I don't know why I am just getting around to reviewing this product, but better late than never! During my late thirties, I broke out with horrible cystic acne along my neck and jawline. I had moderate acne as a teenager, but nothing like this. I had heard not so great things about Accutane (causes severe depression, causes severe birth defects, harsh on the body, etc.), so I put off trying it. After numerous painful visits to my dermatologist (I had to have the cysts injected every couple of weeks to help them go down in size and I began to get scarring), I got desperate and decided to give Accutane a try. My dermatologist assured me that as long as you take it as advised, it is safe, as her teenage son had even used it. This medication is no joke and there is a process to it- you will need to take monthly blood and urine tests (to make sure that you're not pregnant and to make sure no damage is being done to your liver, as the drug is processed through your liver). You must avoid alcohol when taking Accutane, as it increases your risk of liver damage. Once you clear the tests, you are renewed on your monthly script and must have it filled within a certain amount of days- if you don't, the script is no good and you will need to begin the process of tests all over again. For woman, part of this process is going through the "Ipledge" system. This is a monitoring system where you have to "pledge" that you are on at least two forms of birth control and that you will "pledge" to stay on birth control throughout taking the medication. After the first month of taking Accutane, I began to see an improvement. You will need to know however, that Accutane will zap the oils from your system. You will need a very good moisturizer and lip balm, as your skin and lips will become extremely dry (the worst chapped lips I have ever had in my life). It will also dry your hair, as I normally need to wash my hair every day, but only needed to wash it a few times a week while taking this medication. Fast forward three months- wow, almost all of my acne is gone! After four months of taking the medication, I was done with my treatment, and, my skin never looked better! I was told that some people who take Accutane experience a recurrence of acne. Fortunately, it has been about 6 years since I've taken it, and aside from the occasional pimple, I have not had any problems with acne. I would also like to add that when my daughter was 15, she broke out with horrible acne on her face and chest area. She too went on Accutane, and she too, has not had any problems since (for her, it has been 3 years). Thankfully, I have good insurance, so our co-pay was only $10 a month (we were given the generic brand). If you do not have good insurance, or any insurance at all, it can be costly (hundreds of dollars per script).
Second time doing accutane and it is so well worth it. The first time I took it I was 15. It cleared me up for about three ish years but then it slowly came back. It was not as bad as it was before but it was unpredictable and persistent...
-ONLY use cetaphil moisturizer and facewash.
-Every time you use face wash or moisurizer, put a few drops of jojoba oil.
-constanly keep chapstick on you. aquaphor, eos, burts bees, nivea, or regular classic chapstick (actually ended up being my favorite on round two of accutane) are good brands
-Only wash your face at night (especially if you use makeup) I get dry patches while on accutane if I wash twice a day. If you apply makeup on top of dry skin....looks horrible.
-In the morning, I apply moisturizer/jojoba oil and use loreal lumi foundation. Spreading with my hands and using a makeup sponge looks the best when on accutane. Using a brush made it look weird with my dry skin (kind of weird??)..
-My hands didn't get as dry on my second course but always keep moisturizer (aveeno) with you. Once in a while, my hands got a little bit of eczema on them. Nothing bad if I just moisturize once in a while. (add jojoba oil here too!)
Absolutely do this if you struggle with acne. My only regret is that I waited until I was 20 to take accutane. The side effects are overstated and it is an incredible drug.
At the age of 25 I got acne problem although never had it even at teen age. After half year of drying my face out with all sorts of face products which didn't help at all and taking mild antibiotic for 10 weeks (acne returned right after the course was finished) I went to see the most famous and expensive dermatologist in town. He prescribed accurate for 9 months. I don't quite remember the breadcrumbed dosage. The first feeling - crazy dirtiness of all the surfaces. Flying was a torture! I had to use lip balm every half hour. Nose mucous was very dry at at times bleeding. But that also had positive sides - no oily shine on the face throw out the day - applied powder in the morning and never touched up till the evening. During these 9 months I had depression for may be one week only. The family and my bf supported me a lot being aware of the medication. The acne disappeared after one week of taking the medicine. I finished the course 3 years ago and acne reappeared only 1 month ago. Same story. Would I consider taking it again? Absolutely! If didn't plan to get pregnant in the nearest future. The same doctor prescribed me some cream for external use this time. PS. I've got 3 friends who used it - also helped 100%
I am soo grateful for Accutane. It really saved me. Sincerely wish that I had used it earlier...
My GP (who is NOT a dermatologist...Pls ladies, go to a specialist!) decided to play dermatologist with me and totally destroyed my skin. I had suffered from mild to average acne throughout my teen years... My old family doctor perscribed me Clindoxyl Gel (another not derm to attempted to do the job of one anyway). I had a terrible reaction to it - my face turned red and itchy. After telling my current GP my experience with Clindoxyl, she decided to perscribe me Tactuo (Epiduo) Gel...in which the main active ingredient is benzol peroxide, same as Clindoxyl.
So, the horror began. One+ months of using Tactuo caused me to have the absolute most severe breakout I had ever suffered from in my life. I finally stopped using it and made an appointment with an ACTUAL dermatologist. After analyzing my situation, she put me on Accutane for about 6 months. Literally, it worked miracles.
I had heard of many scary side effects to this medication, but honestly I suffered nothing worse than chapped lips and dry skin. The process is a bit slow, 6+ months, but well worth the patience. Not only did it make my acne disappear, but it stayed away. I rarely break out anymore! Seriously, that has been a blessing for me.
The main reasons I am writing this review is because: 1. I want to stress the fact that anyone suffering from acne should see a derm - not just your family doctor! 2. I know Accutane is made out to be scary, but my personal experience was not bad at all. And 3. Do it sooner than later. The reason I say that I really wish I had done it sooner is because the horrible breakout that Tactuo Gel gave me left me with pretty severe scarring. Had I seen a dermatologist earlier and gotten on Accutane in the first place, this could have been avoided.
Best of luck!
This is going to be long.
If I had to describe Accutane with one word, I would choose the word "intense." I went on it in high school around the age of 15, almost 16. I had been struggling with my skin for a few years by then. My problems were relatively mild but very, very persistent. I had oily, extremely sensitive, dehydrated (I didn't realize this at the time, I thought i was only oily), flaky skin. I was prone to getting lots of little pimples all over my face, with always one big sore pimple right before my TOTM (well, I guess some things never change, lol). My mom and my dermatologist were stumped at this point, since we had tried almost everything to clear my skin at that point. I had tried topicals like Differin, Retin-A, and some kinds of anti-bacterial acne creams, and the standard BP and salicylic acid treatments. They all, no matter what I did, either didn't work or they burned my skin. Sometimes BOTH. I even once had a teacher at school blurt out something about how my skin looked raw and didn't I want some lotion?? I was mortified at the time but now I realize, looking back, she was legit concerned because my skin WAS raw and it did hurt. I also was taking antibiotics for a long time, to no avail.
So anyway, I was getting to the point where I was running out of options. Although, strangely, no one ever mentioned BC pills or Spiro, I think because my acne wasn't following a hormonal pattern. Also, at this point, I was desperate for SOMETHING to work. I didn't even want perfect skin, I just wanted "nice" skin. I would have settled for "skin that's not on fire and peeling off and also bumpy with a layer of grease." My dermatologist finally threw up her hands and agreed to let me try Accutane. She warned me about side effects, my mom worriedly did research, but they did let me try it.
I was also warned that it would get worse before it would get better. For some strange reason, maybe because my acne wasn't very "deep" and mostly concentrated on the surface, it got better almost overnight. In fact, the morning when I woke up, after taking my first dose the night before, my skin was a little clearer. I swear it. I was almost completely clear within a week. Of course, I was extremely dry, and slathering on lotion constantly. I actually loved having to use heavy creams, haha. It was a nice change of pace! Now, I ended up taking it for five months, even though I was clear so quickly. My dermatologist said that I need to still take the full course so that it would have a more permanent effect, instead of just clearing me for a short while.
I barely made it through the five months. It was actually supposed to be six, but I eventually just could not keep going with it. I experienced not only dry, peeling skin, but eczema-type problems (which I could manage with heavy creams) and dry lips, dry eyes, everything. My hair started falling out like crazy. It's still not as thick as it was before, even this many years later. I started getting these crazy nosebleeds, almost every day. My liver enzymes skyrocketed and actually scared my doctor. (They have since returned to normal-ish). But worst of all, was the profound, mind-bending depression. I actually didn't realize I was depressed at the time, which sounds crazy. The thing was, I thought that somehow I had just become aware of how bleak human existence is. In hindsight, I can see that Accutane definitely changed me in terms of my mental condition. But at the time, I just thought that things in my life had turned dark. True, It was winter when I was in the midst of it, it was literally dark all the time, plus it was high school and high school sucked for someone like me, who is introverted and kind of sensitive. But no, this was something different. I had crazy nightmares. I could hardly bear to speak to anyone. I almost jumped off a bridge, literally. The depression would come in waves and it stalked me like a shadow. I started seeing ghosts. I have always been sensitive to paranormal phenomena (I realize not everyone believes in that) but that stuff intensified so much and got so dark it was almost unbearable. I do think I had a predisposition towards it because I had been sort of moody before Accutane, and had a family history of depression, but it was like it flipped a switch.
Did it get better once I ended my course of Accutane? Yes and no. Yes because once I was off it, i did start to feel better. I also ended up going to therapy and treating my depression with medication, which helped IMMENSELY. But I also know that Accutane definitely changed my brain chemistry somehow and I've never been quite the same.
You might be surprised that I still gave it three stars after that ordeal. Well, I did because I think it DOES work. It did clear my acne, almost overnight. Was it worth it? I don't really think so, for me. I do think that there are people who are good candidates for it. People with cystic acne, people with acne that literally does not respond to anything else, people who scar easily, maybe. People with severe acne who DON'T have a history of depression. Even then, I think it's still worth it to explore whether food allergies are the culprits, or hormones, or even seasonal allergies (those make me break out, I've realized. Who knew?)
Now, years later, I can tell I have the exact same skin I had pre-Accutane. So, it did come back. However, now I know that topical acne treatments actually make me break out, harsh cleansers make me break out, and I have allergies and am sensitive to certain foods (DAIRY, namely.) I know now that my high school skin was caused by harsh treatments, drinking a glass of milk every day, stress, and my periods. No wonder it wouldn't clear up. So, if I could go back in time, I wouldn't have taken it, I don't think. I don't waste time regretting it, because I can't change the past. I do wish I could reach back in time and give 15-yr-old me a hug and tell her to be more gentle with
I had a night mare of using this product. Today marked my 107 days. But i am still breaking out. And my scars are so horrible. This is really disappointing and stressful. It supposed to be clear out by today. I am so regret for taking this pills as it made my skin much worse and horrible than before
They gave me this about 12 years ago and it caused liver and kidney issues (they normaled out after coming off the meds, Thank God!) It gave me migraine headaches, made me want to jump off a cliff and, in general, made me a different person. I realize this medicine has helped a lot of people but PLEASE be very careful and have your loved ones monitor you at all costs. It could be your undoing or it could be your savior. Just be so very careful. I simply can't stress that enough.
Obviously Accutane isn't for the faint of heart, but for me, it was a great solution and I wish I had taken it 5-10 years earlier. I always had very mild acne, but after coming off birth control, my skin just went absolutely crazy and refused to calm down. 4.5 months of Accutane took care of everything nicely. I was lucky enough to find a doctor who was willing to try a low dose (1st month @10 mg, 2nd month @ 20 mg, 3rd & 4th month @ 30 mg). The side effects were def rough, the worst of which for me was the fatigue and mild case of melancholy/anti-socialness (I wouldn't classify it as depression), which given the line of work I'm in, definitely made it difficult to show up to work at times. I had minimal initial breakout, some mild chapping towards the end, and some mild joint aches. It was all worth it in the end, and 4 weeks after I was done, I felt 100% myself again and even better. 9 months after Accutane, my skin is still perfect (fingers crossed) though I continue to maintain a strict anti-acne regimen that has worked for me. Between Accutane and lasik, these have been two of the best things I've ever done for myself.
I've taken it twice; the first time for 3 months@ a low dose, and then 1.5 yrs later I was put on a 6 month course (40mgs a day). I'm pretty sure it came back after the first time due to hormones and wellbutrin (for some reason wellbutrin makes me super oily+ anxious which results in acne for me). It's only been a couple months since I finished my last course but both times it did exactly what it was supposed to do, which is clear my acne. It also seems to make my skin all glowy and gorgeous---I had no flaking whatsoever thanks to La Roche Posay's "Effaclar H Compensating Soothing" moisturizer.... Anyways, it's not going to be a cure for most women because women have fluctuating hormones, but it should be able to clear you while you're on it so that you can get control of your skin.
I think it's important to realize that acne is basically an infection in the skin and once it starts getting out of control it can take FOREVER to get rid of, no matter what you're using to treat it. There is definitely no secret cure. Accutane is a slow working medication that needs to build up for months in your body before it works so if you're reading this and you have bad acne don't just sit back and wait for your acne to get even more out of control while you experiment with silly DIY treatments and accumulate more and more acne scars (you won't notice them till months later but when you do you will regret wasting time!). Taking care of yourself and being consistent with your treatments or demanding new ones from your dr if they aren't working can save you from so much grief!
I would also say that even if you go on accutane you will need to make some lifestyle changes if you want to keep your face clear. Im not talking about drinking more water (though this med really does dehydrate you); i'm talking about taking birth control, spiro, eating healthier, changing your face products or even just being more sanitary (like not using jarred products or washing your hands more).
I've also read a lot of crazy things about this med online--but my advice to the people considering this med is to ignore all of this hype and listen to their own freaking dr. I wish I had! In the beginning of both my courses there were so many times that I almost stopped taking it due to some supposed side effect that I felt like I was experiencing---in fact it's why my first course was only low dose and 3 months long. This makes me sad now cause after 6 months on it I feel a lot more familiar with the side effects and I realize now that most of what I was feeling was due to my own anxiety. Don't listen to all the crazy people online. I always worried that I would be left with leathery prematurely aged and perpetually dry skin or worse, crohns disease, but nope, my skin looks better than yrs ago and I've had no issues with my stomach once I stopped worrying about it. I think the anxiety people get about taking this medication can be worse for them than the actual medication itself. If you're not stable and in a good place mentally you might want to consider a different treatment.