Taking Accutane for your acne has been a horror story especially when trying to treat your skin condition. A large number of people ended up taking this medication.
However, is Accutane really worth it? Emily Keel shares her personal experience on taking this dreaded medication.
I began taking Isotretinoin (also known as Accutane/Roaccutane) for 4 months at the beginning of the year. Taking the medication has been a tough decision for me, which was an absolute last resort for acne.
I struggled with my skin at the age of 12, progressively getting worse at age 23/24. My deep cystic acne took place in my body and face, convincing me to change my diet and skin care routine as well to keep my face clear of acne breakouts. I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome at the age of 23, which I think plays a role in my acne as well. I refused to take contraceptive pills to manage my hormones and tried healing myself through holistic and natural means.
I set off by visiting a homeopath, leading me to cut out gluten, dairy, eggs and sugar from my diet along with taking different supplements. I also took acupuncture and consulted different skin specialists which recommended trying different kinds of treatments such as light therapy, chemical peels, laser, microdermabrasion which were among the huge range of skin care products.
My journey to a clearer skin began with having full of hope and positivity, but it was soon gone when none of the efforts I exerted had worked. So by then, I decided to visit a dermatologist and decided to take Accutane after months of trying different things. Was it really worth a try?
On January 2019, I began taking Accutane after having consultations and blood tests. I did my research so I already knew the good, the bad and the ugly truth heading my way. My dermatologist started off giving me a maximum dosage of 60 mg (based on my weight) and warned me that it will get worse before getting better – which effectively did!
I had terrible purging on the first 3 weeks of going on Accutane but kept going despite its horrendous effects. My skin rapidly improved week by week, but it wasn’t without some noticeable and manageable side effects.This is something that affected me whilst taking the medication, but then again, everyone has a different experience. For me, it was all totally worth it. Seeing my skin improve each and every day kept me going and gave me so much hope! I decided to take Accutane because my acne had really started to have an impact on my mental health and I knew that it would be irresponsible to not address that.
So to those asking if Accutane is worth it? Accutane can be a strong medication and is considered to be a dangerous drug, in some cases, but I can prove its worth. If you have plans of using this medication for your skin concerns as well, heed my advice: make sure you do plenty of research beforehand, ask your dermatologist loads of questions and talk to supportive people around you as they will really be a big help. Always remember to be kind to yourself whilst on the medication and drink loads of water!
*photos courtesy of Instagram: @emilykeel
We are all following our own path when it comes to our skin concerns, especially with acne, because acne is caused by many different factors. Be true to yourself and your own journey. Whether you decide to take medication, or heal your skin naturally, please know that you are beautiful as you are - with or without acne!
Also known as a form of Vitamin A, Isotretinoin reduces the number of oil glands in the skin and helps renew your skin more quickly. It is also used to treat severe nodular acne, usually after trying other acne medicines or antibiotics which did not work.
* Accutane is available only under a special program called iPLEDGE.
* Taking vitamin supplements containing Vitamin A while taking Isotretinoin is not recommended.
* Accutane should be taken as prescribed by the doctor. Do not take this medication in small or large amounts or for longer than it is recommended. Follow the directions as shown in the prescription label.
* This medication should be taken with a glass full of water to prevent the capsule from getting stuck or melting, which could cause irritation. Do not suck or even chew on this. Accutane may also be taken with food or milk. Take Accutane for an entire length of time as prescribed or recommended by your doctor. Recovery time from acne may be long upon taking Accutane but it should improve.
* It is best to get your blood tests and liver function done to ensure that this acne medication is not causing any harmful effects.
* Sharing this medication with another person is not recommended or advisable, even though they share the same symptoms with you. Accutane should be stored at room temperature and away from heat, moisture, and light.
*Taking vitamin supplements containing Vitamin A
* Donating blood for at least 30 days after stopping or quitting the medication. This is not recommended as donated blood which is later given to pregnant women may cause or lead to birth defects in the baby if the blood contains any levels of Accutane.
* Using wax hair removers or even dermabrasion and skin laser treatment for at least 6 months after quitting Accutane. This may cause scarring.
* Exposing yourself to sunlight/artificial UV rays (e.g. sun lamps or tanning beds). Taking Accutane may cause your skin more sensitive to sunlight, resulting in sunburn. It may also cause vision impairment, especially during nighttime. Also, avoid driving or doing anything that requires clear vision.
While taking Accutane may help improve or treat your acne conditions, it may also pose problems to your health. Here are the possible side effects:
*Depressed mood, difficulty concentrating, sleep problems, crying spells, aggression or agitation, behavioral changes, hallucinations or worse, suicidal thoughts.
*Feeling of sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of your body.
*Blurred vision, sudden and severe headache or pain behind your eyes, sometimes accompanied by vomiting.
*Hearing problems or loss, or a ringing sensation in your ears.
*Severe pain in the upper stomach spreading to the back, nausea, and vomiting, fast heart rate
* Loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice
* Severe diarrhea, rectal bleeding, black, bloody or tarry stools
* Fever, chills, body aches, flu, symptoms, purple spots under your skin, easy bruising or bleeding.
* Severe blistering, peeling and red skin rash or
* Joint stiffness, bone pain or fracture
* Dizziness, drowsiness or nervousness
* Drying of lips, mouth, nose or skin
* Cracking/peeling of the skin, itching, rashes, changes in fingernails and toenails.
*Seizure medication (e.g. Phenytoin/Dilantin) or
*Tetracycline antibiotic (e.g Declomycin), doxycycline (Doryx, Vibramycin), minocycline (Minocin) or tetracycline (Brodspec, Sumycin, Tetracap).