January 3, 2015

My Experience with Accutane (Isotretinoin)

iPLEDGE booklet
iPLEDGE booklet

My journey with Accutane was  full of dryness, blood work, and doctor visits, but I'd do it again if I had to. I remember what a tiring process it was to constantly be trying out prescription acne creams and antibiotics, all to get your hopes up and have it not work. Of course they say to patiently use it for a long period of time and not expect instant results, but for me, there was no results at all. I finally got a referral to a dermatologist from my primary and went in hopeful. The dermatologist examined my face and back and deemed that I indeed had moderate/ severe acne. We went over my long list of medications that I tried for acne in the past and he suggested Accutane immediately. I had done months of research beforehand and agreed. Of course we talked about side effects and what to expect, but he assured me it would be fine. My father had severe acne and had to take it as a teenager, so I was optimistic that this might be my route as well.

I wasn't able to start the medication right away due to the IPledge protocols with pregnancy testing, but a month later, in May 2013, I was back and walked away with my first Absorica prescription.I did have insurance and he also gave me a coupon making it only $10 a box. As my dosages were increased there were some months that I'd need 2 boxes so, $20 a month.  I was very strict with myself throughout my journey. I always made sure to take my pills everyday and to not skip any. I wanted the best results that I could get and knew that sticking to the regime helped.


Was there a purging phase? Yes. Was it THAT bad? No. It sucks, but I survived. It wasn't anything that I wasn't already used to on my face. Before my medication I'd always have about 6-10 active pimples always on my face. Every single pimple left behind a scar that'd linger for months so that in combination with my active pimples, my face always  looked very red and messy. I also had a tendency to get cystic acne on my cheeks that'd linger for weeks so that wasn't fun either. You just need to keep reminding yourself that it'll be over eventually.

The worst part for me was the dryness. Everything was just dry. I couldn't use any colored lip products or a lot of makeup cause I just felt dry as a desert. The dryness started about 1 week into the pill, but as I got my dosages bumped up it just got worse. The dry lips lasted probably till 2 month post-Accutane.  I always had to carry a tube of Aquaphor on me because my lips were so bad. It irritated some patches of eczema I have on my arms, but I controlled that with topicals.I had to experiment with alot of moisturizers, but finally found a mixture that worked.

In the end, I am now almost 1 year post Accutane and I couldn't be happier. Do I still get zits? Yes. Is it anywhere as bad? NO!  I remember I didn't get zits for months after I first finished my plan. But, they slowly come and go naturally. Sometimes as my time of the month passes through or if I use a irritating makeup product it'll pop up. To be safe I'll say at this state I pretty much always have 1 small one on my face. I don't get big ones though. Just very tiny whiteheads around my forehead etc. I don't make a big deal out of it because I know that it's better than the 6+ I always had.

I don't get any cystic acne or any back acne which is a plus. Currently I only have 1 minor pimple on my jaw, but I don't mind. I remember the first day it all was worth it for me was when I could roll out of bed and go to school with no makeup and not worry that people were looking at my skin. It's definitely a medication that I am happy with, but I'd advise anyone who is looking into it to do research and form their own opinion, as well as discussing side-effects or pre-existing health problems with their specialist.   

Sometimes the acne can come back and some people have to do multiple trials. I don't know if I'll be one of those people, but right now I'm thankful for the good luck I've had.

If you're on it, keep pushing through! It can be a tough journey, but you can make it. Find products that work to combat the dryness and keep a journal of your symptoms.  And remember to drink lots of water! I'm planning to do a guide on products to use during Accutane very soon!

If you have any comments/questions please drop a comment or message me! I'd love to hear about your experience or answer any questions you may have!


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