Friday, August 31, 2012

Day 57 and Progress Pictures

Month 2
Week 8

Today was my Dermatologist appointment as I finish up Month 2. She was very pleased with my progress!  I went without any makeup to discuss scarring and hyperpigmentation.  I was elated when she told me that she doesn't think I'll have any permanent scarring!!  Almost all of my post-acne marks are hyperpigmentation and should fade with time (though it can take a while).  Now that I'm seeing more healing, I'll also start seeing less red marks. My cholesterol is still inching up, however, so I'll need to be much more careful with my diet this month.

This week my skin was feeling and looking better.  I saw less breakouts.  My chin and around my mouth are peeling and I'm still nursing the crack in the corner of my mouth.  I really need to STOP touching my face!  I'm bad about checking it for new breakouts or to see if anything has magically healed in the last five minutes...

Side effects are pretty minimal this week.  That can change quickly though, I've found.  

Below are my Day 57 progress pictures.  For reference, here's my last post with progress pics: Progress pics through Day 43

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Day 54

Month 2
Week 8

Still breaking out, although the last few days have been much better.  Nothing huge, just small stuff.  Seems that several areas that have had clogged pores or stuff that's been sitting under the skin for a long time are starting to purge.  That's a good thing. 

My chin and around my mouth are irritated, peeling and feeling raw.  The crack on one corner of my mouth healed, but the other is still hanging on.  Trying to keep my face well moisturized.  No dry skin otherwise.  I've only been moisturizing my body after my shower with sweet almond oil.  And using hand creme. 

Feeling a bit agitated lately for some reason.  Not sure if it's a side effect or just a little frustration from wanting to see more progress.  Either way, I'm keeping on keeping on. 

Bloodwork was yesterday, Derm on Friday morning. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Day 50

Month 2
Week 8

Getting towards the end of two months now and things are still looking and feeling pretty rough.  The number of active breakouts I have at one time has decreased since beginning Accutane, but breakouts are still steadily occuring.  The bumps are not as cystic in nature - they are usually larger whiteheads that take a long time to heal, are much redder and of course go through the peel, scab, bleed cycle before they do heal.  Perhaps non-cystic is a good thing?  Lots of clogged pores too.  And those inactive bumps under my skin on my jaw will just Not Go Away. 

I've started using a little tea tree oil (75% mixed w/ Vit E) to spot treat some of these monster bumps in an effort to reduce the size and pain associated a little more quickly.  Seems to be helping but careful to keep moisturized to avoid drying out too much. 

The red marks/scars I have are incredibly noticeable now that I have less active acne (albeit larger individual bumps)...the marks look like acne to everyone but me.  I hope they all fade with time but I feel like now that I can see them better, some of them are actual scars.  Will show my derm next Friday and see what she thinks. 

Fatigue is still my biggest side effect for right now.  My body actually isn't very dry at all...I often don't even feel the need to moisturize anywhere except my face and hands.  I have a pretty big crack in the corner of my mouth and a small one on the other side (and two zits right beside them - major ouch!) Thirst is ever-present and my water bottle is my best friend. 

Monthly bloodwork will be on Monday 8/27, and Derm appt next Friday 8/31.  Hopefully my cholesterol has stabilized. 

Reeeallly enjoying my super-short manageble hair!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Progress Pictures through Day 43

I've debated on whether or not I wanted to post progress pictures and while I'm not completely comfortable with the idea, I guess it's hard for people to read this blog without fulling understanding what it is I'm dealing with.  Sure, just about everyone has had acne at some point in their lives, but dealing with adult severe cystic acne is a class in it's own. 

There's only a handful of friends and family reading this and I know they wouldn't share these pictures or my identity with others (or you shall feel my wrath! ;) )

I feel progress, but it's just so hard to see it in the photos.  What you may not know from the pics:
  • The increasing redness is a side effect of accutane and it will go away once off the drug
  • A lot of what looks like acne is actually post-hyperpigmentation (not true scars), which should go away with time
  • The healing process is different on Accutane (ie lots of scabbing)
  • My face is not as congested or inflamed
  • My skin is becoming smoother overall

 So here's naturel...Up Close and Personal... 

Day 1

Day 21

Day 33

Day 43

Progress?  I'd like to see more at this point...  damn do I have a long way to go. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Day 45

Month 2
Week 7

I was improving in week 5-6 but the end of week 6 into week 7 has brought on some more breakouts.  They are mostly concentrated on my cheeks.  My jawline is still in pretty good shape, which is where I normally had the most problems.  Still have a few bumps there under the skin that are taking a long time to flatten out, but they aren't inflamed/active.  The active bumps I do have are scabbing over, bleeding, scabbing

Side effects... Still suffering from random fatigue, which is annoying.  My nostrils are extremely dried out and have been bleeding a tiny bit. Saline spray helps.  Some random skin peeling below my nose and on my toes but otherwise my skin is in pretty good shape.  I always wake up dehydrated, and lately I've had some very slight joint pain in my ankles and toes when I wake up.  My lips are in pretty good shape with the exception of a small crack in one corner.

I chopped off my below shoulder length hair to a pixie-style cut. I was losing a lot of strands, it felt like straw, and it looked like a stringy mess.  I kept it up in a ponytail which was boring and unflattering.  I was a little hesitant that such a short cut would accentuate the imperfections (to put it mildly!) in my skin but it's really just the can see my oval face shape and my blue eyes and it's like it takes away from the acne.  I love it!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Day 40

Month 2
Week 6

Still breaking out!!  Ack!  I have 8 active bumps on my face and a lot of stuff under the skin, just sitting there...either waiting to push out or hopefully just flatten out.  My face is dry but not flaking.

I also have a lone zit on my back....and I've never had acne anywhere other than my face... probably not a big deal though.

The corner of my mouth is cracking which is a bit painful.  My ears are dry and I actually had a spot on my earlobe get so dry that it started bleeding.  Eyes are pretty dry by the end of the day, but still able to wear my contacts.  I have a big patch of scaly skin on my ring finger, but I think it will heal as long as I don't have a ring on it and I keep it moisturized. 

Thinking about chopping off my hair because I'm tired of being a straw head and keeping it pulled back in a boring ponytail all the time.  I hate dealing with it. 

Tired today. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Day 36

Month 2
Week 6

Today will be my sixth dose of 60mg.  The only new side effect I really have is that my eyes are more dry.  Still wearing my contacts and plan to purchase some drops so perhaps I can continue to wear them.  My lips are more dry too and peeling but my body doesn't feel dry.  My hair is still straw-like of course but my scalp isn't itching too much even though it's still a bit flaky. 

I'm still breaking out but not nearly as much as I was in Weeks 3-4.  Things are starting to flatten out again but healing is slow overall.  My face is quite red but that's the classic "accutane burn" for you. 

I did purchase the CeraVe Foaming Cleanser to replace that 365 brand I've been using since it's been making my face burn some.  Even though it's not very natural I like the CeraVe much better - it feels milder on my sensitive face and does a good job of cleansing. 

Found out from my Dr. that my iron is quite low so I'm back on a supplement.  I use MegaFood Blood Builder and it doesn't have the side effects that traditional iron supplements do.  I'm hoping that this will help with my hair loss (which has slowed down after washing it less frequently) and my energy levels. 

I'm finally getting close to settling on a makeup I think...sheesh...what a pain...or at least I've made it a pain.  I purchased Aveda Inner Light Tinted Moisturizer in the color Beechwood.  And I think I've narrowed down my mineral powder to Alima Pure Satin-Matte Foundation in Beige 2 OR Everyday Minerals Jojoba Base in a mix of Cream/Shell Blanc.  The powders do seem a bit on the pale side but anything darker seems too dark. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Product Update

Still trying to get set on my products, but here's what I'm doing so far:

Face Care:

(Still trying to figure this out, especially the colors that suit me best)

Body Care:

  • Florasone eczema/rash cream (homeopathic alternative to cortisone...worked really well)


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Month 1 Recap

A recap on my experiences during Month 1:

Week 1:
  • Day 3: Eczema rash on hand
  • Day 4-6: Rashes on lower back/hip/backs of legs
  • Day 7:  Oil on face greatly reduced
  • Frequent headaches
  • Mild dry eyes
  • Mild constant sore throat
  • Some long-term cystic acne greatly reduced
  • New breakouts continue, but milder

Week 2:
  • Lips beginning to dry out
  • Oil on hair greatly reduced
  • Itchy and flaking dry scalp
  • Mild constant sore throat
  • Mild dry eyes
  • Body is itchy
  • More long-term cystic acne healing
  • New breakouts continue, but milder and less frequent

Week 3:
  • Lips much dryer
  • Face very dry and starting to flake
  • Zero oil on face and hair
  • Losing a lot of strands of hair
  • Mild dry eyes
  • Occaisonal extreme fatigue
  • Occaisonal headaches
  • Face noticeably more red
  • Healing of cystic acne slows
  • New breakouts increase in number and frequency

Week 4:
  • Lips are dry but manageable
  • Hair extremely dry but scalp seems to be normalizing
  • Losing a lot of strands of hair but also seeing new growth
  • Mild dry eyes
  • Several days of extreme fatigue, usually coupled with headaches
  • Face is quite red
  • Healing is still slow
  • New breakouts continue, face is purging significantly more

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Day 31

First day of Month 2!

Two days ago I went for my monthly dermatologist appointment.  My bloodwork was good with the exception of my cholesterol being slightly elevated. Nothing to be concerned about at this point.  She could see progress but reiterated that it is really early and not to worry if I continue to see breakouts for a while.  She bumped me up from 40mg to 60mg/day for my remaining 4-5 months (she is leaning towards 5 more).  Today was my first day on 60mg.

My random extreme fatigue is the only side effect that's really bugging me at this point.  It's usually coupled with a headache.  I feel super tired and sleepy and can't really do much of anything when it happens.  Then there are some days I feel pretty great.  So I'll take it in stride.

Other effects...dry lips, flakey face, very very thirsty.  I can still wear my contacts which I'm stoked about (I hate wearing my glasses).

My mom treated me to a pedicure and a haircut with a nice conditioning treatment for my straw like hair.  Thanks Mom!

Looking forward to hopefully seeing some healing this month.  Ready for whatever side effects that 60mg may cause....bring it on!