lifestyle

My First Month on Accutane / How I Control My Acne

Accutane, Isotretinoin, whatever you want to call it. Is a drug that “cures” acne. The little pills are the strongest treatment to kill pimples and keep them from coming back.

I officially started Accutane 36 days ago, when two years of other Acne treatment options had failed. My dermatologist prescribed 60mg to be taken over the course of 6-8 months, to try to cure me of this “disease.”

My Backstory

I didn’t have much acne in high school. I got maybe one pimple during “that time of the month.” But it was manageable. My senior year of high school is when it all changed. I started getting more acne, and it got to the point where I never left the house without foundation on.

First thing to know about Accutane is it’s the last resort. I tried multiple medications and topical treatments to confront both my hormonal and cystic acne, but nothing seemed to help. Accutane has been around for over 30 years, but it’s side effects have it strictly regulated by the government.

Government Regulations

If you’re lucky enough to be a girl like me (*yay periods*) then you get to take a pregnancy test every month! That is because Accutane is not to be taken while pregnant as it will cause severe birth defects. Even if you aren’t active, it is still required by law to fail the test, and you must fail two in order to be given your first prescription.

Even after you’ve started, us girls must take online quizzes every month before picking up our prescriptions to enforce the rules of what is safe for our bodies. AKA no babies. No offense FDA, but the quizzes are annoying and such a hassle. I know the risks; each individual pill says don’t get pregnant. I pinky promise I won’t.

My brother has it easy, no quizzes, no pregnancy tests, no rules. “Here’s the magic skin clearing pill, have a nice day!”

Just joking, along with girls, guys do have to get their blood drawn every month. It’s to check the levels in our liver to make sure the Accutane isn’t altering it. Now I’m not trying to scare you, it only happens in 11% of people according to the U.S. National Institute of Medicine.  And if it does occur, it typically means just lowering the dosage.

Side Effects

Accutane is like one of those TV ads that has 50 million different side effects that scare people away. But not everyone receives them.

No matter who you are, you will get super dry. Dry lips, dry face, dry body. So buy the Costco mega size lotion cause you’ll be needing it. I’ve been using Aquaphor for my chapped lips and I will never go back to Chapstick again (that stuff does nothing!) Aquaphor is a hidden gem that will take care of the cracked lips. I lather that stuff on morning and night to keep my dry lips under control. For my face, I’ve been using the Clinique Moisture Surge in the morning and Citaphil lotion at night. Both are great products that keep my skin from flaking.

That’s pretty much the only side effect I’ve had this month. My brother has had a couple nose bleeds related to dryness, but as we move into warmer weather they should stop.

My First Month Experience

My first month on Accutane was not pleasant. I broke out in places I’ve never broken out before. I think my face was angry for attacking it. I went to my monthly appointment panicked that I was a lost cause, my acne is here to stay. But apparently, this is normal. And girls with our lovely hormones, take longer for the medication to start working.

I was only taking one 30mg pill of Accutane a day and since I’ve been upped to twice a day. Hopefully next month I’ll be seeing better results.

*Disclaimer*

Now remember this is a blog. I’m not a doctor. I’m just a 19-year-old with acne sharing her experience. So, take what I said with a grain of salt and talk to your dermatologist.

Xo,

Sarah

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