When I was in elementary school, I was always the skinny, tall girl in class.
Back in 6th grade, when every girl was getting their periods and boobs, I got the worst acquisition a pre-teen could have asked for: acne.
Even though I did not develop cystic or nodular acne, I remember feeling very embarrassed and out of place. None of my 6th grade classmates had pimples (yet) and I just felt like the black sheep of the group. At first I thought washing my face and wearing more foundation was going to do the job, however, I had to learn the hard way I was making it worse.
When I realized my pimples weren’t going away with soap and foundation, my mom and I decided it was time for me to go to the dermatologist, and I did.
Since my acne wasn’t the worst kind, my dermatologist opted for putting me under gentle treatments for cleansing and dealing with irritation. When one product wouldn’t work after a couple of months, she would put me under a different one and so on. Some creams and ointments were better than others and would temporarily do the job, but sooner or later my acne came back.
After years of seeing mixed results, my dermatologist concluded my acne was mild but VERY resistant. She confessed she had used all the resources to try to clear out my face permanently, except one: isotretinoin a.k.a. Accutane.
Oral isotretinoin is the strongest acne treatment on the market and has a 90% success rate. It is an effective but rigorous treatment that comes with a lot of warnings and side effects. A lot of people refuse to go under accutane because if not taken properly, it can have serious consequences.
Accutane is composed primarily of vitamin A, which reduces the production of oil in your skin and helps it renew at a faster rate. Sounds perfect, right? However, one of the most dangerous side effects to Accutane is that it can cause serious birth defects if used when pregnant. Because of this, most doctors put patients under birth control at the same time, even if they’re not sexually active, just in case there’s a minimal possibility they can get pregnant. They also need to constantly take pregnancy tests while under isotretinoin.
Because I was so young when I started taking Accutane (14 to be exact), I wasn’t put under birth control, yet there were a lot of guidelines I had to follow during the thirteen months I was under treatment:
- I couldn’t drink a single drop of alcohol, no exceptions.
- Sun exposure was prohibited and I had to wear sunscreen religiously even if I was inside the house.
- I had to drink water ALL THE TIME because Accutane is known for dehydrating the body, skin and lips at a much faster rate. It’s insane.
- I couldn’t donate blood while under Accutane.
- I had to take it exactly as prescribed by my doctor. This is extremely important as it assures the effectiveness of the drug.
- I couldn’t ingest foods/products that contained high amounts of vitamin A.
- Absolutely no laser/wax skin treatments. The skin gets extremely sensitive and can scar badly.
- NO LIQUID FOUNDATION AT ALL. I said bye to most of my makeup products for a year and kept it really simple: translucent powder and mascara.
Isotretinoin also comes with side effects:
- Mood swings, depression or overall sensitivity.
- Blurred vision.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Body aches and muscular soreness.
- Dryness of the lips, eyes and overall skin sensitivity.
Enough with all the bad stuff, DID IT WORK?
Absolutely! Those might have been the most nerve wracking 13 months of my life, yet it was all worth it. I remember seeing noticeable results in the first month and by month six, my face was pretty much clear. By the time I was a freshman in high school, my face was 100% clear.
Although there are rare cases in which acne can unexpectedly come back within the first year or two, my face remained 100% clear for eight years straight.
Earlier this year, I started obsessing over makeup and liquid foundations. One of the products I used contained an ingredient that clogs pores and it triggered a mini breakout on my cheeks. Of course I immediately stopped using it and ever since my face doesn’t look nearly as bad. I still get the occasional PMS breakout or painful whitehead, but it’s nothing compared to what it used to be, which means I’m not too worried about it. Also, I’m sticking with BB creams and translucent powder.
I truly hope sharing my accutane experience with y’all has been helpful in any way and if you’re planning on going under isotretinoin, just make sure you’re well informed and responsible enough to follow the guidelines religiously. The thing works!
If you have any more questions regarding my isotretinoin experience, don’t hesitate and shoot me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org ✨ I’ll be more than happy to answer! 💌