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22 + art school + philadelphia

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guesswork

eighty-eight !!

Sorry guys, I've been pretty busy.

So the dermatologist tells me I have that "baby soft Accutane skin," and I've gotta agree. My skin is no longer oily and though my lips are dry, they've been getting better with the warmer weather. My skin's still peeling, though, and goes through spurts of being worse than others, but usually I just moisturize heavily and avoid washing it more than -- at most -- twice a day. My hair, as I've mentioned before, can go a week without being washed but I try to keep it to about three/four days.

However, along with this warm weather comes sitting out in the sun, and even from about an hour of sitting out on a pretty normal day (~75 degrees), I come back inside and my chest is pink from the sun. I need to start wearing sunscreen there, ugh.

Speaking of sunscreen ! I'm going to Jamaica at the end of May. My treatment ends the mid-June, so I'll still be on Accutane when I go. Which means I have to wear SPF 120481556, I understand. But I was planning on getting a bikini wax before I go, until I remembered the no-waxing/exfoliating rule. Opinions if I should go through with it ? My skin is delicate, I understand, but have only been really having issues on my face and arms. I shave my legs/bikini area, so how much different can that really be ? Maybe I'll exfoliate instead of shaving to see if I get any bad reactions.

It's still up for debate. We'll see.

guesswork

So I just got back from Athens, Georgia for spring break. It was a nice change of pace to say the least.

So speaking about this dry scalp thing, I just went SIX DAYS without washing my hair (the entire length of my stay in Georgia) and when I finally did wash it, I only did so because it skeeved me out. When in fact, my hair looked as if I had washed it the same day. This is almost terrifying, because I haven't been able to (since puberty, anyway) go more than two days TOPS without washing my hair. And on the second day it would be greasy as all hell and I would hate myself the whole day for not washing it.

In other news, I'm currently dealing with almost all of the common symptoms of hypothyroidism. My dermatologist was able to permit a test for that when I had to get my monthly blood taken. And my appointment is tomorrow, so we'll see how that goes.

guesswork

thirty eight !

So my lips are dry. (duh). No really, I was always the habitual lip-chewer, and it's been progressively getting worse, and now it's real bad. I'm turning into the lip-picker and that's where I need to draw the line and stop. Usually in the morning I scrub them a little with my towel to get rid of all the extra dried skin. As for the pimples bothering me last week, due to a convenient timing of my dermatologist appointment I was able to get those couple pimples injected (God I love how simple it is !). Apparently I'm going to be upped to 60mg next month, too.

Dealing with a few pimples, which, believe it or not, I've found a way to speed up the cystic cycle. I recently bought Mario Badescu's Drying Lotion -- you know, the kind with sulfur in it -- and though it's drying out the skin on it, it's actually given a head to one of the pimples and dramatically reduced the size of it. And I'm willing to take an extra bit of dry skin for a shorter pimple life ! I often put that on at night and put antibiotic cream on the spot during the day.

I've also been alternating between Cetaphyl's Moisturizing Cream, Eucerin's Calming Creme, and jojoba oil for my skin. Usually I put jojoba oil on my skin right after the shower, and shortly follow up with the Eucerin creme. My skin is alternating between dry and itchy (not often at the same time), but it's often itchy and when I scratch it, stays way too blotchy for too long. I actually think the Eucerin has been helping that.

I'm still trying to figure out how much jojoba to use in my shampoo. I though I was helping my hair out by putting allot in with my conditioner, and when I woke up this morning after I had slept in wet hair, I was a big grease ball. My problem is that my scalp is just super-itchy. I think allot of it has to do with all this cold weather.

AND SNOW. Philadelphia has seen way too many inches of snow this year, and it needs to be over. Except for the fact that we might be looking at another foot of snow come tomorrow.

guesswork

twenty seven.

Uh, is this the major breakout ? I've got a bunch on my face, under the skin, that are painful. And my skin's peeling. It's not too much (especially in the scheme of my breakouts), but it's allot more than recently and it's annoying. Tops, my skin is dry and won't hold makeup like normal, so it's a fun time. Yes, that's sarcasm.

On another note, I finally ordered a bottle of jojoba oil because I've been reading up on it and can't find anything bad about it. Also, with my hair being dry, I can add it to my shampoo, which is totally exciting.

Yes, I'm spending my Saturday night sitting in watching the Winter Olympics. There is no harm in this, I've decided.

guesswork

So the Mid-atlantic region is currently getting slammed with feet upon feet of snow, and thus I've been shoveling said feet and feet of snow. Sure, it's a way to get some exercise in -- after all, school is cancelled -- and it really is beautiful, but come on Mother Nature; this is allot of snow.

Anyway, onto the skin. There are two cysts on my face, and they're not too big of a deal. If they hang around by my appointment with the dermatologist next week, I'll ask to have them injected but otherwise I can deal. Also, since I was ten I've dealt with blackheads on my chin, nose, and cheeks next to my nose. Since Accutane's doing its wonders trying to push all the shit (excuse my language) out of my pores, my pores are currently HUGE. I mean it- HUGE. I've used the Biore strips twice in the last three days and each time I remove an enormous cityscape of blackheads. I'm just excited for them to go away.

Not only that, but I swear, the texture of my skin has changed dramatically since I last posted. Tiny little bumps are underneath my skin, I guess of pimples waiting to show their pretty faces. However, they never seem to reach that point, which is nice. But a bit much. Overall, though, my almost-first-month of Accutane seems to be pretty successful.

Back to watching hours upon hours of television.

guesswork

fifteen

In the scheme of things, it's going pretty well. The redness on my face has gone down tremendously since I started Accutane (probably because my skin actually has a chance to catch up and heal), and pimples are at a fair minimum. The texture of my skin is nice and smooth, too. Though the annoying little buggers have practically stopped showing up (you know, the gross ones that you wake up to in the morning with those shining white heads), the cystic ones still appear, but nothing to the extent of as before. Currently, I'm only dealing with three of them, all on my cheeks, but aren't the huge, face-deforming kind.

You know what I have noticed, though ? My skin is allot less oily. I mean, I expected it on my face, but my scalp is a bit dry, too. My skin used to be really oily up until a year or so ago, but with Accutane, I haven't hit the extreme dryness, right now it's pretty much perfect. I have to apply a tiny bit of lotion after I wash my face, but nothing too much more. But this brings me back to my other point: I used to have to wash my hair every day regardless, because if not it looked like a huge greaseball, and would then in turn make my face more oily. Now, I can easily go two or three days without washing my hair, only rinsing it. This is exciting ! The only problem is that my scalp often itches, but luckily I'm not dealing with dandruff. I figured the best way to treat it now is use moisturizing shampoos and a trustworthy leave-in conditioner (Paul Mitchell, you are my love.)

This dry lips thing is getting old fast, though.

guesswork

eight

Within a matter of 24 hours, those two pimples that had to be injected were mere dots on my face. Thank God. Now, a couple days later, the one on my cheek was completely gone and the one on my lip is practically invisible, but a little bit of peeling skin is still hangin' around.

So, it's true; your lips get DRY. I'm only eight days in and today my lips decided to give in to the constant consumption of vitamin A and just shriveled up. It's weird, though ! It's not like regular cold-weather-induced dry, it's dry from the inside out, so really, your lips feel like bags half-full of skin..jelly goodness. I know that sounds absurd, but it's true. To the touch, your lips feel normal, but they almost feel deflated in a way.

Anyway, that's too much talk about lips. On the other hand, my face isn't too dry. I mean, there's a bit more flaking off on my existing acne, but nothing too extreme. Though I am noticing my face feels a bit more tight than usual after I wash my face.

And surprisingly, the residual redness on my face from previous acne has gone down allot. Within the first couple days before and after I started taking Accutane, twice a day I scrubbed my face with an intense bristle brush 'til it was a glowing red. (Can you tell I'm too poor to shell out the ~$130 for a real glycolic facial peel ?) Occasionally I'd use the Neutrogena Facial Peel, as well, but I felt that it burned too much with the constant exfoliating that I was already doing. Apparently this helped allot, which is exciting !

Actually, I'm really impressed that I'm noticing this stuff already; makes me hopeful that my skin will clear out sooner than later.

guesswork

three, ouch.

So first off, all I can say is holy. shit.

This hurts. I woke up this morning, stumbled into the bathroom and looked into the mirror. My lip looked like I had been stung by a bee. That tiny little thing the night before ? Yeah, it exploded over night. Before I freaked out too much, I did what any 20-something away at college does: called my mom.

"MOM IT LOOKS LIKE I'VE BEEN HIT IN THE FACE WHAT DO I DO." "Call the dermotologist right now and get them to inject it with cortizone," was what she said. She knows not only because she's a mom, but because she had the same acne a few years ago (which, I digress, is completely gone thanks to Accutane. ..but caused her hair to curl ? weird.)

I was magically able to get an appointment today and I just got back from the office about an hour ago. Back to what I was saying before: holy shit, this hurts. The pain had subsided from this morning, but shortly after the injection it started hurting again. And because it's on my lip, it's more sensitive than say, your cheek. I'm telling you, my front teeth hurt from it. The worst part, though ? I thought I was totally ready for the injection. I mean, I have a monroe piercing and I totally was able to handle that. Granted, I was able to handle this, too, but it's allot more painful than I was expecting. But I keep having to tell myself the pros outweigh the cons, for sure.

I must admit, I give credit to those who've been dealing with cystic acne for a while. I've only been dealing with it for a few months and I'm a total baby. I can't handle them; they hurt, distort your face, and just mangle your ego. I think that's a big part of my problem right now: my self esteem is totally obliterated. And what's even worse is that I'm a Leo, and I'm totally playing the lion with a thorn stuck in its paw. But still, it's hard.

The plus-side, though ? I'm living close enough to my dermotologist (even though I'm at school) that if (God forbid) I need an injection in the future it's only a twenty minute drive away. Which I guess is an okay plus-side.

guesswork

two !

So, there's some background to this.

I'm not a big blogger. I'm one of those who starts one because she likes the excitement that comes with exploring a new territory (both in physical space and the computer world), but often loses momentum after the first couple of posts. However ! Thanks to this lovely Accutane, this blog won't be stopping any time soon.

I could go into boring details (I've had issues with my skin since age X blahblah) but it's not worth it. I recently contracted (and, thank god, got over) that lovely kissing disease known as mononucleosis, and since then my skin has been crazy. I mean, seriously, crazy. Never before had I gotten those awful, skin-bulging mountains known as cystic pimples. And the redness from each pimple lasts months and months after the damn thing is gone. And I could handle some redness -- it wouldn't be so bad -- if I didn't break out on a daily basis.

Finally I told my dermatologist that though I enjoyed her company, I didn't like seeing her as often as I did. And after issues with all this iPLEDGE crap, I've finally got my first month's dosage of 40mg Claravis, so I guess we'll see what happens. Oh, and the worst part ? My skin has been clear for the last three weeks, and today a big cyst decides to stake its territory on my upper lip. ..Ew ?

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