By Kali Kushner
Today I want to talk to you guys about my Accutane experience. As we all know, acne frickin' sucks, a lot. People will tell you to try X, Y, and Z when you've already tried X, Y, and Z. People make assumptions about your skin or about the way you live your life based on your skin.
It's just not the funnest disease to deal with and at the point when I decided that I wanted to go on Accutane, I was at a really low point in my life. I feel like I had given up on everything.
I just thought, you know, even if there is the risk of death, this sounds bad, but I would rather honestly die than be in this much pain, to have my face feel like this, have my face looked like this. I was so depressed, I was not happy. That was the main decision, main thing of why I wanted to go on Accutane.
I probably had like eight at one time, maybe more, and I went out to my dermatologist and they recommended a second course and I said no. And I said no because I've just seen people do two, three, four courses and it still keeps coming back, and it's like where does it stop? And if this is just a bandaid, I don't want to keep just temporarily healing it.
Like it was fine at first. That was what I needed, that was the kickstart I needed and I don't regret it one bit, but I do feel like if I keep relying on it, when is it ever gonna stop, and am I ever going to be happy with my skin? So I felt like I had to start looking at other factors.
I didn't go on it a second time, instead I started changing my diet, my lifestyle, basically working on stress reduction through exercise and yoga and stuff like that. The thing is we can't be ... As acne suffer, you can't be like angry or upset because someone else can eat dairy and not breakout.
Someone else could not have a healthy lifestyle or drink all the time and not breakout, because we have higher levels of inflammation in our body called IGF1.
We have naturally higher levels of inflammation because of genetics compared to an average person. So maybe they can do these things and not break out, but since our inflammation levels are already high, we do them and then they go through the roof and that is why we break out.
So we can't say just because this person does it, who is not acne-prone, that means that I should be able to do it too, because that in itself is not true.
I decided to go on Accutane because it was like that was my last hope. I tried antibiotics, I tried every single facial prescription cream. I'd try everything over the counter, oil cleansing, what's that caveman regimen. Two years ago I was in Accutane.
The first month I saw some noticeable results. I started to see like some active acne dry up. There wasn't really any changes in scarring or anything like that. And psychological, I didn't have any effects. So, I knew it was gonna be a process. I wasn't feeling disappointed or anything, I just knew that I had to be patient and wait.
And the second month, that's when I started to see like definitely more improvement. I never got like a purging phase. A lot of people actually don't get an initial breakout, that is kind of a myth, says my dermatologist. So who knows actually how true that is. And then the second month, most of my acne started drying some more. I noticed some difference with scarring. I'd occasionally get a new one here or there, but it did seem like the process has slowed down a lot.
Psychologically, I was kind of seeing like different psychological effects, I guess. I was feeling like more isolated and I guess a little bit sad but not like for any reason, which was weird, and I always told myself that just because this drug makes people sad, I can control it. I can control myself. I'm not gonna let that happen to me. Unfortunately, that's not the way it works.
When you take a drug that has a side effect, that is a side effect sometimes, and depending ... It's not how strong your brain is or how you're not going to let it affect you, sometimes it just does. So, that was really weird to experience that because I would just be sad sometimes for like no reason, and lash out at people for no reason. So yeah, it was really weird.
Third month. So I started to get really dry, and I guess by the second month too, I was getting a bit dry. Third month I was super dry. Moisturizing all the time. Had lower back pain like a 90-year-old grandma. I would go to bend down and pick stuff up at work, I worked in retail, I'd be on my feet all day and I just remember being in such excruciating pain. I had to cut back on hours, I was using a heating pad every night.
My back would hurt so bad, I would wake up in the middle of the night every single night and it would take me like 20 minutes to get out of bed. So yeah, that luckily went away, but the waking up in the middle of night really kind of didn't. I feel like I still had a little bit of insomnia now.
Like I'll sleep, probably like every other night sleep through the night, but I feel like that's still not very good, especially since I don't really have any reason to be getting up. Like I don't have any kids or anything like that, and I just get up in the middle of the night.
Third month I guess is when I started to be like a lot more isolated, a lot more lashing out at people, super emotional, super bipolar. I don't really talk about the psychological effects a lot, but it did affect me.
It doesn't really affect me anymore, but it did affect me at the time. So from there on out I would say I was on it for six months, 60 milligrams and so like the fourth, fifth and sixth month, pretty much all the same. Acne kept drying up.
After the fourth month, I didn't really get any new spots, which was awesome.
And at that point I was used to having clear skin, so I had all these hopes in my mind where I was like, oh, I'm going to have clear skin forever. Like I'm never going to get a pimple ever again, and I really worked myself up. Which I really wish that I wouldn't have done because I did have clear skin, like not a single pimple, for probably six months, plus nine months post, which is like over a year. Not a single pimple.
So to go from that back to battling that even one zit a week again, it does take its toll on you. But yeah, just know if you do go on Accutane, that it's not necessarily 100 percent a cure all, like you can still, probably still will get some breakouts after, especially if your acne is hormonal, if you're going through changes, like if you take it when you're 16 and then you get acne again when you're 22, like obviously your hormones change throughout your life. So that could be another issue, taking it at a certain age.
I realized that acne isn't everything and it shouldn't control your life. It doesn't need to be, it doesn't need to be that way. I get that it sucks a lot, and I completely understand if you want to take Accutane. I know why I took Accutane and I think it was the best choice for me at the time, and I don't regret it at all.
I just know it's a really hard, scary choice to make. And one thing my dermatologist told me that I would tell you too, don't talk to people who have not taken the drug because they have mostly negative things to say. They mostly say like, you can never have kids, which is false. You'll get all these random diseases, which is usually totally false. It's like a one percent chance that something like that will happen to you.
Just a lot of false information out there. Talk to people who have actually taken it because most people do have positive things to say like me. I don't regret it, and I don't say I would recommend it because it's such a hard drug.
I feel like that is your choice and your dermatologist's choice to make together. I just know that it did work pretty well for me and that it helped to clear my skin. It did help to clear my skin for a good amount of time, but it did not keep it clear.
And so I wish that I would've known that. I wish my dermatologist would have talked to me about that, or I wish someone would have talked to me about that because it was really heartbreaking to just go through the same thing again, to just experience that all over again when I thought this is it, I'm clear and I wasn't. So cutting out dairy and cutting out like high GI carbs is what has helped me to keep my acne under control now, post Accutane.
Other than that, natural skincare or getting rid of chemicals that can mess with your hormones or disrupted them, working out, meditating, things like that, that is what has helped me personally. Everyone's different. You guys know that.
Some people can use one product or a face wash or a cream and it works amazing. And then other people try every face wash and every cream, and nothing works. And then they start working out, and then that works, you know what I mean? So it's just like you never know. Everything's different.
I guess in all, my main side effects from Accutane were chapped lips, dry skin, dry eyes, ladies, sometimes you will get dryness down there.
It's just a side effect. It happens. It goes back to normal, but it did happen a little bit to me too, so whatever. Oh, and back pain and sometimes like a little bit of headache, but if you get too much of a headache you definitely go to the dermatologist because ... Or to the ER because your brain could be swelling. That's how intense of a drug Accutane is. And I don't want anyone to take it lightly. Everyone should do it because that's not how it is at all.
I think if you are going to take it, don't take it for anyone but yourself. Don't take it because you're trying to impress anyone. You know? I took it literally because I was in so much psychological and physical pain, I couldn't even sleep on the side of my face because it hurt so bad.
I remember one time in class I was talking to my friend, I started laughing and I had two cysts that just like popped and there's blood all over my face in the middle of class.
And then obviously it is psychologically. I would get mad sometimes for no reason. I'd get mood swings for no reason, I'd feel just like really anxious, but I had anxiety before I realized, because of my acne.
And afterwards I feel like my anxiety kind of went away, and then I put two and two together and was like, oh my God, I was having such bad anxiety. And I mean like feeling tunnel vision, almost like I can't see, like my throat's closing up, I just can't breathe. Like so constricted anxiety.
I really don't know how else to explain it unless you've experienced it yourself. It is terrible. I'd never want anyone to feel like that.
It helped actually with that in a weird way, but I would get like a little bit kind of like tense, anxious, while I was on it.
Again, it is your choice and your dermatologist's choice together. Don't ever feel like you have to do it because of them or because someone else wants you to. Only take it obviously if you want to, if you feel like it's what you need.
And don't get your hopes up so, so high that it will never, ever, ever get a zit ever again in your entire life, because chances are you're probably going to get at least one, at least one. That is my Accutane experience, slash little talk about, walk about.
I don't know, people ask me a lot, you know, do I feel like my methods now would have worked back then? And my answer is truly, honestly, I don't know because I did take Accutane first and I did this second, so I don't know if it still would have worked without it.
I don't know if that was a kick in the butt I needed and then now this is to maintain. I don't know if it would have worked without. I do know that my acne came back, so I knew it wasn't a cure, but for that, I don't know. I don't regret taking it. I don't have any long term side effects.
There are people whose hair fell out, who's liver stopped functioning, whose eyesight goes bad. I do have a little bit of eyesight problems but not terrible. But yeah, just know that going into it, it is a hardcore drug and you should absolutely 100 percent be following all the rules. Be taking it seriously.
Don't drink on it. I say that all the time. Do not drink on it, please. If you're not going to be responsible enough to not drink for six months, then you should not be taking the drug. It's as simple as that. So yeah, that is it.
If you had taken or will take Accutane share your thoughts on the comment section below!