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A 20-something NYC writer goes on Accutane, again.

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happyexceptforacne

I'm due to give birth to twins any day now. The biggest fear I have about it? My skin. Being in the delivery room with terrible skin. How messed up is that? If you have been reading my blog over the past few years, you already know that my acne has been only temporarily helped, never cured. It has gotten so much worse since my third trimester, I can't even believe it.

Right now I can physically feel where all my pimples are. They hurt so much, they itch so much. It's the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing I think about before I go to bed. Not the babies I'm about to bring into the world, but my face...and all the makeup I have to use to even begin to feel like myself. How messed up is that?

I have scars, old pimples, new pimples, redness, PIH...everything. I haven't been able to be on oral antibiotics at all during the pregnancy, which I'm sure is what has set me back. I may go for a third course of Accutane later this year once I stop breastfeeding.

I had great skin last year at this time, and literally EVERY DAY I appreciated it. I thought about it and thanked the stars knowing it was only a matter of time before things got worse again. And lo and behold, here we are. Today alone I woke up with four new nodules. It's always something between pustules and cysts, and being fair skinned every single zit leaves behind a mark that lasts six months or more.

I'm almost 31 and going on more than half my life with acne. If I pass this onto my children, I will be so sad. Here's to going into the delivery room caked with makeup. It's the only way I can function with this bad of a breakout. So be it, I guess.

happyexceptforacne

I have been on Accutane twice, and my severe acne has returned, yet again.

Severe acne. It sounds awful to say aloud. Right now, my face burns—I’m on Day 2, only Day 2, of yet another eight-week period of “trying something new.†Only this isn’t new to me; none of it is. It’s been this way—chronic—since I was 16. I remember my first dermatologist, in Dallas: He was an old man even then, with a kind, bloodhound face. His eyes turned down, something that always makes a person look kind. He went to Harvard, I just read today as I popped online to see if he was still practicing. He is.

I wonder what he’d say if he knew the same girl he treated as a teen was still suffering to this degree.

Thankfully, my skin has been perfect—even for several months at a time—in between breakouts. I don’t understand it; I’m all good for a year or so, then poof, I look like I did pre-Accutane (I’ve been on it twice already, which is virtually unheard of). Unlike a broken bone or deviated septum, I can fix my acne for a time, but it just…breaks again. There is so much I could write about what it’s like to ache like this at 29. And frankly, I don’t give a shit that “It doesn’t matter to the people who love you†and “It’s not as bad as you think it is.â€

Would you say that to someone with chronic depression?

I’ve kept many “skin diaries†over the years; I still have one online that no one sees but the other people on the forum, and no one knows that broken out jawline is mine. Thing is, I’m a pretty girl—I know that like anyone who’s pretty knows that. My husband thinks I’m hot and sexy and so on, and I wish I could say that matters as much as what I think about myself, but it doesn’t.

To this day, I cannot understand how my family/friends, past boyfriends and work colleagues have looked at my face at its worst, and not thought it was absolutely off-putting. That’s what I think when I see myself, and when I see others with acne. Why would they be different?

Am I a terrible, shallow person? I certainly don’t feel that way. I’m not ashamed to be ashamed of how I look.

The trouble with acne is that, for people with only mild conditions, you can’t help them see what it’s like to be severe. And fuck all when it comes to people with clear skin—it’s not something you’d ever discuss with them, ever. That would be like moaning to my best friend (a size 0) about my flabby belly. It would just make her feel bad for me, self-conscious in the same way I did when a girl next to me on a flight to Omaha said, “Can you not put that armrest down, please? Sorry. It’s just that I’m kind of fat.â€

So yeah, “Look at my disgusting breakout†isn’t cocktail conversation. Even among my caring, sweet family, there’s always the pushback—the overtones of, “Why is this affecting you SO much?â€

I’ve tried describing it to them. It feels like a mask you can’t take off. You can’t swim or else your makeup will run; you can’t camp because, when you have acne, there’s no such thing as rolling out of bed. You have to stay out of the sun or everything, including old acne scars that take a year to fade, will get even worse. Naps are tough; your makeup comes off on the pillow. Working out is difficult—it takes 20 minutes of concealer application to feel comfortable leaving the house, not to mention it feels terrible to work out with foundation caked on.

And then there’s lighting and seating to think about. Which side of my face is least broken out? That’s the side of you I’ll be sitting on, thank you. And it goes without saying that whichever room of your house party has the lowest lighting, that’s the one I’ll be drinking in.

I DON’T KNOW HOW TO NOT CARE. I don’t even WANT to not care. Do obese people just “not care� Do people with body odor just “not care� My face is marred. Scars are everywhere, and nothing will cover it.

Further, acne hurts physically: The best I can come up with is ant bites. Ant bites all over your face, a stingy tingle that only subsides if you pop said pimple, a temporary solution we all know only creates a bigger breakout.

It’s disgusting, I know. And this is just a glimpse into how I feel when I wash off my makeup at night, and look into the mirror seeing that which—yes, the world doesn’t notice—when I’m covered up. That’s why no one thinks you have bad skin when you do. That’s why my hair is long, that’s why I never wear ponytails.

I never, ever feel sorry for myself about it; I just loathe myself for it, and I loathe even more the idea of paying a shrink to try and get me not to care about how I look.

There is no cure for acne, and I am proof. My face is marred.

happyexceptforacne

Deteriorating

Posted some new photos. This is the face of someone who has been on Accutane twice?

I am highly suspicious that I was PCOS. My husband just got a new job so I can go to the doctor now and get some blood work to test for it. Why else would I STILL have acne at almost 29, after all I've been through?

happyexceptforacne

:redface:

It's been more than a year since I've posted on here...since fall of 2009 up to now, things had been pretty good.

Now it's back again. I am broken out all over my chin and jawline, just like always. A third whack of Accutane isn't possible right now because my husband and I (yes, I got married in October!) don't have the best insurance. I can't even really go see a doctor because I they will just prescribe an expensive medication. And I think I have PCOS.

Winter has always been the worst for my skin. I am back to having about a dozen red marks on each side of my face in addition to active pimples, and I have to wear loads of foundation, which I hate.

I know my husband loves me no matter what, but it is SO hard to feel pretty, be up for sex, and be spontaneous when I look like this. Everything I do requires 20 minutes of makeup application first.

So, I'm feeling pretty down.

happyexceptforacne

I just posted some new pics to my account — they look just like my old ones. I've been on Accutane twice and had six wonderful months of clear skin, but now I'm back to where I was, again.

It's amazing how fast my outlook on life changes when I break out. I don't feel like myself at all.

happyexceptforacne

I have 11 — count 'em — 11 pimples on my face right now. And they're not small.

My boyfriend just went back to his home country, and since he left, I have broken out like mad. I don't know what's going on really, but it's bad. And I've been on Accutane twice ALREADY. :cool:

happyexceptforacne

I'm done with Accutane.

A ways to go until I'm happy with my skin (still have red marks and scars and use Dermablend, a high-coverage foundation), but I am able to be around people without makeup now and feel MUCH more relaxed than ever. Especially people who I know love me for me.

My breakouts are small now — never cysts — and they come and go with my period. That extra month my doc put me on has treated me like my first two months on the meds ... I'm very dry again, bloodshot eyes, feel kinda funny all over, blurred vision. But I am DONE with it now and just waiting for it to flush out of my system.

I'll go back in a month to do my last blood test (yay!) and discuss Retin-A with my doc.

To everyone who's fighting with skin that's keeping you from feeling like yourself ... please hang in there! I had some misssserable days along this journey, but they DO pass. And now, after a second course of Accutane, I'm starting to feel like myself again.

My hope for you is the same.

happyexceptforacne

I can't believe that:

• I haven't written on here in so long;

• I'm almost at six months at the end of September

My doc is keeping me on for a seventh month, just to be safe, but as of Halloween-ish I am going to be done with Accutane. My lips continue to be very dry, and all that's left — save for the bi-monthly new, small pimple — are red marks. They don't seem to be fading, and I know from past experience they can last a LONG time. But my skin FEELS very smooth to the touch, not bumpy like it used to when dozens of painful bumps were slowly making their way to the surface.

Anyway, I have to say at this point, this having been my second go-round with Accutane, that I'm pretty happy with what the medicine has done, given the havoc my second bout of acne wreaked on my face and that Accutane only remained effective for a year and a half after I went off it the first time.

My skin is no longer the very first thing I think about in the morning, and I'm not nearly as self-conscious around men and my friends because of the way I look. I'm able to relax a little, and I'm even OK without any makeup on around certain friends.

So, to anyone who wants to improve their skin and their life, I say Accutane is worth it. And the time goes by FAST!

happyexceptforacne

Hello, all.

Well, I'm more than half done, and it has gone by so fast. For anyone staring at the first few days of a six- or eight-month course, I'm telling you — keep yourself busy and active, and you'll see how the time flies.

My skin is doing much better, and I hardly ever get pimples these days unless I pick at something under my skin. My new rule is to wash my face and leave the bathroom immediately instead of staring in the mirror, because I still have scars and red marks to deal with. Sometimes they are pretty red and make me feel ugly.

And my left cheek seems like it's gonna need some microdermabrasion eventually, but I have to wait a while for that. The skin just looks strange there because I broke out so bad in that area around my second month of Accutane.

Anyway, all in all I'm pretty happy with the progress, and while I still need foundation and concealer, I feel OK as long as I have that on.

happyexceptforacne

I can hardly make out the computer screen as I type this -- in the past few days, my vision (which is already bad) has become extremely blurry, even with glasses on.

I'm nearing the halfway point in my Accutane treatment, and was bumped up to 60mg at the beginning of May, so it strikes me as strange that I'd get blurred vision all of a sudden, when I was fine for so long.

Yesterday the eye doctor told me I had "extremely " dry eyes, and they have been quite stingy lately. Even drops aren't helping.

I'm a little nervous. Going back to the eye doctor in a couple hours. Hopefully I'll know what the hell is going on, but they said the dryness could be due to any number of factors, not just the medicine (if it even is that).

The skin doctor wants me to stop Accutane for now, but I'm terrified my acne, which has FINALLY started to subside, will just come right back if I stop it.

Has anyone else had this happen? Anyone?

happyexceptforacne

Heading into my third month of treatment, and I've seen a big difference in the past few weeks. Since the middle of May, my skin has really cleared up. Even the red marks seem to be fading, and I got a very calming Aveeno face wash to use in the AM before I do my makeup.

It's still not where I want it to be, but at least I can open my mouth now without pain. I've come a long way with a long way to go.

happyexceptforacne

Man, my skin is weird.

I'm *still* breaking out. Still. I don't have daily new, big ones like I used to, and my dermatologist said I'm looking a lot better. But if I keep getting new ones (and I do, probably four a week), I keep getting scars, which is the bulk of my problem now.

Question for whoever's reading this (who's done Accutane): How did your red marks change when/after you were on the medicine, or were they unaffected by it and just healed on their own?

It's hard to tell what month is really going to be my turning point. The third? Fourth? Never? I just keep thinking, "Maybe THIS will be my last breakout before it starts working," and I'm always wrong so far.

happyexceptforacne

God, am I better yet? When does this stuff kick in? My skin is the SAME as it always has been.

Look at all my photos - there has been little to no progress, and I'm breaking out still every day. Painful bigger ones still arrive from time to time, small ones are always popping up and everything, whether I pick or not, leaves a red mark.

There is something on my face at every night when I come home from work.

How much longer until I see actual results? Can anyone even answer that?

happyexceptforacne

My brother got married over the weekend, and my skin looked awful. Worst it had been in weeks! Every day I was there, a new painful pimple (or three) popped up.

But I got through it, and people said I looked beautiful in my bridesmaid dress. I tried to believe them. Lately I'm having bloody noses - not oozing out or anything, but just bloody when I blow it.

The dry eyes have very much subsided, but my lips are still in need of Carmex every 10 minutes. I usually do that anyway, so I don't mind too much.

My main dread lately has been all these red marks [see photos in my gallery]. I am desperate to know when they might lighten up.

I'm thinking about going to Macy's to buy a fancy foundation and concealer that'll really work well and not look obvious. Anyone have tips on a great one?

happyexceptforacne

I can hardly keep my eyes open as I type this, and my lips are absolutely peeling off. The 60mg bump-up has, contrary to what the doctors guesstimated, had a huge impact on the side effects I'm seeing.

All day I've been putting in eye drops every 10 minutes, and the left of my chin is so broken out that it hurts, just like the days before I even started Accutane where it hurt to yawn. I added some new pics today of my skin, which has gotten worse than it was.

Next weekend is my little brother's wedding. I cannot be a mess for it, and I'm really scared things are only gonna get worse now that I'm on 60 mg.

Anybody have experience being bumped up from 40mg or something, and remember how long their second wave of side effects lasted?

happyexceptforacne

Well, I just completed my first month and saw little change, so they're bumping me up to 60mg/day.

I hope this doesn't keep me out of contacts. I'm still very dry in my eyes and on my lips, but my skin isn't sloughing off or anything. It's pretty balanced in tone, but I still get new breakouts mostly every day.

Meanwhile, I've been trying to keep up my photos, and I don't see any difference among them right now. I hope being up at 60mg makes a big difference after another month or six weeks or so.

I'd really love to be clear by beach time, but these red marks seem like they're gonna be around for a really long time to come - probably another year.

happyexceptforacne

Yuck yuck yuck!

I thought I was done with the dry eyes, but this morning I woke up with the worst gunk and redness. I'm out of contacts again for the time being. I can't wear them for more than about a day and a half before I start seeing the redness coming on.

As far as my skin, I'm still breaking out, and next week (the 25th) will be one month into Accutane treatment.

happyexceptforacne

Just yesterday I broke out a lot more with painful papules, mostly under my jawline this time. The short clearup I had is now gone, and I just hope this flare-up is the worst one that happens for a long time to come. My brother's wedding is in a few weeks, and I really want to have good skin for it.

Also, the blackheads on my skin (of which there are many) are starting to come to the surface. Mainly on my T-zone and chin. It feels rougher there than it used to, but I'm kind of happy about it because it means all that gunk is being forced out of my skin.

A good thing though: I feel like a lot of my red marks are fading. I'm using Aveeno Clear Complexion Cleanser, and it seems to be calming my skin. I'm sure the Accutane is to thank for this as well.

In side-effects news, I am in and out of glasses. My eyes get red after a few days of contacts and I have to switch to glasses, which sucks, but at least I can alternate now. Hopefully as summer arrives, I will have less dryness in my eyes and be able to wear contacts again easier.

Next week will be one month on Accutane already. I'll try to post some new pics soon!

happyexceptforacne

... and I don't know if it's gonna last but, my skin is clearing up really quickly right now. From last weekend until today, I have seen all my active pimples vanish and am just left with a few small papules on my cheek and the usual red marks.

Also, I'm able to wear my contacts again and my eyes don't feel nearly as dry as they once did. Just this week, however, I began having what may be another side effect — NIGHTMARES! I've been having terrible, scary dreams and waking up in the middle of the night. Last night I dreamed that Osama bin Laden was shooting rocket grenades and they were about to land on me!

Has anyone else had bad dreams they think may be a result of this medication?

happyexceptforacne

I ran out of milk several days ago, and my skin is clearing up a bit ... so maybe I will keep off it and see if that makes any difference. Everyone on here seems to think it matters!

Am still getting new whiteheads almost every day and new ones coming up while I'm at work. I think this is my IB, and thankfully I thought it was going to be a lot worse. Don't want to jinx it, though. My brother's wedding is in six weeks, and I have to look fabulous for it!

Also, I haven't really heard from the guy, which is making me nervous since we had our first night together the other evening. Fingers crossed that this might be for real ...

happyexceptforacne

Owww, my chin. The right side of my chin has about six painful bumps on it. They hurt when I open my mouth.

My skin changes so fast.

I feel like one day it will be tolerable, and the next day, it's just riddled with spots. They do go away pretty fast, but the red marks are so severe. Since starting Accutane again, I feel like all the new red spots I get are SO red.

Last night, amazingly I spent the night at my new guy's place. I left my foundation and concealer on while we slept, so I didn't sleep too well.

This morning I looked really dry, and he really is good sport for either pretending not to notice or just not caring. Either way, I'm very impressed he can look past it, because it's pretty unsightly.

happyexceptforacne

Everything's coming up ... and I'm not about to say roses.

Pimples are coming out of nowhere. I'll go to work in the morning, and during a bathroom break in the afternoon, I'll have new ones that formed within a few hours. I hope this is just a phase and is over in a couple of weeks, but what do I know? Also, they are very painful ones, so I can't help but pop them.

Also, still in glasses. I wore my contacts to a baseball game the other night, and the next day, I paid big. My eyes were super red again.

A question: For those of you a little further into your course, when did you flare up the worst, and how long until it died down?

happyexceptforacne

I am unable to wear my contacts just six days into the treatment and having headaches. Over the weekend, someone asked me if I'd been drinking because my eyes were so bloodshot, and I felt terribly embarrassed.

My best friend was in town, and I didn't feel like myself the whole weekend.

Right now I'm living in fear of two things: The insane flare-up that supposedly happens within the first month of Accutane, and the fact that I'm getting closer to this guy I'm dating. If he saw what my skin looked like under the makeup, well, I wouldn't blame him for backpeddling in terms of his attraction to me.

:)

happyexceptforacne

My eyes are stingy and dry, and I'm not using any more topicals so I'm less dry right now. But still getting new ones. I mean, I guess it's only three days into Accutane, and I'm supposedly gonna break out more before it gets better.

I posted some new pictures on my Accutane gallery today. I really hope this six months goes fast.

happyexceptforacne

:)

Less than 10 minutes ago, I started Accutane again. Here we go.

I'm gonna try to post pictures every couple weeks and update this blog lot, because this is really the only time I am brave enough to speak about my skin ... in writing.

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