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Just had my 6-month checkup!

All is well, still getting a few, small, "normal person" breakouts from time to time. I can definitely deal with that! However, my dermatologist is really adamant about me staying on Accutane until I've been completely 100% clear for at least 30 days to prevent it from coming back. This being my 3rd course on Accutane, I'm happy to do whatever I can to keep the acne away FOREVER.

This is an especially exciting time in my life. My college graduation is coming up in 3 weeks, and immediately after that, my boyfriend and I are following our dreams by moving across the country together. This is something we've talked about for nearly 5 years now, and I can't believe it's all actually really happening! The drive itself will take 3 days, and our 2 dogs will be with us (along with a U-haul trailer), so we'll be camping along the way rather than staying in hotels... that's 3 days without showering! This would have been a NIGHTMARE for me before Accutane!

All is set for me to transfer to a new dermatologist in my new town, and thankfully, my current insurance WILL cover everything (I won't be able to switch to my company's health insurance since my Accutane is a "preexisting condition"). It is kind of a pain that I'll be taking it for so long, but it is so, SO worth it.


Dosage: 40 mg Claravis

Acne: One lingering cyst on my right cheek, a few healing places on my chin

Side Effects: Same

I can't believe it's been almost 2 months since I posted last!

I just had my monthly check-up a few weeks ago, and got bumped up from 30mg/day to 40. Turns out my progress is nowhere near where it should be for the amount of time I've been on Accutane... I totally blame that on being on such a low dose!

Having that said, my skin is amazing. I am still getting a little spot or 2 every now and again, but my skin is so smooth and nice! It really does feel like a huge (and ugly) weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I no longer have acne -- I'm a regular person!

My derm thinks I need to stay on Accutane for another 2 months (8 months total), just to be sure that the results will last. The problem, however, is that I'm moving 2,000 miles away on May 15, and it would be way too big of a hassle to keep up with blood work AND to switch dermatologists... Not to mention my insurance only covers me in Georgia. Hopefully 7 months will be long enough!


Dosage: 30 mg Claravis

Acne: NONE today!!!

Side Effects: Dry lips

It's taken me 18 long weeks to get here, but today, my skin is CLEAR!

OK, well it's not completely clear since I still have significant scarring on my cheeks and lots of red spots, but NO active pimples. NONE! When I touch my face, it's completely smooth. This is unheard of!! The other night, I went out wearing a one-shoulder dress. My face, back, and chest are all acne-free at the same time. This is amazing!

I also have one terrible confession: I've been tanning. I know, I know, it's the number 1 Accutane faux pas, but the weather has been gorgeous, and so far (with sunscreen) I've been able to get a healthy amount of color and no burning. I'm going to Costa Rica next month and am a little nervous about that...

But anyway, I have clear skin. Accutane is amazing. :)


Dosage: 30 mg Claravis

Acne: Complete pustular explosion on my chin, one big pimple on my right cheek

Side Effects: Nothing new

I'm not sure why I'm feeling the need to update today, except for the fact that I'm afraid my makeup theory may be true.

I went out Friday and Saturday night, and wore makeup both nights. Today, I have tons of new breakouts. Has bare minerals ever done this to anyone before? I'm completely discouraged. To be at this point in my Accutane cycle and still having a breakout like this.... I don't know what to think. I'm fine with wearing just concealer during the day (even if my skin is clear, I am completely covered in red spots from previous breakouts), but when I go out tonight I like to have a little more coverage. I guess I can give it up for a few weeks to see if it helps.

I guess it's possible that my IB is just a long, slow process and it has nothing to do with my makeup at all, but I'm ready for it to end regardless. The good news is that my forehead is still completely clear and my left cheek hasn't had much of a problem in over a week, so let's just hope that my chin and right cheek will follow suit soon.

Hanging in there!


Week 15 (Day 106)

Dosage: 30 mg Claravis

Acne: A few breakouts on both cheeks, some scattered whiteheads around my mouth and chin

Side Effects: Dry lips....

I finally had my 3 month check-up a few days ago, so I'm "officially" into month 4... The good news is that they were able to schedule my next appointment ON TIME, so I won't have to skip any pills this month!!

Things are improving. I was really clearing up until a few days ago, and had another bad breakout on my cheeks. It seems like this always happens a few days after I wear makeup other than concealer (which is usually only one night a week), so I really hope that isn't the cause. I haven't worn any makeup since Saturday night, and now it's starting to clear up (with the exception of one cyst that has been there for the past month or so).

My dermatologist was pleased with my skin, and said I'll hopefully be able to do a 6-month course instead of 7. That's only 2 more months!! I'm trying to grasp the fact that I may have clear skin in 2 months... I can only hope!


Week 13 (Day 93)

Dosage: 30 mg Claravis

Acne: NO new active pimples today! Some healing places around my jawline and plenty of lingering red spots from my terrible, horrible breakout from the past few weeks

Side Effects: Nothing new, except that my lips are extremely dry and cracking in the corners (which would happen to me this time of year, regardless)

My attitude has changed quite a bit from my last post!

So far, my time on Accutane has been such a roller coaster. I've gone from being pleasantly surprised by my lack of IB, to having almost perfect skin at the end of my 1st month, to breaking out, to clearing up, and to the worst breakout of my life in month 3. Now, I'm starting to really clear up, but I have a tendency to do that at the end of each month, so I'm trying hard not to get my hopes up!

I have a few theories that could have led to my awful breakout, including "that time of the month" and a change in makeup... I switched brands about a month ago to match my newly pale skin (which I am not used to AT ALL). I don't know for sure that the makeup was the problem, but I changed again (to bare minerals) and haven't had a problem so far.

It still bothers me how behind I am in my treatment because of my busy dermatologist's schedule. I usually have to skip 4-5 days each month, and I should be starting month 4 by now... But my next appointment is still nearly 2 weeks away. Ugh!

My main concern is that I accepted my dream job that will take me across the country in 4 months... so now I have an Accutane deadline. Hopefully I'll be done by then!


Merry Christmas!

I asked Santa for clear skin, but I guess that wasn't in the cards for me today. I thought my terrible breakout was over, but now it's even worse than it was before, and it's taking over the right side of my face as well as the left. It's not easy to celebrate Christmas with family and friends when all you want to do is get in bed and pull the covers over your face...

So here I am, day 81 of my Accutane treatment. Before I started, I read a thousand blogs and decided that by Christmastime, my skin should really start improving. Alas, it's only much worse.

Could it be that Accutane just won't work for me? (Sorry for such a negative post. It's just one of those days :redface:)


Week 11 -- Breakout!

Dosage: 30 mg Claravis

Acne: Healing giant nodules on the left side of my face, still some small places on my chin, a few cysts on my back and shoulders

Side Effects: Dryness (duh)

Is it normal to get IB in your third month of Accutane?

I don't know what happened, but this week has been TERRIBLE. The left side of my face just exploded with one of the worst breakouts I've ever had. It's finally starting to get better instead of worse, but that was just no fun at all. It's easy for me to get discouraged and to think that the medication isn't working (especially because of my low dose), but I just have to look at old pictures to see how bumpy and oily my face used to be.... Although I'm still breaking out, my skin itself has certainly improved!

Accutane, I love you and I hate you.


Dosage: 30 mg Claravis

Acne: Just one small nodule on my left cheek, a few little places on my chin, and two cysts on my back, lots of blackheads around my lips

Side Effects: Dry lips, THINNING HAIR

I finally had my monthly checkup yesterday, so I'm on pill 61 today. I already scheduled my appointment for next month, and of course it will be 6 days after I run out of pills. I hate that I'm always so behind!

As for my skin, I've been taking pictures weekly and I can definitely see a BIG difference from before treatment. My forehead and jawline were covered in small, under-the-skin pimples and now that entire area is completely smooth. I'm still consistently getting one or two new breakouts every day, but they're healing more quickly than before, so I can handle it! I think I'm still kind of in the IB stage, especially since I'm starting to get a lot of blackheads, but my dermatologist said that it usually ends somewhere in the third month, and that my skin should slowly just start improving day by day. I can't wait for that to happen!

Dryness hasn't been bad at all (especially considering the cold weather), but my thinning hair is really starting to bother me. I have very thin hair to begin with, so it's pretty noticeable. Maybe it's not caused by Accutane at all, but I really, really, really, HATE it!


Week 9 (Day 63)

Dosage: 30 mg Claravis

Acne: A few active pimples around my jawline and some small white heads on my cheeks and under my nose, many red spots from healing breakouts on both cheeks

Side Effects: Dry lips, dry face (which I'm sure has something to do with the cold, dry weather) and irritation on the backs of my hands

I've been counting days from the first day of my treatment, but because my dermatologist consistently makes my follow-up appointment a few days after I run out of pills, I'm actually only on pill 56. My appointment is on Monday so I've been doing the same as last month by spacing out pills to last until then.

Things are slowly improving. I wish that I didn't have nearly clear skin for a few days at the beginning of the month, because I had a LONG way to fall after that! I'm hoping that starting the 3rd month will be the end of the bad breakouts and the start of my journey to nice skin.


Week 8 (Day 56)

Dosage: 30 mg Claravis

Acne: 2 cysts on my left cheek, a few healing spots on my right cheek, a few healing nodules on my chin, CLEAR chest, back, and forehead (with the exception of a few spots near my eyebrow)

Side Effects: Dry lips

Nothing really new to report this week. My skin isn't better, but it's also not getting worse.

Almost done with Month 2!


Week 7 (Day 50)

Dosage: 30 mg Claravis

Acne: Nothing new today, but 7 or 8 giant red spots on my cheeks and chin from healing bad breakouts from the last week, a few small pimples on my back, chest is still clear, forehead has been completely clear for weeks!!

Side Effects: Dry lips, dry skin on chin

Either I'm slowly adjusting to my lower dose, or the Tretinoin cream that I've been using like crazy is doing its job, but my horrible breakout (that got so much worse over the weekend) is finally drying up, and it seems like it's coming to an end. All the spots are turning into those red, raw, dry areas that I had in my first couple of weeks on Accutane, so I'm starting to worry that I practically just started over by lowering my dose.

Having a clear chest has made such a big difference in my self esteem this Fall (usually I just wear t-shirts, now I can wear whatever I want)! I'm thankful for that!


Week 6 (Day 42)

Dosage: 30 mg Claravis

Acne: More cysts on my back, a few on my chin and jawline, one big cyst on my right cheek

Side Effects: Dry lips

All my optimism from last week has turned into discouragement. I don't think lowering my dose to 30 mg was a good thing... I've gone from moisturizing 4-5 times a day to not at all, and I'm back to using Tretinoin cream every night just as I would have before Accutane. I also switched back to an acne scrub from regular face wash. My skin is gradually becoming less dry (and more oily) and the I feel like I have a new break out every time I look in the mirror. Maybe my skin is just taking some time to adjust to the change, but I really, really hope that this doesn't make me backtrack a whole month.

I sure hope next week is better.


I had my blood work done on Friday and my follow-up with my dermatologist today. All is well, and she is satisfied with my progress and lowered my dosage to 30 mg/day in order to take care of some of my headaches and dry hands. I hope this won't slow anything down (or flare up my skin)!

Today is a great day for my skin. It's crazy how extreme the ups and downs of Accutane are. This weekend I didn't want to show my face because my left cheek was just so blown up, but today, I woke up with not a single new breakout! I have some that are still healing, but nothing new! What an amazing feeling! Even my back (my biggest problem area) is almost completely clear. My dermatologist told me that this is a very good sign that I may not experience much IB, but then again we need to wait and see what the 2nd month has in store for me.

Who knows what tomorrow may bring, but at least I have some optimism that maybe one day I won't have to worry about acne anymore!


Week 4 (Day 30)

Dosage: 40 mg Claravis

Acne: Only 1 cyst left on my back, a few problem areas on both cheeks, and right side of my forehead.. Chest is completely clear!!

Side Effects: Nothing really new. Dry, red areas on the back of my hands are getting better.

I don't have too much to report this week. My monthly check-up isn't until Monday, and I won't get my next prescription until then, so I'm spacing out the few pills I have left (completely skipped this weekend). I really hope this doesn't affect my treatment!

My face is definitely bearable right now. I have more breakouts than I'd like, but no more than usual. I'm starting to wonder if maybe I won't have IB as bad as the last time I took Accutane? As for side effects, the dryness is barely noticeable. Even my lips aren't bad. Still using Tretinoin cream every night.

There is one amazing thing, though. MY HAIR! I can shower at night and my hair isn't greasy in the morning. I'll be enjoying this!


Week 3 (Day 21)

Dosage: 40mg Claravis

Acne: Some active pimples on my cheeks, and cysts on my chin, jawline, hairline, and back

Side Effects: Chapped lips, dry (flaking) skin on my chin and ears, dry patches on my hands and arms, dry and flaking scalp

I'm getting dryer and dryer every day. My chin was absolutely terrible over the weekend, to the point where I couldn't control it whatsoever, and I was verrry embarrassed to go out with it peeling so bad. I switched moisturizers (to Nutregena Oil-Free moisture for sensitive skin) and am finally able to keep it under control! There is still some flaking, but it's not nearly as tight and uncomfortable.

Eye drops took care of my dry eyes, and my headaches went away as well.

My skin isn't too horribly broken out, but is consistently getting worse, and my face is covered in red, raw spots from previous pimples. I'm still using Tretinoin cream on my biggest problem areas, but only in the tiniest amount.

I'm going to New Orleans for Halloween weekend, so hopefully my face won't look too horrible!


Week 2 (Day 14)

Dosage: 40 mg Claravis

Acne: Face and chest still doing fairly well, just a few small pimples around my jawline and forehead, but now there are about 6 or 7 gigantic cysts on my back

Side Effects: Very dry lips, dryer skin and some peeling on my chin, dry eyes, headaches

I'm finally starting to see signs that the medication is working! I really can't get over how clear my face is right now. The only problem I'm really having is that when I get a pimple, it takes forever to heal and stays red for days and days. I'm certainly going to enjoy my face being like this, because I know the IB is coming soon (it seems like it's already arrived on my back -- yuck). Maybe the Tretinoin cream is helping?

I'm going back to the store today to buy more Aquaphor and some eye drops. I could barely look at my computer screen last night to write a paper! I've also been having small headaches every afternoon for the past week, but it's nothing terrible.

2 weeks down, 26 to go!


Week 1 (Day 7)

Dosage: 40 mg Claravis

Acne: Surprisingly fairly clear, only a few active pimples, mainly around my lips

Side Effects: Very slightly dry lips

I'm just waiting for everything to kick in! I'm enjoying my skin right now since it isn't too bad... But it's probably just the calm before the storm. I'm also still using Tretinoin cream at night, and I plan on continuing for as long as my skin can handle it. I honestly just want to see some dry skin so I'll at least know that the medication is working!


I just got my first round of blood work done today, so I'm patiently waiting for round 2 in 2 weeks, then I'll hopefully be getting my first dose!

Here's my story.

I'm a 22-year-old college student, and I've been battling with moderate acne for the past 10 years. To say that I've tried everything is a gross understatement. I've attempted everything from OTC creams to antibiotics to light treatments, and even one prescription that is intended for someone with a bladder infection, because clearing of skin seemed to be a side effect. Needless to say, none of this has worked, and now I'm sick of wasting my time and money on acne.

I've actually tried isotretinoin twice before. The first time was when I was 16, and I took the medication for 5 months, although I had a lot of problems swallowing the pills and wasn't as consistent as I should have been. I saw outstanding results while taking the medication, but my skin immediately flared back up into its usual broken-out state after my last dose.

My second attempt was 2 years ago. The entire cycle was nothing but disastrous from Day 1, and I was only able to continue for 3 months. Everything that could have possibly gone wrong did, and between traveling and insurance changes, then finally high triglycerides, I gave up before I even got to see positive results. In fact, my skin was the worst it had ever been, and I didn't attend my sorority formal because I was way too embarrassed about my face, and didn't have a dress that would cover my broken out chest and back.

Here I am again, at square one. I'm graduating in May and beginning a new life, so I'd love to have new skin along with it. I'm hoping and praying that all goes well and that I'm able to finish the treatment, and dreading it all the same.

I created an account with acne.org for support and to share my progress. Any questions/comments are more than welcome. Here's to clear skin!

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