It’s been almost one year since I took my last Accutane pill.
While I am immensely grateful I decided to move forward with Accutane, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. In fact, the experience taking this drug sucked.
Let’s rewind to 2018
These photos were taken right after I saw a dermatologist that gave me the option to take Accutane. This photo is also taken right after I went into outpatient eating disorder recovery.
While there was no real confirmation given to me by doctors that the two were correlated, I did some research that suggested so.
Because of my own research, I knew in my heart that moving forward with Accutane during this intense 180 degree shift in my life would be too much on my mental health. In this situation, most dermatologists suggest eliminating food groups in my diet which wasn’t an option for me while healing my relationship with food, my body and exercise.
This article explains that, “it is common for patients undergoing recovery from eating disorders to have a period of severe acne and it coincides with something akin to going through puberty yet again as the body re-establishes its natural sex hormone balance.”
I started a low dose of antibiotics and a topical cream instead
My acne went away for the most part as I went through recovery and I thought I was done with skin problems. 2019 came around and completely rocked my world. I was finally at a place where I could look at myself in the mirror without wanting to cry, and it was like the universe had just put another obstacle for me to go through. This time, the cystic acne was on my face, back and chest.
I was so focused on how bad it looked and how much it hurt that I could barely go through the day without tears in my eyes. It felt like the only solution was to cover myself with makeup and edit the acne out of my photos.
I think this was the time I seriously contemplated starting Accutane. But after going through recovery, I knew in my heart that I needed to heal my relationship with my skin first because if I couldn’t accept myself with acne, I wouldn’t be able to accept myself without it either.
And so my journey through this next obstacle began, and I started to show up on social media completely unfiltered and as I was, to heal the part of me that so desperately wanted to hide away. The acne got worse, but I felt better inside. I knew that my skin deserved to see the sun just like everyone else’s.
The overwhelming love online felt so reassuring that even the negative comments didn’t faze me.
In 2020, I finally began Accutane
It was so hard on my mental health and energy levels I almost quit multiple times.
My back and chest acne cleared fist, but my face was more stubborn. My first round of Accutane was 6 months long at 80mg.
I blogged about my first experience using Accutane and made sure to document each new side effect that came along each month, so you would know what to expect!
I think I knew in my heart that the first round wasn’t going to work ALLL the way, and sure enough… three months later I started to experience really oily skin and hair, as well as acne on my face that kept getting worse and worse.
My blogs, My experience on Accutane, and, Everything you need to know about Accutane, go over my skincare routine as well as other supplements and products that SAVED MY LIFE coping with the side effects I experienced.
Let me just say though… Aquaphor’s Advanced Therapy Moisturizer should have sponsored my 2 rounds of Accutane. I think I went through 1 massive tube per month.
Then came my second round of Accutane
This round of Accutane lasted another six months at the same dose, but overall, I had a much better experience dealing with mental health and energy levels.
Looking back, I’m unsure if this was because it WAS better, or if it was because I knew what to expect.
The only thing that really got to me the second round was how dry my eyes were. They were bloodshot 24 hours a day and it got really painful. The eye drops I used were the Systane Lubricant Eye Drops. From the research I’d done, these were the least damaging to the natural eye moisture and the only recommended eye drops from eye doctors!
The biggest hiccup of all was how much trouble I had submitting my pregnancy tests (this is required to take Accutane for those with a uterus), and making sure my account on iPledge was up to date. The amount of times I had to call iPledge, the pharmacy and my dermatologist to get my prescription on time was out of hand. Hopefully this process can change because it wasn’t fun.
Now we’re at the end of the second round
I ended my second round feeling overall pretty confident about my skin.
But three months later, just like last time, my acne came back. It seemed like cystic acne had gone away for the most part which was great. But little pimples started to develop all over my face, and when I vocalized this to my dermatologist, she suggested we take one last hormone blood panel to see if anything weird was going on..
Turns out, the blood panel showed I had very high testosterone and androgen levels which is a sign of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
All I could think was, “Okay, well, what now.” I’m so tired of putting my body through Hell and I just want to crawl in a hole.
She recommended I go see my gyno to confirm her suspicions, and sure enough, she was right!
That day my gyno prescribed me Spironolactone.
It’s been about six months since I started it and my skin has had no problems. To say I am relieved to be pain free is a massive understatement. I no longer have to worry about my skin hurting or getting my shirts bloody from accidentally scratching my back and breaking skin.
But most of all, I am so grateful I decided to work on my body image before going through this big process. Without doing so, there is no way I’d be able to be so neutral about my body and how it looks. When I get a breakout during my period, I know my worth doesn’t rely on clear skin and adhering to the beauty standards.
I know that Mik Zazon is a good person. I am me. And no matter what I look like, my beauty radiates from within.