Wednesday, April 3, 2013

My Journey with Acne and My experience with Accutane



My Journey with Acne & 
My Experience with Accutane
 


I know this is a highly controversial drug and one of the most powerful medications for Acne. They stopped making the actual Accutane. It is now known as Isotretinoin which is made by various brands. Pictured here is the brand I was taking, Amnesteem.

Lots of warnings!
  
First Treatment :

I first started having breakouts in elementary school. It wasn't till high-school I began seeing a dermatologist. I will keep this short and sweet - I was on some form of a oral antibiotic combined with a topical antibiotic and a medicated prescription face wash. I tried almost every possible option available. When none of the antibiotics and prescriptions worked I was put on Accutane in my Junior year. I was covered by the military so I was able to get Accutane without any problems. Back then it was easy - no Ipledge program to go through or waiting periods. I did have blood tests every month (to check my vitals) and I did have to go on birth control. Only side effects I experienced while on Accutane was severe dry lips and facial redness. Otherwise I had absolutely no problems. The treatment completely cleared my skin and worked wonders. I stayed on birth control after my first treatment was complete. 


Years Following :

The facial redness did hang around for a few years but I was blissfully acne free for around 7-8 years - up until recently. I started breaking out yet again. The birth-control I was taking, YAZ, had stopped working so doctors switched it but it had no effect on clearing my acne. I was on countless oral and topical antibiotics again along with more prescription face washes. And again, nothing worked :[ 

I asked to be put on Accutane again since it had worked so well the first time.


Second Treatment :

This time I had to deal with the incredibly annoying I pledge program (I guess girls were being stupid and getting pregnant on this extremely powerful drug even though they specifically say do no get pregnant because it causes birth defects). I had to wait 2 months before I could even get my prescription. During those 2 months I had two pregnancy tests. I had to get blood and pregnancy tests every month like I did the first treatment. The doctor had to enter the results into Ipledge and I also had to take a online test about birth control forms before I could receive my monthly prescription.  The online test included questions from a booklet you have to read through before starting the treatment : 


I was put on 40 mg a day for the first 5 months since my acne was moderate. After the 5th month I was still having breakouts so doctors up-ed it to 60 mg a day and extended my treatment for an extra month for a complete 7 month treatment. Unfortunately since I turned 26 I lost my military insurance. Accutane does not come in 60 mg tablets so I had to order 2 boxes of 20 mg and 40 mg for the last two months. It was 800.00 USD for one box of 20 mg and one box of 40 mg. It is an extremely expensive treatment if you do not have insurance!


Again, the only side effects I experienced were severe dry lips, facial redness, and a dry scalp. The dry lips were pretty severe. I was constantly peeling and bleeding. I talk about how I got that under control - here. It was quite annoying but nothing I couldn't deal with.

After my treatment was complete I had to go in one last time for a pregnancy test a month later (8th month). Don't miss that last appointment or you will be banned from Ipledge and you wont be able to get on Accutane in the future.


2 Months Following :

The first month off Accutane I started to break out slightly. I could tell my skin was becoming more oily (the usual). Luckily, the facial redness subsided and my lips went back to normal. The second month my breakouts were becoming worse esp around 'that time of month'. It started at my forehead at first then worked down the sides of my face and neck. My forehead is currently the worst because I have small bumps covering the entire surface. It is quite painful.


I have a dermatologist appointment coming up. Apparently my second treatment did not take. I'm not sure if it is because I've had it in my system before or if because they have altered the drug itself over the years since it has been so controversial. I'm running low on options. If Accutane can't clear my acne what can? I'm beginning to think my acne is untreatable.

My acne now isn't too terrible by any means but it still is quite painful and not the prettiest thing in the world. I don't ever wear a full face of foundation so clear skin has always been my unreachable goal.

I've had much much worse and it is currently easy to cover up. Here is how my Acne looks now 3 months after my second treatment of Accutane :


Left side of my face.
Right side of my face. Excuse the ragged bed hair...
My forehead

Acne is an extremely emotional ride. It can really bring you down and it is no fun. I thought at age 26 it would have gone away by now but that was wishful thinking. Just know that you are not alone if you struggle with acne.

I am currently experimenting with pure lemon juice. I also thought maybe my vitamins were helping me breakout so I went off of them for a month or so with no success. I am now trying out Adapalene Cream 0.1% again (also known as Differin). It helps slightly - at least it helps keep my breakouts from spreading and becoming more inflamed. 


Also I've altered my diet slightly. I heard Paleo diets may help, cutting milk out may help, and cutting wheat out my help. All those diets- I'm not sure I could do. I love my cereal, pasta, milk, and breads way too much :/ Lets see how far I'll go.


Please feel free to ask any questions you may have! I will respond to each one. Have a lovely day :]

21 comments:

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    2. Ohhhh I love the Body shop!! Thanks for the recommendation :] I've got to check out their face washes!

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  6. I'm sorry to hear Accutane didn't work for you the second time around! I've struggled with acne since I was in the fifth grade and I'm now 20 and it still hasn't gone away. The only acne treatment that's ever worked for me is ProActiv which is lucky because it's fairly inexpensive. I know how it feels to be on the "acne roller-coaster" your whole life. It is really a struggle, but its good to know there are other people out there experiencing the same. Thank you for posting (: I've followed you on GFC & Bloglovin. Good luck dear!

    http://amaislyn.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Crossing my fingers i can find something else to clear up my skin! The differin is helping some- thank goodness. And I'm so happy to hear ProActiv works for you! Yay! It also does wonders for my parents. I hope your skin clears up in the near future. Good luck to you as well! Thanks for taking the time to comment. It means a lot :] Checking out your blog now!

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  7. What has been working for me is washing my face at night with extra virgin Spanish olive oil. I massage about 1 tablespoon into my face and neck and then take a washcloth and run it under hot water. I hold the cloth on my face for 1-2 minutes and the wipe clean. I read that it was good for acne and blackheads, and it is AMAZING! I also don't need a moisturizer at night because it leaves just enough. I was told when I started to only use extra virgin and only Spanish. No idea why, but it really is working. I wish you the best. :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for the tip Kelly and taking the time to pass it on :] I always wondered how you wash with olive oil... thanks so much for explaining it! I know coconut oil breaks me out real bad but I may have to try olive oil! I'll keep a look out for Spanish extra virgin. I have a ton of homemade extra virgin but It's from a Italian family haha! Will try this when I have a few days off (just in case it breaks me out). So glad it's doing amazing things for your skin! Thank you!!!

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  8. Roaccutane/Accutane is a very serious medicine that needs to be taken with consultation of a professional physician. We as Orderpharma.com suggest buying brand Roche Accutane or brand Roche Roaccutane for your acne treatment. Since you cannot look into the ingredient of generic Accutane or generic Roaccutane, we suggest you buying Roche Accutane or Roche Roaccutane.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you for sharing your story! I am currently on Accutane for the last two months now and I am definitely struggling through the side effects. But in the end I definitely hope that I get results like you!

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    ReplyDelete
  10. Really nice to read all the information you have shared.

    How to use Accutane

    ReplyDelete
  11. Find more information about Acne Scar Treatment Delhi at Guide to Treating laser mole removal gurgaon by Dr.DM Mahajan.

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  12. I really enjoyed reading your blog post. I read that you said there were Isotretinoin (Accutane) side effects including: dry lips and facial redness. I'm sorry to read in your post that the results weren't complete and that you are experimenting with lemon juice.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I really enjoyed reading your blog post. I read that you said there were Isotretinoin (Accutane) side effects including: dry lips and facial redness. I'm sorry to read in your post that the results weren't complete and that you are experimenting with lemon juice.

    ReplyDelete