accutane, skincare, Uncategorized

Finals and Stress

It’s a day before the start of finals week, and things have been hectic around the Binghamton campus. The library is packed at all times, even printing a document to study from is difficult. An atmosphere of stress permeates the campus, the looming dread that these tests decide a quarter of our final grades. Although I’ve been extremely busy myself, I thought I would take this opportunity to talk about college classes and stress and how to cope.

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On Accutane, brain fog and fatigue are very real side effects. Although this likely isn’t the healthiest recommendation, I’ve personally been drinking a cup of coffee a day to get over it and get 4-5 solid hours of studying in. Of course, I stay very well hydrated and haven’t seen any negative effects stem from this coffee-drinking. I rarely ever drink more than one cup a day, but when I do, I make sure that it is well taken advantage of.

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As we all probably know, stress is also a known cause of breakouts. Personally, having just finished month 6 of Accutane, I have not seen any breakout during this period of studying. However, I would always get stress-related breakouts before Accutane. My recommendation for this is to stay organized and have your study days planned out, with time for activities left over. With a solid plan, you can study well for your finals, and still have time left over for things you love to do, whether that be personal stuff or pursuing a cause on-campus that you are passionate about.

Overall, finals are undoubtedly a stressful time, but it’s something that all college students experience. You must remember that your professors are people too and have empathy, and if things are seriously going wrong, just talk to them and they will listen. Stay hydrated, eat healthy, stay consistent with your skincare, and you’ll ace the tests and your well being.

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Shaving on Accutane (Face)

Skincare has been predominantly a female topic throughout the woes of history, and Accutane can often get associated into that category, with not many males being comfortable discussing it. However, there are certain struggles on Accutane that males must deal with that females do not. This isn’t to say that females don’t have their own struggles as well, it’s just that they are different. Male struggles on Accutane can include things such as accelerated Male Pattern Baldness, erectile dysfunction, and struggles while shaving (the face). In this post, ill be focusing on the latter.

Struggles with shaving while on Accutane can be diverse, ranging from razor burn on sensitive skin to simply bleeding from your pimples during a big breakout. I’ve experienced both of these, and saying that it’s unpleasant can be considered an understatement. Shaving with many pimples (such as during an initial breakout) can aggravate every single pimple the razor cuts, in turn causing a much longer time to heal. Not to mention, shaving like this can cause scarring.

My personal best recommendation for this would be to use a Wahl trimmer, not a shaver/razor. It cuts very close without actually going down to skin, therefore going over the acne and not actually touching it. Eventually, your course of Accutane will clear your skin, and you will be able to get a super close shave once more. Your stubble using a Wahl trimmer will be almost nonexistent, so looking clean won’t be a big problem. (not advertised)

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Another issue that can arise when shaving with thinner and more sensitive skin on Accutane is easier razor burn. This happened to me once my skin was clear enough to use an actual shaver/razor, and I tried to get a very close and clean shave. Little did I know, I would end up getting the worst razor burn of my life, which also happened to leave discoloration for about a month after.

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I have a few recommendations to avoid this. If using an electric shaver (like a Braun), make sure your face is completely dry after cleansing it (with a gentle cleanser). A good amount of time to wait after drying your face would be about 5 minutes. If using conventional shaving cream, this does not apply. Avoid going against the grain if your skin is extremely sensitive. After shaving, make sure to always use an astringent. A really good gentle (alcohol free) one that I like is Thayers Witch Hazel. This is often a fan favorite in skincare forums. When all these steps are taken, razor burn can be avoided completely or will be very slight. As always, moisturize after shaving.

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The WORST Side Effect I Experienced on Accutane

We’ve all heard it – dry skin, dry lips, fatigue, brain fog. Accutane comes with baggage, and I personally consider it to be a 24/7 commitment. The drug has had numerous studies done and published on it and its effects, and is highly regulated. When taken under proper legal conditions – blood tests, dermatologist checkups, a proper cumulative dose, birth control for women – the drug is considered to be very safe. However, sometimes things just don’t go the way you would expect.

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Around the end/middle of month 2, when I was taking 40mg/day, I ended up catching some type of virus, most likely the common cold. It took me a while to get over this, as with all illnesses on Accutane, but one symptom I received was unlike any before – clogged ears. This seems pretty normal, as with a cold usually come stuffy sinuses – this includes nose and ears. However, it turned out to be something more.

After I recovered from my virus entirely, the clogged/stuffy ears persisted. First for one week, then two, then when my dose was raised to 60mg/day. I saw an ENT for this issue, and he tested my ear pressure and looked into my nose and throat using a camera. Eventually, he concluded that everything was normal, including ear pressure and sinus health.

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To this day, the end of month 6, my ears are still pressurized and stuffed. I constantly have to force yawn or move my jaw to pop my ears, and it gets very uncomfortable if I don’t do it for any period of time. My dermatologist believes this may be from dried out sinuses, and I’m hoping this is true.

This post is simply meant to inform you that although it’s very unlikely, you may get side effects which are seldom heard of. The constant discomfort in my ears has by far been the worst side effect I have experienced, and I truly hope that it goes away after I finish the course

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Getting Sick on Accutane

Catching a virus is always untimely – it seems to come whenever you have a lot to get done. Ultimately, very little gets done, as it gets hard to focus with a cold or any other virus. But getting ill on Accutane is a different beast entirely. It isn’t life-threatening (in most regular cases), but it is extremely lengthy and “potentiated”, for lack of a better word.

Accutane seems to make any illness, cold, or virus about 3x longer and worse than it normally is. This is possibly due to the constant state of stress your liver is under, or the anti-inflammatory effects of the drug which allow these illnesses in the first place. These anti-inflammatory affects are partially what cure acne, but they also suppress the immune system.

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My experience with illnesses on Accutane has been a bad one, and many users of it seem to reach the same consensus. While in a healthy state, Accutane causes fatigue and brain fog – I’ve found that I need more sleep and a lot more water to even begin to balance this out. Coffee helps of course, but the crash afterwards is pretty brutal. When sick, Accutane causes extreme fatigue and inability to focus, at least for me. The illnesses, such as the common cold, also last a lot longer on Accutane. Personally, it lasted over a week, when it normally lasts about 3 days.

The best course of action for this is, by far, prevention. There isn’t much you could do once you get sick on Accutane, but there is a lot you can do to prevent it. Keep your sinuses moisturized, because dried out sinuses are more susceptible to catching a cold. The best way to do this is saline nasal spray. Taking multivitamin without vitamin A in it helps, but keeping a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is this best thing you can possibly do. Living in university, eating healthy isn’t easy or cheap, but I still try to eat spinach and assorted fruits every single day.

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If you do get sick, the best things you can do are drink as much water as humanly possible and get a lot of rest. Doing this will help it clear up the quickest. I also like to drink hot tea with lemon, ginger, and honey to calm sore throat and get extra vitamin C.

accutane, skincare, Uncategorized

Accutane Side Effects Months 2&3

After month 1 came and went, month 2 rolled around. All the side effects from month 1 persisted, and not much changed except the slight increase in severity. Around this time, my initial breakout finally began to subside – one that had started during the very first week of the treatment. Personally, I had an initial breakout unlike anything Ive experienced in the past – it was a LOT worse. However, there are many cases where people dont suffer an extreme initial breakout, or dont experience one at all, and simply see improvement from the start.

During the span of months 2 and 3, the eczema began to worsen and to spread to my neck and legs. It was nothing too extreme, and using any cream (I used the FAB Ultra Repair Cream) solved the issue in a matter of days. In order to avoid this completely, however, prevention is always the best course for eczema. Having a consistent moisturizing routine (every evening for me) will keep it at bay even in climates as cold and dry and Binghamton.

The eczema on my forearms and hands began to worsen around month 3 and has stayed pretty extreme since then. For this, constant prevention is necessary. I find the best possible routine for this is a heavy cream with aquaphor layered over, every evening. The worst case of this I experienced was after playing basketball; I had sweat a lot and it was cold and dry outside. The entirety of my hands and forearms, halfway up to my elbow, were red and inflamed. It took about 5 or so days to calm it down, and I haven’t had anything like it since then.

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Accutane Side Effects Month 1: Enjoy it While it Lasts

Being in month 6 of Accutane, I consider myself to be very experienced as far as side effects go – because I’ve personally been unfortunately subject to many of them. In order to even scratch the surface of this gargantuan topic, we’d have to start all the way from the beginning – month 1.

For my first month, my dermatologist had me at 40mg/day as a 165 pound, 5’11 male. This is a fairly average dose, nothing that has been known to cause any serious side effects – and it fortunately didn’t. Before the course, I had very oily skin – and obviously very acne prone. The first thing I experienced was my skin beginning to peel, ONLY in areas I had active pimples. It wasn’t overly dry at all, and this wasn’t your normal skin-too-dry peeling. It was nothing excessive, and very easily taken care of with some moisturizer. Around the same time, my lips began to dry out. I’m grateful for being one of those people whose lips stayed fairly normal during the entire treatment (thus far), so I don’t have much to say about this very common side effect, except to apply chapstick or Aquaphor. I prefer the blistex chapstick.

Approximately at the halfway point of the first month, my nose and scalp began to dry out. My nose has stayed extremely dry throughout the treatment, and I’ve found saline nasal spray throughout the day has been the best possible solution. My preferred one is XLEAR, which can be found on Amazon for a fairly cheap price (not sponsored btw). However, your regular CVS brand works just fine. Another tip for dry nose would be to apply some Aquaphor inside your nostril before you go to sleep, either with a qtip or just your finger. Yes, sounds gross, but works well. For the scalp, using any dandruff shampoo such as head and shoulders should completely eliminate the dry flakes of skin that Accutane may cause. I did so, and it worked well for me. However, you shouldn’t use this shampoo more than once a week, as it can dry out your scalp and hair more than Accutane already has.

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The last significant side effect I experienced in month 1 was the beginnings of eczema. I’m not a person who has eczema normally, but Accutane is known to bring it out. At this point, it was very slight, just small rashes on my arms. However, it progressed to become a lot worse throughout the treatment, and it’s bad now. I’ve found the best solution for this would be to moisturize with FAB Ultra Repair Cream (or any heavy cream) and seal it with Aquaphor. As long as you do this consistently, the eczema will stay at bay and not flare up.

Overall, month 1 was extremely tolerable. This is because the purpose of Accutane is to achieve a cumulative dose, and it builds up in your system as the months progress. Enjoy your physical wellbeing while it lasts.

Just kidding, were all in this struggle together.

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Accutane: Progress Thus Far

My progress so far on Accutane has been very great and successful, despite coming at a cost of many, MANY side effects. I began to take Accutane during the June of my senior year of high school, with the mindset that I would be done by my second semester at college. I’m currently on my 4th month of taking 60mg a day, 2 30mg pills with 2 separate meals. For the first two months, I took 40mg a day, just one pill. This puts me in the middle of my 6th month of Accutane, and the drug has worked as it was supposed to – very well.  I rarely break out anymore, maybe one pimple a week or so, and that is likely due to unhealthy university eating habits (gotta have 1300mg of sodium in the form of Spicy Chicken ramen at 2am, right?).Slider_2_-_Resorting_To_Accutane

On my latest dermatologist visit, which was yesterday, she informed me that I would have to complete 2.5 more months on Accutane, and the last month would probably be dropped back down to 40mg, as the cumulative dose would have been reached. That puts my total amount of time on Accutane at 8 months – longer than the typical 4-6 months that other users have seen success with. In my opinion, 6 months would be enough, but I trust the opinion of a board-certified dermatologist to be accurate, as everything has gone smoothly thus far.

I’ve experienced many side effects taking this drug. I don’t think that should be sugarcoated, as I believe informing people would be better than simply trying to convince everybody to “just go ahead and start already”. The bulk of my side effects began to escalate around the end of month 2, and have persisted pretty much the same since then. I’ve found ways to mitigate most of them, but going into Accutane I knew it would not be pleasant – rather, the lesser of two evils. However, the discussion of my side effects is a long one, and one better saved for a different day.