While acne is a small part of most people’s teen years, it has played a significant role in my teen years and even continued on into adulthood. Acne is something I have never felt I could hide from, and because my acne was raised and so red it seemed impossible to conceal. When you meet someone, the first thing you look at is there face, and I feel very self conscious when I feel people can see my breakouts. It has a very negative effect on my self-esteem, sometimes to the point of not wanting to leave the house.
My journey with acne began in middle school. Like most other teens i was breaking out. But unlike most other teens, my acne was all over, large and painful, and seemed unaffected by treatments. By the time I was in eighth grade I had tried five different topical creams as well as two different oral antibiotics to treat my developing cystic acne. With no success I was fourteen and beginning my first round of Acutane.
For those of you who don’t know, Acutane is a very serious drug for acne that has significant side effects and consequences that could potentially be lifelong. Acutane is an oral medication in which the dose is dependent on severity of Acne and what your dermatologist thinks is right for you. My dose was two pills, twice daily for 6 months. Because of Acutene’s harsh side effects (extreme drying, increased cholesterol, severe birth defects if becoming pregnant while on Acutane, anxiety and depression just to name a few) it requires monthly blood draws and well as monthly doctors appointments to be monitored during the course of treatment.
Thankfully, after the six month treatment, Acutane had eliminated my acne and I had no lasting side effects. I was feeling so much more confident about myself as I entered into high school. However, fast forward two years and my acne was back and worse than ever. I was so frustrated, embarrassed, and disappointed that I had to deal with cystic acne again. So my dermatologist and I decided to go on Acutane once more.
The second round was a lot harder on my body. I ended up having drying of my joint fluid which made it difficult to exercise. Unfortunately my joint fluid has never fully returned. I also struggled with anxiety during my second treatment and at the end my skin was left with a lot of acne scarring.
After the completion of my second treatment I was acne free and praying to the skin gods I would stay that way.
I thankfully never repeated Acutane, but still use prescription topical cream to treat my large hormonal acne that likes to pop up. I also have found great skincare and tips and tricks along the way that have helped keep breakouts under control. Overall I do not regret taking Acutane, but I do wish I would have done more of my own research before taking it so young.
If you struggle with Acne then I would highly suggest making an appointment with a dermatologist to learn more about what options are out there and making the decision on what is right for you under medical supervision and guidance.
Want to know what products I use now to keep my acne under control? Check back tomorrow for part 2 of my acne story.