ok well my derm talked me into it. im going on accutane in a month or two. (as soon as all the proper paperwork is filled out and such.) i thought it was pretty cool that my derm swore up and down i would not have an initial breakout...lets see if she's right! i was wondering if anyone had any advice about accutane and tips from personal experience, like good moisturizers to help with the dry skin and lips, or anything else. thanks!!
First off, let me just say welcome and you've come to the right place for your answers. I just finish my tour of duty with accutane last week. I was on it for 6 months and 1 week. They started me off at 40 mgs the first 4 months, then 60 mgs for the 5th month, and back down to 40 mgs for the last month. I never really had an initial breakout b/c they started me off on such a low dosage for me. I did get a few new pimples during month 2, but they went away shortly. I started seeing results within 2 weeks of starting the therapy. My pre-existing pimples started to dry up and my old red marks were fading away. Amazing huh? I was so excited and astonished at how fast this drug was working. It has done wonders for my face. Right now I have 2 zits on my face. Thats a whole lot better than before when I had a whole face full of severe cystic nodules! I hope my face stays zit free forever! Now I do have some redness on my cheeks, acutally more of a pinkish hue. Thats normal, accutane will make your face(specifically where you have a breakout) red, really red! Don't worry, it will go away shortly after you're done with your therapy.
Now with the side effects: (keep in mind though, the side effects vary in frequency and intensity from person to person)
-Extremely chapped lips, chapped lips like you've never seen before! No Joke! Chap stick doesnt work for me, neither does that neostrada nor vaseline. What work for me was AQUAPHOR. Keep a tube everywhere! In your car, in your bookbag, in your wallet, everywhere! Trust me, its such a pain in the butt when you don't have it with you. Your lips will get so chapped that they bleed! I didnt want to talk, eat, or even smile at anyone b/c it was so bad! You hear me, keep it handy!!!!
-Nose bleeds. I admit, I do pick my nose. Heck, everyone does. If you deny it, then your just lying through your teeth. But these nose bleeds occur just from rubbing the side of my nose or from sneezing. I would wake up in the middle of the night with nose bleeds quite often. To counter act this, just rub some vaseline in your nostrils quite often. I never did this, just stuck a cotton ball up in there.
-Rashes!. I had constant hives on my upper arms. There is not much to do about it besides trying not to scrath them so much. All that scratching left me with some nasty looking scars for a while but they eventually faded away. I also got dermatitis on the back of my hands. Funny, the second derm I saw didn't know what it was when I showed her. And she is supposed to be a specialist? Thats why I dropped her and now with one of the best derms around. These two conditions went away after 3 months.
-Dry skin all over! Good ol' Oil of Olay and Vaseline Intenisve Care wasn't strong enough for me, so I use PALMER'S COCCO BUTTER w/anti-oxidants. Man, it's such a God send too! Use it!
-Mentally: I had headaches at the begining of month 5. They went away though. If they bother you that much, take an ibuproffin. I was pretty depressed at times and had bad mood swings. I became very sensitive to everything around me. Just try to keep calm and remember who you really are.
-Vision: I had blurred vision at month 5, but shortly went away.
-Hair: Didn't lose any hair, got too much of it anyways. It did get really dry and frizzy. So just use a moisterizing shampoo/conditioner like Finesse. You might wanna try The Original Mane' Tail conditioner during the day.
Of course stay from alcohol, fatty foods, drugs, smoking, and stay out of the sun as much as possible. Do eat healthy, drink lots of water, and wear sunscreen whenever out and about. If your gonna get laid, use protection! You dont wann have a deformed baby, do ya? Oh yea, DON'T POP YOUR ZITTS!! While on accutane, your face is super sensitive which means what ever scratching, poking, popping, etc.. will most likely cause a scar. I have so many holes/craters on my face because I couldnt control my popping urges.
Overall, I am very pleased with my results. I just wish I could have done it sooner, much sooner. I suffered from acne for almost 10 years. It would have saved me from alot of painful memories and loneliness. I was just like you, scared $%^*less of the drug untill my sister talked me into it. Also, I couldn't afford it back then. I didn't have health insurance.
Anyways, I wish you luck and success with your treatment. It might just be the best decision you've ever made regarding your skin. It is mine. Hope this helps. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask. I'm always willing to help out a fellow sufferer, especially a fellow Houstonian. <IMG SRC="http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/smile.gif">
The previous post covered just about everything. Just remember to keep your lips mosturized and stay out of the sun. USE SUNSCREEN EVEN FOR ONE MINUTE OF SUN!!! Your skin is very thin and the sun cuts right through it and burns it. Thanks!
Some dry skin rashes, dry nose, very cracked dry lips, some temporary thinning of hair, some headaches and joint pain.
I saw one post on another board by a Dr. Sy (derm) that reccomended bag balm for the chapped lips. Bag balm is for horses, but it supposedly an intensive barrier cream.
Be aware you will have side effects and they will bumm you out. But if you feel that are not "life threatening" try to stick with the treatment.
I read some many people get off the drug for the 'side effects' when really its that they are terrified of any side effects.
The side effects that you should be concerned about are serious headaches where you become dizzy, have vision problems or vomiting. You will be monitored for body function tests and so the doctors will know if there are side effects on your liver.
Another thing,,,,STAY OUT OF THE SUN COMPLETELY!!!!!!
Put on the sunscreen SPF 45 or higher - AND - Wear a hat (broad brimmed is good) - AND - walk on the shady side of the street (even if you have to beeline back and forth).
PS...I had the worst initial break out. It may happen but stick with it, by month three and four is when you are supposed to see improvement.
When I went on accutane, I was shocked at my initial break out. God it was horrific! For one month, spontaneous oozing zits!
This can get you depressed. So can getting a headache, dealing with chapped lips and freaking out that you are noticing more hair than usual in your hair brush.
So, there were moments when I felt really down. But I was also aware that it was the hair,dry lips and skin side effects that were making me unhappy, not the accutane itself. And once I began to see results on my face, the side effects became less of an issue.
hey i'm accutane right now, and i been on it for about 1 month and a half and my face looks sooooo bad. but i heard that different people have different reactions to the drug. blueeyedbia you said you should use a sun screen when in the sun. what sun screen did you use?
I didn't really use sunscreen. I regret it. I thought I would be fine but I was wrong. I think there are some previous posts about good, non-pore clogging sunscreens. Just search the posts and you should find some advice. Thanks!