6 months post-accutane

It’s been a little over 6 months since I finished up Accutane, so I figured it was about time that I update y’all on how my skin has been doing since then. In brief, it’s been a lot of ups and downs – more recently, things haven’t been going as well.

related: decision to start accutane | month 1 update | months 8 + 9 update

For the first few months following the Accutane, my skin was fine. My skin finally normalized and wasn’t miserably dry, and if I got any pimples they were normally little whiteheads from it being “that time of the month” or from something I ate, which, overall, was tolerable. I had a flare up at one point, so my dermatologist put me back on Spironolactone to try and make sure my skin stayed clear in addition to the Adaplene gel he gave me when I initially finished the Accutane.

By the time month 4 hit though, the cystic acne started to creep back. At first it would only be one every so often, but as time has gone on, it’s reverted to how it was before the Accutane – multiple at a time, one starts to fade and another appears, and it’s all concentrated around my chin + cheekbones.

It is clearly not as bad as what my acne was like before, but regardless – it’s been frustrating, to say the least. I went back to my dermatologist over Easter weekend and he increased my Spironolactone dosage and recommend I see an endocrinologist. He said that the Accutane did a beautiful job clearing up what it could, but hormonal, cystic acne is outside of what the Accutane is designed to fix. I knew this prior to starting, but I was hoping Accutane would have been the final step in this frustrating journey.

I’ve already taken the steps to check for ovarian cysts – thankfully those ultrasounds came back clear. Next up is visiting with an endocrinologist, however I’m still waiting for the referral to go through so I have yet to get an appointment scheduled. Hopefully the Spironolactone will help now that the dosage is higher, but I really do want to get to the bottom of what’s causing this crazy stubborn acne.

If I’m being transparent, this rollercoaster has been exhausting – especially when I’ve taken such drastic measures to get it under control. I’ve already done the Accutane, I’ve cleaned up my diet a ton (it’s not perfect, but it’s infinitely better than it used to be), I exercise more; and somehow I still find myself here. Quite frankly, it’s discouraging. My dermatologist has reassured me that it’s something that’s out of my control and that I’m not doing anything wrong. I believe him. There are sometimes when I might have a few drinks, eat some fast food, or don’t always avoid the ingredients in foods I know I’m sensitive to, and I’ve learned to accept the “consequences” of my occasional dietary shortcomings – but for the acne to be this consistent even when I know I’m doing better health-wise just feels like a slap in the face. When you feel like you’re working so hard, it’s frustrating when you don’t see much of a payoff, no matter how much you can acknowledge that it’s out of your control.

I know that I will get to the bottom of what’s causing my acne and that I’ll find a solution that works for me once and for all, it’s just taking a little extra work to get there than I initially thought I would. I don’t want this to be discouraging for anyone currently on or looking to take Accutane – like I said, my dermatologist says that my skin itself is beautiful, but that there’s simply a deeper hormonal problem that it wasn’t designed to fix. I don’t regret doing Accutane because I think it was still a necessary step for me in clearing up the stubborn cystic acne unrelated to hormones. Not everyone struggles with hormonal acne, so just because I have continued to have problems doesn’t mean that everyone else will.

I’ll continue to keep you all updated – one of these days I will be acne free, it’s just taking a little extra hustle is all. Thanks for following along on this journey!

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