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Accutane For Dummies!

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Well, I'm at the coveted six month marker off Accutane. I formally ended my Accutane struggle (there's no better name for fighting strict time slots, monthly dermatologist appointments, and too many needle sticks) September 2009. Accutane worked spectacularly!!

...for a little while.

I'm now in March 2010, six months since I got rid of my little brown pill, and I'm starting to break out slightly on my forehead and chest. Uh oh. I'm still in denial that I may be part of the percentage of patients that relapse into awkward acne days. If I am, well, I'm going to have to scream.

I'm currently trying to figure out a heathly post-accutane regimen while correcting a few scars I've obtained through years of heated battle between me and the zits invading my face.

Any and all suggestions are so welcome.

CURRENT MAKE-UP: Clinique Superfit Foundation, Lorac Neutralizer (PERFECT FOR REDNESS)

CURRENT PRODUCTS: Neutrogena Grapefruit Cleanser, Gold Bond Medicated Powder (which I'm getting off because it contains talc)

COMPLAINTS: I hate acne


These two months have been pretty trying. Godzilla pimple was gone at week four, only to be replaced by another annoyingly painful pimple I've christened Kong pimple on my left cheek. Great.

FOUNDATION RECOMMENDATION: I went to the mall and tested several foundations. After having several beauty-school drop outs paint my face all the colors of the rainbow, my favorite ended up being Clinique Superfit Makeup. It's oil-free (though that really isn't a concern for you once you're on tane) and it lasts all day. My only complaint is that it feels a little gross at first, but I was gladly endure that for the cover is supplies. For those of you with red scars on your cheeks, go to Sephora and get Lorac Neutralizer. Again, oil-free and it makes the red less noticable.

Now that I'm done endorsing cosmetics, back to complaining. The aches, primarily in my spine and my hips, continue to suck. I've upped my dosage from 40 mg to 60 mg and the rectal bleeding is back. *FACE OF HORROR* I don't really know how to deal with that. Ignoring it is the stupid and easy way to respond, so I think I might get some inconspicuous vaseline to save me the embarassment.

The dryness is still surprisingly easy to manage, even without routinely using a moisturizer. This is especially shocking after my sister's lips were shredded to bits from dryness and cracking while on accutane. Nope, I just carry chapstick on hand at all times and I'm good to go. Plus, my lips still feel like satin, so I see that as a benefit.

I'm crawling to my second month, but I can't WAIT to get rid of these 'it gets worse before better' pimples. Plus, I'm running out of giant monsters to name them after.

GENERIC: Claravis

DOSAGE: 60 mg

CURRENT SYMPTOMS: Dry skin, dry lips, back aches, joint pain, more acne on my shoulders and chest, general bitchiness

CURRENT PRODUCTS: ChapStick with SPF protection, generic lip gloss

COMPLAINTS: My dog bit me! But that doesn't really have anything to do with Accutane, does it?


These past few weeks have been a tiny bit more unpleasant than I imagined and just in time for Christmas! It's one thing to have dry skin, but it's another to have it in the cold, windy weather that is December. I have to say, I expected the dryness to be much worse, but I've found it's pretty manageable with a good moisturizer and lip gloss. Yes, I prefer lip gloss over chapstick because it's thicker, provides more and longer-lasting relief, and it makes my lips all shiny.

I've found that my most prevalent side-effect has not been dryness, but aching in my back. I swear, everytime I lay down it feels like an 18-wheeler decided to park on my back. I also find that if I bend over for more than a few seconds I'll get the same feeling. I feel like I traded my body for someone's 40 years my senior.

The last symptom has been *cough cough* minor rectal bleeding *cough*. No one likes to talk about the problems with your ass. But I had it. It was a small problem a little into the first week, which FREAKED ME OUT, even though I figured it wasn't an internal problem because of its bright red color via the medical knowledge I learned from watching 20 episodes of House. I read some people's thoughts online and figured out it was related to dryness. It has since stopped, maybe around sometime last week, HALLELUJAH!

People say it takes two months to see results and that your acne will worsen. I have to say, THEY'RE RIGHT! Godzilla Pimple has yet to disappear from my face. He's actually in the same condition or increased in size over the past three weeks. It makes me want to explain to every person I meet, 'it'll be gone soon', but in all honesty I have no idea when he's going away. I'm afraid of it producing offspring like in the 1999 movie. Let's hope not, that movie was terrible.

I just keep telling myself, 'it'll be over soon enough, and then you'll never have to worry about it again...' I hope I'm right.

Happy holidays, everyone

CURRENT SYMPTOMS: Dry skin, dry lips, back aches, inability to heal current pimples, crabbiness

CURRENT PRODUCTS: Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer, ChapStick Botanicals, generic lip gloss

COMPLAINTS: Godzilla Pimple continues to terrorize. And when are the stupid nurses going to learn how to take a freaking blood test WITHOUT causing my arm to bruise three different colors?


The words doctors use to describe Accutane make it all the more re-assuring to actually take the damn drug. 'Dangerous', 'side-effects', and 'last resort drug' are among my favourites.

Don't think I'm one of those idiots (despite the misleading description of my blog) that just doesn't care about my health and demands flawless skin. I'm one of those nerds who buys organic and adopted a semi-vegetarian diet just to add a few miserable years of old age and wrinkles to my already guaranteed short American life. There's no way, as cautious as I am with everything from matching my socks in the morning to staying within 5 mph of the speed limit, that I would go on Accutane if it wasn't absolutely necessary.

I've had acne for... about a third of my total life. 6 years out of 16, I failed Algebra in the eighth grade, you do the math. I guess I'm just one of those 'hormonally challenged' kids who grows boobs at age 11 and has acne 5 years before high school. Guess who got teased!

I've tried EVERYTHING! I mean it. Oxypads, Clearasil, Differin, AcneFree, Biore... you can't tell, but I'm literally naming the products that are under my sink right now. I think my biggest disappointment was with ProActive, partially because it worked for so many other clear-skinned ingrates and also because when Jessica Simpson promises me something, you know it should work. (WOW, the sarcasm...)

I've tried re-assuring myself with the 'nobody cares' or 'nobody notices' debate. Let me tell you something. When you have a giant, angry red dot on your bloody face, there is no way in HELL people aren't going to notice. They try not to stare, but somehow you always catch them, and it makes you want to smack them even though you know you can't blame them. You might as well tape a flashing arrow to your face that says in blinking lights OHGODPIMPLE! It's unholy.

Next, I want to flipping be able to touch my face knowing that the spot I touched isn't going to become a nasty, pus-filled bump that you spend half the day trying to strategically cover with a book, your hand, or even by turning your face. It's not fun and I get neck cramps.

SO I'm on Accutane, ready for death of liver to smite me down at any given moment.

STARTING DATE: November 30, 2008 (that's a guesstimate because I'm a teenager and therefore too lazy to look up the actual date)

CURRENT SYMPTOMS: Dry skin, dry lips, inability to heal current pimples

CURRENT PRODUCTS: Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer, ChapStick Botanicals

COMPLAINTS: When is this Godzilla pimple on my cheek going to go away? I've had it for a friggin' week! I can feel the Asians in the distance running away in fear.

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