Hi, everyone! Today I’m going to be talking about something that’s been a major part of my life for a long, long time. I’m talking about my skin. I unfortunately wasn’t born with perfect skin..most of us weren’t. I actually had really bad skin…and I’m not talking about a few breakouts here and there. I’m talking full-on acne — everywhere. I don’t talk about my skin issues much because it’s always been a pretty touchy issue with me. Then I got to thinking about it and thought, “why not?” I used to have terrible acne. Now I don’t. I have nothing to be embarrassed of and I have an amazing platform to share my story and hopefully help others by doing so. With that being said, no matter how hard this might be for me, I’m going to share my skin story. Mainly my Accutane journey and my current skincare routine post medication. I am in no way claiming to be a skin expert or dermatologist. I am simply sharing what worked for me. Now here we go *takes huge breathe in and releases* Okay, let’s go.
When I Discovered My Acne
Let me start off by saying that acne runs in my family. Both my mom and dad had it growing up. My mom’s was mainly on her face, while my dad had a lot of body acne. Unfortunately my older brother and I inherited both types. Fantastic. I got my first pimple in the third grade and dealt with the occasional breakout until I was a junior in high school. That’s when my acne really got out of control. I had body acne and as a girl who loved her fashion, it was miserable trying to shop for clothes that would cover my chest, back and upper arms. Thank God for makeup to cover up my face. Not to mention shopping for homecoming and prom dresses. That was impossible and that’s what made me book my first appointment to the dermatologist.
Usually Accutane is a doctor’s last resort when it comes to treating their patient’s acne. It’s aggressive and takes a long time to work. So, I went through several rounds of topical prescriptions, but nothing worked. My brother used Accutane and it worked for him, so I finally told my doctor I was ready for it. This is a decision you should not take lightly. It’s a huge deal and must be talked about with your parents. In fact, they have to sign off on it. Along with watching an informational DVD on how Accutane and sex don’t mix, monthly blood and pregnancy tests and last but not least, birth control. See what I mean? You cannot take this lightly. But my skin was terrible and I was willing to do anything. Typically you’re on Accutane for about six months. While I was in my third month of it my dad got laid off, thus our health insurance was gone and Accutane was no longer an option due to it’s high cost. I was able to clear the majority of my acne and maintain it until the summer after my freshman year in college. I went to Destin, Florida with my best friend and my skin decided to freak out. I’m about to share some photos from this trip. They’re not pretty, but I feel I need to put into perspective for all of you just how bad my acne was.
My acne came back in full force all over my face, chest and back. This time is was cystic and worse than ever. That’s when I made the choice to go back to Accutane. It was a no brainer for me, but the next six months were not always fun.
My Accutane Side Effects
Everyone’s side effects are different when using Accutane. It differs from person to person and from male to female. My brother played baseball when he was on it and it dried out his joints and made him quit the sport. I, however, never had any joint issues. I only had really bad dry skin and chapped lips. These are the most common side effects. Heavy duty lotion and chapstick are your best friend while taking Accutane and you always have it on hand in multiple different forms. You also have sensitivity to the sun, but luckily for me, I was on it mainly during the fall and winter months and didn’t have to worry about that. Here’s a basic look at how Accutane works to get rid of acne.
I have super oily skin, so much so that it’s almost impossible for me to go more than a day without washing my hair. So unfair. With Accutane, though, it shrinks those pesky oil glands which in return reduces acne bacteria, clogged pores and inflammation. No more oil causing acne and I could go days without having to wash my hair! I loved that part of it. After the first 2-3 months I was able to manage my dry skin and my acne was fading away nicely. Some people have claimed depression as a side effect, but for me, I was happier and more confident than ever not having to deal with the stresses of acne. I went off Accutane in the spring of 2012 and have been acne free ever since.
Post Accutane Skin
Do I still get the occasional breakout? Sure, but it’s NOTHING like it used to be. I no longer breakout on my back or arms and it’s very rare for my chest to get a few pimples. I maintain it with the skin care routine shown above and I have a prescription for Tretinoin cream which most dermatologists prescribe after someone finishes up Accutane. It wasn’t the prettiest or easiest process, but for me it was worth it. If you’re struggling with terrible acne, at least speak to a dermatologist about it and see if they can clear up any of your concerns. I went down this path because over-the-counter products and topical treatments did nothing for me. Try those first if you’re skeptical. Even higher end skincare brands like Clinique have been known to work miracles on acne-prone skin.
My Current Skincare Routine
- I use makeup removing wipes to get rid of most of the makeup on my face.
- I then wash my face with an oil free face wash to remove any dirt and oil.
- I pat dry and immediately come in with an oil free moisturizer to help fight off some of that oiliness.
- I then use an anti-wrinkle eye cream because it’s never too early to protect the sensitive skin around your eyes and fight wrinkles!
- If I have a blemish here or there I come in with a benzoyl peroxide treatment OR my prescribed cream. Never both.
- Lastly, if you have a really large pimple on the tip of your nose or on your forehead, a little secret is to apply a diaper rash cream to it overnight and BOOM! It’s gone by morning ;)
I hope this helped! Please feel free to share your skin stories with me as well!