Lot 48: acutane: a review

December 19, 2013

acutane: a review

i'm not ashamed or weirded out at all to talk about this. its not like i am talking about a review for an anti depressant or something.  probably several of you reading this have been on acutane or know someone who has.

i was really terrified to do acutane.  i had heard so many horror stories and it just sounded really scary.  the side effects! THE SIDE EFFECTS! depression! (didn't get it) lips falling off! (not me) achy joints! (yes, definitely had that) nose bleeds! (um, yes, yes and yes i had that) non oily hair! you don't have to wash your hair for days! (yes, please).  All the side effects seemed scary (except the last one ;)) And it wasn't nearly as bad as i imagined.  it actually wasn't that bad.

i started the drug in july.  see the picture above? just a friendly reminder that you CANNOT get pregnant while on acutane.  i had to go get blood tests every month before my prescription would be refilled to make sure i wasn't pregnant.  i also had to see my dermatologist each month before he would refill my prescription. they meant business. apparantly your baby could have a really deformed head and some brain problems if you conceive a baby while on acutane. i had to literally sign 6 consent forms before i started, saying i would not get pregnant and that i wouldn't give blood (can't give blood.) i also had to declare what if i was either practicing abstinence or using birth control. also, once you take the blood test and see your doctor, you have to take a quiz.  yes, a quiz. on the dangers of acutane. and if you fail the quiz, you have to take it again. once you have done your blood work, seen your doctor and taken the quiz, then the pharmacy can fill your prescription.  they give you one month's supply at a time.  you take acutane for 5 months.

and don't even get me started on the cost of acutane.  it is craaaazy.  retail price is $1300 for one month supply.  so... if you don't have insurance that will cover it.... sorry..

the side effect that effected me the most was the nose bleeds.  it was rough the first two months.  i had to be really dilligent with putting saline solution in my nose every four hours, or i WOULD start bleeding.  it also dried your nose up like a desert which was uncomfortable so i had to constantly put this special aloe vera in my nose.  after two months, the bleeding stopped but whenever i blew my nose, there were still a lot of blood clots in there. (tmi?)

the achy joints was a problem too.  it would hurt to bend over.  or run. especially run.
i also got these really yucky red dry spots, kind of like eczema, on my bicep area.  i also got really dry on the top of my hands, like tiny little dry spots.

so even though i have taken my last pill, i am not out of the woods yet! acutane remains in your system for one month after your last pill.  so you still have to not get pregnant and not give blood until one month after you finish acutane.  also, i will still get sunburned super easy (so on my honeymoon to the Caribbean, i will have to wear long sleeve shirts and put spf 50 on every two hours or i will turn into a lobster), and i still can't get eye brow waxes until six months after i finish acutane. which is annoying. waxing is so much easier than plucking.  my doctor also said i will still have redness in my complexion for a while, so he said i won't really know what my skin will look like until Easter.  Man, this stuff is intense, huh?  i actually was going to start acutane back in february but i got scared because i had heard so many horror stories. the prescription was ready at the pharmacy and everything, but i chickened out and never picked it up.  by summer my zit infested face was really starting to bother me, so i sucked it up and made the plunge.  and am so glad i did! it was TOTALLY WORTH IT.  take a look.

 this was me a year ago

and this was me a few weeks ago!

ta-da! victory! clear skin forever! and i literally mean forever. acutane clears up your skin for life.  except when you're pregnant. acutane can't stop zits popping up when you're growing a baby.  
so there you have it.  acutane: REVIEWED! 
i highly highly recommend it. it really wasn't as miserable as i expected.  
ps. if you want to see some really crazy awesome results, google acutane and look at the images. CRAZY stuff. my change wasn't as dramatic.


  1. I'm jealous! I wanted to go on acutane in college and my doctor wanted to try other things first. Things got better for a while but it's been really bad lately. Maybe I need to go ask AGAIN.

    1. yeah, i had to try EVERYTHING like literally every single acne medication in the world before they let me go on it. and also, insurance won't pay for it until you have tried everything and reached your deductible. we hadn't reached our deductible yet when we started but my parents wanted me to do it and pay out of pocket because my mom needed foot surgery but we had to reach our deductible first. so acutane got us there and she was able to have her surgery! its all very complicated, the process of getting approved to even go on acutane.

  2. I did accutane about 4 years ago and it was a miracle cure for my acne. Being on accutane was not fun for me- I remember the dry, bloody nose, like you mentioned, and I also had really dry, peeling lips. It was really embarrassing to talk to people and feel the need to apply chapstick every two minutes because talking dried out my lips. I got only a little depressed, but since I knew it was because of the medication, I kept it in check. The blood tests every month- not so fun. I kept getting stuck with the phlebotomist who complained of hot flashes. But, I'm happy with how clear my skin has been since. I do miss being able to go a week without shampooing!

    1. I love hearing about other people's experiences with acutane! it sure is a miracle worker! but my friend did tell me she has been on it twice and it has made no effect on her skin! poor girl! i thought it worked on everyone! i LOVE your blog Rachel! thanks so much for stopping by! i feel like a celebrity just contacted me :)


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