Hi Friends! Today we’re doing a really personal post. It’s cool because we’re friends, right? I did a TON of research before deciding to do this. Also, I know a lot of people are considering this as an option. I just want to make sure that you have all the facts.
For the last 6 month I have been on Accutane. WTF is Accutane?
Accutane, also known as Isotretinoin is a drug used to treat recalcitrant nodular acne. This drug is basically the last resort when all other treatments have failed. I tried everything, antibiotics, topical medications, changing my diet etc. and nothing worked.
Let me give you a little history on my skin. I had normal adolescent acne all throughout middle school and high school. It was manageable. I went to college and it got a little worse. I went to grad school it got a little worse but I thought this was due to stress. Then I started a new job and my skin freaked the f*ck out. I’m talking zits everywhere, on every part of my face and neck and chest were covered in zits. It had to sleep on my back because it hurts so much to sleep on either of my sides. This might be TMI but on MANY occasions I have woken up to a very bloody pillow because all the zits on my face had popped.
I tried covering my face with makeup, which made it 10x worse. I was exfoliating which was the worst thing I could have done because my face was covered in active breakouts. It hurt to wash my face, make certain facial expressions because I had a huge breakout in area that would get in the way of my smile, frown, whatever. It was all around BAD.
I was very hesitant to share this photo but I think it’s super important to be honest and vulnerable even if it’s embarrassing. Just know, I am currently mortified I let it get this far.
I actually stopped going out completely because I didn’t want people to see my skin. I was afraid people would stare and say mean things. My confidence declined dramatically. I became a completely different person. I wanted to hide. I had known about Accutane for a while and many friends and family had suggested I go see a dermatologist about this. But when you have no insurance going to see a dermatologist is pricey and I honestly didn’t have any wiggle room financially at the time. Let alone, Accutane without insurance can cost upwards of $700. And that’s only for 30 capsules.
Then a few months later, something magical happened; I GOT HEALTH INSURANCE. I didn’t even make an appointment to see a PPC (primary care physician); I made a dermatologist appointment. To no surprise they put me on Accutane. As I write this I’m going into my sixth month and my skin has NEVER looked better. Maybe when I was an infant? Nah, it’s better.
Before I could begin taking Accutane, I had to get bloodwork done and have a negative pregnancy test. I would have to do this every month while taking this medication in addition to monthly visits/check ins with my doctor and a monthly quiz so I understand the implications of the medication. This form of acne treatment is very regulated as you can see.
I’m not going to lie, when I took my first pill, I thought my skin was going to get better overnight. I was expecting results the next day. I did not get overnight results. My skin actually got much worse before it got better in the first month. It was traumatizing. I really didn’t think it could get much worse, but it did. I immediately went back to my dermatologist freaking out. She reassured me that this was supposed to happen and that it would get better over time.
I didn’t start to see a difference in my skin until maybe 2 ½ – 3 months in. I started to slowly feel like myself again.
- Week one on this medication I had mood swings. I thought it might have been in my head but according to the people around me, I was a tad bit moody.
- DRYNESS – My dermatologist warned me that my skin would be very dry but I was in no way prepared for how dry it actually was. My skin was so dry I had to incorporate a lot more moisture absorbing products in my skin routine (We’ll talk about that in part two of this post). I also started drinking A LOT more water.
- My lips were very dry, this is TMI but I could peel off my entire lip at once. It made no sense to me since I was slathering chapstick on my lips a million times a day. I ended up just using plain vaseline and lip masks, that significantly helped.
- I also experienced quite a bit of joint and muscle pain. I work out around 3x – 4x times a week, 5x in a good week. It took forever for my body to recover, I experienced soreness for much longer.
Am I happy that I went with this form of treatment? Yes
Do I wish I started it earlier? Hell Yes
Would I recommend it? Yes, but talk to your dermatologist first! I am not a doctor.
I hope you found this post informative and helpful.
Part II of this post is coming soon. Have you used Accutane before? Let me know down below!
Truthfully Yours, Dahlia