Acne & Accutane: Month #1 & 2
Two months in and I haven't regretted my decision to start Accutane for a second. My symptoms have remained mild throughout and at this point I hardly have any at all, but my skin has definitely needed some TLC.
If you take a look at my previous post I describe the facts about accutane, but this one is going to be focused on my own personal journey, starting with a short list of the side effects I've suffered from:
- Moderately dry skin, particularly around the mucus membranes: eyes, nose, lips and my hairline (this will be common amongst all people as this is how the drug works) - My dryness has been very mild and was at it's worst between week 2 and 6, after that it started to subside. I've been dry around the tip and in the creases of my nose with the skin dry and flaky, my lips, at their worst, had mild cracking, around my eyes could get quite tight and the skin around my hairline often flaked and peeled. I'm currently just over a week into month three and my skin is far more balanced now, but still a lot dryer compared to my naturally oily skin.
- Joint Pain - This was very brief, mainly in my pelvis joints and I can't be sure but I've attributed it to the accutane as it occurred when all of my other side effects were at their worst at around the one month to 6 weeks mark, but this only lasted a week or so and hasn't returned since.
- Lack of energy- Once again, this side effect has passed, but while transitioning to a higher dose, after two weeks, and while all of my other symptoms were at their worst, I definitely felt lethargic and struggled to make it through the day without a nap.
- Bigger lips (this is a good side effect) - Okay, my top lip looks fuller! I was speaking to my friend who has been on and off of Accutane for a while and she confirmed that your lips do swell. Why? I have absolutely no idea, all I know is I love it.
Now you may or may not have noticed that the skin on my neck and chest has also cleared tremendously and in regards to the skin in those areas they never suffered from dryness or any kind of flaking and it's currently the smoothest I can remember it ever being!
Bar one minor breakout, I have been so lucky with my course of treatment, not only because my side effects have been so mild, but also because the Accutane practically started working immediately. By week one I could see a change and by week two my spots had significantly decreased! I had no initial break out and at two months my skin is really smooth, so on the side effects front I've been really fortunate.
Now, onto the important stuff... beauty products!
I've had a lot of messages about what I've been using and how I've been managing my skin so I'm going to list everything and at what point during my course I've used it.
- Simple Moisturising Facial Wash - I was advised to use Cetaphil but I already had this in my house and it done the jogb of gently cleansing my skin just fine.
- Garnier Honey Flower Gel Wash - My bottle of Simple eventually ran out and although I didn't have any problems with it, I didn't feel like it was actually moisturising so I looked for something else. I happened to stumble across this Garnier face wash and I can definitely feel a difference. This is more nourishing and after I dry my face my skin doesn't feel tight like it often did with simple. The bottle states it's for 'Dry to Very Dry Skin' and it has been working well for me.
- Dove Beauty Bar - Dudu-Osun black soap is my go to cleanser for my body, but that was proving far too drying making the skin on my for arms and shin flake. After switching to Dove Beauty bar I didn't have to worry about excessive drying at all and the skin on my body went back to normal.
- E45/Aqueous Cream - Yes, E45 is a moisturiser, but it can also double up as a face wash! When my skin was at it's driest, I wouldn't use any face washes in the morning, I would just dampen my face and give an extra gentle cleanse with some E45.
- E45/Aqueous Cream - Aqueous cream has been my holy grail throughout this whole process! Whenever I'm in doubt about what extra care my skin might need I just slap on a thick layer of aqueous cream. I use it on my body and as my night face moisturiser. It really does attract moisture from the air and makes my face way to sweaty too comfortably apply makeup so avoid moisturising with it in the morning.
- Simple Protecting Cream SPF 30 - Another product that I had in my house before I started accutane was the Simple SPF 30 moisturiser. When I look back I realise how rubbish this is. It didn't keep my skin hydrated throughout the day and the SPF had me walking around looking like a ghost. Just don't ever buy it!
- Paula's Choice Replenishing Moisturiser - So, one day I was messaged by a friend of a friend who said she worked for a skin care brand and she offered to send me some products. I was sceptical, but she said they were really good and that she would post them to my house for free so I thought why not. The Brand was in fact Paula's Choice and I don't know how I haven't heard about it before because this moisturiser is amazing! It is so rich and creamy, but once it has sunk into the skin there's no greasy residue and it leaves your skin feeling sooooo smooth and soft making applying makeup really comfortable! On the website this moisturiser comes under night creams because it's so rich, but it's been exactly what my skin has needed during the day throughout this process!
- Paula's Choice Clear Moisturiser SPF 30 - I was also sent a day SPF moisturiser and coupled with the replenishing moisturiser my skin has everything it needs for the day! This cream is actually for Oily to Combination Skin so it doesn't add any extra oil or grease which is great! This is so much better than Simple in that it is light and CLEAR; no walking around looking like I've sneezed into a bowl of flour.
- Naissance Vitamin E Oil - I have always applied Vitamin E Oil to the skin around my eyes at night, but the now that my skin has become more normal and the dryness and flakeyness has subsided, I've been using Vitamin E oil once a week after I apply my face masks. I won't get into the science of it all, but when I wake up my skin feels nice and supple!
- Carmex - Good, old, original Carmex! For many people this isn't actually moisturising enough and Aquaphor seems to be the most popular lip balm for accutane users, but Carmex has been sufficient and has never let me down, so I've stuck with it.
- Lush Rosy Cheeks - All of the face masks I have ever bought have been for the sake of controlling my acne so it felt amazing to buy one for something other than blasting my spots. As the skin is drying, flaking off and renewing a lot more quickly my cheeks, forehead and chin have been looking a bit red so I popped down to Lush and picked up Rosy Cheeks which is meant to help sooth it. Thus far I've only used it once, but I have no complaints and it definitely does feel lovely when I put it on.
- Home made honey and Olive Oil mask - I haven't used this in a couple of weeks, but it was a gentle and natural face mask that I would use to help boost the hydration of my skin when the accutane was really kicking in!
Although I'm very close to having zero spots, scaring is definitely still haunting me! Because I'm still on my course of treatment, using products to reduce scarring will probably cause irritation, so that will have to be addressed once I'm done and the Accutane is out of my system!
So far, taking Accutane has been and inexpensive and majoritively hassle free experience and I know my recounts aren't very eventful, but I'd like to think that is a good thing. I really hope these blog posts are informative and if you have any questions please leave them in the comments below!