The Loudmouth Protestant

December 1, 2007

The Accutane Account: Day 1 The Devil is a Liar

Yesterday was my first full day on Accutane. I made sure that I had a big lunch because I’ve read that meals high in fat ensure the pill’s maximum concentration. It was a great opportunity for me to order from one my favorite cheap Thai spot in the city, Viang Ping. Of course after taking the pill I didn’t notice anything, but when I got home later on in the night and took a shower, I came out to notice that I had what appeared to be new pimples. I freaked out for a bit, but I kept on saying that God is bigger than this and the chance that the pimples are from no more than six hours on the pill are very slim. While at a friend’s party later in the night I noticed that my lips were getting dry. It’s like I could feel them transforming into the dry chapped lips that everyone says is a side effect–this is the inescapable part. I am not sure if this is it or if the cold weather warrants it but I am prepared either way.

This morning I woke up and I felt very dry. Again, I momentarily wondered if this is part of the side effects in action already but then I realized, the heat is on full blast in my room, I was covered up all night long and I don’t have a humidifier so of course I feel dry. (Side note: My doctor told me that I should get a humidifier for my room, but I didn’t think I’d need it this soon.) Nevertheless I always struggle with being very dry internally in the winter because the heat pumping out of my NYC vents is treacherous. Regardless I kept the party going and tended to my morning business of unwrapping my hair.

As I unwrapped it I noticed hair falling all over the place–side effect of hair thinning is possible but on a smaller scale. As you can guess I momentarily freaked out–let me define what this means, I didn’t start screaming or crying, my freak out involves silence and contemplation but it is intense. I thought about why I could be shedding and I figured a few things, I am in need of a relaxer so my hair is quite thick at the roots and hard to comb through not to mention I did break a sweat last night while dancing so it could be a bird’s nest in there by now. I forget what my other reason was but I wrote it off as a new-growth issue and vowed to not worry about it until I go to my stylist next week to get my relaxer. Only then can I measure the amount of hair I am losing because if she notices it is more than usual shedding than we can be concerned.

So, that’s pretty much how the whole day and morning has gone so far. I just ate a nice fatty breakfast–I might be bound to gain some weight trying to eat these fatty meals–and I am ready to take my next pill. I realize at this moment that everything I have described is most likely more about my overactive imagination and a small part of me expecting these things to happen because the devil doesn’t want me to have confidence in God. Well, prior to my writing this I prayed to God to free me from self-diagnosis and continue to protect me. My mantra right now is: God is bigger than Accutane.

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19 Comments »

  1. i’ve been struggling to hear from God clearly on whether i should take accutane or not.
    it kind of seems like humans were not meant to have this much power.
    did you have any of these thoughts?
    how did accutane turn out?

    Comment by Hayden — December 28, 2008 @ 5:04 pm | Reply

    • Before I went on to Accutane, I was very prayerful and what I walked away with is that I needed to trust God more in the process. I was very focused on the side effects and the dangers to the point where I was letting the drug have control, but I felt God said to trust Him through the process because he was bigger than the side effects. And, you know what? He was. I took it for 7 months and had no major problems aside from my hair shedding. I stopped taking it in July and all has been well since then.

      Comment by loudmouthprotestant — December 31, 2008 @ 10:58 am | Reply

  2. black women considering taking accutane. Prior to accutane, i have long THICK hair. I took accutane for four months to get rid of oily skin and reoccuring pimples. I wish that i had consulted GOD before taking these pills. I have lost 50% of my hair. It was extremely dry, brittle and unusually thin. I have to admit i did become depressed because of the hair loss. yes, my skin did clear up but i lost so much hair that everyone notice it. i had to get a REALLY short cut and i started telling people i liked short hair cuts. I have been off of accutane for about 3 minutes and the thickness of my hair is gradually coming back but NOT the length. My acne is sort of creeping back on my face to which SUCKS. Hair loss on accutane is 100%. black hair needs OIL and if the oil STOPS, your hair STOPS growing, sheds and falls out. I will NEVER take this pills again EVER! I pray that there will be OTHER avenues to get rid of acne beside the drug. I had other minor side effects but losing the hair really did me in. NO relaxers will using this pill. It’ll destroy the last folicle.

    Comment by Lonnie — February 1, 2009 @ 9:43 am | Reply

  3. Lonnie, thank you for commenting. I am sorry that your experience on Accutane caused so many problems. In response to your post though, I have to let other people who read this know that everyone reacts to the medication differently. I too am an African-American woman and while my hair did shed while I was on Accutane and I did have to get a short cut, after I stopped taking it–this is after my 8 month trial was over–my hair grew back to its normal length and stopped shedding. My pimples have not come back. One may try to pop up every few weeks but it disappears the next day. Also, I consulted my dermatologist on getting relaxers while on Accutane and she said it was fine to do so. So you can get relaxers while on Accutane. She also told me to start taking Biotin 2500 which I did along with getting my hair deep conditioned with a moisturizing conditioner every two weeks. So, the long story short is, black women, keep your hair moisturized, if you go to a salon make sure you tell them what you are on so they can switch the products they use on you and start taking Biotin which can be purchased at any GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, Whole Foods or any grocery store.

    Comment by loudmouthprotestant — February 1, 2009 @ 10:10 am | Reply

  4. Thanks for allowing me to post. My message is for Lonnie and others in a similar situation. Before writing off accutane, please give your hair some time. I am an African-American female who underwent ‘tane therapy for acne back in 1996. I do recall my hair becoming more fragile and breaking during that time. I also did the short ‘do thing for a while, but post-accutane, my hair began to grow quickly. Within a yr after ‘tane, my hair was full, thick and long once more. 13 years later, my relaxed type 4 hair is still very thick and healthy, draping well past my shoulders. I get compliments on it all the time. Please don’t worry. More than likely, the hair loss is only temporary. Remember, it may take a few months, since hair grows only 1/2 inch or so per month. But those half inches add up fast, and before you know it, your glory crown will be glorious once more.

    God bless!

    Comment by Cyia Slappy — April 13, 2009 @ 4:25 am | Reply

  5. I read your blog for a long time and must tell you that your posts always prove to be of a high value and quality for readers.

    Comment by Heartburn Home Remedy — April 15, 2009 @ 8:08 am | Reply

  6. I just happened on you blog, after doing a search on the best topical antibiotic to use for cuts and scrapes when on Accutane. I had a “good feeling” inside when I noticed all the references to God. I am too a believer, and God to some extent I think has been a part of my experience with my life-long acne disease. I just want to say that it’s reassuring to know that a forum like this exist. Before I went on it, I prayed to God to guide me in the decision of going on Accutane. My acne was not severe enough to qualify for going on Accutane but it was persistent and reoccuring and no antibiotic worked. Most importantly, I was on birth control pills as part of a regimen to help my acne (never for it’s intended purpose which my sister and friends joke about) and I decided to get off of it because I wanted to start having regular periods and get the junk out of my system. You can only imagine what happened–for four months my dermatologist and I tried desperately to find a topical to control the “out of this world” cystic acne that surfaced right after abruptly stopping birth control pills. I do not want to be on birth control pills for the rest of my life and I do not think it should be used as medicine for acne. It’ my opinion for me, understanding ofcourse being a fellow acne sufferer that folks will (and have the right to) use whatever works for them to fight this disease. Anyway, I have had 3 wonderful months of clear, beautiful skin and for the first time in a long time I feel really beautiful. Men, who wouldn’t otherwise give me a second glance have been approaching me. “They are so fickle”, is what I think. You see while emotionally acne has scarred me, I never want to think that it’s beaten me. As a result of God’s blessings in my life, I have done just fine academically, professionally, and socially. Through this particular experience, I know that only HE has made the difference between a depressed 32 yr old and a successful one. That said, I have trust him to get through this process (yet another one, they don’t ever stop coming) with Accutane. I DO want the regimen to go fast, and pray that it will, because I do not like the side effects. I do not have any of very severe one thankfully but I have noticed that I get cuts and bruises very easily and episodes like playing with my cat
    result in battle scars on my legs and scars which do NOT heal beautifully. I actualy bought an oven mitt to play with cat, and have stopped allowing me to sit on my lap and jump on my bed. I had been dealing with it well until three nights ago when I got in really late from class, pretty much fell into bed, knew I had had a fitful night sleeping because when I woke I had scratched myself three times on my left cheek. Off accutane, they would have been inconsequential and healed within days. Not a problem. On accutane, they kept bleeding, would not stop, and I actually considered taking off that day. Anyway, three slightly bloody scars are forming and truthfully I am anxious about what the end results will be. Note, these are the only “blemishes” on my face (accutane has done WONDERS for my skin), and I will not cover them with makeup because it will delay the healing even more. Perhaps, I was becoming too vain with loving my radiantly “clear” beautiful skin and I needed to be punished (smile). Truthfully, I have accepted the fact that this is “life with my skin” and the adventure may be far from over. But I pray and trust God that I will get through Accutane, never never never have to go back on it, not accidentaly hurt myself so badly that I am left with “Accutane scars” (ironically this time not acne scars) while on it, and not ever have to resort to birth control pills to control my acne. I have an appointment with my derm in three days, will ask his advice, and I cut my nails really short since. Three more months to go, thank God for having gotten through yesterday.

    Comment by Liza — July 11, 2009 @ 9:39 am | Reply

    • Liza, thanks so much for stopping by. I hope that you continue to have a successful trial with Accutane-isn’t it funny that they call it that. I am a year off and I haven’t had any major breakout. When I got off of it I stayed on the birth control and was convinced that I needed that to keep my skin under the control. But one day I realized that just as I trusted God to get me through the Accutane season, I need to trust Him to get me through the seasons I’d spend without it and trust Him enough not to be on birth control. So I am a year clean off of Accutane and about 6 months clean off of birth control. My skin has remained clear with only little pimples here and there that are due to the summer weather and my dear old monthly friend. But it’s manageable, I can walk around without makeup and feel confident. I just believe in the efficacy of Accutane, but moreso in God’s efficacy to be a healer. It’s a process, but continue to trust in Him. He will see you through.

      Comment by Nicole Symmonds — July 12, 2009 @ 6:30 pm | Reply

  7. I’m happy I came across this site. I have had acne since puberty and now at the age of 26, I’m ready to be done with it. I am considering accutane, however, the long list of side effects is keeping me back. I also believe that God is a healer. I am torn between waiting for God to heal me or taking accutane and receiving my healing through this. I have an appointment with my derm on Tuesday, two days from now. Do I ask him to enter me, into the system to start accuntane or not. I have cycstic acne which is very stubborn to deal with. I’ve had to take time off work in order to get cortisone shots in the huge cysts which appear…GOd is able, should I trust that he’s able to get me through accutance also. or continue to wait with faith, that acne, will be no more..What was it like making the decision to take accutane?

    Comment by Elana — November 1, 2009 @ 10:20 pm | Reply

    • Hi Elana,

      It’s an interesting question that you ask because you could see it as a test of faith to believe that God could heal you of acne without the aid of products like Accutane. But what I learned today in church is that we must make the decision to act and if I were to apply it to your situation, I would say part of your acting is deciding to trust God to get you through the process. Before I went on Accutane, I tried lots of different products and I also prayed alot about my condition because it was one that I felt was crippling me socially. What I found was that God really guided me through the Accutane process and the list of side effect was not an issue. I didn’t have any of the serious side effects. No depression, so severe hair loss though my hair did shed and my skin was dry but that in unavoidable. Essentially none of the side effects are more than I could bear and that is all by God’s grace. Also during my Accutane trial–which lasted about 7 months, maybe 8, I was on birth control. This helped alot and I saw great results so much to the point where I was scared to not be on birth control but I decided to trust God for my continued healing and He has been a healer. So I say all of that to say, if you have peace about going onto Accutane after you meet with your doctor, go for it and trust God. Believe in His efficacy to see you through and you will be a ok. And if you have any questions about the process, please feel free to ask, I am here.

      Comment by loudmouthprotestant — November 1, 2009 @ 10:29 pm | Reply

  8. God is truly great. Yesterday, my pastor spoke about asking God for what you want. One of his points was that we have to move, we have to act. Many times God is waiting for us to move, for him to reveal his mighty works.It’s interesting that you mentioned this in your post. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

    Comment by Elana — November 2, 2009 @ 10:41 pm | Reply

  9. So the journey is about to begin. I will be starting accutane in Dec. When I went to my derm appointment, I felt at peace, not scared about what I was about to sign up for. Right now, I’m trying to prepare myself spiritually for this, so that if/when the going gets tough I’ll be prepared to battle it out with a whole lot of Jesus. He never gives us anything we can’t handle right. This is gonna be a testing of my faith in him. I’ll try my best to trust him in this,I don’t always rely on God like I should. There are still some not so great thoughts about the side effects swirling in my head every now and then, but I’ll keep pressing through. Stay blessed…

    Comment by Elana — November 6, 2009 @ 10:00 pm | Reply

  10. Hi,
    Just a quick update from my post on 11/6/09. I started Accutane last month, I’m on day 24 taking 40mg daily. I have had very minimal side effects. For the first week my face got this rash like breakout.Now I’m experiencing the dry lips, and dry skin. My face is not that dry as yet..but I am pleased that my face is definately less oily. Cetaphil daily moisturizer works well. Feels so good to not have to constantly blot oil off my face. I feel like my regular self. No tiredness, joint pain, no terrible breakout. My face is improving steadily, some days I have more breakouts than others. All these years suffering with acne, several dermatogists recommended Accutane. I was very hesitant because of all the side effects people talk about. I think it just was not the right time.When I decided to start Accutane, I felt at peace with the decision. Yes acne brought me, discomfort, countless doctor’s visits for cortisone shots, and much $$$ spent, but nothing happens before it’s time. God had to take me through these years, to lead me to where I am right now. Having acne definately caused me to see that it’s not all about the looks. The journey has began, and I know that God will take me through. I’m looking forward to the months ahead, the positive start has motivated me.I know the results may not be all great every week, but I will push through. It’s also very helpful to read blogs like this, and I’ve also watched a few YouTube videos of people’s progress.

    Comment by Elana — January 4, 2010 @ 9:03 pm | Reply

  11. Hi,

    I came across this site while doing some research on accutane. I have suffered with acne most of my life since high school, but it worsened greatly in the last few years. I have visited many sites and read numerous accounts on how accutane has impacted people, both positive and negative. My doctor and dermatologist recommended I try the treatment about a year ago. Out of fear, I declined and tried practically every other option I could. Still, no results to the severe cystic acne on my face. While I didn’t allow the acne to cause me to be an introvert, I am always self-conscious about it; especially when taking photos. Not long ago, my precious 11-year-old son came home obviously broken hearted. When I pried out what was bothering him, I learned that kids at school were commenting on how horrible my face looked. I am in my early 40’s so I know how mean people can be, and kids are well…kids. But to have my son impacted in this way was more heartbreaking and painful than than the actual acne. He knew there was a medicine I could take, but didn’t want me to take it so it wouldn’t hurt the baby brother/sister he is still hoping for (he’s an awesome kid). We are a Christian family, very active in our faith. I talked to my husband about it and told him I wasn’t afraid and I wanted to start the treatment. He supported my decision and agreed that this was an opportunity to truly excercise faith. Today, I got the new referral to see a dermatologist (the last one expired). The concerns began to rise and I started searching again and came across this site…I don’t believe it was just by chance. Thank you (all) for taking the time to share. I am encouraged as I look at starting this journey having faith in God and being able to connect with others who truly understand and offer sound support and input (the hair tips are priceless!). I have never typed on a blog, but I realize this is a blessing. Again, thank you for this forum. I will check back often and keep you posted on my journey. I appreciate your prayers and I will do the same for you. God Bless, Leecia

    Comment by Leecia — February 11, 2010 @ 11:34 pm | Reply

    • Leecia, thank you so much for stopping by and reading. I am really glad that you found this post and the comments really helpful and I encourage you to stop by often and let us know how you are doing. I have been off of Accutane for nearly two years now and my skin is still clear. I get the occasional pimple, but it is nothing that I can bear. There are days when I look at my face and I touch it and I thank God that he brought me through my Accutane trial because now I am truly comfortable in my skin, with or without makeup. I really do thank God for clear skin because it’s a blessing. Fear not as you go on the Accutane trial, but certainly just be mindful of your health and be diligent to follow all the instructions that come with it. I will keep you in prayer and I look forward to hearing all about your experience.

      Comment by loudmouthprotestant — February 12, 2010 @ 10:37 am | Reply

  12. I am a loooooog time acne sufferer since I was in the 6th grade and I am now a 41 yo woman and never knew what it was like to have clear skin so I’m so gr8ful I found this site. I was googling trying to find information about affects of getting hair relaxed while on accutane. I started accutane a week ago and so far so good, mostly what’s going on now is the dry lips and a few minor breakouts (nothing major) but seeing a reduction in oil (YEAH!). I also am a child of God and prayed b4 I started that I would not have big issues with the drug and that it would do what it is suppose to do. I already hadthin hair and thin edges (from years not taking care of my hair like I should have) b4 accutane and a month b4 I started accutane i had already started working on growing my hair out and gettting it back by taking biotin and using the Nu Gro system which includes DAILY moisturizing and conditioning at least once a week and that has been going good. i can see my edges filling in and I have gotten some thickness and length i my hair. I use to be a every 6 week retouch person but i have gotten my hair to go 2 months to 2 1/2 months and may try to go a little longer (will have to see how it goes). But my last retouch was about 3 to 4 weeks b4 I started accutane and really not sure if i could go 4 to 5 months while on accutane b4 i get a rrelaxer. I know I’m new on accutane but so far i have not had any problems with shedding which I feel is b/c of the biotin and daily moisturizing, my scalp does not have a chance to get dry with using the Nu Gro. But i was concerned about the relaxer and the reason I was searching the web and so GLAD i came across your site and saw some encouraging info about getting a relaxer while on accutane. My dermatologist is good but she is white an a bit out of touch and i really don’t think she would understand the concept of black women and relaxers but she has been very good with treating my skin, i will give her that. So once again I thank you for your info on your expoerience with relaxing and accutane, has been very helpful. I will try to keep you updated as to how it’s going. Lov&Blessings 2 ya!

    Comment by Tara — January 20, 2011 @ 11:48 pm | Reply

  13. This forum was a God send! I started my treatment 10 days ago and I am trusting God along the way. My face is dry, peeling and I am breaking out terribly along my chin, jawline and neck. I know My Heavenly Father will see me through this. I have read the comments and I appreciate all of the information. It really gives me something to look forward to.

    Comment by Kesha — November 29, 2012 @ 12:01 am | Reply

    • I am glad you found it helpful and I hope that you will continue in the Accutane process in trust. Those first few weeks are hard, but not completely unbearable. Just continue to trust in God and also surround yourself with genuine people

      Comment by nickisym — June 13, 2013 @ 5:21 pm | Reply


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