This month marks my second year off of Accutane. So I decided to share a pretty personal post with you guys about my skin. My broken skin has played a major role in my low self- esteem and confidence and now that I am pretty much “clean” I think it’s time to face it. This is going to be a long one so make yourself some popcorn!
LIFE PRE ACCUTANE
My acne began when I was around 13 getting a cystic pimples here and there, and white heads regularly. As I got older the acne pretty much worsen. By 16, the regular pimples where the cystic, and for the most part came out in the same spots. Not only I had bad cystic acne but also I had oily skin making matters much worst.
By age 19, everything got worst. There was not a single day where I did not had a cystic pimple, sometimes two clumped together. I wish I had a photo to show you guys because explaining this in a written word is going to be difficult. My pimples where the size of pennies, yes pennies, meaning they were big. The pimples where “buried” underneath layers of skin making it impossible to pop them. Also, sometimes two were clumped together. Meaning either there was one below or there was one right next to it forming a ONE massive pimple.
Not only I had acne on my face, but on my neck, chest, behind my ears, and back. I developed a different type of acne on my shoulder blades where the cystic pimples were kind of encapsulated on the skin. Thus, making permanent clumps. Apparently, my mom thought the acne was going to disappear as I got older, like it happen to my older sister (lucky bitch), but it didn’t. So, during this time I visited a dermatologist. She gave me contraceptives, because my acne was not only genetic, but also hormonal. Also, she gave antibiotics and some medicinal soap to wash my face.
Mentally, acne will fuck you up. That is it, there is not other way to explained it.
Time passed by and nothing changed so I was advice to use Accutane. However, my insurance did not cover unless I had an income, which I didn’t, and the whole thing went down the drain. I suffered so so much during this time.
Mentally, acne will fuck you up. That is it, there is not other way to explained it. You will beat yourself because there is pretty much nothing you can do about it. Doesn’t matter if you change your diet, exercise and drink plenty of water, believe me I had tried it all. I have tried snake skin soap, those remedies announced on TV, Neutrogena… EVERYTHING!
To make matters worse there is the people who want to “advice” you on what to do with your skin. You don’t know how many times I had people telling me “wash your face more often” or “drink more water” or “Have you tried ____ it worked wonders for my son who had acne as bad as yours.” I hope these people come from a good place, however, these comment will make you feel even more self conscious about the acne. Especially when it happens unexpectedly, like when you are at work (true story), or when you are on the bus (true story), walking in the street and being stopped by a wanna be “dermatologist” and herbal witch (true story).
“Drink more water” they said, ” it will help” they said. “Wash your face more often and the acne will disappear” they said.
Someone who has not had this type of acne will never understand the horrors someone goes through, physically and mentally. So, people even if you want to help someone with horrible acne please don’t say anything. Even if your medicine was made by the gods, what worked on you probably won’t work with everyone else. Also, do you really think that someone with severe acne has not tried it all? Honestly, you will make them feel bad and even more self conscious than they already are.
At age 23, I went back to the dermatologist office because I was working. Once again, I was back on the antibiotics for around three months. The reason behind was to prove that the antibiotics did not work. And that indeed, I needed Accutane. I was approved to start the course, and in February 2016 it began.
WHILE ON ACCUTANE + ACCUTANE SURVIVAL KIT
For the first few weeks of accutane my acne got worst, the pores on my face where disgusting and kept throwing up the dirtiness that lives inside of them. Then, my scalp became horribly dried. I was so itchy I could not fall asleep at night. I had to put olive oil on my scalp just to be able to fall asleep at night. The third side effect was that I could not use any of my face wash anymore. They all sting as if my face was irritated, which was not.
Soon I had an accutane survival kit. The kit included: Cetaphil soap and Cetaphil face moisturizer, a jar of Aquaphor for my legs, lips and fingers. For foundation I used the ‘Born this Way“ by Two Faced. Also, for a night moisturizer I used the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydra-Firm Sleeping Cream, which works wonders! When I woke up in the morning my face was soft, fresh and moisturized.
It is not advisable to be under the sun for extended periods on time while on accutane. So staying indoors is really important. Also, you need SPF: for the body I used the a regular SPF, which I bought on Target. For the face, I used the Urban Environment SPF by Shiseido. Also, I avoided shaving my legs or any part of my body too much because my skin got drier and more irritated.
OTHER SIDE EFFECTS INCLUDE
During this time, I developed horrible anxiety and I had my first panic attack ever. I had a horrible lower back pain which kept me laying down without being able to stand up for hours. Also, I was so disconnected, I felt as if someone had turned off a switch on my brain. I was tired and sleepy all the time, but apparently all of these side effects mentioned are normal.
Some of the side effects disappear with time such as the anxiety and the sleepiness. Others stayed, such as the back pain and the dryness. To be honest, the dryness did not bother me at all, except for maybe the lips, but it was such a fun time. As I mentioned previously, i was a ball of oileness: 30 minutes after applying makeup I was oily. However, during accutane I did not had to blot or reapply anything. By the end of the day, the makeup looked exactly as it did in the morning. Also, a week could pass without me having to wash my hair and it still smelled like shampoo. In addition, I noticed that some of my acne scars disappeared.
I was on accutane for six months of my life. During the first three I was on 40 milligrams then I was bumped to 60 milligrams a day.
LIFE AFTER ACCUTANE
On august 2016 the whole ordeal was over. The doctor told me there was a high probability that I would need a second round of accutane because my acne was so severe that the first round would not be enough.
For the first year or so an occasional white head would visit and then leave. My skin was dry-combination. The next year, more pimples, especially white heads began to appear. They come and go. For the most, part my face is kind of clean. Like I said some white heads here and there. My skin is now combination-oily, but I am not even near the amount of oiliness I had pre accutane.
Mentally, I feel better, I def feel that for this last two years I have been able to build myself confidence and technically non existing self-esteem. It has not been easy but I am working on it. People who had never gone through acne will never understand what it feels to have acne, nor I will expect them to understand.
It is something damaging not only to your exterior but to your interior. If you lived with it and embraced it, in all honestly congrats. For me, it was a load of feeling like shit, ugly and unwanted. Who would want someone with a discussing face? I had trouble looking at people in the eye, or guys looking at me because I thought they were looking at the acne and judging me.
If I had to go through another round of accutane I would totally go for it. Having acne is one of the worst things that happened to me and I don’t plan to go through it again. Accutane does not work for everybody, and I feel lucky that it worked (kind of) for me.
If you made it till the end thank you so much for reading!
What are your thoughts on accutane? Have you been though it?