I’m almost halfway through month two so I feel more than qualified to talk about my experience with my first month of Accutane (before I forget the details, hah).
Dose: 20mg/day for the first two weeks. Then 20mg everyday but 40mg on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
This is what my skin looked like when I started Accutane, not the best pictures I know but I never took pictures that showcased my skin problems.
Here you can see the small bumps I suffered from, especially on my inner cheeks.
The cystic acne spot was one of three (two on the chin) that would appear monthly, without fail.
Dryness – Extreme flaking around the mouth/chin area along with cheeks. None on bodily skin/or eyes but some nasal.
Joint Pain – None
Depression – None, just moodiness due to changing skin.
Nausea/Vomiting – None
Allergic Reaction – I was sneezing a ton when I worked near whey, flour, and canola oil.
Initial Breakout – Nothing different from the usual
Here’s what I used and loved this month.
Avène Cleanance K: This is a BHA which has being helping to diminish the appearance of sebaceous filaments on my nose. I’m not sure that I’m actually supposed to be using this product while on Accutane because my nose does seem to be peeling a little more than usual but that could also be due to sun exposure. I expect that if I up my moisturizing routine my results will be much better. This product is currently on clearance at Rexall Pharmacy for $15, I hear it’s being reformulated.
Neem Oil: My dad picked this up from a local Tamil grocer. While the smell is quite awful (similar to bad peanut butter) it does make my spots diminish over the course of three to five days. When I get acne spots they tend to stick around for 2 weeks or more so I do believe in this product’s effectiveness, and it was like $2 so it can’t hurt to try it. I use a Q-Tip to apply it to the head of the pimple or spot and thus far haven’t noticed any additional dryness in those problem areas.
Avène Trixera: This was one of the samples I received from my dermatologist. I love it at night as my moisturizer due to its lovely smell (which offsets the Neem Oil) and it’s thick luxurious feel. I never woke up with my skin feeling dry or tight when I used this but I also didn’t wake up to it feeling hydrated either. For that reason I think I’m going to continue to try more of my samples before buying a full size of this one.
Neutrogena UltraSheer Face Sunscreen SPF45: A good sunscreen is hard to find. This one may not be my holy grail but I’m also not willing to spend more than $15 trying to find a better one. It dries quickly enough and doesn’t leave a bad whitecast (which is imperative on darker skin), and I can apply my makeup pretty regularly over it. While it does pill in my brows that’s more of a user-error with over-application than a fault with the actual product.
Bioderma Micellaire Solution: This is perfect for those days where I’m not actually wearing any makeup but still want a ‘clean feel’ before putting my moisturizer on. I also use this after Boscia’s MakeUp BreakUp Cleansing Oil to make sure I’ve gotten everything on the days that I do wear makeup. It’s got a nice scent by no means is it fragranced. I don’t know if this is sold anywhere else but Shoppers in Canada but they do have good sales sometimes, I got a 250ML for $19.99.
Vaseline: This was the only thing that feels soothing and repairs my extremely finicky and flaky lips. It created a thick barrier which wasn’t uncomfortable or bad tasting. If I wasn’t eating or licking my lips too much this would stay on for 3-4 hours without a reapplication. I also have a larger version which was perfect for ultra-hydrating (also known as slugging) at night. I’d use it to seal in my moisturizer or Emu Oil and wake up with my skin feel extra soft and without a trace of dry skin. My small container was $1 at a public transit convenience store but big jugs are about $4.
Kalaya Emu Oil: For the first two weeks of Accutane while my skin was still adjusting I was really struggling with peeling and flaking skin. I picked up this oil after reading about it online for $15 from the Chinese Mall, although I have seen this exact brand at Loblaw’s Superstore. I cannot express how much this product saved my skin. I had incredible flaking around my mouth area which led to discolouration and over the course of a night this made it stop. I also use it for oil cleansing- by massaging it on my face (especially the backs of my cheeks) it dislodges white heads and other ‘grits.’ I’m currently 1/6th way done my bottle and I’ve been using it consistently for a month so the value is pretty good in comparison to other moisturizers.
Philips HP6390 Precision Perfect Trimmer: One of the things no one tells you how to deal with is your facial hair. Your skin will be far too sensitive for waxing so that option is completely out, and I personally dislike threading. I came across this trimmer in Shoppers for $15 which I didn’t think was a bad price. I have to use it about once every two to three weeks on myself and so far I’ve only caught my skin once (on my brow bone). With a little more practice I don’t think I’ll ever go back to waxing/threading my facial hair again.
Boscia MakeUp BreakUp Cool Cleansing Oil: Until I got my Bioderma I thought I had found my holy grail cleanser. I don’t get the tingly feeling that I’ve read other reviewers say they’ve gotten. But I do enjoy that this isn’t a foaming cleanser that leaves my skin feeling stripped and dry. While I do love this product for removing makeup and getting out grit I’m not sure if I can justify repurchasing it at its price tag (~$40 w/tax) the next time I run out.
[Month One Fails]
I did try the Cerave Moisturizing Cream ($20 at Walmart) but found that it settled in my dry skin and exacerbated its appearance. Instead I chose to use it as a body cream, which I prefer much more especially as I get extremely itchy shins and calves.
I also tried Aquaphor Lip Repair ($7 in the States) which I didn’t like the texture of, it didn’t make my lips peel but it didn’t prevent them from peeling either. I have a habit of rubbing my lips together and Aquaphor just wasn’t thick enough to prevent that friction from making my lips peel.
Unbranded Petroleum Jelly, the biggest problem with mine in particular was scent which was rather ‘industrial,’ it was also heavier in texture.