35 Year Old Nursing Student with Mild to Moderate Acne, Moving Forward with Isotretinoin (Accutane) - Vancouver, WA

I have been reading nonstop reviews for the past...

I have been reading nonstop reviews for the past couple months about isotretinoin (Accutane), so I wanted to give back so that someone similar to me might benefit from my posts. I am a 35 year old female who has a long history with zits. In middle school and high school I used Retin-A 0.25%, and it kept things under control until I had kids, which cleared my skin. I battled the monthly breakouts, but they were never severe, and never scarred. My skin was great overall. Now, 12 years later, my acne is progressing. I used an Alpha Hydroxy cream for several years that kept my complexion decent, but it began to fail about a year or two ago. My doctor prescribed Epidou and Spironolactone, and I had high hopes for the spiro. The Epiduo wreaked havoc on my skin-what I thought was the initial breakout progressed for three months, and left me more scarred. Now, after four months, the spiro has done nothing (100 mg/day). I'm 5'5 and 125 lbs with an overall healthy diet.
Cue the dermatologist. I'm finishing nursing school, so I'm pretty savvy to meds, and I asked for Accutane. He obliged, understanding that even mild-to-moderate acne can be severely depressing. I put mineral powder on my worst spots after showering because I don't even want my husband to see the spots. I took my initial blood and urine tests a month ago, then again a few days ago. I pick my prescription up today, and I'm starting at 30 mg/day. I'm terrified about the IB since I just went through Hell with Epiduo-especially with family coming for Christmas. But the idea of going makeup free someday is thrilling. Wish me luck, and feel free to follow. I'll update frequently-at least every couple days!

Day 2 (only one pill down)-here we go

Oh, man. I know I said I hoped for side effects soon, but the one that worried me most is here. The headache.
I have a long, looooong history with headaches and migraines (several per month, with more mild headaches nearly daily). A few hours after taking my first pill yesterday, I developed a mild but annoying headache. Now I've awoken to it, and it's insanely aggravating. It's bad enough that I'm really hating it. The worst part is that it's untouchable. 800 mg ibuprofen and large amounts of water won't touch it. It feels EXACTLY like a hangover. Same location, SAMs dull ache. I'm sooooo crossing my fingers that this phase passes, but it will CAUSE the severe depression side effect! On another note, I got my Aquaphor for my lips, and some CeraVe lotion for my face yesterday. Everybody says to start moisturizing from day one, but the idea of putting LOTION on my face is still just too insane to me. Hello, breakout! Nah. I'm gonna have to wait until the dryness sets in. I just can't bring myself to moisturize my zits.

Anyways, cross your fingers for me. This headache is the hell from a hangover without the fun of drinking the night before!

Morning of day 3-first tiny signs of drying out

No photos since A. I'm wearing makeup already, B. The lighting is different, and C. There's nothing to see. BUT last night I itched like you wouldn't believe. My arms and wrists, mainly, and the sides of my neck. So my skin is definitely starting to dry out, even if it's the earliest stages. I also skipped BP last night for the first time. I've opted to not switch my skincare routine until I have reason to-I didn't want to exacerbate an initial breakout by suddenly stopping everything before the Accutane does anything. I wash morning and evening with Acne Free face wash (with BP-a great alternative to Proactiv wash), and follow that with Pixi Glow Tonic toner (amazing stuff with Glycolic Acid). THEN I rub in a couple drops of Aloha Hydroxy Intensive Serum (14% AHA), and-once that dries-I rub in some 2.5% BP (generic Proactiv). Despite all the Glycolic acid, I've never tingled much. My skin is pretty used to the acid exfoliation. However, last night I was a bit red and tingly after the Intensive Serum, so I skipped the BP and rubbed a pea sized amount of CeraVe lotion on my cheeks/mouth/chin area (skipped forehead). It instantly soothed.
This morning I moisturized again before makeup, after serum. Once the serum starts to redden or burn, I'll toss that as well.
I think the lotion is a good idea. Although I'm the only one who could notice, my skin is just now starting to show the earliest signs of a dryer texture. Not pretty. I can barely feel it, but there's the ever-so-slight feeling of the most mild sunburn. Barely noticeable, but at least I know the process is starting. I also take my pill in the AM with a couple TBSP of peanut butter on an apple-absorption is twice as good with significant fat eaten at dosing.

I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas, only Santa might burn the house down. I'm excited and terrified at the same time-not for my health, but for what I fear I'll look like in a week.

More to follow!

The struggle is real

Accutane is about give and take. Everything changes. BP? No more. Then, tonight, I was rubbing lotion into my FACE-crazy, I know-and I was all like, 'Woo-hoo! Look at me putting lotion on my face like a normal person who hasn't had shitty skin since puberty!'

I saw the tiniest bit of flakiness. Bam. Pretty exciting.

Here's the struggle(s):
Look at my forehead. Apparently healing goes bye-bye with Accutane. So I chose NOW as the perfect time to curling iron burn myself since, well, high school. Ugh. And the nasal strip. Yeah, I'm sure that's a no-no, but a girl's gotta breathe at night! So one of these updates soon will probably be a photo of my nose peeled down to the cartilage. But whatever. Hopefully I decide to give up the strips before that.

Day 4 (I'm probably updating too often)

As I type this, I am a zombie. There are side effects I didn't anticipate, and I sooooo hope they go away.
Insomnia. Wicked insomnia, which is mostly due to CRAZY dreams. Like, vivid, real life, nutso dreams. I'd heard of this once or twice with Accutane, but wow. It hit me, and almost from the first day. I may dig the Melatonin out of the back of the cupboard. However, a welcome side effect: yesterday and today have been the first times in over a year I haven't woken up to a plugged solid nose. Don't get me wrong-I'm still stuffy-but nothing like normal. That's kinda cool.
Here's the worst, though, and I'd never heard of it: lost sense of taste. I noticed yesterday that I couldn't taste the fudge I was eating. Like, literally could not taste it. My sushi was tasteless, too. I can lightly taste curry and my coffee, which are both powerful strong. This is a bit devastating, but apparently it's not in my head, because once I googled it-sure enough. Others have had it. I could cry. Oh, well. It makes healthy eating easier!

On a last note, I woke up to smooth skin. The calm before the storm, I'm sure-but my existing zits did that strange thing where a perfect circular scab forms around them and they just...fell off. Literally. So, I have red and brown marks, but no lumps aside from the healing two at my eyebrows.
I bet the worst is just around the corner.

Day 4 morning pics (forgot to post)

The lighting is different, but here are the marks left after the existing zits scanned snd fell off. You can't really see the flaky skin surrounding the buffer ones, but lemme tell you-seeing the scabs fall off without picking was enough to make me squeal. I'm still full of marks, but as my acne sisters know, flat marks are cover-uppable.

Day 5 and soooo sleepy

Well, it's morning 5, and-unfortunately-there's nothing interesting to report. This seems to be *about* the time that people's skin starts peeling, flaking, breaking out, melting, turning green, whatever, but no such luck here. I haven't gotten any new significant spots, but I'm also not miraculously clear. The stupid eyebrow spots are not budging. I analyzed my skin closely in the mirror last night (as usual), and decided that the little bumpiness drives me bonkers as much as the inflamed zits. Even if all of my red marks disappeared overnight, the 'not smooth' aspect would remain. It would be awesome if Accutane fixes that! I'm really nice to all of my patients, and I rescued all sorts of wounded animals growing up, so I'm trying to cash in my karma points for clear skin! :-D

My arms are much less itchy if I wear short sleeves. Fabric irritates them, especially if it's snug (like my favorite Under Armour). My scalp itches from time to time, but I'm on Hair Day 3 (washed Thursday morning, now Saturday morning), and it's not at all greasy. We will evaluate it tomorrow, since that would normally be my max before my temples started to look oily.

My son did say last night that my skin looks more rosy and 'glowy'...but I was kind of heavy handed with my blush. I'll post side pics of yesterday (with makeup). The pics look great. My skin does not...don't be fooled! My lips are starting to be annoying. Not painful or chapped, but they feel like they have clay on them if they aren't lubed up. Does that make sense? Anyway.

Cross your fingers for something cool to happen!

Day 6...brutal headache

Not much to report for change. Last night we went to a get together, and I declined my favorite beer. Depressing, but it's not worth the reported hangovers. However, I still woke up with a nasty headache that won't go away. No amount of water or ibuprofen will help. It sucks.

Last night I did notice after washing my face that my skin had an overall nice little glow to it. Nothing that someone else would even notice, but when we analyze our skin like us acne sisters do, it's noticeable. I have flakiness, but barely. Just a little white flake here and there, especially where pimples dried and healed, but no overall dryness. No initial breakout. One new, small pimple on my forehead/temple. Lips are fine-they just feel a little bit 'clay covered' if I don't lube them, but it's minor at most.

I'd sure like the headache to go away. It's ruining my day:( But, alas-it's the price we pay for beauty, no?

Almost a week now! Day 7, and so delighted I'm nervous

I wish cameras could capture texture, or the little things that you notice big time in person.

I made the mistake (second time) of picking:( Well, in my defense, this was a little bitty pimple that was clearly ready to...um...go. I could see the spot in the center where a little squeeze would get the gunk out so it would be dry the next morning.
Well...not so much. They don't pop! And it instantly became an angry, swollen mountain. Ok, I get it! NO PICKING!

Aside from my huge pimple punishment for picking, I have only one new spot on my lower left jaw, and it's just a pink, small, barely raised thing. Not one of THOSE zits. I'm going to leave it alone, promise.

I also woke up to a wrist that feels fractured. Honestly-it hurts so bad when I move it that it feels like a mild fracture. Oh, well...I'm right handed! Haha, tricked you, joint pain!

I have barely any side effects. Lips aren't peeling. Skin isn't very dry. I have a few, if any, tiny surface flakes. But here's the thing...


Seriously. I'm not sure how to describe it, because pics won't show it. It's even. It's glowy/pinkish, but not pink in a bad way. It looks how skin looks after it's just healed from a chemical peel. I didn't even powder it this morning because I'm enjoying the smooth sheen. I am posting a pic with makeup on. It doesn't show much, but it's what I took this morning, lol. You can sort of tell the texture in my forehead. Ignore the curling iron burn (almost healed!).

Anyway, I'm almost depressed, because I'm not one of those girls who gets lucky. Loving my skin right now is pretty much a sure thing that I'll look like a bridge troll within the week. Mark my words. I only pray that it passes quickly.

One full week down-Day 8

Not much to report besides being pretty tired all the time, but that's not unusual for me. I have insomnia all night, then want to nap all day.
No joint soreness this morning. My skin right now has three spots, but once can hardly be called that. I have a tiny thing between my brows again (what is up with this area? I never get spots here unless it's after waxing!), and two on the left side of my face/lower jaw. That's fairly typical for me (2-3 active spots), although sometimes I get crazy flares out of nowhere and suddenly have 10, but it's rare.
Overall, my number of spots hasn't increased or decreased now. It decreased at first, and then evened out. I'm hoping this isn't going to turn into an IB. I love my new glow, however. My skin tone is overall more bright, pink toned, even, and fresh looking. My lips are barely dry at all, and skin is not dry. Scalp is occasionally itchy. I seemed to see effects right away that have now kind of disappeared.

The pics I'm posting are from last night after wash and products. They aren't a very good representation since my skin is FULL of red spots and pin pricks from my quarterly Dysport (which I've posted a review on and it still isn't up...), plus a little bit of Restylane this time around. So it's not very easy to tell what's what, but you'll get the gist.
Hope everybody is doing well!!!

Two steps forward, two steps back?

Baaaaaghghh! I'm not going to post daily updates anymore since my plan was to go daily for the first week, then weekly (or whenever something interesting came up), but I wanted to put this out there for anyone who may experience the same thing. Tonight, day 8, after washing my face...it's like I'm not even on Accutane. My skin hasn't done anything bad, but its nice glow has all but gone away. A few spots are back (just my normal amount). No more dryish skin flakes. No more thirst. No dry lips. Nada. It's like my body said, 'Aha! I SE what you're trying to do here!', and just adjusted accordingly. I look and feel exactly like I did before starting. I know it'll take time...it just feels crappy to see a small change start, then have it disappear. I bet it'll stay this way until my dosage increases in three long weeks.

Oh, well. It could be much, much worse.

Day 11...no IB so far, and there is progress already:-D

Today is my 11th day on Accutane (Zenatane 30 mg 1x/day). I'd previously been kinda bummed because it seemed like I was no longer dry, but I'm realizing that my skin still looks better than it did on day one. It's progressively gotten better from the get-go.

I'm still getting some jawline spots, but they are small and on the surface, and go away as quickly as they came. I have a scab on the corner of my forehead that's nearly healed now (no picking-lesson learned). My exhaustion is still powerful, along with my insomnia. I feel a bit down, but it's because I'm so tired and wiped out. I'm going to work on getting to bed earlier.

My lips are dry feeling, but not flaking or peeling. I just keep them lubed up. My cottonmouth gets out of control if I don't constantly drink.

No initial breakout so far, no gut issues, no continuing headaches (I had a few at first), no dry skin, no joint pain. Just exhaustion. And slow-but steady-progress.

My skin has few active spots. The hyperpigmentation is annoying, but it's starting to fade if you look closely. I use my Bare Minerals on spots to cover them, but I'm not using face makeup aside from blush because I love how smooth it's become.

Hope y'all have a beautiful weekend!

Two weeks down

Merry Christmas! So I've taken my fourteen pills now. As before, the effects began right away, then sort of fizzled out. My skin is pretty much exactly like it was before, only I have breakouts in opposite places. More on my forehead now (very strange), and less on my lower face. All are small comedomes, and none are too annoying. My skin, however, still looks better BELOW the zits. Does that make sense? There are still spots-no better, no worse-but the canvas beneath looks lovely. My hyperpigmentation spots are slowly fading. Slooooooowly. The nice part is that once the positive effects faded, so did the negative ones. No more insomnia, headaches, or even mild dry skin. No dry lips, no nothing. I use my Glycolic acid serum still without irritation, and a mild BP face wash. The ONLY skin thing I've noticed-and it's hardly anything-is some mild itchiness on my neck and chest the past couple days. It's also winter, so that could be it. Just kind of felt like I used a 'too perfumey' laundry detergent.

Hope everybody is glowing, and happy holidays ??

I posted pics, and my left face pic was a bit overexposed, so I included 2-one from last night and one from tonight.

3 weeks down

Merry after Christmas!

Well, I'm three weeks down, and have pretty much nothing to report. The Accutane is barely affecting me-if at all. The only effects I notice any more are slightly dry lips and not greasy hair. Breakouts are hard to gauge since I just started my period, but I broke out just like normal beforehand...no better, no worse. My skin has lost its glow that I was loving so much, but that's ok. It's maybe a wee bit less oily than before, but I've never really had oily skin, either. I see the Derm next week, and I'm excited to ramp up my dose. My body has clearly adapted pretty rapidly to the 30 mg dosage. On the bright side, I'm having no side effects.

Oooh, I also got a sample of an exfoliater in my Birchbox that I LOVE LOVE LOVE. I use heavy duty AHA exfoliaters, so I don't expect scrubs to do much, but this puppy leaves your skin feeling like butter. I love it. Zero irritation, but insane scrubbing effect. It's Derma-e Microdermabrasion Scrub. I've posted a pic.

I'm posting photos of no makeup followed by makeup. I don't wear foundation-just spot cover-up with Bare Minerals followed by blush. My skin is pretty much the same as when I started.

Hope you're all ready for a happy new year!

A few days can make a difference.

Hello, all! Well, the 'no change' stage seems to have gone away. I'm updating a bit early because the drug seems to have kicked in a bit more (just shy of 4 weeks down). I haven't washed my hair in 5 days. FIVE DAYS. There's not even a hint of oiliness. It's a trip. I may wash tomorrow since I have dark hair and it'll show scalp flakes, but this is new. It had been less oily after my usual every other day schedule, but this loooong stretch came from nowhere. My lips also got dry. Like, legit dry. No peeling, but I ALWAYS keep Aquaphor on them. I bring it in the shower because I can't stand the feeling once I wash it off, and need to immediately reapply. Also, as of now, NO ACTIVE PIMPLES. I never had a lot, really-anywhere between 2-6 usually, and small-but there's nothing now. The scrub I've been using has also cleared a lot of the mild bumpiness from my skin. Love that stuff.

As I write this, it's nearly 10:30 AM and I haven't showered or washed my face yet. I can't wipe any oil from my face, because there is none after sleeping. Nothing. Not the usual sheen in the nose corners, nothing. So that's pretty cool. Also, I haven't had to reapply powder for a few days now. My skin isn't dry, but it feels just washed all the time, now. Pretty cool! Anyway, just posting for ladies in the future who may not notice much for several weeks. It may suddenly kick in later. Hope you're all enjoying the new year!

Four weeks, now doubling dosage

Hello, all! I had my appointment today. My doctor's office input the wrong birth control into iPledge, which was a mild blip, but a phone call solved that.

Today marks 4 weeks on 30 mg/day, and my dosage in now bumping up to 60 mg/day. Scary! I fully expect to see some pretty nasty dryness. I've been incredibly lucky so far-dry lips that are easily controlled with Aquaphor, no increase in the eczema on my hands, no severe dryness of my skin. It's wonderful now-my hair hardly ever needs washed and my skin never needs re-touched with powder ALL DAY, but I think that's about to change over to the land of desert skin.

My biggest fear is exhaustion. I'm already markedly more tired than pre-Accutane, and a grueling nursing program doesn't help. I'm in the worst quarter we have, so I'm a bit worried. Oh, well...I'll get through it. Attitude is everything! I'm posting makeup pics because that's what I have right now, but I currently have no active spots. The only skin makeup I have on is mineral veil from 6 AM and light blush from 6 AM (it's now 4:30 PM).

Wish me luck!

Side by side pics-day 1 of 60 mg/day (from 30)

Just posting side by sides of day 1 and day 31. It's hard to notice changes because I have so much residual uneven skin and red spotting, but I have no active spots, and no lumps, so my skin looks great with a light dusting of powder to even the tone a bit. I started 60 mg/day today, so we shall see if I get a bad breakout and watch for severe dryness. Hope everyone is lovely!

I only wish I'd gone on Accutane YEARS AGO.

Helooooooo! Today marks day 6 of my jump from 30 mg to 60 mg. I've had minimal differences so far. Within literally two days my skin had a light 'shed'...hardly peeling. More like flakiness if that makes sense. However, it was only noticeable at the very end of the day, and only when I jammed my face right up against a mirror. Everyone at school is complimenting my skin, which is nice. It's the tone they all notice since nobody really realized I had zits previously. Like I've said, my acne was only mild, but it was constant and scarring.

I haven't washed my hair in a week. Well, I haven't 'wetted' it in a week. Last Sunday I only conditioned it. So it hasn't been washed in two weeks, and it's not even slightly stringy. I could probably go forever. LOVE that, as I have thick, thick hair that takes forever to dry and straighten. My skin is great-no oil, no flakes, rosy tone, no active spots. I put mineral veil on in the morning w/blush and that's it all day. By bedtime it hasn't developed even a hint of shine. My body skin isn't really dry, but it's more prone to flakiness if I scratch. My face has also started flushing/blushing red from time to time, which is so strange. I'm half Spanish with Mediterranean type skin, and I've never blushed before! The biggest drawback has been allergies-the nasal dryness has allowed my allergies to increase ten fold, and I'm a sneezing mess every day. Oh, well:)

I've posted a freshly washed, daylight face so you can see the state of my hideous, uneven, red speckled skin. It's smooth as a baby's butt now, but covered in uneven red spotting because I waited too long to go on Accutane. My only advice would be to NOT WAIT. Don't sit around waiting to try Accutane-just do it! The scars will take years to fade. I'm very lucky that I don't have uneven surface scars, such as rolling, pitting, etc. I can cover the uneven tone up easily, but I wish I'd done this before I hit 30. The skin doesn't bounce back like it used to.

Hope all of your journeys are going well!

Still waiting for nasty side effects...

I've been on my 60 mg dose for over a week now, and I've noticed no difference except for my lips. They don't peel, but I have Aquaphor on them 24/7. I add more first thing in the AM, and I even bring it into the shower with me. If it's wiped/washed off for even a second I HATE the feeling. Dry, gritty. Gross.

I still wear my contact lenses just fine, and suffer no eye dryness. My hand eczema has not increased since starting isotretinoin. No digestive issues, cramps, muscle soreness, or hair loss. No peeling skin. Headaches at first that went away in about a week. My cuticles have gotten more ragged (I also wash my hands literally 50+ times/day at the hospital). The coolest part(s) are that I don't reapply powder even once during the day and my skin is still matte at bedtime, and I've stopped washing my hair. No, it's not gross. I'm getting it wet and conditioning it about once per week, and it doesn't even need that. I'm including pics of my hair last night at day 9 with not so much as water touching it. You can see that there's zero stinginess or greasiness. Also, since there's no oil, there's no dirt, so it smells like my shampoo even after many days. I just use a shower cap when I shower. I only condition and wet it once a week or so to prevent any scalp flakes from showing in my dark hair. Everything so far has been a benefit for the most part. My LDL was slightly increased on my last labs, but my HDL is high as well, which positively counteracts it. All good news. I'm loving how smooth my face feels when I wash it. I just want to keep rubbing, lol. I've included a pic of my forehead, but I'm not sure pics really convey tone or texture. Anyway, hope the next 4 months go this well. TTFN.

Seven weeks Finished

Hello! Is everybody enjoying their journey? I am. My update will look pretty much exactly like my last few. I have virtually no negative side effects (except for my lips-my poor lips!). My lips feel gritty if they aren't slathered in Aquaphor. I panic if it's not next to me. I haven't liked any 'stick', no Carmex (too waxy), no Vaseline (too sticky). The Aquaohor has been amazing.
I still only wash my hair once per week, and it still isn't even slightly oily on that seventh day.

I have no dry skin. No joint pain. No headaches, no bad labs. No hair loss. No nothing.

I got three pimples right before my period. I've ALWAYS had pimples leading up to my period. So the Accutane hasn't stopped those, but it's only week 7. Two on my forehead (odd!), and one on my cheek. It drives me bonkers because now there will be three new flat pink scars for months and months. But I'm very, very lucky. I can't complain one bit. My skin has no oiliness, even at the end of the day. I also get no blemishes now except for the week before my period.

I do chalk up my smooth skin and lack of dryness to my routine:

*Wash with Acne Free 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide face wash

*Tone with Pixi Glow Tonic (contains AHA)

*Cotton ball of Alpha Hydroxy 14% Gkycolic Acid Serum spread over face

*Moisturize from eyes down with CeraVe lotion

*Every three days I use Derma-E microdermabrasion scrub

Now, that would probably be mega harsh on sensitive skin that isn't used to heavy exfoliation, but it's been amazing for me. My skin has the perfect balance: zero dryness, no parched look, no flakiness, and no oil. No initial breakout.

I'm still on 60 mg/day, and should remain so for the rest of the treatment.

Peeling ears and nostrils

I wanted to update my review with some new photos showing where I peel, and what my skin looks like with powder and blush on.

I felt my outer ear burning really badly the other night. It was hot to the touch, too, and felt like I'd rubbed jalapeƱo on it. My husband took a look and noticed that it was cracked and peeling on the outer top. Yikes! Lotion fixed it, but now I'm putting lotion there. Also, I thought my allergies had been acting up, but it was my dry, dry nostrils, so now I rub Aquaohor up there, too. I'm posting pics of my ears, and my skin today with blush and mineral veil on.

Ten weeks in

Hello, all. Just a quick ten week update. I'm in the middle of month 3. My liver counts are great. I'm on 60 mg daily for the remainder of my course. I got a pimple about a week ago before my period on my left cheek. You can see the leftover red spot. Aside from that, no major blemishes anymore. No dry skin, hair, lady bits, or anything. No side effects other than horribly dry lips, but as long as they're slathered in lip goo I'm fine. Hope everyone is doing well!

Don't let anybody talk you out of trying! Entering month 4.

Just left my dermatologist's office for my appointment to start month 4. We are discussing extending treatment since I'm doing so well. The longer you are on isotretinoin, the smaller the chance of returning acne. We are going to decide when the time comes. I have two months left of standard treatment (5 months total).

My goal is to get the word out there about how great isotretinoin almost always is. The misconceptions and horror stories are all over out there. If you talk to any dermatologist, Accutane is nearly always well tolerated! Bad side effects are EXTREMELY rare. I'm tired of only the bad stories taking over the Internet. Also, if you believe you'll have bad side effects you'll start to invent them. Im having NO side effects aside from really dry lips. That's it! In fact, I've had wonderful side effects because I sweat less, I only need to wash my hair every 7-10 days, and I have NO ACNE. No IB-most people don't get one. So if you want to try it, do it, and tell the naysayers to back off and let you decide for yourself. I wish I'd made the choice years ago! Photos from week 12.

Entering month five!

Just popping in to post a quick update. I'm now entering my fifth month on Accutane, and it's now officially been over a month since I got even a bump. My skin cleared right away, but I'd still get one small pimple or so right before my period...but that has now stopped. 100% clear, even during PMS! EEEEK!
I've stopped wearing face makeup. It's so weird. I never wore foundation, but ALWAYS cover up on my zits and powder. Not anymore. My skin is bare (aside from eye makeup). It feels so good to not wonder if people are looking at your zits.
My dermatologist likes to have two full months of zero pimples-that's his indication that it's safe to stop once you've reached the goal dose. I'm going to do this coming month (5), then one last one (for six months total). I'm excited to wear lipstick again, but I'm bummed out that I'll have to start washing my hair again, haha. I'm also terrified of getting pimples again. It would feel like having my birthday taken away.
Anyway, I'm still in love with this miracle drug, and it has allowed me to be in outdoor light and just smile. The photo was taken in the beautiful spring weather this afternoon-please ignore my hideous spring allergy nasal strip:)
Hope all is well with y'all!

I miss lipstick so much!!!

In the middle of month 5. Just wanted to post a side-by-side of day one vs now. It's been ages now since I've had any pimples. Honestly, I'm terrified to stop using Accutane in a month. I'm just hoping zits don't return. Wearing lipstick will be nice, though. Not slathering on Awuaphor every thirty seconds will be, too!

Sunshine + isotretinoin = no joke

The sun has arrived in the great northwest, and I spent some time in it having lunch with my classmates. It was only about 1/2 hour, but my easy-to-tan skin became pink from that tiny amount of exposure. That's to be expected since Accutane increases sun sensitivity so much, but talk about regret...I expected the pink to fade over a few days. But it faded the next day. Great, except that it left behind horrid hyperpigmentation. The kind you get from years of sun exposure. I know this will eventually fade, but my glowy skin is not so glowy anymore. It is especially prominent on my forehead. Wear that SPF. Seriously. This is so lame.

I'm done! (But not really)

Hello, all! I saw my amazing dermatologist the other day, and I've finished the recommended total dosage for Isotretinoin. I've also been blemish-free completely for a few months now, so I'm good to stop. However, I told him of my extreme fear of acne return. He likes to start patients on Retin A (tretinoin cream) after accutane for maintenance (and because it's amazing for skin). Having done Retin A previously, I know it can take some serious time for the skin to adjust. He's also not opposed to me continuing accutane treatment, since the longer you take it, the smaller chance of acne returning. We brainstormed together and came up with this: We are reducing my daily dose of accutane from 60 mg to 30 mg, and I've started Retin A cream (0.025%). I also started wearing sunscreen for the first time in my life. Big step for me, but I'm not getting younger. My skin looks nice for the first time ever, so I'm going to start taking care of it. Once you stop treatment, you need to wait at least 6 months to restart (if acne returns). Suddenly stopping treatment, then slathering on Retin A and sunscreen seemed a bit much. So we are going to wean the Accutane while adjusting to the Retin A and sunscreen. That way, if breakouts return, we can make changes. I'm pretty excited, but pretty freaked out, too! On another note, I did a ton of research on sunscreens and facial moisturizers, and finally found the most AMAZING STUFF. I wanted physical sunblock instead of chemical, because the chemical burns no matter what, and seems to get in my eyes despite me being careful. I can't stand foundation, but thought an INCREDIBLY sheer tint might be nice. I wound up with Juice Beauty Stem Cellular CC Cream. It's ridiculous. Amazing. Moisturizing, organic, with SPF 30. Oh, and no white cast! Yay! I've included a pic. So, anyway, there's my update! Hoping those of you who recently started are doing well!

Full cycle done, 5 total months

Hi! As my last review explained, I've opted to taper down my dose for another month or so in order for my skin to adjust to Retin A and sunscreen. However, I'm posting my side-by-side photos because this is when I *should* be ending my Accutane cycle. Looking at these pics makes me want to cry. You really take for granted just how nice your skin gets. Even halfway through I never dreamed I'd go without makeup...I never thought the red marks would fade. My skin hasn't had a zit in months. I scratched my forehead in two spots with my fingernails while brushing my bangs back-so frustrating! You can see those marks. But here's the result of 5 months (1 @ 30 mg/day, then 4 @ 60 mg/day). I never had any negative side effects after the first week aside from constantly shedding lips. I won't miss that! I've also now been using a tinted moisturizer with SPF 30 for several days and it hasn't done anything bad yet. I hope it doesn't! I used the Retin A for a couple nights and had to back off. It sent my skin over the edge and made it flaky and painful, so I'm going to mix it with my CeraVe and use it once/week for now. I'm so, so happy. I hope my skin doesn't go right back to its old nonsense. I'll keep updated.

Six months finished-opting to continue decrease rather than stop altogether

Hello out there!
As my previous reviews stated, I was technically done after 4 full months. However, I have had such perfect results with so little negative that I asked to taper down and gauge my reaction rather than stop 'cold turkey'. My derm is fine with that, so we decreased me from 60 mg/day to 30 mg/day for my 5th month. It went well-no zits, and slightly less chapped lips. I met with him again, and I asked to continue a taper. We are going to do 20 mg/day (in two 10 mg pills) for my 6th month (started today). This should decrease my chapped lips even more. I'm one step closer to wearing my bright red lipstick again!!! YAY!
If all continues to go well this month, I'll likely ask to spend a 7th month at 10 mg/day. I feel like this gives my body and skin time to adjust, and also allows us to gauge how my skin will react. I'm so happy-I would not be opposed to taking an ultra low maintenance dose forever, but I simply may not need it. We shall see! I'll post photos when I'm home and in my normal lighting. Hope all is well with my accutane sisters!

Photos from 6 months completed

As stated in my review, here are photos showing six months completed. I've now opted to continue tapering, starting 20 mg/day for month 7. These photos show me wearing BeneTint blush and Mineral Veil.

Last day on Accutane!

Today I took my last 20 mg of isotretinoin. I could have continued, and considered stepping down to 10, but I'm pretty tired of not wearing lipstick. The dry lips have been mild at 20 mg/day, but they're still there. I'm excited, but scared, too! I'll update monthly or as changes occur.

Really? So soon? 16 days after ending treatment

Good grief. My amazing experience with Accutane seems to be coming to a screeching halt. Within one week my lips were pretty much normal. Just this morning I noticed I had some oil on my face when I woke up (not greasy, just normal overnight oil). And lo and behold...what do I see this afternoon? A FREAKING PIMPLE! Two, actually, right next to each other near my bottom lip. They're those tiny little f@&$!rs, but they are there. Now, let's be realistic. This isn't a little 'blip'. My skin won't 'adjust' and go clear again. This is a terrible sign. I've already placed a call to the derm. If I need to be a 10 mg/day lifer, so be it. I'll update once I hear back.

Isotretinoin still a miracle drug

I'm the most horrible updater ever!

We did opt to continue a regimen of 10 mg/day, although I generally only take a 10 mg pill on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I have no side effects, and aside from the one spot after waxing, I've not had a blemish in months. Months and months-not even close. It's unlikely that I even need the 30 mg/week, but it's a minimal dose-so small that it doesn't really impact the body in any negative ways. We may switch to a topical such as Retin-A Micro soon, but I'm in no rush, and my physician is amazing and works with me to discuss options that I'm comfortable with. As for now, I'm happy on the micro dose. I have no dryness, and rarely wear makeup anymore. My hair is becoming more healthy again, too, since taking the dose down to nearly nothing. Since my insurance covers the prescription completely-and I live next to the clinic-I'm not rushing to go on topicals. I'll update with photos later today.

Still in love with my results

It's been too long since I've posted a photo update. I began my Accutane (isotretinoin) Journey on Dec. 8, 2015, and it's now late September 2016. I ended my standard dosing months ago, but because of the wonderful state of my skin (and the zero negative side effects), I choose (with my dermatologists approval) to take 30 mg/week (I take a 10 mg Mon, Wed, and Fri). The dose is minimal, and doesn't negatively impact my liver. I'll likely stop soon-I just prefer it to the drying effects of topicals. I am wearing liquid blush in these photos, but no skin coverage makeup. I've not had a zit in forever. I can't reminder my last outbreak. I look back at photos and want to cry...I wish I'd done Accutane years and years ago. I wasted so much of my life having acne. My son is now battling teenage acne, and Epiduo and the thousand other topicals just don't do it. I'm taking him in October to see my dermatologist. I will never allow him to go through the years of embarrassment that I did, and I HIGHLY recommend that you also allow your teenager to try Accutane earlier rather than later. Nobody knows what acne is like unless you've been there. My experience has been 100% positive, and monthly labs and insulting ipledge questions are a small price to pay for this miracle drug. Will update periodically. JUST DO IT.
Dr. Viet Nguyen

Absolutely loved his bedside manner. He listened to me and what I wanted, and respected my knowledge on the subject. He's also young and receptive. Highly recommend.

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