28 Year Old Female Suffering from Acne Since Age 12 - Fresno, CA

I'm a 28 year old female whom has had mild to...

I'm a 28 year old female whom has had mild to moderate acne since age 12. I've tried a vast array of options to combat my skin. I have spent many years trying the natural approach, such as elimination diets, herbs, vitamins, supplements, teas, exercise, lifestyle changes, etc. with little to no benefit. I've tried nearly every over the counter acne treatment that I could afford as well as prescription topicals including Epiduo, Aczone, Finacea, Retin A .8%, Onexton and finally Tretinoin cream .025%. I've even tried natural approaches to skin care such as manuka honey, apple cider vinegar, jojoba oil, etc. I've pretty much exhausted all of my options. I don't drink alcohol nor do I smoke anything. I lead a pretty healthy lifestyle, get plenty of sleep and try to keep my stress levels down (I'm a stay at home mother of a 3 year old son, so that can be difficult at times). The only thing that has ever brought me any significant amount of relief has been birth control pills, specifically Ortho tri cyclen lo, Beyaz and Safyral. I'm back on Beyaz now, but it hasn't had the same effect as the last time I took it.

After nearly 17 years (I'll be 29 this month) I have had enough of the emotional and physical toll acne has taken on me. I have cried more times over my acne than I have any other aspect in my life. It has drained me, stolen my joy and robbed me of so many different life events. While my acne isn't severe it alternates between mild and moderate and is always ever present. My problem areas are my chin and forehead. My cheeks and nose are pretty clear.

As a last resort, I decided to try Accutane or rather Absorica to try to defeat my acne once and for all. I started taking 50mg a day of Absorica last Sunday, August 2, 2015. I take 20mg in the morning and 30mg in the evening and if all goes as planned I'll stay on this dose for 6 months. So far things are going well. No real side effects just yet. Many of my clogged pores are becoming inflamed, so at the moment I have a lot coming to the surface. My pores seem to look rather large for some reason and my skin is actually a little more oily than normal. Other than that things feel the same as prior to starting the medication. No joint pain, dry skin, chapped lips, headaches, etc. The outer edges of my lips are a little itchy, but nothing severe. I'm only 8 days into my treatment, so I imagine the side effects will kick in soon. I just keep praying daily that in 6 months I'll have beautiful, clear skin :)


Here are a few photos from before my treatment and the first few days on Absorica. All my clogged pores are becoming inflamed. I think this is the beginning of my initial breakout.

2 weeks into taking Absorica

I've just hit the 2 week mark and thus far things are going well. I'm 54kg (120lbs) and I'm taking 50mg a day. I take 20mg in the morning and 30mg in the evening. My skin is drying out a little and my lips are slightly chapped. My main side effect is itchy skin. It's mainly my chest, neck and scalp. I've been able to combat it using Eucerin body lotion and Dove daily moisture products. I don't think I've seen anyone mention this, but my ear lobes are peeling. I guess it's an area that I never thought to moisturize. Inside my right nostril is dry and bleeds a little every morning. I've been putting Polysporin in it and it seems to have healed. No joint pain, hair loss, bowel issues or depression to speak of. My skin is actually looking the best it has in a very long time! I'm trying not to get excited because I know an initial breakout is still possible. I thought I had experienced mine within the first few days, but perhaps it was just my normal breakout happening faster. I'm not sure. I'm attaching some photos of both my skin and my hair. After my son was born nearly 4 years ago I lost some of my hair in the front. It just started growing back this year, so the photos illustrate what regrowth looks like in the awkward stages lol.

I have a question regarding sunscreen /sunblock. What is everyone using on their face? I tend to react terribly to sunscreen on my face. I either get a rash or a ton of clogged pores. I can use it on my body just fine, but my face hates it. Any suggestions would be great! Thank you in advance :)

3 weeks into Absorica

I have now been on Absorica for 3 weeks. I'm still taking 50mg a day.

Not too much to report. My skin is still about the same. I've had a few flare ups, but thankfully nothing too severe. My skin is definitely drying out, my lips are chapped and I'm still itchy, especially my upper arms and scalp. My elbows are peeling, which basically looks like peeling after a sun burn. Speaking of sun burns, I am extremely sun sensitive. I figured I would be as I'm very fair, but I start burning within 15 minutes now. I even started to burn through the car window the other day.

My face stings a little when washing and moisturizing, but it subsides after a little while. My skin is a lot more sensitive and picking is completely off limits. I made the mistake of picking 2 small pimples and I am still paying for it. The scabs look terrible and I imagine I'll be dealing with the red marks for several months before they completely fade. Lesson learned. It was not worth it.

I've been getting pimples in places I don't normally break out such as my neck and behind my ears, but I asked my doctor about this prior to starting and she said that it's a common occurrence. I even got one inside my ear that was super painful.

I'm a bit more fatigued than usual and I've been having a bit of trouble keeping up during exercise. I'm still exercising every morning, but I've gone from jogging to a fast paced walk instead. No joint pain though, so I'm grateful for that.

My right nostril is still dry and bleeds if I don't put Vaseline or Polysporin inside. I haven't had a full on nose bleed yet, so fingers crossed that doesn't happen.

I'm not sure if this is helpful to anyone, but I haven't noticed any weight changes as a result of taking the medication. I had kind of wondered about this prior to starting Absorica, but it hasn't been an issue thus far.

Last thing... I've been having very vivid dreams, some of which make absolutely no sense. I'm not sure if it's related to the medication, but I thought I'd mention it just in case others are experiencing the same thing. It could be my birth control pills, stress, etc., so I'm not blaming it on Absorica just yet.

That's about it. I still feel well and things are going alright :)

4 weeks into taking Absorica

Not much has changed since my last update. My skin is still breaking out at its normal rate and every clogged pore is still becoming inflamed one by one.

As far as side effects go things haven't changed too much. My chin started peeling, but I switched moisturizer and it seems to have helped. I'm now using Neutrogena for sensitive skin.

The itchy scalp has subsided, thank goodness! That was driving me crazy! Again, I switched products from Dove daily moisture to Redken Extreme. I'm also using the hair mask in that line of products. I'm still washing my hair daily because I workout every day and sweat a lot. Surprisingly my hair feels really soft and I haven't noticed any hair loss.

My nose is still dry inside, but I've been putting Aquaphor healing ointment inside both nostrils and it has stopped bleeding.

My lips are still doing alright. They are a little chapped, but nothing Carmex, Blistex, Aquaphor and Dr. Dan's Cortibalm can't fix.

I'm still extremely sun sensitive, so hats, long sleeves, jeans and sunblock have become my new norm. This has been really tough because I live in California and it is dry and extremely hot. Just the other day it was 108 degrees Fahrenheit. I try to stay inside on those days.

The fatigue has let up a little. I'm not nearly as tired as I was a week ago.

I'm still having very vivid dreams. Luckily they aren't nightmares.

This is an odd side effect that I'm not entirely sure is related to taking Absorica, but my sense of smell and taste are a little off. Certain foods don't taste the same as they did prior to taking the medication. I drink decaf coffee (I've tried eliminating it in the past to see if it would help out my skin, but it did not) and it tastes pretty gross these days. It's rather odd. I also noticed that chicken as well as anything spicy tastes off. It seems to be random. My smell is also off which makes sense as taste and smell are so closely connected.

My skin overall is just all over the place. It's completely inconsistent. One day things are looking up and in a matter of a day or less my skin is a mess again. I'm not too upset by this. Normally this would have sent my emotions and self esteem plummeting, but I feel rather unphased. I think that's because I feel like there's an end in sight. I suppose I'm just more annoyed by it lol.

As far as my mood, I feel fine. I don't feel depressed or angry. If anything I feel like my mood has improved even though my skin looks the same as it did a few weeks ago with the exception of my forehead. I just feel all around more hopeful.

I go in tomorrow for blood work and my derm appointment is on Tuesday, September 1st. I'm not sure if my derm will up my dose of if I'll continue on 50mg a day. We shall see :)

5 weeks into taking Absorica

I don't really have much to report, thankfully! The side effects are still the same and the only new development has been dry eyes. It's not too bothersome though.

I'm still on 50mg a day and I will probably continue on that dose until I end my course. My blood work came back fine, except for my cholesterol levels, which were slightly elevated. My dermatologist wasn't too concerned and she said it was to be expected while on the medication.

My skin is actually doing great. This last week I didn't develop any new spots, so that's a huge improvement for me!!! I did have two pimples develop, but they were clogged pores that had been there for weeks that finally became inflamed. I still have a lot of comedones, so I have a ways to go, but I do see progress :)

I just wanted to mention how much Accutane is costing me a month with insurance. My dermatologist visit costs me $20, my blood work costs about $5 and my prescription for 50mg a day of Absorica this month cost me only $10, so I'm paying $35 a month. This is less expensive than some of the topicals I have used in the past. For me, Absorica has been one of the most cost effective methods to treat my acne. I just wanted to mention this for others who might be concerned about the cost like I was. Of course this will vary from person to person, but I just wanted to let people know that it can be affordable :)

6 weeks into taking Absorica

My skin is looking really good. I have one active pimple on my left cheek and three healing on my chin. My forehead is still clear :)

I forgot to mention last week that all of the blackheads on my nose pushed out. My nose was rough for about a week and initially I thought it was dry skin. I've never seen my pores so clear.

Side effects are about the same. My skin isn't all that dry, but my lips are still chapped. The dry eyes come and go. No joint pain, hair loss, bowel issues or depression. The fatigue comes and goes.

Overall things are going well. I still have a lot of closed comedones on my chin, so I'm bracing myself for more breakouts over the next few months. Thus far I'm rather pleased with the results. I have a long way to go, but if things continue at this pace my only regret will be not trying Accutane sooner.

7 weeks into taking Absorica

Everything is going well. My forehead is still clear, but several of my clogged pores on both sides of my chin and lower left cheek are still becoming inflamed. I've definitely noticed my skin is a little more dry than it was last week. I'm not oily at the end of the day anymore. The weather has cooled down just a bit, so that may be a contributing factor.

I don't really have much to report. The fatigue isn't an issue anymore and the itchy scalp hasn't been a problem for a few weeks now. My lips are still chapped despite constant use of lip balm. The only new side effect is a headache every day. It's actually quite bothersome. I'm not sure if it's the Absorica or if it's my birth control pills as this has been an issue in the past while taking them. I'm going to bring it up to my dermatologist at my next appointment. I'm drinking 120 ounces of water daily, so I don't think that's the issue.

That's about it :) I hope everyone is doing well on their Accutane journey.

8 weeks into taking Absorica

My skin is doing alright. I think the medication has really kicked in because all of my clogged pores have become inflamed. It was like a bomb went off. I had about 17 clogged pores in one area of my right chin before starting Accutane and I'm down to about 3 that still need to become inflamed. I'm seeing progress, but my skin doesn't look very good right now. My left side has started doing the same as well. It kind of knocked my confidence down a bit as this is my clearer side. I'm trying to stay positive, but I do feel a little discouraged. I still have moments where I doubt it'll work for me. My dermatologist told me that around 4 months is when most people see tremendous improvement. I hope she's right! I'm only 8 weeks in, so I have a ways to go.

As far as side effects, things are pretty much the same. I got a little patch of eczema on my chest just below my right collarbone. It cleared up in a few days using cortisone cream. I've had eczema before, so this wasn't a huge surprise.

My lips are still chapped, but I'm kind of just getting used to it. I apply lip balm about every 20 minutes. I probably look like I have ocd, but oh well lol.

The headaches come and go. In the last week they've let up quite a bit.

This may be too much information, but I slacked on my water intake dropping to 90 ounces from 120 ounces and I became really constipated despite eating many servings of fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts. For me, water intake is crucial. It's annoying to constantly have to go pee, but I think drinking enough water wards off a lot of side effects for me.

Other than that, things are fine. My next appointment is on Thursday, October 1st. Hopefully my blood work comes back okay and I can carry on with the medication :)

9 weeks into taking Absorica

Not much to report. My skin is still about the same as last week. Things are starting to flatten out and heal. I'm still getting new pimples, but they're pretty small. I have noticed that some heal within days while others take weeks to heal. One of the pimples I had in between my eyebrows has finally healed. It took an entire month. The two on my left cheek from week 6 are still healing.

Side effects have been fine. In fact, this last week has been so easy that it worries me. I feel like it's not working because I don't feel miserable lol.

I've had a few more patches of eczema on my chest, but cortisone takes care of it within a day or two.

The headaches still come and go. My derm actually brought up headaches as a side effect and said to stay hydrated and keep close watch of any changes in severity.

I'm still slightly constipated, but it's getting better.

My lips are chapped, but my skin isn't terribly dry. My arms itch every now and then, but as long as I don't start scratching I'm fine. Once I start scratching I seriously can't stop and I'll end up scratching my skin raw. I did that to my collar bone and it didn't feel too great the next day. I've noticed that my eyebrows itch often and my face itches if I start to sweat a little. It's kind of annoying lol.

No depression or hair loss.

Things are still going well. I'm hoping I'll really see improvement over the next month. My derm said that some of the marks will take months to subside, so not to feel discouraged. She also said that the marks can be deceiving. Sometimes it'll look like actual scarring when in fact it's not. It's just hyperpigmentation. She said that 6 months after my treatment I may not need anything for the discoloration.

I hope everyone is doing well on their journey :)

10 weeks into taking Absorica

Yesterday marked 10 weeks since starting Absorica. Things are going remarkably well! :)

I think the medication has really kicked in. My skin and hair are very dry. All of my clogged pores are slowly drying up and old bumps are starting to flatten. I have 3 clogged pores on my right chin that I thought would become inflamed, but they just keep getting smaller! I've had a few new tiny pimples but they have dried up and flaked off within 2 days. It's wonderful! :) I'm really starting to see improvement!

As for side effects... my hair is really dry, but I think that's partly my fault because I've been washing every day. My ponytail was so dry the other day that I could hear it crunch when I squeezed it. My hair feels like straw. It's probably time for less washing and more hair oil.

My lips are still chapped, but ever since I ditched the chapstick brand my lips are so much better. I'm sticking with Aquaphor and Blistex.

My eyes are dry by the end of the day and if it's windy it is a guarantee that I will need eye drops.

My nose is still a little dry inside and if I blow my nose too often the outside of my nostrils become raw.

I haven't had a headache in a week and I'm no longer constipated. Yay for those two side effects dissipating :)

The most bothersome side effect is the fatigue, which has returned full force. My body has been aching lately and I can't get comfortable at night, so I'm not sleeping well. I imagine that's a big part of the fatigue. My left ankle has been bothering me as well as my hips and in between my shoulder blades. I feel like I have arthritis. I'm definitely going to bring it up to my dermatologist at my next appointment.

Other than those few issues things are going great! I'm still on 50mg a day of Absorica and I should end my course in February.

11 weeks into taking Absorica

Everything is still going really well! :) My skin continues to improve and the marks are starting to fade little by little!

I took the advice of several Accutane users on this site and I stopped washing my hair every day. I'm going on 3 days of not washing and my hair feels soooo much better! I'm still using conditioner every day and my hair feels pretty soft. I can't believe how much time I save in the shower now! Who knew washing long hair could be so time consuming lol. I'm not sure if I'm losing any hair, but I might be. My part looks slightly thinner as does the hair on my temples. I'm honestly not sure if it is truly thinning though. I could just be mistaken. I don't have any bald patches. It just looks a tiny bit thinner.

My lips are doing well. They're still chapped, but it's not too bad. I really expected worse. I thought they'd be split and bleeding by now. Perhaps I haven't reached that point just yet. I imagine once the Winter brings the cold and snow I'll have really chapped lips.

I haven't had any patches of eczema this last week. It has been really nice! The constant itchy patches on my chest were becoming quite annoying.

My eyes are ridiculously dry. I now have to put eye drops in every day, sometimes several times a day. My left eye was bothering me the other day and I kept rubbing it... bad idea! It was watering terribly and so red afterwards. I tried using eye drops to calm it down and it stung really bad. Eventually it calmed down.

My body still aches, but I've been sleeping better so I think that has helped a lot. I've also eased up on my exercise and my ankle is no longer hurting. It seems like the aches and pain transfer from one area to another, day to day. One day my ankle hurts, the next my knee, then the next my hip and so on. It's annoying, but I think I can deal with it for a few more months if it means clear skin.

I haven't had a headache recently and my digestion seems pretty much back to baseline. I have noticed the last few days that I've kind of lost my appetite though. I'm not depressed or anything. It's just that nothing really sounds good. I don't know if it's related to Absorica.

I spent the weekend on the coast out in the sun and I got a little color. I thankfully did not burn despite not wearing any sunblock or sunscreen. I'm a little pink, but I didn't burn! :) The sun exposure did seem to make all of my hyperpigmentation worse. I took photos today and my old acne marks are really noticeable. I'm hoping I didn't do serious damage.

I'm still getting tiny clogged pores, but they almost look like flesh colored bumps not like blackheads or white heads. I've had 2 pink bumps come up that were flat by the next day and gone the day after that. It was amazing! I haven't had an inflamed pimple this entire last week and the clogged pores on my chin are shrinking :) My biggest issue right now is the hyperpigmentation.

I'm so grateful I started Accutane. I was so worried about losing my hair and becoming suicidal. I feel really, really good! It's like a huge weight has been lifted. I'm actually looking forward to the holidays this year and my skin hasn't been dictating my plans for each day. Normally I'd be stressing already over Thanksgiving, but I'm really excited about it! I wake up excited for the day, not terrified to look in the mirror and plan how I'm going to cover up all of the bumps. I haven't picked my skin in so long and that feels wonderful! I can still remember the shame and sadness that would follow the picking. I don't know if Accutane will be my cure, but for now I'm trying to remain hopeful. All I know is that for the first time in a very long time I feel free :) That sounds cheesy, but I feel like the shackles of acne are slowly coming off and that includes all of the emotional torment it has caused. I've let acne control so much of my life. I pray every day that I, along with all of you will have clear skin :)

12 weeks into taking Absorica

Today marks 12 weeks. I'm halfway through my course! I can't believe how fast it has gone by! I'm still on 50mg a day of Absorica.

My skin is doing pretty well. I've had 3 pimples this last week. One showed up on my right side above my lip, a clogged pore on my left side that I've had since before starting Absorica became inflamed and a really painful one developed on the right side of my neck just below my jawline. My skin is still doing great though. Those 3 pimples are nothing in comparison to what I started with.

I think I may need to switch face moisturizer soon because my face is definitely drying out.

As far as side effects go, nothing new to report. The dry eyes have subsided, but the joint pain has worsened. It's worse in the morning and it's mainly my back, neck, shoulders and ankles. It's manageable, but I'm looking forward to that side effect going away after I end my course. Hopefully it does!

Everything else is fine. No bowel issues, headaches or depression. Just chapped lips and joint pain.

I'm going to post some photos of the slight scarring I have and then photos with and without makeup.

I hope everyone else is doing well! :)

13 weeks into taking Absorica

This last week was pretty rough. I had a headache for 6 days straight and it eventually turned into one of the worst migraines I've ever had. Advil no longer works, so I had to use my Imitrex pills. I've never had to take 2 Imitrex pills to knock out a migraine, but this one just wouldn't budge, so I went ahead and took 2 pills. I have no idea if it's the Accutane causing these headaches, but it's miserable. I started feeling better yesterday and today I have just a touch of a headache. I have a history of migraines, but these headaches are different. I have an appointment with my derm today and shortly after that an appointment with my family doctor. I'll be discussing it at both. I have been drinking so much water lately that perhaps I threw off the balance of electrolytes and that caused the headaches. I don't really know. I think the medication may be affecting my blood sugar levels as well. I feel like I'm crashing after every meal. Again, I have no idea. I'm just speculating. Hopefully my derm and doctor will have some answers.

As far as my skin goes, it looks awesome! I had 2 more clogged pores become inflamed, but they healed in a few days. I'm down to only 2 more clogged pores. I don't have any active pimples nor do I have any blackheads. It's amazing! I think some of the old marks are starting to fade. I can't believe how clear my skin is! :)

The joint pain has subsided and the only real side effects I have are headaches and chapped lips.

I bought new running shoes and my ankles feel great. Maybe it was my shoes all along and not the Absorica. I've cut way back on exercising. I'm only walking 2 miles a day and I'm basically strolling along lol. I haven't done any weight training because frankly I felt like Hell this last week and didn't want to even try.

I decided to cut back on my water intake and I am sleeping better. I'm no longer waking up to pee several times at night. Hopefully I don't become constipated as a result of the decrease in water intake.

I have 3 months to go and I'm just praying that the headaches go. That's the one side effect that will make me stop the medication.

That's pretty much it. I hope everyone else is doing well :)

14 weeks into taking Absorica

Things are going well again :) My skin is clear except for a few clogged pores on my chin and several random flesh colored bumps on my forehead and cheek bones. They're only noticeable to me and it's probably because I inspect my face very closely. My old acne marks are improving every day and I don't even bother covering them with makeup anymore. I didn't get one single pimple this last week, which is incredible!!!

I haven't had a headache in 8 days, so that has been wonderful! At my last derm appointment she explained that whatever issue you have prior to starting Accutane will most likely worsen and or happen more often. I have had migraines off and on for 12 years, so it makes sense that the headaches would be the thing to worsen. I received a new Imitrex prescription from my family doctor and he instructed me to skip taking over the counter pain relievers first and instead go straight to the Imitrex if I feel a bad headache/migraine coming on.

My main side effects are chapped lips, dry eyes and slight joint pain in my ankles. I thought new running shoes did the trick, but the ankle soreness came back. My eyes are dry off and on and I think much of that is due to the wind, cold dry air and the use of the heater in both my car and home. It's an easy fix with eye drops.

The skin outside my nostrils is a little dry and flaky because I've been blowing my nose like crazy. This isn't anything new for me. If I go from inside a warm house or building out to the cold or vice versa, my nose immediately starts running. I just put Aquaphor healing ointment on it and it's fine. It hasn't cracked or bled. It's just kind of annoying and looks a little unsightly.

My exercise routine has taken a huge hit. I'm not terribly fatigued prior to exercising, but during exercise I struggle. I've limited it to only an hour every day of a slow walk. When I say slow, I mean very, very slow lol. I've stopped all weight training because I'm trying to avoid more intense joint pain.

Cutting down on my water intake has had a huge improvement on my sleep. I'm sleeping better and I'm not peeing all day and night long. I live in the mountains, so driving to the city takes about an hour and a half. I would have to stop at least once to pee at a gas station half way. It was ridiculous. I'm only drinking 90 ounces of water a day and it seems to be a perfect amount. My lips and skin are not any drier because of it.

At my next appointment in December my derm and I will discuss how much longer I have to go. I may be able to stop after 5 months, but if I can tolerate the side effects and it's safe to continue on the medication, I'd like to complete 6 full months. My blood work has all come back fine, but my triglycerides and cholesterol have increased. My cholesterol started at 198 and it is now 283. My derm said that they'll take me off of the medication if it reaches 400, so luckily I have a ways to go.

That's basically it. Thankfully I don't have much to report :)

15 weeks into taking Absorica

My side effects are about the same and everything seems to be going well :)

Still have slightly chapped lips and mild joint pain in my right ankle and under my left shoulder blade. It's nothing severe just really annoying. In the last two days I've noticed a little bit of tingling in my left pinky finger. It may be some sort of nerve pain. It's not really painful. It just feels like it's losing feeling. So weird. Probably not related to Accutane, but who knows.

My eyes are still dry and my face is dry, but not terribly. It just feels a little tight.

My hair is breaking at every tiny split end, so it looks wild right now. I have hair sticking out everywhere. On days where it looks really crazy, I wear a beanie lol. I'm only washing my hair once a week.

No headaches this last week! :)

I've been a bit more emotional lately, but I do have a lot going on (my sister who is my best friend just joined the Army for the next 6 years and I'm going to miss her beyond measure). Around 8 weeks into taking Absorica I felt really unphased by things and pretty emotionless. Now at 15 weeks I feel a little hypersensitive. It may be more related to hormones though as my breasts hurt and I'm not due to start my period for nearly 2 more weeks. I'm also on the birth control pill, so it's odd my hormones feel off. I'm not sure if it's the Absorica throwing things off.

I've kept my water intake at 2 to 3 litres a day and that seems to be the perfect amount.

I've had a little trouble with constipation throughout my course and I had developed what I thought was a hemorrhoid (way too much info). I actually think it's an anal fissure because when I wiped after going there was a little streak of blood. I'll definitely let my derm know at my appointment next month. I don't know if this counts as rectal bleeding, but I imagine so. I'm thinking it's just a tear in the lining, but I'm not a doctor so I need to bring it up to one. I know this is very personal info, but in my Absorica pamphlet it lists rectal bleeding as a possible side effect and my derm asks about it at every visit. I figured it was worth mentioning here.

As far as my skin goes it looks great! No new pimples! :) I have gotten about a dozen or so blackheads on my forehead and a few on my cheeks, but they flake off in about a day or two. None of them have become actual pimples. My marks keep fading and things are going great! :)

16 weeks into taking Absorica

Things are going well still. Not much to report this update.

Side effects are about the same. Slight joint pain in my right ankle and I still have chapped lips.

My skin is pretty fragile, so I cut my nails as short as I could because I keep scratching myself randomly. I've noticed that my skin tears really easily. I cut the top of my finger on a wheat thin cracker. Sad haha.

No rectal bleeding this last week and no headaches.

I'm still a little fatigued, but I kind of feel like I've just gotten used to it. I do hope my energy levels return to normal after I end my course.

My skin is looking good! I'm still not 100% clear and I'm beginning to think that I may not reach that point during my course. The small bumps on my forehead cleared up, but the very last clogged pore on the right side of my chin became inflamed. It was gone in about two days. I had two new pimples pop up yesterday on my left jawline. I'm due to start my period in about 4 days, so I'm not surprised, but I am slightly disappointed. If those become my normal pimples I'll still be very pleased with the results because those two are tiny in comparison to what I started with.

I have noticed that all of the pimples that have occurred on Accutane have scarred. As the hyperpigmentation continues to fade I can better see the scarring and I didn't realize how extensive the scars were. Thankfully they're pretty shallow.

I hope everyone is doing well! :)

17 weeks into taking Absorica

Not much to report. Two spots on my left jawline became inflamed pustules and I developed another on my right lower cheek. They all healed in a few days, but they each left pretty obvious red marks. They are now peeling like crazy. I was hoping I'd be clear on Thanksgiving, but I had one active and a lovely peely scab. Oh well. At least they were really small.

As far as side effects go, everything has been the same. I ended up getting another headache that turned into a migraine, which was awful. I'm almost certain it is my birth control pill as the last two months the headaches have started a day before the placebo pills and lasted until the day before a new pack. As a result I did not begin a new pack of Beyaz yesterday. I'm not sure how this is going to affect my skin. In the ipledge system my two forms of birth control are condoms and male vasectomy. Thankfully, stopping the pill will not affect ipledge. Just a heads up for females, my derm told me that if you change your birth control method from non hormonal to hormonal you will have to wait an entire month before picking up a new prescription of Accutane to insure that the hormonal method has had enough time to become effective.

I have a derm appointment on December 3rd at which time I'll find out how much longer I'll be on Accutane. I may only have one more month to go.

My lips are still chapped and I still have slight joint pain. I actually took last week off from exercising and my ankle felt so much better. I went on a walk around my neighborhood with my family and dog yesterday and my ankle was really sore towards the end and then after the walk. I have to admit, I'm kind of ready to finish my course. Between the joint pain and the incessant use of lip balm, I'm looking forward to ending my course. I'll be totally honest, I'm not sure Accutane is going to keep me clear after I stop taking it. In 2 days I'll have officially completed 4 months and just 2 days ago I got another pimple. My face is so much better, in fact my transformation is amazing in my opinion, but I don't think this is going to be my cure. I think Accutane is just going to get my skin back to where I started when I was 12, which means always having at least an active pimple, a healing pimple and/or a red mark at all times. I know that I still have at least another month to go if not two, so I'm trying to be optimistic, but I'm almost at the 4 month mark and I'm still breaking out.

Well that's about it. I hope everyone else is doing well and seeing great results with minimal side effects :)

18 weeks into taking Absorica

Things are going well! Side effects are about the same. I still have chapped lips, dry nostrils and ankle pain. No depression, hair loss, headaches or eczema. I no longer have dry eyes, my hair is no longer breaking (I'm only washing it once a week while using conditioner on the ends every day) and I have not had any more rectal bleeding. All things considered, everything is going great.

At the moment I have two tiny blackheads. That's it! No actives and no scabs! This is amazing for me! I am 3 days into my 5th month, so it took a little longer than my derm said it would, but I am officially clear! :)

My blood work came back great and my cholesterol and fasting glucose levels went down. Weird, but I'll take it as a good thing!

I discussed how much longer I have to go with my derm and she suggested going the full 6 months. She said if I can tolerate the side effects I might as well keep going in order to lower my chances of relapse. I'll finish a bit above the maximum 150mg per kg of body weight, but she said that is fine. If I do decide that I cannot keep going and only complete 5 months, I'll finish right in the middle of the 120mg- 150mg per kg of body weight.

I hope everyone is doing well! :)

19 weeks into taking Absorica

All is going well! :) I don't have too much time to update, so I'll make this short and sweet.

Consistent daily side effects: chapped lips and slight ankle pain.

Skin condition: dry face first thing in the morning and at the end of the day. No peeling or eczema, but I've gotten heat rash on my stomach after exercising the last 2 days. Not a single new pimple or clogged pore on my face! I'm completely clear!!! :)

Psychological: no depression or mood changes.

Bowel side effects: slight constipation, nothing too severe.

Hair and nails: still washing only once a week and using conditioner daily. No hair loss or issues with my nails.

Eyes: dry eyes come and go. It's not a huge bother though. I just use eye drops to combat it.

Headaches: only one headache on Wednesday last week after I went too long without eating. Stopping the birth control pill, Beyaz has basically eliminated all of my headaches.

I'm still on a total of 50mg a day (20mg in the morning and 30mg in the evening). I'm taking 2 to 3 days off a week from exercise and I'm still drinking 3 litres of water daily.

As a side note, I have a congenital heart condition and in November I had my annual echocardiagram (heart ultrasound). I received the results earlier this month and all is well. Accutane has not negatively affected my heart. Also, back in September I had my annual eye exam and Accutane has not affected my eye sight.

I hope everyone is doing great on their journeys! If you are just starting hang in there and try to stay positive and hopeful. For everyone nearing the end of their course you guys are awesome! You did it! :)

20 weeks into taking Absorica

I don't really have much to report. My lips are still a little chapped and I have a small patch of eczema on the right side of my neck below my ear. That's about the extent of my side effects! :)

No headaches, bowel issues, insomnia or depression.

I no longer have an issue with dry eyes and my right ankle joint pain basically vanished this last week! I've been taking it a little easier as far as exercise goes and I think that has been a huge help.

My skin is looking great! I get these tiny blackheads that flake off in a day or two. It's no big deal. I have a tiny pimple (if I can even call it that) on my chin. It's the size of a pen dot. I still can't get over how smooth my skin feels! It's amazing!

I just wanted to mention a more personal side effect... I haven't had any issues with yeast infections during my course, but I am really dry during sex. Lube is an absolute must every time. I've always been on the drier side, so I think Accutane has just exacerbated it. Also, just a heads up to any ladies who shave in that region, be careful! That skin is so sensitive and fragile. I'd also refrain from waxing that area. I don't wax any area of my body, but I imagine it would tear the skin right off down there! Ouch!

That's it! I hope you all are doing well on your courses! Merry Christmas everyone! :)

22 weeks into taking Absorica

I have officially completed 5 full months!!! :) I go for blood work tomorrow and then on Tuesday I have a derm appointment. Because of the way the dates fell this month I'll go the next 3 days without medication. I'm curious to see how my skin does over the next few days.

I'm excited and nervous to end my course in a month. I just hope and pray my results last. At this point I've hit my cumulative dose, so hopefully month 6 will help my overall results that much more.

Side effects are the same. I still have chapped lips and joint pain. I'm really getting tired of the joint pain. It's much better on days that I don't exercise and that has been extremely frustrating as exercise is so important to my overall health and stress levels. My sister gave me her elliptical, so I've been using that and it has helped tremendously with my ankle pain. Also, I went on YouTube and looked up how to properly lace running shoes and just changing that alone has provided so much support to my ankles.

For Christmas my husband booked me a massage and that was a huge help! I definitely recommend getting one if you can. It really helped with the sore muscles and being massaged with moisturizing lotion was just a bonus. Speaking of Christmas, my goal from day one was to be clear by Christmas day. I had one tiny active and I mean it was tiny! Not a huge deal.

I've been sick this last week and this particular cold has been brutal. I am wiped out with fatigue. The constant blowing my nose has done a number on my nostrils. They're red, raw and sore. Not much has helped since I'm constantly blowing my nose. I've been more sick in the past, but I feel like Accutane has eliminated my energy and motivation. I don't get much done these days lol.

As far as mood goes, I've been fine. I was told prior to starting Accutane that I would still need to address the underlying emotional issues I had, but for me personally my acne has been the biggest contributor to my history of depression. With a clear face I feel like I can tackle anything. I know that sounds cheesy, but seriously. Having a clear face has completely removed the anxiety and stress I used to constantly feel regarding my skin. It's like a huge weight has been lifted. The last clogged pore on my left side became inflamed yesterday and that all too familiar sadness set in. I had to remind myself that it's just one pimple, not a dozen in addition to a face full of open and closed comedones. Accutane hasn't caused any depression for me. In fact, it has been more effective combating it than any natural aide or antidepressant because it has eliminated the very thing that was destroying me emotionally.

I hope you guys are all doing well. Happy New Year everyone! :)

23 weeks into taking Absorica

Things are going well. I am in my 6th and final month. I'm still on 50mg a day (20mg in the morning and 30mg in the evening).

Side effects are still manageable. The joint pain let up this last week, so that has been great! I had a 3 day break from the medication as I ended month 5 on Saturday and picked up month 6 on Tuesday after my derm appointment, so I didn't start month 6 until Wednesday morning. The break didn't seem to negatively affect my skin. My lips didn't seem as chapped, which was nice, but they're now back to being chapped.

Up until this last month I had paid very little for Absorica. However, because it is a new year my insurance deductible started over, so it was $96 for my derm visit and a whopping $475 for one month of Absorica, 50mg a day. I was blown away by the price. I wanted to just stop the medication, but I couldn't handle the thought of possibly relapsing as a result. Needless to say, Accutane can be very expensive despite having insurance.

No bowel issues, depression, dry eyes or hair loss. I had a tiny patch of eczema on my right middle finger and a little dry, flaky spot on the top of my right foot. Kind of weird lol. That's about it as far as side effects.

As far as my skin, it looks great! I've had a few tiny blackheads here and there flake off, but I haven't had any actual pimples. My scarring is becoming more and more noticeable though. It's not a huge deal, but I think it makes my skin look a lot more aged than it should. As long as it stays clear, I don't care about the scarring.

I hope everyone is doing well! Hang in there if you're just starting your course! It'll be worth it :)

24 weeks into taking Absorica

I don't really have much to report. Everything is about the same. Still experiencing slight joint pain in my right ankle and chapped lips. Skin looks good. I still get tiny blackheads here and there and I had a small pimple appear on Monday on my right cheek that cleared up in a few days. I was prone to flushing prior to Accutane, but it seems to happen far more often now. It feels almost like a hot flashes as I can feel my cheeks turning pink and they're very warm to the touch. It doesn't bother me too much. Other than that, everything is going great :)

25 weeks into taking Absorica

Everything is going pretty well. I'm still on 50mg a day of Absorica.

Side effects are still the same. I have slightly chapped lips and mild joint pain in my right ankle. No depression/mood changes, bowel issues, sleep issues, eczema, dry eyes etc. Other than the chapped lips and the ankle pain I feel like I'm not even on the medication.

I am still washing my face in the morning and at night with Vanicream cleansing bar. I use Neutrogena oil free moisture for sensitive skin on my face after washing. I take one shower a day in the morning and moisturize my body afterwards with Eucerin skin calming daily moisturizing cream. I am only washing my hair once a week with Aussie moist shampoo, but I use Aussie moist conditioner every day. I am still using Blistex medicated lip ointment for my lips. Occasionally I use Blistex lip medex in the blue tub. I no longer need eye drops. Dry eyes hasn't been an issue for a few months.

My skin is still doing well. I get blackheads here and there that flake off and I had one tiny pimple develop on my right temple along my hairline. It was gone in 2 days. I currently have a tiny pimple on my chin. It's so tiny that it's not a big deal, but it kind of worries me that I'm still getting a few at this point. I have 11 days left on Absorica and I'm very concerned that my acne will return. I suppose only time will tell.

I am experiencing flushing, but I was very prone to it before taking Accutane. It comes on randomly, but other times it happens when I get embarrassed or self conscious. It's not really a big deal, but I wanted to mention it. A close friend of mine took Accutane nearly 16 years ago and she still gets flushing on her neck and chest if she's embarrassed, nervous or excited. Also, if I scratch my skin it turns bright red. It's not just pink it's red. It takes a while to return to normal color.

I haven't had any hair loss on my head, but I have lost quite a few eyelashes and eyebrows. One of my eyebrows has a gap in it. I hope it grows back after I end my course. Also, my eyebrows seem to sweat any time I am remotely warm. They itch a lot too, which might be why they are falling out. Perhaps I'm scratching too hard and forcing the hair to fall out. I don't know, but it's annoying lol.

I have a few questions for those who have completed their course.
1. Did you continue to get blackheads and small pimples 6 months into your treatment? Is this normal?
2. How long after ending your course did you color or hightlight your hair? Did it cause damage? Did your hair start falling out after your course ended?
3. I've read that I need to use 2 forms of contraception for a month following the end of my course. I'm not super worried that I'll get pregnant as my husband has a Vasectomy, but how soon after ending your course did you go back to only one form of contraception?

Thank you in advance to anyone that can answer these questions. I greatly appreciate it! :)

I hope everyone is doing well!

My last day on Absorica

Hey everyone! Today is my final day on Absorica! I can't believe how fast 6 months went by! My results are just amazing! I couldn't be happier! :)

I'll be sure to check back in as my skin and body adjust to being off the medication. I'm praying with every ounce of my soul that my results are permanent.

I wish you all the best on your journeys. Hang in there when the side effects become tough and annoying. I'll be thinking about each of you :)

1 month post Absorica

Tomorrow marks one month since I ended my 6 month Accutane course. My skin is still doing pretty well! I've had several pimples and small bumps, but thankfully nothing devastating. My skin isn't perfect, but I'm still really happy with my results! :)

My face is dry and I still use moisturizer morning and night after washing. I've basically had a tiny bump of some sort every day ever since stopping Absorica. I think this may be my new normal.

Most of the side effects have subsided, but a few are still present. My lips are still a little chapped, but nothing like they were on Accutane. I use some sort of lip balm a few times a day, but I no longer have to apply it like it's an addiction. At around 3 weeks post Absorica I noticed a huge improvement in my lips and the skin on my body. I still have to moisturize after my showers, but I can get away with not doing so for a day or two. The oil in my hair has come back just a bit, so I'm now washing twice a week.

The joint pain in my right ankle comes and goes. I think it may be permanent. It's not excruciating, but sometimes it is very painful. It does make exercising beyond 30 minutes difficult. I don't know if this was something that Accutane caused or if it was inevitable regardless. I suppose I'll never know.

I haven't had any issues with my bowels since stopping. I also haven't noticed any hair loss. In fact, my eyebrows and eyelashes seem to have stopped falling out which is great! No sexual side effects either. I can finally wash my hands again without slathering on lotion afterwards and I haven't had any patches of eczema since stopping. The face flushing comes and goes. I think it's more hormonal than anything.

Overall, I feel really good despite my skin not being 100% clear. 10 days after I ended my course I had a tiny pin dot sized pimple show up beside my nose. It wasn't a big deal as it was so incredibly tiny. Oddly enough a few days later I had one on the other side of my nose appear. From then on I've had some sort bump every day. It's annoying yes, but nothing like it was pre Accutane. The bumps I get now are so tiny and seem shallow. They're not the deep painful, throbbing ones I used to get. They clear up in about 4 to 5 days.

It is so freeing to just wake up and go. I haven't worn any face makeup other than eye makeup and that feels awesome! I finally know what it's like to not really think about my skin every waking moment of every day. I truly think Accutane was such a great decision! As of now I don't have any regrets, except for waiting so long to try it. I have my last blood work appointment on Tuesday next week to be sure everything has returned to baseline and a derm appointment the following day on Wednesday.

I hope you are all doing well on your courses. I know it can be rocky at times, but the end result is so worth it :) I wish you all the best! I'll update again in another month. Take care everyone!

3 months post Absorica

Hi guys. I just wanted to log back in and post an update. It has been 3 months since my last pill of Absorica and my skin is looking great! :) I still get tiny little bumps here and there, but I haven't had an actual pimple in about 2 months. I almost think my skin looks better now than it did in the last few months of Accutane. I always have some sort of tiny bump every single day, but my skin is a lot more hydrated than it was on Accutane so I think overall it looks better. It's odd though.... most of my tiny bumps are only my cheek bones, a place I didn't normally break out before Accutane. My chin and forehead were my problem areas and it seems like now I get tiny bumps on my cheek bones too. Some of the oil came back at about 2 months post Absorica, but I think this is what normal oil levels are, so it's kind of nice. I have a bit of a glow, not cracking dry skin or an oil slick. I don't wear face makeup, just eye makeup, so I can't say how foundation or concealer would look or feel on my skin. I'm still using the same cleansing and moisturizing products on my face, but I was able to switch to a more mild body lotion without any issues. My lips returned to normal at about 5 weeks after stopping Absorica. I still use Blistex, but I really only use it maybe twice a day. I remember the first day I went all day without any sort of lip ointment and I was thrilled lol. I now wash my hair 2-3 times a week. The weather here in California has been warming up, so it seems to become greasy a little faster now. One of the biggest issues I had on Accutane was joint pain. I'm happy to say that it seems to have subsided! :) I cannot even begin to explain the relief. It was never severe, but it was enough that it bothered me and made exercising difficult. I'm still walking/jogging 4-5 miles daily and it feels great! I don't have any issues with dry eyes, blood in my nostrils, constipation, hair loss, depression, etc. All of my blood results returned to baseline a month after stopping. It seems as though all of my side effects have ceased now that I'm off the medication. I'm so very grateful for this as I know that others are not as fortunate. I'm going to try to update every 3 months. One of the things that I searched and searched for before beginning Accutane was the stories after a course ended. It was so hard to find a follow up months, years after. I'm going to try to do that for you guys in hopes it'll help someone out there make a decision about whether or not to take the medication. I get why people don't update... it's because they start living! It's an amazing feeling to no longer stress over your skin, to no longer research endlessly about "curing" your acne, to not worry, change plans and avoid events or stress over skin care, dietary restrictions/ changes and the expense behind it all. It is such freedom no longer having acne. Not too long ago it hit me... so this is what it feels like to not think about your skin all day every day! I can't believe I missed out on that for 17 years of my life! I wish more than anything that acne didn't exist and that none of us had to deal with the pain it brings, but I am so grateful that Accutane exists. I hope that everyone on the medication is doing well and for those considering please do your research. I wish you all the best! :)

6 months post Absorica and acne is back

My acne has returned, although not as badly as before taking Accutane. I ended my course in February and by April the small bumps increased enough for me to start worrying. By June I officially had acne again. I just went to my derm last week and she prescribed Epiduo Forte. I go back in six weeks to see if that has helped. My acne is mild, but it's definitely disappointing that Accutane didn't work for me. I didn't expect to have clear skin forever, but 2 months just doesn't seem fair. I'm pretty certain my acne is hormonal, so until I get that sorted out I'm stuck with acne. I've reached the point where I'm over this whole battle. I'm going to accept that I have acne. It's the hand I was dealt. My plan now is to keep it under control since I have no faith in ever "curing" it. It's mainly my forehead, so at least my whole face isn't covered in acne.

I wish all of you who are on Accutane a great journey and long term results. I don't regret my decision to take Accutane. It just didn't put my acne into remission unfortunately. Your experience may be different, so don't lose hope. Hang in there! ????
Dr. Jessica Krigbaum

Dr. Krigbaum is amazing! She has worked so closely with me over the last year to develop a skin care plan that meets my needs. She's extremely kind, very thorough in her approach and very professional. Acne is such a tough topic to discuss and she never once made me feel ashamed or embarrassed. She's compassionate and understanding, but most importantly she knows her field so very well! Acne treatments can become expensive over time and she has always made sure to give me samples and coupons for prescriptions. She's definitely down to earth and she has made me feel very welcome and comfortable. She's also very honest. She has a straight forward approach and I appreciate that. One of the best parts about visiting Fresno Dermatology Specialists is that none of the staff make you feel rushed. Both Dr. Paz and Dr. Krigbaum, the medical assistants and the receptionists are all very polite and have spent time addressing all of my needs, concerns and questions.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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