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I Just Started Accutane and Here’s How It’s Going

Hello, 2021! I don’t know about you, but I was so ready for the new year. Since I spent a majority of last year in my house doing nothing, I really wanted to make this year one for self-improvement. My end goal: to finally feel comfortable in my own skin. But where to start?

Acne has always been a big insecurity of mine, but it didn’t really start to get bad until my senior year of high school. My cheeks always had flaming red bumps, which were incredibly painful by the way. And not only were they painful and extremely hard to cover with makeup, but they left red splotches of hyper-pigmentation all over my face. Whilst in quarantine, I tried so many different products and watched countless videos on teenage acne, trying to understand why these painful, deep bumps would not go away. By August, I thought I was getting it under control, but I soon realized that what was appearing on my face could not be cured with a Neutrogena spot treatment. 

When I spoke to my parents, they were in full support. My mom had actually done Accutane when she was in college. It’s a long process to get approved for Accutane, especially if you’re a woman. As a young woman, you have to constantly be updating your account on the two forms of birth control you’re using. Young women on Accutane have to fill out more forms and have to do monthly blood drawings to prove they are not pregnant. It’s a much easier process for boys. I had to get approved for the treatment, which takes about a month, and set up this online account to keep track of my prescriptions and visits to the doctor. Finally, after two months of waiting, I was allowed to start treatment in January. 

Accutane is not like the birth control pill, if you’ve ever taken it. It doesn’t need to be taken at the exact same time everyday, and it needs to be taken with food. The pill is kind of large and is packaged very intensely. But I could tell that it started working right away. Here’s what I’ve noticed in the first few weeks of taking Accutane. 

First things first: the dryness. Sure, it’s winter, but I have never experienced the level of dryness that I am now. My skin is flaking off all day, everyday. My hands are super dry and cracking. The worst thing though, is how dry my lips are. This has never really been a problem for me (I’m a big lip balm girl), but my lips are so dry that they bleed. I have even started putting Vaseline all over my face before bed, which two months would have given me a heart attack. And my mom and friends who have done it tell me it gets worse…yikes. 

Second: the acne. My skin has definitely been flaring up since I started the medication and in some spots where I never had problems before, like my forehead. The acne is less painful then what I am used to, lots of whiteheads and smaller bumps. Again, it will probably get worse in the coming months. 

Third: texture. I’ve been lucky enough to never have had to deal with much texture as far as my skin goes, but over the past month it’s been a different story. I’m seeing texture everywhere on my face, from my forehead to my nose. It’s almost like looking at raised pores, gross I know. This has been the main source of my insecurities as of late, but hey, in six months, hopefully I won’t have to worry about it ever again! 

Thank you for reading, I’ll be back in the coming months to give updates on how the treatment is going and how my skin is faring! Wish me luck! Happy 2021!! 

Natalie Foster is a student at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. She is hoping to major in English and Art History. She is an avid writer and in her free time enjoys reading, journaling, listening to music, watching Pride and Prejudice (2005), and dancing on the Colby Dance Company.
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