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Experiencing Accutane

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RuralClass

Day 172: Done!

I popped my last little yellow pill last night. No more difficult blister pill packs, no more pregnancy tests, and soon no more digging through purses and drawers and pockets in a desperate search for Chapstick. Hopefully. Strangely, I'm not concerned about breaking out again. I figure there's no point in worrying about it until it happens, if/when it does. I will, however, miss seeing Dr. L. each month. Pretty sure I have a crush on my dermatologist.

I have absolutely no big complaints about Accutane beyond dryness. Sure, it took a long time to get to the point, but now my skin is looking good, so it was worth the wait. I'm still contending with those red marks, which I hope will keep fading. But a few red marks are much better than giant, white, pulsating bumps. Okay, so maybe they didn't pulsate per say, but you get my drift. Come to think of it, it's been quite some time since I had a blemish; I think I just stopped noticing that I don't have any.

It'll be interesting to see how long it takes the moisture to come back to my face. I've enjoyed not having to wash my hair daily, so I will miss that. But I won't miss the dandruff that Accutane caused for me, so I guess it all evens out. And now I can have a few drinks when I go out! I'm by no means a big drinker, but it'll be fun to get just a bit tipsy again. I think that above everything else, I'm just looking forward to having normal lips again. It took a good two weeks for my lips to get weird when I started, so I'm hoping it'll take two weeks for them to get back to normal. Fingers crossed!

RuralClass

Day 161: Ten days left.

Roughly ten days, anyway. I think. I have a few of the little pill pamphlets sitting around that have two or three pills left; I'll have to count all of them.

Anyway, my skin is clear. And crazy dry. As is my scalp--wow. But that's bound to happen when you live in a place where the temperature is more often than not below zero. Dryness is my main complaint, along with red marks. Red marks, red marks, red marks. I can't wait for my skin to get some of its natural moisture back. On my nose and on one side of my chin, my skin has started some serious peeling, almost like I have a sunburn. I'm using CeraVe cream morning and night, but to no avail. My makeup also refuses to go on smoothly, so some days I forgo it altogether, which is something I would have never dreamed of doing in September. My fingernails are very brittle and prone to peeling; I'm sure it's due to the Accutane.

Other side effects are minimal. Actually, I guess there aren't any. Just overall dryness. I'm looking forward to taking that last little yellow capsule!

RuralClass

(Atralin is like Differin or Retin-A, in case you're just tuning in.) I've been using a tiny amount every 3-4 days since I got it two weeks ago, and I'm going to put it on hold for now. My skin is too dry. The horrendously cold weather is part of that problem too, but there's no point in making things worse if I don't need to. My face is also really red, so the red marks are really standing out. I'm so ready to be done with this course. My derm assured me that once I'm done with all of the pills and some of the natural moisture comes back, the red marks will be much less noticable, so I guess I just have to have faith that he's right. Hell with moisturizers and lip balm; patience is your biggest ally when you're on Accutane. Claravis. Sotret. Whatevs.

Otherwise, my skin is looking good. When it's moisturized, it's amazingly soft and smooth. It's been awhile since I had anything active pop up. As much as I'm excited to be off the pills (in roughly three weeks), it also makes me nervous. I'm worried about breaking out again, of course, and turning back into an oil slick. Actually, I'm kind of just assuming that I'll have to go on a second course at some point since my skin, according to my derm, was quite difficult to clear this time around. Bad attitude? Maybe. But I'm just keepin' it real.

So to those of you who are almost done, good work! Congrats! To those of you who are just starting, be patient. The course goes quickly, and I promise it'll get better. And don't read the enormously annoying horror stories on the message boards. In fact, avoid the message boards altogether.

RuralClass

I might have mentioned this before...I love my dermatologist. Love. Today he walked into the exam room and the first thing he said was, "Your hair looks pretty." I ask you, how can you not love a doctor like that?

Anyway, since I'm still breaking out occasionally back by my ears, we decided I'd do one more month of 80 mg per day. He also wrote a perscription for Atralin, which I'm pretty sure is some version of Retin A; I still have to look it up. He said it would help a lot with the red marks. Then he made me wait for him to find the coupon to get three months of it for free.

I love my nurse, too. She's probably in her mid-40s, and she said she takes one 40 mg pill of Accutane every week or so to ward off breakouts, and she uses Retin-A just because it improves her skin. They're so upfront; I think that's why I like both of them so much.

I'm excited to have my lips back. I'm also very, very excited to not have to take pregnancy tests. I'm a little tired of those.

RuralClass

Accutane + living in a climate in which the temperature rarely goes above zero degrees = major dryness. I was doing 120 mg, but I went back down to 80 mg in hopes that my skin would stop flaking. Not much change yet. I also bought some of the heavy-duty CeraVe cream instead of the normal lotion, and that seems to really help for awhile. But by mid-day, I get really dry again.

My skin's looking good, though. I get one blemish occasionally back near my ears, but that's it. I haven't had anything near my lips or on my jawline in quite some time, and my face is smooth. I realized this morning that I'm taking this for granted--sure, I have red marks, but they cover up okay if I've got good moisturizer on. At least I'm not trying to cover up those awful bumps anymore. My final appointment is next week Thursday. I'm excited to wrap this up and get my lips back!

RuralClass

Seriously. I've decided that I (gasp!) don't like Aquaphor. I know, I know; that's downright sacrilegeous for an Accutane patient. But it's too goopy, and it just doesn't do much for me. I do, however, adore the Chapstick in the blue tube. I think I've gone through a dozen or so since I started my course, and that's a lot of Chapstick. I have Chapstick-related anxiety, though; if I don't know where the nearest tube is, I get nervous. And Cetaphil sensitive skin cleanser and CeraVe lotion. That's what you need for Accutane. Oh, and patience.

My skin is okay. I was happy about how it looked for Christmas, and I think the red marks are looking better. I still usually have about three active pimples, but no cysts. And the pimples I do have are way up on my cheeks, back towards my ears, where I've never gotten blemishes before. The dryness really isn't so bad right now. I have to be careful about my hands and wrists or they get rashy, though.

About a month and a half left! Happy holidays, guys!

RuralClass

Day 101: Surprise!

I had my three-month checkup yesterday. It went just fine, and Dr. L. bumped me up to 120 mg/day. He said I can work into it and alternate 80 mg/day with 120 mg/day if I want, and if the dryness gets too bad, I should knock it back down to 80 mg/day and just make the course a little longer. The surprise, you ask? After this month, I'm done! Well, anyway, I will be in the range of g/kg for treatment, if I take all the pills. I'll be on the low end, though, and the doctor said that lots of people go an extra month to be in the higher end of the range, which I'll probably do. Dermatologists all have their own recommendations for how much Accutane each patient should take, and Dr. L. said some derms recommend twice what he recommends. So I'll probably go an extra month. Even though Accutane has been an easy ride so far, I don't want to have to do this again. I just hope that with the fairly significant bump up in dosage I don't have another breakout.

And I asked about the red marks that have started to bother me so much now that I only have one or two pimples at a time. He assures me that they'll go away once my skin gets back to normal. Accutane makes my skin flush, so that makes the marks really stand out. He often prescribes Retin-A topical along with Accutane, and he said that that combo clears skin really quickly. I made it really clear the first time I visited him that I hated Retin-A, so he never recommended it. Once I'm done, though, he said I should reconsider using it. Meh, we'll see. I really have not had good experiences with that stuff.

But overall, I'm really pleased with my results so far. I don't seem to have any permanent scarring even after a couple of years of really bad acne, so that's good news. The medication has been totally tolerable; I think the biggest thing to remember with Accutane is to have patience because nothing happens overnight. I looked back over the photos from my third week or so, and my god, was my skin awful. It'll get better, guys, just stick with it. Start now, because if you're anything like me and you wait, you'll regret waiting so long to have clear skin!

Oh, and I got every single iPledge question right this time. I was unreasonably proud, but hey, it's the little things in life, right?

RuralClass

Guys, I think I'm starting to get an idea of why my skin will look like free and clear of acne and red marks! I have no active blemishes right now (knock on wood), and around my chin my red marks have really faded where my acne was worst. That really gives me hope for the marks on my cheeks. I think things will be lookin' good for Christmas and New Years (again, knock on wood), which was my initial hope when I started. Gosh, I'm fourteen weeks in, so it's about time.

I see my dermatologist on Monday. I can't believe it's time already; it seems like I was just there a week ago. I plan on asking about these red marks, and if there's anything I can start doing now. My skin is so sensitive though that I think anything with alpha-hydroxy or something similar will dry it out way too much for comfort. Oh, acne.

RuralClass

I haven't even been on Accutane for three months yet; it seems like it's been forever! And I've got at least three-and-a-half months left to go. My skin hasn't shown much improvement over the past few weeks, really. I was totally right about the blemish that was about to rear its ugly head ten days ago. It was a doozy, and that sucker is finally gone. Right now I have two smaller pimples that ought to go away in a day or two, hopefully. I've read that the drastic improvement sometimes waits until month three or four, so I'm waiting for that. My parents see improvement in my skin, but I really hate it when people look closely. I have lots of red marks, and I really think I'll end up doing some kind of treatment like microdermabrasion to even my skin tone out. I'll have to muster up the patience to wait and see, I guess.

Side effects haven't changed. Dry skin, dry eyes, dry mouth, some bearable achiness, and my face has a pink flush to it.

I'm so over acne.

RuralClass

Day 75: Stupid weather.

I don't even know if I can blame the weather, but this girl's face is RED. The weather has gotten dry, cold, and windy, and my face has gotten dry, red, and irritated. This could also be due to the fact that I ran out of Cetaphil cleanser and used Neutrogena for about five days. But it's plain old Neutrogena! Sheesh. I finally got out to buy more Cetaphil last night, so hopefully I'll find some relief. Either way, I hope this doesn't last all winter.

Accutane is a really frustrating ride. I have a pimple cropping up right beside my lips, and it feels like it might be a doozy. The 20 mg dosage increase seemed small, but it really made a difference in the way I feel physically. I have some joint pain right when I wake up, and I feel a little run-down overall. I might go back to 80 mg; Dr. L said that would be fine, I'd just have to stay on the drug longer. I'm cool with that, I guess. Fast isn't always better. I'm getting impatient, though. And a little ambivalent at the same time; it's weird. I stopped taking progress photos altogether, and I can't quite decide if it's because I'm losing interest or because I hated not seeing the progress I wanted to see. But then I need to remind myself that when I started this, I probably had fifteen pimples and cysts, and now I have one. I don't regret any of this, mind you, I just want it to work faster!

I think I pretty much covered the side effects I'm feeling...dryness, mild aches and pains. Dry eyes. Visine doesn't get the red out for me, so I pretty much look like I smoke a lot of pot.

RuralClass

I had my two-month visit to Dr. L today, and I like that guy more and more every time I see him. He's very honest, so he doesn't always tell me what I want to hear, but he's also extremely encouraging. He's definitely a listener, and other doctors that I've seen in the past really didn't have much time to talk to me and answer questions. But Dr. L assures me that we'll keep working until my skin is clear, and, as he put it, I "come into the office with no makeup on." I scoffed at that, I won't lie to you, but it was still good to hear.

Aside from my love for my dermatologist, the visit went well. My cholesterol is actually down from where it was, my liver is fine, and side effects are manageable, so he bumped up my dose. Now I'll be alternating days on 80 mg and 120 mg so that it averages out to 100 mg daily. My dry mouth has been worse than usual lately, and I'm back to chugging water like there's no tomorrow. Strangely, my lips have been fine.

I broke out for a few days, but those three spots are healing now, and nothing new seems to be popping up. Two months ago I would have been overjoyed to only have three pimples; I feel almost guilty that they're pissing me off so much now! If only these red marks would fade...

RuralClass

Day 57: Good choice.

I started using Cetaphil cleanser instead of Neutrogena, and it really improved the flaking and dryness that I was going through. Mission accomplished. I was breaking out for a week or so, but that's improving now. I think it must have been hormonal; hopefully it stops soon!

Side effects? My skin isn't as dry as before, thanks to the cleanser switch. My hair is starting to feel kind of brittle, so I'm really babying it. My heels hurt for a couple of minutes right when I wake up and start walking around, and my fingernails are getting brittle. I have a weird patch of dry skin on one wrist, but lotion will take care of that. I started using CeraVe as a body lotion. I really dislike the greasiness that so many body lotions have. A few years ago, the only body lotion I used was Johnson's Bedtime Baby Lotion because I loved the scent, but then they reformulated the scent and I didn't like it as well. It was never greasy, though, so I might go pick up a bottle after work. More money thrown to Accutane. Let me tell you what, this had better be worth it in the end. It's so easy to get impatient and discouraged, and that's made even more difficult by the fact that this is something I absolutely cannot control!

I go back to see Dr. L. on Monday. I think he'll probably up my dosage a little bit, which I'm totally fine with since my side effects aren't bothering me much.

Also, get out there and rock your votes, guys. Obama, McCain, whoever; I don't care who you vote for, just make sure you're represented!

RuralClass

I know that two months ago I wouldn't have complained about having two or three non-cystic pimples, so forgive me for this. But in the past week I 've dealt with five whiteheads. I'm so glad they weren't cysts and they're going away quickly, but nonetheless, I'm so tired of acne! I'm 24 years old; acne should be reserved for awkward middle schoolers! Also, my skin and hair aren't as dry as they were for a while there. I still don't have to wash my hair daily, but it's definitely getting oily more quickly. Nowhere near what it was before, though. This whole Accutane thing really takes a lot of faith. Not faith in myself, exactly, but faith in the drug and in my dermatologist. It's really hard not to get discouraged when you suddenly don't see the kind of improvement you were seeing in weeks prior. Dr. L warned me about this, though, so I guess I should suck it up.

I think I'm going to switch cleansers. My face is very flaky and that's just not working for me, so I might try the creamy Cetaphil cleanser. I tried it once before when I was on Retin-A or something like that and hated it, but my skin most assuredly wasn't as dry then as it is now. It gets expensive to buy all these new products to deal with Accutane. And when it comes to skin care, I always feel like generics can't possibly be as good as brand names, even though a different dermatologist I saw a couple of years ago told me to never waste my money on brand name cleansers and moisturizers. Well, this time I'll buy generic Cetaphil. I promise.

Oh, and in case any of you were wondering, it's fine to get a flu shot if you're on Accutane. I called my nurse and asked just to make sure, and I got my shot on Saturday. Let me just reiterate that I hate needles to begin with. But the weird thing is that I handle the giant blood drawing needles far better than the tiny flu shot needles. I think it's the whole injection part of the equasion that really bugs me, because I had to sit down on a bench for a good ten minutes before the room stopped spinning after that flu shot.

RuralClass

I have an artsy framed print in my room that reads something like, "I'm not so good at taking my own advice, but that doesn't mean I don't know what's right." I didn't think that saying would apply to Accutane, but I'm re-learning a lesson. Drink water. I was really thirsty for the first few weeks, so I was chugging at least 128 ounces a day, often more. But for the past couple of weeks, I haven't been as thirsty, so I've been struggling even make myself drink the normal 64 ounces. The headaches I was attributing to not drinking enough water in the beginning also stopped, so I stopped drinking so much water to get rid of them. Well, consequences! My skin is so dry and flaky all of a sudden, and my makeup does not look pleasant. I also have three active blemishes right now. Small and not cysts, but pimples nonetheless where a week ago I only had one tiny one. I'm not attributing the pimples to my water consumption, but they're a good illustration of how Accutane can kind of kick you in the ass when you get confident. And good lord, compared to where I was six weeks ago, I shouldn't be complaining about three pimples and some flaky skin.

Anyway, the moral of the story is that I need to work on getting my water consumption back to where it was. I definitely have some dry mouth going on. Here's something kind of weird: Pretty much anything I eat that is even a little bit crunchy or crusty scrapes strips of skin off of the roof of my mouth. I imagine the dry mouth makes the skin there more sensitive. It's not especially fun!

RuralClass

I’ve been taking photos weekly to document my Accutane progress (or lack thereof). I think the photos make my complexion look worse than it actually is, so I don’t plan on posting them. I'm sorry. I don't think I can even figure out how. Anyway, I spent some time today comparing the photos I’ve taken over the past few weeks and it’s obvious that despite my uncooperative digital camera, my skin is looking so much better. I’m on week six now, and my skin is much smoother. It’s still very splotchy, so I’ll have to have some patience for the red marks to fade, and I only have one active blemish. The pimples I've gotten lately have been tiny, and they go away in two days max. I also took a couple photos wearing makeup today, and I don’t know if I struck luck on good lighting or what, but my skin looks flawless in them. I can’t tell you how I’m kicking myself for waiting this long to start Accutane.

Side effects? Dry lips, dry eyes. My formerly scaly hands are now under control thanks to C.O. Bigelow’s Derma Remedy body lotion and chapped hands formula that I bought at Bath and Body Works. Not cheap, but there was no way I was going to deal with itchy hands for the rest of the winter. I highly recommend those products! Oh, and out of the bazillion I had a couple of weeks ago, I have a grand total of two blackheads left. The last time my nose was blackhead-free was probably a dozen years ago.

Even though it's been an easy course so far (knock on wood), I'm excited to be clear and done. Patience is not my virtue, and I'm tired of waiting!

RuralClass

We've had a drastic weather change in the past week; seven days ago, I was running air conditioning. Today, I had to turn my heat on. I've even glimpsed a few snowflakes. As a Midwest girl, I love the change of seasons. This year, I'm afraid I don't feel the same sentimental nostalgia for winter. Why? Because with the sudden raw, cold weather came unbelievably dry skin! The skin on the back of my hands is scaly all of a sudden, almost like there are tiny scratches. So I guess I'll have to find some kind of cream that defeats that. I've tried about four different ones that I have, but to no avail. Nothing's helping the scaliness.

The acne, you ask? Going away. I have a few raised spots that are healing, but I don't have anything new popping up. My skin is dry, so I'm going through a lot of CeraVe. My biggest problem is red marks. I'll be very happy when they fade!

I had my one-month derm appointment the other day. My dermatologist's nurse is wonderful. She left me in the exam room to wait for Dr. L., then a few minutes she came back and got me because she wanted to see what patients have to do for iPledge. So she entered my negative pregnancy test result into her end of iPledge (before I even had the pregnancy test!) then had me sit at the nurses' station so she could watch me answer my iPledge questions. Dr. L. walked by and did a double-take when he saw his patient working on his nurse's computer. It was all good, though, even if between the three of us we got two questions wrong. iPledge is tricky with those birth control questions sometimes!

Anyway, the doctor is pleased with my progress so far. We discussed bumping up my dose a little bit, but I decided I want to stay where I am because I figure the winter weather is going to wreak havoc on dryness. That turned out to be the right choice! Nothing else is bothering me too much. My cholesterol and liver tests must have been okay since I didn't hear from the nurse again after my check-up. I can't wear my contacts all day or they hurt pretty badly when I'm trying to fall asleep, and I've gone through four tubes of Chapstick in the past five weeks. Oh, and this one might be all in my head, but my appetite is off. I don't really get hungry; I just eat when my stomach starts growling. Hopefully the course stays this easy!

RuralClass

Day 30: Really?

I can't believe it's already been a month! I don't really know how to gauge my progress, to tell you the truth. Like I mentioned, my main problem area was always my chin and the sides of my chin. Right now, I don't have any blemishes on that area. Instead, I'm breaking out on my cheeks and, strangely, along the underside of my jaw. Cysts on my chin, smaller spots on my cheeks. Thankfully, the cysts aren't so noticeable because of their location, but if they were on my cheeks or chin, I'd be in agony. They're kind of big. The pimples on my cheeks are coming up and going away fairly quickly, but I'm making every effort not to pop anything, and I'm pretty sure that's helping immensely with the healing process. It's weird; antibiotics always cleared my cheeks but not my chin, and Accutane is clearing my chin but not my cheeks. It's a vicious cycle! And I'm beginning to get sick of these blackheads. I'd appreciate it if they'd come out already.

I have my appointment to see my derm and have blood work done the day after tomorrow, so I'm anxious to see what he thinks about my progress or lack thereof. I've never had a cyst injected with cortisone before, but I'm tempted to ask him what he could do about these buggers on my jaw. I can live with them, but they're lingering more than I'd like.

Side effects? Still just dry eyes and lips. My arms get a little itchy if I forget to put on lotion in the morning; nothing too bad. Oh, but folks, here's one downside: Now that my skin is drier, I'm most definitely seeing some laugh lines I didn't know about. This 24-year-old did not like to see that. If any of you twenty-somethings know of a great anti-aging eye cream, let me know. I currently use Clinique's All About Eyes, but I'm not sure how much it does beyond moisturizing.

RuralClass

Good news! I haven't gotten any new blemishes for ten days or so, and the ones I had are really going down. I don't think my skin has looked this good in over two years! The most amazing thing to me is that I don't have any pimples on the sides of my chin, which is my main problem area. It's been a very long time since I didn't have a cyst there. To be honest, I can feel a couple of spots brewing deep under the skin, but they don't really feel like they're going to come to the surface. Again, knock on wood. I didn't even realize until the end of the day today that I wasn't self-conscious of my skin in front of coworkers. I didn't wonder if they were looking at it while they spoke to me, and that's a new feeling. It's also possible that the novelty of Accutane is wearing off and I'm thinking about my skin less, but either way, I like it. This stuff is working. I imagine I'll break out again at some point, but now that I'm getting a glimpse of clear skin, I'm really, really happy. There's still a lot of progress to be made as far as red marks go, but things are looking up!

As far as side effects go, I think my body is getting used to the medication and adjusting. My lips still require a nice slather of Aquaphor at least once an hour, but my eyes aren't as uncomfortable as they were earlier, and I'm not as thirsty all the time as I was in the beginning. No pain anywhere. I really love the fact that my hair doesn't get oily at all. I'll miss that when I'm done with my course.

So, chins up, everyone. It'll work sooner or later!

RuralClass

Day 21: Truckin' along...

One word for you: Blackheads. Those little jerks are really showing themselves now, but they're not coming out yet. I'm not going to mess with them, though; everything's starting to take longer to heal, and I'd probably just make a mess of my skin if I tried to pop them out. So I'll live with them. They're pretty easy to cover up.

I have very little oil on my face, and there's a big difference in my hair--I can go three days without washing. Head & Shoulders is great stuff; my scalp was flaky and itchy for a couple of days, but the new shampoo cleared that right up and my hair feels great. My eyes are still dry, and my face gets a little itchy as the day goes on. Oh, and I flush really easily if I get a little warm, and the flush takes awhile to go away. Nothing I can't deal with. I have noticed that my knees get sore if I've been sitting for over two hours or so without moving, but that's the only joint pain so far. I'm still really excited to take those pills every day. I finally figured out how to get the dang things out of the bubble packs, so that helped matters!

As far as overall improvement goes...I don't see it yet. The red marks are going to take some time to fade, I'm sure. Over the past three days or so I've only had one new tiny pimple pop up, but I've got some veterans that are hanging around. But I know the Sotret is doing its job!

RuralClass

My skin was a little flaky yesterday morning, so I thought I'd run a washcloth over my face to exfoliate a bit when I was in the shower. Big mistake. It was so painful that I was taken aback! Those little blemishes that popped up over the past couple of days really, really don't want to be messed with. Another sign that my skin got really sensitive really quickly. I won't be exfoliating again anytime soon. Accutane regimens are really trial and error. Now that I'm on it, it seems silly to take advice from message boards because everyone's skin is going to react differently. Trust yourselves, fellow acne battlers. Learn from your skin care mistakes! And if you're really worried about something, talk to your doctor, not strangers on the internet (unless it's something small like makeup recommendations!).

Good news, though: I was pretty sure yesterday that my skin was looking less oily, and today I'm positive. I usually look really shiny by 10 a.m. and blot oil off of my t-zone and cheekbones, but not today! I think I could go so far as to say that I'm matte at 3 p.m. Crazy. Small consolation for the fact that my face is erupting with new pimples, but hey, I knew to expect that. Although I'm making a roadtrip this weekend to see a friend from college and go to a concert, so it would be nice if my skin would be clearer for that. But then again, it would have been nice if my skin had been clearer for that time I went to the grocery store last month, and that for a baseball game I went to in July. What I mean is that it's a constant wish, but I'm seventeen days closer!

RuralClass

It's pretty simple, really. If I don't drink enough water, I feel like hell and get searing headaches that only water can fix. If I do drink enough water, I feel absolutely fine.

I woke up yesterday with six new blemishes on my cheeks, where I usually don't break out much. I'm guessing this is the beginning of the initial breakout since it's not really the time of month that I break out more than usual. My skin is getting more and more sensitive and it looks a little flushed. I'm definitely going to have to find different makeup because my Bare Minerals brushes flake my skin too much, so I'll have to scope out liquid foundations sometime soon.

Otherwise, it's all good (as long as I'm hydrated!). No joint pain or anything weird. My eyes are still dry, but not to the point where I have to take my contacts out. Basic rewetting eyedrops do the trick, and I don't even have to use those daily, only when I've been staring at my computer screen at work for too long.

If anybody has any recommendations for Accutane-friendly hypoallergenic liquid foundations (that's a tall order!), I'm all ears.

RuralClass

Day 12: Here we go!

After my false alarm of side effects last week (whatever that was), I think I can safely say today that this stuff is taking effect. My lips feel so weird if I wait just a little while too long to reapply chapstick or Aquaphor--leathery is the best word, I think. Also, my skin feels sensitive. My facial cleanser and foundation both irritated it a little bit today. And I woke up with one hell of a headache, but a bottle of water took care of that really quickly.

Since I started the whole Accutane process, I've been thinking about my skin so much more than usual. Unfortunately, that has made me far more self-conscious of it. I spent the day with my best friend of twenty years, and she has gorgeous, flawless skin thanks to ProActive. I love her dearly, but I'm so jealous!

Oh, and I'm officially done drinking on Accutane. I don't hold liquor well to begin with, but one margarita this evening was about three too many, and I really didn't feel well after I drank it. Now I just have to quit giving in to peer pressure! It's like high school all over again!

RuralClass

Day 9: Spoke too soon...?

On Day 6, I thought oil production had slowed. I'd like to take that back! Maybe my face just produces less oil when I'm not wearing makeup, which I didn't all weekend when I wrote that post. Or wishful thinking on my part; that's possible too! My only noticeable side effect right now is dry eyes.

I'm looking forward to the point where I stop thinking about my skin! I've become more conscious of it since I started taking Sotret, and I'm noticing others' skin more. My skin has never held me back from doing anything I want to do and it hasn't caused any major self-confidence issues, but now that I'm beginning to compare it to my friends' skin, I'm really looking forward to being clear. I'm not known for my overall patience, so I would really like this stuff to go to work fairly lickety split, thanks. When I compare my skin to other women's skin in Accutane photo logs, I realize how bad my complexion actually is. I should've started the course the first time it was offered, over a year and a half ago!

My dermatologist told me that if I was feeling good after the first week, I should double my dose. So I did that yesterday, and now I'm taking 80 mg a day. Oh, by the way, CeraVe lotion is amazing. Many love Cetaphil, but it just isn't for me because of the greasiness and film it seems to leave. And I guess I could mention that I use Neutrogena's basic liquid cleanser, and I've been dotting some Clean & Clear salicylic acid something-or-other on a few blemishes to dry them out. I'll probably have to stop that if/when my skin dries out. I also use Bare Minerals makeup, but it hasn't been covering as well for me lately for some reason. I think I need new brushes.

RuralClass

I totally wasn't expecting to see or feel a difference for about two weeks after I started this stuff, buy my gosh. Let me preface this by saying that I've never, ever had dandruff. Never. But today I was brushing my teeth, and I noticed that there was something in my hair. Flakes! My scalp is already dry! Also, my skin isn't dry, really, but along my jawline where I have a few blemishes, it's really flakey before I moisturize. And here's the weirdest part for me: I have pores I didn't even know about. That whole purging thing is definitely happening, because I can see little tiny blackheads all over my forehead, and I can see bigger blackheads on my nose. Those have definitely never been noticable before, but now that everything's coming to the surface, I don't even have to get close up to the mirror to see blackheads. Only a couple new little pimples; nothing I can't deal with. Oil production has most definitely slowed in the past 48 hours. Again, I'm really surprised by how quickly Accutane turned on its switch. No joint pain, headaches, or anything weird, thankfully. My lips aren't dry, but I've kept them covered with lip balm for years. All-in-all, I'd say this is going quite well (knock on wood).

I'm planning on buying some kind of anti-dandruff shampoo to see if I can avoid flakes. I also need a new moisturizer. Cetaphil is too heavy-duty for me; I really hate the greasy feeling it leaves. Trial and error, I guess. Too bad there are so many choices when it comes to skin care products!

RuralClass

I asked my derm on Monday when I should expect side effects, and his answer was abrupt: "Immediately." I didn't really believe him, but whoa, dry eyes! They were really dry yesterday, but I didn't really want to attribute anything to the 'tane that quickly. But they're abnormally dry again today, so that's the culprit. I haven't noticed anything besides the dry eyes, but for the record, my side effects started just four short days in. I should pick up some eyedrops tomorrow, I guess, because they're pretty irritated. Anybody use anything particularly wonderful and effective? Pass on the word, because I think this could end up being a fairly annoying side effect.

Too bad there's not a decent time of year to start Accutane. Where I live, summer means 100 degrees without a breeze and winter means -40 degrees with 30 mph wind gusts. So there's either the danger of sunburn in summer or bitterly cold, dry air in the winter, both of which wreak havok on skin whether you're on Accutane or not! When I was in college, we were taught the eight minute rule: Don't let the skin on your face be exposed to the cold for more than eight minutes, because any longer than that means frostbite. We referred to that weather as freeze-your-face-off cold. So in short, winter weather, my skin, and Accutane are not going to get along well.

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