Accutane (Isotretinoin) Treatment - Phoenix, AZ
Hi, my name is Mike and this is my review. I...
I started Accutane when I was 23 years old. As a young teenager, I was considered lucky because I never really cared for my skin like I should have (didn't wash face, moisturizer, or use sunscreen), and didn't really have any issues. A few pimples here and there? Sure. But when it came to acne that made me nervous when going out in public, not at all.
I figured that over the period of my early adulthood, I can squeeze by unharmed. As the months turned to years, my skin seemed to get more and more aggravated which led me to the Accutane medication that my derm prescribed. This was extremely hard for me because my family always would say, whats wrong with your skin? Friends would say, go wash your face. I would even tell myself, what on earth am I doing wrong? Hated when people noticed, but no matter what I did, my skin had its mind made up.
About 4 years ago, I decided to go to my doctor for acne that wouldn't seem to go away. Prescribed a medication, didn't work. Went with something stronger, made it worse. At the point I really knew that my skin was sensitive. So changed drs, another medication was a failure. As were others that my money was spent on. Started to get bad when the pharmacy tech at the grocery store knows your name by heart when getting a medication filled. To make a long story short, I've tried everything from ProActiv, to Differin, to Tazorac, to many other prescribed creams and over the counter acne treatments. Nothing, NOTHING seemed to help. At this point, I was nervous because my acne was getting worse as I was getting older! Being in college, I felt so bad knowing I was afraid to even talk with certain females that I found attractive. As a male, I felt so bad about my appearance at times, I decided to go to the local mall and made up a lie about why I was looking for a makeup cover. A wedding. That bad, huh? I didn't enjoy the fact knowing that I relied on makeup to look relatively normal for my age. And at that time, I knew it was time for a solution, once and for all.
Like I said, as a teen, I was a mess but blessed in many ways. Ate like crap, still had a 6 pack. Didn't brush teeth as often as I should have, never had a cavity. And more of the same with the skin. My skin, was fine. It seemed as if one day, my skin woke up and said, "that's enough." Figured when this issue came up, it would be a quick fix and I'd be back on my feet within a few weeks. Boy was I wrong.
I got referred to a local derm, and nearly cried inside his office. I told him I was blessed in my younger teenage years even with not taking care of my skin. I told him I have done everything right as far as my skin care routine goes since my acne issue approached. I told him I eat the right foods, drink the right liquids, and spend the money on the "best" products out there (skin wise). He seemed shocked knowing I was THAT desperate for a remedy that works. I was prescribed Accutane for a 6 month treatment. At this time, I was working and going to school full time. So I wasn't a big fan when he said my skin will get worse before any sign of improvement. Also was a little concerned when he said the side effects the medication can have, although, nothing major ever happened to me. I was prescribed 40 mg twice a day which is a total of 80mg. I weigh 185 pounds, and the medication is mainly dosed off your weight. With Accutane, you must get blood work once a month. Numerous trips to the doctors office for each months rx, and trips to the same building where I had my blood work done. To this day, best decision that I have made to go through with the treatment.
Ok, so here we go. Day 1. Do I take pictures, or do I trust the medication to just get this acne issue over with and never look back? I took pictures once every 3 weeks. Since it is a 6 month treatment, I could have done once a month, but I knew that many things can happen in a month, that I wanted to keep a closer eye on my progress. Pictures really help because you can see how far you have come in case you feel like nothing is happening. Month 1? MISERABLE. Dry lips, dry skin, more breakouts in areas I didn't even suffer from and, more importantly, no sight of the light at the end of the tunnel. Atleast not yet.
Luckily I was so busy, didn't really have the time to dwell on the situation. Just kept my trust in my dr/medication. So month 2 began, and more of the same. Lips were so dry they were becoming chapped. Seemed as if I went through the desert without any water. Not only that, but I had some joint/bone/back pain. Very minimal, but as an athlete, definitely noticed a change. Only thing I enjoyed was that the medication was started to show signs that "hey, this may work!"
Month 3 - Skin starting to clear up. I was told by my derm that I was rounding second base. Granted, my skin is still nowhere near where I want it to be, but the light is shinning. Luckily, my blood work for these months are normal so I can continue on the medication. Still the lips were dry and even noticing some dry patches on my body - back of hands, shoulder area, neck, etc...
Month 4/5 - the miracle months of the medication. Acne was disappearing every day I looked in the mirror.
Month 6 - precautionary month per my derm. He was more concerned that my acne may come back if the medication is stopped before the treatment is over. Although my acne was basically clear in the previous month, he advised it is best to finish to put the final nail in the coffin.
As soon as the medication was done, my lips went back to normal, my skin started to look more hydrated, and my pain from the exercises I was performing went away completely. And best news? Acne was gone, redness was minimal (after treatment was completed) and my skin is salvaged!!! As far as 1-10 with Accutane, I would give it an 8. Reason being is that it works, and works well, but expensive. I only paid $10 a month for prescription, but $30 for every derm visit, $15 for blood work a month, and more $$ for lip cream, moisturizers, and other skin care essentials. Another reason why I can't mark it a 9 or a 10 is that it DOES take a while for the medication to work. And you have to be patient with it. Not only that, but it is annoying when your lips are so chapped for the whole treatment that you are applying lip crème every few hours. Those were my biggest complaints but complaints that are nowhere serious, more-so just annoying.
Couple of tips, with Accutane, it is essential you follow orders by your dr. My derm told me:
- Minimize exposure to sun. Wear sunscreen everyday.
- No alcohol.
- Wash face/moisturize every morning and night and don't use harmful products that can attempt to "speed up" the process a la benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid.
- No vitamin A. Vitamins, supplements.
- Don't get skin treatments. Laser/eyebrow wax/chemical peel/anything during & 6 months after atleast. Some recommend even upwards of 1 to 2 years after treatment. Again, being patient is huge with this.
- Don't donate blood until a month after treatment is completed.
- 2 forms of pregnancy prevention (for females)
- List goes on.
My skin was dry, that I used ponds cold crème as a facial cleanser. I have found out that the most expensive products aren't the best for your skin. My skin now works well with Obagi products. Best thing I can say is that Accutane works. And I'm happy I did it.
In a few months, I plan on getting a chemical peel or some sort of facial procedure to make my skin glow and improve even more. Don't be scared if you are just starting, this medication works extremely well. Good luck!
Terrific. Nice guy, very helpful, and good sense of humor