1 year post-accutane + current skincare routine

THIS POST IS NOT A PROMOTION FOR ACCUTANE. ACCUTANE IS A SERIOUS DRUG WITH SERIOUS SIDE EFFECTS AND IS NOT FOR EVERYONE. I AM ONLY LOGGING MY EXPERIENCE (AFTER YEARS OF OTHER, SAFER TREATMENTS) FOR THOSE THAT ARE TRYING TO DO RESEARCH TO MAKE THEIR OWN PERSONAL DECISIONS REGARDING ACCUTANE. TALK TO YOUR DERMATOLOGIST.

Y’all! It’s been two years since I started the Accutane journey, and one year since I finished. ONE! WHOLE! YEAR! I still get emotional when I think about how far my skin has come and how Accutane + healthy living came together to give me skin I can finally feel like myself in. If acne is something you’ve never had to struggle with on a daily basis for years on end, I beg you – please realize how fortunate you are! We all have things we struggle with when it comes to self-esteem, but nothing will break your confidence quite like having to parade around with your insecurities on your face for everyone to see. Back in the days when my acne was chronic and relentless, I did find ways to come to peace with it; but as with anything, some days were better than others.

This post may include affiliate links, meaning, at no cost to you, I will earn commission if you click through and make a purchase. You can visit my replicated Arbonne site at samanthamilburn.arbonne.com

related: coping with chronic acne | my decision to start accutane | accutane series

My breaking point came when the combination of Spironolactone, antibiotics, and topical prescriptions were going to start costing me over $50 a month – at that point, acne was becoming expensive and I knew I wanted to fix this problem once and for all.

I was on Accutane longer than the standard 6 months – a combination of my dermatologist being behind a month (despite my corrections), me forgetting to take it some days, and then adding a couple extra months to make sure the results stuck – but once it was all said and done, I didn’t even recognize my skin.

  • My Accutane Journey, Month 1 Update
  • My Accutane Journey, Month 1 Update
  • My Accutane Journey, Month 2 Update
  • My Accutane Journey, Month 3 Update
  • 1 year post accutane
  • 1 year post accutane
  • 1 year post accutane

It wasn’t until about late spring/early summer that I started to worry about my acne coming back. In my 6 Months Post-Accutane update I explained how I went through a few months where I struggled with cystic acne on my chin, jaw, and forehead. I went back to my dermatologist to show him what was going on and he put me back on Spironolactone (50mg/day) but later on increased my dosage to 100mg/day because of how stubborn my breakouts were.

Thankfully, between the increased Spironolactone dosage and making more of an effort to avoid gluten, my skin cleared back up and I’m back to feeling normal in my skin again. These days, I can usually anticipate a breakout based on how I’ve been eating. Seriously – if you struggle with acne in general, I highly recommend an elimination diet to see if cutting out certain toxins + inflammatory ingredients helps your skin, and if you notice a flare up as you ease ingredients back into your diet. You learn so much about your body + its sensitivities that way!

I’m still glad I chose to do Accutane. As much as I advocate for healthy living + investing in good skincare, to this day I’m still not fully convinced it would have been enough to fix my acne; at least, not completely. I’m just so relieved that the constant battle I had with acne is over. It’s been the biggest blessing to be able to go to work or hang out with friends without having to cake on makeup. Honestly, half the time I go on date nights, I don’t even put makeup on because for once in my life I feel confident in my skin and showing up bare faced is nothing I feel self-conscious about anymore.

As for my current skincare routine, it’s been nice to be able to focus on texture without having to simultaneously treat acne and worry about if it’s going to be made worse by what I’m using. As a lot of you know by now, I’m obsessed with Arbonne skincare and refuse to use anything else because it’s where I’ve seen significant results without having to worry about nasty ingredients. I am an independent consultant, but to be compliant with Arbonne’s ethical code and the Direct Sales Association, I’ll be linking my recommendations to the corporate website – but please feel free to contact me to receive discounts or to ask any questions past what this post covers!

My favorite skincare lines are the RE9 Advanced Prepwork (I use it in the morning!) and then the RE9 Advanced Brightening – these lines together work to fight aging and give my skin a natural, healthy glow.

Also, let’s talk about acne scarring + bruising. Accutane cleared so much of it up, but my skin’s needed some extra assistance when it comes to fading these marks + decreasing redness. My dermatologist has given me a script for Aczone, but it honestly doesn’t work as well as I was hoping. I started using the AI Counter Spot Essence in May and it works so better than my prescription. Plus, considering my insurance fights me tooth and nail to cover the Aczone (pharmacies are always trying to charge me $75 for the stuff!) the CSE actually ends up being cheaper + does the job even better.

Lastly, I love getting to be able to use face masks now without it either 1) making me break out more, and 2) increasing redness of current breakouts. I use the Arbonne Detox Mask 1-2 times a week to help pull dirt and oils out of my pores and it works like a charm to prevent future breakouts!

Unless something changes with my skin (which we’re praying it doesn’t!) this will likely be my last Accutane related post. It’s been a crazy two years documenting this journey, but I have gotten such amazing responses from y’all telling me how much the posts have helped y’all make your own decisions about starting the medication, and I’ve loved how it’s opened the door to communication and new friendships. I’m so thankful for each and every one of you – thank you for making my Accutane journey so much more than just a personal one!

Photography: Saverio Anfuso

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