I recently stumbled on a forum where people were discussing their experiences with Accutane (used to be called Accutane or Roaccutane and now is Sotret, Claravis, Amnesteem) and I tought that I should too talk about my experience with it. For two reasons: because I’ll certainly never forget it and because it might help someone who’s trying to make a decision on whether or not they should take the plunge.
First things first:
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. (See here an impressive before/after)
Sounds great right? But there’s also something else to know about Accutane, the side-effects
[box]Accutane can cause severe, life-threatening birth defects. Never use Accutane if you are pregnant.
Women of child-bearing potential must agree in writing to use two specific forms of birth control and have regular pregnancy tests before, during, and after taking isotretinoin.
The most common side effects of isotretinoin are dry skin, itching, dry nose, nosebleeds (epistaxis), cracks in the corners of the mouth (chilitis), dry mouth, and inflammation of the whites of the eyes. Joint aches also are common. Patients may develop an increase in blood cholesterol and triglycerides. Psychiatric problems such as depression, hallucinations and suicidal behavior have been reported. Rare side effects include skin infections, peeling, sun sensitivity, hearing impairment and hepatitis. Rarely, isotretinoin can cause brain swelling (pseudotumor cerebri or intracranial hypertension), which produces nausea, vomiting, headache, and changes in vision.[/box] Drugs.com
As you can see, there are many side effects and being on Accutane is no joke.
I did not have the most severe case of acne you’ve ever seen but it was extremely resistant. Mainly on my cheeks and chin. Topical creams, antibiotics, nothing could fix it and it was dragging on. It started when I was around 12 and didn’t show any sign of slowing down when I turned 18. That’s when, after trying everything, my dermatologist suggested we try it.
So I did. I started a 6 months treatment and the side effects kicked in immediately. It was mainly my lips. They became so severely dry that small blisters appeared on top on them. After the blisters the whole first layer of my lips turned pink. My lips were raw. My dermatologist prescribed all kinds of products to alleviate the pain (like an hemorrhoid cream …. yeah I’m serious, it smelled gross and didn’t help at all) and that’s when my love story with Nuxe’s Rêve de Miel Lip Balm started as it was the only product that could give me relief. I did not suffer from other side effects except for some fatigue but the pain in my lips was enough to make me remember that I was on some heavy medication.
But, 4 months in, my skin was transformed. Nothing. Not one pimple. My skin was as soft as baby skin. My pores got smaller, my skin was glowing. It was simply perfect. By the end of my treatment my dark spots were fading too…on their own. It honestly made me forget that I ever had any acne. Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous.
So there I was, beautiful skin, 18 and a half, getting ready to move to Canada to continue my bachelor degree. Moved there; skin is still fresh and clean; go to school… winter comes, I’m still okay… summer kicks in, I’m getting ready to go visit my parents and Senegal…and I notice that I have a few new pimples here and there. Then I wake up one morning with the mother of all breakouts on the sides of my face and on my forehead. An explosion. I don’t know what happened but from that day forward it was like I had never been on Accutane. It was a mess.
Of course I wasn’t too happy about that so I went back to my dermatologist and he suggested a second round. For 4 months. I agreed to it and started the treatment but, as soon as the side effects kicked in…I knew I couldn’t go all the way. So i stopped right in the middle of the treatment and decided to live with my pimples and know that, sooner or later they’d have to go away.
My thoughts on Accutane today
Well.. I wasn’t exactly right about that since, past 25 and close to 30 now, acne is still a part of my life. It’s gotten much better over the past year as I only get the odd pimple here and there but I still don’t have the skin I had after the first successful treatment with Accutane.
If i had to do it again, would I do the treatment?
It’s difficult to say because the first round was so successful. But I definitely think I shouldn’t have bothered starting a second round. If the first round is successful and stays successful then fine. Otherwise, you have resistant acne, deal with it. That’s what I had to do and today, my skin is not too bad and with the help of a bit of makeup I can give it the little oomph it needs to get compliments on the way my skin looks. And you can imagine that a compliment like that usually makes my day ;)
Do I recommend Accutane?
Do your research. Be ready for the side-effects cause they are real. And if the doctor approves it for you then, yes, I suggest it. Even if it is just to give your skin and your self-esteem some relief. But then if it doesn’t work don’t torture yourself. Time will end up healing your skin even if it is slow. And if you’re like me, a little make up will make the wait more bearable ;)
To know more click here
If you have any specific questions email me or leave a comment ;)