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Accutane / Round 3

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me_vs_skin

Day 23

It's funny, I got my hair done-- and because I'm so focused on adjusting to that, I haven't really paid any attention to my face.

I have two problem spots that look bloodyish (sorry)-- and then I have wannabe pimples all over. They're annoying. The are pink, some big-- but not fully formed.

My chest has small ones ALLLLLL over. I'm getting tired of those! My strapless bridesmaid dress needs to be worn in two and a half weeks... please please PLEASE let all of these tiny zits go away.

There are a lot of stressful events coming up in the next month or so. I'm worried my stress level will get out of hand and cause my skin to go crazy.

These events include:

- Adjusting to the big change at work (I got a new manager and a new design team.)

- I get my review from my old manager in 1.5 weeks, and figure out if I got a promotion or not

- My sisters wedding in NY, so-- a big vacation with my family. Yikes.

- My 26th birthday. I'm not too excited about this one. I think it'll depend if I get my promotion or not-- I need to feel like I'm moving forward in SOME aspect of my life. My personal life is kind of on a standstill at the moment. Birthdays make me reflect too much on where I am and where I'd like to be.

Maybe my skin will be that thing I can cling to that's improving in my life.

Side Effects:

-Dry lips

-Thirsty

-Headaches, occasionally

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I'm sitting here with a mirror in hand, trying to figure out what to report.

Biggest issues with my skin at the moment:

The zit under my chin (I think it formed last week?) is a scab that keeps opening up when it gets wet. Accutane definitely makes my skin heal differently. Maybe slower? I put neosporin on this spot every night.

I have a large scab near my left eye/hairline.

The cracks of my nostrils get ultra dry.

I have very tiny clusters of zits all over my cheeks. They are flesh toned, it could be worse I suppose.

Overall, has there been an improvement sense I started?

I will give a definite yes. It's hard to compare, because my skin is so different in texture... before I was drying the CRAP out of it with 10% benzoyl peroxide. Now my skin is shiny from lotion, and dry in only certain patches. But overall, the color has smoothed out-- which makes it look better in general. I have more -tiny- zits, however. But I haven't had many new large ones (when I was getting three large ones every day, previously.)

One thing I DON'T miss? F-ing benzoyl peroxide. It was such a chore. I had to be so self aware when I put it on. It had to be the VERY last thing I did at night-- I always made sure I slept with my face on something white (I bleached out my friend's mother's bed and breakfast sheets a few months ago because I forgot to notice that the pillowcase was a color!!) I ruined SO many shirts by accidentally touching it with my fingers after applying it on my skin. Ick.

So, in conclusion-- these twenty days have definitely provided a CHANGE in my skin tone. It's not the same at all. Is it better? Sure. Is it -good- skin? Not yet! But I can definitely see improvement is on its way.

I'm getting my hair done tomorrow. I hope my dry scalp isn't as bad as I think it is... I don't want to disgust the hair dresser!

Side Effects:

-Dry ears, nostrils

-Chapped lips

-Dry scalp

-Dry eyes (I've lost two contacts so far in this process...)

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Soooooo yeah.

My face is broken OUT.

Things to note:

-I have lip flakes. What the hell is that, you wonder? On the edge of my lip, my skin has decided to flake only half way off so it remains on my face. Twice today, someone said "you have a flake on your lip." So, yeah, THAT'S happening. I also saw a flake hanging out on my face while I looked at myself in the reflection of my metro car window.

-My skin is just... awful. I guess I've had worse days in general, but I have little ones EVERYWHERE. My chest... awful. I had to wear a decretive scarf today to cover up my chest... and it was 80 degrees today.

-My nose is separating from my face. You know, that spot behind your nostril? It decided to get extra dry and crack. So, that's been a blast. Fact: Make up cannot cover a skin separation.

Besides feeling like a dry circus freak, my spirits are ok. I still feel like I'm on my "journey" to better skin.

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Okay, so yesterday I did some serious pickin'.

I've been so good recently, not sure what that weak moment was all about. But there were three whiteheads on my upper lip yesterday (I guess that's what they were? They were string zits. You know, when you push on them and a long string comes out? Sorry. That was gross.) Today they are nonexistent, so I'm pleased with how it went... but the one on my left cheek that I also messed with... I am NOT pleased with how that one looks today.

Also, I popped two chest zits that were next to each other. They are red. Wups.

I realized today, that my bridesmaid dress for my sister's wedding is a strapless dress. That means it shows EVERYTHING. Back, arms, chest-- everything. Granted I'm doing okayish... but I really hope by the end of this month I care wear it confidently.

Side Effects:

-New side effect alert! I had my first nose bleed in years. It caught me off guard.... I felt it in the back of my throat before it came out my nose. I guess I should start walking around with some tissues for emergency situations.

-Dry scalp and ears.

-Lips doing ok.

Face:

Well, my left side is acting up, my right side is healing. I still look okay. The most annoying zit i have right now is one under my chin that won't seem to go away.

Chest:

A work in progress. The two zits I messed with yesterday are RED.

me_vs_skin

Day 15 - eek.

My left side of my face, which is usually the "good side" (before Accutane, even) is breaking out.

I have 3 new ones-- on the smaller side, sure-- but they are RED RED RED! I hate it when a zit is redder than your lips. It really makes me feel like i have christmas lights on my face.

I wonder if this is finally the start of an initial breakout? I was wondering where it was...

Side Effects:

-Last night I went out with friends... we were up late, we talked a lot, and I suppose when I talk a lot I lick my lips. By the time I got home my lips were destroyed and chapped.

-Dry scalp and ears

-Dry eyes! My contact fell out yesterday morning. Maybe it was about time I changed them though... :wall:

Face:

-New breakouts on left side.

-Annoying scab chin zit.

- Hairline zit scar still prominent

Chest:

-Little breakouts on shoulders

- A few even on my back, which is rare.

- Really brown scars, not any lighter yet.

Feeling a little discouraged at the moment, but I know day 15 is still early. It could be a lot worse right now... but getting a cluster of new breakouts all at once always makes me annoyed.

I really want to go get my hair redone for the summer/my sister's upcoming wedding. My scalp is SO dry i'm afraid my hairdresser will be horrified. I'm sure they see some bad scalps though. And yes, I've been using dandruff shampoo every day. Soon I'm sure the embarrassment of my roots will outweigh the embarrassment of a dandruffy scalp. :think:

Also-- does anyone else plan out their hair appointments based on good skin days? I ALWAYS do this. If I notice I've having a better than usual day, that's when I go. I mean, you have to look in the mirror the entire time. And salon lighting can be horrendous. The place I go in DC is this ultra-hip place with a lot of nooks, so I feel like I have some privacy sometimes. I'm excited for my skin to get good again so I won't have to think like this-- sometimes it's hard to imagine that people who don't break out don't plan their lives around good/bad skin!

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Not one, but TWO people told me my skin was "glowing" today. :think:

One of the complimenters knows I'm on accutane, the other doesn't.

Side effects:

-Dry ears

-Dry lips

Face:

-Not many! Underneath chin zit the worst. Right cheek/lower jaw a few scabs.

-Two forehead scars (large.)

Chest neck:

-Lots of little ones.

-Three dark scars on chest still there.

Last night...OMG I had some restless leg syndrome going on. I experienced it for the first time during Accutane Round 2-- I forgot how bad it feels. I'm wondering if Accutane messes with my iron levels in any way (as that's what seems to be a main cause of RLS?) It was awwwwful.

Overall though-- in general-- I am very pleased with how my skin is looking! I hope everything continues to smooth out.

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Sorry boys:

Today, I got my period. This is worth mentioning, because I did not get any traumatizing zits to alert me that my period was even coming. This is UNBELIEVABLE to me. It's only been 12 days. Can this really be happening already? I always get at least ONE if not TEN "period" zits.

Face:

Lots of little zits, nothing big. The hairline zit had definitely closed-- it's a creator scar at the moment. My right cheek is worse than my left. My jawline and underneath part of my chin is the main problem area at the moment. Overall, fairly good. Makeup can cover everything easily.

Chest/neck:

This is were the bad stuff is. Because I haven't been picking, it's not too red.

Side Effects:

-Feeling dizzy? It might be the heat.

-Dry ears.

-Dry scalp.

-Dry lips.

So far I am extremely happy about my third round of Accutane... should I stop preparing for an initial breakout?? I hold my breath as I walk over to the mirror every morning.

me_vs_skin

So, my "great" face skin is doing a little less great today-- but still, not awful.

I'm breaking out in really strange places... not my typical zones.

For instance, I have a large zit underneath my chin. Who gets prominent zits there? Definitely not what I would consider an "oily" area. Also, my neck. I'm getting a lot of new ones there...my neck was never that bad of a spot. A lot on the BACK of my neck, too. Like-- deep ones.

However, the areas on my face that are typically bad-- my cheeks and forehead-- they are still relatively okay. Some flesh colored spots on my forehead-- the really bad scar near my hairline. A red irritated zit on my right cheek.

In the grand scheme of things though-- it's ok. Hairline, back of neck, the shadows on my face (the underneath part of my chin)-- all of these places are great locations for breakouts. My hair can cover most of it. It's not a rudolph zit or a hawaii formation.

Side Effects:

-Itchy scalp. :wall:

-Dry ears

-Lips doing better

Really happy i'm done with my first pack-- hrm, this adventure has only just begun, hasn't it? I have a beach vacation scheduled for July. I REALLY hope my chest skin clears up-- the vacation is going to be with friends, and while they all KNOW i'm on this medication for my skin, it would still be nice to be just as confident as them in my bikini.

It's easy to go to work every day wearing shirts that cover most of my chest... my friends definitely don't see what I see. It'll get better, I know it will. The question is just how long it will take. I'd like it to be better for my sister's wedding next month, too. But also: wearing a dress vs wearing a bikini is a LOT different. :think:

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I wish I could tell what's causing what.

It's the 9th day since beginning my third Accutane journey... and my skin looks healthy?

I'm talking the skin between the current zits. It's just so...smooth.

Is this due to the Accutane?

Is this due to stopping the Spironolactone?

Is this due to the lotion I'm using at night (CeraVe)?

Is this due to stopping the 10% benzoyl peroxide cream? (Maybe my skin hated it?)

Is this due to drinking more water because Accutane has been making me thirstier than usual?

Granted, my chest is still a work in progress. It's VERY spotty and unhealthy looking. But my face...today it seemed to glow. I hope I didn't just jinx myself.

Maybe it's just a good face day. My zits are very coverable. (Btw, I'm still using Everyday Minerals, ever since I discovered it during my Accutane round 2 in 2008.)

But man, today I'm excited to go outside and have natural light hit my face.

Where is my initial breakout that I know so well? I read that Spironolactone takes two weeks to leave your system completely... so is it just that I have two drugs fighting acne right now so I'm having a good face day?

Anyway, lets get on to the usual stuff:

Side Effects:

-Dry scalp, dry ears

-Lips chapped, but manageable

-Headache this morning but responded to pain medicine

Face:

-good skin day. smooth feeling, between the zits

-Open hairline zit no longer raw, and it's coverable with makeup. Very deep scar though.

-Concerning zit on right cheek, watching it... hoping it will go down.

-Two zits on forehead, very coverable

Chest:

-Small breakouts all over... I hope this is my chest cleansing itself.

-Three very dark brown scars. Still putting neosporin on it every night.

Tomorrow I will finish my first pack. This will feel nice.

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It's officially been over a week now!!!!

So today: holy CRAP i slept forever. I had been feeling a little worn out this week. And after waking up at 9 am this morning, I went back to bed at 11 and slept until 3. I vaguely remember doing this when I was on Accutane Round 2--so I'm going to consider this normal, and it's just my body adjusting. (Or maybe my week at work was just more tiring than normal.)

I drank again last night. The doubleish date thing went okay-- I definitely think we're more on friend terms, and that he wasn't interested in me. I've had really good luck with men in the past year, so I'm going to try and be okay with his disinterest. Anyway, we went to a really fancy cocktail speakeasy place (the door was unmarked, you have to knock, someone answers, and if they have room they'll seat you.) So because everyone was drinking cocktails, I still stuck to beer so I could drink slowly. As I did, and I think it worked out okay-- I didn't have that much. Now, I will stop for at least a week, as I don't want to overdo it!

Side Effects:

-Lips, chapped.

-Dry scalp and ears

-Tired

Face:

-Okay, that open one by my hairline. It's less open, but really ugly looking. It's currently a creator scar. I hope it fills in, and becomes less red!

-Two slightly concerning zits on my forehead.

-1 concerning zit on my jawline.

-1 slighting concerning zit on my right cheek.

-Small ones all over, but not concerning to me.

-Overall, without makeup, I look spotty.

Chest:

-Most annoying ones are the really brown scars in the center of my chest

-Little ones still all over my shoulders

-New ones on my neck

At least I'm past the first week! I'm VERY curious what my skin will look like the week of my period. So far Accutane hasn't given me the severe initial breakout I'm used to. Typically in the past, it was traumatizing. Maybe because it's such a low dose it's not pulling it out all at once, but instead one by one? I should stop making up theories. I have NO idea what i'm taking about.

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Things to note today:

1. Upon leaving my apartment this morning, I ran into a neighbor in my hallway. (We've never talked, he cannot speak much English, and he's at least 30 years older than me.) I see him often when we're both heading to work-- but we never speak. But when we were in the elevator, he struggled to communicate, and what he said was, "Today. You look. Very. Beautiful." Well look at that! I felt great about my skin for the rest of the day. I felt like I did have a "glow" this morning-- it might just be all the lotion I'm putting on! :think:

2. I drank half a beer after work. Now, you're not supposed to drink on Accutane, and I know this. I'm not a huge drinker, so it was never hard before-- and when asking my doctor about it, she told me I was on such a low dose that it shouldn't really matter and to "not overdo it." Well, I drank half a miller light at an after work happy hour-- and my stomach felt weird. Not sure if it's the placebo effect happening-- but it makes me nervous. Tomorrow I'm going out on a double date situation for happy hour, so I'm going to keep it under two beers. Maybe I'll just try to have one. Typically this isn't a problem, maybe once a week I find myself in a social situation with alcohol, and I definitely don't drink all the time, and if I do, not a lot. I'm a tiny girl, so it doesn't take much! Just thought I'd point out that I felt weird today, and that I'm not looking forward to doing it again tomorrow.

3. Today when I got home, I had to put Aquaphor on my lips!! I think the chapped lips are here.

Side Effects:

-Chapped Lips

-Really dry ears (I know, weird.)

-Dry scalp

-Headache this morning, but responded to pain medicine

Face:

-It's funny, when you record acne, you start realizing HOW long you've been dealing with an annoying zit. So that open one near my hairline? STILL manages to open up when I wash my face. Granted, the area is getting smaller every day, but it still opens up! Thank GOODNESS it's in my hairline.

-a few zits on the forehead, the red ones from yesterday are getting flatter

-my left cheek is doing surprisingly well

-small breakouts all over, in general. But flesh toned.

Chest:

-Still small breakouts... might be getting worse?

Overall, my skin tone is really improving due to the CeraVe lotion. It's amazing when I'm not putting benzoyl peroxide on my skin every night how healthy it can look in between the spots with zits!

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Soooo. Yeah.

My skin is continuing to break out.

I know I know. I've been through this before, I know when you start things are rough. But ugh.

Side Effects:

-Dry scalp, dry ears, some dry patches between my nostril and face?

-Lips still aren't chapped! Just drier than normal.

-Slight headache this evening

-Contacts are bothering me some

Face:

-That raw spot near my hairline? Still there. And raw. Seriously?

-Two new zits on my forehead that are red.

-Small breakouts continue, but, are flesh colored.

Chest:

-Small ones still around my shoulders.

-Three big scars still noticeable in the center of my chest.

Also: the packaging is harder to open than I remember it being. 4 out of the past 5 days I had to take scissors to cut my pill out! I must look crazy at my desk.

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Side effects:

-Starting to really notice some dry skin. The skin behind my ears is flakey (I know, weird). Also, while I always use a dandruff shampoo, I feel like my scalp has been itchier than usual.

-I had the world's WORST headache yesterday. It was unresponsive to migraine medication.

-Lips still not chapped, but, dryer.

Face:

-That open/raw zit that made me stay home yesterday is still sore, but not at ugly. Everyone complimented me on my hair today... which amused me greatly, because I styled it different in order to cover it up.

-Several new small forehead bumps appeared this morning. Flesh colored... so... I guess it could be worse. Just a lot of them.

-A weird underneath zit is on my right cheek. It will definitely develop into a biggin'.

Chest:

-I still have a bunch of small shoulder zits. Had to only put makeup over one area with the shirt I wore today. Luckily, most of my chest breakouts are not currently where a v-neck shirt exposes.

All in all, I'm fairly happy with the placement of the breakouts I DO have currently. What a weird thing to be thankful for!

Other notes:

From my last Accutane round in 2008, this has been a walk in the park so far. I started on 40 mgs then-- and I'm only taking half the amount now (20 mgs). But it's a big difference. I'm hoping that will mean my initial breakout won't be as awful this round... here's to wishful thinking.

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Day 3

Day 3 of my low-dose Accutane course at 20 mg per day.

So I'm not entirely proud of this: but I called out of work today. It's a "sick" day-- but it's actually a "bad-skin" day.

The location of the awful zit isn't even that bad--- it's pretty close to my hairline. A zit couldn't be in a better location. But it's open and raw-- I cannot imagine sitting there all day thinking about it. I could position my hair over it, but then I couldn't make any sudden movements. Also, the raw part is larger than a dime-- my hair ends up sticking to it and re-opening it up. Sorry for the gross detail.

Other than that-- my skin was a little better when I woke up this morning. I'm hoping the initial shock my skin went through of stopping my three other medications is over.

Side Effects:

- Lips are still tingley, not chapped though.

- My back was sore this morning. :(

Face:

-Lots of -little- breakouts (more than I usually get!) and the BIG, raw one on my hairline. And yes, the big one was self created. No idea why it got so bad-- could my skin really already be turning into that thin-as-tissue-paper skin Accutane gives you?

Chest:

-Not too awful, lots of little ones near my shoulders. Right in the center, I have three brown scars from larger zits that happened two weeks ago. I've been putting Neosporin on them, nightly-- and CeraVe on them every morning. The chest ones I got two weeks ago were the worst I had in years. I had to wear shirts up to my neckline (or a scarf) every day to work. I cannot help but think, "really skin? It's about to be summer. Please get better so I can wear a V-neck shirt, at the very least."

Random recommendation:

I'm typically a Cetaphil girl during Accutane rounds-- but my doctor gave me a coupon for CeraVe, and I'm loving it. Cetaphil moisturizer always seems a little think and hard to spread. CeraVe takes two seconds to put everywhere when I get out of the shower. Seems to sink in quickly, too. It's really the lotion for lazy people who hate to moisturize.

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I'm back. Day 2.

So, the last time I wrote in this thing was August of 2008. Back then, I used this blog to record every single day of my second Accutane experience, so I could monitor my progress.

Well guess what? I'm now embarking on my third round of Accutane.

First round: 2002-2003.

Results: Cleared up my MASSIVE back acne problem. Acne on face and chest fully came back 2 years later. Back acne never returned (woohoo!)

Second round: 2008.

Results: I'd say it kept my face and chest acne at bay for about 5-6 months after getting off of it. It slowly came back.

Third round: 2011 (now!)

Why am I being put back on it? Okay, my acne definitely isn't as bad as it was the first or second time. But I got a new dermatologist, she put me through a rigorous course of Spironolactone and Doryx and two topical creams for a year-- and nothin'. I told her in my past, Accutane is the only thing that has worked for me... and so she's trying me on a "low dose" course. My acne isn't like it was, but it's not responding to anything, and it's getting worse every month. So, she's "attacking" it before it gets worse.

My dosage for this month is 20 mg. I -think- the plan is to keep me on this dose for a long time.

Here are my current, ridiculous fears:

1. I kept such a detailed journal during my second course... so I have the power to look back to see what's in store. The first month seemed to be AWFUL for me. Breakouts galore.

2. I'm only on half of what I was on during my second coarse. (in 2008, I was started on 40 mg every day.) Of course, I'm thinking... "Will it take twice as long to kick in?"

3. I really don't know how I can handle an initial break out. This is going to sound cheesy-- but during my second round, for the first 4 months I was unemployed (I had just graduated.) So I could stay at home with a broken-out face, and it was fine. By the 5th month I got a job, and my skin was no longer in that super embarrassing phase. Well-- I'm still at that same job, and it's a "professional" atmosphere. I have NO idea how I'm going to feel confident while I deal with the woes of initial breakouts and the awkward dry skin period while everything tries to balance out. (You know how you have to re-learn how to do your makeup in the morning when you switch your acne treatment?)

4. What if only the super-high dose works for me? Of course, when I saw results in my first two rounds, it would be on month 4 or 5 when I was taking 80mg a day. Did I respond to the length I had been on it, or the amount I was taking?!

5. What if I do this low dose course, and it doesn't work, but makes me immune to the only acne drug that I have EVER responded to?

Okay, ridiculous-fears rant over.

Current side effects:

1. More zits on my face than ever. This isn't probably a side effect of starting accutane-- but rather, a side effect of me stopping the three things I was on previously. I was told to not put ANYTHING topical on my face at night. This is such a horrifying request. To all you fellow acne sufferers, you know what I mean. It just seems ridiculous to go to bed at night without putting on a cream or gel that fights acne. It's the 8 hours a day where you can freely attack your skin! Anyway. It's amazing how many zits have appeared in the past two nights.

2. Lips are tingly. I assume that means they are drying out.

3. I was EXTREMELY thirsty yesterday. This might have been more of a side effect of stopping the Spirono, too.

And no: I didn't think I'd be back for round 3... I'm excited to just get the ball rolling again. I just want these first few months to pass quickly.

me_vs_skin

Day 134

Wow. So its been almost two months since my last update-- a lot has happened.

I moved into Washington DC, got a new apartment, still working the new job, and a few weeks ago just got a kitten.

Honestly, I don't think I would have been as motivated to accomplish all that I have in the past 4 months without Accutane. After I graduated I was laying around feeling sorry for myself, and as soon as I went on this drug, I began actually finding hope that my skin was going to get better, and as it did, I found more and more motivation to be the person I wanted to be overall.

About two doctors appointments ago, my dose was raised to 80 mgs, everyday. Besides having to eat HUGE meals everyday, it was an easy transition from the lower dose to the higher dose. (I am going to have problems eating regular portions after I stop taking this medication....I get so hungry now!) My face started significantly clearing up during month four, and all I have one my face now is a self inflicted zit (it was a tiny blackhead, and I fiddled with it with my nails, and my skin just slid off. I have THIN skin these days) and before this self inflicted wound, I didn't have a breakout for may a week or longer. And when I do get one its not noticeable. My biggest skin problem at the moment is playing with my new kitten, whose claws seem to damage my skin with even the slightest touch.

Side effects I've experienced in the past couple months:

-Dry dry dry dry eyes! My eyes instantly became more sensitive when I moved up my dose. I have lost so many contacts in the past few months, from having to rip them out of my eye because it was so painful (and not having a contact case around). It can get really irritating.

-Dry skin on arms. Almost in a rash form? More like just patches of itchiness.

-Ingrown fingernails (not toenails)-- it's a weird thing thats happened to me 3 times now.

-Restless Leg Syndrome. NEVER had this before Accutane. I'm hoping thats whats causing it. I had it once before I stopped writing in here, and I've had it 2-3 more times since then.

-Tired

-Dry lips (an ongoing struggle throughout the day. I have problems staying on top of this)

And I think thats about it. Definitely has been doable-- but its still getting to the point where I am excited not to have dry lips everyday (is it weird that I cannot imagine how it was before??) I am So afraid to go off-- last month I skipped a pill on accident and I woke up the next morning with a large zit. I am worried this will happen. I would hate to go on round 3 of this stuff. I'm hoping it will atleast last for a few years.

After my first round of Accutane I immediately went on my old routine again (doxy and differn). There was no time to even be medication free, since I was so afraid. I have to tell myself not to do that this time.

We'll see, I stop on September 25th (I think)... just a 5 month course. I'm doing good so far. It's amazing-- I have stopped doing the thing I mentioned at the beginning of my blog where I run to the mirror first thing in the morning. I never ever expect to have zits anymore. It's a wonderful feeling to have gotten all of these new things in my life accomplished (while feeling good about my skin for once!!)

Just wanted to write a quick little update.

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Day 81

Hilariously, I said last week that I hadn't had any big ones in a while-- and low and behold, the day after I wrote that post, I got a cystic one in my chin that was HUGE. However, as I mentioned at the beginning of this journal, my cystic ones last almost a month sometimes-- but the one I got on sunday is completely gone now. So, I guess I shouldn't complain? It was horrible looking, sure, and it was my first REALLY bad zit I've gotten since I started my new job-- but its gone now. Also I got my period 3 days ago-- so maybe it was a hormonal zit only? That and a small one on my forehead were the only ones I got this week (besides my flesh colored weird bumps I now have on my face as of recently).

Its definitely been better. I still am getting breakouts, and my face doesn't look smooth, but I am not rushing to the mirror in the morning! And if I do it's only to check out my lips! It's so unfortunate that if your acne starts to respond, you become embarrassed about another part of your face.

However, I find myself still wearing a lot of my mineral makeup. I think I seriously have a problem where I think my skin is a lot worse than it is-- I know I don't have a lot of active acne at the moment-- so why can't I just cover the zits I DO have, instead of my entire face?? Maybe it's out of habit, but its definitely annoying to me. I went to the grocery store with no makeup this morning, but I felt sorta gross.

Side Effects:

-DRY lips.

-Gross hair (dry and not shiney!)

- Patches of dry skin on my arm that I scratched off? (its like circles of skin fell off!!)

-Tired, unmotivated

-Definitely moody at times, more like extremes, extremely happy or extremely scared or extremely worried. Not depressed, just moods amplified?

Working on moving into an apartment in DC. Definitely scared-- its affordable (but it seems like I won't be saving money, just sustaining?) which makes me nervous. And I won't have roommates-- and right now I live with a bunch of boys, and I like it, and before that I lived with three girls and liked that too-- so obviously I like living with people! But everyone I know has jobs and are settled into their place. And if I want to get rid of my car, then I have to go to the city or it'll be hard to find all the necessary resources. It's just annoying. (Meaning: I'm scared.)

I am going back to my college town this weekend for the 4th and seeing all the girls in the paragraph above. I am excited that I am not worried about how my skin looks when I wash my face at night!!

I wonder when I will stop breaking out completely?

me_vs_skin

Day 75!

Well a lot of time is continuing to pass, and my skin is definitely on the up side. It seems as though ever since I started this job my skin has been doing nothing but improving. Most likely it is the accutane-- I am in month 3 and this is where it starts doing it's thing (supposedly). But I have also factored this in:

-After finding a job there was no more money/job hunt stress going on in my life

-I drink 2-3 cups of green tea at work due to easy access of hot water

-My shower schedule is every morning at 6 am, which, I've always noticed if I shower early my skin does a LOT better than if I wait until after noon

-I am getting a lot more sun than I was (when I was looking for a job, I would stay inside during the day on the computer, and only go out at night it seemed) and now I am walking to bus stops, the metro, on my lunch break-- and I always have better skin in the summer than the winter

Ok so now for a skin update!

Honestly I am still getting some "bumps" but like.... they aren't zits? They aren't red? Its so bizarre. Like a goosebump that doesn't go away. But they are small, and its hard for me to even notice them. Besides that... nothing really to say! A cyst I had about two months ago is still in my skin (if I press down I feel a bead like sphere) but there is no indication on the surface it is there. I hope it goes away though.. it's kinda creepy that it is just sort of living in my skin.

Now, my skin doesn't look smooth and clear yet--I have some light scars that are making me look spotted. They aren't deep, which I am happy about. But I don't know if they are able to go away without being bleached or something.

But basically, my skin has improved. I think the last "zit" I got was about 3 days ago, and it was small by my earlobe. Before that it was 3 days before that, and it was a small one on my hairline.

Now I have about 2.5 months to go! :evil:

Side Effects:

-Dry dry drrrry lips!

-Dry eyes (my contact has fell out twice this month... and for some reason it was REALLY painful)

-Super tired

-back pain when standing (went to a concert last night and was so painful standing for hours)

-Hair is a little weird (because I wash it everyday)

-Dandruff (not as bad in the beginning... did switch to head and shoulders scalp)

Everyday Minerals Update!

Also, about 5 days ago I finally ran out of my Everyday Mineral Samples (YES they lasted THAT long!) so I ordered so new stuff from them. For 50 dollars you can pick out any 12 items they sell-- what a deal! Its hard for me to remember what I got-- I got concealer, 2-3 foundations, eyebrow fill, eye shadow, 2 blushes, a lip scrub (haven't used but seemed helpful for my current state of dry lips) and then a lot of their brushes. It came yesterday, and I am extremely happy with it all! If the samples lasted me a few months, then the full size ones should really last a loooong time.

I'll update again sometime this week. (I probably jinxed myself and will break out this week!) :(

me_vs_skin

Day 67

Time has been really flying by. I'm getting close to being on Accutane for 10 weeks now! Honestly, this time last year I would have never imagined I would be doing another round of this stuff.

Due to my sudden employment, I have been taking the bus to the metro every day to get into the city. Now, I don't want anyone to think I'm stereotyping public transportation folk--but honestly--the majority of people I see have acne, and sometimes a bad case of it. Sometimes I even have the nicest skin on the bus! (very weird to me, but true). Its just amazing how I never ever saw people with acne, and now that I am getting it "fixed" I see a ton of people everyday with acne. Where were these people for the last 10 years of my life to make me feel normal?

My skin has been going through another "bad" week however-- well-- maybe its only considered bad to how I was doing at the beginning of the week. I have about 5 large healing zits that I can't stop picking at. Very annoying and painful!

Side Effects:

-My skin has been so ITCHY today. Especially my arms.

-Dry lips

-Nose bleed (as I was typing this!)

-Gross nails

-Tired

-Breaking out

For lunch this week, I have been sitting on the rooftop terrace of my work building with some coworkers (it took three weeks, but I'm finally getting to know people!) but unfortunately that puts me in the sun everyday for at least an hour. Besides a rockin' farmers tan and shoe tan, not too much of my skin shows-- and I haven't gotten burned-- but I am definitely a lot darker than I used to be. And I've only been doing this a week! However, I think even a month ago I wouldn't have wanted to eat lunch outside where there is no shade to hide the bumps of my face-- so obviously accutane must be helping even thought I don't "feel" like I have good skin yet.

Okay as I was writing this I seemed to have scratched off a zit on my chin without even paying attention to what I was doing. How ironic is that? I am literally talking about acne yet while I am aiding in damaging my skin. Ugh!

I have been eating like mad. Tonight I ate a family size vegetable lasagna--trader joes brand I HIGHLY recommend it--all by myself!!! I think I still weight 115-120, same as when I started. But I don't know if I'm crazy or not, but I feel like over the past few months my appetite has increased significantly. I suppose its not a horrible thing if I'm not gaining weight, but its just odd, and overeating makes me feel not-so-great. But at the time I cannot control myself? I've never been like that before. It could be all in my head though. Maybe because I am working again and not getting sleep my body needs more fuel so it splurges when it can.

I hope next week continues to show signs of improvement, and not more breakouts like my current skin.

me_vs_skin

Day 64

Much to report:

Doctor's Appointment:

...was on Monday. He kept me at the same dose (alternating 40mg and 80mg) because he thinks I am doing good (and claims it is even a little OVER what he should be giving me for my body weight so he doesn't want to raise it any more). Says I should be done in September (according to the plan as of right now). Also says I should see a steady decline in the amount of zits I get from here on out. (says he know there are "peaks and valleys" when it comes to acne and skin, but claims that overall I will notice my skin improving from now until the end of my treatment")

Maybe he could tell I was slightly frustrated that I am not doing a whole lot better going into my third month (even though I am definitely better than when I began)

However, it was not a horrible skin day, had a pretty noticeable sized on near my mouth on my left cheek, but besides that, I just had healing acne. My doctor said my lips were bad. (It caught me off guard!)

Today:

Definitely not as good as yesterday. I still have the zit mentioned above, and now I have a matching friend in the exact same spot on my right side. Sort of like acne dimples? Also I have a vampire bite pair near my right ear on my cheek.

Side Effects:

-Dry lips!! They are starting to look gross.

-Itchy scalp

-Tired

-new breakouts

Also, I've been drinking about 3 cups of green tea a day now that I have easy access to hot water. Maybe my face is better than last week due to that? I suppose it couldn't hurt. I have been eating crappy this weekend though, to celebrate my birthday with friends and family. Carrot cake, sicilian pizza, thai food-- the list goes on. I feel like I need to indulge when it's my birthday-- I don't let people get me presents anymore (unless its something they think I absolutely need) (my family is the type to give off the wall presents such as "fact or crap" calendars or turbie twists-- spending money on gag gifts that I don't need!) So I just eat really unhealthy food? I know it's weird, but I am pretty health conscious so its like a delightful, unhealthy gift to myself. :wub:

me_vs_skin

Day 61

Okay WOW it's been almost a week since I've even been on here to READ anyone else's blog, much less even have time for updating my own. It stinks! I feel like I've fallen behind in everyone's progress!

So due to not having much time these days, I haven't been picking at my skin or even LOOKING at myself in the mirror except for the early morning hours when I cannot even turn on my light since my boyfriend is asleep. So this morning was the first morning in quite a while I could look at my skin.

And to be honest, its not too bad! I have a really really big white head on my forehead, and thats about the only zit that is visible. I have about 2-3 underneath ones, but I can only feel them if I touch my face-- they aren't warping the shape of my face at all. My boyfriend even agreed I look much better than I even did a week ago. Maybe this is finally starting to set in? (Don't let my positive outlook fool you, I am still hugely embarrassed about my gigantic whitehead on my forehead!)

I have been having weird skin issues this week, however. My NAILS have completely changed. Now, I will be honest-- my nails weren't the prettiest sight before I took accutane either-- but I have been having hangnails like crazy, and I had the worst ingrown fingernail EVER this week (that has NEVER happened to me). And on my right arm, I have these weird scabs-- almost like I scratched my skin a little too hard and it damaged my skin.

But besides that, same 'ol side effects. I got my lab work done this morning, and my appointment is on monday. Hopefully my bloodwork doesn't rise anymore than it has, and my dose will stay the same. At work I am really bad about putting on lip stuff, and so by around 3pm my lips are so tight I cannot even smile. Completely my fault, so I shouldn't complain about it.

Side Effects:

-Dry lips

-Dry hair and scalp (although head and shoulders scalp shampoo is doing WONDERS)

-Moody (definitely NOT depressed, but I am having trouble controlling my emotions. I got into a fight with my boyfriend a few days ago and I had NO idea what I was even upset about and I couldn't explain it to him at all. Or like one day I came home from work and my thoughts were a typical conceited attitude, something like "I am so important, I finally have a job, I'm officially a graphic designer, my life is finally getting started" and the day after I thought "ugh I don't know if I am performing as well as I should, its really hard for me to be myself around these people, will I ever fit into this office environment"-- basically the complete opposite of my confidence the day before. This has only started happening in the past week to two weeks. It's not too bad yet, but I definitely notice it.

-skin around nails are awful

-tired

-sore back when standing for too long

And I think that's it. Definitely starting to enjoy the benefits of accutane now that my breakouts have subsided. One day my apartment had no hot water, so I didn't shower which was annoying, but my hair is so ungreasy that I don't think anyone noticed. My lips are pretty bad however, so I'm hoping I'll be on this dose for another month just so I don't have to deal with them getting even worse.

Hopefully I can update more than I have!

me_vs_skin

Sorry it's been a while-- I was updating this thing yesterday when my browser crashed and I lost my entry, and I was too lazy to write it again!! :dance:

Anyway, my face is doing better than it was last week. I definitely still have cystic acne (but they are not red or on the surface, you can only see them because my face looks all bumpy and uneven and when you press on them you can feel little hard bumps). Other than that, I have a few tiny ones here and there. (Why is it that ever since I began taking accutance, the week I'm on my period is when my skin is always doing the best?!) Makes no sense-- but this is the second time its happened now!

So I am not expecting this to officially be the point when my skin magically gets better-- but I'll definitely take it.

Part of me is wondering if it's a little better because:

1. I have free tea at work, so I have been drinking green and red teas all week.

2. It seems as though whenever I have a scheduled washing of my face (like sometimes on the weekend I wait until noon-1 when I shower to wash my face-- and I ALWAYS have worse skin after I do that) and I definitely have been washing my face as soon as I get up because of my new job.

3. I've gotten more sun (with sunscreen on!) On my lunch breaks I walk around sometimes for close to an hour, and not that I was a vampire before I got my job, but I didn't get out in the morning, afternoon, and night EVERY day. Vitamin D is definitely getting in my skin.

But then there are reason's it SHOULDN'T be better:

1. On friday I hosted a post luck and my friend brought over her fondue fountain, so I ate a massive about of chocolate (and other not so good sugary foods with it)

2. I have been sweating like crazy on my face (it's been 95-100 degrees here this weekend)

3. Period was late and its making my hormones crazy!

4. Stress! Starting a new job, getting a sleeping schedule and not being adjusted yet, and looking for apartments and not finding anything. I am definitely stressed out of my mind.

:wub:

So who knows why I am having a better-than-average skin day today.

Side Effects:

-Dry lips (I am really bad at applying lip stuff at work!) Also yesterday I had a weird lip bump on it (like a really dry irritated spot) I think its from picking at dead skin.

-A little rash on my right arm. (7 colorless bumps)

-Sore back (from standing on metro?)

-Tired (but this could be an authentic tired and not an accutane tired)

-Dry scalp, hair

Disappointed I'm not doing better because it's almost 8 weeks, but I guess there is still a lot of time ahead.

me_vs_skin

Day 52

So I am a little behind on updating this thing. Sorry!

Wednesday:

A woman walked by my desk at work handing out a "daily cocktail." My boss was there and said "come on, have one! Celebrate your new job!" and I felt so much pressure to have one that I took it. So yes, I have now drank for the second time. I don't know why I felt like I needed to-- I guess new job, new image? Good image=social drinking? Who knows what I was thinking.

In the morning my face seemed somewhat under control (atleast, no new ones from the day before, just the same ones). When I got back from work OMG. Zit city. A whole mess of new ones had come up! I am so glad I didn't know about this, I would have been so self conscious at work.

Today:

I whole up and tried desperately to cover my new zits. Basically I ended up shiny and bumpy. I am having horrible cramps (because my period was so late? who knows) But I have noticed I am SO moody-- which, ok, I can be when on my period, but its SO much more than usual. Accutane?

I am having troubling remembering to apply lip stuff when at work. I share a cube with this guy and I don't want to have to look like I am "primping" all the time. Because that's not what it is. I NEED IT. :wub: It's annoying that I'm still in the phase where I care about what everyone thinks.

Side Effects:

-Moody

-Dry face

-Dry lips (OMG so dry)

-Tired

-Back pain (I stood on the metro for about an hour, than another hour on the bus, and my back was THROBBING.)

It feels like my acne isn't changing at all. I know I saw it work for me before, but it just doesn't seem like my skin is reacting the same at all. Argh. <---- proof of bad mood.

me_vs_skin

Okay I began my new job today (which meant I got up at 6:20 to get to work at 9 am) and I got out of work at 6 pm and got home at 7:30.

I am SO tired. I am not used to this schedule yet. :dance:

On the plus side, I didn't see myself in a mirror all day, so I didn't pick at anything. My two large zits are still large-- but I covered them ok this morning. By the time I got home and looked in a mirror I saw all sorts of dry patches on my skin. Luckily I didn't meet too many people today, just training and reading over some material.

I have to move closer to my job. I have decided this. Once I get home I make dinner, eat, and then its 9. Then I should go to bed at 10. Only an hour of personal time all day? When you share a room with your boyfriend that is hard to do. :dance:

I am just complaining, I know. I am just having new job jitters and feel my life changing. It's one of those "I know something is changing, and if it changes for the better than I'm set" but I don't know at all if this is a change for the better yet. Right now it just seems scary and lonely! Can I see myself at this office for a long time? Will I get the hang of things? Will I make friends?

Side Effects:

-Dry skin

-Dry lips

-throbbing pimples

-TIRED ...I was so exhausted all day (it is an 80mg day)

-Dandruff, less than usual but still there

Also, I got my period! :( Woo. 9 days late. I guess I was stressing about my job and as soon as the day came I could relax and my hormones did their thing. Hopefully I don't break out MORE this week due to this.

It would be great to have clear skin during this whole process of figuring things out though...I wonder what month that will start? :wub:

me_vs_skin

My lips are in more pain today than they were last week. It's funny... I went to one of those Renaissance Fair's in high school and I thought it would be fun to see a Psychic (hey gimmie a break, I was only 16 then!) and she said "You will go far in life as long as you break your nervous habits that display weakness and fear. When being interviewed, this will send signals to your employer that you are not right for the job."

So of course I asked, "What are my nervous habits?"

She seemed surprised I didn't know. "You lick your lips constantly."

:dance: I had NO idea I did this (and maybe I didn't then). But ever since that day I have to lick my lips as soon as they get dry. I notice when I talk to new people I do it too (well, not lick them but bite them?) so of course I am thinking "DO NOT do this when I meet all my new coworkers tomorrow." If I do, my lips will be so raw after an hour--and I cannot exactly sit in my office with an inch of aquaphor sitting on top of my lips!

But yeah, lips are definitely hurting. I'm going to try to get some moisture back to them so I can at least look semi normal tomorrow!

Ok so my face. It's definitely a train wreck, but I have NOT touched it at all for about two days now, and I think I can at least cover up my cystic acne purple-hue even though the overall skin smoothness is in NO way going to go down. The two worst ones at the moment are both on the left side of my face, one near my nose, the other by my mouth. I'm hoping these don't last for another two weeks.

I am so excited/nervous about starting a job. It's been way too long. I am ready to get things rolling again (hopefully I will have clear skin soon to accompany my new life! :wub:)

Side Effects:

-Dry/chapped lips

-Dry skin

-Dry scalp

-Tired

-Breaking out

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