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Through the good and bad of Accutane

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Post Accutane

I did terribly posting regularly on here after all, but I do want to make an update on my status.

I finished my treatment at the end of July. I was prescribed accutane by my dermatologist and I was to be on it for 4 months. Boy was I ever glad to finish taking those pills. I had to put up with a lot of dry, peeling skin. Especially around my lips. But making sure to moisturize constantly really did help me from looking too bad. The one thing I did enjoy was my hair not getting greasy at all. lol.

It's been 3 months since I finished my treatment of accutane and I'm really happy with the results. I have posted up a before and after shot for you to see just how far I've come. It's pretty crazy looking back at that before shot of me... It's no wonder my doctor took one look at my face and put me on accutane right away! I see my after shot now and I'm in awe. My skin is smooth now and clear of acne. I still have blemishes left over, but even those are fading slightly. I plan on getting treatments to completely clear those away, but I've got another 3 more months to go until I can start doing any procedures. (But I'm good with being patient and it's just one more thing to look forward to.)

Anyhow, thank you for reading about my journey. This main chapter of my acne story I can, thankfully, now move on from. Best of luck to those still struggling with acne. One day at a time.



Month 1, Day 28

My class is now done and I'm free from my continuing education program, woo hoo! With less stress affecting me, I am starting to see some improvements in my face.


My skin is flaking more. It tends to flake more around my mouth, chin and the sides of my nose. I have to constantly exfoliate and keep checking in the mirror to see if I've removed all the flakes. It's annoying but necessary. With all of that, I'm noticing that the skin that isn't broken out is clearing up some. In terms of the redness I mean. I can see it looking whiter which is exciting. The few active spots I have are drying out and coming off now, so my skin doesn't look too bumpy. I went for my one month check up at the dermatologist and I was told that my treatment is going really well considering my skin is looking better already. I saw a different doctor today and she explained that because my skin is showing signs of improvement this early on in my treatment, she believes that by the end of it I won't have any visible scarring and that she doesn't think I will relapse and need further treatment. Talk about good news! I'm very pleased about this. I explained my worry about working outdoors this summer, and she told me that I just need to make sure to wear a hat and some sunscreen. She gave me a ton of sunscreen samples to try, so it doesn't look like I need to buy any now. I think that I might still have some more breakouts in the next few months, but they won't be as severe. The derm says my acne looks moderate now and it's only 1 month of treatment! It's just trying to keep my skin moisturized that's the main concern now. I've started using Curel on my face and that works really well to keep my skin feeling normal and not like a desert, lol.


My lips still get dry, but they're not peeling badly like at the end of my first week of the treatment. The derm was really impressed by how my lips weren't all chapped and dry. Thank you Nivea soothing care lip chap! I went and bought a second tube, but this one was just a cherry glossy one that also works really well. It doesn't feel waxy and keeps my lips moisturized. Doesn't look like I'm on Accutane at all with this stuff. Although I wasn't able to get Aquaphor, I'm pretty pleased with Nivea's lip care products. It's affordable and it works. And wow, I think I just sounded like a commercial there...


No new breakouts to report. Just the previous acne I had are drying out. I had this really bad one surface near my nose, but it dried up within 4 or 5 days. You can still see it, but it's not red anymore and the skin is beginning to smooth back down in that spot. It's crazy. Before it would have taken at least 2 weeks for it to start that process, so the Accutane seems to be accelerating how my skin clears up spots.


Now that my skin isn't so red, I felt comfortable enough to go out in public with very little cover up. I only put it on the really red spots and left the rest of my skin alone. This is a huge deal for me. All this time I've never felt able to head out the door without making sure to cover up my skin with makeup. When I was in high school, I never wore makeup. It's so time consuming and if I didn't have acne I probably wouldn't use it. The way I see it, makeup is meant to enhance what your mama and papa gave you—not cover it up. So I am really happy that I'm beginning to feel okay in my own skin again.


Month 1, Day 13

Okay, so now that I'm just shy of 2 weeks into the first month of treatment I can actually talk more about my skin condition.


My skin is definitely a lot more dry. Whenever I get out of the shower, if I don't moisturize my face right away my skin gets all tight and uncomfortable. Oh, and it starts to flake. So I continue to put cream on my face, and drink water. I've also been using a product called Bio Oil that really relieves my skin when it starts feeling tight from the dryness. What's nice about it is that it doesn't make my skin look oily at all, but just gives it the natural moisture it needs.


My lips have definitely been affected. At the end of the first week they started to peel. I haven't been able to find Aquaphor's lip repair at any of the pharmacies here, so I settled for Nivea's soothing care lip chap. Once I rubbed off all the peeling skin from my lips, I put that on and so far it's been helping them stay moisturized. But I'm constantly applying it to my lips so that the skin doesn't peel anymore. My lips are back to where they were before I started my treatment thanks to this product!


The cysts that were lying underneath my skin in my cheeks have now surfaced. I also have a few whiteheads that emerged on my chin. The whiteheads are drying up at the moment, but the cysts just look red. The rest of my complexion where there isn't any active acne is looking more clear. This just makes the active ones look redder somehow. lol. Either way, I know most people get discouraged when they see the acne appearing to get worse, but I'm actually not. I just know that the first couple of weeks are always the worst for this because the medication is flushing out all the impurities in my skin. I'm hoping by the end of the month these cysts will have dried out. I was actually expecting more to surface than what already has, so I hope this means that the flushing period won't be too too long.


I'm annoyed by the flaky skin, but other than that I'm still doing pretty good. I spoke to a classmate of mine last Wednesday night and he told me that some of his friends had taken Accutane and had really great results. Hearing that cheered me up further that this is the right course of action for me.

I won't be writing here until after my book design course is finished. I have a LOT of work to do yet and I'm in the final stretch, so I need to focus on that. April 13th is my last class, woo hoo! See ya shortly after that!


Month 1, Day 4

Today when I looked in the mirror, I noticed that there was no oiliness in my T-zone. It was kinda strange not seeing it there... I always wash my face in the morning to get rid of that, and apply a cream to keep the shine away. So this is a good thing. Also, the two active cysts that I have on my face have gone down tremendously. They're not as red either. Actually, all the redness of my blemishes has reduced somewhat, too. They're still red, but more on the pink side now.

I'm supposed to be taking two 40mg pills a day, but so far I've only been taking one pill a day to give my body a chance to adjust to the medication. I'm glad I've done that, because now that I've gotten some time off and had a chance to sleep, I do notice that it's harder to wake up in the mornings and I get sleepier earlier than normal. Oh, and yesterday night I found myself really thirsty. I've been carrying around a Nalgene bottle now because of that. I suppose that's a good thing anyway, because it forces me to drink water. I was never really good with that before.

I'm contemplating taking two pills tonight and see just how that affects my body. If I find that I get even more tired, I'll go back to taking one pill until the week is up. I'm just glad that I'm seeing positive results so soon. I'm in an even better mood because the girlfriend of the manager I work for at New Balance told me that her younger brother took Accutane for his acne (she said his face was really really bad), and his acne cleared up completely. She said that his complexion looks better than hers now, and her complexion is flawless! Seriously, her skin is so milky white that it glows. I can only aspire to have skin like that! So talking to her gave me hope that I will achieve similar results. Our conversation also reminded me of a guy I worked with at an overnight summer camp. He had acne worse than mine and he was taking Accutane while we worked together at the camp. After that summer, I didn't see him for about a year. He'd promised to meet up with me to go get belgian waffles for an IOU he owed me. When I saw him, his skin was completely clear and looked so good. I'd forgotten about that meeting until now. I will keep these two people in mind when I'm going through my 4 months. As it goes, I'm pretty excited. I can't wait to have nicer looking skin again! I'm tired of seeing myself like this all the time.

For my next entry, I will try to organize my posts a little better. I've noticed a lot of people have a way to fill out their entries that lists the specifics about their skin and I may do the same.


Month 1, Day 2


So I woke up and didn't really notice any visible changes in my face. My skin isn't dry and neither are my lips... though, I must admit that from all the accounts I've read about people getting these side effects I'm paranoid I'll get them too... so I've been making sure to moisturize and drink lots of water. I am a little on the tired side, but I can't peg it to the accutane. (I'm tired because I have a huge assignment to submit for a book design course I'm taking and I'm very behind. Oh, and a lady rear-ended my bumper yesterday.)

I just ate dinner and took pill #2. I have to get back to working on my project. Booooo. I will write next when I have something more substantial to report.

P.S. Is Aquafor even available in Canada? I don't think I've ever noticed that brand here before. Maybe I just haven't paid attention. At the moment I'm using Softlips with 15 spf in it.


Month 1, Day 1

This is my first serious attempt to blog about a topic important to me. If anybody decides to follow my blog, please please encourage me to continue updating on here. I will do my best to update as regularly as possible when I'm not working or doing school work.

Anyway, just a little bit about me for starters...

I'm a 24-year-old female living in Southwestern Ontario, I'm 5'7 ft tall (170cm) and I currently weigh 160lbs. My story with acne begins in the Fall of 2008 when I was about to turn 18. Prior to this time I had always had skin free of acne. I always considered myself one of the lucky ones in high school, because my complexion was always clear, smooth, and pimple-free. Then, when I started my first year of university, I broke out like crazy! It was almost as though my body was trying to make up for all the acne-free years I'd been blessed with during high school. In any case, I was pretty concerned about it, but I figured that it would clear up in no time if I just waited it out. Well, considering I'm 24 now and I've tried a whack load of treatments, this certainly didn't turn out to be the case.

Since then, I've done whatever I could to try and clear the acne, but to no avail. I've taken Clindasol, Stievamycin, Tetracycline, etc. A lot of the times I think my acne isn't that bad, but what makes my skin look worse is the redness and blemishes I get left over from the breakouts. In any case, I went to see my family doctor about a year ago and I was started on the birth control pill Yazmin. Taking it has helped my skin be less oily, but I still break out. Since that wasn't doing the trick, I decided to see my doctor again about being referred to a dermatologist. I saw my doctor back in June of 2010 and was given an appointment with my dermatologist for today's date. Yep, it was about a 9-10 month wait just to see a specialist!

First thing the dermatologist said when I walked into the room was

I'm not going to beat around the bush. You have severe acne and need to get started on Accutane. It's the only thing that will actually help, since nothing else you've tried has worked.
Mmhmm. I kinda figured that much Doc. lol.

I have done lots of research on Accutane, reading up on other people's blogs. I'm pretty use to the initial breakouts (IB) that I've had from other treatments, so I'm already expecting to look kinda hideous for the beginning. Patience and a lot of cover up is what will get me through, I'm guessing.

I went to the pharmacy and had to fork over 150ish bucks just for the one month's treatment. And I sadly don't have insurance to cover it, so it's all coming out of my pocket. I'm still a student, too, so you can imagine just how much it hurts to hand over all that money. I just keep telling myself that the benefits of having nice skin again will all be worth it.

I like to think that even though I've been living with acne for 6 years, that I still am pretty. There are times when I don't feel too confident, but I haven't suffered from much depression. I've seen a lot of people mention how depressed they get on this medication, so I'm hoping I can keep upbeat when I'm not looking my best. Pretty much all my friends have clear skin and I surpisingly don't feel too down around them like I used to when I first got acne. Plus, I also have a sorta-boyfriend who has seen me when I've looked like utter crap and he still loves me and is attracted to me, so that really does help. (He saw me when I got sick with mono and got food poisoning at the same time, with my acne to boot... lol.)

I was instructed to take two 40mg capsules. I think 40mg is the highest dosage strength on the market, so the doc said to take 2 pills a day and then 1 pill the next. He told me to do this if I feel it's necessary, while my body adjusts to the medication.

I just hope that by the end of my 4 months on this medication, I will see the clear skin I've been longing to have back again for so many years.