Alright, kweens. I know this one's gonna ruffle some feathers because #pharmaceuticals, but I wanted to share a little bit about my journey with Accutane.
I suppose I should start at the beginning: I never had terrible skin growing up, but it was always problematic. There was always something going on around my jaw/chin area. Enough to piss me off, but never enough to warrant a full-on dose of Accutane.
Once I graduated college, I was sick and goddamn tired of these pimples ruling my life. I mean, I was a grown-ass adult, for godsakes! I pay auto insurance! People who pay auto insurance shouldn't also be shopping in the "acne-prone skin" aisle at Sephora. The two should be mutually exclusive.
So I did what any anxious millennial would: I researched the shit out of Accutane on Reddit. What did I find? A clusterf*ck of incredible transformations... and those who claimed their lives were ruined because of the drug. I immediately booked an appointment with my Derm to get the bottom line from a professional.
My Derm looked at my skin, warned me about all the side effects, and said I would benefit from a lower-dose, 6 month regimen of Accutane. I asked her a million and one questions, and ultimately decided that for me, the benefits outweighed the cons.
*If you're a woman, you'll need to have 2 negative pregnancy tests before receiving your medication, and each month answer the questions in iPledge to be allowed access to your refill prescription.
Pros: clear skin for life (in most people — some have to do it twice), being able to leave my house without makeup (!) and did I mention clear skin for LIFE?!
Cons: birth defects, possible risk of IBS, depression and super dry skin. Like, flaking off your face dry.
And for the month-by-month breakdown:
Month 1: The first month, I didn't notice anything. In fact, I wasn't sure if my Derm accidentally gave me some sugar pills on accident. I felt exactly the same and my face sure as hell wasn't crystal clear.
Months 2-3: Okay now this is when shit really hit the fan. Suddenly, I was a snake and all of my skin just started shedding off. I was drier than Spongebob in that one episode ("Waaaater") and every joint in my body ached.
Months 4-6: Smoooooth sailin', baby. My skin was now adjusted and GLOWY AF. Can I stay on this Accutane stuff forever?
PHOTOS: When my skin was at its worst, I avoided all photos and if I had to go out, I'd pile on foundation and cover-up just to feel confident being in public. I really wish I had better photos to accurately depict just how incredible the transformation was with Accutane, but these will have to do. In the before photo, I have makeup piled on. In the "after" photo, I have a light layer of tinted moisturizer.
If you're planning on starting Accutane:
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
- Take your pill with some avocado, nut butter, etc to increase absorption (Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin). This will ensure you're getting the most bang for your pharmaceutical buck.
- Go to Costco, buy a family-sized pack of Aquaphor, and thank me later.
- Invest in a high-quality sunscreen! Your skin will be incredibly sensitive to the sun while on this medication.
I'm not advocating that everyone take Accutane. I'm sharing my personal experience, which was a very positive one. I know there are people out there who have been negatively affected by the drug, and I want to acknowledge that. Everyone is different and reacts to medication differently. The most important thing is to try it for yourself, and make a decision for you!