About a year or two ago, when my skin was at it’s worst I decided to try accutane. I was on it very briefly for about three months before I decided to stop taking it. I didn’t have a horrific experience or anything like that, for whatever reason I just decided to go off of it.
For anyone who is interested in trying accutane, I always suggest to try absolutely everything else first such as natural remedies, diet/lifestyle changes, and other prescription medications. It definitely takes a toll on your body unlike any other medication I’ve ever tried so you want to be 100% ready for it.
Today I’m going to share a quick bulleted list of all my symptoms I experienced during my couple of months on accutane.
- DRY LIPS – This is the number one side effect I’m pretty sure everyone who goes on accutane experiences. Accutane stops your body from producing oil so literally EVERYTHING dries out. It wasn’t bad though, but then again I wasn’t even four months into taking the pill yet. Aquaphor was a lifesaver and I carried it with me everywhere!
- DRY SKIN – My skin got pretty dry after about week 2 or 3 I’d say. It wasn’t horrible but I did have a few flaky spots here and there. Definitely invest in a nice moisturizer and use it morning and night! If you have oily skin like I do, and wear makeup, you’re going to love it because your makeup will last literally all day long! Definitely one of the perks haha!
- ECZEMA – Something I never experienced before. My eczema was pretty mild and started at the end of the first month. It was pretty manageable and was only on top of my hands so it wasn’t too bad. I used a bit of Aquaphor to keep it moisturized and it went away after about two weeks!
- FOLLICULITIS – This side effect was super annoying and I ended up having to get a topical lotion to clear it up (clindamycin, worked great!). I had these nasty huge pimple looking bumps on my legs that would get all yellow and pus filled (I know super gross) they would always appear a day or two after shaving my legs and made me super insecure to wear shorts. They were pretty itchy as well.
- MOOD SWINGS – When I first started the pill I remember being really happy and optimistic, I’m not sure if that was because I knew my skin would get better, but as time progressed my mood went to shit. I was always super irritated over the tiniest things and got a bit depressed. I struggle with depression here and there, it hasn’t been bad in a little bit, but for anyone concerned about that I would say it was kinda mild, my irritability was way more intense. Of course everyone is different, so keep that in mind. Your doctor will definitely keep checking with you on your mental health, so if it becomes an issue be sure to speak up!
- BLACK OUTS – Now this is something I wasn’t going to include but it’s definitely important. So one of the warnings that is almost just as important as not getting pregnant while on this medication is drinking alcohol. Accutane is super harsh on your liver which is why you get bloodwork for it every month, doctors suggest not to drink whatsoever. Well, there were about 3 or 4 occasions where I got drunk. I started the pill around the holidays so there were a few times that I REALLY wanted to drink. What I experienced from this was blacking out at only about two drinks in, and also waking up with THE WORST hangovers. To this day I experience hangovers now pretty hard, this is something I never used to get when I was drinking way more often during my college days.
- TIREDNESS – Accutane used to make me super sleepy! I remember I would always come home from work and be in bed asleep usually by 8pm. I wouldn’t say it was a negative thing because I didn’t feel groggy or anything the next day but it definitely made me feel worn out by the afternoon.
Another thing I wanted to note was that during my time on accutane I never experienced a purging stage. I was super concerned about this because when I started this medication my skin was horrific. Luckily from the start of the pill it just kept getting better and better! The one thing I loved was that I could get away with using almost any skincare product and sometimes even sleep with my makeup on and not have to worry about a new break out the next day. Amazing!
Some of you may be wondering, if my skin gets bad would I try it again? I’m definitely not against it but it’s a huge commitment. You have to be ready for the doctors appointments and bloodwork every month, and of course the lifestyle changes that come along with it. I’m able to deal with tiny pimples here and there that I still get, but if my cystic acne were to come back full force I think I would definitely go back on it.