Monday, July 2, 2012

The Beginning of my Journey!

About this Blog!
I plan to document my experience on Isotretinoin (aka Accutane) as a way to monitor my progress and hopefully help others who are experiencing their own struggle with acne and considering this drug.  Deciding to try this drug was a long and arduous process.  After much research and debate, I do feel that I'm the type of person this drug is intended for - I've tried all other routes (traditional and natural) and my acne is chronic.  Now that I've committed to this treatment, my goal is to stay positive during the process and take the best care of myself that I can in order to minimize any potential side effects. 

What led me to Isotretinoin...

At 30 years old, I've been suffering with acne for 12 years. Unlike many young women, I had no significant break outs during puberty/high school era. During my first year in college, the breakouts started and it's been a battle ever since. While I have seen progress and improvement at times, I've never been able to establish a connection and therefore manage this problem.

My acne is confined to my face and is more concentrate around my jaw line and chin. It is cystic in nature and I would classify it as moderate-severe, though I know "severe" can mean different things to different people. My skin is also quite oily.

I'd like to start with a list of what I have tried and thus what has ultimately led me to the very difficult decision to start Isotretinoin...

OTC Washes/Topicals - Benzoyl Peroxide, Salicylic Acid (a variety of brands, Proactive)
Oral Antibiotics - Erythromycin, Minocycline, Tetracycline, Bactrim
Prescription Topicals - Retinols, Tazorac, Differin, Clindamycin, Benzoyl Peroxide
Natural Topicals - Tea Tree Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar, Witch Hazel, Clay masks, a Variety of natural/organic brand washes/treatments, Oil Cleansing Method for washing and moisturizing
Professional Treatments - Salicylic acid/lactic acid skin peels, Extractions
Diet - Elimination of sugar and flour products, Elimination of dairy, wheat and gluten, soy, corn, eggs, Liver detoxifications
Supplements - Fish oil, Probiotics, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Zinc, Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin D3, Milk Thistle, Undecylenic Acid
Hormone Therapy - Several brands of birth control, Bioidentical hormone therapy after testing low in progesterone, (Mild) hypothyroid treatment

Without getting into major detail of everything I've tried, suffice it to say that I gave all of these things listed a very honest attempt, especially with my drastic change in diet. While I did see improvements sometimes, I have never been able to pinpoint a connection, leaving my unable to manage my acne.  I've seen MD's, Dermatologists, Naturopaths, and Applied Kinesiologists.

If I could manage it naturally, I most certainly would. However, I do know that I cannot continue to live with my acne as my prison. I do not feel that longterm antibiotic and harsh topical treatments have the potential for side effects worse than that of a short course of Isotretinoin. And, again, the natural route has yielded no signficiant results either.

I will also add that I have done significant research and spoke to several individuals who used Isotretinoin. I do not take this decision lightly and I am accepting that I will have to deal with potential side effects. This is an educated decision from a competent adult and I'm looking forward to achieving clear skin.

More to come before I start (which will likely be at the end of this week!)


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