Mich’s Accutane Journal

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I started Accutane 16 days ago and i started to notice some obvious side effects today, and i decided to write this down since i know from day 1 that i was so curious about the side effects that different people experience and have been reading up on all the journals there are on the internet. Hopefully someone will read mine when they feel lost and not knowing what to expect and actually feel safe and better about the journey.

I think that side effects from accutane is expected because this is a drug that changes people’s DNA. It is a mutagen- meaning that this drug changes the genetic information in our body and increases the number of mutations above the natural background level. A question that i still need to ask my derm is that whether or not some of these side effects will be permanent. Since this drug can alter our skin condition for a long period of time, i believe it is also capable of changing other elements of the body for a long period of time as well.

In any case, i believe people are aware of this, and people like me are just so fed up with our situation and are willing to try anything. So here we go with my diary:)

Week1-2

For me, nothing much happened during the first two weeks. I used to have very oily skin, but by the end of week 2, my skin has dried up a bit. I still so have oil on my face by the end of the day, but it was much much better than before. My acne didnt stop to grow, actually it got a bit worse. No surprises, i already have acne, so it didnt upset me or anything. No depression, i actually felt pretty excited and happy about this drug. No nose bleed, no sleeping problem, no anxiety, nothing. The only thing i experienced that was a bit odd, was that one night, i was sitting in the living room talking with my mom, and all of a sudden my vision became blurred. I have had perfect vision throughout the past, so not being able to see my mother clearly all of a sudden was something that shocked me. However, my vision came back to normal after an hour and it only happened once. However, i know this may recur throughout my accutane treatment- no night driving for me.

Mid week 3 (16th day)
My skin continues to dry up, as well as my lips of course. My nose bleed once yesterday, but it wasnt major. I personally like the dry skin and lips. I like the taste and smell of fruity lip blam, so constantly reapplying it dosent bother me at all.

I woke up this morning feeling particularly tire and exhausted. I am a 26 years old office lady. I am and have been full of energy and motivation when it comes work. I have been waking up every morning ready to go out there and do my best. However, yesterday afternoon, i started to feel very very tire, i even asked to leave office around 2 pm. THIS IS JUST NOT ME!! When i got home, i felt so tire that i didnt even want to shower. I normally love to shower, but not yesterday, i was so dead exhausted. Again this morning i woke up without much energy, and i was late for work.

I also have tire eyes, not dry, but heavy and tire.
My ance situation is horriable….i have never had this much acne on my face in my entire life….its really scary and it hurts so much!! it hurts when i touch my face- it dosent feel like MY face, it wasnt like this before.
Whiteheads come out everyday, one after another, all over my face…very discouraging, but it is expected. i also have two big cystic ance on both sides of my jawline….and they are very red and painful.

I’ll be back with more when i have more developments.

  1. geckogirl added:

    i like your positive outlook pineapple!
    you are an example to me! thank you!! :)

  2. pinapplecounty added:

    Week 3 (18th day)

    The last two days were perhaps the toughest days of my course on accutane. The cystic ance on my jawline were extremely painful. I woke up yesterday with a new chain of 5 cysts on my low right cheek and another chain of 4 cysts on my left cheek, along with other pimples (maybe more than 20 littles one with whiteheads) all over my face.

    My entire face was itchy, red and painful. My lowerback was really sore too, and i had 2 nosebleeds. I couldnt control my emotion and burst into tears. It was really super hard to deal with a face as such. Right at this moment, i received a call from work and realized that i had to work over the weekend. The work i was involved is extremely complicated and stressful. Knowing that i had a deadline due in two days and doubting my capability to finish the work, i had my first suicide thought- however, it wasnt serious to the point where i was really going to take action, it was more like i was fed up with my face and my work, and i thought at that moment, mayvbe i should just go and jump of the building so i can avoid my deadline and maybe be reincarnated into a woman with beautiful skin:P

    I know for a fact that these hopeless thoughts on dying was definatly not caused by accutane per se. Plus, i am due for my PMS and normally i have terriable mood swings during my PMS. SO i cried and cried and cried….look into the mirror and continues to cry for the next 1 hour.

    I told my boss (my father) that i wanted to kill myself and he was freaking out…he said, do you want to stop the medication? Right away, i said no, i am going to continue with this no matter what. Anyways, to make the long story short, after going out shopping and getting new handbags and clothes, i felt much much better. Immediately, i said to myself, of course i dont want to end my life, life is beaitiful exciting and great.

    They said that accutane causes depression, suicide thoughts, etc, i realized, at least in my own case, that these not not something that I could not control. I think accutane users are prone to depression, because of the initial flare up and side effects (not side effect of depression, but the general uncomfort from body aches, dryness, etc). Its hard for everyone to deal with this, it is easy for a weaker person (like myself yesterday) to think of a permanant way out of it.

    However, I feel much better today and things are under control. In fact my situation is probably a little worse than yeserday, but i have came to the conclusion that i will get through this and i will try to be happy and not think about the acne. I must have faith in this drug :P

  3. geckogirl added:

    hey pineapple!
    be strong!! i was having a really awful day on friday… super moody and tearful as well. its really not a good place to be. But we gotta get thru this! we will have great skin soon.
    keep your chin up and try do things that make you feel good (i ALSO went shopping this weekend… worked wonders! :D )
    we can get thru this together!

  4. pinapplecounty added:

    End of Week 3

    So far, my condition has only worsen :( I am breaking out more and more, on my cheek, my forehead, even my neck……It is hurting so much that its becoming a little unbearable…especially when i wash my face, it just really hurts.

    I feel totally helpless right now, i mean, i know that for some people you will get worse beforeyou get better, but then i didnt know it was going to be this bad and this painful.

    Looking at myself right now, i really dont think i will be having clear skin anytime soon….very sad, but i dont want to give up just yet….

  5. pinapplecounty added:

    Week 4

    2 days into week 4. I have dried skin and lips, but i actually like it because then i can use all the great smell lotion and smell great all the time. Lower back pain is becoming more serious, but not terriable or anything, i can live with it. I feel tire and exhausted at work, but i try to hang in there….

    The worse part so far, is my non-stop growing acne….i have cystic acne all over my face (3 on my right cheek, one 2 inches long cyst on my left cheek, and 6 on my neck), my forehead is becoming massively filled with spots too. The old ones went away and new one come…..they are big, red, and painful.

    I look at the mirror like 20 times a day, i have never ever ever looked like this ever before….I actually started to miss how my skin used to look like, i had a few pimples here and there, but sometimes i have really serious breakouts when i am getting my PMS…in any case though, i have never looked like this before, this is really BAD and i just feel so sad….i wish i can have a normal life soon……

  6. AntonioJG added:

    Pinapple- It sounds like we started at about the same time. I took my 26th 40 mg pill today (I’m on 40mg 1xday). I go to the derm on Monday and he said he is increasing the dose to 80mg/day if the blood work I had done today is okay.

    My skin just started clearing up 4 or 5 days ago from the initial break out and its amazing how fast I went from "HIDE" to "HELLO". It seems as though my skin just kicked into super heal mode. Although I do have dry lips, hands, nose (ouch)…its worth it now that I can see the results!

  7. pinapplecounty added:

    Congrad Antonio:)

    It is encouraging for me to know that someone is clearing up after the initial breakout…I have be sitting there wondering if i will continue to look like this for the next several months. I even thought that i was one of those patient that even accutane wont be able to cure :P

  8. pinapplecounty added:

    24 days

    I woke up today and noticed that my swelling went down a bit….i hope this is a good sign…cant wait to see improvement soon.

  9. pinapplecounty added:

    25th day

    The swelling on my face went down even further today…I forgot to add that, in the last 4 days, i have been getting lots of whiteheads and blackheads coming out of my skin..i am talking about like at least 5-6 per day (how gross, but in a way i am glad that they came out..). I still get new spots here and there everyday, but they are relatively small, i havent got any cystic acne in the past 2 days, so its good.

    I finally feel a little better about myself today and decided to put on some make up and go shopping :D the sad thing is, some people still look at me like i am an odd ball, i even had one lady asking me "is that acne on your face?" OMG, what else could this be? The good thing is though, i found that i really dont care as much anymore about my acne and people’s comment, because i think i can see some lights at the end the the dark tunnel, although it will take sometimes for me to walk it through.

    Oh well…its funny how my mood is going up and down with these little guys on my face..i really really really hope that i will see only improvements from now on :D

  10. geckogirl added:

    Hey P,
    i am really glad that your skin is improving!! :D :D
    hope it continues to improve every day. i know what you mean when you say

    The good thing is though, i found that i really dont care as much anymore about my acne and people’s comment, because i think i can see some lights at the end the the dark tunnel, although it will take sometimes for me to walk it through.

    i am also starting not to care so much coz i am hoping that in a couple of months itll all be better

  11. pinapplecounty added:

    26th day

    Hey Geckogirl! I am confident that we will get better in a couple of month:)

    The swelling on my face continues to go away, yay!
    But i am no where near cleared…still have pimples coming up, but they are much smaller, i would consider them medium size compare with the huge cysts that i got last week.

    My skin and lips are getting drier, but its not bothering me at all. In fact i like it. I just have to keep putting cream on and it smells nice.

    I think that now i can see a little improvement, i am less concerned about whether the medication would work or not and i think less frequently about how my face looks. My mom keeps telling me " It will be difficult to see your face like this in the future, you are well on your way to having clear skin".

    I think i can bear with what i have for the moment…though i still think that my face looks terriable, but its much better than last week. The shape of my face was hardly noticeable last week because of the swelling and all the huge bumps on my face, my face was so out of shape-that’s how bas it was. In the past 2 days, you can start to tell that my face was actually round rather than bumpy and rough.

    I dont have clear skin just yet, but i am quit happy with the progress, i just hope that i wont be getting worse anytime soon, i know some people get worse, get better, and get worse again befo9re they get better for good.

  12. pinapplecounty added:

    Week 4

    I woke up today and found that i am now only left with small and maybe 1-2 medium size pimples. But i am not THAT happy just yet, because i have AT LEAST 100 of those small spots on my face, which makes me look very ugly. The good thing is though, i think they are coming out (gross, i know) or falling off with a layer of think skin rather quickly. I got about 10 of them this morning after i washed my face.

    I also noticed that i kinda got used to my body aches…they arent as bothering as they used to be. I also noticed that my skin tends to heal faster when it is not dried. When its really dried, it usually feels really tight and i think that makes whatever that needs to come out harder to come out. So putting cream on my face, i believe, will make me recover faster.

    Hope everyone is doing well!

  13. pinapplecounty added:

    day 29

    I see further improvement today. I had less black/whiteheads popping up after i washed my face. It seems like my face is starting to clear from the center line going outwards. The side of my cheeks and my jaw line is still red and bumpy but not as bad as before.

    It feels less bumpy overall (i can feel the texture of my face when i wash my face everytime), in fact, it feels less and less bumpy after each day.

    I notice two small cysts on the side of my cheek though, they are pretty deep underneath the skin, but these ones are not even close to the huge ones that i had.

    My joints were aching last night… i had difficult time bending forward when i was in the shower. I also had slight vision problem, but its not bothering me at all. I think these are side effects from accutane, but i must say, i have no regrets whatsoever :) I would giveup anything to get my skin clear. Hope too see more improvements soon :angel

  14. Yihh added:

    Hey there!
    You will see improvements. You definitely will. I started taking a fish oil supplement, Evening Primrose oil and Vitamin e to help with the joint pains. They seemed to work quite well..In fact I am still taking them and it’s when I miss a day that I feel lousy!

  15. pinapplecounty added:

    HI Yihh!

    Thank you for your support. Its important for me to hear from someone that has been in my shoes telling me that this drug will work.

    You mentioned that you are taking fish oil supplement, make sure you check the labels because some fish oil, like fish body oil, contains vitamin A in it. I think we are suppose to avoid vitamin A during our course of accutane.

    I dont see much changes today, i think its very slowly getting better though. I will just have to wait around and see what happens :angel

  16. pinapplecounty added:

    Week 5

    I am on the day 32. So far my improvements have slowed down a bit. I havent seen much changes in the past 3 days, in fact i have been getting a few more spots on my forehead and near my lips….

    As far as side effects are concern, my lower back dosent ache so much anymore, and i havent had any vision problems in the last few days.

    Just anxious to be over with this……….

  17. pinapplecounty added:

    Week 5

    Almost end of week 5. I think i might be getting a second round of flare up…..omg i am so frustrated with this…………

    This time its mostly on the side of my cheeks…and all over upper forehead :crazyeyes

  18. pinapplecounty added:

    End of Week 5

    Today is another one of those frustrating days….no improvements and new spots coming out. It feels like this is never gonna end…. :x

  19. AntonioJG added:

    Pinapple,
    I hear you! I too am holding our with all the hope I can muster that at the end of this I will have clear skin and most importantly the confidence to face people (in bright light, looking them in the eyes not looking at the floor). After my increase to 80mg I broke our again bad. My derm warned me of this but I was sooooo hoping that I would stay clear. Like yours, my skin is now on a slow mend. Good luck, You’ll be in my thoughts.

  20. pinapplecounty added:

    Beginning of Week 6

    I woke up today and most of my large cysts were significantly subsided. I still have tons of little ones all over my forehead and side of my cheek. Most spots were gone around my neck area.

    The center of my face is pretty clear though…except for some red marks and tiny little stubborn blackheads. My derm said i can do a skin peel a few weeks later to get the tiny ones out. After that i should be able to have really smooth skin.

    Just waiting for my forehead and side cheeks to get better.

    I also noticed that the vision problem and body aches actually come and go…i havent felt any back pains in the last few days.

  21. cbm4 added:

    Just be glad you are not on day 10 (like me)
    It really helped reading your journal…. thanks!

    :roll

  22. pinapplecounty added:

    Day 38

    Well well well, my condition is getting better. I think that my skin is ready to clear up. Still got a few small cysts, but they are from the previous larges ones, its getting smaller and smaller. I got a new cyst on y right cheek though. The good thing is, all the other small ones are going away pretty quickly. I see improvements everyday.

    Still not clear at this point, but i think accutane is working its way.

    I just hope i dont get another round of flare up…i dont know what i would do if that happens.

  23. pinapplecounty added:

    End of Week 6

    I heard from somewhere that people usually see some results after week 8. Two more weeks before i get there…i am so anxious to see my skin clear!!

    Regarding my progress, i am quit happy with the results so far. My skin is clearing up. No more huge cysts, and all the little one are going away. I would say, i went from having like more than 100 of those little pimples during the peak periold of my flare up down to about 30-40 now.

    I am still getting a few spots on my forehead. I got like 3 over the past few days, but at the same time, many of them popped and went away.

    Just waiting and waiting.

    Christmas sucked. I had dinner with family and for those family members i havent seen for a long time asked me " what happened to your face???" I got some great stuff for you to try blah blah blah." I know they are just being nice and concerned, but really, those few seconds of conversation ruined my christmas dinner.

    I will keep posting.

  24. pinapplecounty added:

    Okay, i woke up today and found a few medium-small size cysts on my left cheek :?

    I went to the bank this morning…i cant help but feel that the bank teller is being nice to everyone but me. I have been going to that bank and visit the same bank lady for 2 years, she chats with everyone around me except for me. I think i just have that "dont you even talk to me" look on my face. I dont do this on purpose…but then i guess i am afraid of people opening their mouth tellin me, you should try this and that to clear up ur skin blah blah blah….

    This is really really affecting my social life…
    Its been 1.5 month now and i am still dealing with this flare up thing. I am a little disappointed. I am trying so hard to be happy and carry on with my life but it seems like i get surprises everyday. Its either i am getting new pimples or someone makes some comment about my skin.

    Accutane is my last and only hope for my skin problem. I am praying that this will work.

  25. pinapplecounty added:

    Week 8

    Doing much better for the first time. I would say i am now actually looking better than before starting accutane. All of my large medium size cysts are gone. I now have a few very small ones that are going away rather quickly. Besides these, i still have other small pimples hidden below the surface of my skin (not the deep ones), i dont know how they are going to come out. They are small and dont seem to have any whiteheads on it. Hopefully they will reveal soon.

    Happy with the progress. But i am just expecting perhaps another round of mini flare up ( i hope it wont happen, but its better to keep that possibility in mind).

    I asked my derm about my vision problem, she said i might need to check with the eye doctor if its serious.

    Hopefully i will be back with more good news on my progress.

    I guess week 8 does get better as i heard from somwhere that usually people can expect good results after the 8th week. Hope everyone is doing good :D

  26. pinapplecounty added:

    End of week 8

    Well, i got a huge cyst coming up in the center of my forehead. The right side of my face is doing well. I still have a few more small pimples on the right side but its a lot better than what i used to have 2 months ago.

    Left side of my face is still goin but much better than before.
    My lips are really dry though. Hope it gets better…i am so dying to go out and have fun :D

    Also, i am more willing to look into the mirror now. Last couple of weeks, i wouldnt even want to look at myself because it makes me sad. I check myself out more frequently now because i believe that i am improving day by day, although i still have small spots coming up, but overall, i look a lot more "normal" than before. Previously i just look like someone that’s really "sick" if you know what i mean.

  27. pinapplecounty added:

    Beginning of week 9

    I have a feeling that week 9 is going to be a good week because i woke up today and found hat i have no more cysts!! (what happened was that after i showered last night, my cysts popped. I lightly aqueez it and all the annoying stuff came out, which leaves my face much more clear and less bumpy)

    My left side is starting to clear (not totally clear, still have 5-6 small pimples) and now i am looking better than before startingt accutane.

    I am also getting less new pimples. Today i found a small one on the upper left side of my lips. No biggie compare to the ones i used to have.

    I guess i was so happy that i got a new hair cut yesterday, changed my hair color. I think i am now ready to face the world, although i know people will not think i have great skin, but at least people will not look at me twice and comment on my ance situation -i hope!

    Hope everyone is doing well :angel

  28. geckogirl added:

    YAY!
    i’m so happy things are looking up for you!!
    i’m also feeling a bit better about things.
    hope everything just gets better in leaps and bounds! :D

  29. pinapplecounty added:

    I forgot to report all this time that my skin was "flaking" a lot. This happened pretty much everyday for the past 2 weeks ( i see it in the morning and the flakes come off after i wash and wipe my face).

    Still flaking today, but i would say my skin was peeling a lot more 2 weeks ago.

    Today, i am looking better than before starting accutane. The left side of my face feels pretty smooth, but there are still a few more small pimples that look like will go away very soon. My chin is absolutely clear except for a few red marks. Left side of my face is doing pretty good too, i would say its about 70% clear. Forehead is aboiut 60% clear.

    I hope this "clearing" lasts! The "flare up period" was very tough for me, i would say it’s probably one of the hardest thing i had to deal with, but seeing the result makes me very happy!! This is so worth it!

  30. pinapplecounty added:

    My skin seems to be even more clear than yesterday. Its amazing what a fast healing mode i am in right now. The left side of my face feels smooth and parts of it even feels really soft! The few pimples on the left side of my face is going away very fast too ( one of the major ones popped last nigt)My forehead is healing fast as well.

    I just have red spots all over my face, but hopefully they go away slowly.

    I still have to be on this drug for a few more weeks, hopefully i continue to have better skin.

  31. pinapplecounty added:

    Ok, 3-4 new ones on my forehead. I got a new hair cut that covers my forehead so i can hide those. I think they will go away soon. One of them popped this morning. I know i am not suppose to pop it (but they really look like they want to come out!), its really bad because they said you can get scars when you do that:P i will try not to.

  32. pinapplecounty added:

    End of week 10

    Doing pretty good. Not absolutely clear yet, but it seems like the old ones are going away, even the small ones too. I got a small cyst coming up near my lips though, they look pretty awful in that area :x

    Still getting 2-3 small pimples on my forehead while the old ones are going away. I am healing pretty fast, but i guess i am still in the "break out zone" that’s why i am still getting pimples. Just hope that they will all come out at once so i dont have to deal with this problemn ever again!!

    Side effects still the same, drier lips actually…
    I went on a date the other day and kept putting chop sticks on my lips because they were so dry. When i went to the restroom, i noticed that my lips were filled with wax-like stuff, which was white and flaky. That was embarrassing!! never do that again.

    Body aches didnt come back for a while which was good. No longer have vision problems like i did weeks ago.

    Overall, i am pretty happy with the progress!! Accutane rocks :angel

  33. pinapplecounty added:

    I lost track of how many weeks i have been on accutane!!

    I think i am around week 15 or 16.
    My lips are getting drier for some reason. Skin on the face remains dry but not super dry to the point where they would peel. I like it this dry actually/.

    My acne situation has improved soooo much, in fact i would say i am 95% clear!! Its amazing…i still get little tiny ones around my lips sometimes, but they go away in 2 days.

    I get comments on how much better i look all the time. I would walk on the street and wave at people i know and they wouldnt even recognize the new me (got a hair style change and i put on eye makeup, lip gloss, etc now).

    Cant thank accuante enough for this. Overall, i would say, the painful part- the crazy flare up- was not so bad when seeing the result.

    For those of you who are reading while going through the flare up….be patient and relax, there will be light at the end of the dark tunnel. Think postive and you will get there too! :mrgreen

  34. geckogirl added:

    Hey!
    i am really glad this stuff did its job for you… thats fantastic!! congrats!
    :D :D :D

  35. pinapplecounty added:

    Alright, i lost track of how long i have been on accutane. Must have been more than 4 months and i thought i should warp things up and post my last journal here.

    I am still on accutane, i went from 30mg to 20mg. The redness on my skin is slowly fading away, i think i can see my skin going lighter and light every week. I still have little acne here and there, but they are tiny, hardly noticible. No large/medium cysts, which is great.

    My lips are still dry, sometimes when i forget to put on chop stick the think layer of skin on my lips peels off, which can be painful at times.

    No vision problems anymore. Back pain is gone (or it is that i go used to it?). No major problem with accutane.

    I am happier than ever…really, this thing works! i am just hoping that i will stay this clear even after i finish the medication. I am really afraid of going back to what i had before..it was a nightmare….

    My derm said i will continue to see improvement, and she will giev me a skin peel session after accutane which will make my skin even more clear and flawless. Cant wait cant wait!!

    Overall, i am really thankful that someone invented accuatne. In my opinion this is almost a cure for acne. especially for serious cases like mine. Its like living a dream.

    Now i get to use this sheer foundation from Dior…i look more natural using this. Unlike before..i dont even want to start about how thick my foundation used to be, i looked like i had a mask on!

    Hope everyone is doing great, keep your chins up, you will get there too :angel