Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Doctor’s name and location: Dr. Esterson of Esterson Dermatology Pikesville, Maryland
How Much I paid: $10 per Accutane refill and $20 per doctor’s visit (your cost will be dependent upon your insurance coverage)
My skin story
I suffered from acne for as long as I can remember! I can really think back to elementary school- being teased and ridiculed for not having perfect skin, as any child should. My skin was always a problem for me- bumpy, uneven, oily…my list could go on. I guess because I always had bad skin, as I grew into a teenager and then into an adult, I never tried to do anything about it. I thought my acne was just part of my DNA- that it was something I was born with and wouldn’t be able to get rid of. I tried all of the over the counter skin systems like Proactiv, but none of it ever worked for my cystic acne, so I gradually stopped trying.
What finally made me want to do something about my horrible skin?
During the summer of 2015, I broke out really bad. It was more than just my typical bad skin. I had huge, sore, cystic acne. My face was covered in hyperpigmentation. I thought maybe a few face masks and some more skin systems would work but it didn’t help. I didn’t look or feel like myself. So, I went onto YouTube and I started to research how other people dealt with their cystic acne. Then, I stumbled across Accutane! Once I discovered Accutane I was obsessed with it! I kept searching for other patients before and after pictures and videos. I was amazed at how clear their skin was after 6 months! The results were insane! After 6 months, these patients looked like different people. I was convinced. I made an appointment for my local dermatologist and wanted to get started right away!
If you’ve done extensive research on Accutane like I did, I’m sure you’ve read about the many side effects it can have- dry skin, suicidal thoughts, depression, birth defects etc. I am thankful to say that throughout my entire 6 month Accutane journey, I only experienced the dry skin side effect. My skin was so dry I can hardly explain it! Specifically, my lips and nose. If you’re starting your Accutane journey, keep a very thick lipgloss or chapstick near you at all times! Vaseline doesn’t work. Carmex doesn’t work. You need something super thick that won’t dry easily. I probably applied lipgloss to my lips every 5 minutes- no exaggeration. Oh, and my nose! This may be TMI- but my nose developed so many boogers and crust inside all the time due to the dryness. It was extremely annoying. A bit of Vaseline in my nostrils helped with nose dryness.
Pesky blood tests
I would say the worst part about being on Accutane were the annoying blood tests that I had to take every single month! Your doctor will not write your next month’s prescription until the blood test results come back. The purpose of the blood tests are for a few things: 1) to make sure you are not pregnant while taking Accutane 2) to ensure that your liver is functioning properly 3) to ensure that other body parts are functioning properly. I dreaded going to get my blood drawn every single month. And when you go, they draw about 4 capsules of blood! And the needle is huge! Definitely not for the faint at heart. It is impossible to take Accutane without the blood tests. So, if you are someone out there who doesn’t like needles, I suggest you get over that fear pretty quickly.
My overall experience with Accutane was AMAZING! I cannot stress enough how grateful I am for my doctor and the medicine! I had hardly any issues throughout my 6-month journey. I never got depressed or suffered from suicidal thoughts and, the medicine actually worked!! My skin has NEVER looked better. It almost has a “glass” look to it. Accutane not only cleared my acne, but my dark spots and hyperpigmentation too. I know everyone’s journey will be different, but, it is worth it! You will gain confidence that you never knew you had.
My doctor and office visits
There’s not much to say about my doctor or my monthly doctor’s visits. Each visit was very routine. Every appointment, she took pictures of my face to save in my patient file. She also reviewed my blood test results. She always checked my liver tests to make sure everything was okay. The liver test and pregnancy test were the most important to her. She would write me another prescription and then I would see her again the following month.
Life after Accutane
I was so scared to end Accutane because I thought that the moment I stopped taking those pills, my acne would come right back- full force! But it didn’t! I’ve been off of Accutane for almost 3 years now and my skin is still amazing. I may get a zit or 2 here or there, but the acne and dark spots are completely gone! Accutane really changed my life! I never thought my skin would be able to look like this!