My Accutane Process & Experience!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

This post has been a long time coming and something I am very nervous and excited to share with you. If many of you have been following me on Twitter for the last few months you would have seen little bits of me talking about my Accutane journey. This journey has been long and ongoing and is something I'm working through the end of. I thought this would be a great time in my life and in my Accutane journey to sit down and share my process and experiences with you. I'm going to try to give you as much detail as possible about Accutane and my entire process - while not getting into the medical and professional side of things. I'm going to keep this post very down to earth and relatable so that those looking into Accutane can gain as much information as possible. Hopefully, the information in this post can be carried on to your Dermatologists to help you make the perfect decision for your skin and lifestyle.

What is Accutane?

Accutane is a form of vitamin A. It reduces the amount of oil released by oil glands in your skin, and helps your skin renew itself more quickly. Accutane is used to treat severe nodular acne. It is usually given after other acne medicines or antibiotics have been tried without successful treatment of symptoms. " {Google Definition}

Simply put, Accutane is an antibiotic/medication given to those who suffer from severe forms of acne. This medication helps to reduce and eliminate the ongoing growth of acne within the skin. Generally, this medication permanently gets rid of the acne you are facing (however, some people do not experience the permanent solution that others do). There are many different forms of acne and of Accutane - so it's always important to contact your Dermatologist to discuss your options! 

Side Effects

One of the major things that I talked about with my Dermatologist about were the side effects that I could experience while on Accutane. She told me everything from the smallest little thing to the biggest and badest of them all. Of course, I never got every single side effect we discussed but I did get quite a few that I wanted to talk about. I also want to mention that for me all of these side effects DIDN'T happen at once - generally, the side effects of Accutane come one at a time while your body adjusts to the medication.

Dry Skin/Lips & Nose!
This was the biggest and most annoying side effect for me. First it started with my lips, to treat this side effect I just used lots of lip balm including plain old Vaseline which surprisingly helped with the dry cracks that I got on the corners of my mouth. However, Vaseline didn't help with the overall dryness. I tried several lip balms including Carmex which burnt and after using it for about a week I found out the ingredients that cause the burning effect can actually dry out the lips more (and it did). I also used Blistex, Smith's Rosebud Salve, EOS and some various other ones. None of them really worked better than the Blistex and that is the one I stuck to most of the time. Eventually, I was given a prescription from my Dermatologist that would help with my dry lips (cracked lips) and dry nose!

Increased Redness & Sensitivity!
Of course, the dreaded redness. Generally, when using any acne medication, your skin will go through a purge stage where your skin will get worse and then get better. I never noticed this stage with my skin but I did notice an increased redness around my cheeks, nose, and chin. I also had to be really careful of this because when on Accutane your skin will sunburn REALLY easily. I can remember traveling an hour for my Dermatologist appointments and by the time I got there my arm and face would be sunburnt. I usually had to wear a sweater or take a blanket to put over me. Sunscreen was also a MUST!

Increased Thirst!
I've always drank a lot of water but when on Accutane it tends to dry everything out - because that is what the medication is supposed to do. To help combat with the dry skin issues and my overall dryness it was important for me to drink LOTS of water. By doing this, it actually caused me to want to drink more and more and more. I even remember some days where I would drink so much I would have to use the bathroom every half hour. It wasn't the most enjoyable but it did make my body and self-feel really good.

Mood Swings!
One of the biggest things I suffered from when starting the medication was mood swings. I don't remember noticing them as much in the middle or end of my medication but I strongly remember them at first. Basically, it just felt like I had my period and that at any moment I could cry, laugh, be extremely happy and so forth. I do remember this taking a while to get over and I really had to pay attention to my mood. There is some word that Accutane can cause depression even though it is NOT directly linked to depression (if you are worried about this I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you speak to your Dermatologist about this)! I do have to say though the mood swings did go away slowly and they didn't effect me that much.

Some other side effects I suffered from but that weren't as bad were:
+ Hair Loss near the end of the medication
+ Tiredness / Low Energy
+ Low Appetite

** Please NOTE these symptoms won't necessarily be the same for you, but they are common!

Current Progress
I know many of you are probably curious to see some progress pictures of where I began with Accutane and where I am today (or roughly today). This is probably the hardest part of the post to share because I did have a very long and emotional struggle with acne. As you can see in my before picture I had SEVERE cystic acne that would never break the surface of my skin. I also did have acne that came to the surface but not as often. You can also see that the acne was focused mainly on my chin but that I did have a lot of scars on my cheeks and middle of my forehead. Sadly, because of the immense pain that I was in daily, my acne was something I did pick at and something that itched and irritated me all the time. Now the good news! You can clearly see in the after picture that I have ZERO acne spots and that my scarring has decreased significantly! In my eyes, I have a beautiful, clear complexion now that I'm proud to show off!

After Starting Accutane Day 5 (roughly April 20th/2015)
Taken on January 10th 2016 - Stopped Accutane in November 2015
Helpful Tips
Here are some helpful tips and tricks that helped me on my Accutane journey and might be something you are interested in trying out:

+ Not Wearing Makeup - I know right? Krystal, I cannot wear makeup have you seen my face? This was a REALLY big struggle for me. But after starting Accutane and having my skin dry out SO much, it was honestly just painful and impossible for me to wear makeup. I believe this was the best choice I could have ever made. Of course, I started out not wearing makeup and feeling really ugly, I even wore scarves to cover my chest and my chin when I could. As I continued to not wear makeup and watching my skin improve day by day I can now say that I don't think twice about leaving the house without makeup. My skin feels free, refreshed and beautiful!

+ Find a Hobby - I'm really thankful that I had blogging and school to distract me while on the medication. I found that when I had a lot of time to myself that I would constantly think about my skin issues, worry about what I looked like and so forth. Having something to do with my time really allowed me to continue to express myself and distract me from the side effects and emotions I was feeling because of the medication.

Accutane was a really hard decision for me to make and the entire process was really hard for me to start. I worry about everything, from the traveling to Dermatologist appointments to the overall side effects and everything in-between. Sadly, things like my Dermatologist appointments haven't quite ended yet and I will be keeping up to date with my Dermatologist for a while yet due to related issues (nothing major). But I do want to say, for me, Accutane has honestly been the best experience of my life (beauty wise). Not only has my acne obviously gone away but I have found a new love for makeup and beauty products in general. I now understand that makeup, cosmetics, skincare and all of those products aren't what make a person beautiful and they aren't what make us feel good about ourselves. There is a deeper need to love myself now, from feeling so low while I suffered with acne and caking on makeup to hide my imperfections and the things I thought were ugly. I now truly understand what beauty is and I've learned that showing off my imperfections isn't a bad thing.  I do want to say to you that you were born the way you are for a reason, with acne or without, so you shouldn't be afraid to hide that behind makeup. My new love for makeup and cosmetics has pushed me to become a Makeup Artist and has pushed my blog beyond the limits I ever thought I would go. I'm extremely proud of my process and of my experience and I hope you are too!

Last I wanted to leave you with some important things to remember about Accutane that you might not know! Accutane is a very serious medication and not something to be taken lightly:
+ Accutane requires monthly Dermatologist appoints
+ Accutane requires monthly blood word to test some of your levels
+ Accutane CAN cause serious birth defects so DON'T get pregnant

I also want to say that if you have ANY questions that I have not covered please leave them in the comment below. If I get enough questions I'd actually really like to do a follow-up Questions & Answers post related to Accutane. I know there can be so many unknowns and questions and all that I can provide you is my process and experience, but I hope that I can help someone who is struggling with acne or making the decisions to go on Accutane just a little bit easier!

Do you suffer with acne?
Have you heard of OR ever considered Accutane?

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* Personal and informative post about my Accutane Process & Experience!

1 comment :

  1. I appreciate your transparency as a blogger to share something that you struggle with. My hope is that this post will encourage and inspired someone else who is struggling with acne.


Embrace and Ignite is a beauty blog run by Krystal-Marie which is dedicated to being the buzz-hub for the latest and greatest beauty products.

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