Friday, June 7, 2013

My Experience With Acne & Accutane

Source  (image edited by me)
  Today I'm writing a VERY personal post and I'm admittedly somewhat nervous.  This post contains pictures of acne so if you're easily grossed out I wouldn't recommend reading it.  I hope this post helps anyone suffering with acne and is having a hard time curing it.  I am not a medical professional or a pharmacist but I am a real person who took the drug Accutane twice so I thought I'd share my story.

  As a teenager I had the typical teenaged breakouts that really made me feel horrible about myself so I would occassionally see a dermatologist.  I was put on the birth control pill at 14 and given various anti-biotics and creams.  When I was 18 I made the decision to stop taking birth control and my skin went absolutely nuts.

  My face was covered in painful cysts and it was painful and uncomfortable to do simple things such as washing my face or sleeping on my side.  I went to my dad for help as he himself had suffered from acne when he was younger and in the early 80s he was put on the controversial drug, Accutane.  Accutane cleared up my dad's skin amazingly and 30 years on he is perfectly healthy.

  After much begging and crying I convinced my dermatologist to prescribe me Accutane and I was put on it for 6 months from January-July 2005.  I had to get regular blood tests while on Accutane as it can have negative effects on your liver, cholesterol levels, and cause birth defects if you're pregnant.  Since I was 18 and not ready kids anyways this wasn't an issue for me.  In the U.S. females are made to take horomonal birth control while on Accutane but I was never forced to.

Accutane (like any other drug) has some side effects and the ones I experienced were:
  • Hair thinning (it took about 2 years for the thickness to come back)
  • Painful eczema all over my body; I basically felt and looked like I had a sunburn for 6 months which was the worst and most unpleasant side effect of Accutane.
  • Sensitively to light and the sun (I now always sunburnt whereas before I could get a tan)
  • Joint pain  (I still experience this to a lesser extent)
  • Weight loss  (I found it very hard to keep on weight)
  • Permanent skin sensitively
  • My formerly oily skin is now dry.  My skin didn't really produce any oil for a year after each course.  That may sound appealing if you have oily skin but trust me it's not!
  • My skin got MUCH worse before it got better
 Although Accutane can be a wonder drug most people have to take it twice for it to be effective.  Accutane did not make me more depressed but for some people it does.  Your skin WILL get worse before it gets better as Accutane purges your skin which could be why some people become depressed while on it.

After my course of Accutane my skin was amazingly clear and perfect.  For the first time in my life I was confident in my appearance.  My skin remained fairly clear until the end of 2008 when the painful cysts came back.  For a year I tried various remedies and prescription topical creams but nothing worked.  In Novemeber 2009 I decided to go back on Accutane for a second course which I finished in May 2010.  I still get minor breakouts here and there but never anything worth getting upset about.  As I'm almost 27 I could have "grown out" of my acne by now but I'm pretty sure it's all thanks to Accutane.  You can see what my skin looks like in this post.

  Accutane is a very serious drug to take and is only a last resort for acne but I don't regret taking it one bit.  I was in physical pain and very depressed because of my acne.  If you are considering Accutane I highly recommend joing the Acne.org forums as it is such a supportive community and helped me a lot.

28 comments:

  1. I used accutane too, I thought this was recalled because it has been linked to depression.
    I didn't experience any side effects, but I was pretty depressed for several years in my teens, but it's really hard to say if it was the accutane or other factors.

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    1. You can't get brand name Accutance in North America anymore but generics are still available. I personally am not convinced by the link but I can't speak for other people's experiences obviously.

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  2. I think it's really brave of you to blog about this! It sucks that these types of medications have such strong and terrible side effects, but I'm glad that this helped you out. <3

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    1. Thank you :) I wish they'd come up with another cure already that wasn't so hardcore.

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  3. I haven't suffered with acne (touch wood) but I thought I'd just say big kudos to you for posting this. It must take a lot of guts to talk about such a personal subject. Your skin now looks amazing!

    www.thumbelinalillie.com
    Megan xxx

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    1. Thank you Megan :) It used to be a touchy subject but luckily I have a thick skin now and am not too phased by these pictures.

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  4. Such an informative and inspirational post! I suffered from stress related acne in my early twenties so know how much it can get you down. I was prescribed Oxytetracyline which thankfully worked for me. You are absolutely flawless now :) xx

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    1. I'm glad that worked for you :) I took Oxytetracyline as a teen and it did work for awhile. Thank you Vicky :)

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  5. Thanks for sharing something so personal Christine. Your skin is pretty much flawless now :P I had major issues with acne in my early teens, but eventually it just went away though I have a bunch of scarring.

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    1. Thanks Steph! I have scaring too but I've found that if it's not indented it does go away after a few years :)

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  6. Your skin looks great now! :) I'm glad you didn't experience any major repercussions to using that medication!

    http://jemaroons.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks Jems :) I think as long as you follow your derm's advice and go for your blood test most people are fine.

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  7. Holy crow, I thought you were in your earlier part of the 20's! Great genes xD Anyway oh man...acne. Never made it to Accutane, but we (brother and I) contemplated it when a mutual friend of ours went on it. In the end, we were too scared to try it out (so we went on other medication instead), but its great that yours is a success story :)

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    1. Haha yes I always shock people when they find out I'm old (or they think I'm lying). I'm glad to hear that other meds worked for you :) It really is a last resort but I didn't find it as scary as people make it out to be.

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  8. Thank you for sharing, you rarely read about people who actually used Accutane. I never knew about a lot of the side effects, but the difference it made for you is amazing. Your skin looks really good for having had cystic acne! You obviously take good care of it! And its ok if you can't tan you look lovely as a pale princess :)

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    1. I think it's something people don't usually talk about? I have met quite a few people who have taken it. Thanks Jasmine :)

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  9. Wow! The difference is amazing. I think you were definitely right to take the drug.
    Would love you to check out my latest outfit post :)
    Have a wonderful weekend Hun xoxo
    http://www.intotheblonde.com/

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  10. I was on Accutane for about 4 months while I was in high school... my acne wasn't cystic, but my doctor was a huge pusher of Accutane and I agreed to the treatment. My lips would crack and bleed constantly... and I decided that the little acne I had would be better than sunburn and cracked lips. Accutane is a serious drug! I'm really glad it worked for you!

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    1. Ah that's scary that a derm would push Accutane. I had to fight with mine in order to get it.

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  11. This was super informative, thanks for posting. I've always wondered about Accutane, I think the thing that bothers me the most about my skin is the scaring/ dark spots.

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    1. Yes, the scaring is almost more annoying than the pimples! Mine have gone away but it took a few years.

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  12. Congratulations for you skin, it is flawless but I dont know if I'd do accutane myself :/

    I had acne until last year and last month it came back but only in my chin area and it hurts badly.. they say its an hormonal thing so I'm doing blood test this week and hopefully getting rid of it soon.

    I know what you mean with being depressed or sad about it.. These days I feel like a monster because they are so big and red that no make up can hide it but well... Gotta live with it :P


    Amazing post !

    Flo x

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    1. It really wasn't too scary. I felt relieved that my blood tests were coming back good and as long as they are you should be fine. I hope you find a medication that works for you Flo :)

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  13. wow it really did make a huge difference. Honestly, if I had suffered acne like you did, I definitely would have begged and cried for this pill. I get annoyed with just the occasional pimple, I can't imagine having them all over my face. My two teens have gone through a period of acne too but they've managed to keep it under control.

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  14. I have issues with acne, mostly on my forehead and there are mainly alot of bumps. The doctor said to go on birth control but Im scared to go on anything medication-wise because I have such sensitive skin and my body is already doing crazy things. Like, I have about all those symptoms you had from going on accutane already except for the eczema :p Its great that it helped your skin though, as it looks amazing now!
    xox

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  15. Such a lovely post!
    I suffer with break outs quite a lot and have the odd week where my skin is clear.
    It's awful as you feel like you have to cover your skin up constantly and then feel like your not giving your skin a break when you do this.
    I want to try something for mine but not too sure what to do just yet.
    chanelle jade x

    www.chanellejade.blogspot.com

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  16. Wow, glad this has been so helpful for you! I've been suffering with acne for years and years (I'm 30 and still haven't grown out of it, ugh), so it's always inspiring to hear other bloggers' stories and successes with acne treatment. I've posted some 'before' and 'after' photos of my bare face and I know it can be scary! Your skin is looking flawless these days :)

    -Jen

    www.vibrantbeautyblog.com

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  17. Here in the U.S. you aren't forced to take any form of birth control; however, if you don't take one, you do have to take a promise of abstinence from sex.

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