The Penny

Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.

[Tuesday, June 16, 2009]

Lip Drama

If it's that bad for a fetus (and it IS), what kind of harm is it doing to me?

That is a question I am choosing not to examine too closely. I have been on Accutane for 22 days, and I saw the effects almost immediately. Notice that I did not say "results;" I said "effects." My skin has not become clearer, and I did not expect it to. My dermatologist, Dr. Damm, educated me about the possible side psychological side effects of Accutane, and he impressed upon me the importance of not becoming pregnant while the drug is in my system. But he neglected to mention the less serious but quite annoying side effects. After three days on Accutane, my face started flaking off. I thought it was just getting the way it does sometimes and needed exfoliation, so I used a Vitamin C scrub. Big mistake! It hurt badly, so I was more careful after that. The dryness continued to get worse, and I began using moisturizer 3-4 times each day (normally I don't really need moisturizer). That did not help, and the moisturizer stung my skin. I switched from my fancy oil-free Kiehl's to a less fancy Aveeno skin calming moisturizer, which helped. I am now down to two applications each day and it's not terrible as long as I don't touch my face and get something going. Sort of like when you have a sunburn: if you peel a little, you'll be stuck peeling a lot, and then you'll be in pain and looking foolish.

Speaking of sunburns, that brings me to my next annoying side effect: dry lips. Dry does not begin to describe it. Painful, red, burning, peeling lips. I was not expecting this, so I was not prepared for it. If I had been proactive in using what I am using now, maybe it would not have gotten so bad. But I have never had a problem with dry lips. Normally I use lip balm maybe once before bed (unless I'm in Utah and it's winter time). I use Burt's Bees, because that's what Laynie uses. I'm not particular. Well, I wasn't.. now I am! Burt's Bees stung my lips and probably made it worse. I tried an old Aveeno lip balm I had in my desk at work. It was better than the Bees stuff, but I still had to use it way too often. On Friday (almost three weeks on Accutane), I was using the Aveeno lip balm 2-3 times each hour, and my lips were still bothering me.

It became worse over the weekend. By Sunday afternoon, I was using the lip balm every 2-5 minutes. And my lips constantly felt like they were burning. It got to where the smooth Aveeno lip balm actually felt rough on my lips. I was feeling desperate. So I went to Wal-Mart (between this and my IHOP comments, it looks like I shop on Sundays, which I normally do not... sigh) and bought practically every moisturizing lip product they had, as well as diaper rash creams. Someone on the internet suggested that for severely dry lips. It sounded disgusting, but, like I said, I was desperate.

After trying several products, I settled on Carmex. It stung when I put it on, but then it felt better than the rest. I was able to use it every 15 minutes or so and suffer through. By this time, little blisters had formed on my lips. I used Boudreaux's Butt Paste (great name) overnight, which felt decent. But it is an opaque gray paste, so it wasn't exactly a good remedy for the day time.

I used the Carmex on Monday, but I didn't feel like my lips were improving. I was in quite a bit of pain. After work on Monday, I went online and searched specifically for Accutane and dry lips, and I found a multitude of complaints of varying severity. Looks like my case was pretty severe as far as dry lips, but other people had a lot worse side effects, like hair loss. Yikes. Anyway, one person suggested Aquaphor. I thought that was like a lotion... I remembered it as a greasy lotion that came in a tub, which I used on Morgan's eczema when she was a baby. Well, worth a try. Monday night, I went to the grocery store and got some. Aquaphor is the best! I am using it about every hour at this point, and while it does sting a little if I put it on dry lips, it seems to be improving things rather than just being a stopgap measure, like the lip balms. And it has the added bonus of looking like I have on super shiny lip gloss. Whatever. I guess that if things don't get any worse, I can handle this. I only have severe pain now after I eat, because the lip stuff gets wiped off.

I have an appointment with Dr. Damm on Monday, and I will bring it up with him.

After all this, the Accutance had better clear up my skin!


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