Hi friends! As it turns out, Accutane is not the product for me. I am extremely disappointed, as I thought this medication would magically make my acne disappear for years to come. I feel like it’s important for people considering Accutane to know both the good and the bad aspects of the medication and I want to explain what products have worked for me and why I love them. So, if you’re ready, get readin’!
As you all know, I was experiencing horrible back pain that began to interfere with my ability to sleep well, drive comfortably, and participate comfortably in labs at school. These issues seemed to subside with my dermatologist’s order for prednisone and a few days off the medication. Once back on Accutane, my back pain flared up and I developed swollen and painful lymph nodes on the back of my neck, base of my ears, and down the side of my neck. My dermatologist said my lymph nodes were swollen because they were fighting a bacterial infection under the skin from picking my face (still don’t believe that was the case) and put me on antibiotics for a week. My lymph nodes continued to swell and turned out to be the worst throat infection I’ve ever experienced. My parents, both in the medical field, suggested the infection could be Mono or a severe case Strep and to try the antibiotics before seeing a doctor. Eventually, my nodes became so swollen I had much difficulty swallowing and breathing while sleeping at night, and debated going to urgent care to see if the antibiotics were strong enough. After about 5 days on the antibiotics, the infection began improving and eventually went away completely. During the 10 days I was on antibiotics, I was instructed to not take Accutane and pick up next month’s dose when I was finished. I went to pick up the medicine for my second month and was informed I missed the window to pick it up and I would have to restart the entire process because of legalities. At that point, I spent a few hundred dollars between the medication and office visits, and spent much time rearranging my schedule to drive 2.5 hours home to see my doctor monthly. The trouble was not worth the end result of Accutane, so I decided to end my treatment rather than begin the process from day 1 again.
After solidifying my decision to leave Accutane in the past, I began researching natural products that help improve sensitive, acne-prone skin. First, I discovered 1st Phorm’s Opti-Greens 50, a supplement that has 11+ servings of vegetables, along with a blend of super foods, probiotics, and digestive enzymes. 1st Phorm is a popular supplement company in the fitness community, so I had heard the buzz about this product for quite some time. I’ve read testimonies that it helps with improving your skin and thought “nice skin and extra veggies, a two-for-one deal…sign me up!”. I purchased the Opti-Greens 50 on sale and began taking them immediately. I must say, the *taste is questionable, but the effects have been awesome! Not only am I feeling more energized and experiencing less bloat (need another blog for that topic), my skin feels and looks healthier than before.
Next, I had to find a skin care line that would help combat my acne. I debated between Lush products and Burt’s Bees products because they both emphasize natural ingredients and advocate against animal cruelty (vegetarian here), but ultimately decided to purchase Burt’s Bees Natural Acne Treatment line. I chose this line because of the incorporation of salicylic acid which helps dissolve sebum, dead skin, and dirt that clogs pores which causes acne. I did consider benzoyl peroxide products but it is known to trigger eczema, which I have. Although this line has many products, I decided to only purchase the Natural Acne Solutions Purifying Gel Cleanser (AM/PM), the Natural Acne Solutions Clarifying Toner (PM), and the Natural Acne Solutions Maximum Strength Spot Treatment Cream (as needed) from the line because I need to slowly transition my skin from Accutane to the higher dosages of salicylic acid in these products. I pair them with Burt’s Bees Sensitive Facial Cleansing Towelettes with Cotton Extract (National Eczema Association certified whoop whoop) to remove makeup, Aveeno’s Positively Mineral Sensitive Skin Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50 (AM mixed with moisturizer), and CeraVe’s Moisturizing Cream (also National Eczema Association certified) each morning and night. So far, I’ve noticed any acne I develop is much smaller and is minimized with the spot treatment, and any existing acne scars I have aren’t as dark as they usually are thanks to the SPF.
I absolutely LOVE the products I am using now because they incorporate great ingredients and I physically see and feel a difference in my skin without any of the long/short term side effects of Accutane. If you have any questions about Accutane, any products I’m currently using, or have any general questions for me, please leave a comment! I’ve learned skin care is a trial and error process that may take years and a lot of money to figure out, but I truly believe there’s something out there for everyone. Although my skin is not 100% clear yet, check out my progress below:
*I tried putting one serving of greens in a glass of water and stirred until dissolved as instructed, but quickly discovered the greens tasted horrible and did not dissolve completely. Instead, I now use a blender bottle with one or two servings of greens and a 1:3 or 1:4 ratio of orange/apple juice to water to help subside the taste of the greens without too much added sugar. Try to drink an additional full cup of water from the bottle to get any remaining residue of the greens from your cup in your belly (and you’re helping keep your skin hydrated)!