July 30, 2014

Accutane

Accutane

To most of you this may be a very boring post and I won't be surprised or hurt if you skip it but I feel that its important to get my accutane experience out there since there are not many references to full term treatments.

To look at these pictures really puts my whole Accutane experience in perspective for me. As you can see I had a very serious case of nodular acne. Meaning my acne appeared on the surface but under the skin was much much worse. Accutane is a form of vitamin A but on steroids. It reduces the amount of oil released by oil glands in your skin, and helps your skin renew itself more quickly. Which means your skin is going to exfoliate at a rapid rate to bring new tissue to the surface. Accutane is available only under a special program called iPLEDGE. You must be registered in the program and sign documents stating that you understand the dangers of this medication and that you agree to use TWO forms of birth control as required by the program. For a female this meant that I had to take a pregnancy test every month when going in for blood work to check my liver levels. No biggie for me. Each prescription of Accutane must be filled within 5 days of the date it was prescribed by your doctor. The brand of Accutane that I was prescribed was Claravis 25mg which I took twice a day. You will receive no more than a 30-day supply of Accutane at one time.

FIRST! Before you even start your Accutane treatment, I am talking about the hour before your dermatologist appointment, get all of your body hair removal done! 6 months of plucking and shaving is a hassle. Don't even think about getting a wax during accutane. You'll look like you were mauled by a house cat and that is NOT cute.

Anyways back to the skin, I had a lot of dark discoloration and acne scars so I was also prescribed a topical isotretinoin cream as well as the Accutane. Beginning my first few months of Accutane was hard. My face broke out HORRIBLY. I would pick at the blemishes and it only made things worse. The blemishes would take nearly a full month to heal and then I was left with deep, darkened scars. My self confidence was shot. I felt hideous and it reflected in my attitude. I didn't want to continue the treatment. To me it seemed my skin was a lost cause but I continued the treatment and avoided mirrors.

These pics are from my third month and i would call this a good skin day.Staying well hydrated was an issue for me. I've never been one to drink much water but with Accutane I would insist on at least 4 large glasses a day. Sun sensitivity was very hard and challenging on me. I was undergoing my treatment during Summer, of course I wanted to be out enjoying the warm summer weather it like any other 23 year old would! I had to be heavvvvy on the sunscreen and be picky about which moisturizers with SPF I could apply to my face. I'm one who doesn't have to worry about sunburns or overheating but 10 mins in the sun and I was cooking and exhausted. During Accutane treatment your skin is painfully dry and if I didn't mix enough moisturizer with my SPF it would chemically burn my face. Thus creating my love affair with Aveeno Calming Moisturizer. My safe haven. I went through two bottles during my five month treatment and I'm still using it nearly a year later.

On occasion I would have eye dryness and blurred vision. Keeping eyedrops in my purse became a necessity. Another key item other than moisturizer or eye drops is chapstick. Honey, you need to have this stuff evvverrryyywwwhheeerrreee! You will never have too much! EVER! During the day I heavily relied on the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment. Probably went through 3 tubes and that is with me getting a little scoop to get the last bit of product out. At night I would slather Vaseline heavily on my lips and heels of my feet then sleep in my socks. The medication was making my skin so dry that my heels were cracking. When the dryness started to extend to my arms and knees my Dermatologist prescribed a medicated lotion of Triamicolone Acetonide 0.1%. The scent of this soothing balm is similar to that of a nursing home. Yuck. But it totally saved my joints. Don't be afraid to speak up to your doctor if you are having any discomfort. Eventually my hands began to dry out so I started carrying hand cream and this one is my favorite. Loccataine Cherry Blossom. It deeply moisturizes without leaving your hands feeling greasy. I'd recommend getting gloves to sleep in if you are able to find any, I was not.

My skin care became religious. Every night I would wash with the Gentle Cetaphil face wash and 2 nights a week I would use the Clarisonic Mia with the Luxe Cashmere brush head to gently exfoliate the buildup. After my skin was completely dry, I applied a pea sized amount of the topical isotretinoin cream to my entire face.(If I was just doing things around the house I would use it as a spot treatment through out the day.) 15 minutes after applying the topical cream my Dermatologist said it was okay to apply a moisturizer, so I began my long term relationship with the Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil. In the morning I would wash my face with the gentle cetaphil again and apply 6 drops of the argan oil. After the third month was complete I could notice the breakouts to be lessening but my skin was still very dry, thin, fragile, and even peeling on occasions.

Very rarely did I wear makeup during the Accutane treatment. Felt like makeup just accentuated the bad so I embraced my acne and scars. If I had to wear makeup it was mainly eye makeup with the lightest bb cream as a foundation. I would tote a contact lens case in my purse with me for touch ups. One side for Moisturizer, the other for bb cream. This worked really well and was pretty clever for when I needed to appear polished for work or public events without caking on the makeup. My lips were too dry and cracked to wear lipstick so I mainly wore lip gloss.
About two weeks in to myforth month of Accutane I could see a significant difference in my skin tone and texture. My acne scars had mostly faded. I hadn't developed any new blemishes and the ones on my face were beginning to disappear. During the fifth month of my accutane treatment I came across the GlamGlow Thristymud Mask and it completely changed up the game. My skin felt normal again. I would apply the thinnest mask possible to my face and would sleep in it. Wake up in the morning with better coloring and fullness in my face. If you can make the splurge, do it. I still use mine now. I actually just posted it on my Instagram.

My fifth month was heavenly. My skin looked beautiful. no blemishes, acne scars were gone and the texture was exactly as it should be. During my accutane treatment and for about three months after, I could go without washing my hair for a solid week and it wouldn't even look remotely greasy. Sounds disgusting I know! I have a full head of thick, wild, curly hair, that has to be fixed nearly every other day so that I don't look like I live under a bridge in Austin. Not having to style and constantly strip my hair was a really nice break to help strengthen my mane.

The Accutane opened and cleansed ALL of my pores. I never had under arm hair before Accutane but guess what? I do now. One very minor issue compared to my pizza face. Another change I noticed was I never really would break much of a sweat before my accutane treatment but now I actually sweat like my body is suppose to. It may sound odd but I truly could tell the difference. I believe this is also due to my pores becoming cleansed and renewed. All in all, I would be the Accutane spokesperson if they asked me. My side effects were very minor and are basically considered part of the Accutane treatment. Dryness was my biggest issue and that is a definite with this medication. The best advice I can give you is to stick with it. Take the medications at the same time everyday. I did this by setting an alarm on my phone. Stick with a skin care regiment. Drink ALL the water! And absolutely do not pick at your blemishes! Nearly a year later and I have had maybe 3 blemishes on my face. For me that is a near miracle. I can dab on some Burt's Bees Tea Tree oil and those ugly boys just vanish! This picture is me with absolutely no makeup on! Not even a touch of mascara or primer. I used the instagram link to prove that this is from last week. If you are going through an accutane treatment right now stick with it. It may seem hopeless and at times even down right depressing but I've become a whole different person now that I have a clear complexion. My confidence is the highest it has ever been. I truly believe that it is a direct result of the accutane treatment. If you are struggling with ance don't be afraid to mention accutane to them. I tried 3 different kinds of antibiotics before accutane and they helped by they didn't cure my acne. If you are local my Dermatologist is Denis Adams of Longview Dermatology and Skin cancer Clinic. Highly recommend him. He has a pretty dry sense of humor but the man knows what he's doing. I hope this post has offered you knowledge and encouragement. If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask me. You can comment below or shoot me an email at brittanygary0214@gmail.com

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