31 Yr Old Mild but Persistent Acne - Naperville, IL

I finally decided to talk to my dermatologist...

I finally decided to talk to my dermatologist about Accutane largely because of reading all of the awesome reviews on here!

I just turned 31 years old, and have suffered from mild/moderate bouts of acne in the past 3-4 years. Nothing major or cystic, but still- persistent.

My skin was clear through my teens and early twenties with the occasional blemish here or there... But around 26-27 my skin and hair became much more oily and hard to deal with. Makeup melted off unless I reapplied powder every couple hours, and after powdering all day at work, I would still get home feeling like I had a caked greasy mask sliding off my face. I probably exacerbated the problem by over washing and avoiding moisturizer because I got to a point where anything except squeaky clean just felt gross (I know, squeaky clean is so bad and only makes your glands produce more oil.... I just really developed an aversion to anything that made me feel remotely greasy at all... Sigh)

After the increased oil production came the acne... Weirdly on my cheeks and temples mostly. I changed laundry detergents, Stopped using dryer sheets, changed my pillowcase constantly, wore my hair off my face, changed my shampoo.... All to no avail. Finally I went to see a dermatologist who first put my on topicals... Differin, Aczone, and some other sulfur type of topical treatment. I hated layering products on my face, (again- the greasy aversion) and I didn't see much improvement.

Went back and Derm put me on spironolactone and had me continue using Differin- little improvement but not much.

A month before I got married I went back and the Derm gave me Solodyn to add to the regimen- and wow I saw an improvement! My skin was awesome after 2 weeks, and remained great for months after. I think it was mostly due to the Solodyn.... unfortunately, you can't stay on antibiotics too long.
Over the following months, I started to get small acne again, annoying. This time not so much on my cheeks, but more so randomly across forehead and chin. And I got way more oily! Eek

Went back to my dermatologist around October 30th 2015 to inquire about Accutane, see if I was a candidate for this treatment, and start the process. My doctor put me back on antibiotics for the month leading up to start date, and the first month to hopefully help avoid any 'worsening' stage.

After getting the bloodwork and pregnancy tests done, ( and waiting for one whole excruciatingly long month! ) I finally was cleared to get the medicine. Everything was good, and my dermatologist wrote me a prescription for 25mg Absorica 2x a day for 5-6 months.

Strangely enough- I had a very hard time finding anywhere that would have Absorica in stock before my window was up.... I wanted to try the brand name instead of the generic because my doctor mentioned that the generic might cause a little more stomach upset if not taken with a full stomach, and plus my insurance would cover Absorica. I live in a major city (Chicago) and I must have called every pharmacy within a 100mile radius and no one would be able to get it until the morning after my window was up... Apprently nowhere carries it because a 30 day supply costs about $2,075 without insurance.... So most likely it will have to be ordered.

I reallllly did not want to wait another month to start, so my doctor ended up having to change the prescription to Claravis ( the generic - which most places have in stock) so I could begin treatment and not miss my window.

I started the treatment 3 days ago, on December 12, 2015.

I have not had any side effects or dryness, yet- but I am prepared for that and hopeful that the end results will be worth it.

I am hoping to have perfect skin by the end of this, and hopefully the oil on my face and scalp will decrease as well! Fingers crossed I am a lucky one who sees improvement quickly!

1 month on Accutane

Had some difficulties getting Absorica (no where could get it in time for the 7 day window!) so my doc changed my prescription to Claravis - 20mg 2x daily.

I also discovered that the difference between the 2 doesn't have anything to do with one being more prone to upsetting your stomach- as I had thought I heard before... But rather the name brand (Absorica) has better... Absorption.. lol. While the generic (Claravis) needs to be taken after eating in order to absorb properly. The Claravis actually has been working fine- so while I was dead set on getting the Absorica if I could because I have good insurance- I actually think I will stick with the Claravis throughout the duration of my treatment- it seems easier to obtain anyways. Also, it only cost $10 to fill my prescription.

Helpful hint- one of the nurses suggested eating a spoonful of peanut butter with each dose to help with absorption- perfect excuse to eat Justin's Maple Almond Butter every day ;)

Anyways- on to the side effects.

Started noticing dry lips about 3 days in. Everyone always complains about the dry lips- I felt like I was prepared for this.... But holy cow I was not expecting this dry. I tried the Aquaphor Chapstick in the pot that my derm recommended - messy and didn't last long. Had to reapply a ton. Luckily through the suggestion of a relative- I have discovered the holy grail of Chapstick-- pure lanolin. Picked some up in the baby section at Target for $10- it is usually used for breastfeeding mothers with dry/cracked nipples-- but it has worked wonders for these Accutane lips.

Started noticing dry skin about 5-6 days into treatment- present acne dried up, was a little flakey but barely.

About 2 weeks in I got a tiny pimple on my chin, and tried to pop it... Oh my. Do NOT touch your face when you're on this stuff. I squeezed the tiniest bit, and had a huge dry patch around the entire area for the next 4 days, peeling off in layers. Not worth it... Hands off!

I had read on a bunch of reviews that people feel like their blackheads slowly come to the surface and then all of a sudden just rinse off one day... So I'm not going to lie I was really looking forward to that part..

Week 2 I definitely felt like everything was coming to the surface- thankfully not in the form of a breakout- but literally I could feel the hard little plugs of dried sebum coming to the surface of my skin. They weren't exactly 'washing away' as I had hoped, so I stupidly decided to just exfoliate with a wet towel. Another lesson learned- any type of harsh treatment of your skin on Accutane- even as early as 2 weeks in- will leave you hell to pay... Don't do it. I've been dealing with huge dry patches on my chin and nose from my little exfoliation attempt, for the past week. Can't even cover this dryness with makeup, as it makes it look worse! Arg.

I have been using a gentle scrub to cleanse when I have makeup on which seems to be working well, cereve moisturizing cleanser when I do not have makeup on, and cereve moisturizer which- for the first time in my life actually absorbs into my skin and doesn't feel gross or greasy like it used to.

Went to derm yesterday- will be upping dosage to 30mg twice daily for month 2. Also she is taking me off of the antibiotics which I am kind of nervous about.. I hope that I am past the point of initial breakout- fingers crossed I skip that part!
Dr. Cara Bushemi

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