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beentheredonethat

Clearly we need yet another Accutane journal

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OK, i'm about 2 weeks post-treatment now. Libido returned after about one week, yay! Still not as strong as before but i think it will return to normal as the dryness recedes further. My lips after about a week still required balm, although not as often, and peeled once or twice (as opposed to once or twice each day during active treatment). At this point they look pretty normal, a little dry, and i'm using balm only once or twice a day and could probably do without it all if i wanted to. I discontinued the Cortibalm after about a week. Overall dryness is returning to normal, i am ironically the most dry in the T-zone lol. The redness came back a bit when i discontinued that Clinique cream since i'm not sure that it's non-comedogenic - it was fine while on Accutane but i'm not sure how it will be off it. But the redness is fading back down now, so the red marks from the last cysts are really noticeable, but i can live with that. Joints seemed to have normalized already, i'm not taking the fish oil anymore because i ran out. I'm not taking anything other than my daily Yasmin, despite my good intentions to substitute vitamins and such for my Accutane. Oh well, it feels so nice to be free of daily pill taking that i'm having a hard time making myself do it again.

My back is beautifully clear. Six months ago it was covered in acne from shoulders to waist, mainly papules, a few big cysts, and i swear every single pore was blocked. Now, every pore is clear, no active acne whatsoever, and just a few red marks left from the last cysts which could easily be mistaken for freckles or moles or whatnot. Acne on my chest is gone, but i have a lot of scarring in the cleavage where the skin is so thin. :( Nothing active on my face although i have some spots that look like acne but aren't where a makeup lady didn't listen to me when i told her how sensitive my skin is and swiped a toner containing SA on half my face tha gave me some little burns. Grrr. I hope those fade before my wedding.

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That sounds great!!! Thanks for keeping us updated :) I read somewhere that the generic brand of accutane is not as effective and I was starting to get worried because my doctor approved Clavaris through my insurance ($15 a month) and I wouldnt care to pay more if the real brand is going to work better... i know you took clavaris this time and the brand name your first time... i am doing the exact thing... but did you notice any difference? I just hate to think i am not going to get the top results.. esspeccially after everything i went through! Let me know what you think... thanks! :cool:

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I personally think that study that showed issues with generics was not specific enough to make a real judgement. They talked about things (like composition after a certain shelf period) that may or may not effect absorption, but didn't actually test absorption. And what's the average shelf time anyway? If pharamacies move the medication swiftly, it wouldn't really matter even if absorption is lowered after a long period of shelf time. I am leary of studies which make what i consider to be unreasonable jumps in reasoning. The info submitted to the FDA indicates an almost identical absorption pattern for one of the generics approved in the US. (I can't remember if it's for Claravis or Amnesteem.) The generics that the study mentions by name as being inferior are not brands which are approved in the US. Many people have taken the reputable generics with good success.

Yes, i took brand name the first time since it was the only game in town, but this time i took Claravis. It seems to me that Claravis was just as effective as the Roche version at about half the price. In fact i responded more quickly this time around at a smaller dosage for less time, but there are so many variables that it's impossible to say why. I'm about 15 years older, i've had a previous course, i was very careful to make sure i took it with fat, etc. I would certainly recommend Claravis to others and i don't think there is any evidence that it is not a reasonable substitute for Roche's Accutane.

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OK, i'm about 2 weeks post-treatment now. Libido returned after about one week, yay! Still not as strong as before but i think it will return to normal as the dryness recedes further. My lips after about a week still required balm, although not as often, and peeled once or twice (as opposed to once or twice each day during active treatment). At this point they look pretty normal, a little dry, and i'm using balm only once or twice a day and could probably do without it all if i wanted to. I discontinued the Cortibalm after about a week. Overall dryness is returning to normal, i am ironically the most dry in the T-zone lol. The redness came back a bit when i discontinued that Clinique cream since i'm not sure that it's non-comedogenic - it was fine while on Accutane but i'm not sure how it will be off it. But the redness is fading back down now, so the red marks from the last cysts are really noticeable, but i can live with that. Joints seemed to have normalized already, i'm not taking the fish oil anymore because i ran out. I'm not taking anything other than my daily Yasmin, despite my good intentions to substitute vitamins and such for my Accutane. Oh well, it feels so nice to be free of daily pill taking that i'm having a hard time making myself do it again.

My back is beautifully clear. Six months ago it was covered in acne from shoulders to waist, mainly papules, a few big cysts, and i swear every single pore was blocked. Now, every pore is clear, no active acne whatsoever, and just a few red marks left from the last cysts which could easily be mistaken for freckles or moles or whatnot. Acne on my chest is gone, but i have a lot of scarring in the cleavage where the skin is so thin. :( Nothing active on my face although i have some spots that look like acne but aren't where a makeup lady didn't listen to me when i told her how sensitive my skin is and swiped a toner containing SA on half my face tha gave me some little burns. Grrr. I hope those fade before my wedding.

Sounds like its all going well for you, apart from the damn make up woman. Happy for you and congratulations with your wedding. :D

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05/23/06

My final appointment was yesterday. Cholesterol and triglycerides have returned to baseline (actually a bit below baseline) which is to say they are still a bit above normal, but they were already like that before Accutane. I managed to not get pregnant the entire time. :rolleyes: I am going to stay on Yasmin due to it's overwhelmingly positive effect on me. No more terribly painful menstrual cramps, no more ridiculously heavy and long periods, no more PMS crankiness and water retention, no more wild mood swings throughout the cycle. And hopefully if there was a hormonal component (i had some premenstrual flares at the jawline, but i also had acne that ws generalized and persistant), the Yasmin will keep it under control.

The epidermal cyst on my upper back that became inflamed and had to be drained at the end of my course has healed up well.

My derm and i are both very pleased with my response to the treatment, and i have no further scheduled appointments at this time, yay!

My skin is looking really great. I got a tiny pimple near the corner of my mouth - i blame over exuberant libalm application haha. My lips have returned to how they have been ever since my first course - a bit prone to chapping no matter how much water i ingest, but responding well to light infrequent lipbalm applications. No more peeling or inflammed redness. Dryness of the eyes is similar, they never returned to full moisture levels after my first course, but they have returned to how they have been ever since - not terribly dry but more dry than they were once upon a time. My skin is basically "normal" now, i use a little lotion now and then, but my skin isn't peeling off if i don't. The dryness that only a woman could understand is gone, hooray! Sex drive is completely normalized which is a very good thing. Achyness is gone. Hmm, did i forget anything?

Generalized redness has disappeared and red marks are fading much more rapidly.

Products i am using now - i have switched to Aveeno's Positively Radiant line (cleanser, serum, moisturizer with no SPF). It's supposed to even out discolorations and may be responsible for the speeded fading of my red marks. I'm also using level 3 Green Cream although i have temporarily stopped since it was making my skin flake and i'd rather be flaky after my wedding, hah!

My facial skin is now quite smooth and soft. Before and during Accutane it had gotten very rough and constantly reddened due to the persistant cystic acne, especially my cheeks. Towards the end i was clear but the skin was still rough and uneven. I'm not sure how much of this improvement was simply due to finishing Accutane and my skin returning to a more normal state, how much was due to the mild peeling induced by the Green Cream, and how much due to the Aveeno stuff. But i'm very happy with the results.

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Hello!! Just read thru your log. WOW. It's was so nice to read a log from someone close to my age who had experienced the side effects I'm currently going thru. Makes me feel better to know I'm not going crazy :wacko: . (everything from sticking vaseline up my nose :lol: to a certain dryness that had me thinking something was wrong :shock: ) Glad to hear you've had good results this time around. Sounds like my acne is similiar to what you had so it gives me hope. (moderate on my shoulders to tushey & some on upper thighs, occasionally on my chest & face) Thanks for the informative log, Jules

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OK, i think i'm about six weeks post-treatment now? Something like that.

Back from my honeymoon now and i'm pleased to report that i stayed clear for the wedding itself although i did get a freaking STYE! It stayed under control though, i was using warm tea bag compresses and no one noticed it unless i pointed it out.

The honeymoon was a Caribbean cruise which we both really enjoyed. I had a very minor facial breakout due to sunscreen, but it cleared as soon as i could stop putting it on. This was a titanium type, and it still broke me out! I can't win with the sunscreen apparently. I think i forgot to layer my moisturizer under it which probably explains it. It did do it's job though, and i did not get burned. I had an odd moment towards the end of the first day at sea when i felt the sunscreen give out - suddenly i could feel a strong sensation of heat on certain exposed areas. I immediately went back to the cabin for more sunscreen, but it was enough exposure to bring back the sprinkling of freckles on my nose, and call into being some tiny freckles on my arms which are new arrivals. But i didn't burn at all so that's cool.

As for general post-treatment vibes, my skin is staying nice and clear. The red marks are continuing to fade, and i'm very pleased with my skin tone, even with the lingering red marks. Now that the wedding is over i'm returning to the Green Cream which i previously stopped so i wouldn't be flaky in the pictures. I'm very happy with the Aveeno Positively Radiant line, particularly the serum. I am not sensitive to it (a miracle!) and it makes my skin feel... well... radiant! Not too dry, not too oily, and it may be responsible for how quickly my discolorations are evening out.

Lingering side effects are basically the same ones which never fully resolved after the first course - moderately dry eyes which aren't really uncomfortable and a tendency of my lips to chap a little. And this time the dryness in my nose hasn't fully resolved. It's nowhere near as bad as during active treatment, but there is still the occasionally bit of bloody nastiness in there to be dealt with. All in all - a fair trade imo.

As always, feel free to PM me with any questions, or post to this log. Either action will generate an email to me.

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Wow, it has been over six months since the end of the course that this log chronicled. So i figure it's time for an update.

My skin has remained perfectly clear with two small exceptions i will detail below. It's a quite a bit drier than it was before this course.

Dry eyes have persisted, i am again in a situation where my eyes are too dry for contacts. I tried to put them in and had to keep wetting them down every ten minutes or so. I let it go fifteen minutes and one of them literally popped out of my eye! So i got a new set of frames which i am digging and going the glasses route for now. After the first course it took a few years before i could wear contacts, so maybe the dryness will resolve enough for me to wear contacts again given some time.

My nose has improved a lot since my last post, no more blood in there. I am still having to blow it more than i used to, but that's no big deal. It doesn't hurt up in there anymore.

My lips still tend to chap if i don't use lipbalm, but i was never able to stop using it after the first course, so i expect to use it for the rest of my life. On the positive side, i only need to apply it a few times a day, and i can use more normal balms. Right now i'm using Burt's Bees honey balm (not the normal peppermint balm, that one stings me), it works really good. I also still use my Clinque Superbalm but it's so expensive i hope that i can stick with the Burt's Bees.

Uh, feminine issues... libido returned, ability to produce natural lubrication... not so much. Enough to not feel uncomfortably dry, but not enough to have sex without needing some additional lube.

I've been using Green Cream continously since my last post. I started with level 3 and gradually worked up to using it daily, taking a day or two off any time my skin seemed irritated. Eventually i worked up to using it twice a day. My skin stayed very clear. I moved up to level 6 a few weeks ago and had some very minor purging - a few microzits that healed within 24 hours. (That's the first of the 2 exceptions i mentioned.) I think it's done purging at this point though. Level 6 produces much more dramatic results than the level 3. My red marks had sort of stalled out on fading, now they are getting lighter again. The rough skin which peeled off early in my Green Cream usage still looked rough even though it felt smooth, but the appearance is improving now. I love Green Cream!

They stopped making my Aveeno Positively Radiant Serum, and when i ran out of it, the cleanser/moisturizer no longer had much effect.

I started using Shiseido's White Lucent system. I warn you, this stuff is not cheap. It's marketed to lighten brown discolorations like freckles and melasma patches. But it seems to help my redness, like it soothes my skin so it appears more normal. And, in other news, I CAN WEAR THEIR SPF MOISTURIZER!!! OMG i can't beleive it, you don't even know how many moisturizers and sunscreens i have tried - they always sting at application, and break me out in a painful papular rash within hours. But this White Lucent moisturizer with SPF goes on, no stinging, no breakout - i fricking love it! It has some "whitening powder" in it as well, which helps to make my skin appear more luminous and hides the red a bit. Dark skins may look pasty with it on, i'm not sure. I'm very pale. I can tell you that it is indeed lightening the freckles that popped up on my honeymoon, although i think the red marks fading is due to the Green Cream, although this may be helping by soothing general inflammation. I'll check back in on it's effectiveness after a month or two.

The other exception to my "perfectly clear" skin has been due to my nemesis - shrimp. Oh, i love shrimp. But shrimp hates me! After Accutane, skin so clear, i have some shrimp. I had suspected that shrimp contributed to my breakouts but with my skin always so bad it was hard to tell if it was really happening or just a coincidence. No coincidence! I had the shrimp and the next day (maybe the day after) i had a nice papular rash of 10 to 15 lesions. Can you say, panic? Well none of these lesions had anything to them, they were strictly inflammatory, but they healed quickly and have not returned since i am now avoiding shrimp like the plague. They did leave me a fresh crop of redmarks though, grrrr!

So anyway - all goes well, i'm nice and clear, persistent side effects are minimal, Green Cream rocks, and i would like to kiss whoever formulated Shiseido's White Lucent moisturizer with SPF. :D

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Oh, and i have switched to taking Yasmin on the Seasonale schedule (4 periods a year) and i am loving it. I experienced no spotting when switching, but my breasts were pretty sore for like a month. That has subsided now. I find that i never forget my pill when i take it everyday (i just can't make myself actually take the placebo pills lol), and not having a period for the last few months is just wonderful. I'm going to be in the placebo week next week, so i'll see how dramatic the bleeding is then.

I started taking a vitamin supplement that contains about half the FDA's listed max tolerated daily dose of Vitamin A. It is designed for hair though (Shen Min for women?) and although i'm not unhappy with my hair, it could probably use some help.

And i started taking Azo Yeast which is a homeopathic remedy for yeast infections. I have taken so many courses of antibiotics in my life that i have what amounts to chronic yeast infections. Even when they give me an anti-fungal i always get the impression that it never completely resolves. I'd been hearing about this Azo stuff for awhile. On Saturday i felt the beginning of a flare up (itching) and i picked up the Azo. I started taking 3 a day as it recommends for an active infection, and the itching was gone within about 8 hours of the first dose! I'm going to use it 3 a day (today's the third day) for ten days, then switch to the maintance dose of one a day and see how it goes. So far i am surprised that it seems to work at all, and impressed with the quick and complete resolution of symptoms with no fungicide in the mix.

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Wow...that is so interesting about the shrimp. High amounts of something in there... Good for you, for figuring that culprit out! I love shrimp too, but I don't eat it very often...but I have eaten it since my Tane course was over, and I haven't had any outbreaks...so hopefully it isn't an issue for me. Do you think it is like an allergic reaction?

Does your new sunscreen have that Hydroquine (sp???) in it? Be careful if it does...last I read, the FDA was going to limit the use of it...I had an article about it....I'll see if I can find it.

Do you ever go to www.makeupalley.com I highly recommend their skin care board. They have really helped me with the maintenance of my skin....but you just have to be careful to not try everything you read....LOL...BTDT....

Glad your 6 months has gone well! I am surprised about your dry eyes still...dry lips...well I always have those here in Colorado....but they are NOTHING like when I was on Tane.... Hope the acne stays away!

Wow, it has been over six months since the end of the course that this log chronicled. So i figure it's time for an update.

My skin has remained perfectly clear with two small exceptions i will detail below. It's a quite a bit drier than it was before this course.

Dry eyes have persisted, i am again in a situation where my eyes are too dry for contacts. I tried to put them in and had to keep wetting them down every ten minutes or so. I let it go fifteen minutes and one of them literally popped out of my eye! So i got a new set of frames which i am digging and going the glasses route for now. After the first course it took a few years before i could wear contacts, so maybe the dryness will resolve enough for me to wear contacts again given some time.

My nose has improved a lot since my last post, no more blood in there. I am still having to blow it more than i used to, but that's no big deal. It doesn't hurt up in there anymore.

My lips still tend to chap if i don't use lipbalm, but i was never able to stop using it after the first course, so i expect to use it for the rest of my life. On the positive side, i only need to apply it a few times a day, and i can use more normal balms. Right now i'm using Burt's Bees honey balm (not the normal peppermint balm, that one stings me), it works really good. I also still use my Clinque Superbalm but it's so expensive i hope that i can stick with the Burt's Bees.

Uh, feminine issues... libido returned, ability to produce natural lubrication... not so much. Enough to not feel uncomfortably dry, but not enough to have sex without needing some additional lube.

I've been using Green Cream continously since my last post. I started with level 3 and gradually worked up to using it daily, taking a day or two off any time my skin seemed irritated. Eventually i worked up to using it twice a day. My skin stayed very clear. I moved up to level 6 a few weeks ago and had some very minor purging - a few microzits that healed within 24 hours. (That's the first of the 2 exceptions i mentioned.) I think it's done purging at this point though. Level 6 produces much more dramatic results than the level 3. My red marks had sort of stalled out on fading, now they are getting lighter again. The rough skin which peeled off early in my Green Cream usage still looked rough even though it felt smooth, but the appearance is improving now. I love Green Cream!

They stopped making my Aveeno Positively Radiant Serum, and when i ran out of it, the cleanser/moisturizer no longer had much effect.

I started using Shiseido's White Lucent system. I warn you, this stuff is not cheap. It's marketed to lighten brown discolorations like freckles and melasma patches. But it seems to help my redness, like it soothes my skin so it appears more normal. And, in other news, I CAN WEAR THEIR SPF MOISTURIZER!!! OMG i can't beleive it, you don't even know how many moisturizers and sunscreens i have tried - they always sting at application, and break me out in a painful papular rash within hours. But this White Lucent moisturizer with SPF goes on, no stinging, no breakout - i fricking love it! It has some "whitening powder" in it as well, which helps to make my skin appear more luminous and hides the red a bit. Dark skins may look pasty with it on, i'm not sure. I'm very pale. I can tell you that it is indeed lightening the freckles that popped up on my honeymoon, although i think the red marks fading is due to the Green Cream, although this may be helping by soothing general inflammation. I'll check back in on it's effectiveness after a month or two.

The other exception to my "perfectly clear" skin has been due to my nemesis - shrimp. Oh, i love shrimp. But shrimp hates me! After Accutane, skin so clear, i have some shrimp. I had suspected that shrimp contributed to my breakouts but with my skin always so bad it was hard to tell if it was really happening or just a coincidence. No coincidence! I had the shrimp and the next day (maybe the day after) i had a nice papular rash of 10 to 15 lesions. Can you say, panic? Well none of these lesions had anything to them, they were strictly inflammatory, but they healed quickly and have not returned since i am now avoiding shrimp like the plague. They did leave me a fresh crop of redmarks though, grrrr!

So anyway - all goes well, i'm nice and clear, persistent side effects are minimal, Green Cream rocks, and i would like to kiss whoever formulated Shiseido's White Lucent moisturizer with SPF. :D

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Wow...that is so interesting about the shrimp. High amounts of something in there... Good for you, for figuring that culprit out! I love shrimp too, but I don't eat it very often...but I have eaten it since my Tane course was over, and I haven't had any outbreaks...so hopefully it isn't an issue for me. Do you think it is like an allergic reaction?

Well it's delayed, so it can't be true allergy, but it's some sort of hypersensitivity. The odd thing is that from what i've read, i should have the same reaction to related shellfish like crab, but it doesn't seem to bother me. I had always heard that iodine was the probable culprit, but i eat other foods much higher in iodine with no reaction. So i am left to ponder the state of the oceans themselves. I live in Florida, and we almost always have Gulf Shrimp. I know that the Gulf of Mexico has pollution issues. Maybe it's not actually the shrimp i am reacting to, but pollution trapped in the shimp's body? If so, that would probably explain why the crab doesn't bother me - i always eat Alaskan snow crab and those waters are relatively clean.

Does your new sunscreen have that Hydroquine (sp???) in it? Be careful if it does...last I read, the FDA was going to limit the use of it...I had an article about it....I'll see if I can find it.

Nope, no hydroquinone. Shiseido uses the plant based whiteners.

Do you ever go to www.makeupalley.com I highly recommend their skin care board. They have really helped me with the maintenance of my skin....but you just have to be careful to not try everything you read....LOL...BTDT....

I have looked over there and found the local's comments regarding Green Cream to be so off-base that it turned me off. I did check to see if there were any reviews for White Lucent, but it's a new product. So i shall be the guinea pig! Squeak, squeak!

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Hi Btdt,

I am glad to hear you're craving foods. I am not necessarily craving any one type of food, but I am always hungry. I need to make better choices before I have a weight issue too!

. :)

Much of the time, your body confuses hungry for thirst. I have been finding that I want to eat more too so whenever I get hungry, I have a big drink of water and then if I'm still hungry 10 minutes later then I'll eat. I don't really want to gain 20lbs on Accutane!

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I was hungry early in the course (and i always drink tons off water, and increased my water intake immediately). But later the reverse happened and my appetite was depressed. Which is good, i was watching my diet and wound up about 35 pounds lighter when all was said and done.

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Hello,

I have been on accutane for almost 1 week , my whole face is red !!! and i have a dry skin around my mouth , i could not sleep coz it was so itchy and when i woke up there was alot of peels can not get rid off them with cleanser, so i put a moistrurizing lotion on my face , is that ok ?, coz i felt much better !!!!

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beentheredonethat,

Thanks for the inspiration from your journal! I'm pretty discouraged at the moment as I just finished a 7 month fairly high dosage course and I'm still getting some breakouts. I'm certainly better than when I started but am unfortunately stressing about each new breakout as I feel like I should be through with the breakouts if this course is going to work for me. I just finished two weeks ago and woke up with a new whitehead this morning :(

You said that after your first course you did not clear up until two months after finishing your course. Were you still getting new active breakouts after initially finishing your course? I can only hope that I will continue to improve after finishing this course.

Thanks,

-Scott

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beentheredonethat,

Thanks for the inspiration from your journal! I'm pretty discouraged at the moment as I just finished a 7 month fairly high dosage course and I'm still getting some breakouts. I'm certainly better than when I started but am unfortunately stressing about each new breakout as I feel like I should be through with the breakouts if this course is going to work for me. I just finished two weeks ago and woke up with a new whitehead this morning :(

You said that after your first course you did not clear up until two months after finishing your course. Were you still getting new active breakouts after initially finishing your course? I can only hope that I will continue to improve after finishing this course.

Thanks,

-Scott

Dear Scott - yes, I was still actively breaking out with deep cysts at the end of my first course, it was basically just as bad as ever except in addition to crazy acne, I was dry as the Sahara. I was really depressed at that point, after going through a very trying course without much improvement. But after about two months off Accutane, my skin stopped breaking out and old breakouts healed, it was like magic. Hopefully you'll experience something similar.

As far as my more recent course, you didn't ask but I figured I'd update anyone who was wondering - it's been more than three years since the course ended, I'm off birth control, and my skin is still clear. :dance: Best of luck to everyone!

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beentheredonethat,

Did you gradually improve over the two months after Accutane? I feel like I am sort of going back and forth from clearing up to breaking out a bit to clearing up again. It's particularly disheartening because whenever I finally start to think that I'm going to be through with the breakouts for good, I wake up with a new breakout and start the depressing cycle again.

Was your face just as dry during the months after Accutane as it was during your course? My face is definitely less dry right now three weeks after ending my course. That definitely has me worried. I'm not sure if my face is really getting oilier or if I've just forgotten what it's like to not have a super dry face. I'm trying not to but I'm unfortunately stressing over every little thing at this point :(

Congrats to your success on Accutane! It must be great to have that stress gone.

Thanks again,

-Scott

Edited by skamen
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Well Scott, the first course was a really long time ago and I don't remember all the details clearly. I believe that what happened was that as my dryness started to normalize, new breakouts stopped forming and the older ones started to heal, but I can't really say for sure exactly how it played out. I don't think I was expecting improvement (based on what the derm had said about needing another course) so I was probably trying to ignore the state of my skin until the day I realized that it had cleared. I speculate that because the dose was so high and my dryness so extreme that my skin just couldn't heal.

Try to stay positive and find a way to let go of the stress. Make sure you aren't using anything harsh on your skin to try to counteract the breakouts - just wash with a gentle product and keep moisturizing (maybe a lighter product if your oil is starting to return). Don't do anything to irritate your skin, just let it heal.

It is really great to be clear and done with Accutane for now, but in the back of my head I figure one day I will need another course and I just hope that isotretinoin is still available in the future. Not just for me, but for everyone who needs it. Good luck!

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