J.A.R

At my wits end...

31 posts in this topic

Hi Acne.org community!

I'm new to the community after 5 long years of struggling with perisistent moderate acne. I've read some stuff from here periodically and I finally said "screw it, i'm making an account" lol.

I'm a 20 year old male and i've really struggled with the emotional and mental sides of acne. It has controlled my life in just about every way imaginable in the last half-decade. I struggled socially in the later years of high school and that carried over to college. 

I have tried every damn thing out there... OTC stuff, prescription topicals, high end cleansers/creams, peels, antibiotics and even lasers. I underwent four rounds of photodynamic therapy at $1000 dollars a treatment and a week downtime for each one. And here I am.. thousands of dollars down and still struggling. Let me just say.. I HAVE JUST ABOUT F###### HAD IT!!!

I have become severely depressed and my psychiatrist put me on SSRI's. I have also been diagnosed with body dysmorphia because of how much my skin affects my life. I am planning on taking time off of school to get my mental health and well-being back. 

In terms of what to do skin wise... I feel like all of this has funneled me to the inevitbale... the big gun... accutane. I figure if I am going to be off of school on medical leave, what better time to try it?! I have been to three dermatologists throughout the years, and my first one recommended accutane after my failed course of antibiotics. I was 16 at the time and didn't want to screw with my growing/developmental stages. I also read some very scary horror stories on here and I couldn't get myself to take it. Now my mindset is sooo different.

I've talked to a lot of friends and family about accutane and i've heard a lot of good about it. My sister responded super well and is a different person following treatment (better self esteem, better socially, etc.) It seems like the "real world" is more positive than the forums lol. I think I am ready to take the dive off the deepend. 

I can kind of predict that i'll struggle with the breaking out part of accutane (I guess only about 30% experience an IB though.. fingers crossed), but I rather have that and get results in the long run than playing an endless game of wack-a-mole with moderate acne for an indefinite period of time. 

I'll be honest though.. i'm deep down scared of that drug.. but being at my wits end, i'm more willing to face the fear. First things first though.. I gotta go see my derm again lol. 

Peace everyone and thank you for reading my rant lol ☮️


J

 

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Good luck!! I was terrified of taking Accutane, I put it off for years, but in the end I just couldn't deal with the acne anymore. It was destroying my mental health. I'm now two months in, and although I'm still going through some form of IB, I haven't really had any bad side effects. I know you hear alot of horror stories about it, but depression and anxiety have their own range of pretty awful side effects. 

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Agree with Jollyhohnson. Just starting Month 3 . Breaking out , but it's the long term result that matters. A bit of pain but it's worth it for the long term gain!  All the best. 

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What doses are you guys on? My derm wanted to start me at 60mg which seemed kinda high but my sister who is much smaller than me started at 60 so i'm not too concerned. 

What do you guys do skincare wise during the course?

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30mg for 28 days then 40mg for 28 days then 60mg for 28 days so far! Use cetaphil face wash morning and night. Vaseline on lips very regularly all day. No face moisturiser needed yet. Have cetaphil moisturiser waiting in the wings for when needed. Weigh 57.5 kg.  If you start on a high dose at least it will be over quicker and start to work sooner. The usual dose target is 0.5-1mg / Kg  I believe but they often start lower to see how you tolerate the medication. 

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That's crazy you don't need a face moisturizer yet.. it seems like people dry out pretty quick.

I'm gonna start using one becuase my skin is kinda beat up from past topical treatments lol. I'm kinda worried if my skin can handle the accutane because it's already sensitized from topicals/exfoliants. 

I'll look into getting the cetaphil face wash.. first dose is tommorow night!! 

Edited by J.A.R
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If you're taking that route, you need to be 100% sure because there's no turning back. Some had those horror stories because they experienced it while some found it like their holy grail. I just wish it would be the more positive result for you.

I don't have the guts to do it so I'm into some natural remedies, it may take a longer time but I know it doesn't negatively affect my other organs or whatever. Just too scared to do it lol.

Anyway, best of luck to you and keep us posted! :)
 

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Hey guys. I don't log on very much but I guess I will start doing that lol.

I actually had to stop treatment for a bit because my skin was realllyyy dried out from all the topicals over the years. She wanted to get me back to "homeostasis" before jumping on the 'tane. 

I took my first dose of 60mg last night (October 9th) after a three week hiatus. I think I will post daily for a while and let you guys know how things are progressing.

Best

So I guess today is day 1 after my first dose back.

I had a headache last night but it's probably from the anxiety of starting back up. I'm really trying to avoid "placebo effecting" myself as my sister likes to say lol. 

A tip my sister gave me is to act like your dried out already and start taking care of yourself before the dryness starts. She told me to start moisturizing, using conditioner for my hair, and using aquaphor for my lips before the dryness sets in. 

Nothing notable today.. i'll be back for day 2 tommorow. 

Best

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I started on 30mg for the first month, 40mg for the second, and now I'm on 60mg - I weigh 63kg. 

In terms of skincare, I use cetaphil gentle cleanser morning and night with lukewarm water (don't use hot water!). I use cetaphil moisturiser at night, and at the moment I'm using Avene Hydrance UV Riche during the day. I have a standard Burts Bees lipbalm and a big bottle of Aveeno body moisturiser.

Your sister's tip is a good one - this is what I did. I started with the moisturiser from the beginning, even though I probably didn't need it. I'm three months in and my skin isn't really that dry. It's definitely less oily, but it's comfortable. My lips get dried out, but they're not chapped or cracking. I don't need to apply moisturiser to my body daily, but I put it on after a shower (I shower every other day, or after exercise). It won't effect your hair, but it will effect your roots, so look after your scalp. My scalp gets sooooooooooo itchy. If this happens to you then Eucerin/Aquaphor make a good scalp treatment lotion.

The side effects hit me towards the end of week two, but they've gotten a lot better since. Let us know how you get on.

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Day 2:

The headache is still around, but i'm pretty sure it's because I wasn't drinking enough water. Time to up the daily water intake lol. 

My lips feel slightly more dry, but the humidity has been below 20%, so it's probably more the weather than the iso at this point. 

Quick question for you all: have you ever used jojoba oil? Do you think it'd be good for combating dryness? I heard some people add a bit to their moisturizer for an added "oomph" lol.

Best 

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No. I would be a bit nervous about oil but that might be just the whole worry about oily skin that comes with having acne and worrying about blocking pores. Use cetaphil cleanser at mo and dove soap and have cetaphil moisturiser ( which is non- comodogenic ) waiting in abeyance as skin is not dry yet. Blistex and Vaseline for lips so far but want to try Aquaphor when I can find it. I think Boots the chemist might sell it. 
Hope headache clears up. All the best. 

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Day 3

The headache cleared up after drinking an ocean's worth of water lol. I've been pre-treating my lips with aquaphor because of the dry weather at the moment. The iso plus the weather should make for an interesting time haha. Nothing too noteworthy skin-wise today.

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Hi there. I just registered because I have compassion for what you go through. That was me too- 40 years ago! I'm in my fifties now, and I look back at how isolated I became when my acne was bad. I remember what it felt like to think "everyone" had good skin but me, and its all I focused on. I missed out on so much! Now I realize,  people who care about you don't care or notice, so don't stop being social, be yourself, and most of all don't be ashamed. Lots of people do have acne it doesn't mean you have to be a hermit- esp while you are young.

I had acne on and off from age 14-21. At 21, I finally had it and went on Accutane. This was after my skin was scarred and I was so sick of pimples popping up constantly, and after years of derms picking at my skin and basically ruining it more. It took a good 4-6 mos on Accutane to see real improvement. My Dr at the time told me not to use anything else that was drying, so I used plain unscented cetaphil cleanser morning and night, and rinsed with lukewarm water after, like 20 times. If I got too dry, peeling, I used unscented moisiturizer. A favroite of mine was (still is) Clinique dramatically different (the yellow one) I have very oily skin. 

So, its been 30 + years. I do have acne scars, not as bad as some, but certainly not a smooth complexion. But save for the occasional pimple, nothing bad. I notice if I change my skin care routine dramatically, or try a new product, I have to be very, very careful. The thing about acne sufferers is our skin is SO sensitive. We have to treat it very gently. No harsh scrubbing. Also "natural" products, I have found, are the worst for me. I once switched to Clarins, very expensive line. I ended up with the biggest pimple of my life, I still bear the scar on my chin. (This was in my 40s!)

So, pick a gentle, consistent skincare routine and stick with It. Don't get distracted by the new products or advertisements that promise clear skin quickly. It doesn't work that way- sadly, there is no quick fix for our skin. In the meantime, be kind to yourself, do things everyday that make you feel good, eat well, drink tons of water, and be with your friends and loved ones.

My current skincare routine:
AM: Wash with warm, soapy water (non scented) Cetaphil
rinse 20 x with lukewarm water
pat with witch hazel
apply Clinique DD or Cetaphil moisturizer

PM/after work:
Wash same as AM, rinse 20x
pat with witch hazel
apply layer of unscented aloe vera gel (I use Trader joe's)- let it sink in completely
apply eye cream (because I'm old)
apply nightime moisturizer (unscented)

Occassionally, I use a glycolic  cleanser in the shower if my skin is feeling particularly rough.. I don't advise while on accutane, however, only when you are stabilized. I find this helps unclog pores. I also use retin a (tretenoin .01%-lowest )occassionally for a few weeks at a time, every other night if I feel I need to. This seems to keep my skin stable and as clear as it can be. I never had perfect skin, and never will. But I can still look good, and feel good knowing I'm being kind to my skin and taking care of myself.

Take care and be well!!!
 

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Thank you @ellyfant! That made my night reading that. I get really frustrated when my family (or anyone) tells me "just don't let it bother you" or "no one else cares" when they've never had serious skin problems. The psychological torment from a half decade of a negative self-image on a day-to-day basis is only something you can truly understand if you've been in the shoes. I love hearing from you guys because I know that deep down we all know each others pain from living it first hand. That's my little rant for the night lol.

I'll continue to keep you all updated! 

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Day 4

Skin on chin and forehead was flaking a bit, but it's most likely left over from being dried out by topicals. I just need to keep up with the moisturizing. Lips are not dry at all.. I put on aquaphor before bed and ran my humidifier. I'll probably continue to do that throughout the course, especially for the upcoming winter months. 

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J.A.R: Yes please keep us posted and take it day by day, you are not alone. We care. I care.

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Day 5

First blister pack of claravis gone! My skin feels less flaky today which is definitely nice. Lips are starting to get a little dry, but nothing a little aquaphor can't handle. I broke out a little bit on my temples and forehead, but it's not anything more than I would've had if I wasn't on iso. I'm kinda bracing for the IB, but my derm said that only 1 in 5 actually worsen according to medically published studies. She said that the IB is generally overhyped because a larger proportion of people who developed an IB will report that on the internet compared to the non-IBers (lol at my made up word). 

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Yay!!! Keep that sense of humour pal!!! Even if you do get an IB it's not the end of the World. You will come through it. All the best.

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Day 6

My lips are slightly more dry today. My face has this reddish hue for no partcular reason. I haven't used any irritating products so i'm not sure why that's happening. Skin is still oily. Nothing notable in terms of breakouts. 

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Day 7

Woke up this morning to a flaky chin and nose. Lips definitely became more dry over the last day or so. Skin is still oily in the afternoon/nighttime, but I woke up with very little "shine" today lol. Start of week 2 tommorow... only 19 more to go!  

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Day 8

Woke up to a throbbing sensation on my chin... I thought it was going to be a huge zit but it was a normal whitehead lol. Skin is less flaky today, probably because I was a bit more liberal with the moisturizer. I ran my humidifier all night, and my lips felt normal in the morning. 

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Day 9

Woke up to a very flaky chin, nose, and mustache area... we'll call it a flake-stache lol. I broke out a bit more on my chin but nothing crazy. It's weird... my skin feels moisturized, but is still flaky. Accutane is weird lol. 

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Day 10

Feeling quite a bit tired today even after sleeping well. My skin broke out a little bit around my temples. My cheeks got realllly flaky overnight it seems like. Lips plateued in terms of dryness. 

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