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Chaching's Accutane Journal

Hey everybody.

I'm beginning my first course of accutane really soon (like tomorrow or the next day), and I'm starting this journal in order to keep track of myself. Hopefully people will be able to tell me if I'm going nuts because of the tane. I'm also hoping to share my experiences with other people who might be going through the same sort of thing that I am. Anyways, it's been a long journey that's led me to accutane, and I want people to know just what I've been through. I want to give an entire history of my acne...so here I go (it's really long, you don't need to read it but maybe you'll find something in it that you can relate to):

I'm almost 18 years old, and I've been struggling with acne for about two solid years now. I guess I started getting zits and small breakouts when I was about 13. It was never that bad though, although I do remember that I had bacne which was worse than the acne on my face. I was young, and I really how no idea how to deal with my skin and everything, yet still it wasn't a big deal.

That whole period lasted up until my sophmore year in high school. Well actually the first half of that year wasn't that bad. But in the second half of that year my acne began to get worse and worse. One night I remember I was so upset about it that my mom brought me out to the store and we bought some combination therapy thing that was kind of like Proactiv. That didn't work, and then I thought it would be a good idea to just order Proactiv. So my mom did that, and it failed miserably. In fact, I think my acne got worse and worse around that time, heading into the summer.

My condition got worse and worse. What began as just pimples turned into deep cysts. Everything began to push its way beneath the surface. The biggest problem areas (and it's still this way today) were my cheeks. They just had giant red lumps on them, that wouldn't go away.

My problems continued into my junior year. I still struggled with Proactiv, which never helped, and by the time Christmas had come around I think that I had reached a new low. My acne really hadn't gotten any worse since the summer, but it wasn't getting any better. If I remember correctly I just had red streaks going across each cheek. They didn't even look like pimples. It looked more like a rash.

So at this point I decided to take my first trip to the dermatologist. This happened right after Christmas. The derm described my acne at this time as moderate to severe cystic ance. Unfortunately this guy was a terrible doctor who really didn't seem like he cared about my skin at all. He told me that I would probably have to go on accutane eventually, but first, he was going to try having me take minocycline along with Duac Gel.

The Duac Gel made my face go on fire. I put it on one morning before school, and by the time I got off the bus, my face was completely and ridiculously red and burning. I had to go home and save myself the embarrassment. I called the derm back up but he wasn't there. So I decided to just stop using the Duac Gel, but I continued using the minocycline.

The minocycline really didn't do anything that I could see...so after a month or so I gave that up. I decided that I hated dermatologists and I wanted to take matters into my own hands. I looked around for a while, on the Internet and such, and I finally came across a book called the Acne Cure. The Acne Cure emphasized using a combination of three acne fighting products. Salicylic Acid and Glycolic Acid in the morning, and Salicylic Acid and Benzol Peroxide at night. The difference about the regamine was that I used ice cubes and cold packs along with the Benzol Peroxide at night.

I did this process for about six months. The book said that it should completely clear up acne in six weeks. Well, it didn't. However, my skin got much better. For the first time in over a year, my skin seemed managable again. People commented about how much better my skin had gotten. While using this regimen, I also took a pill called actimine, which I found online. I don't know if it did anything, but I did take it while my skin was improving.

Unfortunately, I hit a wall with this new regimen. After about three months of progress (although it said six weeks), my skin didn't get any better. What was worse was that although I didn't really break out, my whole complexion was terrible. Now I'm not saying that it got terrible because of the regimen -- it was already terrible. But the regimen wasn't helping it. It was like I had a ton of acne buried deep within my poles.

By the way, we are getting much closer to the way my current skin condition is...

I had all these little bumps. I've looked all over I don't know what they are called. They aren't scars though, if that's what you're thinking. It's like they're undeveloped whiteheads. Or a mix between blackheads and whiteheads. Anyways, there are tons of them all over my cheeks. You can't really distinguish them unless you get really close to my skin. However, I do believe they are most of the reason that my general complexion looks so bad.

So I began wondering what to do again. The thought of accutane had crossed my mind several times over the past months. The regimen, although it worked to some extent, took so much time...it was so annoying. I constantly felt like giving up.

Anyways, the accutane idea was always thrown away by my parents. They heard all the horror stories...about the suicides and such, and didn't want me to have anything to do with it. I also am very active with sports and such, and they thought that accutane could get in the way of that.

So after the Acne Cure regimen wasn't doing anything anymore, I finally decided to go back to the dermatologist. I saw the same guy from before, and he reminded me why I hated him so much. He basically just didn't give me the time of day. He told me that my skin was much better, and that I didn't need anything...well guess what...uhhhhh...I'm pretty sure I still did.

I went back to the same skin regimen again for about another month. I was growing increasingly disappointed with my skin. I hated my complexion. I hated the bumps. I finally got my mom to agree to take me to another derm for another opinion.

This dermatologist seemed to really care about my skin and the way I felt. She listened (unlike that other douche). She told me that she really didn't think my skin was that bad. She described my acne as mild to moderate. However, she listened to my horror story about the Duac Gel and decided to give me another topical called Tazorac. I think Tazorac is related to Differin?

So I used this stuff for about two months. It was horrible. Basically, it did the same thing that the Duac Gel did...just not as bad. It burnt my face and made it peel. It was an endless cycle. First it would get really dry. Then it would burn. Then my face would turn wicked red. Then it would peel. Then my skin would be alright for like a day or something.

Although the Tazorac was causing me tremendous grief, I also felt like it was working somehow. It seemed to me like it was surfacing some of those little bumps. I wish I had taken pictures all along so I could see what it really did.

It was really embarrassing though. Like, way more embarrassing than my acne. I would have to go to school, and nobody would understand what was going on with my face. I didn't really even understand. People would say things, and it hurt. I walked around with a hoody up half the time. It was just awful...

So I again decided I wanted to try Accutane. My thinking is that if I was going through all of this trouble with the Tazorac and other things, then I can handle the trouble of Accutane because at least I know that Accutane is the most powerful stuff out there. Even if it doesn't work, at least I'll know that I tried the best that's out there (or most powerful) and that's all can do.

So I went back to the derm (the nice one that is). I made sure to show her my red face at its very finest. I think I shocked her a little bit. She immediately decided to take me off the Tazorac. We talked about Accutane, but my mom was against it, so she put me on minocycline. That happened right around the start of the new year. I did that for about a month. My skin wasn't improving. It was just kind of at a stand still.

I went back to the derm about two weeks ago, and I finally convinced my mom that it was time for Accutane. She's still being hesitant about it though. She's scared that I will not be able to control my emotions, and that I won't be able to stop the drug even if I notice some of its more severe side effects. That's half the reason I'm starting this journal. So I can keep track of my thoughts...and so can she if she wants to.

I plan on updating almost every day, with comments on my progress, as well as my thoughts. Hopefully I can also add a few pictures. The problem is that I don't have a good enough camera to really do justice to my bad skin.

So yeah, I had my bloodwork done, and I'm clear to start. I picked up the prescription today, but it was too late to have it filled. So tomorrow or the next day I think I'll start.

That's all for now. Feel free to respond about anything. I'd really appreciate the feedback.

Oh, and one other thing. Can somebody tell me how to change my display name?

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Alright, so nobody's replied at all yet. That's fine though. Anyways, here I go:


Well it's really been an uneventful day, other than that I took my first pill in the evening. The packaging was a little ridiculous...maybe it's just me. Anyways, I've heard a lot about the "initial breakout." From what I've read, it seems to take a few days before people notice any affects. Fine with me.

That's all I have to say for today.

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Hey, glad to hear that you are starting. I'm starting on Wednesday, can't wait! Anyways it seems like my skin has reacted in a similar way to the way yours has when taking different medications. O ya, you should move your log to the post accutane log like was already mentioned. Good luck.

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Thanks for the replies...I just wish I knew where the accutane log was. I'm too lazy to go seraching for it right now.

Anyways yea so I didn't post anything yesterday, but nothing really happened.

Day 3

Well I took my third pill today, and although I hadn't noticed much over the first few days, I definately did today. Basically I'm breaking out all over my right cheek. My right cheek has actually always been the better of my two cheeks, so I'm kind of surprised. It's just like a bunch of stuff from beneath the surface of my skin is surfacing. I have about 4 new cysts along that cheek. None of them are huge, but none of them are small. They are very very noticable.

I haven't had any dry skin yet, which I guess is a good thing. I'm sure it's coming. I need to get ready. Can anybody tell me what I'm in for? And maybe some suggestions for how to deal with the dryness. I've heard about Aquaphor...I think that's how you spell it.

I'm also wondering/worried about something the derm said. She told me that accutane can cause people to have an extremely red face, much like the one I developed when I tried Tazorac. Has anybody heard about this? I've heard about a lot of side effects of accutane, but I haven't really been able to find anything about a ridiculously red face...oh well.

Oh, and good luck to you others who are starting accutane. Hopefully we can help each other through this.

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Day 5

So I didn't write anything again yesterday...my bad. Things have just been a little crazy lately. I had to work for like 10 hours yesterday and today I had a long boring track meet. But let's talk about some skin, shall we.

Accutane is definately making me break out. The cheek that I was already talking about is still a mess. It's not getting worse, I just don't see it getting any better. Some of the lesions from before are pretty much clearing up. They follow a pretty typical cycle for me. I can tell when they are going to form, because they begin as a small raised red portion. Then they begin to grow outward, until they look like your standard zit. And then they seem to usually form a bid whitehead...and then they go away. Right now it seems like their life cycle is about 5 days, because the first ones I noticed are starting to fade. I'm not sure if they are going to leave red spots that don't go away yet. I'll keep you posted on that one.

I still haven't noticed any dryness. My complexion looks a little different to me. But as of now I can't really tell you why. Only time will tell I guess.

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Congrats on getting accutane!

I've just finished week 3 of accutane. It sounds like your getting the initial breakout already. When I began accutane my face became really oily. Thats when I started to breakout like theres no tommorow. Right now on week 3 my initial breakout stopped. It didn't breakout as much as before. I get a few here and there. I just wished I never had the initial breakout because my face looks worst than before I started accutane. But on Tuesday, 2/21/06, I got my regular appointment with my derm, so lets see what he's gotta to say and do about my acne.

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Day 9

So I never thought that keeping a journal would be so hard. I haven't posted anything for like four days. Every night I've tried to. I've meant to. I haven't even forgot. I just get caught up in doing something and before I know it I'm so tired that I can't write anything. It is a vacation week at my school this week though. That may have something to do with it.

Well some of those initial pimples are disapearing. Unfortunately, new ones keep popping. My face has become a display case for the life cycle of a zit. Some are in stage one. Others are towards the end.

Anyways I have finally started to get some dryness. My lips are starting to chap. They're not bad. I mean I can deal with them. But I get the obvious feeling that this is just the beginning. I think my face is a little drier than it has been too.

Generally speaking, my face is looking a whole lot better than the first few days I was I accutane. I think my complexion, overall, is better than it was before I started taking it too. But this is only the beginning...

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