Jump to content
Acne.org
Search In
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Recommended Posts

All your logs have been really helpful as I get through my second course, so I thought I’d return the favor and write about my experience in the hope that it might be helpful. Sorry in advance for the length!

I’m in the middle of my third month of Accutane , so hopefully about 6 weeks left to go. I’m a 36 female, this is my second time on it. This time I started at 40 mg once a day and in my second month bumped up to 80 mg per day, which is where I’ve stayed. I live in the SE US. I weigh 125 lbs; I run and lift weights regularly and eat a good diet (mostly vegetarian, fish occasionally). I first started breaking out when I was 19 – I had beautiful skin all through my teen years (how depressing to write that and realize I’ve been dealing with acne for half my life), and tried everything on the market OTC and prescription. What would happen for me is that remedies would work for a while and then the acne would come back persistently. Over the years, BC pills (Ortho Tricyclen) and antibiotics worked the best, clearing my skin for some time, but it would always come back. While I realize there are many complex causes of acne, for me diet is connected with the severity of my acne. Nuts, high-fat cheese, sweets, and milk chocolate seem to be especially bad for my skin.

My acne has never been as severe as some I’ve seen on this site, but it has been persistent, and bad enough to make me feel like a freak and not want to leave the house. When I realized what a severe toll acne was taking on me psychologically and socially (I realized I was in the habit of not looking at people because I didn’t want to be looked at; would never want to be seen without makeup on, etc.), I did a course of Accutane about 8 years ago. It was a real bitch – I was depressed, had a terrible initial breakout, all the standard bad side effects. However, at the end of the course (and I do mean right at the end), my skin cleared completely, and stayed great for about 4 years. However, slowly, the acne started to come back, and after the familiar round of antibiotics, retinoids, etc., I made the decision to start again. Strangely enough, it’s my family doctor who was quite willing to prescribe it. I wouldn’t suggest this but since it’s my second go-round it’s been OK for me. This was not a difficult decision for me to come to, despite all the negative press ‘tane has gotten since I did my first course. Like any medication (including common drugs like Tylenol and aspirin), there are risks involved, so I weighed the potential risks against the potential benefits, and decided to give it a shot again. Luckily, I have a great husband who’s supported me through everything. (Due to a medical condition on his part, we can’t have children, so that took one worry away.)

This time around has been completely different from my first experience. I was coming off of Tazorac and erythromycin (I took the erythromycin for the first month with the doctor’s OK), so perhaps this made a difference, but I really never got an initial breakout. There have been times when my skin has been less than wonderful (especially right now thanks to the holiday excesses) but nothing at all like the first time. What I have gotten has been manageable, and usually fades away without flaring up. The worst situations have been ones I’ve created by picking, which I know I shouldn’t do, but it’s nearly impossible to resist sometimes. The red marks left are conspicuous and stay for a long time, but do tend to fade eventually. My mood has been fine, and I’ve felt upbeat the entire time.

Most of the side effects this time have been nuisances only – dry skin (a hint – apply Aquaphor before your lips get really dry, as a preventative), dry itchy scalp (T-Gel shampoo once a week helps, as does Scalpicin applied to the itchy parts), and dry eyes. I wear the soft contacts you can leave in all day and sleep in, but that quickly became impossible, and now I find that I can only wear them for a couple of hours at a time. Being in front of the computer all day is most bothersome, and since this is what I do for a living, I’ve had to revert to glasses. None of the eye drops out there helped me, by the way. I’ve also been drowsier than normal (which has been kind of good, in a way - I’ve been sleeping great), and I’ve had more headaches than normal (this has seemed to go away in the last couple of weeks, though). I’m taking 400 mg per day of SAM-e for mood and joints, and 1500 mg per day of glucosamine/chondroitin/MSM for joints, plus a calcium supplement and vitamin E supplement, so maybe some of this has helped.

Unfortunately, though, I’m dealing with extremely sore joints as my worst side effect– knees especially. I run, and have had to drop down to 2 miles 2 times per week, which is nothing. I’m trying to cross-train to keep the weight off and fitness level up, but even so the knees are still hurting. On the advice of a friend who’s a physical therapist, I’m icing them twice per day, taking ibuprofen before and after, and will see if this helps at all. If necessary, I guess I’ll quit running temporarily, but it’s such an important thing to me (both for fitness and mental sanity), that I just hate the thought.

Also bothersome, although more a vanity issue, is the wrinkle factor. I think the Tazorac was helping the wrinkles, as I’ve noticed now that my forehead and around my mouth are much more lined than before. How very attractive I’ve been in the last couple of weeks – wrinkly, red-marked, and dealing with a few breakouts L. Oh well, it’s for a good cause, and the end is in sight.

So, that’s it for now, I’ll try to post again when I’m done with my course.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, it's reassuring to hear that even though the results didn't last a lifetime that you were able to get a few good years out of your first course. How long was your first course, and what dosage were you on?

I really hope this course does it for you permanently. I'm on my first course (on month 5) and I'm hoping this will give me a few good years of good skin, at least till I finish college!

I hear you on the wrinkle factor, though. I'm 26 and since being on 'tane I've noticed quite a bit of wrinkling that wasn't present before I started my course.

One more question: Did you stay on a topical retinoid after you got off 'tane, or did you go completely natural with no prescriptions?

Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hi-"superficial matters" (by the way-love your screen name!) thanks for sharing! i am 35 on my first course of tane and i'm in my third month. i'm on 80mgs a day and i am getting scared this is not gonna work for me! like you, i don't have super severe acne-just persistent; and i have continued to break out the whole time i've been on tane (always one pimple here or there)--just as if i've not taken anything. my zits are just weirder now!! they stay forever, and yes, i admit, i'm a picker. i guess with all the side affects-sore back, dryness...i was hoping for improvement! so here is my ? for ya---i noticed you said right at the end of your fist course of tane you cleared up---was it at the VERY end?, and did you feel like i'm feeling now when you were on it before? thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel like a bit of a misfit around here because I'm a 47year old male. It would be nice if there was a way that people in their 30's and 40's could find each other. My problem has been like others our age: not severe, but persistent. I've been getting cysts on my face, nose, and chin for about 4 years, and the frequency has been increasing. After trying everything topical and oral short of Accutane, I finally took the plunge.

I'm not too happy after two weeks. I've broken out worse than I have since I was in college 25 years ago. It's mostly my chin, so I'm growing my beard out to cover the 15-20 pimples that are scattered about. I would normally get a pimple or two a week and a couple cysts a month. Now, I'm getting about two year's worth in the past two weeks!

For those who've had experience with this: how long can I expect this to last? It's the pits. If I couldn't cover it with whiskers, I would have probably given up a week ago. Why create a problem that's worse than the original.

I know: patience is needed and we must look at the long-term goal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not too happy after two weeks. I've broken out worse than I have since I was in college 25 years ago.

For those who've had experience with this: how long can I expect this to last? It's the pits. If I couldn't cover it with whiskers, I would have probably given up a week ago. Why create a problem that's worse than the original.

I know: patience is needed and we must look at the long-term goal.

I understand your frustration!! In my second week my skin looked like $h*t. It was upsetting to face (pun intended) my students every day, not to mention my friends and family, and even strangers!! My derm prescribed some prednisone, which took away some of the inflammation. Since then, my skin has gotten increasingly better. You can check out my weekly pics on my log. It DOES take patience... which runs especially thin for those of us who aren't teenagers anymore!!

Best of luck!!

Jules

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not too happy after two weeks. I've broken out worse than I have since I was in college 25 years ago.

For those who've had experience with this: how long can I expect this to last? It's the pits. If I couldn't cover it with whiskers, I would have probably given up a week ago. Why create a problem that's worse than the original.

I know: patience is needed and we must look at the long-term goal.

I understand your frustration!! In my second week my skin looked like $h*t. It was upsetting to face (pun intended) my students every day, not to mention my friends and family, and even strangers!! My derm prescribed some prednisone, which took away some of the inflammation. Since then, my skin has gotten increasingly better. You can check out my weekly pics on my log. It DOES take patience... which runs especially thin for those of us who aren't teenagers anymore!!

Best of luck!!

Jules

Thanks so much for the words of encouragement. Today has been better, and I'm hoping my initial breakout is beginning to subside. I know they last for months for some people, but two weeks is plenty for me, thank you!

Patience is not one of my stronger virtues. Perhaps I'll be getting some practice!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Personalized Advice Quiz - All of Acne.org in just a few minutes

×