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My experience on a 6 month course of Oratane

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Hey guys,

So I finished a 6 month course of Oratane/Accutane in November last year & now on my 5th month post course I have started getting pimples again.

Needless to say, I am SO. GUTTED!!!!

I started a new job this week & what is most probably due to the stress of the change I have broken out crazy :(

I have gone from having almost perfect skin since I finished the oratane to having like 15 pimples on my face in the space of the week.

Does anyone else have any experience with acne coming back after finishing your course of accutane?

Anyone that thinks stress caused them to break out? If so did it go away with the stress or did it just stay crap again?

Argh just needed to let of some steam sorry!!!!



Hey guys!!

Haven't done an update in a couple of months, so I thought I better let you all know how things are going!

So I have been on Oratane (Accutane) for 5 & a half months (25 weeks, 172 days) now and I had a dermatologist appointment last week.

He told me that once I have completed the rest of my pack that I have left - I'm done!!

Only 8 more pills left!

So that's 6 months, 3 on 20mg & 3 on 10mg.

& I couldn't be more happier to be back to normal!!

He told me if I wasn't having a problem with my eczema he would have kept me on for 9 months but I'm almost thankful for the eczema coz I really didn't want to do anymore! Not over summer.

I'm completely clear & super happy!

So I thought I would write down a list of the side effects I've had & a list of products I've used during my course. I'll start with side effects:

  • So it all started with dry skin about a week into my course. Peeling skin EVERYWHERE!! I also got a really dry throat for a few days.
  • A week or 2 into it I got quite a few headaches & dizziness - I think my body was just trying to adjust.
  • Dry nose. When I blow my nose blood comes out pretty much every time. Not much. But sometimes it's felt like the inside has been cut open.
  • Dry eyes. It's been real hard working with a computer with such sore & dry eyes sometimes I feel like my eyelids are gonna get stuck on my eyeballs halfway through a blink!!
  • Eczema. I've always suffered from eczema, but not very badly. During the 20mg half of my course it was terrible. It was on my face, arms, legs, elbows, back, stomach, hands - everywhere. When I got dropped to 10 mg it got soo much better but I'm still hoping it's going to get even better once I finish. I hate putting the cream on knowing what it does to your skin in the long run.
  • Hot flushes. Every time I show some kind of emotion - anger, sadness, extreme happiness, embarrassment my face goes SO red. Then you get embarrassed coz you look embarrassed & it's a circle of doooom.
  • Cracked nipples. This was probably the most uncomfortable effect. Luckily an antibiotic cream & some eczema cream got the problem to disappear & not come back!
  • & last but definitely not least, the crazy moods!! 20 mg made me so emotional. Looking back it was horrible! Pretty much every day I was waking up angry & upset at the world for no reason & I am so glad the derm reduced my dose for that reason. It was by far the worst & most worrying effect & it shows just how powerful this drug is if only 20 mg can do that. I just had to remember it wasn't my true feelings.

    Right so now onto the products I've used!!

    • Moisturisers: Cetaphil lotion & Cetaphil cream. The cream was best for when I was really dry lotion was good for under makeup.
    • Eye drops: I used non medicated lubricating eye drops by Refresh. Think I got addicted to them at one point they feel so good!
    • Eczema cream: Used locoid or something on my body & the derm gave me a different type near the end of my course but to be honest can't remember the name! & Elidel cream for my face which doesn't have a steroid in it but isn't subsidised over here so it costs me $50 a small tube sad.png
    • Makeup: Revlon new complexion liquid foundation went over the dry all good. Didn't need any powder coz my skin was just too dry for that.
    • Vaseline in the nose haha its a bit uncomfortable but definitely eases the dryness!

    So yeah I think that's about it! I'll still keep logging in to read blogs & see how everyone's going & if anyone's got any questions about Accutane feel free to comment!

    For anyone thinking about going on it but isn't sure - I think it's worth a go for sure! Don't let acne hold you back it's not worth it! Just remember as scary as all the side effects sound, it's only a small time in your life to hopefully never have to deal with acne again. & if it doesn't work for you or it's too much to handle, you can stop taking the pills & the side effects will go away!

    Good luck everyone!

    Nicole xx


Accutane - Week 18

Hey everyone!

Wow can't believe into my 5th month! To be honest I didn't think I was gonna make it this far!

I was so close to giving up back when my moods were so crazy.

But I'm so so glad I've stuck with it!

The new dose of 10mg has gone down awesome!

My skin is still staying clear, & my side effects have gone away almost enough for me to forget I'm on Oratane sometimes!!! The one thing that reminds me I'm on it is my ever persistent eczema which makes me want to rip my skin to pieces! Oh & that I still can't drink ahhh. It's a pretty sad truth that not being able to drink kills your social life to a certain point. I dunno if it's like that everywhere but in NZ if you're not drinking at this age, there's not that much else to do!! Ha.

I don't really have much else to update. I'll have to go back to the derm before the end of month 6 to see if I'm all done or if I have to take another month or 2. He said there is a chance that he will carry me on for another couple. I really really realllllly don't want to be on it over the Xmas/New year but I don't want to have to go on Oratane again so I guess it's best to just get it all done the way the derm wants this time!

How's everyone else's journeys on the 'tane going? I'd love to hear from ya!

Nicole smile.png


Finally I have some actual news to share!

So yesterday I had my first dermatologist appointment since starting Oratane!

I'll be done with my 3rd month at the end of this week, we don't seem to have nearly as many checkups while on accutane over here in NZ. They're pretty relaxed about it it's weird!

So I told the derm about all my side effects, especially the eczema & also how I've been waking up really pissed off at the world alot of days haha, & he asked me how my skin was doing.

I told him I was pretty stoked that I hadn't had a new spot since just after my first month, & then he said ok well we might as well put you down to 10mg!!

I was shocked because I really thought that he was going to put me up to 40mg!

He said that I might have to go on for 9 months, which I am NOT okay with!!! 6 months I could deal with but I don't think I can do 9! That means going into Summer, over Xmas & New Years & my 21st birthday! So not happening!

I tried to tell him that I was happy to stay on 20mg, but he said that because it was working really well for my skin, & taking into consideration my eczema & bad moods putting me down a dose was the right thing to do. Apparently doctors are supposed to give you the least possible dose that is effective. So that pretty much goes against everything I've read on here about cumulative doses etc!

But doctor knows best I guess!

So hopefully the smaller dose still keeps working, & my side effects die down!

Apart from worrying that 10mg isn't going to work & the possibility of now being on for 9 months, the only other thing is that I have to get more blood tests just to make sure everything is working properly, & that I'm not pregnant... & I'm SOOOO scared of blood tests!!! I'm gonna go do it today & I already know I'm gonna burst into tears! Argh!

But a small price to pay for good skin I guess!

How is everyone else going with their Accutane journeys?! I'd love to hear from you all!

Nicole xx


I am into my third month!! Wooo so happy about that.

So I'll start with the good news: I am still completely clear!

It almost seems years ago that I was obsessing over & so upset about my skin, & no matter the side effects I get I have to remember that it's the whole reason I'm on Oratane & it's doing what I want it to!

But there are definitely side effects I'm getting. At the moment the main ones are:

Eczema: It is OUT OF CONTROL!!! It's the worst it's ever been in my whole life. I have it in these little patches EVERYWHERE! But especially on my back, it almost looks like I've got fricking chicken pox!

It's so itchy, ugly & painful! It makes it hard to sleep as I wake up in the middle of the night begging myself to itch my skin til it falls off!

Dry nipples: I'm still working on my cracked nipples from last time. I went to the chemist & he gave me this vitamin A ointment that is specifically for cracked skin. It's worked on one side but the other one keeps opening & weeping it's horrible!! Hopefully I can get that under control soon!

Arm pain: I keep getting this random pain in the top of my arms that lasts like an hour or 2 then goes away & it normally happens at least once a day & often at night. Not sure what it is but it's a bit strange?

& last but not least.....

My Moods: I have been CRAZY grumpy & moody. I often wake up feeling down & will stay like that the whole day. I am trying to push it out of my mind & overcome it but sometimes it just makes you feel like shit!

There was something I noticed about other peoples blogs that has stood out to me though; everyone is getting way more check ups than me? Don't get me wrong, it costs about $200 everytime I visit my derm & I don't WANT to be paying that more than I have to. But it worrys me a little that everyone else seems to be looked after better? I went for my initial consultation where he prescribed me 3 months & I got my blood tests. They won't give you all 3 months pills at once so I have had to go back to the chemist & get it 1 month at a time. But apart from that, the derm just told me to make another appointment with him before my 3 months runs out so he can check me & prescribe me the last 3 months. So I have made an appointment for a week before I run out. But it just seems weird to me that everyone else sees their derm far more often? I'm assuming he will give me more blood tests before starting the 2nd half of my course but I don't even know that for sure. I didn't even have to do this iPledge thing everyone talks about? Does anyone think I should be worried?

Sorry I didn't intend for this to be a long post at all! Woops!

Nicole smile.png


Hi guys!

So I am at work right now & I'm not wearing any make up! (From the photos I am obviously wearing lipstick but I mean no make up to cover my skin ie foundation or concealer!)

I just wanted to share a quick update with everyone, because I'm so so excited about this! I have never come to work without make up on, even before my skin got bad. So this is an AMAZING step for me & my confidence!

It's been 2 weeks since I've had even a small pimple & my face is completely clear! Oratane really is a miracle drug!! I mean yeah, there are some uncomfortable & hard side effects that you have to deal with on the way, but it does exactly what it's supposed to do. & no matter how many horror stories there are about it I definitely think it it's worth a go for everyone!

I've added a few photos to show my progress. (I took them from a side view so everyone can now see my awesome nose! tongue.png)

Until next time!

Nicole smile.png



So I am on week 4, day 25! Almost a whole month down I am so happy about that!

My skin is looking great, I have the tiniest spot on my upper lip, but apart from that I am completely clear.

I still have a few marks that are slowly fading away but I can't complain about that!

On the side effect side of things, the dryness is still giving me random patches of eczema which is annoying but nothing I can't deal with. One of the most awkward & embarrassing side effects I have had from the dryness is cracked nipples :s it's soo painful & it's happened twice so far. Hopefully not again! :(

My moods have also been CRAAAZY the past 4 or 5 days. I had a mini panic attack the other day after I had a dream that the Oratane was making me depressed & I knew it was because of the pills but I wanted to kill myself. It was freakishly realistic feeling, & when I woke up I was like 'thank god I don't actually feel like that!' but the more I thought about it throughout the day I started freaking out that I actually was getting depressed & couldn't stop thinking about it. BUT, thank goodness, I talked some sense into myself & decided I should only worry about what's actually happening & not what could happen. I think maybe I talked about the way it could effect me mentally too much with my Mom before starting it that I kind of peaked myself out & made myself feel that way? Really weird anyway.

But yeah that is pretty much all I have to report! Some good, some not so good. But overall I am pleased with my progress!

I hope everyone else is good, leave a comment & let me know how your journeys are going!

Nicole :)


Day 16!

Hey guys!

So I just took my 16th pill! Halfway through my first month already! When you look at it like that, 6 months really isn't that long.

My skin was doing really well I have only had about 5 or so new, small pimples since I started the oratane BUT this morning I woke up with one of those really sore lumpy pimples that covers like a whole half of my chin I'm so sad I hardly ever get those kind of pimples : (I'm so scared more are gonna come!!

Apart from my disappointing breakout, theres not too much else different. My dry skin isn't half as bad after I got the Cetaphil cream moisturiser for the dry areas it is so much better than the lotion!

The other side effects so far is just my eczema has gotten alot worse, & my eyes have been really dry which makes it hard to look at a computer screen all day. I've also had a really sore throat on & off don't know if that's related through.

Oh & my hot flushes that I'm getting! Almost every day at about 3.30-4pm my whole face goes so red & hot. It makes me look like I'm embarrassed about something which then makes me embarrassed!

I think that's pretty much everything that's changed since the last time I wrote! Hope everyone else's course is going well!

Nicole :)


Tonight I will take pill number 6, so almost a week down!

It's kicking in pretty fast that's for sure! The skin around my mouth started drying out by about the 3rd pill, & today I've got this patchy, flaking red look going on that kind of makes me look like the joker from batman with the extra bits on the sides of my mouth! Lol.

So I'm hoping that will calm down soon coz I already have problems with eczema as it is.

How is it possible to have pimples & eczema on the same face?? I do not know!

But I remember from last time that the dryness hit me pretty fast then became manageable after a while.

So here's hoping!

I've also been having headaches pretty much every day since I started sad.png

On the breakout side of things, I've had a few pimples come up on my left cheek & my forehead is quite bumpy but I can't tell if its got anything to do with the Oratane or if I'm just breaking out like normal.

Is anyone else just starting their Oratane course? Get in touch, I'd love to compare journeys!

Until next time!

Nicole smile.png


Where to begin??

My name is Nicole, I'm 20years old & from New Zealand.

Since I hit high school (13y/o) I've always had a few spots on my face.

I tried a few topical treatments & antibiotics from my GP, which worked well at the time.

I wouldn't say my skin was any worse than anyone else my age though, and it wasn't until I had finished school & got my first job that it really became a problem. After my first 3 or 4 months of my first job, I started breaking out like CRAZY.

Never being one to be able to just put up with pimples, I went to my GP who then referred me to a local dermatologist. He then prescribed me 3 months of Oratane.

By this time I had been on the internet & read all the horror stories about this drug & was shit scared to start it! But my skin was affecting my confidence too much, so I started the roller-coaster that is Oratane!

After 3 months I had most of the common side effects (minus the initial breakout - i was lucky!), EVERYTHING was dry, my joints were sore, I was sometimes dizzy & was very moody haha.

I was just about to finish the 3 months when I had a check up with the derm.

He told me he wanted me to take 3 more months (something he never mentioned to me in the first appointment) but my skin was already perfect & at the time my Mom was going through Cancer treatment & I didn't think I could handle another 3 months.

But now, about a year since I started my first course, my pimples are back in strong force! I don't know if you would class it as real acne, generally theres about 6 or so pimples scattered across my face. Sometimes less, alot of the time more. But I have moved out of home recently, & really don't want to have to hide under makeup (or in my room when I have none on) all the time instead of not worrying & enjoying my new freedom.

I have been put on 20mg for 6 months & am currently on my 3rd day, my skin hasn't dried up yet but I have felt really nauseous & have had the sorest throat the last 2 days... don't know if its connected but hopefully it goes away soon!

So I have decided to record my journey here, & hopefully my blog can help others like others have helped me! The rest of my updates shouldn't be this long (sorry about that) but I'll try to come on often & let everyone know how it's going! I would love to hear from anyone starting around the same time as me, or anyone on the same dose!

smile.png Nicole.