Wednesday, December 2, 2015

On Being On Accutane

I made the decision in the summer that I was going to finally bite the bullet and commit to doing a round of accutane.  Some people find it odd that at 28 I decided to do this, because, acne of course only happens to teens.  I used to believe that...but then my acne went haywire every time I was pregnant, and every post-partum, and eventually, at the end of this past school year, my acne was the worst it's ever been-worse than when I was in high school.  Combine that with the fact that my mother went on her own round of accutane in her 50s, and I knew I wasn't getting away from my acne so fast.  

I want to first share what being on accutane entails.  For starters, be prepared to enter into a an 8-month relationship with your dermatologist.  Here's how it works, you'll have an initial consult where you'll have a pregnancy test.  I don't know if you've heard, but apparently accutane does some pretty crazy stuff to a fetus...which is why not only do you take a pregnancy test in the beginning, but you have to take one every month! After the initial negative pregnancy test, you have to wait 30 days so you can return again and take, yup-another pregnancy test.  Only after the second pregnancy test will you be able to begin accutane.  But it still isn't so simple.  You have to commit to two forms of birth control, and answer questions on-line through a government program called iPledge, which is a government program committed to preventing births while on accutane.  You have seven days to complete the questions and pick up your pills.  If you don't complete the process in seven days, you have to start the process over.  The process is stressful-you have to see your doctor for bloodwork once a month-not before, not after, but on the month, wait for the results, answer the comprehension questions, and pick up your pills, all within seven days.  Phew...

In the beginning you might be on half a dose just as an adjustment period, and then in the second month be bumped up to your full dosage.  The good news is that double the pills doesn't mean that the symptoms double in intensity.  Symptoms...let's talk about symptoms...

The most common symptom is dry lips.  It took about 10 days for that to kick in.  It started with a mild tingling that also felt funny when I ate. It then progressed to severely dry lips.  I have to always have chapstick with me because it's just so painful and uncomfortable.  I've done a really great job moisturizing, thanks to some really great products (see below) and I've only had bleeding lips/corners of my mouth once.  The other symptom that I developed around month 3 was joint pain.  My lower back was so aggravated I had difficulty getting out of bed and standing up straight.  It comes and goes, so it's not constant.  Other than that, I've had no other symptoms, both seem to be completely manageable, and I would definitely chose to do accutane all over again!

Let me move onto the products.  First of all, some of these products are pricey, but I have found them all to be totally worthwhile.  But, even though there is a hefty price tag associated with skin care during accutane, or at least, successful skin care I should say, I've only had to replace a few products once, which means upon completion of my 6 months of accutane-I will have bought the products only twice, and some will even last me way past my 6 months.
My goal was to be as gentle as possible with my skin.




I headed into my local Sephora which has a very well known skincare expert, so I was thrilled she was there when I walked in.



 I use this for my cleanser.  It has an awesome floral/citrus scent and feels so smooth going on.  I will only use this twice a day, at most, along with this sponge.  The sponge gives a nice massage to the face and helps clean off all the makeup.
What it is:
An antioxidant-packed cleansing oil-gel formulated to remove impurities and makeup while protecting the skin’s moisture barrier, leaving skin smoother and baby-soft. 

What it is formulated to do:
This cleansing oil hydrates and replenishes, leaving skin silky smooth. A signature, lightweight botanical blend of tsubaki oil (camellia oil), wakame (Japanese sea kelp), and rice bran oil hydrates, smooths, and protects for the appearance of firm, youthful skin. Formulated for all skin types, allatoin, an anti-bacterial plant derivative, deeply cleanses and maintains moisture levels. 

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
- Parabens
- Sulfates 
- Phthalates 

What else you need to know:
This product is preservative-, artificial fragrance-, color-, gluten-, and ethanol alcohol-free. It has been dermatologist tested.



When I need to clean my face more than morning and night, such as before I work out, and after because I don't always hop in the shower, I use this.  At first I wasn't really sure if was truly a cleanser, but the skin expert at Sephora told me micellar water is excellent for drawing impurities out of the skin.  Not only do I use this as a cleanser those extra times I wash my face throughout the day, I also use it after I use my regular gel cleanser.  I'm a very impatient face washer, and I always end up with a couple dirty gauze pads, so it clearly does a wonderful job of cleaning!  What's even better is it's low price tag! At $7 you can't go wrong, and it can be bought at your local store!
Details
  • Thoroughly cleanses: Removing make-up, dirt, impurities and unclogging pores.
  • Instantly hydrates skin: Made with Triple Purified Water, skin loving ingredients and multi-vitamins, instantly boosts skin hydration by 90%!
  • No residue: Applied with a cotton round, Simple Micellar Cleanser Water leaves skin feeling fresh and revitalized, no rinsing required!


I was turned onto this toner when I was pregnant with Dovy, and I traded it in afterwards for the typical, cheaper alcohol toners.  I will not make that mistake again!  This toner is so soothing to the skin; it's alcohol free, so it never burns.  I also notice a difference in my skin tone.  I will definitely continue using this even after my accutane treatment is complete.
What it is:
A toning lotion.

What it is formulated to do:
This lotion soothes, moisturizes, and creates a refreshed look as it restores the natural pH balance to skin.

What else you need to know:
This alcohol free formula is allergy tested.



My moisturizing routine consists of two products.  I was a little skeptical of the oil-it has a hefty price tag and it seemed like the promises just couldn't be met.  In typical, impulse buying, I bought it and I am so glad I did.  I had tried so many products-specialty and over the counter moisturizers, and they didn't come close to touching my dryness. When I bought this, I was told to use it only at night.  Immediately I noticed less redness and a lot more moisture.  What's awesome is it doesn't smell, it doesn't burn, and it doesn't leave any residue on your bed sheets.  When the winter hit, and I noticed my makeup was looking scaley, I tried it underneath my moisturizer, and it was the perfect trick.
What it is:
An ultra-sheer, skin-saving oil that instantly revives and smooths texture while providing powerful antioxidant protection. 

What it is formulated to do:
Progenius Omega Treatment Rescue Oil is an all-natural, featherweight formula featuring bakuchiol—nature’s answer to retinol without the negative side effects. It helps repair and refine texture for satiny, flawless-looking skin. Coleus root and organic rosemary extracts, nature’s best purifying ingredients, work to clarify the complexion. A potent botanical complex boosts skin moisture, and virgin, organic, cold-pressed rose hip oil nourishes with omegas 3 and 6 and vitamin C. Antioxidant-rich ingredients provide environmental protection, making this a true lifesaver for everything your skin faces on a day to day basis. 

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
- Parabens
- Sulfates 
- Phthalates 

What else you need to know:
This product is formulated without PEGs, TEA, DEA, propylene glycol, petrolatum, synthetic color, synthetic fragrance, mineral oil, and silicones. ProGenius Omega Treatment Rescue Oil is all-natural, vegan, and cruelty-free.The product is scented with an all-natural, botanical fragrance. 



I use this for my daytime moisturizer.  It's nice and this, and a little bit goes such a long way.  I add this to it, to make sure I have some SPF on!  I previously used a Mary Kay moisturizer, which I loved, but it didn't have SPF either, so this is definitely a perfect way to add SPF to your favorite lacking-SPF moisturizers!
My face definitely has the dewy look when the oil and moisturizer are on, but the makeup goes on perfectly, and you would never know!  My face has the perfect amount of moisture-not dry and not oily!  My makeup isn't scaley anymore, and it's just awesome.  My makeup routine and products will have to be for another day!
What it is: 
A comforting moisturizing cream for normal to dry skin types that provides the skin with intense hydration, leaving it supple, smooth, and deeply nourished. 

What it is formulated to do: 
The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb is a comforting moisture cream that provides the skin with intense, soothing hydration. Clinically tested to provide up to 26 hours of moisture, this uniquely indulgent formula leaves skin soft, supple, and deeply moisturized. This formula contains a blend of apothecary herbs, including comfrey leaf, a powerful hydrating agent. The cushiony cream format is designed to 'burst' when applied, releasing a flood of moisture onto skin, and then absorb completely without stickiness for a healthy, smooth, supple appearance. 

What it is formulated WITHOUT: 
- Parabens 
- Sulfates 
- Phthalates 

What else you need to know: 
This dermatologist tested product is free of mineral oil, petrolatum, synthetic preservatives, dyes, and fragrances, and animal origin ingredients. The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb was the number one selling product in Korea's highly competitive selective beauty market across all categories.



Since dry lips are my most prevalent side effect, I really take care of them!  This is my go to chapstick-I have a couple, and I always make sure to bring one with me where ever I go.  A lot of chapsticks I've tried in the past have a scent, and aren't very healing, so your lips don't feel soothed, and it wears off quickly.  Not with this!  It instantly calms, and lasts quite some time.  It has no scent and no flavor, so it's totally non-aggravating.  Just yesterday I bought some of their colored chapsticks and they did not disappoint! With the weather getting cooler, it's been more difficult to wear standard lipstick, so I wanted to try other options, and this gave me decent color, and was absolutely not drying!  I bought a gift set, so I got many colors, just in mini size!
What it is:
An antiaging lip treatment proven to repair, nourish, plump, and smooth the look of wrinkles around the delicate lip area.

What it is formulated to do:
This ultra-hydrating lip treatment corrects and conditions lips for a smooth, youthful-looking finish. It is scientifically proven to repair the lips—significantly boosting moisture, enhancing volume, and improving the definition of the lip area. It is fortified with a high concentration of ultra-nourishing, age-delaying ingredients including hyaluronic spheres to penetrate the skin, fill in wrinkles, and plump the appearance of lips, and sea fennel extract to help smooth fine lines and define the lip area.

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
- Parabens
- Sulfates
- Phthalates




At night I use this oil to help "treat" my lips.  I found it too heavy to wear during the day, as it caused me to constantly rub my lips together, which led to me picking all the dry skin, constantly, so I reserve this for night time wear only.  It definitely leaves my lips feeling refreshed in the morning.
What it does:
As a follow up to No. 28 Primer Serum, this highly advanced lip treatment oil has both short- and long-term benefits for the lips. The combination of powerful actives, essential oils, plant oils, and vitamins works on contact to condition lips, relieve dryness and chapping, and shield against environmental elements. In addition, three advanced active ingredients strengthen the moisture barrier; boost skin smoothness; and elevate the appearance of lip texture, shape, and volume. No. 28 Lip Treatment Oil is dispensed via an opulent 24 karat, antibacterial, gold-plated tip to create a soothing effect on the lips. 

What else you need to know:
This product is enriched with 14 essential oils including Bois De Rose, Lavender, Geranium, Petitgrain, Lemon, Rosemary, Vanilla, Clove, Amyris, Orange, Ylang Ylang, Eucalyptus, Cedar, and Rose Geranium, as well as lipid-rich plant oils that include Hazelnut, Kukui Nut, Rose Hip, Borage, Olive, Green Tea, Cherry Pit, Sweet Almond, Jojoba, and Evening Primrose, and is fortified with vitamins A, B5, C, and E. 



Along with my chaptstick, I first use this before applying my lipstick.  What I love about this is that is literally encases your lips.  It smooths down all the dry skin, fills in the "wrinkles" and then protects the lips.  And then I have the perfect slate for my lipstick.  I  will even sometimes use this when I can't find my chapstick.
What it is:
An ultimate age-defying treatment for your lips and lip contour area. 

What it is formulated to do:
Sugar Lip Serum Advanced Therapy helps to nourish and improve the definition on and around the lips while visibly smoothing fine lines for fuller, younger-looking lips. Composed of sugar derivative, spilanthes acmella flower, skin-firming amino acids, and adenosine, Sugar A3 Complex is the ultimate age-delay protection to help regenerate youthful lips. It helps to target the loss of skin firmness and the appearance of deep wrinkles while protecting collagen and elastin. 

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
- Parabens
- Sulfates 
- Phthalates 



And just like our face, our lips need exfoliated too.  I don't do it frequently, but when I've had an overly dry day, I know I need to get rid of that dry skin, and this leaves my lips refreshed and smooth too.  Don't be fooled by the small size, you use literally a couple grains at a time, so this will last a mighty long time.
What it is:
A sweet exfoliating treatment that leaves lips incredibly soft and smooth. 

What it is formulated to do:
This unique formula is enriched with real brown sugar crystals to gently buff away dry flakes as it exfoliates and conditions for a smooth finish. It nourishes the lips with quick-absorbing meadowfoam seed, jojoba seed, and grapeseed oils while shea butter provides long-lasting moisture. Lips are left smooth, protected, and hydrated. 

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
- Parabens
- Sulfates 
- Phthalates 


Phew, there you have it; all the products that have worked for me while on accutane!

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