How I Cleared Up My Skin (for Good!)

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I've had challenges with my skin since middle school. Whether it was acne, oil or texture issues, it seemed like there was always something keeping me from a clear completion. In today's post, I want to walk you through how I've treated my acne and the current product I'm using to maintain clear skin.

In case you didn't know, I'm not a dermatologist or doctor, so please consult your own to help with any of your skincare ailments. I want to share my experience after years of visiting a dermatologist and doing research, so I encourage you to do the same!  

Pacific Northwest Dermatology & Cosmetic Center is where I go and love it! 

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Getting Rid of Acne... Forever!

As I mentioned, I've had skin issues for a long time! I've been on practically every treatment under the sun from topical creams, pills, you name it. Various things helped, but nothing completely helped my acne go away. The type of acne I was experiencing was cystic acne, with is uncomfortable and can leave scaring - not good!

My dermatologists had recommended I go on Accutane (or Isotretinoin), but I had always balked at the suggestion. I had heard so many horror stories of the medicine's side effects that I was always just so worried about starting it. 

Last winter, I was finally so fed up with all of my efforts (both time and money), that I decided I would give Accutane a try. 

I was put on a 6-month treatment with the first month at a lower dose, and then months 2-6 at a 30mg twice a day. You can read about Isotretinoin here on wiki (and talk to your doctor!) but it essentially stops production of oil from your glands to treat acne. The biggest known side effect is that it causes dryness since your body isn't producing oil anymore. This was the side effect I noticed the most, both from a negative standpoint of severely dry lips (Dr. Dan's Corti Balm was my only savoir!) and positive to being able to go days between needing to wash my hair. 

The only other noticeable side effect that I had was achy joints. I only noticed this during or after exercise and then sometimes right when I woke up in the morning since my joints were stiff. It was manageable and tolerable, especially for the results I noticed! 

Keep in mind everyone's different, so again, talk to your derm about all of the potential side effects to see if it would be right for you. 

My skin started noticeably clearing up around months 2 - 3 of the treatment, and now immediately after, I'm acne free! It feels like such a relief after having terrible skin for so long, and I can now focus on skincare in a new way such as anti-aging!

 

My Skincare Routines

Since your skin type changes to DRY on Accutane, I wanted to share the products during my treatment that I found the most helpful, as well as what I'm transitioning to now that I'm off. You can shop all of the products down below!

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Routine on Accutane

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The goal on Accutane is to keep your skin hydrated and protected! Since it's fragile, sunscreen is a must! I was glad the majority of my treatment was during winter, since staying out of the sun when it's finally nice here in Seattle is hard! 

In the mornings on Accutane, I would gently wash my face with CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser (links to all of these products are below!), followed by Kiehl's Ultra Facial Moisturizer with SPF. For lips, I literally couldn't go without Dr. Dan's Corti Balm and Coola's Tan Lines when I was going outside for SPF protection. 

At night, I traded out moisturizers to the CeraVe Moisturizing Cream, sometimes including a few drops of Argan oil either straight or from Josie Maran's Milk. 

If I wanted to wake up ultra-hydrated (well, as much as you can be on Accutane), I would use Origin's Drink Up Intensive overnight mask. It also smells amazing! Sephora also has some great hydrating sheet masks that I would rotate through, but you want to make sure you only get hydrating ones, and not firming which can make you more dry!

The other savior was that I got a humidifier to sleep with! That constant flow of moisture into the air helped a lot overnight, and if it ever ran out, I would wake up like a raisin! I'll continue using it now even beyond my treatment, and recommend it regardless of if you're on Accutane.

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Routine Post-Accutane

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Now that my skin is slowly becoming more oily (in a good way, not like it was before!), I can start introducing new products to start working on anti-aging, redness reducing, and other new "problems." I love my new skin, and want to take care of it!

In the mornings, I still use the CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser, and now about 2-3 times a week, I'll use it with my Foreo Luna 2 for Sensitive Skin which helps exfoliate the skin. After, I'll mist with Mario Badescu Facial Spray and use La Roche-Posay Redermic C with SPF as a blast of nutrients. I picked up this one on a recent trip to France, but you can find it online here in the States.  

Following, I still use Kiehl's Ultra Facial Moisturizer, but have switched to a non-SPF formula since I like that consistency a bit better and I get my SPF via the La Roche-Posay product.

At night, I'll use a similar routine to when I was on Accutane, but have started slowly introducing other types of masks, such as Fresh' Vitamin Nectar. I still shy away from charcoal masks since I no longer have acne to get rid of and an still trying to blast hydration into my skin that's recovering from Accutane. 

The other introduction has been HUM's Flawless + Fearless supplements to keep any toxins away to maintain my complexion. 

You can shop all of these products below!

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Shop my Skincare Cabinet!

Again, Accutane is not for everyone, so talk to your dermatologist! Even if it's not right, they're your partner to find what's right for you to get rid of acne! It's been a very long journey for me, and I'm so thrilled to finally feel like I'm in a good place with my skin. I hope you learned something from this post, and comment below if you've gone through a similar experience or have any questions about mine.