3 tiny pimples under my beard :( They were super small and went away after. I noticed now that if I do get pimples, they are super small and are not cysts. They die easily. Otherwise, skin is just okay with PIH. Face is still smooth. I shaved my face and I noticed how much I have improved in terms of scaring. I think I only need a month more. My skin texture isn't the greatest as accutane makes you super dry. 

Side Effects: I really felt the accutane this week. It is REALLY hard to get up in the morning. My skin is super dry, and I can feel the dryness at night before I moisturize. I moisturize twice a day so I am fighting the dryness, but the dryness is winning! My lips can go around 2 hours without getting any sort of chapping. I am looking forward to stopping it soon (after month 5). My face always feels terrible after putting on sunscreen and it starts to flake. I've tried many different brands. My skin is just not a good base for anything! 
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Week 17 (Day 120)

Just took my last dosage for month 4. 

Acne: No pimples at all! I had exams throughout this whole week and I usually break out super hard, but this time I got nothing at all. Skin has been super clear and the texture is a lot of better. Really happy with these results. 

Side Effects: Same as always. Dry sensitive skin and chapped lips. I think the mood effects I was feeling last week were a result of just being stressed about finals and that it was my last year of undergrad. In terms of sun sensitivity, it has really been annoying. I've been covering myself in spf 60 and trying my best to avoid too much outdoors time. Even through all the sun screen, my skin started to sting a bit when I put on moisturizer or use cetaphil gentle cleanser the day I was outside a bit. So, I stopped using the cleanser twice a day, and just wash my face with warm water at night. My skin does look good with a slight hint of tan, cause else it's just pale. So, it's not too bad in terms of physical appearance, but I know from experience that if somethings stings on your face that usually doesn't, your skin is dehydrated! So, I'm taking it easy and being generous with the vaseline after I put on moisturizer at night. 

My GP gave me a prescription for 40 more days of 100mg. This will put me in the range of 130-150mg/kg (closer to the higher bound). She told me to visit her again near the end of the 40 days if things get worse, and she can do another month, but else she said I am done after this! Excited to be done! That would be a total of 22 weeks of accutane and should be good enough to maybe not cause a relapse!

Edited by SlowIce
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Week 18 (Day 127)

I kinda messed up this week. I was off the medication for a total of 4 days. Issues with pharmacy's not having the medication and having to order it, finals and moving back home from university. However, did not notice any change in side effects and I've been back on it for 2 days. 

Acne: Completely clear. No pimples. PIH is there but slowly fading.

Side Effects: Same as always. My skin sadly looks dehydrated no matter what moisturizer I use. 

Skin texture is not that great close up. I should be off the drug in 38 days. Then, I can focus on the healing part and the dryness will go away. It is annoying though that I have to deal with all these side effects while going on my grad trip. But, I'd rather be done sooner than later and it takes a month to go out of my system too, so I couldn't get off it if I tried. 
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Week 19/20/21

So, I went to japan for almost 3 weeks. For week 1, I stayed at my regular dose of 100mg. But in the last 2 days, my nose got a sun burn. This was super annoying, and I was only in the sun for like 15min. I had spf 60 on. So, I decided to cut down my dosage to 20mg every day in Japan (I did miss some days). I wanted to enjoy my trip. I drank once or twice during the trip. Fortunately, no acne came during the trip. I was able to buy some SICK asian sunscreens that kept my skin unburned. My skin was annoying during the trip, but it was ALOT more manageable. I would not have enjoyed my trip as much if I had to worry about moisturizing/sunburning every hour. 

I came back near the end of Week 21, and I'm now taking the 100mg again. I have around 25 days left of 100mg left. Then, I have around 10 days of 80mg left (since I took a ton of 20mg pills during the trip). After that, I'm going to just stop accutane. My acne is completely gone. My skin is looking great. I'm getting rid of PIH. My GP told me I should take accutane until 1 month after my skin is completely clear. My skin is clear right now, and I have just over a month of doses. I will reach the proper cumulative dose by the end of this next month or so. I am almost there folks!
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Week 22

I took 100mg for 4 days, and I was feeling miserable. So I cut down to 80mg. So far, no change, everything is clear. I've been having to drink a ton more water, and my skin is dry. So I've been moisturizing twice a day. I've been looking FINE! 
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Week 23: 

No pimples anywhere. Feeling good. Only 18 or so days left of accutane! Exact same as last week. 
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Week 24:

So, officially 6 months on this stuff. There has definitely been a change for the better. I have taken well over the higher bound of the cumulative dose (150mg/kg) and I have not had any weird side effects (finger's crossed). I have around 18 days left (I made a mistake last week, and I realized I had an extra packet of 10x40mgs). I'm taking 80mg a day. My blood work was also great! GP said I am good to go after I take my last pill. 



Life is good! Excited to be done soon. I'm getting my confidence back. A few people have commented positively on my appearance and it felt great! Accutane has done wonders but I can't help but crave not having dry skin/chapped lips/sun sensitivity etc.
I hopefully will not have bad acne again. I can go to work fresh faced! 

I have been working out and I haven't felt any joint pain too. 

I'm actually really amazed that I'm gone through accutane so nicely! 18 DAYYSSSS ERGGHHH!!!!
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