Accutane as an Adult: The Results

My journey to clearer skin with the use of Accutane has finally come to an end. My doctor placed me on the medication for seven months, and I am now in “acne remission.” I began the first month with a daily dosage of 60 mg, and I spent the rest of the cycle on 80 mg. I’ve never liked taking medication, and I also have a problem with missing doses, but I’m proud of my consistency with the medication. I only missed a few doses throughout the entire seven months.

The first few days were rough for me because I had to adjust to the large size of the pill. I gagged each time, but was eventually able to swallow without any problems. The first two months were the worst for me simply because of the changes occurring. Dryness became a new problem, and I struggled with determining which skincare products worked best for me.

Throughout the entire seven months, there were no suicidal thoughts or hair loss, and I didn’t experience additional sensitivity when I would get my hair relaxed. Still, here are some of the side effects that I experienced:

Sun Sensitivity
I never really had a sun protection plan. My normal life consisted of applying a moisturizer with an SPF of about 25, and that was it. If I stood in direct sunlight a little too long, I’d just get darker without getting burned. Times have changed as I got a sunburn twice on my face, and once on the tops of my feet and hands. I’ve also had heat rashes – something that I haven’t had since my high school all-star band camp days. After a short period in the sun, my skin would become tender and stinging to the touch. Peeling occurred a day or two later, and I got hyperpigmentation around my mouth because of it.

General Sensitivity
I found random scratches on my body because my skin became sensitive to anytime my nails touched it. A few rashes on my hands, arms, and neck appeared out of nowhere, but it wasn’t eczema.

Dryness Everywhere
This was my major issue. My nose, eyes, face (especially around my mouth), lips, scalp, cuticles, and overall body were all dry. One day my eyes were just red. I quickly adjusted to the nose and eye dryness, and didn’t use anything to treat it. I just didn’t notice it after a while. 

My lips got so dry that the skin continuously peeled to the point that I lost my natural lip color and was left with this pink almost raw-looking shade. The lip dryness also sucked because it seemed as though every lip color I owned had a trendy matte finish. The nurse recommended Dr. Dan’s Cortibalm for some relief. and although it does work, I don’t like the mineral oil ingredient that leaves it feeling kind of greasy.

heat rash

Heat Rash

hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation as a Result of Heat Rash

skin peeling

Dryness and Face Peeling

skin peeling

Peeling

dryness

Dryness and Peeling

lip flaking

Lip Dryness and Peeling
Having dry skin after dealing with oily skin most of my life was a blessing for me. With the exception of my lips, I’d choose dry skin over oily skin any day. I loved that I didn’t have to blot my face with powder every five minutes. I stopped using face primers entirely.I don’t know if my medication had anything to do with this, but I noticed that my perfume lasted longer and smelled stronger while on Accutane. I’ve always been a one spray kind of gal, so I don’t usually smell it after the first hour. While on the medication, however, I smelled it all day.

It has been two months since my last dose of medicine, and I am very satisfied with the improvements in my skin. The difference in overall texture of my skin before I began treatment and today is phenomenal. I didn’t realize how problematic my skin was previously until I compared the differences. I have seen a few bumps above my cheeks since I’ve discontinued usage, but nothing compared to what I’ve dealt with in the past. Even hormonal breakouts are a thing of the past.

Picture

Before

Picture

Before

Picture

After
My current focus is evening out my skin tone and getting rid of hyperpigmented areas on my forehead and cheeks. For that, I am using a medication created by my doctor called Advanced Brightening Cream. The active ingredients are 7% hydroquinone (never knew that had that strength!), and 0.05% tretinoin. In addition to that, I have Finacea as a part of my everyday acne prevention. Here’s my current skin routine:

Morning:

  • Wash face with Cerave Foaming Facial Cleanser
  • Finacea foam
  • Moisturize with Cerave AM moisturizer

Night:

  • Wash face with Cerave Foaming Facial Cleanser & Clarisonic brush
  • Advanced Brightening cream
  • Moisturize with Origins High Potency Night-A-Mins Mineral-Enriched Renewal Cream

Although, I doubt I will ever agree to undergo treatment with Accutane again, I would recommend it to others with problematic skin with caveats. Again, I was satisfied with my results, but the costs and the benefits were equal in my opinion. I obtained great skin out of the deal, but I experienced a lot of dryness, peeling, and heat rash that I had to be addressed in the meantime. Those are things to consider prior to accepting the pledge.

Another thing to consider is costs. My dermatologist suggested Accutane in December, and I have been seeing her monthly since that time. Out of pocket expenses for office visits and the prescription itself can be costly. Luckily for me, my health reimbursement account was available so that I didn’t pay for any of my doctors visits, but I paid $30 a month for the prescription.

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