In August of 2016 I started Isotretinoin which is most commonly known as 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.” (Source: http://www.drug.com).
Starting Accutane was honestly one of the weirdest experiences ever. What I’m talking about is I went to the dermatologist and they asked me what kind of treatments I looked into. The second I mentioned Accutane, my doctor immediately got a smile of his face.
The reason I decided to write this blog is because being on Accutane is a process and I wanted to give support to people who are currently taking the drug. I am in no way a doctor and if you’re experiencing any side effects you should really call your doctor because honestly, my medical knowledge I owe to Grey’s Anatomy.
I’m writing this in my last month of using Accutane. The reason I decided to do that was because when I got on Accutane I was freaking out over the side effects and went to YouTube for comfort. What I found there was a bunch of other people freaking out about the same thing I was. So you can guess it didn’t make me feel any better. I wanted to write this with a clear head and not in a rant type of fashion.
What I experienced month one: 30mg a day
The biggest – and pretty much the only thing – my doctor told me about being on Accutane is it makes your lips dry AF. I never thought this would affect my life at all, but it made me super self-conscious because I always thought people were looking at my lips. During the second week, they started to bleed on the creases of my lips. Also, my gums started to bleed.
The second or third day of Accutane, I made the biggest mistake you could possibly do while on Accutane: I dyed my hair. Accutane is very powerful and even that early everything was starting to dry out. I completely burned my scalp and it was horrible.
With Accutane, it’s normal to break out initially. My acne was never cystic and was only on my face. I never had severe acne, it was just extremely persistent. I was on topical creams and antibiotics and my skin always had pimples. Within two weeks on Accutane, my face completely cleared up.
The biggest thing during month one that freaked me out was my hair. After dying it, my hair started falling out like crazy and like any normal person, I started Googling (which is the worst thing to do). When this happens to you, just relax – you’re not going to go bald. My hair definitely thinned out, but no one could tell.
Before Accutane, I had very very oily skin to the point where I would shower midday and have to put on my makeup again. On Accutane, I can put on my makeup at 7am and it looks the same at 3am.
The first month of Accutane, I was in a lot of pain physically. I had horrible lower back pain to the point that I wasn’t sleeping and would have to take medicine for it to go away.
Last thing I want to touch on is your mood while on Accutane. Every month at your doctor appointments you have to be counseled. Accutane has a warning that is causes depression and suicidal thoughts. My mood during the first month was very unlike myself – it made me super irritable and more impatient than I already am.
My tips for month one:
Skin: Moisturize (I’m the worst at this). The best thing to do is leave a bottle of lotion in your shower and put it on every time you take a shower. It’s way better to moisturize before it becomes a problem.
Hair: Don’t wash it every day. I had very oily hair and would have to shampoo my hair every day.
During Accutane your body doesn’t produce oil; therefore, I only conditioned my hair. Lastly, on hair: no heat products during Accutane – it’s so bad.
Take the Internet with a grain of salt. Yes, I get this is ironic because of this article, but you should still read all of mine. When I was worried about my hair, it just stressed me out more watching videos and going though ance.com posts. But, the Internet is great for finding products that work to solve any Accutane problems.