5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Took Accutane

3 Things I Wish I Knew Before Taking Accutane

It may not be worth it. And it will hurt.


I survived my cystic acne.

Seems like a dramatic thing to say about some pimples--but for me, it isn't. The self-hate that came with the lesions on my face made me feel anything but beautiful, anything but worthy of love--sometimes, anything but human at all.

I went through four years of various topical and oral antibiotic treatments, feeling increasingly discouraged as they failed, one after another, to clear my skin. In a last-ditch effort, my doctor sent me to a dermatologist who could prescribe me the Accutane--the strongest of all acne medications, and my last hope.

While acne has no known "cure," per se, Accutane-- the brand name of isotretinoin, which is essentially a form of vitamin A--is the only known drug that effectively puts severe forms of the acne into a sort of "remission."

Like all strong, promising medications, Isotretinoin has its fair share of side effects and problems--here are a few I wish I'd known about before I made the decision to go on Accutane.

They aren't joking When they said it makes depression worse 


I'm naturally an anxious person who tends towards depression when I'm stressed, so taking this medication during the most stressful period of my high school career was definitely not the best decision I've ever made. There were days where I couldn't seem to stop crying or get out of be--days when suicidal thoughts threatened to overtake me. Taking accurate definitely impacted my mental health, which made it 10 times more difficult to do...well, anything. My relationships with my friends, family and boyfriend all suffered, as did my work ethic and my physical body.

"Chapped lips" is putting it lightly 


I had one chapstick that worked actually to moisturize my lips while I was on Accutane--it was from the Johnny Cash museum in Nashville and it contained Lanolin, an oil from sheep's wool that I later found out was the key to stopping my lips from falling off entirely. When i eventually lost my magic chapstick, I felt the real pain of accurate dryness. Most of the time, the surface of my lips looked like I had spent days roaming the Saharan desert with no vaseline on hand. My dermatologist told me that if my lips weren't chapped, the medication wasn't working, so I guess in some ways the dryness was a good thing....still not the most fun to deal with, though.

You can't be afraid of needles 


Because vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin--not water soluble like B or C--overloading on it has been known to cause liver damage. Because isotretinoin is a high concentration of vitamin A, it has the potential to mess with your liver function..which means your liver function must be monitored closely...which means blood tests. Lots, and lots, and lots of blood tests. Generally administered either once a month or once every other month for as long as you are on the treatment. Luckily, I am not afraid of needles, so this part didn't bother me as much--but it would've been nice to know beforehand!

Despite the debilitating side effects I experienced, I believe taking Accutane was the right decision for me--but that certainly doesn't mean that it's the right medication for everyone.

In the end, The one thing that I really wish I'd have known before I took Accutane was that...my pimples didn't make me ugly. they didn't make me unlovable, or any less than human. They were an impediment to my self-worth, and one I'm glad I got rid of, but with or without them, I remain the same person: strong and anxious, imperfect and beautiful.

Popular Right Now

Deadlines Are Not Important

The Deadlines Of Life Do Not Mean As Much As You Think


Deadlines are not important; the deadlines for work, school, and things related to that, those are important. Life's deadlines are not important. Society tells us that we must be married, have the perfect job, and have children by a certain age. A lot of the times we end up believing that if we do not do certain things by a certain time, we have failed or we are not doing as good as everyone else. The truth is, society's and life's deadlines are crap. There is no specific time to be married by, no specific time to have your perfect job by, and no specific time to have children by. These things should not be accomplished until you are ready and capable to accomplish them; this means that if you are not 50 until you have your perfect job, you are not 30 until you are married and you are not 40 until you have children, that is okay. There is nothing wrong with waiting, experiencing life, growing in who you are, and doing what you need to do first. A lot of people do not have their perfect job until later in life because if we are all honest here, that is one of the hardest things to figure out and hardest decisions to make. People stress so much because they have not met these certain deadlines of life that they have been told their entire lives they need to meet by a certain time. So often, the important things like a job, a marriage, and children are rushed and people end up miserable. There is no sense in rushing if you are not ready for it yet. When it comes to finding the perfect job for you, look around, find your interests, and figure out what you can spend years of your life doing; take your time and be patient. When it comes to marriage and having children, do not rush it, it is one of the worst things to rush; do it in the time frame you want to and make sure it is what you want. Take a deep breathe and stop freaking out; you have plenty of time. Instead of going by society's and life's deadlines, go by your own and base that off of your capabilities and your wants.


Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

You Know You're From Trumbull, CT When...

The best memories are made in this boring, little, Connecticut town.


1. The majority of places you will consider to eat at are in Fairfield or Westport... Colony, Shake Shack, Country Cow, Playa Bowls, BarTaco

2. But if you find yourself too lazy to get on 95 for food, Panchero's is the go-to... never Chipotle. If it is past midnight, the choice always comes down to the McDonalds in Monroe, where you are almost guaranteed to see a group of people you know, or Merritt Canteen.

3. Once you got your license, your Friday night plans consisted of picking up friends, driving up and down Main Street, and, somehow, always finding yourself at the THS parking lot seeing who's car is there because there is nothing better to do.

4. In the Fall, you couldn't wait for Friday so that after school you and half of your grade could walk to Plasko's Farm for ice cream and apple cider donuts... and hope you could get them before the owners would yell at you to leave. (This one only applies to Hillcrest Middle School kids, AKA the inferior middle school in town).

5. You couldn't wait to be a senior so you could officially lead the BLACK HOLE at football games... if you were even willing to go in the cold.

6. You looked forward to the annual Senior Scav, the last week of summer before your senior year where a list of tasks is passed down by the recently graduated class... the official kickoff to senior year.

7. You pass by Country Club Rd. and get flashbacks from the worst Cross Country practices ever. Driving up Daniels Farm Rd. in the Fall and Spring, you are conditioned to yell "hi" out the window to your friends at practice.

8. You knew someone who worked at Gene's gas station... and found yourself spending more time there on the weekends than you would like to admit.

9. You are convinced Melon-heads are real after frequenting Velvet St. to see the abandoned insane asylum with your friends, IF you didn't want to drive all the way up to Fairfield Hills in Newtown.

10. You have had/have been to at least one middle school birthday party at the Trumbull Marriott.

11. You know that the 25mph speed limit on Whitney Ave. is way too slow... and can't help but hit a little air going down the huge hill at the top.

12. The guy at Towne likely knows your name.

13. You never find yourself turning right out of THS... that side of town is irrelevant for those who do not live there.

14. You know to avoid the Merrit Parkway from 4:00-7:00pm at all costs.

15. You know more than you would like to about people you aren't even friends with... in a town so small, things get around very quick.

16. Going shopping really means going to Target, or any store in the mall, for the millionth time that week.

17. The marching band was the best in the state and you would see them practicing, literally, every time you drove by THS.

19. Depending on the side of town you lived, you spent a lot of time at Five Pennies Park or Indian Ledge Park.

20. You would say you couldn't wait to leave, but when you got to college, you find yourself excited to come back to your hometown so you can reminisce on old traditions and make new memories.

Related Content

Facebook Comments