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doggy

Doggy's Accutane Log O' Fun

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Hi everybody!

First time poster here, though I have been following the boards for roughly a month.

First, the facts: I am not taking accutane yet and will do so later tonight. In fact, it will be my first pill-- what a momentous occassion. My derma has prescribed 60 mg a day (two 20's in the morning, one 20 at night). I currently weigh around 132 lbs and am 5'6". I am asian american (not like it matters). This is one of my last months as a teenager. At late September, I will be twenty. As my age would suggest, I am a college student with an intended major in the field of engineering.

My long, long battle with our common foe: I have been a sufferer of acne since around 5th grade, around age 11 or so. It wasn't always so bad. In fact, for quite a long time, all I had were pimples on my nose and some on my forehead. Compared to what I have now, that would be a godsend. As I hit junior high, my symptoms became progressively worse, despite my best attempts at cleansing my skin. If it weren't for my relatives, I probably never would have seen a dermatologist, but they pressured me into it. I had been relatively uncaring of my skin up till then. [-( But things change.

Hormones. Feeling lonely. Wanted to meet girls. Wanted to be popular. It was then it became staggeringly clear to me how bad my skin had become. I had acne all over my entire face and there was this huge red pimple (maybe a cyst?) on my nose that had persisted for months, giving me the appearance of some horribly twisted, perverse caricature of rudolph, the rednosed reindeer. That's when I met my "friend", Mr. Antibiotic, introduced by our mutual acquaintance, Ms. Dermatologist. Oh, but Mr. Antibiotic was not kind and through my years in high school, I met with many of Mr. Antibiotic's relatives. Four plus years of antibiotics can't be good for you. This whole time, I was using different topicals as well, giving each at least 3-4 months to do SOMETHING, ANYTHING. Well, they did nothing. Which is why I'm here. Which is why I am at one of my final options, my last crutch, my excalibur-- accutane! :D({|= (Play dramatic music)

In reality, I was supposed to have started last month but my blood work showed that I had suffered liver damage, most likely due to my extremely prolonged usage of high dosage antibiotics. My liver counts is back to normal now, and I'm ready to roll. At the end of my four month course, will I experience jubilation, or bitter disappointment? Only time will tell!

Final notes: During my course on accutane I plan to take the following supplements on the side: Vitamin E (I've read that this reduces some of the side effects regarding flaky skin), Biotin aka Vitamin H (this is to avoid hair loss if possible!), Milk Thistle (don't wanna damage my liver any more!), and finally Vitamin C (always a pleasure). Additionally, I have been going to the gym for the past month to lift weights and plan to pursue this completely separate goal of becoming bigger and stronger. I will use cetaphil face wash (the liquid runny kind) and cetaphil moisturizer/sunscreen. For my lips, I have vaseline and chapstick, as well as nosespray (if I start getting nosebleeds) and eye lubricants (if my eyes get dry).

Well, this is it. I will start my first dosage tonight and will write an update in a few days. I figure I'll wait for something to happen before writing an entry, and I doubt I'll see anything after just one pill. Though... it would be pretty cool if tomorrow, the second post is by me, and consists of "I'M CURED, I'm CURED, I'M CURED!" Fat chance though. :shock:

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One of the things I don't hear about quite as much as the physical effects of accutane is the psychological effect of beginning a course of accutane.

Last night, when it was time for my first pill, I found myself sitting there, staring at the pill in my hand. What I held in my hand was nothing more than a derivative of vitamin A and ingesting it would be akin to nothing more than a slow, controlled poisoning of my body. After all, accutane seems to have absolutely no health benefits (other than shrinking your oil glands if you consider that one). Instead, the list of things that could go wrong is long, varied, and all over the place! And so I sat there, staring at this little tablet of poison I had in my hands, wondering if my face was truly bad, truly naughty enough to deserve such punishment. Squeezing the tablet lightly, I noticed that it was kind of squishy with what must be a gelcap exterior. Ah... so the poison was in liquid form.

I muttered to myself, "Here goes nothing!" and then realized that no one else was in the room with me. After swallowing the pill, I immediately quaffed a glass of water in a sad, almost pathetic attempt to dilute the venom I had just consumed (I don't even think it's water soluble) and waited for a minute or two, half-expecting my stomach to burst open spontaneously, accompanied by a geyser of blood and guts.

After about an hour I realized that this morbid possibility would have to wait till another day and I proceeded to move on to other activities. Throughout the night, I found myself searching for side effects. Knees feel a little sore? Must be the accutane. Stomach feels a little upset? That's my bro, accutane right there. Muscles a little tighter than usual after gym workout? Well, you get the picture. I think I'll try not to look so hard now, since doing so will probably magnify the problem tenfold in my head. I don't think I'm supposed to experience and side effects this soon anyway.

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Roughly Day 2:

It's hard for me to day exactly what say of treatment this is given the fact that my dosage is split up into day and night. So far I've taken 80 mg (20 mg two nights ago, and 60 mg yesterday). Surprisingly, the effects are already starting to show themselves. Last night when I went to bed I noted extra redness on my face as well as what appeared to be a couple of new whiteheads about to form. I thought to myself "Well, I guess my initial breakout is gonna happen very soon".

I woke up earlier than normal this morning, touched my face (bad habit but I do it anyway) and to my shock, the shiny sheen of oil that normally greets me every morning was gone. After checking my face in the mirror, I noticed that the redness/inflammation seems to have died down and my existing whiteheads seem to have shrank considerably. The ones I noticed growing the night before seem to have stopped growing.... for now. Im guessing my lips would be dry too except I put some vaseline on them last night in anticipation of chapped lips.

So either A) Accutane has started working.... already, or B) Retin-A has stopped screwing with my skin. :D I was starting to suspect that topical for my skin's redness towards the end of treatment.

Side effects noticed so far:

Dry(er) skin on face-- I'm not sure if people consider this one a side effect since accutane is supposed to shrink your oil glands

Back pains-- These aren't so bad. Very tolerable. The pain is only manifested when I lay down and only for a few minutes until my body gets used to it, kind of like how after you lie on your bed for a few minutes, you no longer feel/think about your bed pressing up against your skin. I forgot the psych term for this effect.

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Day 4:

My skin has continued to get better. A lot of the redness/inflammation on my face seems to have subsided. All the acne that was growing has shrunk considerably, or seem to be on their way out.

I'm a little shocked at how fast this is all happening. I'm not sure if this is the accutane taking effect or if this is because my previous regimen was just so bad and I didn't know it. :D Sadly, my cheeks look like they will have some scars but that's what eight years of non-stop partying by acne bateria on your skin will do to you.

The back pain I wrote about earlier is completely gone now. I think it might have been due to working out at the gym earlier on rather than the accutane. So far I've experienced no other side effects. My lips aren't chapped... yet. I'm still waiting nervously for my initial breakout; hopefully it won't happen.

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Day 10:

I appear to be suffering from my initial break out. Either that or I am about to have it because the amount of whiteheads on my face have increased in the past few days. I hate whiteheads. To be honest, I think they are the most unsightly form of acne because they stand out so much. Well, no pain, no gain right? Hopefully things start improving this week.

The oil production on my face has dropped by I would say 80-90%. My nose used to be ridiculously shiny by afternoon but now it is like a normal person's nose. Guess Santa won't be asking me to guide his sleigh this Christmas. =;

An annoying thing though is that my skin is getting kind of flaky. Can anyone suggest a good moisturizer out there for the flakiness? I'm using cetaphil moisturizer w/ 15 SPF during the day and Neutrogena combination skin moistruizer at night.

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Day 12:

Whew, it seems that my breakout is finally showing signs of being contained (knock on wood).

For those who are wondering, my thoughts on what I believe is my inital breakout is that it is indeed pretty bad... but definitely not my worst. I've had ones that were even crappier though this one still was not pleasant. Accutane seems to increase the PAIN though definitely. Talking, eating, smiling or anything was a major chore because of sides of my lips had breakouts and were also extremely dry and all of acne seemed to hurt. Cracks galore. #-o

Hopefully in one week these will all be red marks on the way out! I hope I don't break out again during my treatment but I know odds are 99 to 1 that I definitely will. But hey, that's them breaks! I still have about 7 weeks before college starts again so I have that long to wait and pray for improvement! [-o< (My treatment extends into my time in college, unfortunately)

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Day 16:

Well, first off, thank you, Spartan9488. I will keep fighting the good fight. :evil: I'll be damned if I lose to acne!

And now back to your regular programming.

The sides of my mouth are much better now. Earlier this week, opening my mouth made me feel like I was going to tear new holes on the sides because they were so dried and because they had broken out so bad. Now most of those have subsided, thankfully. I think I'm still breaking out but it doesn't seem to be as much, and I honestly don't care because I'm really not expecting any noticeable results for another month and a half.

One improvement though is that my nose seems almost... normal now! It's been so long! For the past few years it's been kind of bumpy and irregular and I actually thought that they were all keloid scars but I guess they were just mostly pimples that were ridiculously persistent. The skin has gone from bumpy and inflamed to almost smooth. And it's really soft now for some odd reason. :D/

On a similar note, the bumps on my chin are turning into whiteheads. I thought that those were scars as well. Maybe not! [-o<

Skin has gotten progressively drier, with flakiness and everything. It's kind of refreshing actually, versus my normal oily self. For once, my face doesn't seem like a shiny lamp. I also had my first bloody nose today, which I'm sure is a direct result of the accutane. The smell of blood hit me first, and just as I was thinking "I hope this doesn't mean blood will follow", BOOM, it started coming out and I had to run to the nearest bathroom. Didn't want any of that blood on the carpet. [-X

I used some ocean nasal spray afterwards to keep my nose membranes hydrated but I'm not sure how well that will work. Tip on nose sprays: be very careful. Some of them, with excessive use, will make your nose dependent on them. I read this online. Only use saline nose sprays... like Ocean.

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I keep telling all accutane users on this site this, but try pure lanolin cream on your lips. It was like a miracle for me. For nose, have you tried applying vaseline to the inside of your nose using a Q-tip? Might help, too.

Good luck!

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Day 27:

First of all, thank you allie35, I will take your tips into consideration. I'm not sure where'd I'd even begin to look for pure lanolin cream since I have no idea what it is but perhaps I shall drop by my local drugstore this weekend.

It's been a while now, around 11 days or so since my last entry and I can tell you, they haven't been all that pleasant. My chin got worse, getting to the point where I had two huge red bumps that hurt. They've subsided now, thankfully. The rest of my face seems to have gotten redder though that might be due to the fact that I spend a lot of last weekend outdoors (it was cloudy though and I had sunscreen). Overall, I would actually say that my face, smoothness wise, is probably worse than when I first started out. This is unfortunate, but it is only the first month. By the end of next month, if I still don't see any change, then I might start feeling a little nervous.

I have not gotten any other side effects other than dry skin, chapped loops, and bloody nose yet. The dry skin on my face was really bad a few days ago, it was almost like I could peel off my entire face, but that seems to have subsided now. Instead, it's moved to the back of my hands. I've been moisturizing pretty consistently so hopefully things'll be okay.

My doctor's appointment is this Monday. Hope my cholestrol and liver counts are okay! I'd hate to be taken off after so short a time.

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Lanolin is the oil that comes from sheep wool. Sounds gross, I know, but it is a common agent found in many moisturizers. I don't know if you can get it at the drug store in pure form. You can order if off the internet, though, really cheaply. Just go to google and type in "lanolin" and you will have several options. I use pure lanolin hand cream in a squeezable tube. I have found nothing better. Good luck with your accutane!

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Day 33:

Ah, thank you allie35.

Anyways, no new changes to report really. I've got a fat pimple on my nose and it just won't go down. It's really soft, implying that it should be ready to go soon, but it's been that way for the past few days. How very frustrating.

The incidence of new acne forming seems to be slowing, though that could simply be a phase, and I could easily break out even more in the next few days. By now, it's become pretty clear that I'm not one of those people who see dramatic improvement in the first month. Durnit. Hopefully by the end of this month then...

My zealous moisturizing seems to have stopped the flakiness on my hands and most of my face.

My blood test came back with mixed results. The liver counts were normal but my cholestrol was high. Guess I have to watch what I eat now.

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Day 39:

Improvement? I'm a little scared to say so cause I've believed that I was improving several times already during my treatment. :D But can it be? My face has gotten considerably smoother over the past few days and the redness isn't as bad as before. The fat pimple on my nose is dying, finally.

Overall, as I am about to hit the 6 week mark, I would say that my skin is better overall. If I had to quantify it somehow, I would say about a 30% improvement. Various parts of my face seem much, much better, like the bridge of my nose and the cheek area close to my nose. The sides of my face are still pretty lousy.

Been going to the gym, eatiny my vitamins (not A though!) and running. Gotta stay fit while on the drug. :)

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Day 46:

Whoa, whoa, whoa. I'm not sure what's going on here but I am definitely seeing improvement past any point I have been on the drug. Overall my face is waaaaay less swollen then it has been for YEARS and I have around 5 or 6 bumps on my face. I'm going to jinx myself right now but I haven't had any new acne form for a few days now. Woohoo!

Of course, I still look horrible. I've got a ton of red marks on my face and my pores still look horrible. The amount of scarring I will have is still undetermined as well. Guess I'll have to wait and see.

College starts in two weeks-- I hope I'm that much closer to better skin when the time comes!

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Day 53:

Unfortunately, there has not been too much change, my skin still looks pretty bad. College starts next week unfortunately.

I've noticed that my skin looks like ten times better in the morning than it does as the day progresses. For one thing, a lot of the redness is much less noticeable in the morning. For another, my skin actually seems SMOOTHER when I wake up. It is frustrating yes but I keep reminding myself that I'm only a little under halfway through my treatment and some people don't see results for a long time. Just have to hang on to hope, I guess.

Note: I'll probably be posting less frequently once school starts since I think it'll be awkward if people see me writing my entries. Lots of 'splainin I wouldn't want to do. :D#

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Hey all, I'm beginning my 3rd month now and thought I'd give an update.

Well, the acne is still here and it's still nowhere near clear. In fact, I just had a pretty bad breakout last week but it seems to be rapidly fading away. This has been a consistent cycle with accutane-- each time I get a little better, then it gets bad, then it gets better. Each time I heal though, it seems just a little better off than before.

I'm not without hope though. My derm says she'll extend my treatment for a month if I'm still not clear by the end of this one, giving me a total of 5 months. Do I think I'll be clear by the end of October? Nope, not given my current rate of progression. In two months? Well, the odds are certainly much better! And if worse comes to worse, I can take a break for a few months and go back to the accutane grind.

Here's hopin' your treatments are going better than mine...

-Doggy

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