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andrea

Andrea's Accutane Journal

My battle with acne started when I was 13. When I was 15, I tried Proactiv and at age 16, I started Accutane. I only stayed on it for less than a month (I wasn't informed of the side effects and it really scared me.) At age 17, I finally went to a dermatologist who prescribed me minocycline and benzaclin. In 4 months, my skin was perfectly clear and remained that way until I was 19. In Dec '02, my face suddenly exploded with about 50-60 pimples and cysts. I went back to the derm, and she put me on minocycline and retin a. The medicine was not as effective, and my acne is still pretty severe today. I went to a different derm. who prescribed me Accutane, 40mg a day. Along with the Accutane, I was prescribed Benzaclin and sodium sulfacetamide.

Day 1/Week 1: My face has about 35-40 pimples right now, scattered on my chin, cheeks, and forehead. I have mostly cysts on my cheeks, whiteheads on my chin, and papules on my forehead. I have no acne on my back or chest. Used the benzaclin last night, could feel my face getting so tight I could barely talk. Woke up and my face looked exactly the same as the night before (what was I expecting?! #-o ) This morning I applied the sodium sulfacetamide, and will take the Accutane when I eat lunch.

I also bought some vitamin E (I read that this helps diminish the red marks and helps my skin heal faster.)

Products I am currently using:

1) St. Ives Apricot Scrub for Acne prone skin

2) Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Wash

3) Clinique Clarifying Lotion #2

The product list will most likely change throughout my course of Accutane, since my skin will undoubtedly get more sensitive. I'll keep you updated!

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Day 2/Week 1:

Last night I noticed that my lips were pretty dry. After I washed my face, my lips stayed chapped and never regained its natural moisture. I thought it would take a couple of days for the chapping to set in, but I could feel a difference already.

When I woke up this morning, two of my cysts turned into huge whiteheads. I'm not sure if this is from the medicine or not..I read that this is what happens at the beginning of treatment.

The benzaclin makes my face really itchy and flaky. I look like I'm shedding a second skin! Also, whenever I apply the Benzaclin and then attempt to talk or smile, my face cracks and then it itches like hell.

Hoping that my initial breakout does not occur this weekend (family reunion..YIKES!) Keep your fingers crossed for me...

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Day 3/Week 1:

I'm not sure if it's the Benzaclin or Accutane, but my skin ITCHES like CRAZY. Last night I iced my face for about 10 minutes and it really helped. I notice that now after I wash my face, my skin is extremely dry and huge flakes of skin peel off. It's pretty gross looking.

I think I am beginning to experience the "initial breakout" period. When I woke up this morning, I had 4 new pimples on my forehead. Ouch! ](*,) The good news is that the cysts on my cheek seem to be drying up and are becoming less bumpy. My chin is still pretty much the same - about 3-4 whiteheads that never seem to go away. This brings the grand total to about 45 pimples all over my face. YIKES!

I have a lot of dryness on my lips and inside my nose. I bought Blistex medicated chapstick along with Blistex complete moisture. They seem to be taking care of the lip problem. My nose is a little more complicated. I think when it gets too dry to bear I will use some vaseline (I read that this works!) In addition, I bought a new moisturizer for when I am brave enough to venture outside the house: Eucerin Daily Control & Care Moisturizer. It's supposed to have some lactaid in there that's supposed to smoothe and moisturize skin as well as keep me clear. Hoping it works [-o<

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Vaseline all the way. It stays on forever and feels really good. Kinda goofy looking since it make the area shiny but well worth it. The chapped lips happened with me pretty early as well. Just keep using the chapstick and have like 3 or 4 on you at all times :D Good luck!

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Day 4/Week 1:

LIFE ON ACCUTANE IS NO PICNIC! First off, my face is ALWAYS itching. I try to find ways to scratch around my blemishes, but it's nearly impossible. Second, my skin is peeling. It seems that every few seconds, layers of skin are shedding off. When I look in the mirror, all I see are patches of flaking skin..very unattractive. Third, my skin is RED. I look like someone just smacked me all over my face. Lastly, my lips and nose and even my eyes are dry. I have to apply chapstick about every 30 minutes. Thankfully, I am not experiencing anything major yet- like headaches or joint pains. I'm hoping I NEVER experience it!

On a brighter note, I am noticing a slight improvement in my skin. Again, the cysts on my cheek are slowly disappearing (they are almost completely flat) and some of them have turned into smaller pimples (Whiteheads). The whiteheads on my chin are still there, but they seem less puss filled. My biggest problem area is my forehead, which looks like a war zone. The papules are still pretty red and painful, but some are disminishing. Raising my eyebrows is still painful...so I'm waiting for the day that I can say that doesn't hurt. The grand total of pimples on my face is roughly 38, but I'd say about 15-20 of these are tiny (some clustered together) and hardly noticeable (well, compared to those monster cysts anyway.)

I think I'm going to have to change my face wash (I'm using Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Wash right now) to something milder. It makes my face extra dry and frankly, I don't need more dryness! The weird thing is that my face is flaking off but I'm still extremely oily! SWEET IRONY! :-k

I'm glad the process is going along steadily, and I'm hoping that there's only improvement from here.

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I too am on my fourth day of Accutane. I've gotten the dry lips and nose, even throat. It's not really that noticable though. I use the Cetaphil cleanser, it's verrrrry gentle. Give it a try. :D

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Day 5/Week 1:

My face is like the Sahara Desert :D On one hand, that's a good thing because that means my face is slowly healing. On the other, that means I have to deal with irritated, itchy dry skin. Now, my face is peeling a LOT..not in just the areas with acne but all over. The insides of my nose and even insides of my ears itch because of dry skin. Vaseline helps a lot!

As for the improvement aspect, I can definitely say that the cysts on my cheeks are diminishing. My chin area is almost completely clear, with only 3 stubborn whitehead remaining. I am getting a few small bumps around my lip area, and I think this may be because of the Vaseline I smear. What a catch-22.

My forehead is still pretty much the worse area. It has about 15 cysts/papules/red marks, and they are bumpy and painful :? I'd say the total number of blemishes on my face is about 25-30, and 10-15 red marks. Although I *thought* my face is getting better, now that I've counted all the blemishes...it could actually be getting worse! [-( AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

I'm trying to avoid picking at my face, but all acne sufferers know it is damn near impossible. I only attack the whiteheads when I wake up in the morning (still bad, I know), but I leave the cysts alone.

Thanks to all those who read my posts and offer me support. It means a lot to me :shock: Hopefully this Accutane will start kicking in soon... 8-[

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Day 6/Week 1:

Ugh. I'm beginning to get really discouraged. My face has gotten worse and leaving the house is becoming increasingly difficult. New pimples are appearing everywhere...and it doesn't just happen over night. Throughout the day, I will see new whiteheads or papules forming. I think the total on my face is at 50 now. I feel pretty hopeless.

The Accutane is really drying up my face but I'm still very oily. I have to blot myself about 3 times a day and I saturate an entire Clean & Clear oil-absorbing sheet everytime. The papules on my forehead have now turned into clusters of whiteheads, so not only are they more obvious but they protrude more too. Ew. The cysts on my left cheek have improved a bit, although I still have about 5 cysts that are becoming whiteheads. Pretty painful. My right cheek is worse. About 7 cysts but they are not as bumpy. My chin area has improved, with only tiny whiteheads along my jaw line. I have a few blemishes along my lip line, but I think this is due to the vaseline I use religiously.

I'm beginning to experience some of the more serious side effects of Accutane, like joint pain and headaches. Also, I experienced a sharp pain in my chest, like someone was crushing my lungs. It went away, but it still was kinda scary. Anyone else have this happen?

For all the Accutane users out there....how long did it take to see positive results? If I don't see something miraculous in a week I think I'll crawl under a rock and DIE. ](*,) Some words of encouragement???

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I'm only in my first week of accutane but hang in there! A lot of people don't see results till 2 or 3 months, and sometimes not till AFTER treatment is complete. Remember, sometimes, no pain, no gain. The bad skin you have now will be (hopefully) made up for in the future! :D

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my skin was really oily too. Now im in the middle of my 3rd week and its drying up. hang in there

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Day 7/Week 1:

*** ONE WEEK UPDATE ***

My face is pretty much the same, if not worse. There are a ton of red marks and pimples everywhere. My skin is incredibly dry - I'm going to stop using the Neutrogena Oil Free Acne wash because it makes my face 100x more dry. I've been slathering on the moisturizer in order to talk and smile. Vaseline is my new best friend...I use it on my lips, nose and eyelids.

I've been really tired lately. Not sure if this is due to my dry eyes wanting to be shut, or if the medicine makes me groggy. All I know is that I'm experiencing the horrible side effects but not seeing the miraculous improvement.

Overall:

Skin has gotten worse - more bumps that are redder and more painful. Face is dry, skin is peeling, and I'm VERY discouraged.

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Day 8/Week 2:

Finally! I am seeing a bit of improvement. Many of the whiteheads on my cheek have dried up. They will probably be gone in 2 or 3 days. My chin is pretty smooth, except along my jaw line where a couple of small whiteheads have sprouted. They are not noticeable unless I tilt my head up. My forehead is pretty much the same. Very red and very bumpy. Hopefully the initial breakout is over and my face gets better from here.

I've noticed that icing my face helps in many ways. Not only does it lessen the itchiness, but it always reduces the swelling. Maybe my face looks better today because I iced my face for about 15 minutes yesterday. I'll continue that today just in case.

I'm getting pretty used to the side effects. I drink about 64 oz. of water every day, and even then I'm still very dry. My skin isn't peeling anywhere but my face. I've decided that since I'm tolerating the dry skin better, I'll continue to use the Benzaclin. I've switched from Neutrogena Acne Free Oil wash to Proactiv. It's a lot more gentle and doesn't leave my face stiff from dryness after washing. I was debating switching over to Cetaphil, but I still think my skin is too oily for that now.

Wishing time would fly a little faster.. [-o<

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Day 9/Week 2:

Yes! No new pimples and I can see my old ones healing. Most of the cysts on my cheek have been reduce to small whiteheads or disappeared. The cysts that remain are dry and sort of flat. They have a hard dry crust on them, which I *hope* means they're drying out. My chin is pretty smooth now. Again, it is still my forehead area that's stubborn. A lot of the cysts and papules are drying up, but a lot still remain as well.

I'm beginning to experience a lot of joint pains. Oh, and lately I've been kind of worried about my next bloodwork appointment. I was wondering what they test me for (I know liver enzymes..but anything else?) My doctor told me to stay on a low-fat diet while on Accutane, so will they be testing my cholestorol? How important is it to eat low-fat foods (because I don't think I'm doing that great of a job!) If anyone knows, please respond!

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Day 12/Week 2:

I'm seeing a tiny bit of improvement every day. Most of my skin is drying and I am able to peel off a lot of my old blemishes. My right cheek is healing really well, with only 5 small/medium cysts/redmarks left (from around 10-15). My left cheek has about 7-8 small/medium cysts/redmarks. My chin is completely clear, with only a few small but dried up blemishes along my jawline.

My forehead is finally showing improvement too. No new pimples to report, and the old ones are slowly drying up. They have reduced about 40-50% in size too, and I can raise my eyebrows with little to no pain! GREAT! :-/

The side effects are daunting though. I got my first bloody nose yesterday, which was a bit annoying but well worth the results I've been getting. I've also developed a pimple on my head, which hurts like hell. I never get pimples anywhere but my face, so it's kind of weird.

Again, the only major side effect I'm concerned about is the pain in my ribcage area. It feels like my lungs are being crushed whenever I lie on my side or on my stomach. The pain has diminished a bit in the past 2 days, but maybe it's me getting used to it? :roll: Not sure...

Overall, I'm glad things are improving. My sister even said it's gotten a lot better since when she last saw me last Sunday. So I'm hoping that the progress continues..until then...PASS THE VASELINE!!!!!! :)

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Day 13/Week 2:

My face is pretty much the same as yesterday, although I am now noticing improvement in my forehead area. I think this is due to the Neutrogena Oil Free Acne wash that I applied just to my forehead area for the past 2 days. I did this because I noticed that my forehead wasn't as dry as the rest of my face, so I thought it'd be ok. I'm glad I'm finally seeing progress on my forehead!!

My cheeks are the same if not getting worse. A few cysts remain that are QUITE painful. :) One thing I've noticed is that a lot of tiny whiteheads have sprouted everywhere. Yes, they're better than cysts...but they cause my skin to be a far cry from decent.

The REALLY bad news is that my chin area (an area which was almost flawless 2 days ago) has now become a mini war zone. Three PAINFUL cysts have grown and a few whiteheads beneath my lip. It sucks. Just when I thought things were getting better........

I hope I wake up with improvement..or at the very least, NO NEW PIMPLES :-

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Day 14/Week 2:

*** TWO WEEK UPDATE ***

I woke up this morning to discover that the three cysts on my chin morphed into 3 huge whiteheads overnight. I picked them and now they are only redmarks (bad bad, i know! :)# ) I just counted all the blemishes on my face and COULD NOT BELIEVE IT! Only 19 in total (and I even counted the TINY blemishes) This means I have about 60% fewer pimples in just 2 weeks. That is amazing!! =D>

In addition, a lot of the 19 blemishes I do have are clearly in the healing stage. The cysts are dry and raised only a bit, while the papules that remain are about 50% smaller than usual.

My forehead is doing so much better, with only 8 blemishes remaining. The texture is also much more flat and I'm finally seeing some dry skin in this area. My cheeks are also much better. I can run my finger along certain areas and it is perfectly smooth. My right cheek has one cyst that is relatively small, and the rest of the blemishes are *very* small. My left cheek has two small cysts right next to eachother, which appears to be one large one. Again, the rest of the blemishes on my left cheek are very tiny. My chin looks much better now that I got rid of those 3 hideous whiteheads. Only one red bump remains and a few red marks.

Overall:

My face is doing so much better in only two weeks! I've seen about a 60% improvement (from around 50 pimples when I first started to 19) The blemishes that remain are small, although my face is still extremely red so it appears I have a lot of pimples. :oops: In addition, my skin is peeling at an all time high. Side effects are the same: dry lips and nose and sore joints. I'm really happy with the results so far..Only 18 more weeks to go! :-

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Day 16/Week 3:

I can't tell if my face is getting better or worse since I look at it every 5 minutes. My forehead seems to be flaring up again, which really sucks. The worse part is it's so shiny, it could be used as a freakin reflector. My cheek area under my eyes are a lot flatter, although the side part of my cheeks still have whiteheads and cysts. Side lighting is definitely my enemy. =; My chin is not looking that hot either. New tiny whiteheads have sprouted, especially along the line where my vaseline lies. My jawline also remains a problem.

Overall, my face has about 30 pimples/cysts/red marks, 11 of these being small whiteheads. I wonder my face is getting worse all of a sudden. SIGH :roll:

I just want to scream at the top of my lungs. I HATE ACNE!!!!!!!!!!!!! :evil:({|=

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Day 18/Week 3:

As much improvement as I'm seeing in my cheek area, the more little blemishes keep popping up around my chin and jawline. It's extremely frustrating #-o My right cheek, the best area right now, has only about 2 small bumps left but a lot of red marks. My left cheek is a work in progress, with 4 small bumps. Both cheeks have patches of dry skin and black spots from either blackheads or dried blood under my skin. My forehead still has new forming pimples, while the old blemishes are s l o w l y healing. I'd say there are about 7 bumps. My chin...man, that's another story. It seems like every 5 minutes, there is a new whitehead forming and another one flaking off. I get a lot under my lip area..is it from the Vaseline? All I know is that it looks ugly. [-(

I switched from Proactiv to Cetaphil because my face is REALLY dry now. Guess I had to give in, but that lotiony feeling isnt so bad since it balances that sahara desert feeling. I also stopped using a toner, since I noticed there's a lot less dirt on my face and it STINGS like a mofo.

My birthday is coming up on Wednesday, and I hope my face is at least bump-free. I know it will be still red as fire, but I'm just taking baby steps here...PRAY FOR ME PLEASE! [-o<

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Day 20/Week 3:

Wow, I can't believe I've finished two packets of Accutane already. I guess time really does fly.

I have to say that I am a lot happier with my face. Not HAPPY, just happier than normal. There is only one whitehead on my right cheek and 3 on my left cheek. Hopefully these will flake off soon. My forehead is much better, with about 5 bumps left. My chin is still the worst area. When I woke up this morning there were 5 whiteheads on beneath my lip in a perfectly symmetrical W shape. Very weird. After I washed my face they all popped or came off. I put Benzaclin so I hope everything dries up.

I can't believe that just 3 weeks ago I had about 50 pimples on my face. Yesterday my boyfriend touched my cheek and said "Look, it's perfectly smooth here!" I felt so great! :evil:/ I can tell that it's getting better...I just want it to be perfect I guess.

I noticed that my face is dramatically less oily. I used to wake up every morning and saturate a blotting sheet. Then I would use about 2 more and saturate those throughout the day. Now, there is NO oil when I wake up in the morning, and I don't even have to blot ONCE during the day. Even when it's hot, I just sweat - no oil. Pretty cool, I could get used to saving $8 a week for blotting sheets!

I'm going to the derm. on Tuesday and I hope all my bloodwork goes smoothly. I'm kinda freaked because I hope I don't have elevated levels of ANYTHING, because I NEED MY ACCUTANE!!!!! If she doesn't refill my prescription, I will die!

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hmm what kinda moisturizer do you use? Because my moisturizer makes my face looks shiny.

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Day 22/Week 3:

***3 WEEK UPDATE***

My face is so unpredictable. Just a few days ago my chin was my worst area, while my forehead was showing improvement. Now, my chin is completely clear and my forehead has 3 new red bumpy papules. UGH! [-(

My main problem area is my jawline. I have whiteheads that literally trace my jaw line from my ear to my chin, about 3 whiteheads on each side. My cheeks each have one cyst on each side. Not pretty, but the rest of my cheek area is clear so I won't compain.

I've been getting a lot of bloody noses lately, but they usually don't last long. They're just annoying. I'm already drinking about 5-6 16.9 oz water bottles everyday...I don't know what more I can do! My lips need vaseline at ALL times, as does my nose since the insides are dry as sandpaper.

Overall:

Only a tiny bit of improvement since last week. My cheeks are almost completely clear except one cyst each side (I'm talking perfectly smooth!My face has a total of 17 blemishes, 11 of these being whiteheads. Of those 11, about 5 are small (little bit bigger than a pinhead!) I have tons and tons of redmarks..hopefully those fade soon. Going to the derm today...hope everything is going OK internally. PRAYING I GET MY NEXT MONTH'S PRESCRIPTION WITH NO HASSELS! O:)

Mouse:

I rarely moisturize my face because it makes me look like a relfector! When I have to go outside, I use Eucerin Daily Control Moisturizer. I also just purchased a cream called Creme de la Mer, which is super rich and moisturizes beautifully. Only problem is that is causes my face to be kind of oily, so I apply and then blot to get rid of the excess. Hope this helps!

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yeah i barely moisturize too for the same reason. Btw, the bloody noses went away for me around week 4. Hope things go well for you. I am currently in week 5.

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Day 23/Week 4:

It's my birthday (Yay!) and although my skin isn't perfect, it is SO much better than 3 weeks ago. My sister just got home and the first thing she said to me was "WOW..You're skin is SO much better. It's almost all flat!" YEAH!!!!!!! :)/ Glad I wasn't just hallucinating clearer skin.

I'm so HAPPY with Accutane. Dry lips and alligator skin are a small price to pay for CLEAR skin. For anyone out there doubting this pill, DON'T GET CAUGHT UP IN ALL THE HYPE. Give it a chance before you dismiss it, because it could work for you. It's been working for me and I am happier than I was 3 weeks ago.

I went to the derm yesterday and she noticed a really big improvement. I couldn't get my bloodwork done since I ate already, so I have to go back tomorrow. I really hope things are in order.

It's a miracle that both the cysts on my cheeks reduced dramatically overnight. Maybe someone up there knows it's my birthday and decided to answer last night's prayers! O:) My chin is smooth - not one pimple to report. There are still some whiteheads along the jawline, but they feel hard and dry - hopefully they flake off throughout the day. My forehead also got a bit better overnight. Still a few bumps, but nothing too large or painful. I can't expect perfection, but it's good to know I'm getting there. =D>

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=D> well first off happy birthday!!! :)/ i'm glad to hear ur skin is doing really good!!!! ya i'm going on accutane i just got my blood work done today but i am soooo afraid of the initial breakout because i have school starteing in a month and i don't want to be all broken out for the pics and everything!!!! so i'm not to sure about accutane, i guess i am just scared of the side effects. ok well anyway HAPPY BIRTHDAY! and i hope the clear skin keeps comin!!!!!!!!!

adios

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don't be so happy, your face should break out even more. I will finish accutane on july 28 and my face is completely clear, but arg i hate the scars on my face. You better watch out, scars are pretty depressing. Picking or not picking, im not sure if accutane really cause the scars. but sorry to bring bad news but im bringing the truth about what happen to me. :)

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