Happy monday party people!!!!! If you are one of the blessed souls who has never had to endure the plight of blackheads, nasty zits, or cystic acne… I am extremely jealous of you. For everyone else, we have suffered long enough and our time has come to say goodbye to acne. I want to tell you all about my experience going on an acne medication that has changed my skin for life. Don’t worry - this is just one of many posts I will do in the future about skincare, acne treatments, and products.
Disclaimer: I am NO expert on Accutane and the six-month process of getting on the pill and remaining compliant with the regulations is a slightly monotonous journey. This decision is something you would definitely have to discuss with your parents and doctors (however the end result is pretty amazing and makes it all worth it).
What it is:
Accutane is the brand name for a Vitamin A derivative, Isotretinoin, that comes in the form of a pill which is used to treat severe acne (but not always severe acne - it just depends on the dose)
How it works:
Isotretinoin works by shrinking the oil glands in the skin that produce sebum. Sebum attracts bacteria that create acne. The whole idea is that it dries it out of your skin.
My skin and decision:
I never have had terribly awful acne but it definitely did bother me and fueled some insecurities. I have your pretty average combination skin which means that my skin is both oily and dry (I also had a very oily scalp). Like a lot of people who deal with acne, I have been put on many topical acne creams because my doctor always told me my skin wasn’t ‘bad enough’ for a pill like Accutane. However, I would ALWAYS break out after wearing makeup or being in an environment with a lot of bacteria (working out, camping, etc). It was getting pretty annoying and I hated taking photos or looking at myself in the mirror. Finally because of quarantine when I’d have more time to go to the monthly check-ins at the dermatologist and little exposure to the sun (which is a deathly NO for Accutane), I eventually decided to go on a full dose of Accutane.
Clear skin for the rest of your life (that should be the deal breaker)
Monthly check-ins at your dermatologist with a monthly pregnancy test and a short, easy quiz to fill out about how the medication works and confirming you understand that you can not get pregnant because it causes birth defects (shouldn’t be a problem for us teenagers)
Dryness, depending on your dosage (face, lips, hands, etc)
Extremely intense breakouts during the first few months where all your pores are being dried out and the bacteria come to the surface
In rare cases, back pain and depression
LOTS of sunscreen and staying out of the sun
For the majority of my Accutane experience, everything was going fine. Of course, I broke out a lot during my first few months and my acne was terrible because I was doing a lot of picking but for the most part it all cleared up and we were chilling. As the summer is starting to roll around I have been spending a lot of time at the beach during high noon sun, I was wearing sunscreen but supposedly not enough. Last week, because of how sensitive my skin is to the sun with Accutane, I got the worst sunburn of my life. My skin was peeling, turning purple, bleeding, blisters, scabs, and puss. Not good. You have to be careful!
Products and Tips:
The first few months are AWFUL!!!! My somewhat tamable acne started spreading like wildfire. You're not really supposed to use harsh creams or face washes during your time on Accutane so I would completely break out and then PICK, PICK, PICK!!!! So bad. My acne was spreading everywhere and I thought the pill was hopeless. HOWEVER, this amazing dear monday community suggested acne patches. LIFESAVER!!!! You must use these (Accutane users or just anyone with bad acne). These are really cheap, basic ones that I found on amazon.
You really have to be generous with the amount of moisturizer you use. The one I found to be most effective was the CeraVe night
This is my favorite sunscreen! It’s clear zinc and smells so good!
Use this gentle skin cleanser
Let me know if you end up going on Accutane and keep me updated with your progress and journeys! (make a TikTok with the glow up haha and tag @dearmondayblog)
ALSO to all the new subscribers from TikTok, make sure you’re following the Dear Monday Instagram (@dearmondayblog)
We got this,