week 13 Accutane blues

Hi ~

I found this site a few weeks ago. Thank you all very much for contributing to this informative and supportive network.

I finally decided to post because I am having a difficult time and I think it would be nice to have a community that understands the emotional frustrations of dealing with stubborn acne.

My story:
I am starting my 13th week of accutane and my skin is still breaking out consistently. Over the years, I bet that I have taken all of the antibiotics available for acne treatment.

I am a 34 year old woman. I’ve been primarily a vegetarian for over 15 years. I stopped eating dairy products 3 months ago. I haven’t eaten wheat or gluten products for nearly a month. I take vitamins e & c as well as ALA, DMAE, EFA, and probiotic supplements. I use cetaphil cleanser, cetaphil moisturizer, jojoba oil, and tea tree oil as my skin care regimen. I do not wear make up. I exercise moderately.

I am wondering if anyone else in this forum had this lack of response to accutane? Did things turn around? What did you do?

I am trying to accept that I may have to live with acne for the rest of my life. I suppose I have been going through the grief process of denial, bargaining, anger, and depression. I am determined not to have my quality of life be contingent up my skin problems. How do folks deal with these feelings?

I’d love to hear from anyone who would be willing to share. Adult acne sufferers, in particular, please respond.

Peace and gratitude.

Related Acne Archive Posts & Questions

28 thoughts on “week 13 Accutane blues

  1. Dear Aldys,

    All of us in this forum are painfully aware of the psychological drain that acne may cause in those of us who suffer w/ it. I myself am 37 years old, had some mild to moderate teenage acne, was subsequently clear in my early to mid 20’s, and have gone on to suffer w/ either mild to moderate persistent and prolonged bouts of acne to this age, w/ my most recent aggravation reaching what I would call a moderate to severe degree, as I had, at any given time, more than one to 2 dozen deep-seated cystic nodular and several pustular lesions on my face. (If you click the “profile” button below my post here, then follow link to “Find all posts by roxtar”, you’ll find other posts of mine w/ further detail of my recent and current condition, treatments, and so on; if you’re interested in finding out more about all this). To summarize, I am not nor have never been on Accutane. And my current bout has been successfully treated w/ minocycline oral antibiotics (despite my own hesitation to start these), w/ topical antibiotic clindamycin as well as Retin-A as supportive measures.

    I just read your post and wanted to offer you some moral support. I would suggest you first read my posts to belfast_cat in another thread in “general acne chat” at:
    as my comments to her could certainly apply to you as well. The posts are long, and that’s why I’m not retyping. The gist is to approach acne w/ both internal, topical, and psychological measures, and I elaborate.

    Likewise in the same thread, Lenore offers a lot of great advice and moral support.

    Once you’ve read the above link, come back and read my next post to you.

    All my best,

  2. Dear Aldys, I should also welcome you to this forum. Just as a side-note, I am not affiliated w/ any products or commercial ventures. I’m here for the same reason as yourself, to find a supportive forum where through discussion I can ease my own concerns, find out new and useful information, discuss and assess others’ experiences, and try to gain control over this condition and its psychological sequelae.

    Besides the information I provided in my posts from the link I provided above, there is something specifically about your situation I wanted to discusss. I don’t necessarily want to overemphasize the role that topical agents that I refer to as “cosmetics” (I include cleansers, moisturizers, and other skin care products in this term; not just make-up products), as we all know that the disease process is multifactorial and quite individual. However, as I found several offending agents in my own cosmetics that I believe were aggravating my condition (by experimenting over months, if not years, and comparing ingredient lists to ones like those listed in http://www.zerozits.com/Articles/acne_detective/article6.htm for comedogenicity/acnegenicity, once I discovered this list). Don’t forget, if you’ve read my above posts, that many cosmetics and skin-care product companies make claims to be non-comedogenic, yet have ingredients that are high on the comedogenicity list.

    I don’t have anything personal against cetaphil products, but I’ve become aware that they contain certain ingredients that are high on the comedogenicity lists. The following are directy from cetaphil’s own website, http://www.cetaphil.com which I visited and followed the links to the various products. You don’t specify which of their cleansers or moisturizers you use, so I copied all that were listed:

    Cetaphil® Gentle Skin Cleanser
    Ingredients: Water, Cetyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Stearyl Alcohol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben.

    Cetaphil® Daily Facial Cleanser For Normal to Oily Skin
    Ingredients: Purified Water, PEG-200 Hydrogenated Glyceryl Palmate (and) PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Acrylates/Steareth-20 Methacrylate Copolymer, Glycerin, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Butylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Masking Fragrance, Panthenol, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Disodium EDTA, Methylparaben.

    Cetaphil® Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 15 with Parsol® 1789
    Active Ingredients: Avobenzone, Octocrylene
    Inactive Ingredients: Purified Water, Diisopropyl Adipate, Cyclomethicone, Glyceryl Stearate and PEG-100 Stearate, Glycerin, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl Alcohol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tocopheryl Acetate, Carbomer 940, Disodium EDTA, Triethanolamine.

    Cetaphil® Moisturizing Lotion
    Ingredients: Purified Water, Glycerin, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Cetearyl Alcohol and Ceteareth-20, Macadamia Nut Oil, Dimethicone, Tocopheryl Acetate, Stearoxytrimethylsilane (and) Stearyl Alcohol, Panthenol, Farnesol, Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid.

    Cetaphil® Moisturizing Cream
    Ingredients: Purified Water, Polyglycerylmethacrylate (and) Propylene Glycol, Petrolatum, Dicaprylyl Ether, PEG-5 Glyceryl Stearate, Glycerin, Dimethicone and Dimethiconol, Cetyl Alcohol, Sweet Almond Oil, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tocopheryl Acetate, Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide, Lactic Acid.

  3. You don’t need to read all the ingredients! :crazyeyes

    From having done this innumerable times, I’ve become fairly quick at running down the list and recognizing the offending agents. (Note that I have a cumulative list of comedogenicity ratings, from zerozits.com, clearcomplexions.com, getskinappeal.com, Dr. James Fulton’s Acne Rx book, etc.; so if you don’t find a specific ingred. I talk about below in zerozits, that may be why. The lists are all quite similar, some are more comprehensive than others, some include ingred. that others don’t, w/ a lot of overlap). These lists are far from comprehensive though, as there are so many permutations and chemical cousins of ingred’s that it seems these have not been tested, or at least not provided in published sources. This makes the task difficult, but at least you can start by recognizing the agents they would consider offensive to acne, and eliminating these, if you so choose. So I’ll talk about the cetaphil products I listed above.

    Notice that their gentle skin cleanser has sodium lauryl sulfate, a surfactant which rates 4 out of 5 (from now abbreviated 4/5) on comedogenicity list, the 5’s being the worst offenders. (Surfactants are detergents, materials that have both hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties, that bind lipids and make them water-soluble, which is how soaps rid the skin of oils.)

    Their cleanser for normal to oily skin has sodium laureth sulfate, which rates 3/5 (also not considered a particularly good rating; you want to stick to 2/5 or less). It has several other ingred.’s (namely PEG-200 Hydrogenated Glyceryl Palmate, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate) which don’t sound like particularly good choices to me, though these ARE NOT RATED (based on my readings about the chemical cousins of some fatty acids in this category and their associated penetrating oils, I think these, or at least some of these, would probably have some degree of comedogenicity; but that’s just a gut feeling).

    Now, as for the moisturizers, the daily facial moisturizer spf 15 has glyceryl stearate, another fatty acid compound which has 2 chemical versions, SE and NSE, the former rating 3/5 and the latter 1/5. Unfortunately, as I’ve noticed from reading many labels over time, many companies don’t specify the type, so there’s no way of knowing. The other ingredients in this one either check out O.K. or aren’t rated.

    The moisturizing lotion contains Cetearyl Alcohol and Ceteareth-20 which in combination together rate 4/5 (Cetearyl Alcohol alone is O.K. at 2/5, but not in this combination). Again, the other ingredients in this one either check out O.K. or aren’t rated.

    Finally, the moisturizing cream contains Propylene Glycol, which though it rates 0/5 in comedogenicity list, I have read in yet other sources (www.getskinappeal.com) is the primary ingred. in antifreeze (along w/ chemical cousins ethyl and butyl glycol) and is carcinogenic and mutagenic! This is an extremely common ingredient in cosmetics. Other sources list it as a combination of water and glycerin (a fairly benign sugar derivative, 0/5 on list), w/ the property of being a humectant. Same source also stated that, in cosmetics, this the most common moisture-carrying ingredient, other than for water itself (I think this was from http://www.skin-care.d/non-comedogenic.htm ).

    I know it can all be so confusing. 😮 Bottom-line is you have to become an educated consumer and decide for yourself. As the example of propylene glycol demonstrates, even the comedogenicity index lists cannot completely cover important facts we need to know as consumers. I mean, yes, it may be non-comedogenic, but is it really safe? (I think a lot of benz- products, such as benzyl alcohol or oxybenzone, are derivatives of benzene, a petroleum by-product … think gasolene! same for petrolatum, aka vaseline, and mineral oil; also parsol 1789 or avobenzone, a very common uva/uvb sunscreen, incidentally present in the moisturizer w/ spf 15 above; they may be rated as non-comedogenic, but how safe are these?! I don’t know, but I’m very suspect). Perhaps, Lenore (one of our forum members) and others like her are closest on the track of finding such safe products by trying to find all natural ingredients. I’m sort of on this path myself, but haven’t quite gotten there. It will become easier over time as more natural products become available.

    I mentioned my issue w/ cetaphil w/ my dermatologist in passing (as my clindamycin topical antibiotic compound had originally been prescribed by M.D. as formulated in cetaphil; which I had changed prior to compound being made or purchasing it). She somewhat dismissed my comments and said that she uses cetaphil in a lot of her acne patients w/ no reported problems (I don’t know how she could be sure; they all have acne, after all!).

    As for my own cleanser, I use SpectroJel (right on the same shelf as Cetaphil in the drugstore), which uses Polysorbate-20 (a sugar-derived compound and a surfactant which rates 0/5 on list) instead of sodium lauryl sulfate and others. I’ve been using it as my exclusive cleanser for almost 2 months now and (along w/ my current antibiotic, etc., treatment), I haven’t broken out in over 1 1/2 months. (The main other difference I’ve noted betw/ sodium lauryl sulfate containing products and this one is that it doesn’t foam as much). I don’t want to advocate this as a miracle product, ’cause I don’t necessarily think it is. I just think that sodium lauryl sulfate which was highly prevalent in cleansers I was using (eg: St. Ives apricot cleanser) may have been one of several contributing factors to my acne aggravation. I’m not necessarily advocating that you stop using cetaphil, just that you start taking a closer look at your products to decide if, based on your own experience and experimentation, you can find products that at least don’t aggravate your acne, if not improve it.

    This very lengthy post, though very limited in scope of discussing what I believe to be one of many factors in the causality of acne, is meant to help you start taking a bite, though small, out of the problem of acne. Once you have a place to start in your evaluation process, you’ll be able to branch out to discover what else you can do to help reduce or eliminate this multifactorial problem.

    Good luck, and with full support from me,

  4. Thank you for your time, info, and support!!
    I am so grateful to hear from someone who can relate.

    The thread you directed me to was full of affirmations. The emotional issues involved in this condition are so deep. They are an important topic to discuss. I will continue to try keeping positive.

    Questions I ask myself are; how can I grow from this? how can it help me become a more compassionate and courageous person? are there ways can it help me develop more meaningful, less superficial, relationships? I just have to keep my head up, right?

    I have checked the cetaphil products that I’ve been using and, sure enough, they do contain ingredients listed as comedogenic. I’d like to try the SpectroJel. Do you use a moisturizer?

    I will check out the sites Lenore mentioned too.

    I try not to be foolish about my purchases, but I feel so desperate at times. And then, there’s the issue of where to begin the search for products and healthy lifestyle choices. The information you shared is helpful.

  5. I try not to be foolish about my purchases, but I feel so desperate at times. And then, there’s the issue of where to begin the search for products and healthy lifestyle choices. The information you shared is helpful.

    Hello, again, Aldys. I don’t think foolish would be the word I’d use. I’m sure you try to make the best possible choices within the information provided to you as a consumer. The only problem is that many claims are made by the manufacturers that aren’t necessarily true; and there is nothing “illegal” about that. It’s clearly unethical for them to make claims such as non-comedogenicity when these claims may be false, but the FDA and like administrative bodies outside U.S. don’t regulate such claims. So there is no way of being sure. My own personal goal is to be as informed and savvy a consumer as possible so I can dismiss these claims if they aren’t true.

    As for moisturizer, despite climbing in age and aging skin becoming more and more of an issue for me, I don’t regularly apply a moisturizer, as my skin is quite oily. If I’m heading out into the sun, I definitely do. As of the last several months, I’ve been using the Neutrogena line. Specifically, I have 2 of these: Neutrogena Moisture Oil Free SPF 15 (this is a lighter daily moisturizer) and Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 45 (this is a “waterproof, sweatproof, rubproof” formula I put on if I’m doing outdoor sports). I’ll list you the ingredients if you ask (I think they’re avail. on Neutrogena website, but from my comparison w/ the comedogenicity lists, I didn’t find anything problematic in these). I would highly suggest a sunscreen for you as well in choosing your day moisturizer; I’m having a memory lapse here, but doesn’t accutane make the skin more sensitive to the sun?

    Recently, my doctor recommended a Vitamin C serum that he swears by. I bought it (it’s rather expensive Canadian $100/ 1.75 fl. oz. bottle) and have been using it all over my face and neck at night. It’s called Dermatologic Cosmetic Laboratories (or DCL) “C” scape serum. I can’t quite rate it yet, but I can tell you the following. I don’t see any comedogenic ingredients listed (but it does have fragrance on the ingred. list, which the cosmetician at the doctor’s office explained is something citrus based to mask the seaweed based formula; also it has butylene glycol …mmmm…. antifreeze-like compound? I discussed these above; I don’t know, maybe not the safest choice in the long-run, but at least not comedogenic). It goes on really light and smooth, and it hasn’t broken me out in the month or so I’ve been using it. I don’t know about all this miracle vitamin C stuff, as the molecule may not be all that stable when it penetrates in the form provided (it has to be an ester of Vitamin C; I’m not sure this one is). But my skin generally feels very nice. I can’t totally attribute it to the C serum, but it may be contributing.

    I can’t help you much in the Accutane department. I know a lot of the members of this forum have taken it or are taking it, so hopefully they can offer you better advice.

    As far as your personal growth, I’m glad you’re looking to find a positive angle on this. I’m sure it certainly affects us all in some way, but hopefully we can come out of it w/ some kind of gain, especially in light of all the negative psychological effects associated w/ acne.

    I had some other comments I wanted to make about achieving overall health and skin health, so I posted them in the general acne chat thread, as they have little to do w/ accutane. If interested, go to:


  6. Hello Aldys dear. Boy, do I relate to what you’re saying. I took Accutane a couple of decades ago, but I had such a bad reaction to it that I stopped mid-course. It did help keep my skin clear for a couple of years but then it got badly cystic again. Right now I am following a healthy diet. I do eat fish and eggs but am otherwise vegetarian and don’t eat dairy products. I have been using a line of products called MyChelle Dermaceuticals for 3 weeks now and my skin is absolutely clear and totally comfortable. I also use progesterone cream and take Remifemin, which is black cohosh extract, to help balance my hormones. Although I’m almost 53 years old, I’ve learned that my acne is only in remission, not gone. At one point I thought that I had actually outgrown acne when I was going to see a paramedical aesthetician and my skin was totally clear. I ended up with a huge cystic flare-up later on, though, when I experimented with other skin care products and make-up. It’s a little early to know for sure about the MyChelle products, but I absolutely love them so far and my skin is just so clear and so comfortable and soft and smooth. They’re expensive, but they’re wonderful. I started a thread with a skin diary over the last 3 weeks. I hope and pray that this will last indefinitely and that I can stop searching for skin care. I’m also using MiEssence foundation liquid make-up and my skin has only gotten better since using it. I’m just thrilled.

    Although I personally regret having taken Accutane because I had such adverse effects from it (some of them long-lasting),I also know that many people feel it’s a godsend for them. As for your skin still breaking out, I’ve heard of cases where someone’s skin continued to break out during their entire course of Accutane, and then during the few weeks after they stopped using it their skin cleared up! It continues to work even after you take it, so don’t be discouraged. It can still work for you.

    I concur about the Cetaphil products: you don’t want to be putting sodium lauryl sulfate on your skin. I’ve had really bad reactions from SLS. The MyChelle products are chemical free and natural, non-toxic and gentle. We’re all with you, honey — don’t despair. Your attitude is excellent.

  7. Aldys, I thought since I’ve been touting SpectroJel, that I should list its ingredients and let you make your own choice. I use the SpectroJel Skin Cleanser (there is another one for sensitive skin; also w/ polysorbate 20 as its surfactant, but I don’t have that one; I think it’s called SpectroDerm). Their main pitch on the bottle is that they don’t contain fragrance, sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens, or lanolin (a sheep wool derived compound, which in itself isn’t comedogenic, but many of its derivatives are).

    Ingredients: Butylene Glycol, Carbomer, Cetyl Alcohol, Dimethicone Copolyol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Ethanol, Glycerin, Hydrated Silica, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Polysorbate 20, Sorbitan Oleate, Triethanolamine, Purified Water.


    In continuation of my discussion about ingredients, well, clearly there are some chemicals here that I would question for long-term use. I’ve already commened about Butylene Glycol. Is this in the same category as Proplene Glycol that one source called antifreeze and potentially carcinogenic/mutagenic? Mmmm… (0/5 on comedogenicity list)

    O.K. Another source I just found http://lotioncrafter.com/reference/msds_germaben_II.pdf is a material saftey data sheet for a product called germabenII which contains Propylene Glycol … states this is non-mutagenic.

    Carbomer is a thickener. (1/5 on list) I don’t know much more about it.

    Cetyl alcohol, obviously an alcohol (2/5 on list). Some people don’t like alcohols on their skin, as they find them too drying. I don’t.

    Dimethicone Copolyol is a silicone (1/5 on list). Some object to these as well (can’t remember specific objection).

    Diazolidinyl Urea is preservative. I think they use this one instead of the parabens (methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben) (their formula clearly heralds that they’re paraben-free; the problem w/ parabens, I think, is that some sources state they may have an estrogenic effect)

    O.K. This is a good exercise for me too. This Diazolidinyl Urea is a very common ingredient in cosmetics. I’ve seen it a lot.
    I just read in http://allergies.about.com/cs/formaldehyde/a/aa010801a.htm that this chemical can release formaldehyde!
    Another source ( http://www.ewg.org/reports/skindeep/chemhealtheffect.php?chem_id=3540&lookup=3540&ewg_cat=Body+Spray ) states:

    May be contaminated with impurities linked to cancer or other significant health problems
    Impurity Concerns
    May contain harmful impurities: formaldehyde. [CIR 2003]
    Government & Industry Toxicity Category Explanation
    CIR Category 2: Safe with qualifications. [CIR 2003]
    CIR Category 36: “Safe” with designation of maximum concentration known to be safe. [CIR 2003]

    I haven’t looked into these government toxicity categories. Mmmmmm…… :eek

    Ethanol is another alcohol, same as the kind in alcoholic beverages. Again, alcohols may be drying. (not on list, but I think pretty safe for comedogenicity)

    Glycerin is a humectant (moisture-absorbing from environment, and moisture-retaining in skin) and emollient from plants, I think the “sugar” of the plants. (0/5 on list)

    Polysorbate 20 is the surfactant we’ve talked about already. (0/5 on list).

    The rest of the ingred’s I don’t know much about. They don’t appear on list, but don’t have particularly suspect names, at least in comedogenicity.

    Maybe, bottom-line, if you can find even more natural products that work on your skin and help control your acne, that’s your best bet in the long-run. For example, the one Lenore recommends, MyChelle. I’m going to use this for now, but I may switch to more natural things once I finish this (still looking at going back to Saje, avail. here in Vancouver in stores, and by mail. I’ve posted about this before).


  8. Hi:

    Roxtar and Lenore:

    I am so happy to hear from both of you. On days when I am feeling down, kind words are such a godsend. :angel I am glad that I finally posted to this web site.

    Things haven’t improved really since I last wrote. I think that one of the most difficult things that I deal with, in terms of acne, is the roller coaster of hope and disappointment. It seems to be, in a lot of ways, out of my control. It’s exhausting. When I feel a new blemish rising, I have to fight plummeting into despair. It is sometimes very difficult to keep mindful and present when I am trying hard not to cry. Sigh…

    On the other hand, these past few days, I have really been focusing on accepting where I am. This isn’t always easy of course, but I think it is getting easier overall. I keep reminding myself that I am worthy love, love is present in my life, and that I am capable of giving love; all regardless of how my skin looks. It is not my preference to have this skin condition, but that’s the way it is. The rest is ultimately my choice. So, I’ll keep working to take care of myself physically and emotionally.

    I know that acne is not comparable to having a disability, but it helps me to think of individuals who have overcome obstacles like disabilities. I imagine myself overcoming my insecurities about my appearance. I try to imagine that I have a beautiful inner radiance that people can see despite my outer appearance. This is really what I want to share with those I come into contact with, as opposed to a superficial impression.

    In terms of facial products, I ordered some MyChelle last week. Lenore, thanks for sharing your testimony. I look forward to trying out the products I ordered; the cranberry cleanser, the pumpkin renew cream, and the clear skin serum. Although, I don’t expect a miracle (I just secretly hope), it will be nice to treat myself with natural skin care.

    I looked for SpectroJet, but I could not find any. I noticed on their website that they are Canadian company. I live in the US.

    Roxtar, I haven’t had a chance to thoroughly read the threads you linked to the general acne chat. It will be nice to take some time to read them over the next few days.

    That’s all for now. Have a great week.

  9. Aldys, no problem. I hope you find the info useful when you have a chance to read it. I wrote in depth about the ingredients of SpectroJel, but you can probably skip that one now! 🙂 I think I may have heard somewhere & some time back that we only had it here in Canada, but I didn’t know for sure, and didn’t even remember. D’oe! (So often, it’s the other way around) O.K., it’s good that you ordered the MyChelle products. Lenore seems to be doing really well w/ these, and they are much more natural anyway.

    You seem to have a firm grasp of where you’re at, even though it may not be the best place to be. You certainly have a great understanding of your own thoughts, feelings, and emotions; and that is such a profound accomplishment.

    As much encouragement as we can give each other, and the great spirit that we all impart to each other here, it is hard to overlook the emotional burden that acne imposes on all of us. I’ve had my most severe bout in this last year, lasting about 8 to 9 months, and only having cleared in the last month, but still w/ countless hyperpigmentation “scars” or spots that are only very gradually now starting to fade and will take months to do so. This lasting effect continues to weigh heavy on my emotions, my self-confidence, and my sociability w/ others. It’s been very difficult, but I’m gradually gaining my confidence back. I find myself also thinking that there are so many others out in the world, suffering w/ SO MUCH more than this. But honestly, it doesn’t take away from the fact that you’re suffering w/ this. It is your reality.

    I also try and find some meaning in all of this, that there must be a lesson for me in it. I think maybe I should be more humble, but I thought I already was! Maybe I should be more in tune w/ my body and try to help and heal it from the inside. Well, I’m trying this to the best of my ability. In the end, I think that when I leave it all behind me (I hope … for good?), I may still not know for sure what the lesson was that I had to learn. I guess my take-home points will be that I will continue to better take care of myself in as many aspects as I can, and that I will appreciate all that I do have much more. And I think I will make some good friends out of it (I already have!).

    I still go back to Lenore’s words of encouragement to some of the members here as a reminder of all there is to be grateful for.

    Take care.

  10. Oh my, I have really tried to understand these things too — keeping humble, and the like. It’s hard sometimes.


  11. What’s a good cleanser and a good moisturizer that’s not comodogenic then? I’ve been using jojoba oil as a moisturizer but using a regular cleanser.

  12. Hi:

    I still use jojoba oil. Based on the link that Roxtar provided, I think that jojoba oil is not too comedogenic. I use that at night along w/ tea tree oil.

    I don’t use anything during the day for now, as I stopped using Cetaphil. I have ordered some MyChelle products.

    It is a pretty overwhelming job trying to figure out the best products. I am going to refer to the links and the information provided in this forum. I’ll select natural products when available, but stressing to much about it seems counterproductive. Ya know?

    The threads and responses posted by Roxtar, Lenore, and others have been really good resources for me. There are some links in the posts above.

    Good luck.

  13. Hey, quanta2998. Aldys is right. Jojoba oil is considered 0 to 2 out of 5 in comedogenicity index (0 to 2, probably varies, depending on manufacturer). It’s a good choice (you want to use products that rate less than 3). Lenore and I have posted here for Aldys and in other threads about this comedogenicity list. There are several available online, but here’s one that’s alphabetic (2nd column, where ingredients are, is alphabetic):

    Your “regular” cleanser may be just fine. You just want to check the ingredients. I talk about this more in this thread, near the top. But as a review, more specifically, sodium lauryl sulfate (rates 4/5) and sodium laureth sulfate (rates 3/5) are common offensive ingredients in cleansers, as they are surfactants (aka soaps) used to wash off oils. Polysorbate 20 is a great alternative surfactant, as it rates 0/5, but there may be other good ones.

    But you need to check all ingredients against the list. Many ingredients may not even be on the list. I use SpectroJel, which checks out O.K., but Aldys tells me she thinks it’s only avail. here in Canada or at least not in U.S. What country do you live in quanta? You may try looking for SpectroJel. I’ve been using it for over 2 months now, w/ no problems.

    Also, if you want to list the name of your cleanser and its ingredients (if avail.), I can let you know if I think they check out, based on the zerozits.com list.


  14. Hi:

    I haven’t posted for a while but I feel like my story could be helpful to some who may not respond all that well to accutane. You are not alone. Hang in there!

    At the onset of my 5th month, my dermatologist decided to up my dosage from 60 to 80 mg. This is apparently very high for my weight. At this point my skin did clear up to the point that it is now. I am in my 22 week of accutane. I still get a few blemishes a week and they, sadly, are not the tiny ones that I read about in other folk’s posts. A few blemishes a week is better that a few each day though.

    My last visit w/ my derm was pretty discouraging; he basically told me that there was no significant evidence to back lifestyle changes, like modifying one’s diet or taking supplements, improving acne. He said that 95% of the patients who take accutane respond well to it. He also told me that there was only a 50% chance that my skin would improve if I started a second course of accutane in 6 months. He did prescribe another month of pills for me. I will be on accutane a total of 7 months. My diet is dairy and gluten free and I eat alot of fresh fruits and veggies. I take a regimen of supplements daily. Plus, low cholesterol runs in my family. So, I suppose my blood work indicated that this would be a safe option.

    In terms of western medicine, and the perspective of this doctor, my options are birth control pills, antibiotics, and accutane. All of which I have tried over the years.

    Anyhow, I am not trying to sadden anybody. Just thought I’d share another story. I suppose I should be grateful for what I’ve got and, in fact, I am. It’s just hard sometimes and seems pretty unfair at the moment. Where to turn now?? I am not really sure if there anything else to try other that just letting go, taking care of myself, and having some faith that I’ll be ok, that I am worthy of love, and things like that.


  15. Ok, I really don’t want to jump the gun, but my skin actually seems to be improving. I think I am in week 23 now. I haven’t got any new prominent blemishes in 9 days! It’s been a really full week too.

    I attended a relative’s funeral last Friday :cry , my boyfriend was in town for a 16 hr layover between Europe and Mexico last Tuesday, the non-profit that I chair had a fundraising event last Wednesday, I just finished my last final exam for my graduate program only hours ago, I started my cycle, and my daughter’s seventh b-day is this weekend. Whoa.

    Still keeping up with my balanced diet, supplements and the rest.

    I want to be grateful no matter what happens, but could it be true? I sure hope my skin s finally clearing. Oh, dear… It has been such a difficult 6 months.


  16. Well, I should admit that things have been really good. I was blemish free until last night. I am developing a cyst on my left cheek. So, even though I just want to cry that I am not completely clear, my skin is better than it was months ago.

    I wonder if anything caused it. I ate a piece of bread on Sunday. My Mom took me to get a facial done on Tuesday. The facial was wonderful, but the aesthetician sold me some new cleanser that I think has some comedogenic ingredients as listed on the zero zits – acne dective site. I haven’t got around to checking yet.

    It’s funny, and a little shameful, how one blemish can really mar my self confidence. I realized this morning how little I had been worrying about my skin these past few days. I guess this is how most people feel all the time. Likewise, I realized how often I fret about my skin when it is poor.

    I want the carefree mindset back, but that really isn’t how life is. Everybody has challenges large and small. So, the question is how to face those challenges w/ grace and peace of mind.

    Should I make a commitment to meditating? Going for walks? T’ai Chi?

    I just want to feel ok w/ myself and not be embarrassed about my appearance, but again I have to admit my skin is better and I am lucky to be alive.

  17. Aldys, you have the right spirit, hun. Hang in there. You’ve committed to the trtmt and it’s finally giving you results. The cyst will hopefully heal quickly.

    I’d say we all suffer from the self-esteem issues that acne brings out. If you think taking up meditation or some related activity will help, by all means do so. It will give you long-term benefits beyond the scope of your skin concerns.

    I can also relate w/ getting talked into buying products w/out being sure if they’ll be good or potentially bad for my skin, prior to discovering the comedogenicity list. I have a print-out of it now (supersmall print that fits on one page) that just stays in my purse and travels w/ me! I don’t buy anything unless I’ve checked (plus, I pretty much know most of the bad ingredients by heart now!).

    Hang in there, Aldys. I’m sooo glad your skin is showing major improvements … key word, highlighted! It seems like you’re not forgetting to look at the positive aspect, so that’s great. The negative associations of acne will linger, but hopefully you’ll just keep seeing improvements.


  18. Thank you, Roxy!

    You know, that lesion did heal much faster than it would have before. It’s gone now. & you are so right, my skin is much better. Maybe, one day I won’t worry so much about it.

    For the past two days, I have been practicing a strategy that I read about in the August issue of Psychology Today: HEALS. It is actually an anger management strategy, but it has worked really well with my self esteem too.


    The steps:
    H – picture the word “HEALS”
    E – explain to yourself your “deepest hurt” (unlovable, powerless…)
    A – access your core value – what make your life worth living, good deeds, loving relationships, values…
    L – love yourself
    S – solve the problem


  19. Well, this is my last month. I’ve got about 3&1/2 weeks left to go.

    This week was so – so. I did have a couple of whiteheads that healed right away. I pretty much panicked though & that was the worst bit. I went after a small cholesterol deposit by my lip w/ a vengeance and now my skin is raw there.

    Still, things are pretty good.

    I am starting to anticipate finishing my course w/ accutane. I don’t want to beckon the Pygmalion effect, but, considering the stubborn quality of my acne and my age, I think I am realistically assuming that, at some point, the blemishes will return. Right now, I really want to solidify a regimen of internal cleansing, diet, and supplements that will help me permanently manage my overall health and my acne.


  20. I like your “HEALS” acronym, Aldys.

    Good luck in finding your optimum health. Keep us posted on your progress.

    Cheers, Roxy.

  21. Hello All:

    Thanks Roxtar.

    Just 2 & 1/2 weeks left to go. Boy, am I nervous about it. Things are still going well. knock — knock — knock

    I really want to have clear skin this weekend – I have some special events going on. So, I’ve been a bit anxious and I need to let go a bit, because my skin is fine.

    I contacted a naturopath last week and this is what she said:

    “There are numerous contributing factors involved with acne: microbial imbalance within the body, hormone imbalance and immune deficiency. Also, the skin is often recruited as a “route of elimination” when other organ systems aren’t eliminating efficiently. Since you have had acne for the majority of your life, it will take time to clear it up because it will involve cleansing your organ systems, building up your immune system and balancing your hormones. All of this can be accomplished through diet and by using natural medicine. It will require discipline and time because your body’s tendency to have acne is still there; the accutane has just killed off the manifestation of it.”

    I think I have the discipline, I just don’t want to experience another bout of dreaded & painful acne ever again! My hope is that I can do the necessary healing while my acne is in remission. And, I hope that I can afford the treatment. hope upon hope…


  22. Well, only five days left!!!

    I cannot believe it. I made it through the traveling and events of last weekend without a blemish. amazing. I am so thankful.

    I keep waiting for the worst, but maybe one day I will be free of this disease.

    I have made an appointment w/ a naturopathic doctor and w/ her help, perhaps, I will be able to balance and cleanse my body. I will see her in two weeks.


    I believe that I may be on my way to managing my acne through natural means, largely through the information I have gleaned from this these forums.


  23. Well, I have my last two accutane tablets right here. I am going to take them now… So, that’s it ~ sigh.

    I want to mark the event somehow.

    I’ll probably post here every once and a while to record how things are going post-accutane.

    Please, please, please let my skin stay clear.


  24. :muti :muti :muti :muti :muti :muti :muti :muti


    Yeah for Aldys!

    Yes, please do come back and visit. And keep us posted.

    Cheers, Roxy.

  25. Thank you so much, Roxtar. I am terribly touched.

    This has been a difficult experience and, as you know, the overall emotional toll of acne is considerable. You, and many others on this site, were truly a lifeline when I felt hopeless.

    Thank you!!!!!!! I am grateful.

    I do want to stay in touch as I learn more about natural remedies. My 1st appointment w/ a naturopathic physician is just over a week away.


  26. I’m glad you’re overcoming the emotional toll as well as the physical one, Aldys. And you’re absolutely welcome. I’m glad some of us here were able to help you at some level, though you’re the one doing all the work.

    As for the naturopath, I would love to hear what answers you get and what diagnostic methods are used. Please post about this. I’m still searching for all-natural remedies. And in a few weeks I might seek out a local naturopath (several were recommended to me, and I have to do some legwork to see who I’d like to see based on what I find out … and I don’t have the time right now). I had planned on seeing one in the last few months, made the apptmnt, and after waiting quite a while (this person has a very long waiting list), I realized that he was a dowser (you know, like people who dowse for water by walking w/ sticks in hand). He is a fully qualified naturopath and osteopath, but, as he considers himself intuitive his diagnostic method of choice for some time has been dowsing (using one’s clipped hair over the body and evoking some forces of energy or something). This, though maybe valid for some, would not have worked for me. I wound up cancelling.

    Now, I’m curious about your upcoming experience. I may not be able to go for some time (from the time I do the legwork and then get the apptmnt), but when I do, I will definitely post about it and share my experience as well.

    Cheers, Roxy.

  27. i am wondering if anyone has found that Cetaphil does not work well with very oily skin….. i have tried the use of this product based on recommendations from derms, however, i have found that when i use it, it only makes my skin worse and does not keep it clear or clean….does anyone else have the same experience?

  28. Hi Walbema:

    As you may have read in this thread, Cetaphil contains ingredients that are considered comedogenic.


    I have been using MyChelle cleansers since April or May – cranberry cleanser, when I had active cystic acne, and the milder fruit enzyme cleanser now. I wash with it once a day, before bed, as my skin is very sensitive. In the mornings I simply rinse my skin w/ warm water. I spot treat for blemishes with the MyChelle clear skin serum.


    For moisture I use pure squalene oil, derived from olives – all over my face before bed and under my eyes and on my lips in the morning. It may sound strange to put oil on you face if you have acne prone skin, but my experience has been totally positive. They do not increase break outs and my skin is less enflamed when I have used them. Squalene has worked particularly well for me. Certain oils, like jojoba, lanolin, and squalene are non-comedogenic. Squalene has anti-oxidant and immune-stimulating properties. It is a transdermal carrier as well. That means if you use an acne treatment like salicylic acid, the oil will actually help the treatment penetrate your skin.


    As far as dermatologists go, my last experience was not positive. When I was really suffering with physically and emotionally painful acne, my doctor was inattentive and offered me little hope. I started seeing a naturopathic doctor in September. I hope that while my acne is in remission, we can heal my body to a point where I never have to put toxins in my body again to manage it.

    I have been meaning to post about my regimen and experiences w/ my naturopath. Sorry, all. I teach high school especial education and since the new school year has begun, I haven’t had as much time.

    I am on a pretty stringent anti-inflammatory/ anti-parasite diet. And, although the diet seems very restrictive to many – no-wheat, no-dairy, no-sugar, plus a long list of fruits and veggies that are off limits, like all tubers – I am completely willing to make the lifestyle changes needed to healthfully manage my skin conditions. I definitely want to share. More soon!


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