Today I'm sharing with you about my journey with Accutane. I just finished my first 30 days, so I decided to share an overview of my experience.
Why I went on Accutane: I've battled horrible acne for about three years now. It started off as just a breakout every month or so, and slowly worked it's way up to the worst type- cystic acne. If you've ever had cystic acne then you know how devastating it can be. It ruined my skin and caused me great insecurities. I've been working with a dermatologist for the past two years, trying to find a solution. Believe when I say I have exhausted every possible solution there is for acne. I've tried herbal supplements, eliminating gluten and dairy from my diet. I've tried every oral med and topical med on the market. I've tried special facials, special skincare lines- I've done it all. Some of the meds did improve the acne slightly, but never cured it. I put off going on Accutane because I hate harsh meds. As the time passed, I got used to my acne. I became a pro at putting on makeup, and most people have no idea how bad my acne is, because with makeup on you don't notice it very much. My confidence has improved, but when I look in the mirror I still see the red bumps, the scars, and the painful cysts. I decided enough was enough, so I decided to go on Accutane.
Getting started: It's no simple thing- Accutane is a BIG deal. If you decide to take this course of action it helps to have the support of your family. First off you will have to do a lot of paperwork and initial a lot of statements saying that you fully understand the seriousness and dangers of this drug. You will have to have two pregnancy tests done before you can start the drug, and they will have to be done thirty days apart. This means that once you decide to go on this drug, it will be thirty days before you actually start on it. You will have a preliminary drug test done to make sure everything checks out okay (especially with your liver). You will either have to go on two types of birth control, or sign an abstinence pledge. Once your bloodwork comes back your prescription will be called in. Before you can pick up your prescription each month, you have to log into iPledge and take a short quiz, reviewing the basics of this drug. When you pick up your first 30 day supply the pharmacist will carefully go over the information with you. Regardless, I still recommend fully reading the information packet that comes with the meds, so that you fully understand the side effects that may accompany this drug.
After you take your first pill: I'm not going to lie- there's a HUGE list of side effects that accompany this drug. What effects you may feel depend entirely on the person. I know some people that aren't effected in the least, and others that had to go off the drug because it got so bad. I personally felt the side effects immediately, but they were all pretty normal.
Here's what I felt in the first month:
-fatigue: My energy levels have decreased significantly since going on Accutane. I can't stay on my feet for long because of the fatigue and the joint pain, so I rest a lot more now. I try my best to push through it, but some days I don't have the energy for all of my workout.
-sensitivity to the sun/light: My skin has actually felt like it's on fire a few times, so I've taken the advice of the pharmacist and stayed out of the sun. I feel a bit like a vampire, because I usually only come out at night. I burn very easily though, and my skin and eyes are more sensitive to the light.
-joint pain: I felt this right off the bat. The pain is inconsistent and moves around, so it never gets unbearable, but it has made things tougher.
-headache: I don't know if these were from Accutane, or they were from something else. I got maybe ten headaches over the last thirty days.
-decreased appetite: This could have also been from other factors, and it wasn't a severe symptom.
-dry, peeling skin on face: Your skin gets extremely dry from Accutane. I'm using a heavy duty moisturizer 2x day and it's helping quite a bit.
-dry throat/increased thirst: This one gets annoying. I drink water all the time since Accutane causes dehydration. It's something I always have to stay on top of while on these meds.
-redness on face: This really only happened in the first two weeks of taking these meds.
-breakouts on face: this only happens right in the beginning, because it's drawing everything to the surface.
-cracked lips: The dry lips are horrible! I apply chapstick about once an hour, which I know sounds crazy, but it's a necessity. My lips themselves haven't cracked, but the corners of your mouth will.
-metallic taste in mouth: This drove me crazy until I figured out it was from the meds. This only happens sometimes, but the taste is certainly annoying.
-back pain: I've just developed this in the last week, and I'm hoping that by going to the chiropractor it will get better. It's been pretty painful at times though.
My first month: So here I am, one month in! I'll tell you this- Accutane is no joke. It's a really serious drug, with a whole slew of side effects that are annoying as I'll get out. I've had to put up with a lot, but nothings been super serious or problematic so far. What I'm loving though, is the results I see with Accutane! That's why so many people take this drug, because it works! My face broke out a little bit for the first 10 days, and then it just started clearing up! My skin is smooth and looks so much better! I still have a lot of acne to heal, but none of it is raised. It's more like little red spots under my skin. I know these can take about three months to heal, so I'm being patient. I've already had several friends and family members comment on how clear my face is looking though! I've gone out of the house numerous times without makeup, which is something I haven't been able to do in forever! I feel more confident, because it's one less thing I have to worry about. I can't wait to see what my skin looks like in a few more months!
I promise that at the end I will post before and after pictures! If you've ever been on Accutane, share your experience in the comments below!