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Accutane: Before and After

Here’s a video I put together that shows the “transformation” of my skin during my use of Accutane, I thought it showed the dramatic effect on my skin pretty well:



After 5 months of treatment, I made it.  Although I’m posting these pictures a couple days before I’m officially off of Accutane, the condition of my skin won’t vary much, and I actually have time to post for once.

Since this is the official, “after” post, I want to recap my experience as a whole.  Before starting treatment, I was somewhat apprehensive, because of all the press the negative side effects of Accutane gets.  But, after starting treatment, and seeing the results, I would definitely do it again, and I believe I made the right decision.  Aside from the compliments I get on the improved condition of my skin, I also saved my skin from major scarring, which would be expensive to fix, if even possible to fix in the first place.

However, I can’t say the journey to this point was easy.  The constant dryness, sensitivity to sunlight, and paper-thin skin were definitely hurdles I had to overcome.  Waking up every day feeling dry and cracked isn’t pleasant, but can be managed.  If there’s one piece of advice I can give, it is to moisturize.  Use Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream, or whatever else works with your skin, and keep up with the lip balm. When I’m without Carmex for more than a couple hours, my lips become dry and cracked and red.  Also, treat yourself to a nice pair of sunglasses, it definitely helps the sensitivity to sunlight a lot.

Overall, I think Accutane is a worthwhile medication that should be taken by those who need it.  Talk to a dermatologist, see how bad your skin really is.  For me, antibiotics and topical medications weren’t effective.  But maybe for you, that’s all you need.  If so, then you’re lucky, and you should count your blessings.  But, if you’re like me, and nothing has worked, the dermatologist may suggest Accutane.  If they do, and you have nodular acne, then I wouldn’t hesitate to take it.  Accutane is a wonderful medication, but only for those who’ve tried everything else.

Finally, if you have any questions regarding my personal experience with Accutane, leave a comment or email

Without further ado, here are the “after” photos:

Week 12

It’s been 12 weeks, and I think there’s some improvement showing.  My skin, although a bit redder than it was in the week 10.5, has shown significant improvement. My face is smooth, and all one texture, not bumpy and rough.  I’m really happy that it’s starting to flatten out in a sense, because it shows me that my breakouts are less and less severe.  Here are the pictures for week 12, click any to get a larger view:


Week 10.5 (Day 67)

Well, it’s been awhile.  I’ve been crazy crazy busy with school, cross country, and everything else, so I decided that after about 5 weeks off I should at least take a set of pictures and give an updated status.  Okay, so my joints hurt; a lot.  But, I’m running a lot too, so we’ll see how much my joints hurt once cross country ends at the end of October.  Next, my dosage is still at 60mg, and my bilirubin levels are still elevated, but at the same elevated level, so it’s fine.  Carmex is the best lip balm, it’s worked very very well so far, I can’t get enough of it (literally).  Also, I think my face has cleared up a fair amount.  Given, this is the first set of pictures since week 5/6, so there should be some major clearing, but for comparison, I put week 1’s picture at the top and week 10,5’s picture on the bottom (week 10.5 is the blue shirt).  Also, the full week 10.5 gallery is at the bottom per usual.

DSC_0002Week 10.5

Day 33: Dermatologist Appointment #2 (Oh, and yes, I’m still alive)

Hey everyone, sorry for dropping off the face of the earth.  I’ve been crazy busy preparing for school to start and for all my extracurriculars to start.  I’m going to take a set of pictures on Friday, and I’ll skip last week’s (there wasn’t that much of a change anyways).

So, today was my dermatologist appointment.  They said the blood tests were good, but my bilirubin levels were elevated.  That means that I could have Gilbert’s Syndrome, which, if you’ve been following my blog, my dad has.  It’s completely benign, and it can be hereditary.  So, the doctor thinks it’s probably just that, but she wants me to call my primary care physician to make sure.  She said that I’m responding very well to the medication, and she wants to increase my dosage.  I guess that the higher the dosage taken, the more lasting the clear skin will be.  So, since I’ve only been having minor dryness and pain and all that stuff, I said sure, why not.  I’m on 60 mg now, taken in 3 20mg capsules.  I went to CVS to fill the prescription, and somehow it’s going to take an hour to collect three boxes, go on iPledge, and put the three boxes in a bag.  I’m going to go back later on tonight as I’ll be in the area anyway.  But, I’m happy that the dermatologist thinks my skin is doing well, and I’m glad I’m reacting well to Accutane!  (By the way, they scheduled the appointment correctly this time, so I have the next appointment 30 days after this one!)

Day 4: The iPledge Letter

I got a letter from the iPledge Program in the mail today.  Really warm and fuzzy, it literally just said my ID number and gave me my password, with directions on how to enter them into the telephone system and online.  No Dear Alex, no Dear ID Number; nothing.  I guess the point of iPledge isn’t to make me happy, though (that’s pretty evident ;)).

It’s good that I can enter my info online now and log in and stuff.  I did it earlier tonight and it’s pretty straightforward.  When you first log in the iPledge system asks you to change your password and to enter a date of personal significance, which would be used for account verification over the phone system.  It says to enter the date in MM/DD/YYYY form, but don’t enter the slashes.  Stupid to mention, I know, but it took me a few tries to realize that you don’t enter the slashes. Once you get through all that rigamarole you go to your current program status, where the page displays your prescriber, the current status, any action the patient needs to take, and what needs to happen next (like a doctor’s visit, or if you’re a girl, answering knowledge questions online and stuff).

Overall, I got a strong government agency/FDA feeling (probably because that’s what the program is).  As they say, however, it’s “the only way,” so I just need to keep on top of it and not let the program annoy me.  Everyone should remember that it’s there for safety and it’s there so people can use this drug.

Oh and I’ll do a Day 4 Side Effect Review for the fun of it. I’m feeling pretty good today, although my skin feels absolutely disgusting because it’s been really humid and it feels like the sunblock on my face hasn’t dried.  I’ll be washing my face soon enough though, so that should be gone.  Other than that, my acne seems to be flattening a little bit, turning into redness but with less noticeable bumps.  I’m still itchy and dry, but that’s to be expected and I know a guy named Cetaphil who can help ;).  I’ll give today an 8.5 probably due to the humidity and the overall feeling of wetness and grossness that I have.

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