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24F Accutane (Isotretinoin) Journey

Intro and Month 1

Just like many people in this forum, I have been an active acne.org reader for a long time. I decided to create this log for my isotretinoin treatment with the hope that it will help someone somewhere decide if accutane is right for them. Since it effects everyone differently, I figured the more personal experiences out there the better. Sorry if it's a long intro but I know I found myself looking for certain details when I was looking so I wanted to be as informative as possible.

I'm going to start with a little about myself. I'm a 24 year old female and I have suffered from acne since I hit puberty at 9 years old (2003). My acne is definitely genetic and hormonal and is mostly on my face, with some breakouts on my chest and shoulders/back about every two weeks. My mom has suffered with moderate to severe acne her entire life, so I knew that was going to be my case as well. My skin is oily, like becoming an oily slick again 20 minutes after dabbing my face oily. I have consistent, basically permenant blackheads in every pore of my nose and in my T zone. I consistently have at least 15+ pimples on my face, mostly inflammatory and cystic acne, and the clearest my skin gets is maybe 10 at one time. My acne was severe throughout my teenage years, but when I entered college it definitely subsided a bit and now is more moderate with severe breakouts every few weeks. I have called out sick once or twice due to a particularly bad cystic pimple or breakout. I don't go swimming or go out of the house without makeup due to my skin and have shed an absurd amount of tears. I would constantly look around wherever I was and 90% time I always was the one with the worst skin in the room. I have been through every topical acne treatment at least twice, currently on BC for years, and tried antibiotics pills for awhile with nothing truly helping. My dermatologist had brought up accutane before but I had always refused due to the horror stories. Finally, with years of research on these forums and my wedding 9 months away I decided to just go for it.

The bloodwork and pregnancy tests suck, and I had to wait a month before even being able to start treatment. Finally, I was able to take my first pills in December 2018. I'm on the generic Claravis, 60mg/day for 5 months. I started at that dose right away. I am going to go through some highlights and side effects from my first month.

Day 2

The day after my first pill I felt like my skin was hypersensitive, especially my scalp. It definitely freaked me out. Inside my nose was dry and my lips started getting dry.

Week 1

Skin was not that dry, lips got dry (use Aquaphor). Sensitive skin, no unusual breakout. Was exhausted all the time.

Week 2

Dry, flaky lips! I wear contacts so my eyes dried out a little too. One new deep cystic pimple on cheek. Skin a little dryer, switched to using Cerave moisturizing cream at night. Got a crack in the corner of my mouth that hurt a lot. Vaseline is a must at night on your lips! I already have daily back pain (scoliosis) but wow my back was killing me! Not unbearable but definitely uncomfortable. 

Week 3

Still the dry dry dry lips and skin around my mouth. My skin got super rough in texture as every pore decided to start pushing out its contents. The pores on my chest had little spikes coming out for days! Broke out, more like a normal breakout for me and I've had worse. They take awhile to go away though and stay red forever. Made me feel like this is going to work though. Definitely had stiff joints and pain but not too bad. Get that recurring crack in the same corner of my mouth but a little bacitracin and it's gone in a day or two. 

Week 4

Still had the rough skin (getting better), dry lips and dry eyes. The skin on and around my nose is peeling all the time. Only getting a couple of new pimples every day and they are much smaller and less inflamed but still red. 

If you're reading this then you got to the end of my super long post! I promise the rest won't be this lengthy. Thanks for following my journey!


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