My 8 month Accutane journey with side effects and results

  • Accutane is the closest to an acne cure, but it comes with many side effects.
  • Side effects include extreme dryness, body aches, sweating, and fatigue.
  • Insider producer Celia Skvaril took Accutane for eight months and it helped clear her cyctic acne.

Here is the transcript of the video.

Celia: As many of you know, I have been struggling with a really bad hormonal acne breakout for the past year and a half. In recent videos, I let you know that I was on Accutane, and I had actually been there for eight months. And now I’ve been gone for a little over a month. In November 2019 my skin got really bad and I couldn’t figure out why. It was the worst it has ever been, so I finally decided to go on Accutane. It was hormonal, so there were deep, painful cysts on the sides of my cheeks. It hurt to wash my face, put on makeup, and it was really wreaking havoc on my sanity.

My experience with Accutane started in October 2020. I found a dermatologist in my area who prescribed it. What makes me a good candidate for Accutane?

Holly Dimura: So the fact that you have moderate to severe cysts, the fact that you have cysts. I don’t jump on Accutane when someone comes in with just a few little pimples here and there. So we have more cystic acne here. These will be the hardest to erase because there is more content in there. These little pustules here are probably going to go away first. And even the comedones, which are those, they are a little white. And if you look closely, you can see that they also have little black dots. They are open and closed pores. And these take, I would say, a little longer too, because they have to really dry out those sebaceous glands.

Celia: Something to note about Accutane is that you need to have a blood test every month. If you have a uterus it is very important that you do not get pregnant while you are carrying it. You should therefore also take a pregnancy test every month and be in two forms of

birth control
. It’s time to take the first pill. Instructions for opening. Child resistant packaging. Let’s go. I felt like I started to see a difference in my skin a month or two after I started. Obviously it wasn’t drastic like the difference I see now, but I could definitely tell that some of my cysts were starting to heal.

While taking Accutane I used a very simple skin care routine recommended by my dermatologist. I used Cetaphil gentle cleanser and Cerave moisturizer. I would say my worst side effects were dryness, sweating, and body aches. I had eczema for the first time. I had a dry itch all over my body. In fact, I was prescribed a cream for it. I had terrible sores on the sides of my lips that hurt when I ate or opened my mouth at all. I always said I had ChapStick on me, and it had to be Aquaphor or Vaseline, or it just wouldn’t work. I had several nosebleeds a month because my nose was so dry. I would moan as I got up from a chair or a sofa. I had constant lower back pain and it was really hard for me to train. One of the most terrible symptoms I had never heard of before was sweating. I swear I’ve never sweated more than on Accutane in my entire life. My upper lip is sweating, my eyebrows are sweating. Even though I had all of these symptoms, I was seeing results. So it was worth it for me. In fact, I haven’t had a pimple for about three months. My skin is fine. I was so happy. For example, if you’ve ever had acne, you know it’s really a struggle and it has a huge impact on your mental health. So I’m really glad I saw a difference with something. And I feel, I feel really good. As I still have scars and redness, I will talk to Dr Fatima Fahs about my results and what I can do to reduce them.

Dr Fatima Fahs: Well, first of all, congratulations on being done with Accutane. It’s a trip, and I always tell my patients like, Accutane is no joke. But clearly, your results speak for themselves. So it looks like in your post photos, I can see that your acne has definitely cleared up significantly. I see a combination of different types of scars, both post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which is just the surface of the dark marks on the skin, as well as the combination of those rolling scars along your cheeks and a few small ones. ice picks. scars towards the inner part of your cheek. So the very first thing, especially when you just got out of Accutane and you’re like, “OK, let me think about my routine and what am I going to put in place? I always tell my patients that you must, must, must have sunscreen that you like on board. And probably the # 1 after sunscreen would use a topical retinoid. So in terms of in-office treatments one would be in-office microneedling which is an amazing treatment. I love lasers or microneedling for that kind of rolling scars we’re talking about. For small ice pick scars, there is a procedure we do in the office, often called TCA Cross. This is a specific type of chemical peel where we deposit a very high percentage of an acid directly into these tiny ice pick scars. And that, again, helps remove that layer and almost fill it in over time. So isotretinoin, or Accutane, is pretty much the closest thing to a cure for acne. But it is really not a one-size-fits-all treatment. And many patients end up needing topical or sometimes even oral acne treatment after completing their treatment.

About Sally Dominguez

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