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3rd Regime: Accutane

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Ooops! Haven't written for ages but once you have good skin you forget about all the stress and problems you had before and don't feel the need to blog!

I've been on accutane 20mg/day for 9months now but I've only been taking 60-80mg/week for the last 6 weeks ish. I forget to take them sometimes, i've been drinking a bit and i've had a few other issues so decided to wean myself off accutane - my derm agreed it would be fine. I am really pleased with the results - I have been 100% clear for most of the 6 months and only had one normal blemish whilst travelling. I've loved it and it's changed my life :wall:!

However, I have had some unexpected side effects

...in the last 6 weeks i've been struggling with a whitehead rash around my mouth, chin and nose area. It's hard to describe but some mild steroid cream i had for the back of my leg spots does help. It's nothing compared to acne but I will show my derm next time too.

I'm also going to tell you about my embarassing problem because some people may want to be aware this could happen. It doesn't make me regret going on accutane but i am hoping it will resolve itself once I'm off it.....

I have had lots of bum issues...piles and many anal fissures (which are small cuts around your anus) and they've all occured within the last few months. Nobody has confirmed my issues are linked but it makes sense to me....you're extra dry everywhere, skin damages easily and doesn't heal quickly. I have been stressed at work which doesn't help but I have been keeping up with exercise and my diet's not that bad so i really think accutane is the trigger. I am improving my diet now and totally cutting out dairy and coffee which doesn't mix well with me.... and I should be finished soon, the moisture should return and everything hopefully will heal!

Spots on bum and back of legs only went away with oil pulling daily, using oilatum and regular usage of glycolic acid - it seemed to be due to pores blocked by dry skin.

The other thing I have struggled with is mood swings - accutane seems to have made things a bit more intense over the last 4 months but as I said, I have been very stressed at work. My PMT days seem to have been stretched to over a week too... I've definitely not been suicidal at all but i do feel a bit more out of control of my moods than usual.

I'm hoping coming off accutane will bring everything apart from the oil and acne back to normal! I'll update when i'm off accutane unless anymore scary whitehead rashes come up and i start panicking...


PS. I also loooove vitamin E oil and think its the best thing to use on accutane skin for dryness and improving red marks and scars.


Sorry, I forgot to write for awhile because I don't think about my skin all the time anymore hahaha!

It's fab! It's the first 'little friend' time of the month that I have not broken out - unless you can count 2 barely noticable pimples that seriously cleared in a day or less.

I went to the derm 2 weeks ago and he was pretty pleased. I have another 2 months of stuff and then we need to decide what to do with my dosage.... I'm tempted to stay on an ultra ultra low dose for awhile as I'm actually petrified to get greasy skin back.

Who knew that it was the greasy skin that I think actually bothered me more than the spots.... I just glow now rather than looking like an oil slick! and my hair is dry and doesn't need washing constantly WOOP! Honestly this stuff is so amazing! I'm not dreading staying over at people's houses, going on a plane, backpacking with limited water.... I have so much more time that I did before.....I spent 3hrs at least a week picking, wearing a mask, washing my face/hair again.... Seriously! :wub:

From side effect point of view, I've been lucky really (i know I moaned a little in my past blogs but it is soooo worth it). I had a seriously bad cold the last week and constant headaches from it but I'm not sure its related. I do get knee/shoulder and shin pains occasionally but I exercise through it. The dry lips do drive me a little crazy but again I'm used to it and over it...

I have scars but they are much clearer from the last 6 weeks of being pretty clear and the use of vit e oil and the retin-A (3 times a week ish). Sometimes they look bad, other times you can hardly see them. I'll continue to wait and see and maybe later if they are still noticable I will see if I can do anything to gently help them go - I'm more petrified about the spots/greasy skin coming back before I even get to that 6 months after accutane, 'finally can have scar treatment' stage. One step at a time....

I'm on a healthy diet and exercise regime now so that I can try to balance the hormones before I come off it....It's got to work!


Almost 11 weeks!

Just a quick one as it's late but feel like I haven't written for ages....

Downloaded my photo's from holiday and my skin definitely looks better and healthier than it did 3 months ago....not 100% happy but this last week the breakout has calmed down and I've only had two smaller ones on my jawline. I did just have a gross blackhead moment where a big one was just sticking out and I have this wierd black dot near my eye...ewww!

Side Effects:

Skin healing ability is poop and I do feel like an old woman a lot of the time....nothing major since the back incident though. Still getting ingrown hairs more than I used too...I'm sure that has something to do with the medicine. Excema patches are lasting for a day or two in random places all over my body....but again doesn't seem too serious - just annoying.

Mood-wise I am having extra bad PMT in recent months but that's about it... not sure I can put it down to accutane or not lol! :wub: x


Holidays were fab - panda's are sooooo cute! I did a lot of walking, met a lot of people and ate a lot of food :mad:

Skin though is not so great. Typical! I have been backpacking (kinda) so had limited washing facilities and the place was cold and damp which hasn't helped at all. In the one week I had about 5 new spots which is a lot compared to how it has been for the last 3 weeks or so... They are also healing poorly :(

The other annoying problems are 1) I have a prickly-heat type rash on my neck which is a little itchy but mainly just wierd :( 2) It seems as if i have a new stretch mark on my lower back unless i just scratched myself badly :mad: 3) I have loads of dry patches on my arms that are a bit itchy (probably excema) 4) My skin is very delicate and nothing is healing including numerous mossie bites and my feet blisters and some ingrown hairs urgh! :rolleyes:

The plan is to look after myself much better whilst I am on this stuff (no more crazy backpacking travel) and for the meantime I am moitsurising with bio oil like crazy and using aloe vera plus some Chinese excema cream on anything itchy. Also I need to try and take my pill earlier in the day as i keep forgetting it until v late at night...

I have a date with a French guy in a few weeks so I am hoping to get rid of these ailments by then....fingers crossed!


Week 7 and a day!

Yay! I'm not feeling so moody anymore - knew it would go away eventually! Still soooo tired though but it's party my own fault as I can't seem to sleep at a normal time. I get home late from work/gym/Chinese class and need time to chill out and mess around to wind down before sleeping.

Skin-wise we are loooking at one big painful problem under my chin, another 2 dying cysts from ages before that won't go fully down (also under my chin) and that is about it! Woop! Oh I forgot the wierd lump on my ear but can't really complain about that. Looking good apart from the red marks and scars. My skin is also less annoyingly dry so think my skin is getting used to it . There are a few random peely patches but it's nothing really. Just need to wait until next month to see if I have a big hormonal breakout again or not - please, please, please noooo!

Back and chest is also looking fine apart from marks again... more lemon juice me thinks! My bum keeps on getting small rash-like pimples though because of this hot weather and especially after gym - what to do?! My plan is aloe vera gel, wearing as many skirts as possible, shower at gym and sleeping naked haha! Also I really think I need to remove all dairy (exc. eggs) completely - I seem to be extra sensitive to it recently and it can't be doing my skin any good. Maybe I should start after having eggs benedict this weekend...

I've just signed up to do couch surfing - so cool! I'm addicted already! Right, better go and heat up my spag bol!

PS. This swiss moisturiser I'm using is really good - Dermagram is the brand and everything is for sensitive skin i think. I just have night moisturiser, eye cream and sensitive face mask. V gentle and actually moisturises well.


6weeks + a few days

Woah am I feeling moody! I'm hoping its just because of my hormones and because I'm tired! It's been a week now so I hope it goes away soon... I'm feeling really un-sociable and my self-confidence is rubbish! I need to keep a record of my moods again on here to make sure it's not due to the accutane. Also stocking up on the fruit and veg and the exercise plan is in process....

Breakout is still clearing up - a few of the bigger ones just won't go/heal up - they've all gone crusty and scabbed over - gross! Some blackheads are coming out again - and my skin seems to be a bit greasier again...

Oh I forgot to update about the derm appt. So I had a new guy and he was pretty useless - made me feel that I didn't have a problem at all and that I was just making a fuss....I told him I had worse acne (I have the scars to prove it) when I was younger and have tried everything many times but nothing works and I'm just getting too old now to 'wait' for it to go away. I told him the meds had worked pretty well but I still had recently had my monthly breakout and greasier skin again - he asked if I wanted to up my dosage so I was like 'what do you think I should do?' and he just umm'd and ahh'd and then said stay on 20mg/day for another 2 months. Cost me a fortune for that too...

So, that means i'm good till mid November then I can go back to my old derm who doesn't make me feel so stupid...yay!

Apart from that the only other news is that I'm studying again for a diploma so have extra work to do...I now have normal work 8am-7pm, Chinese lessons 4hrs/week, 10hrs/week diploma studying and exercise to fit into my life argh! Plus i spend one day at the weekend sleeping lol! If I can get my healthy eating and the exercise up and running properly I might have the energy to do it all...Best get going hehe! x

Mood: V tired, no energy, un-sociable, bleurgh...


Day 39-ish (5.5 weeks)

I've not posted for over a week :rolleyes: I kinda get addicted to posting and looking on here so it's been a bit wierd to have a break from it. I was over in factories further north in China for a bit then my friend has been here since - woop!

Back is sorted now - no pains, aches or anything since over 1 week ago :( I did have my usual monthly lower back ache for a day but that's nothing new. I need to get back on the exercise when my friend leaves ..feeling very unfit and unhealthy now.

Skin-wise it's not been great. I have had at least 8 big inflamed spots (mainly on neck and jawline and some are evil and won't leave) in the last week or so - I don't think it's the IB but just my usual monthly dose of them. My skin has also been slightly more greasy again so not sure whether my body is getting used to the pills too much and it's a sign to up the dosage... My nose has a few new small blackheads on it too!!!!!

Derm appt in HongKong tomorrow but I can't see my usual guy and can't go any other day this week... grrrr! Running out of pills fast. Will speak to him about plans for the rest of my course as i don't want to go too high on the dosage but do want to get best results possible.

No other side effects apart from one nose bleed in the night.

The rest of my plans to get healthy and fit are not really working out yet ... but i have big plans to start from the end of this week hehe! I'm using my UK Christmas holiday date as my target time - Spot-free and hopefully feeling fit and healthy in 3 months :( x


Ignore what I put about the cysts last time - they are deep and painful now and one is just an itchy lump under the skin which seems as if it will never come out at the moment! I have a total of 3 so far and they're all on my neck/jawline. Rest of my face is looking pretty ok though and my chest looks clearer although some massive blackheads are still surfacing!

I wonder what will happen over the next week or two as it will be my hormonal breakout time?! At least I can show the derm it's not all cleared up yet and he can assess my dosage based on that :rolleyes:

Back pain totally gone today but i feel stiff all over - nothing exercise can't help with :( Going to get back on with it now hehe! Maybe I will just get a meatball Subway first though and have a lazy film night .....


1 month down! Wooop!

After the panic on Sun and Monday with my back, I am now recovering and not on pain killers today :( I just feel like an old woman at the moment but reckon i could do a bit of a workout later.... (I'm used to doing a lot of abs stuff though and yoga stretches which i think will be tough...I don't want to damage it!). Having a massage tomorrow as well hehe!

I'm already worrying about what will happen when i come off acctuane...I know I shouldn't!! hehe! It seems like quite a lot of people go on a second course from the message boards but I suppose the people who got permanently clear are less likely to post on here afterwards! If my skin was clear for life, what would I obsess about?? - I've been doing it for over 15years so seriously it would be wierd but amazing!! I am cutting out the dairy again and trying to maintain my hormones so that I have a good chance - When I know how long my derm plans to keep me on accutane, I can have a good goal - I need to be fit, healthy and dairy-free by the time I finish...

Going back to derm for appt when i can get to Hong Kong again... Have 2 weeks of tablets left so need to go before they run out - already got blood test results (China is quick and cheap for this!!). I am all good and actually very low (within the average range) on most things!

Skin is looking fairly good - added Bio oil to my moisturising regime and there's no peeling anymore (just a bit of dryness around my nose). I have 2 cysts on my neck and one more potential one but they are pretty mild compared to before and don't feel so deep. Nose is 95% free of blackheads along with forehead. There are still some on cheeks though but it is improving and on my neck I can see some whiteheads - gross but not noticable :rolleyes: I'm getting there :(

Side effects: Back pain (terrible for 2.5days), red flushing face (peeling gone now), dry lips, thirsty and drinking a lot, some other embarassing side effects I mentioned previously still continue...! Can't really moan about any of them as they aren't completely unusual apart from the back pain (but it was over quickly)!!

Product update: Fish oil tablets 2-3 a day (China brand:Omega 3/6 and vit E), Bioderma Sebum Control cleanser (quite gentle and cooling) OR just water in morning, Body Shop vit e night moisuriser in evening + bio oil if needed, Body Shop Aloe Vera SPF15 daily moisturiser in morning + bio oil if needed. Retin-A in evening mainly on cheeks - will reduce/skip a day if v dry.



Today i am experiencing very painful back ache in my upper back - never ever had it before and boy does it hurt. I did carry a lot of heavy bags yesterday and slept with my back facing the cold air con which is never good but I never have any problems at all! Taking a double dose of fish oil and I might do accupuncture tomorrow. What else can i do?

Skin is scaly and extremely dry....i've tried 3 different moiturisers which are all good but need applying more than once a day!! Other than that - skin is looking good actually. Had a minor breakout on my cheeks but only one cyst on my neck and the cheek ones have dried up already.

Praying my back ache goes before I need to go to work - it's ruined my Sunday so far! x


Day 22

Going to write now as I'm off to Hong Kong tomorrow morning and will probably be super busy for a few days...(meetings and catching up with old colleagues - meetings bad, catch-ups good!!). I'm planning to go to North China next Wed-Fri too .... then my English friend is here the week after - yay!

Not much to say: Skin is looking pretty ok - flaking a bit now but not too bad....Nose and forehead is looking much smoother and no new cysts woooop! Cheeks still have blackheads and blocked pores but they seem to be coming out hehe! Chest is also looking better already but still has a way to go...

Side effects: The embarassing things seem to be getting better. Mosquitos are eating me alive, dry lips, flaky skin, and a crazily itchy back!!! A few pains in joints but still managing to do yoga and Davina DVD no problems :)!!

Keep working oratane...

PS to myself: Need to get blood tests before I go North!


Day 20

My first day off sick on accutane!!!

It's not really accutane related though - more of a combination of things... I have a bad cold, i'm v exhausted and my knees and back ache (could be cold-related)...

The other problem at the moment is that I have a yeast infection and (even more embarassing) I have a peeling bum crack - niceeee! I really hope no-one recognises me on here! I've never had that before so i'm blaming that one on the accutane LOL! I got some anti-fungal cream (also embarassing as I had to tell my Chinese colleague to help me rather than just go into a chemist and pick it up like normal people living in their own country can...). It seems to be getting better already thank fully but it is uncomfortable.

After those revelations there's not much more to say...Blackheads are still gross although forehead and nose seem to be a bit smoother. More seem to have come up on my cheeks and jaw/neck which is making my face look dirty. Chest is still bad as a lot of the blackheads are infected now (probably my fault!)... Face has 3 cysts and one ear has 3 cysts (wtf?!). They're drying up though and getting better on my face....They are also not red at all so not leaving much of a mark?! I'm surprised...

Lips are also still very dry....nearly 3 weeks :)



I wasn't going to post today but...

I decided to extract some of the blackheads off my chest and it was really disturbing! Some of them were green - not a dull green but a bright green!!!! :( I freaked out! :( However after investigation, I realised it was probably the necklace I was wearing today (trying to cover them up!) reacting with the blackheads - it is a cheap old thing, and they were only in a certain area!

My chest now looks a mess bythe way so remind me never to pick/extract again ... ever!!! :)


Day 16

Well I'm feeling a bit moody today - maybe because I slept a LOT! Went to yoga last night so exercised 4 times this week now - gonna try and step it up next week as I want to be really fit and healthy hehe!

I have a few more cysts on the sides of my face and jawline/neck. Also can feel a few under my skin on my cheek. Again not anywhere near the worst its ever been...

The dry skin is really starting up now - dry scalp, ears, lips, chin and around my mouth....RetinA use is gonna be reduced a lot and I'm gonna use more moisturiser instead. The blackheads are just gross....especially on my chest ... millions of them just at the surface.....seriously how long do these things take to work their way out??

The same thing seems to be occuring inside my ears - it's making them itchy too! Urgh - hate blackheads so I'm glad they're coming out but I seriously they get out quickly....

I've noticed my skin has become a little more easy to damage - I got chin burn from the mat in yoga so I need to be careful... The 10 mosquito bites I got this week are gonna be troublesome to heal too :)

Also want a little moan about these small purple spots on the back of my thighs and bum - the hyperpigmentation is insane for such little things - using Retin A there too now as I really want them to go.... It's stopped me going swimming which is baaad!

OK moans over - time to do some shopping! Ciao!


Almost 2 weeks...

Time is going quickly on this stuff which is good :) Hopefully I will be clear in no time!

I have pretty dry lips and the creases of nose are a bit sore. Also had some small flaking today on chin so I need to cut back on the retin-A now and mix it with a bit of moisturiser. My face and hair is much less greasy than before and I'd say is moving towards average - it is still a little oily but if it was like this forever I'd be very happy.

Breakout is clearing up a bit on my neck and jawline - had a few small spots on cheeks but the Retin-A is getting rid of them quickly without leaving red marks yay! Forehead has a massive one which is v unusual for me but all in all it really isn't that bad. Hope this is the worst of it lol!

Other wierd stuff - seem to be getting more vivid dreams; a few aches like growing pains but really not too bad at all! No more nose bleeds so far.

Mood: Although work is really rubbish at the moment I seem to be in especially good moods haha! :(


Day 10

Just had another dose and today I've had my first nose bleed! Also have some excema type patches that have come up all of a sudden (neck and collarbone) as well as a breakout on my neck again....it's not the worst it has ever been but i'm not looking great! Wierd how quickly it can change from one day to the next haha!

Hopefully they will clear up quickly as i may have a date this week!!! Bugger! x :)


Day 9

Skin actually seems less greasy as does my hair - yay!!!! It's a miracle, i've not had un-greasy hair after 12hrs without washing in like 15+years!!! This could change my life :(:) Loving it so far!

Side effects: Breakout on neck seems to be getting better already (probably to do with the retin-A). Breakout now on chest but it's not toooo bad! Slightly itchy scalp probably because its never been dry before!!! Lips are definitely drier than normal now! Nothing too bothersome though. Mood: Pretty good although I am bored today!

Ciao! x


Day 7

So it's Day 7! Nowt much has changed...skin/hair is still greasy yet maybe is a little drier in the creases around my nose. Lips don't seem particularly dry really! Back has been hurting a bit but I have a sore throat/start of a cold so may be to do with that...

Definitely had a bit of an extra breakout because of the oratane - have quite a few cysts on my neck that have come up but it's not the worst it's ever been :)

All in all, going well so far!

Mood: Normal! Glad it's Friday tomorrow as I am tired and want a lie in!! Not much planned but will try to go collect some photo's and maybe do some painting +yoga! Did a Davina workout yesterday which is the first time in about 6weeks!! My legs are v sore today - need to sort out the exercise though as I need to be as healthy as possible on this stuff!!!


Day 5

Nothing much to report. Skin is still greasy. Lips are only a little dry but I'm not sure if that is due to the meds or not. Back hurts but that's because it's my time of the month. Small breakout round jawline and chin but probably because it is crazily hot and sticky here.

Mood: Bit annoyed because of the crap going on at work! :)


Day 3

Another 20mg down tonight after home-cooked beef stew - was yummy but the sauce was too watery (need cornflour!). I had a good relaxing weekend and got some little jobs done but then I saw a massive rat just in my flat doorway (not uncommon for China!) so I'm extra jumpy now and not sure if i'll sleep well until i get someone to check it out!

I've told my friend in England to be on mood watch for me - I'm more worried than I usually would be because I'm pretty much on my own over here so there's not many people to help notice these things...Thats the main reason why i'm trying to keep a diary on here too.

Mood: Good but jumpy because of the rat! :)


Day 2

Taken another 20mg this evening. My lips are also feeling dry but I think that's just because I haven't drank enough water today! Really must improve on that ... :)


Day 1: 20mg Oratane

I've just taken my first 20mg - hope I don't get a bad IB as my skin is looking relatively ok on my face at the moment. 3 smaller cysts on jaw/neck, bumps on neck, spots around chin, blackheads on cheeks and v oily skin! Still have upper thigh (these are scarring badly - they are purple!!), lower back cysts and lots of bumps, whiteheads on chest.

Just been looking at lots of Accutane posts over the last 2 days and feeling quite positive. I am worried about it coming back after as it could well be PCOS/hormonal acne but I'll worry about that when my course is over! I'm also a perfectionist so have high expectations which does often end in disappointment...

I'm not going to take any supplements now as I've read a scientific study that shows Vitamin E does not have any effect against side effects of patients on accutane. If anything it's probably giving a placebo effect and people think that it helps - not saying this is a bad thing but now I don't believe it works, it probably wouldnt have a placebo effect on me haha! Let's just hope i don't get joint pains at all and can keep doing exercise. Read a really interesting book on alternative medicine the past few days too - I was a believer in some things, for certain problems but science seems to be proving me wrong.

Rambling on as I'm trying to keep myself awake at work...still have jetlag and need sleeeeep! zzzzzzzzzz!


It's been awhile again... I was in the UK for a few weeks but now I'm back in China.

The story so far is that I went on Differin for my face and AHA lotion for 3 months, then tried antibiotics and Retin-A for 10 weeks; there was a small improvement but mainly in skintone and scarring/ red marks and bacne is better but moved to chest and upper thighs (wierd i know!) and now the derm has run out of options and prescribed a low-dose of Accutane along with the Retin A still. It's v easy to get over in HK so i'm a bit scared of what i'm letting myself in for....

Going to have to keep more of a daily diary so I can get a bit of support on here as I haven't got many people around to help if I get bad side effects - even the derm is 2 hours and a border crossing away.

Not going to start until my jet lag is over - i'm not sleeping/eating right yet and my tummy is baaad! Too much over-indulgence in england including a Ben and Jerrys festival with free ice-cream. Even though I know i can't take much dairy I still went for it....sooo naughty!

Anyway for when I do start, the plan is:

Oratane 20mg a day after lunch (thats my biggest meal)

Retin-A until dryness starts and mix with moisturiser to use if its not too bad

No more dairy, exercise 3 x a week, no alcohol and eat well

4 weeks after starting I need to get my liver test

6 weeks after starting once I get test results I need to go back to the derm in person

That's it as i'm off to bed!Not looking forward to first day back at work tomorrow! x


Ooops it's been awhile again! Think i've been pretty down for the last 2 months so haven't felt like writing much - it is good to see my progress though so going to try and make more of an effort!

The antibiotics are just evil but i continue to take them when i can....do you think they can cause you to be moody and depressed? My stomach is pretty messed up and my immune system is shocking...it is helping the bacne a little though....

So actually my progress has been pretty good. My back is just covered in red marks and only one or two cysts that seem to be clearing....I do like the RetinA and I think its working pretty well for my face, I only had a minor breakout at around week 4/5 on my cheeks and under my chin but it cleared up fast and the huge red marks are fading. My scarring seems to be looking better too and the only problems left are blackheads that I'm praying are looking raised recently because they're finally leaving my skin for good and some small cysts at time of the month.

I'm thinking about getting a chemical peel to speed things up a bit when i need to go back to the derm in a month....also want to ask him what the best way to improve my scarring is. Well back to the UK next Thursday so may not write again for a while...should really take some more photo's too :pray:

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