Let’s Talk Acne: My Accutane Results

Oookay this post was in the works for a while now, let’s talk about my Accutane results. Most of you know that I’ve been dealing with acne for as long as I can remember. I don’t ever remember having clear skin.

Until now.

I talked about my struggles with acne in great detail in my previous post. If you want to know why I decided to go on Accutane (Absorica), how large my dose was and what my skincare routine looked like during my treatment, then make sure to read my first post right here.

Finally, I finished my 6-month treatment a few months back and I couldn’t be more happy to be done, at last. If you read my previous post, then you know just how hesitant I was about going through the treatment and how many side effects it entailed.

So… was it all worth it? Let’s talk about my current routine for a bit, before we move on to discussing my results.

MY CURRENT SKINCARE ROUTINE

My skincare routine has changed just a bit since going off Absorica. I’m still being very gentle with it but was able to introduce acids to my routine again. The entire idea of being more gentle with my skin is something that helped out in the first place when dealing with acne. There were also many other lifestyle changes that helped my skin and I talked about them all in my mid-treatment post right here, so I will not repeat myself.

I love a good, gentle cleanser and MŪN Akwi is still one of my favorites because it’s great for double cleansing and amazing for dry skin. It’s such a luxurious cleanser- it has oil-cream texture and I love massaging it into my skin gently, then pressing a warm washcloth on my face. Not only does it leave my skin feel hydrated but also incredibly soft. I talk about this cleanser all the time, I know, but I never used anything similar before.  Their Aknari Serum is also amazing for dry skin while also being incredibly lightweight (you can save 15% while shopping MŪN with my code MUN13T).

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser is another favorite, Glossier Milky Jelly, and SkinFix Foaming Oil Cleanser are also great. None of them are drying or irritating, so it’s a gentle bunch. Erborian Cleansing Water has actually been a huge help when dealing with my dry lips which is one of the worst side effects of Accutane. Your lips get dry, they crack, bleed, hurt, so scrubbing them definitely isn’t an option. Instead, I’d press a cotton round soaked in this cleansing water and that would take care of the dry bits. I also, of course, love it for removing eye makeup. I think I already mentioned it in one of my previous posts, but this is actually one of the very few cleansing waters that do not turn my skin red or patchy.

I think that after about a month or so, my lips went back to normal (and they’re naturally a bit dry) and some of my favorite balms are Dior’s Crème de Rose, Lano Lips, Bite Agave balm, MUFE Lip Booster and Complex Beauty Pout Protector Vanilla Mask (also love their Ocean Potion mask, it’s amazing for sensitive skin).

Moisturizers are where I’m still trying to find something that will blow me away. My skin does feel a bit dry in the morning, as I still use Tazorac, as prescribed by my doctor, to keep my pores clear (you can get Differin without prescription now, which isn’t as strong but works similarly). I usually use a Hyaluronic Acid Serum after cleansing, before my moisturizer. After my morning skincare routine my skin feels incredible, but as the day goes by, it gets dryer and dryer, so I’m hoping to soon find something that my dry skin will love. I do have a few current favorites though: It Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness Neutralizing Cream is incredible- if you like Confidence in a Cream, you’d love this one too. Another favorite is Clinique’s Moisture Surge– lightweight and not greasy and Soapwalla’s The Balm– this is a great, clean multitasker which I prefer to use at night. Paula’s Choice Omega Complex Serum has been a heaven-sent for my dry skin and I loved using it during my treatment as well. Also from Paula’s Choice, I use the Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Lotion and 1% BHA Lotion on nights/days when I don’t use Tazorac. Both are gentle enough and keep my skin looking bright. For Sunscreen I currently reach for Missha’s All Around Safe Block Soft Finish Sun Milk SPF50+ and love how gentle it is.

The skin all over my body isn’t nearly as dry as it was during my treatment, and I stick to fragrance-free cleansers and laundry detergent and use Amlactin, every night.

MY ACCUTANE RESULTS: MY SKIN NOW

As difficult as it was, in my previous post about my treatment I showed you guys a few photos of what my skin looked like throughout the years. Truth be told, when your skin is as bad as mine was, taking photos of yourself is the last thing you want to do, so finding them wasn’t easy. Yesterday, I actually did find a photo I took right before going plant-based a few years back. A plant-based diet, as I mentioned in my previous post, transformed my skin, got rid of cystic acne, but it just wasn’t enough to completely clear my skin. While last time around I was nervous about posting a “before,” this time I honestly dgaf. I didn’t have a lot of people around who actually understood my acne struggles. Most people thought that it’s as simple as washing your face and no one could really relate (except for my sissy, who sadly had the same skin issues). I’m not the kind of blogger who shares a lot of their personal life online, I hardly ever post photos of myself and I think that maybe, my skin issues had something to do with it. At the same time, I never wanted my blog to be all about me, I wanted to share this tiny corner of the Internet with you, too.

I guess the point that I’m trying to make is this: I don’t have a problem showing you how awful my skin was because I know how many out there struggle with acne or other skin issues. I often told myself “well how can I blog about beauty when my skin is so fucking awful, look at all the other beauty bloggers who are pretty much flawless.” Then, I thought that well, maybe this is exactly why I should do it. I’m not here to pretend that I or that my life is perfect and if you’re currently struggling with acne, know that I understand how awful it can feel- especially when you’re a grown-ass woman (or a man).

Here’s also something else I mentioned in my previous post: Keep in mind that when it comes to skin problems, it’s different for everyone. There is a lot of misconception about acne, too. I have a friend who never knew anyone with skin problems and until she met me, she was under the impression that people who suffer from acne don’t take care of their skin- nothing could be further from the truth. Some people can eat junk food on daily basis and have beautiful, flawless skin. Some tend to break out after eating a piece of candy. A lot of people have issues with hormonal acne, which also is a whole other thing.

skin-before-going-on-accutane

Sorry for staring deeply right into your soul just here, judging by the look on my face I was probably thinking something along the lines of “heavens, please find a cure for meh!”. This is a really, really horrible picture of me, but believe it or not, my skin was getting much better at this point. 

Now, it’s been roughly 4 months since I finished my treatment and I am blown away with my results. I never thought that it was even possible for my skin to get this clear and bright. Even I can’t believe that I’m not wearing foundation in the photo below. Not only is my skin clear, but it’s also not oily anymore. It’s really hard to describe just how high the levels of sebum production in my skin and scalp were. There were times where I wouldn’t be able to stop by the grocery store after a day at the office because my makeup looked so awful, literally melting off (no blotting papers or powders would help) and I looked like I dipped my face in vegetable oil on my skin- even when not wearing makeup. Same thing with my hair: I had to wash it every single day. Sometimes, I’d wash my hair at night, and it already would look flat and greasy by mid-morning the next day.

Well, those days are gone. My skin is a bit on the dry side now, but I am not complaining. I can get away with not washing my hair for as long as 5 days, although I don’t usually like going that long without washing it. As far as makeup goes, well, I go makeup-free a lot more often now and it feels amazing. The reasons why I never left the house without makeup when struggling with acne wasn’t because I didn’t feel comfortable without makeup- it was because I almost always received unsolicited advice, people would look at me with pity in their eyes or look at me saying: “you poor thing!” That, was a whole other level of uncomfortable, let me tell you. So, in order to avoid strangers telling me things like “you should try putting urine on your face” while I’m at a grocery store, I just put makeup on. Well, here are my Accutane results and this is what my skin looks like today:

Accutane-Results Accutane results

My Accutane Results: Sunscreen, lip gloss, brow gel and mascara- that’s all I’m wearing here and even I find that hard to believe. I still can’t get used to how clear my skin is!! 

Acne-rolling-scars accutane results

What you can’t always see are my rolling scars that only show in direct sunlight, but this photo gives you an idea. I have them on both cheeks and temples. Can’t wait to get rid of these- aaand that’s sunscreen around my nose, do forgive me. I can’t get enough of seeing how clear and smooth my pores are though!

As you can see, my skin looks incredible, if I do say so myself. I actually forgot how bad my skin was until I found the “before” photo included in this post. As I said, my skin is on the dry side, I haven’t had any breakouts since finishing the treatment. I also don’t get oily at all. Another thing you start to notice once your skin clears up is how much scarring years of acne have left behind. I mean, when your skin is covered with breakouts and painful cysts, that’s kind of all you see. I met with my dermatologist last week and I have to wait a few months before I can undergo a laser treatment to remove them. My treatment has been scheduled for December, and I will definitely share my results and the process here on the blog. This is something that I’ve been waiting for over a decade and I seriously can’t wait.

 

WAS IT WORTH IT?

Well, I think that my Accutane results speak for themselves. There’s no denying that all the side effects from the treatments were very difficult for me to deal with. I especially hated the constant feeling of fatigue, lack of energy, headaches, back aches. You also have monthly blood tests, pregnancy tests, questionnaires before a refill is approved. I tried not to complain too much, but whenever I happened to mention that my back hurts, or that I’m tired, I got asked: “do you really think it’s worth it?” The same question comes up post-treatment, all the time and the answer is: yes. Now, I really didn’t want to go on Accutane. As I told you in this post, I was even a bit surprised when my dermatologist suggested it, because I didn’t think my acne was severe enough. I was terrified of side effects, I was especially nervous about depression and anxiety which some people experience. I can tell you that if I had felt even a hint of anxiety caused by Accutane, I wouldn’t continue the treatment. Luckily, my mood or mental health was not affected by the treatment- the only thing I noticed was being a bit more emotional than usual (crying while watching commercials, etc.).

Most of the side effects disappeared within weeks of finishing my treatment. Dry skin and bags under my eyes seem to be the only lasting side effects that I deal with post treatment. I also realize that in some cases, acne comes back and some have to do a second round of treatment. The fatigue was killing me and towards the end of the treatment, I really couldn’t wait to just finish it. Would I go back, if my acne returned? I think so. I hated the idea of putting my body through the treatment, but it’s really not just about skin. It’s not about feeling pretty. Acne can be physically painful, it can suck the life and energy out of you and in some cases, it can have psychological effects like depression. Having everyone always ask you about your skin, whenever you meet with friends or family, having everyone comment on your skin, whether you’re shopping for groceries or buying makeup, people constantly suggesting you try this or try that, it’s all very exhausting. There comes a point where you just don’t even feel like leaving the house because people don’t really see you, they just look at you, and all they see is your acne. Right now, if I’m being honest, I feel like a different person. I’ve always been confident (not counting my teenage years), but now, I think I’m just so damn comfortable in my skin. I love not having to worry if my skin needs to be blotted or if my foundation is wearing off or someone I talk to doesn’t look me in eyes, but instead, focuses on my breakouts.

I also realize that this treatment is extreme and not for everyone. I spent years being on and off antibiotics and I was tired of being known as the girl with acne. Having people say things like “you have such pretty eyes, too bad about your skin!” or me putting on foundation after taking a shower, right before going to sleep when visiting friends in a different state because I was terrified of being seen bare-skinned… it was all so exhausting. At some point, you grow a thick skin and really just run out of fucks to give, but that doesn’t mean that sometimes you don’t feel like punching a stranger in the face when they comment on how bad your skin is. So yes, having clear skin is not just about feeling “pretty,” it’s about realizing that there’s a lot more to you than just your acne. Having clear skin for the first time in 16 years feels amazing. I wish that everyone who struggles with severe and painful acne (sometimes, it can even be painful to sleep if you have cystic acne) could experience such change.

As mentioned in my previous post, keep in mind that I am not a doctor and can’t give medical advice so you shouldn’t treat what I say in this post as such. This is just me sharing my experience. Before I went on the treatment I was extremely nervous and looked all over the internet for others sharing their personal experience, which is why I decided to share mine as well.


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