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Well, it's been 3 weeks since I took my last pill. Just thought I'd post this for encouragement!

-I'm 30, female. Have had mild/moderate PERSISTENT acne and very oily skin since age 13 or so with periods of clearing here and there.
Also had bad back/chest acne often

-Did my 1st course of Accutane in 1997-98 and stayed mostly clear until 1999 when I got pregnant with my first child. After that, ugh, back to the old skin!

-This was my 2nd course. Alternated 40mg/80mg (I weigh 115 lbs). Took it about 20 weeks.

-Side effects very mild. Slight nosebleeds every morning when I washed my face (from bumping my nose). Dry lips (loved Aquaphor!) and slight dry eyes. No dry or red skin. No initial breakout to speak of. No strange bloodwork results (liver/cholesterol,etc.).

-My skin started clearing after a month or so. I still got new zits which healed very slowly because of the Accutane. Also had lots of scars/red marks that faded very slowly. The best part was no oil! I could skip days washing hair and my skin was so...normal. My skin used to be an oil slick 10 minutes after washing and my hair after about 12 hours.

-I did get the hugest, bigger than a marble cyst on my forehead the last week of treatment that's finally fading, and now I have a week-old cyst on my chin. I know, 2 zits is nothing to complain about, but I feel so close to perfect skin it's annoying. And for some reason when the rest of my skin is totally clear, I feel more self conscious about the one huge zit than when I had the usuall 5-10 or more small-medium ones and more small ones. I apologize to y'all suffering with severe or cystic acne. I know I'm being greedy here and ungrateful.

-My routine on Accutane:
Wash in am with Olay cleansing cloths for normal/oily skin. This would be way too harsh for most people on Accutane, I think but it cleared up the flakiness and blackhead outpouring on my tough greasy face ;)

Dot tiny amount of BP on any zits (again, too harsh for most, I'd say)

Use Purpose moisturizer with SPF 15

Conceal with Maybelline True Illusion concealer and Shine Free powder

Wash in pm with Purpose liquid cleanser

Moisturize if necessary, though sometimes I used Neutrogena Multi-Vitamin acne treatment to help fade red spots (but also probably too harsh for most to use on Accutane)

I quit taking my multi-vitamin because of the Vitamin A in it, but continued taking Vitamin E, C and calcium.

Used Aquaphor (and still am) all day for lips and inside nose when necessary. Also used saline nose spray for dry nose and natural tears for eyes sometimes.

Whew! This is getting long! But a few more things:

-If you think Accutane is for you, try finding a cosmetic dermatologist if you're having trouble getting someone to prescribe it. Look for offices that advertise Botox, laser treatments, etc. They aren't so uptight about Accutane and are a lot more sympathetic to the PSYCHOLOGICAL effect acne can have on someone. They don't ignore the fact that acne can really harm your self esteem and that everyone wants to look his or her best and there's nothing wrong with that. I was so sick of my family doctor being scared of Accutane and trying to convince me to try this, that and everything else first, even when I had taken it before and knew it worked for me!

It's not for everyone and PLEASE remember that SHOULD NOT GET PREGNANT on it and you must always go in for your check-ups and blood work to be sure your body doesn't react badly to it. It's a very powerful drug with potentially bad side effects, but to have confidence and not obsess over my skin anymore, to roll out of bed and go work out, to have a neighbor stop by when I have no make up on, is total freedom to me. I don't think about my skin anymore when it's clear.

And one last word: acne really does make us feel bad, depressed, unmotivated (it's not your imagination)....it's hard for people who don't have it to understand! And it doesn't mean we are vain or have dismorphic disorder or are obsessive or paranoid! It just means we'd all like to look and feel our best. On the other hand, I have missed out on a lot because of acne, so do your best to just GO OUT and enjoy life...we really are more critical of ourselves than anyone else. Many mornings (since I've had a job or kids and couldn't cancel things just because I looked terrible) I have gotten ready, taken a deep breath and just turned away from the mirror. I'd get so busy with the day I'd forget how I looked. When we act confident, people notice our skin less and us as people more. Try to focus on others and helping them and being kind to them. Don't let acne take over your life. The end :)





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