Molly’s Accutane Journal

Hi,

First let me introduce myself. I’m Molly and I’ve been a guest on this site for about a year. I think this is a wonderful source for knowledge and everyone here seems so supportive of each other. I’m posting this journal because I think it will help me throughout my accutane course, and in turn, I hope it helps others who are on accutane or considering taking it.

A little background on my experience with acne over the past several years. I’m 30 years old and have been dealing with acne since I was in high school. However, in the early days, it was very mild. Then I hit my early 20’s and it started to get progressively worse! The blemishes were much more severe, painful, and stayed around a lot longer. I started seeing a derm at this point (age 21), and he prescribed tetracycline and Retin A. The tetracycline worked at first, but then my body got used to it and it stopped working. I was on Retin A for about a year and it never worked. To give you an idea about the products/treatments that I’ve tried and which never work, check out this list. Warning, this list is LONG and I’m probably forgetting some stuff:

Tetracycline (long term usage)
Retin A cream (used for 1 year, no results)
Clindamycin gel (used for 4 mos, no results)
Pro-Activ 3 Step System (used for 1 year, stopped working)
Any salylic acid washes and creams(no effect)
Any BP, worked for a while, then stopped (and dried out skin)
Carley’s Clear and Smooth Scrub and Soap (nice to use but doesn’t work for me)
Murad Acne Kit (burned my skin, ouch!)
Diane 35 BCP (on this currently and have been for 1 year, reduced oil but did nothing for hormonal breakouts)
Estrostep BCP (was on it for 1 years)
Burt’s Bees Tomato Soap, Toner & Blemish Stick (blemish stick works sometimes, but not long term everyday use)
Aromaleigh Acne Spot Treatment-Useless!
Clearasil Ultra BP Cream (worked at first then stopped working)
QHMJ Mask
Aspirin Mask
Alpha Hydrox 10% Enhanced Cream or Gel
Foundations with Acne Fighting formulas: Neutrogena, Almay, Clinique
Oxy BP Wash
Pan Oxl BP Bar
Neutrogena Mask/Cleanser with BP
Neutrogena Anti Wrinkle Anti Blemish cream
St. Ives Medicated Scrub
Murad Clarifying Mask
DDF Brightening Cleanser
DDF 10% Glycolic Toner
Serious Skin Care Triple Glycolic Mask
Eucerin Daily Control Moisturizer
Apple Cider Vinegar Toner (made things worse)
Lemon Juice-no effect
Dermanew Microdermabrasion Kit-made it worse, even the clarifying version.
The “Regimine”
The “Acne Cure”
Sulfur, topically and orally
Supplements that did not work:
Zinc
Vit A
Mega Dosing on B5 (several months of doing this was ineffective)
Evening Primrose Oil
Vit E
Multivitamin w/out Iodine
Flaxseed Oil
Fish Oils
Lysine

Ok, so as you can see, I’ve tried many many things to find a cure. My decision to start Accutane was a difficult one. The side effects scare me, but now that I’m in my 30’s, I am so sick of dealing with acne that I just want to be clear. So, here goes! Wish me luck :wink

I’m on week 5 so I’ll give you an overview of the first couple of weeks.
Weeks 1&2:
Dosage 40mg day. I take this after a meal with 1 Flaxseed Oil and 1 Evening Primrose Oil Capsule as Accutane is best absorbed when taken with fats. I also take 400 IU of Vitamin E per day.
I was going through a pretty bad PMS breakout when I starting taking Accutane, and I think it made me break out a week afterwards which is unusual for me. During week 2, I saw more blackheads on my nose, but also some going away. I also saw dozens of little tine flesh colored bumps all over my face…like every pore was letting stuff out. That went away in 3 days or so. My lips were dry, and I’ve been using Aquaphor religiously and various lip balms throughout the day as needed.

Weeks 3 & 4: Dosage: 60MG
Lips definitely dry as well as my eyes. In the morning my eyes are really dry, so I use lubricating eye drops and that seems to do the trick. In the beginning of week 3, I had 3 pimples right under my lip on one side. They are taking forever to heal. They are gone, but there is a patch of really dry skin that flakes constantly. I’ve also had a pimple on each cheek, but nothing severe. They are healing up nicely. I am right before my period and have noticed the usual hormonal pimples around my jaw area, but them seem to be healing faster and not becoming inflamed like they would before Accutane. I have more blackheads on my nose that are really dark, and I’m hoping that the ‘tane is just bring all the gunk in my pores out. A few days ago, I noticed the common rash on the back of my hands that others have mentioned. It’s not irritating or really noticable. I’ve been using moisturizer on it and it seems to be doing better. The skin on the sides of my mouth is flaking a little bit, but nothing major. These are all side effects I’ve been expecting so no suprises yet! I just hope that the positive effects on my skin continue on the up and up! No suicidal thoughts or depression, in fact, I think I am actually feeling more cheerful now that I finally decided to go on the Accutane and will be hopefully clear when I’m all through in the next couple of months! It is the beginning of week 5 so I will post more later this week to let you know how I’m doing. For products I’m using: Dove Sensitive Skin Bar in the morning and Olay Total Effects Facial Cleansing Clothes at night. I use Dove Sensitive Essentials Night Cream for a moisturizer at night. I also use Oil of Olay Regenerating Serum to help with some of my scarring from past breakouts. I’ve been using that serum day and night for about a week and I really like it. It makes my skin feel like silk! So my regimine is pretty simple.

Thanks for reading!
😀
Molly

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16 thoughts on “Molly’s Accutane Journal

  1. WOW-that list almost put me to sleep! It’s crazy isn’t it! Welcome to Clearskin and good luck the Accutane! Clear skin is just around the corner for you!

  2. Thanks for the encouragement! 🙂

    I’m into week 5 of my course (20 weeks total) and I’m happy to say that this morning I noticed less blackheads on my nose! I was starting to get more but maybe my assumption was right…the ‘tane started pushing all the “gunk” out of my pores and now they are starting to clear. I also am happy to find that a pimple that was starting to form on my jaw yesterday morning (the kind that usually blow up within a day and I have to give it a name cause I know it will share my life for about a week or so) is totally gone now. I mean, it never got any bigger than the head of a pin! I can live with that! I still have a patch of skin below my lip on one side that is healing from where 3 pimples had their hay day last week, and it is flaky like crazy. I’m trying not to pick at it but I have to get the dead skin off. Underneath, the skin is red but smooth…then it flakes over again. Now I know what others have said about Accutane making things harder to heal.

    I am paranoid about loosing my hair, so I started using a brand of shampoo, conditioner and scalp treatment called Nioxin. I read about it in another Accutane journal and it’s supposed to prevent your hair from falling out when on the drug. I’ve been using this ever since I started using Accutane, and I actually think it’s helping my hair from falling out. The one I use is called Bionutrient Protectives (for early stages of thinning hair). The conditioner is really nice and minty…leaves my scalp tingling! Then, I apply a scalp treatment from the same set of products. It is packed with vitamins and even smells like vitamins, so I think it is doing some good (I hope). My hair seems to like it ; :wink It is pricy and you can only get this at salons. Anyway, I just thought I’d pass that along in case anyone is experiencing hair loss from ‘tane or wants to prevent it. 😛

  3. I went the cheap route and got head and shoulders dry scalp care. It was pretty cheap and conveintly lasted the entire treatment. It definatly helped with my itchy scalp (which actually kept me awake at night) and stopped hair from falling out…
    Just an idea if you’re cheap like me!

  4. I just realized that I goofed when I said I was on my 5th week. I’m actually only on my 4th week. Oh well… it seems to be going fast anyway.

    Cheers!

    Molly

  5. Ok, so now I’m on 5 weeks 🙂 I’m on 70MG/Day. I take one 10MG and one 20MG in the am with breakfast and an EFA cap and Vit E cap and then 40MG in the PM with dinner and another EFA cap (flaxseed oil), a vit E cap (400IU), Opti-Zinc (30MG), and Vit C 1000MG. I should also mention that I am using Diane35 for BC while on Accutane. I’ve been using Diane 35 for almost a year for BC as well to help with acne. I noticed that it definitely helps with lowering oil production, but I still got hormonal acne around chin/jawline and occasionally on my cheeks, which is why I decided to go on Accutane…Diane just wasn’t enough. Anyone have any luck with Yasmin BCP for acne? I may switch to that after I am off the tane.

    Anyway, back to Accutane… I haven’t gotten any new pimples in the past week, yay! And it was the most likely week that I would normally get them BIG TIME, but I didn’t. My scars seem to stand out more if that makes any sense. I’m having a hard time with that, but I reassure myself that they will eventually go away and in the meantime, I’m trying to find my holy grail foundation to fake nice skin! My skin is very soft. I know I shouldn’t be touching my face, but I just can’t help it, it feels really nice. I have been using Olay Regenerist Serum to give me a boost while on the accutane, and that has niacinamide in it which is supposed to be good for acne, so I think that may also be helping with keeping breakouts minimal. I’ve been using that day and night for about 2 weeks. So that’s the good news. As for side effects, my lips are still dry, but I think the Vit E 800IU’s a day is helping, and using lip balm (right now I’m using the holiday flavored ones from Avon of all things, and they are wonderful! Caramel Apple and Eggnog are my favs 😉 ). But really, they seem to keep my lips very moist. They aren’t waxy like some lip balms out there. If I really feel dry, I’ll use Aquaphor in the tube.

    The back of my hands have a slight red rash and are itchy at times. I try to keep my hands moisturized. My eyes are dry, especially when I wake up in the morning. I just keep a bottle of lubricating eye drops on top of my alarm clock and squirt some in every morning if needed. I have slight back pain, but I’m prone to that anyway…lower back that is. I am quite stiff when I get up after sitting for a while at work…but it isn’t bothersome. My spirits are up, so no depression here! Also, I don’t know if this is Accutane related, but I seem more hungry than usual. Just something I noticed recently.

    Well, that’s about it for now. I’ll post again if there are any changes this week. So far, I’m happy with my progress and hope it continues! I wish my blackheads would disappear from my nose! They are persistant! I am going to start taking biotin to prevent hair loss…just need to get over to the vitamin shop and pick some up. I can’t find it at my local drugstore.

    Thanks for reading!

    Molly :lol

  6. I’m still in my 5th week (right in the middle of it!), and there haven’t been any big changes, but I did want to mention that my hair is less oily. I wash it every other day instead of every day like I used to. I have long hair, so the time I save washing and drying it is great! I have also added a new hair product called Redken Anti-Snap. It’s a leave in conditioner that contains lipids that strengthen your hair. I added it to my arsenal of hair products to combat and hair loss while on accutane. As you can tell, I am very paranoid about this. :lol

    One other thing I wanted to mention is that I accidentally scraped one of my fingers against the rough edge of one of my wooden kitchen cabinets when trying to get something out. The skin was broken along half my finger on the top, and it really was sore. I had to pull some skin off, and it just made me realize how fragile my skin has become while on the treatment. I don’t think it would have been so easily scraped if I wasn’t on tane, so I am going to be extra careful for the next few months if I can.

    Well, that’s about it for now! Thanks for reading :crazyeyes

  7. So another week has passed. I’m on week 6 now. Still on 70MG/Day. This week has brought minor changes, but the best thing is NO NEW BLEMISHES!!! I am so happy about that! I even survived the once a month hormonal breakout on my chin that I always get. It is so nice to wake up in the morning and not see any new spots. Now, of course, I am far from “clear” since I have quite a few scars from past breakouts, but at least they are getting a chance to heal without new ones popping up. Getting ready in the morning takes so much less time since I’m not trying to cover up and nasty cysts or whiteheads. So far, I am very happy with my decision to start this drug.

    Last night, after washing my face with an cleansing cloth (rave for Olay Total Effects foaming cloths!), I noticed about a dozen or more blackheads surfacing on my nose. Remember how frustrated I am with those suckers? They are finally leaving!!! I plucked the ones that I could out with a tweezer (gross, I know, but sickly enjoyable in a way). I have a blackhead extracter that I used to use, but I found that it left red marks on my nose. All I needed the tweezers for was to simply pluck the oil plug from my nose pores that were ready and willing to leave and already out of the pore on the surface of my nose. I didn’t do any further digging that would cause marks. When they are ready to come out, they are easy to remove. I haven’t been using anything new on my face to help these along, so I know it’s from the Accutane.

    I can get away with washing my hair once in 3 days. I usually wash it every other day though. On the non-wash days, I just throw it up in a clip in the shower. I’m think this will also save the wear and tear on my hair since I don’t have to blow dry it either. I haven’t noticed much hair loss since I started Accutane, but I’m on the Nioxin stuff so that may be helping. I haven’t added the Biotin yet, but plan on doing that just as a preventative measure.

    My hands have a noticable rash on them from dry skin. I put Aquaphor on them last night and it seems to have helped. My skin also tears very easily, so I have all sorts of nicks on my fingers that I probably wouldn’t have if not on ‘tane, but that’s pretty minor to me.

    I had a bad headache for about 2 days over the weekend. I don’t think I drank enough water. I took Advil though and it finally went away. I’m trying to stay away from any additional stress on my liver but the headache was quite a nusance, so I finally caved in and took the advil.

    I think night blindless may become a problem for me, so I’m a bit scared at that. I hear that it is a side effect, so I’m hoping this is temporary. I have awful eye sight to begin with.

    Other than that, I am in good spirits. I think I am happier on the Accutane because I am seeing great results. My skin used to really depress me, and now I can answer the door without a layer of make up on. I even went to the Post Office to ship some Christmas presents without a trace of foundation on. That is HUGE for me! I still have scars to cover up, but no active pimples.

    Well, enjoy the holidays everyone! I’ll report next week. Keeping my fingers crossed that I won’t get any suprises on my face from Santa Claus :wink

  8. great you are doing progress. YOu know once all the blackhead surfaces I suggest you drop down the dosages. I did that and I saw the continued progress. My approach to accutane is take the least effective dosage to minimize the risk for long term adverse effects. Please watch out for your vision. I have heard of people with perfect vision having to wear glasses for life in the afterward of the drug so beware of it. Are you taking Vit E supplements? I did not take them and I think I would have taken when I had my course.

    Keep us posted 🙂

  9. Thank you Mari and xfactor for the kind words.

    Mari, I am taking 800IU of Vitamin E a day (400 in the am and 400 in the PM). I take them with my Accutane doses, along with Flaxseed oil and Vitamin C and Zinc.

    Each night I notice more blackheads surfacing after I wash my face. But I still have some more to go. I’m still on 70MG a day. Other changes are that my lips are even more dry and peeling…yuk! Plus it’s freezing cold and dry here right now and that’s not helping. My nose is also very dry, but no nosebleeds yet. The rash on the back of my hands is the same, maybe more red but it’s not too irritating. I put aquaphor on my hands and lips. It seems to be the only stuff with staying power.

    I am sorry to report that I developed a pimple on my cheek…first one in weeks! It’s not terribly big though, and it’s drying up pretty quickly. It might be the result of a vitamin C serum I tried last week, so I may have to stop using it if it cause me to break out. That’s the only one so far though. I am using Vitamin C serum to help with the red marks from past break outs. I think it’s helping a little but I’ve only used it for a few days. I’m still using Olay Regenerist Serum, which is wonderful. For a face wash, I’m using Olay Daily Renewal Cleanser and Total Effects Cleansing Cloths. For makeup, I use CoverGirl Aquasmooth foundation, no powder on top. My skin is looking pretty good lately. I definitely get drier every week that goes by. Right now, I’m going through a stressful time at work, and I usually have a bad breakout under stress, but so far, the one pimple is all I have. I hope it goes away by the end of the week cause I’ve got a big night for New Year’s Eve planned and I want to be clear! Even if it doesn’t though (that’s 2 days away), I am still happy with the way things are going and the one pimple is pretty minor compared to pre-Accutane when I had them springing up all the time.

    Well, happy New Year everyone one and I’ll post again next week!

    Cheers!

    Molly

  10. WEEK 10! I’m half way there on my 20 week course! I’ve missed reporting on the last couple of weeks, but with the holidays and all, it really flew by. The good news is that I have a clear report card…no blemishes in about 2 weeks! And that is even through the dreaded PMS time when I am usually a mess. I sailed through this time. I am so happy to keep seeing good progress. My side effects are pretty much the same. Dry lips if I don’t keep up with the lip balm (Aquaphor is still my saviour), dry eyes (but I’m still able to wear my contacts every day), and a red rash on the back of my hands. Also, my skin on my shins and stomach are really dry and itchy right now, but we are in the middle of the dry, cold winter months, so that’s not helping. I do think I am losing more hair than usual…but I could just be paranoid. I can get away with washing my hair every third day if I want to. I figure that the less I mess with it at this point the better. I wish I could do something for the scars that are left, but I know my skin is very fragile right now, so I’m staying away from harsh scrubs and microdermabrasion & glycolic products that are supposed to help with that. My daily routine is still the Olay Total Effects cleansing clothes, Olay Skin Renewing Cleanser (I alternate between those), and morning and night I use Olay Regenerist Serum, Fragrance Free. This is the most simple my skin regimine has been in a long time since I’m not using anti blemish products morning and night, or spending hours in front of the mirror covering pimples. I can wake up in the morning and not worry about a massive makeover just to leave the house. This is a nice change for me, and I am very happy that I chose to go on Accutane. I just hope I see more improvements over the next 10 weeks. They say after you’ve reached the 10 week mark, it’s all uphill from there, so I hope that’s right!

    Cheers!

    Molly

  11. 11 weeks! Less than half way to go (9 more weeks). I have another positive report this week. My skin is way clear except for 1 teeny tiny chin blemish which is probably caused by me eating lots of dairy, which I had pretty much cut out before accutane, but I’ve been eating it lots through the holidays and realized how much I missed cheese! Anyway, the tiny thing never bloomed into a full pimple anyway, so I was relieved. It was so small that it’s almost not worth mentioning but I scrutinize my skin still every day looking for new pimples and can’t believe I’m just not getting them. People knock accutane so much, but for me it’s been a life saver over the last few months that I’ve started to get clear while on it. I only wish I tried this in my early 20’s when my acne really started to flare up. I have scars from years of dealing with acne, and I’m looking to help refine my skin in some way after my course. I have been using Neutrogena Peel which has been fairly mild, but still gives you the benefits of exfoliation like microdermabrasion, just without the harsh scrubbing. Neutrogena claims that it is equal to a couple of professional glycolic peels, but I don’t see that much of a difference, but I guess it makes me feel like I am at least doing something to help my skin tone and scars. ANYWAY, back to the tane, all in all, I think things are really working out for me on this stuff. I don’t have any new side effects to report. I’ve kept the dry lips under control with Aquaphor, and just bought Olay in the shower moisturizer to help with my dry skin elsewhere. The tops of my hands have a consistant red rash which sometimes moves up my arms, but it’s not that bad. A tad itchy but nothing that drives me crazy. I am still on 70 MG to the end of my course. I am almost afraid to go off this stuff! It’s like a security blanket for my skin :wink

    Best of luck to anyone else on Accutane or thinking about it. It has really changed my life for the better.

    Cheers!

    Molly

  12. 13 Weeks! I was traveling abroad last week so I didn’t have a chance to post. Although, not too much new with my side effects. I do have more dry skin on the very bottoms of my feet (just noticed that today as I was giving myself a pedicure), and it is kind of gross…big clumbs of dry skin on the ball of my foot. I’ve read this in other journals, so I’m sure this is from the Accutane. I survived another visit from “aunt Flo” without a single pimple! That makes me very happy! I can see the very beginnings of a few during this time, but they never surface and aren’t noticeable to anyone but me I’m sure. I look at my face in the mirror dozens of times of day for goodness sake!! My blackheads on my nose are VERY stubborn, and have not gone away yet, but I see that they are surfacing after I wash my face, and I try to pluck them out with tweezers, but some of them are too embedded. Gross, I know, but those of you who have blackheads can understand I’m sure.

    I still have the typical dry lips and now VERY dry eyes, especially in the morning. So I’ve been using lip balm and liquid eye gel drops like crazy. I am still able to wear my contact lenses, but they aren’t that comfortable due to the dryness. My lower back is more sore than usual, and I think it may be due to the tane. But it’s not too too bothersome. My hair is still in good shape…I think the Nioxin system is working cause I actually see some NEW hair growth!

    Oh, the red rash that I’ve had all along on my hands seems to have gone away! I guess moisturizing faithfully paid off. I also added a new product to my daily shower regimine to help with moisturizing my body. It’s the olay in shower moisturizer. I apply it in the shower and don’t rinse it off, just towel it off when I’m done, so it leaves a layer of moisturizer on my dry areas like arms and legs. Makes my skin softer too!

    Well, that’s it to report. My outlook is still upbeat, cause I know that Accutane is helping me get clear. I just hope it works as well when I’m off this stuff…which will be in about 7 weeks!

    Good luck to anyone else who is on their course with tane.

    Cheers!

    Molly

  13. Molly

    Im glad that your therapy is going well…hang in there and I know that you will do great! Your experience with Accutane actually reminds me of my first experience… 😀

    Keep us posted on your progress

  14. OMG! I can’t believe how time flies! I am now on my 17th week! 3 more weeks to go as my official end date is April 4th. I am happy to report that over the last few weeks since my last update, I have been very clear, even through PMS week! YAY!!! I do notice even more drying, especially around my lips, corners of mouth, and nose. Very slight nose bleeds, if you can even call them that. More headaches than usual, but they are dull. Just annoying if anything. I’m not drinking the amount of water that I should. I’ve cut down my cleansing routine to the minimal. At night, I wash with Philosophy’s Purity Cleanser, which I just started using recently and I really like it. It’s non-drying. Then I follow with Philosophy’s Hope in a Jar moisturizer, which has been great too. In the morning I follow the same routine, except I use L’Oreal Active Moisturizer with SPF 15 under my foundation instead of Hope in a Jar. I noticed that the one sunny day we’ve had in months caused me to have pink cheeks due to the sun exposure, which was minimal, but it just goes to show you how sensitive tane makes you with the sun. I still use lip balm like it’s going out of style. If I don’t apply it at least once or twice an hour, my lips will start to crack. But, really, if I keep up with the lip stuff, my lips are fine. I really slather on Aquafor at night and it saves me. During the day, I just use my regular lip gloss or lip balm, they all seem to work the same. But my lips need Aquafor at night or else they will be drier in the day.

    I’m still taking Vitamin E at least once a day, and flax seed oil when I take the tane. I can go 2 days without washing my hair. I think my hair is definitely thining, and I hope this is temporary and not the case when I’m off tane shortly. But I do think the Nioxin helps cause I see new growth in areas that I have lost hair. It just seems like some of my longer strands (I have long hair to my mid-back), is coming out more when I comb it, but it’s nothing too noticable. I’m just super paranoid about that.

    I am very happy so far with my results on Tane. It has been worth it. I don’t get up in the moring and fear another blemish. My time to get ready in the morning has been cut in half. I am sooo happy about the way things are going! Will report again during my final weeks!

    Cheers,

    Molly

  15. Wow…I haven’t been on this site for a long time…funny how you don’t visit it when your skin is actually clear! Let me close my accutane journal and report that my course ended in April and I’ve been clear since…well, I shouldn’t say TOTALLY clear, cause I have had instances where a see a tiny start of a bump, but it will never turn into a full blown pimple…phew! I hope I’m not jinxing myself, but my skin is looking better and better everyday. My dry lips are gone, so no more panicking when I can’t find lip balm in my purse! So far, my skin has not gotten oiler, but I’m sure it will eventually. I’ve paired my skin care routine down to the bare minimum…in the morning, I just rinse my face with warm water. In the evening, I use a gentle cleanser (Oil of Olay Total Effects), to take off my makeup. I don’t use any masks or skin creams (which is hard for me because I’m a recovering product junkie) but I think the less is more and my skin is looking better than ever. My friend actually commented on how smooth my skin looked last week. I was thrilled since I never usually get compliments on my skin! However, I still have several red marks and some scars that I hope will eventually fade away.

    My only regrets with Accutane is that I didn’t do it years ago. If I had to go on it again, I would.

    Cheers,

    Molly

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