Going Non-toxic After Accutane Part 1
PART ONE: MY ACCUTANE JOURNEY
DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor and this is not a recommendation to use Accutane. This is simply my story of why I used it, how it worked, and the side effects I have. I used this medication before I was knowledgeable or cared what I put in my body. Read Part 2 to hear how I dealt with acne post-accutane (hint: it is non-toxic!).
Growing up, I had glowing skin, but when I turned 19 it all changed. I had just moved to the city and started college and suddenly my face was a mess. I went from rarely having breakouts to waking up to at least 3 areas of breakouts every morning. I began to get pimples on top of pimples... many deep, large, and painful when I would smile or laugh.
I began buying everything I could find to help clean my skin... and NOTHING was working! After a few months, my breakouts would keep me in the house because I was embarrassed and honestly, my face hurt. So, I found a dermatologist near my home town and confidently went in knowing the answer to my situation was only a few weeks away after her help. Boy, was I wrong! The dermatologist walked in after a long wait and I swear to you, she did not even glance at my skin! She looked at the notes from the nurse who had just talked to me briefly and said... "I am going to start you on an antibiotic, a skin cream, and this new medication." I was shocked that there was no real examination and that she didn't ask about how I got to this point. But I trusted her and went on my way.
Over the next two months, my skin issues became severe. My breakouts went from occasionally cystic to everyday waking up with a new cystic breakout. I knew a lot of medications cause a breakout in the beginning... but two months in, nothing was slowing down and my face was covered with breakouts and scars. As a 19 year old girl, my confidence was shaken and I got down in the dumps! So, I scheduled an appointment with my family doctor who had been seeing me since I was a newborn.
When I went in, I told him everything that had happened and that he either needed to help my skin or give me an anti-depressant because I was at my wits end. He looked at me and said "Sarah, your skin beautiful... what's going on?" So I said, "I have makeup on, can I have a towel to show you what's going on underneath?" He was shocked after I had taken my makeup off... and I explained to him that not wearing makeup wasn't an option any longer. I couldn't leave the house without my mask on. I left with a prescription for Accutane and a newfound hope for my skin and confidence. If you've been on Accutane, you know how intense it is. I had blood drawn monthly to check medication levels and to make sure I wasn't pregnant. I also had to "use" two forms of birth control and my honest abstinence counted for nothing. I told them if I got pregnant, my baby would be the second Christ... they didn't find it as funny as I did!
I ended up taking Accutane for 5 months. After my first month, I had my dosage upped because I was (luckily) right on the weight line for moving up. I hit the bottom of the next dosage's weight requirement. This new dosage really helped my skin! Unfortunately I had a lot of side effects with this new prescription.... my lips could crack on each side (I looked like the joker... cute). When I would clap my hands, dry skin would fall in true Breakfast Club fashion. Also, my roommates jokingly called my hands and arms alligator skin. We had fun poking at my body through this. Looking back, the dry skin was the least of my worries... I would wake up with joint pains in my ankles and my fuse was much shorter. By the last month, I had a few outbursts of anger and decided I needed to tell my doctors that I had to be done. I had about 3 weeks left in that month, and I kid you not, between that decision and my doctor appointment, my skin completely cleared up. I was so THANKFUL... the medication had done its job just in time!