I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
I'm halfway through my five-ish month Isotretinoin/Roaccutane/Accutane treatment, and I have experienced almost all of the common side effects. But I have still have zero regret. Well, not yet.
The side effect I was most afraid of was depression: some Accutane users experience real Debbie Downer moments and crazy mood swings. I am so grateful that this has not been the case for me. I did, however, have weird anxiety and a loss of appetite for a couple of weeks, but it has passed, hopefully for the remainder of the treatment.
In the first few weeks, when I was taking the lowered intro dose, I had head and joint pain that felt almost flu-like. These days, the effects are more typical: dry lips, dry hands, dry eyes, dry all over. That's where these guys come in.
For my dry hands, I have solely been using the Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream. As long as I anticipate my skin's next move and moisturize every time I wash my hands, everything is fine.
My lips either feel like they have a weird extra layer of dry skin over them, or they're just really chapped and painful. Most nights, I use a face cloth or toothbrush to gently exfoliate away the dead skin while I'm in the shower. Then I moisturize with Vaseline or Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1, which is over 90% petrolatum. I usually save the Kiehl's for the daytime use, though.
For my super-dry body, I’ve taken to baby oil baths some evenings (instead of my usual quick shower), and I use The Body Shop body butters for extra hydration during the day.
My skin looks pretty good right now--better than it has in a really long time. Aside from some discoloration, breakouts have been minimal. One thing that has been an issue is skin sensitivity. For example, I used one of those pore strips on my nose and the pain was tantamount to a wax! (FYI, you're note allowed to wax while using Accutane. I've just been using my epilator.)
Due to this sensitivity, sunscreen is non-negotiable. I've been using (and ADORING) Eucerin Sun Fluid SPF 50+ Mattifying Sunscreen. It's odorless and goes on smooth and transparent with a powdery finish. I fully recommend it.
Last but not least, for my dry eyes and contacts, I keep eye drops on me at all times. It’s very important to look after your eyes while on Accutane. Sunglasses, though annoying due to my short-sightedness, are also helpful.
So, while a bit uncomfortable, life on Accutane hasn’t been all that bad. I may spend five percent of my day on moisturizing, but at least I can leave the house sans foundation.
Anyone else out there used Accutane and experienced some of these side effects? How long did they last? And how was it after you came off of the treatment? I still have a couple of months to go.