Accutane changed my life

by Mary
(Portland, ME)

I'm a 26 year old female. Around the age of 13 I began developing spots of acne breakouts and always accepted it as normal for my age. I often wondered why it seemed like hardly anyone else suffered as badly as I, my sister, and just a handful of others in our school did. Around 15 I began developing severe nodular acne that was painful, impossible to get rid off, and impossible to cover with makeup. I tried LITERALLY every over-the-counter facewash, mask, blemish treatment and lotion with no improvement. I dealt with the traumatic emotional effects of it as well while I was in high school and started using Proactiv my second year in college.


The Proctiv worked well to reduce the severity of my breakouts but I always had problem areas and consistently had small bumps all over my face. After using Proactiv for seven years it completely quit working and I developed nodular acne again that was 100X worse than it was when I was a teenager.

Over the past year and a half I have tried vitamin regimes, homeopathic treatments like lavender oil, vinegar, gall bladder cleansing, gluten free diet, eliminating all sugar and yeast from my diet, and on and on and on. I have spent a couple thousand dollars with no improvement. The acne became so bad it would hurt and wake me when I would roll over and it would hit my pillow. It would constantly itch like my face was infected and I felt like I had an infestation under my skin. In addition, if a nodular area did lessen or clear up the redness was terrible and impossible to get rid of. I work with the public every day in a public capacity and the emotional impacts of acne as an adult are much more significant than as a child. Though not a fan of taking any medicines I broke down and called my doctor crying.

I started with a treatment of a topical antibiotic and a retinal topical cream which had sever drying/flaking side effects and after two weeks my face showed absolutely no improvement. My doctor put me on a double dose of very strong antibiotics for a week and then she wanted me to go down to a single dose for the next two months. After a week on the double does there was NO improvement in my skin condition so I stayed on the double does for just over 30 days until it began clearing up. I stayed on the single does until I was able to get into a dermatologist. If I missed a day taking the antibiotics my face would flair up. I feared if the doctor had to take me off it my skin would go down hill quickly.

Sixty days ago I started my treatment. Yes I have VERY mild dry skin about twice a month but even if it got 200x worse it would be NOTHING in comparison to what I have been through. My lips are always dry but it's no worse than when they dry out if I get a head cold.

Since I started treatment I have had fewer than ten pimples and they were miniscule, only two tiny painful ones. On top of that, my skin has NEVER been this healthy looking in my life. The redness is clearing up, I have a more even skin tone, I smile all the time now and when I look in the mirror I cry tears of joy instead of tears of desperation. I become happier by the day, have started to come back out of my shell and am getting closer and closer to the fun-loving, outgoing person I am at heart.

Unless someone has suffered from moderate/severe acne they have no idea the impact it has on a person in every aspect of their life.

I am grateful to have the accutane treatment as my last resort and although I have always been proud of my accomplishments, a confident woman, a strong and independent woman, I have never felt this good about myself and I had no idea really how much my acne was impacting my life until I have found myself in a place where it no longer does!!!

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Jun 19, 2012
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Thank you for sharing..
by: Anonymous

I am 26 years old and this story hits home for me. I work in a public capacity everyday myself and I am not the same person when I have a bad breakout. I look at other people and don't see on anyone what is happening to me so it's hard to find woman my age that can relate to my problem. Makeup can cover some days and I may even look "normal" but I never feel pretty because I know what is going on underneath my makeup. I have an appt on the 26th this month and am not against begging for accutane. For years and years, nothing has worked. Right now I'm on Minocycling, spiraculatane(prescription water pill) Ziana cream, ProActiv and everday Is a new breakout. I don't have a social life and I refuse to date. I understand how you feel and just know you arent' alone. I hope you are feeling better and living the life you've always wanted.

Jun 19, 2012
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starstarstarstarstar
Thank you for sharing..
by: Anonymous

I am 26 years old and this story hits home for me. I work in a public capacity everyday myself and I am not the same person when I have a bad breakout. I look at other people and don't see on anyone what is happening to me so it's hard to find woman my age that can relate to my problem. Makeup can cover some days and I may even look "normal" but I never feel pretty because I know what is going on underneath my makeup. I have an appt on the 26th this month and am not against begging for accutane. For years and years, nothing has worked. Right now I'm on Minocycling, spiraculatane(prescription water pill) Ziana cream, ProActiv and everday Is a new breakout. I don't have a social life and I refuse to date. I understand how you feel and just know you arent' alone. I hope you are feeling better and living the life you've always wanted.

Jun 02, 2012
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Love your story
by: Joan

I was nodding my head the whole time reading your story because I could completely relate. My sister and I both had horrible acne through middle and high school and it seemed like every other person had milky smooth butter skin. It was the WORST feeling in the world. I used to pile on pounds of makeup just to feel like a human being and then of course i felt self conscious because of all the makeup i wore but as a youngster i didn't know how else to deal with it.

I went on accutane at the recommendation of my dermatologist (my sister had also gone on it before me) and it was like i was reborn a new person. When you say you looked in the mirror and cried tears of joy not of sadness i completely relate. it turned my world around in the best possible way. i have minimal acne now but nothing compared to the deep painful acne like you described plus tons on tiny red bumps everywhere. i will forever be grateful to that drug as sad as that sounds.

Jun 02, 2012
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Love your story
by: Joan

I was nodding my head the whole time reading your story because I could completely relate. My sister and I both had horrible acne through middle and high school and it seemed like every other person had milky smooth butter skin. It was the WORST feeling in the world. I used to pile on pounds of makeup just to feel like a human being and then of course i felt self conscious because of all the makeup i wore but as a youngster i didn't know how else to deal with it.

I went on accutane at the recommendation of my dermatologist (my sister had also gone on it before me) and it was like i was reborn a new person. When you say you looked in the mirror and cried tears of joy not of sadness i completely relate. it turned my world around in the best possible way. i have minimal acne now but nothing compared to the deep painful acne like you described plus tons on tiny red bumps everywhere. i will forever be grateful to that drug as sad as that sounds.

Mar 01, 2012
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Brilliant
by: Anonymous

Very inspiring...

When i read this story it reminds me of myself in so many ways. I am hoping to start Accutane in the next few months after trying almost everything for the last 12 years.

Its great to hear the positives. All the side effects could be easily dealt with considering the emotional effects that adult acne has caused me!

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