Everything You Need to Know About Accutane | mikzazon.com

Everything You Need to Know About Accutane

Feb 15, 2021

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Here I am, just a normal and real woman sharing her honest thoughts about Accutane. If you’re new here, I’ve been open about my struggles with acne and my experience on Accutane

As I’m writing this, I am officially on month 6 (my final planned month of medication). It’s unclear if I will have to do another round, but after seeing my dermatologist for my monthly check-ins her summarized response was this:

I think this will be your last month, everything is looking great and you have progressed very well. Let’s have you come back in 2 months (1 month after not taking the pills), and if we see your skin is not maintaining we will get you on another round a month after that visit. If your skin is maintaining while off of the medication we will continue to check-in!

Now, of course in my head, I’m expecting the worst and I’ll have to do another round so I’m trying not to get my hopes up.

On my Instagram, I posted a question box for you to enter anything you want to know about Accutane and my journey throughout taking the medication. Before I answer all of your questions, let’s do a quick run-through of each month, the side effects I experienced, and notable things that happened; both positive and negative.

Month 1

  • Oily skin
  • Dry lips right away (I had the worst dry lips during this period) 
  • Normal energy
  • Skin got drastically worse
  • Dehydration

Month 2

  • Oily skin, active acne, and increased breakouts 
  • Dry lips (but very manageable with Aquaphor)
  • Low energy
  • Mood swings
  • Major hair growth
  • Joint pain
  • Dry eyes
  • Dehydration

Month 3

* Both me and my dermatologist decided to up my dose during month three because my skin was not improving the way my dermatologist would like and expect with treatment. 

  • Active acne, but started to clear up in phases, specifically on my back  
  • A LOT OF DRY SKIN, it sometimes felt like my skin was shedding 
  • Dry lips (but very manageable with Aquaphor)
  • Major hair and nail growth 
  • Thicker, healthier hair 
  • Increased peach fuzz 
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Dehydration

Month 4

  • Dry lips (but very manageable with Aquaphor)
  • Dry skin
  • Acne scars on both back, chest, and face started to clear up
  • Major hair and nail growth 
  • Thicker, healthier hair 
  • Joint pain
  • Body stiffness
  • Fatigue
  • Dry eyes
  • Started to get unmotivated
  • Started to notice blurry vision
  • Dehydration

Month 5

  • Very dry and cracked nose along with the normal dry skin 
  • Dry lips (but very manageable with Aquaphor)
  • Hair and nail growth 
  • Thicker, healthier hair 
  • Joint pain
  • Body stiffness 
  • Feeling VERY tired and fatigued 
  • Blurry vision
  • Dry eyes (only when I didn’t drink enough water)
  • Unmotivated
  • Dehydration

Month 6

  • Dry skin
  • Dry lips (but very manageable with Aquaphor)
  • Thicker, healthier hair 
  • Dry eyes (only when I didn’t drink enough water)
  • Joint pain
  • Body stiffness
  • Blurry vision
  • Hair and nail growth
  • VERY tired and fatigued 
  • Unmotivated
  • Dehydration

As you can see, the most common side effect I experienced was dry skin and lips. Compared to other people, I had a very manageable experience with the medication. However, everyone is different and it is important to consult a doctor before trying any new skincare routine or medication. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Accutane 

What products helped manage side effects?

  • Aquaphor, Glucosamine, Probiotics, and Tylenol

How much did it impact your mental health and motivation?

  • If we are comparing what my life looked like and how I felt before taking it, my mental health was at the best it’s ever been. I was able to think clearly. However, my mental health was still severely impacted by how painful the cystic acne was. Despite how rocky my mental health has been, I see the end of the tunnel and I am pain-free. In my experience, the positives outweigh the negatives.

How do you know when to look into starting Accutane, or what makes a person a good candidate to be on Accutane?

  • As a reminder, I am not a doctor and rely on the expertise of my dermatologist and other professionals. In my experience, I struggled with acne my whole life. I’ve tried any and all medications and skin care regimens that doctors had prescribed or recommended. I saw temporary results but my acne had always come back worse than before. I can’t speak for anyone else but I know that my cystic acne was getting in the way of my ability to live my everyday life. The pain, frustration, and self-consciousness were too hard to live with. 

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Can you explain what it is and why it’s a heavily monitored drug with harsh side effects?

  • Accurate, or Isotretinoin is required to be monitored very closely due to the severe side effects including mental health issues and birth defects. Birth control, pregnancy tests, and check-in pregnancy quizzes are required every month to ensure the safety of you and the baby if you become pregnant while taking this medication. 

Skin routine while taking it?

  • I used the Tula Cult Cleanser and Blackhead Exfoliator religiously. I would often switch between the Day and Night Cream and Oil Free moisturizer depending on how my skin was feeling. Your skin is extremely sensitive while on Accutane, so I began using sunscreen daily and applying Aquaphor to any dry areas. 

Does it help with scarring?

  • Yes! It pretty much cleared all of my scars.

Did your side effects worsen when your dosage increased?

  • Yes.

Is it worth it?

  • In my opinion, yes.

How carefully do you have to be in the sun?

  • Like I said before, your skin is VERY sensitive while taking Accutane. You are much more likely to burn in the sun so applying sunscreen is key. I used the Tula sunscreen every single day.

Can you drink on it?

  • No. Drinking while on Accutane can cause liver damage.

Would you recommend taking Accutane while starting college?

  • For anyone who is considering taking Accutane, it is important to consult your doctor. Only you will know if this decision is right for you. For me, college would not have been the best time because I was struggling with eating disorders. I also drank in college (Mom, if you’re reading this I’m sorry lol), and you cannot drink while taking it. 

Did it affect your menstrual period?

  • Yes, I did not have a period for the last 3 months of the treatment.  

What does the monthly upkeep look like?

  • There is so much more to Accutane than just taking the pills! Monthly tests on the iPledge system are required to refill your prescription. They use iPledge to monitor your dosing and side effects. For those with a uterus, you are also required to take monthly pregnancy tests and monthly quizzes about potential birth defects of a child if you were to get pregnant. Another thing many people don’t know is that you are required to be on two forms of birth control (my two forms are male condoms and an IUD). Finally, monthly check-ins with your dermatologist are required. 

Were there ever moments you started to regret taking it?

  • No, but there were moments I thought about lowering my dose due to the lack of energy I was experiencing.

Does it help with body acne too?

  • Yes!

Were there any frustrations with the process?

  • Of course! The first month it was extremely difficult to get my prescription and get set up with iPledge and my pharmacy. This is a common issue a lot of people with a uterus have because of the potential side effects and precautions we need to take.
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  1. Mimi says:

    Hi! I love that you shared your story of accutane with everyone, it’s made me feel less nervous about taking it as before your very open journey with accutane, I literally thought you’d take it and suddenly become suicidal, which terrified me. I’m potentially going on a low dose of accutane in the next month, could I ask what dose you were on? Thank you for sharing! ❤️

    • Mikayla Zazon says:

      Thanks, Mimi! That’s definitely a real side effect, it’s important to seek help if you do start to feel those feelings. I was on an 80mg dose. Xo

  2. Brianna says:

    This was super helpful! I’m about to start accurate this Friday and hearing the light at the end of the tunnel is a good feeling. My acne has effected not just how I feel about myself but it seriously hurts! Pre covid my friends and I were the type to drink every weekend so I’m hoping that I can stay strong throughout these 6 months. I’m trying to make it a bit of a health journey. I have my wedding coming up in October so hopefully by then I will be acne free! You’re skin cleared up beautifully, I’m so happy for you and it give me so much hope.

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