Accutane Update

This morning I paid a visit to my dermatologist for my monthly checkup.

Bloodwork was good, skin was good, everything was good!

It’s been 4 months and my skin is pretty much clear. There was only 1 tiny spot on my cheek that I know will go away once I put a special cream on it tonight, and assuming I don’t pick at it.

The things that have been bothering me the most lately about being on Accutane are actually taking the pills themselves (ugh I get tired of taking them!), the dryness I am experiencing (my eyes and lips are always super dry) and also my inability to heal well while on this drug.

Yeah, that part’s a bit scary, isn’t it? One of the side effects of Accutane is that it really reduces your ability to heal in general. You can’t wax anything while you’re on it, and you can’t have any kind of surgery for a year or two afterwards. I didn’t realize it would get that extreme.

I had what I thought was a bug bite on my chest and I scratched at it. I know I shouldn’t have, but it was itchy! Anyway it became one of those ugly red things, kinda crusty and such. That part was normal. What wasn’t normal is that it just sat with a weird white scab type thing for ages, and just didn’t heal.

It was painful if I tried to pick at it, and looked like a little red crater filled with white–strangely it was not pus as I had feared.

At first I thought I had gone and gotten myself infected, but none of the normal symptoms of an infection were present–it was so bizarre. Then I thought about it a little and similar to diabetics who can’t heal, I couldn’t heal either. THAT is where I had seen something like this before!

Anyway I just bandaged it with polysporin for a couple of nights and it was ok, but I was just stunned by how much my ability to heal had been reduced. I definitely won’t take it for granted any more!

So there’s my interesting little story. All my cuts, bug bites, blisters, etc. are taking forever to heal, but I’ve only got 1 month more of low-dose treatment and then hopefully everything will go back to normal.

My derm says there is an excellent chance that the Accutane “cured” my acne… however I also have rosacea which creates zits and cysts similar to acne. If it is the rosacea that was causing me such grief it may come back again. She said in order to combat this I should keep up with my rosacea creams and she will give me a vitamin A cream (in place of Accutane) to help me maintain my good skin. There is no cure for rosacea.

All in all I think I’ve had a better run of this drug than most people. All my bloodwork came back fine, my symptoms weren’t nearly as bad as some, and my skin responded incredibly well to the treatment, with no redness! My doc was pretty impressed that things went so well.

As for my mental state… Wow. Accutane has helped me in more than just one way. Similar to when I got laser eye surgery and lost my glasses, I feel SO much more confident. I don’t worry so much about how I look, and dare I say it, I may even feel a bit happier on the regular.

My skin is finally back to it’s natural and beauteous peaches & cream state and I feel so much better! I can go without makeup if I want to… I can just wash & go… my “face” doesn’t melt off quite so often and I don’t feel so self-conscious!

I feel it has made a big difference in my life. I didn’t realize how much my bad skin really bothered me, and how much time and attention I paid to it. Of course I will still take care of my skin, but now I’m not obsessing over it.

I also love that when I put makeup on now I can start with a truly blank canvas and focus my skills on more of the fun stuff like eyes and lips versus covering up zits.

I was really worried when I started Accutane. It is a monster of a drug with some terrible side-effects, but I’d say I had a pretty positive experience.

I think that if you’re considering Accutane for your acne it pays big time to do some research, talk to people who have been on it, etc. It helps you get mentally prepared and to manage your expectations.

If you have any questions/comments about my run with Accutane or my battle with acne, feel free to leave a comment! If you’re shy you can just email me too. That’s what most of ya did, anyway 😉

Now, please excuse me while I recreate the story of Narcissus in my mirror… *LOL*

7 thoughts on “Accutane Update”

  1. W00t! Good for you …

    Side effects aside, would you recommend it? Scarier or less scary than the laser surgery? And — any overlap in concerns? Like, did the laser people know you were going to be on something that might (in theory?) slow the healing of your cornea and flap, and vice-versa?

  2. I think you're just a wee bit confused…

    I had laser eye surgery over a year ago, but I am currently on Accutane for my skin.

    Though I suppose that if I were on Accutane I would NOT be allowed to have laser surgery. Any procedures I have disclosed that I'm on the drug, but so far so good.

    I would recommend both laser eye surgery and Accutane if necessary, though not at the same time!

    I mentioned the eye surgery because I felt so much better about myself after I had it. Not being chained to my glasses was very liberating, and I feel the same way about finally having clear skin. It has helped me to feel better about myself :)

    Laser eye surgery is definitely scarier–it's a laser in your EYE! LOL Accutane is just a few pills. Side effects suck though.

  3. So what's next? Any other cosmetic-surgery or drug-based solutions, or is it all attitudinal and emotional adjustment from this point?

  4. Mostly attitude and emotional adjustment.

    I also need to get rid of my excess weight, so I'm working on healthier eating habits and more exercise. This is my biggest challenge. By knocking off all the other, more easily attainable things on my "to-do list" I feel like I have prepared myself to make this most radical change. It will be the hardest thing yet because there isn't a magical surgery or pill that will make it all better.

    Even though I've had a cosmetic procedure and taken a scary drug "to improve myself" I generally don't like doing things that way. I prefer more natural courses of action, but in those specific areas I had exhausted all other options.

    If by your comment you are insinuating that I would get lipo or a boob job or botox or something, you would be wrong.

  5. I've known some folks to put boob lifts on the post-weight-loss to-do list … folks who are uber-chesty and know that once they hit the target weight, the girls are going to need an assist against gravity to make them look appealing. So boob job as an 'after', not as a 'how to get to the destination'.

  6. I posted before about my experiences with Accutane, but I have to warn you that even though it has been years since I took it (and my acne was NOT cured completely–it got worse when I went off it), bug bites and scratches and what not STILL take much longer to heal, and it seems like I scar more easily. I do get my brows waxed again though with no problems. It's a very effective drug (while you are on it) but it clearly is also very, very powerful. There's a reason why it is prescribed sparingly.

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