Conquering My Acne

I’m guessing you’re expecting a wonderful post about some miracle, natural home remedy acne solution that I’ve found and has cleared up my acne in no time flat. But that’s not the case. Well, I guess that depends how you see it. About 6 months ago, I made the decision to go on Accutane. I actually talked about it in a post once to get second opinions from people. Most of the opinions were negative but I also saw many positive ones. So once I started taking accutane, I decided to keep that info out of my blog so I wouldn’t have other people’s opinions changing my own.

So let’s go back to the beginning. I’ve always had a little bit of acne. Nothing to get super upset about, but enough that I saw a dermatologist when I was in high school, when I was in college, and after college. But it wasn’t until I started CrossFit and was competing, that my acne got out of control. And when I say out of control, I mean it was incredibly painful to the touch. I had bad cystic acne that hurt when I was just putting on make up. But since the acne was so bad, putting on make up was my only choice. I’m not sure if it was CrossFit that changed my complexion, but I’m almost certain it had to do with it because of the changes in estrogen and other hormones.

Anyways, after trying many different home remedies such as oil pulling and oil cleansing, changes to my eating habits, removing fish oil from my diet, consuming cod liver oil, and different essential oils, I decided to try some prescription strength drugs. After trying spironolactone and other prescription drugs as well as topical medication, I was finally at a loss. It had been almost 3 years of fighting this cystic acne that was going to lead to much worse scarring if I didn’t do something about it. So I decided to try Accutane out and my dermatologist immediately agreed.

Accutane is a high dose of vitamin A, that you take on a daily basis. Most treatments, like mine, are around 6 months. Some people have to do multiple sessions, but not everyone. Accutane is taken very seriously by not only the doctor, but also the state. It is a state regulation that you must be on birth control while taking Accutane because the birth defects are so awful. There are also other side effects such as depression, muscle and joint pain, extremely dry skin and eyes, and a whole hell of a lot of other things, but those are the things I experienced. The process is quite tedious. Here’s the process you go through every month: get your birth control (remember, no babies), get your blood drawn so they can check that your liver is just fine, then go to the doctor a couple days later where you have to do a urine test to make sure you’re not pregnant, then you get your prescription, then you have to take a test online all about practicing safe sex, once you pass that test, you can then drop off your prescription to finally get your month supply. Then do this many more times until you are off the medication. Annoying, but so worth it in my opinion.

You may be asking why the hell I’m even writing about this on a paleo recipe blog. Which is understandable. But I want to share my experience with people who are trying so hard to change their diet to fix their body issues, and those things are just not working. The more I’ve eaten paleo, the more I’ve found out how many things can be cured through diet alone. I rarely get sick, I sleep better, I have more energy, my depression went away. So many things can change through diet, but my acne did not seem to be one of them. And if it was, it would have taken me YEARS and many scars to find out those reasons. I’m sharing all this information with you in hopes that if you are ever thinking about taking this prescription drug, you have another opinion. A positive one.

I had a truly positive experience with the drug. Not to say that I didn’t have some ups and downs, but most of my 6 month experience was a good one. Here were some of my symptoms:

  • The worst symptom by far has been dry lips. You know when you get a sunburn and it peels? Well imagine that happening every single hour, of every single day, for 6 months. It was miserable. By far the worst thing. Not having chapstick on hand truly felt like a meth addict not having his drug. Terrible description, but that’s seriously how it felt. I rarely stop biting or picking at my lips. I have a new habit I need to break.
  • Dry skin and red skin. Mostly my face was the only thing that got dry, but it was also my ears, my nose and my hair. So I exfoliated my face daily with one of those soft bristle face rotating brushes. A cheap one. And moisturized a lot. I didn’t stop wearing make up until my skin settled down after the second month, I was too embarrassed.
  • Dry, breaking hair. My hair thinned out and my hair stylist said it seemed to be breaking easily. After 4 months, that passed and my hair got a lot better. Wish it would have affected my leg hair, that would have been cool.
  • My joints and muscles hurt A LOT about 3-5 months in. Workouts were much more uncomfortable to the point that it hurt to walk. That passed after 5 months.
  • Moody and depressed. I got REALLY depressed about 4 months or so into the accutane. I mean, depressed to the point that I couldn’t get off the couch. I couldn’t figure out why I was sad or what was wrong, but I was so unhappy. I fought some depression when I was growing up, so I was more likely to have some while on the drug. It went away with time.
  • Super red face. I’m pale when I stay away from the sun, so my neck and my face were completely opposite colors. Weird looking.

So I’m going to share some pictures with you. Disclaimer: these pictures may be frightening. And I’m sure some mean people out there will leave mean comments that will bum me out, but I want to share with you what a huge difference the medication made. I no longer have any acne, only red scars remain, which should go away over time. If they don’t all go away, I plan on doing some chemical peels and/or laser treatment to get rid of the scars.

first month of starting accutane – frightening (oh hi Laura!!)
2 months in – acne diminished a ton
5 months in – redness began to get much worse but skin kept smoothing out
6 months in – finished with the medication
finished with medication – redness is starting to clam down (with make up on)

In the end, I am incredibly happy with the results of accutane and extremely happy that I went on the prescription. I’m not sure what will happen in the future and if I will have to get back on it, but I know that my acne will never be as bad or as painful as it was in the past. This prescription has done wonders for me and if anyone ever asked me, I would recommend it to them. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! But remember, this prescription affects everyone differently. Just because I had a good experience doesn’t mean someone else will. Thanks for listening. You’re my favorite. Please feel free to share your experiences, but do not hate on me for sharing my own experience with it. Kthanksbye.

Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.

I’m a food hoarder. And a really bad dancer. If you don’t know me well, you will probably not understand my humor. Therefore, I apologize ahead of time. Thanks for listening to my ramblings of my ever-changing life and trusting my kitchen mishaps. Your trust in me is appreciated.


390 thoughts on “Conquering My Acne”

  1. Hi Juli. I went through two courses of accutane when i was 13 and 17. I had bad, cystic acne as well. The difference was amazing, both times, after taking the drug. Unfortunately, for me, it still comes back here and there. It’s nothing like it was when I was younger, but I am now 37 and it still haunts me. The cystic stuff is mostly on my back and shoulders now, so at least my face mostly just looks the way it did when acne first started. I can live with it and be happy with me. I hope that your journey with acne hell is over. I would not wish this on anyone.

    1. Hey Meg! As you can see from all of these comments, you’re not alone in the continuous fight against adult acne! I would love to introduce you to Rodan + Fields. These skin products were created by the same doctors that created proactive but were created specifically for adult skin issues. It has done wonders for my sister and her adult acne & acne scars!!

      Check out the website here: and shoot me an email at

      We can further discuss what would work for you specifically and I would love to give you a 10% discount with free shipping!

  2. So happy for you! I had PERFECT skin all through high school and early 20s. There was nothing. And then the more I worked out and ate healthy, the worse my skin was. Same as you, big, painful cystic acne all over. It was almost 2 years before I finally got it under control. Now I am so excited for the scars to fade.
    Awesome you have been so open. I was actually reading your old post the other day! You look gorgeous!

  3. I am glad you found something that worked for you! Acne is embarrassing. You obviously are a smart person who knew the pros and cons of Accutane, and you made an educated decision about taking it. I am really happy for you that your skin is better. I hope it never comes back! Down with acne!!

  4. I love all of your post…The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly! Keep doing what you are doing…you are such an inspiration to me!

  5. I went on accutane in high school, and I often tell people that it was hands down the best decision of my life. People have such strong opinions about the drug, especially people that haven’t tried it. I’m so glad you had a very positive experience with it as well!

  6. I took accutane in high school because my face looked a mountain range covered in oil. I can agree about the dry lips part because I would literally have to remember not to open my mouth to wide when I woke up because my lips would crack and bleed (sorry, super gnarly I know). I also was super sensitive to light and a little moody. The end definitely justified the means.

    I agree that if your acne is bad to the point of pain and you’ve tried urrythang else, get after accutane. The drug is great, the process is not.

    Also, invest in blistex, and by in invest I mean go to costco and buy those bamas out of whatever they have, you’ll need/crave it.

    Good luck,

  7. Im so happy for you that you have found a remedy for something that is troubling to you. I think your are beautiful with or with out acne, and I love your whit and that you share so much of your self with your “fans” followers.

  8. Thanks for the post. If anyone is trying to eat a healthy, clear skin diet – it’s you. As much as we need to be informed about our diet, health and environment, sometimes medications are there for a reason. Glad you’re able to step off the meds for a while and hope your system takes over the maintenance!

  9. Wow!!! what a difference, the skin looks flawless! I can only imagine how excited you are! I totally destoryed my face this weekend, i have a wicked bruise from picking at my cheek and i see it when i look down. 🙁 boo.

    (p.s… love laura’s shirt!)

  10. WOW!!! Your skin looks fantastic! I’m glad Accutane worked for you. I went through two rounds of Accutane myself about 10 years ago. My skin cleared up 100% for about 6 months, but then my skin started breaking out again. It is nowhere near as bad as before I went on Accutane, though. I still suffer from a couple side effects from the drug, but I knew what I was getting myself into, and it sounds like you educated yourself about it, too. People who haven’t suffered from severe cystic acne just don’t understand the intense physical and psychological pain we endure on a daily basis. Good for you for doing what was best for you!

  11. Juil

    I think you are absolutely stunning !
    I think you have one of the best smiles out there, and could only imagine the impact you leave on the people lifes around you.

  12. You are incredibly brave for posting this, and I have the utmost respect. People that have never suffered from cystic acne do not understand the pain, embarrassment and overall diminishing feelings of self worth that come from it. When I say suffer, I mean SUFFER. People that get one people here and there, would never really understand the fear of going out in public. I worked out a lot too while I had my cystic acne, and would hide my face the entire time.
    I had really bad acne on and off for years that came to a peak at around 22-24 when it became a full fledged cystic onslaught. It was so painful: to the touch, smiling hurt, make-up didn’t work–so forget going to the beach or the pool.
    My doctor put me on spironolactone and birth control, which actually worked for me.
    The next step would have been accutane, but the spiro worked. I’ve been off it for a while now, and now only have regular people pimples on occasion–usually before i start my monthly cycle. I hope to never have to deal with cystic acne again!

    Congratulations to you and I wish you the best!


  13. I has horrible cystic acne that came on very suddenly when I turned about 20. Nothing worked for it. I tried to cover it with make up. I used to work in customer service and random customers would bluntly ask what was wrong with my face. I finally convinced my derm to let me try Accutane. BINGO! That was the answer! I had to take two more courses of it in my mid-twenties. I think my hormones have calmed down since I’ve gotten older, I’m 29 now, so I haven’t had to take it since. But anyway … I commend you for sharing your experience and anyone who has anything negative to say about you taking Accutane has clearly never had to deal with cyctic acne … and the stares and the physical pain … and the emotional pain … and not wanting to leave the house because of how their face looks. You are awesome. F*!k the haters!

  14. You look great!!! I can’t imagine how frustrating your acne was but I’m glad you were able to take care of it. Whatever works for you is all that matters.

  15. Thanks for sharing! I’m an esthetician, so I love to hear/see what ppl are doing. First I have to say, NICE BROWS! haha. But really.
    I’ve had several clients turn to Accutane for their acne. One thing you need to be aware of is a long-term side effect, which I think you can really lessen… my clients reported developing IBS or other stomach issues. So probiotics and fermented foods will be important for your healing process. (Did you know most of our neurotransmitters live in the gut? And when there is unbalance there, one common symptom is depression/anxiety?)
    But good job being proactive and not stopping until you got what you wanted! Every body is different and we all must find our own ways. xx

    1. Couldn’t agree more! You definitely have to protect your gut after Accutane. I learned that lesson years after taking it, I wish I’d known at the time, but I’m taking steps to heal my gut now at least.

    2. same here. accutane, birth control and antibiotics made for a very unhealthy gut. working on that now with ferments, probiotics, bone broth and fermented cod liver oil.

  16. I used accutane when I was a 17. The results where nothing short of a miracle. I am now 43 and only get an occasional blemish during my period. Thanks for sharing your story. I had been wondering if I was Paleo when I was a teenager if it would of made a difference.

  17. I’m so happy this worked out for you 🙂 I just wanted you to find a solution. I went through the same process (with a different drug) and don’t regret a second of it. Not saying its for everyone but I’m glad I tried it even though I was resistant for so long.

  18. It’s a very personal decision and I am happy with how the treatment worked out for you! I was borderline going to go on Accutane, but I managed to find an alternative way to control my acne. Now I am just going to get a chemical peel or two to get rid of some final, superficial pink marks. The one thing I will recommend (at the advice of a friend of mine who took Accutane), is to really watch your joints, because you are aware of how this drug can affect them. I don’t do Cross-Fit myself, but I know how intense it can be, so ease back into it and take care of yourself 🙂

  19. Thank you for taking the time to write this post and for sharing your pictures! I have battled acne since junior high and I’m now 34 and still having problems. I switched to a Paleo diet 6 weeks ago and I’m already noticing huge improvements. Unfortunately for me, Accutane didn’t work. I tried it twice and had severe reactions both times that dermatologists have never noted before. I had pustules all over my face and the dermatologist couldn’t understand why. It hurt to open my mouth and the doctor said it looked similar to a case of folliculitis. I’m left with horrible scarring that I really want to get treated with laser/chemical peels provided the Paleo diet continues to work for me. I tried Accutane the first time, had horrible results then we decided to try it again 2 years later at a much smaller dose just to see if it could possibly still work for me. Unfortunately it was the same reaction. Right now I’m left with a lot of scarring and I just hate it. The Paleo diet is helping and I’m also taking progesterone cream because I’ve had bad results with different types of birth control, severe mood swings, weight gain, etc. I think you are beautiful in your before picture and beautiful in your after picture. 🙂 I hope no one is shallow enough to post a negative comment for someone that was so honest and brave to share her story. You certainly helped me a lot.

    Take care,

    1. Kim,

      I, too, have been on Accutane a few times. I have struggled until recently with breakouts again! I have something that you may be interested in to help your skin. I haven’t been to the dermatologist in quite a while now! Lmk if you are interested!

  20. I used it a few years ago, wouldn’t have traded it. There’s a lot to say for people that live with acne- takes self image to a whole new horrible.

  21. I love that you posted this! *high five* it seems that nowadays everyone is sooo dramatic about being paleo (or ocm or no poo, etc.) that people forget they need to do what works for them and it’s not “bad” if you stray from the way that certain gung-ho folks think it should be. Thanks for sharing!

  22. Thank you for sharing such a personal experience. I finished accutane in July. I admit that I didn’t not have cystic acne like yours, but it was persistent and did not get better with a paleo diet and lifestyle. I am positive that by following a nutrient dense diet while on accutane prevented so many of the scary side effects. I did stop crossfit during the process because of the synovial fluid changes in my joints. Over all the only side effects I expereiced were the dry skin and lips and redness. I was even able to sunbath without any burning.

    For anyone thinking about it or on the prescription… Water is more important than ever! Coconut oil and tallow were my go moisturizers.

    Thanks again for sharing Juli! I felt so guilty taking a prescription for something so many other paleo-doers clear up with diet. It just wasn’t happening for me… Or you either it sounds like

  23. Interesting! I too have suffered from severe acne for a while, which got worse with the painful cystic acne after starting Paleo. I have found mine was hormonal of all sorts, but my naturopath put me on 100,000 IUs of Vitamin A with the disclaimer of NO BABIES. He said as soon as it started to clear up to ween myself off the Vitamin A so now I am completely off. I didn’t have to be on it very long. But I am also taking zinc which made a huge difference. After having all my vitamin/mineral/hormone levels tested he was able to pinpoint what what causing the acne. Glad you got yours figured out. I know what you are going through…it’s the most embarrassing and painful thing ever.

    1. Meghan,
      Thanks for sharing. How did your naturopath end up figuring the root cause? I am planning to go and would like to understand possible paths they take me on.

  24. My husband and my son have both used Accutane and did see great results–the side effects can be rough but in the end it was worth it. it is a little scary taking a drug with a skull and cross bones on it! LOL You look great–happy for you!

  25. I am very proud of you my cousin! And I never noticed that it was that bad…you have always been beautiful inside and out to me. Many hugs and love to you!

  26. Hey girl! I admire you for being so brave and sharing your story! I never had a problem with acne until I turned 25. Adult acne sucks and I’d do ANYTHING to get rid of it. Unfortunately, no health plan = no prescription remedy. I’m not sure what you use now that you’re maintaining but I’ve found Coalface soap from LUSH cosmetics and EAU ROMA toner have done WONDERS for my skin! 🙂

  27. Thank you for sharing your story.. It’s not easy to expose parts of ourselves that we try to hide from the world. You are inspiring. People are stigmatized for so many things in this world and its refreshing and wonderful to know that we can break down those walls.

    Thank you!

  28. You poor thing to have dealt with this for so long. Thank you for sharing and being so brave by posting pics so that you can help someone else. PS- I would KILL for your eyebrows!

  29. Good for you! Your skin looks wonderful! I had cystic acne as a teen – I understand how painful it is. I have the scars to prove it – or at least I can see them, every once in a while I get “you have such beautiful skin”. Yeah- thats the benefit of being a greasy teen – I am almost 40 an not a wrinkle in sight!

    Try Creme de La Mer for the remaining scaring. Its ridiculously expensive – go get a sample first (the sample will last you longer than you think) a jar will last about a year.

    Now- don’t listen to the mean people! (screw the pale police!) Your body – your choice.
    Thanks for sharing.

  30. Good for you! It takes a lot of guts and courage to post pictures and talk about personal things that don’t thrill you online. I am sure it helps more people than you know!
    I also have been on accutane – twice (8 and 6 years ago). Like you, I tried so so so many things, nothing else worked. As awful as being on that medication was, it was a life saver. I still get an occasional blemish, but my skin is like night and day. I have been eating Paleo for about 2 months, and I do feel like my skin looks better – smoother maybe?
    Anyway – thanks for the always fun blog posts!

  31. Thank you. I have been beating myself up for the last few months b/c I am not seeing all of the magical skin results that are said to come from eating paleo. I eat a very clean paleo diet and have seen so many benefits – but my skin hasn’t been one of them. I’ve been using an all natural skin care line that I truly believe in – and I want so badly for it to work, but I have to admit, going the prescription route is something I am considering doing again. Thank you for sharing your story and showing me that I’m not a freak b/c my skin won’t clear up with paleo or my natural cleansing regimen. I may actually be a freak – but it’s not because of those things : ). You da best, Paleomg!

  32. I’m so happy for you Juli! You bring so much joy to so many people with your amazing recipes & hilarious blog, & it’s wonderful you will start to feel comfortable in your skin again! I myself have been on Accutane & it was the ONLY thing that worked for my acne also! Thanks for sharing your journey! 🙂

  33. Thank you so much for sharing this, and having the guts to share your photos. I too used Accutane after years of incredibly painful cystic acne, and it was absolutely the right decision for me. 3 years later I am still acne free, and much less oily. My side effects were less severe than yours, but I would have gone through just about anything to get rid of it at that point. Lots of people want to hate and say “oh it’s so dangerous, you should just be happy in the skin you’re in, blah blah blah.” These are obvs people that have never had tears constantly leak from an eye because they had a giant cyst that swelled up and pushed on a tear duct, or cried out of embarrassment the first time their boyfriend accidentally saw them without makeup, etc. (Both real life things for me.)
    As a side note, the redness and scarring gets a LOT better…my skin is still more sensitive to cold and wind now and will turn red under those circumstances, but my scarring is almost gone. I used Retin A micro after the Accutane, and a laser treatment on a particular spot that had recurring cysts, so it was a very dark scar.

    Cheers to you, girl. The haters can kick rocks barefoot.

  34. I’m glad you found something that worked! I struggled with acne for a long time and I know how upsetting it can be. Mine responded fairly well to Proactiv but I couldn’t use it for a long time because it would give me scaly, itchy spots. My acne finally dropped off over the last few years (I’m 33). Not sure if it’s the (mostly) Paleo diet or just age, but I’m so glad to be finally rid of it! Congrats! I’m sure you feel better.

  35. Thanks for sharing your story, Juli! Definitely an amazing difference and I’m so happy for your success.

    I had bad acne as a teenager and went through an Accutane treatment as well. It helped me a lot too.

    A great reminder that we should do all we can to “eat and live clean” but that doesn’t mean modern medicine is not an option.

    Still love your blog — keep up the great work!

  36. Thanks for sharing, my acne was bad too, I’m 19 now, did Accutane when I was 16 – 17 years old. Before that I was using some other drugs which names I can’t remember, but nothing was working. Then I got into Accutane and the results were amazing, altough I had to put up with dry lips and joint pain aswell. Unfortunately I still have a little acne 🙁 (but definitely not as bad as before), I’m planning on doing the treatment again in a couple of years when I can afford it (again, I can’t complain though).

    The only test I had to do to get the pills was the liver and blood test. Maybe because I’m a male, but definitely worth it.

    You’ve gotten nice results! Again, thanks for sharing!


  37. You look wonderful. I finally went to the dermatologist at age 51, it took awhile for everything I was prescribed to work ,but now I have been told I have beautiful skin and I want to cry. I use retinol and antibiotic benzol topical and a shitload of sunscreen! Best wishes dermatologists are worth their weight in gold!

  38. I had only started to suffer from acne as an adult. It was horrible because I didn’t really wear makeup and now I had to to cover my face everyday and I swear it made it worse. I went to a dermatologist and was also prescribed Accutane. And at that time I’d heard it was the bomb but that it dried you out. I mean DRIED you out! The doctor asked if I was pregnant or if there was a possibility I could be. I asked why and he told me about the deformities it could cause. As I drove from the doctor to the pharmacy I thought to myself “why would I put something inside me that could do that to a baby?” I didn’t want to risk it. All I could think about were residual side effects. Im a worry wort so I just kept thinking that the drug would linger in my body long after I stopped using it and could still affect me. So I just drove home and never filled the prescription. My face still suffered after that and I have some scarring but now I have my beautiful 2 yr old daughter and I plan to have more. I appreciate you’re experience (you look great) and believe me I still contemplate trying it. I guess I’m just a scaredy pants. *sidenote* when I was pregnant my skin was amazing!!!!

  39. I’ve noticed my skin has changed a lot since the beginning of this year. I contributed the break outs to going off birth control (got married and had been on birth control for 6 years) but now that I think about it, the husband and I started Crossfit beginning of this year too! I try to wash my face immediately after WOD, but I still get breakouts. Not quite like yours (no offense) but enough where I feel I have to wear makeup. Looks like the acutane was totally worth it and I agree….it’s a matter of figuring out what works for you! LOVE your blog btw. Husband and I pretty much started Paleo b/c of your delicious recipes.

  40. I am so happy that Accutane worked for you! I took it in my early 20s for my acne and was so happy with the results. Like you, I had cystic acne that was painful to touch and at one point I had 20 steroid shots in my face-one in each cyst-to help them go away.

    The scars have diminished over time for me, though I still notice them literally no one else does. Your skin looks GREAT and I am sure it will continue to smooth out 🙂

    ANd the description of being without chapstick is spot on! I went through so much Carmex during my treatment, it was insane.

  41. I am curious, when you changed your eating habits, did you remove sugar 100%? Caffeine? Were you getting 8-9 hours of sleep in total darkness? These are ways to naturally reset your hormones and to reduce acne. I did not have a painful case like yours, but I went paleo to loose weight and noticed my face became completely clear as a bonus.

      1. Have you ever tested for food allergies or food sensitivities? It is possible that your acne got worse, not because of CrossFit, but because your diet changed during this transition as well. Could there be a paleo-friendly food that you consume more now than before that’s just not agreeing with you? It’s just a thought… If you’re interested, do a little research on MRT testing.

    1. I know this comment was meant to be helpful, but it is so hard to have acne, and have tried everything, and have someone say, have you tried *insert overly simplistic supposed remedy here*? Believe me, anyone with cystic acne has tried anything you can think of. Telling them to wash their face more or cut out sugar is… belittling.
      Thank you for this post Juli. Best to anyone suffering with this.

  42. Hey! Love you, brave girl, for sharing your story, regardless of what people think. I feel like this sort of stuff is really important, especially in the paleo/”all natural” community — where we’re led to believe that diet can fix almost everything and it’s not okay to reach out for help from classic medicine or doctors or whatever. Sometimes I feel like there’s a wizard/muggle thing going on (yeah, HPotts reference!).

    So happy this worked for you! Keep on being awesome, Juli!

  43. Congrats on your success w accutane! I used in when I was high school bc I had similar cystic acne. It was not without side effects but was worth it! Saved my skin! Of course we would all love to have success from natural methods but sometimes genetics and hormones are so stubborn that medical intervention is necessary. While I fully embrace natural remedies whenever possible we cannot discredit the the amount of good medical advancement has done for a whole bunch of ailments! I can say, ten years later, that my acne does return at times. I still experience breakouts aroun my period or if i wear makeup/lotion that isn’t hypoallergenic & oil free. My advice to u is to continue to be diligent in protecting your skin. Wash immediately after workouts and before bed. Avoid makeup as often as possible. I guess what I’m saying is don’t get complacent bc your skin is better- I’ve made that mistake 🙁 So happy for you!

  44. I think you look great and im glad you didnt let other people’s comments get you down…these things, like you said, affect everyone differently. I hope it works and you dont have to go through that again!!

  45. Wow! What results! So happy for you!! I’m glad you had a good experience with the prescription and I hope you never need it again! 🙂

  46. I have had awful acne for as long as I can rememeber, that seems to be hormonal. I can understand why you would do this treatment. I think you look great! I know how much better I feel about myself when my skin is clear. I like that you were really honest (as you always are) so that others will know exactly what is ahead of them should they choose this.

  47. First, thank you for sharing your story and for being so honest. You are very brave. Second, I am of the opinion that there are some things that nature just can’t fix, which is why God gave us drugs. I appreciate that you tried so many other things first, but in the end you have to do what is right for you. Thanks for your honesty. You are beautiful. I love your blog and come here for the stories as much as the (much used!) recipes. Thank you, thank you!

  48. Hi!

    I’ve struggled with acne since I hit puberty right at the age of 10 or 11. I’m now 19. Unlike you, I began with prescription drugs instead of changing my diet too much. I’ve been on Accutane for 3 separate sessions, but my acne came back after each one. Last fall I began another course of the drug, but my liver couldn’t handle it. Then I began eating Paleo to deal with other health issues without knowing that it could affect my skin at all. Which was good that I didn’t know, because it didn’t affect my skin at all and my hopes would have been dashed. But what I’m finding is that applying lemon juice works wonders. So if you find yourself back with acne, I would recommend trying that as it works to dry out the sebum in my pores much like Accutane did and my skin hasn’t been as good as it is now since being on Accutane. Regardless, I think my acne is here to stay for a while. So if you have any recommendations for me, I’d like to hear them as well.


  49. Juli, thanks for your post. I read your mails on Facebook and thought I’d share my life long experience with acne.

    I’ve suffered with mild acne since becoming post menopausal, these past few years. I was treated 40 years ago by a dermatologist in Jr. High and High School for more sever acne. He gave me tetracycline and sun lamp treatments and many solutions to put on my face.

    Recently I read about Dermadex, a microscopic mite that lives under the surface of our skin and feeds on the oil in our pores. It was reported that in Russia the problem has been cured with sulfur, so I researched this and began taking MSM regularly and found a topical call Prosacia which seems to be working pretty well. Apparently Rosacia can be caused by Dermadex.

    The other thing that is working really well is a Far Infrared Sauna, which is powerfully detoxifying. I purchased mine almost a month ago and my husband agrees my skin is looking much better.

    You are beautiful, and brave, and I love your food blog posts!!


  50. Thank you so much for sharing. I have the same problems @ age 38 and I’ve tried everything short of medication. When I get on antibiotics for other things I always clear right up. Im going to call and talk to the doctor about this. This was the push I needed. Your skin looks great!

  51. I just want to commend you for your courage to talk about this! I struggled with cystic acne for years and it was awful….painful, embarrassing, and frustrating! I finally found out the main causes (wheat allergy coupled with hormone imbalance) and have been able to control it with diet and birth control. It’s liberating to finally be free of it and I’m sure you feel the same! Your skin looks absolutely beautiful and I’m so happy for you that you found something that worked for you!
    Best wishes and thank you for your awesome blog…I love it!

  52. Yes! Accutane was a life-changer for me as well. I’ve been off of it for 4 months now and it’s so nice to recognize myself in the mirror again! Like you, I had tried all the natural remedies and dietary modifications as well and they just didn’t do jack. I figured one good round of accutane was better than being on the pill for 10 more years (the only other thing that got rid of my acne). Glad you found something that worked! It’s amazing what a hit acne is to one’s self-esteem.

  53. Juli you look GREAT!! I used acutane as well when I was in my early 20s and it was the only thing that helped clear up my skin as well! I’m happy for you!!!

  54. GOOD FOR YOU!!!! I’m glad that you found a solution for your skin issues… I’ve been through similar issues to find out that I am very allergic to dairy… skin issues are a horrible issue to live with and unless someone has lived with it themselves it’s very hard to realize that it can be quite dehabilitating… I hope that it stays away!

  55. Kudos to you for putting your story out there. Although paleo seems like a cure-all there are just some things that don’t get fixed and I admire you for putting your story out there and not listening to the negative comments.

  56. I’m so happy you decided to go on it. I had posted to your initial blog about this, really encouraging you to try it out. I too had be incredibly resistant to going accutane but after having severe acne since 4th grade and doing every other treatment under the sun, I finally decided to try it. Best decision of my life. Even if you end up having to do a second round of it (I haven’t had to yet), at least you know it works and you made the right choice. Dry lips were definitely the worst, but I’ll take 6 months of that over having cystic acne so painful you can sleep!

  57. I’m so happy that accutane worked for you! I know how frustrating and self conscience acne can make you! I’m glad you found something that worked for you! Let the haters hate! Keep being awesome! Love you and your blog!

  58. You are a beautiful girl in all your states: acne, no acne, makeup, no makeup…

    Having said that, however, I also want to say YAY and CONGRATULATIONS! I know you’ve worked hard on this with diet and lifestyle, and I’m so happy for you that you found a solution. Great job on weathering the difficulties along the way, too.

    Big hugs from me to you!

  59. Thanks for sharing that. My son eats paleo and had the same problem but had to go through 2 six month cycles of accutane. That stuff is brutal, especially that first month on. But he’s off it now and is much happier with the the results. Take care.

  60. Thank you for your honesty! I too have dealt with acne for the majority of my life. The only time it really cleared up was when I was pregnant with my son which was odd because I have heard that pregnancy usually gives you the opposite results. This year I started following a paleo lifestyle. In the last 3 weeks my breakouts have gotten worse and I blame my diet because in those 3 weeks I have completely gone off the paleo wagon. I am starting the 21dsd today so im hoping to get my skin cleared up again! It seems for me that my diet has a big effect on my skin, I know that isn’t true for others but I’m glad that I found the cause of my breakouts!
    Keep up your blogging and your honesty! I love hearing what others are going through and knowing I am not alone!
    ps- I love all your recipes!!

  61. I used accutane in high school and it changed my life for sure. I experienced all the horrible red drying symptoms you mentioned but over 10 years later I’m definitely acne free, only with some occasional zits here and there. I know it gets a bad rap but it saved my life so I didn’t have to hide behind makeup. Very happy you posted this. Sometimes drugs are the only answer and there’s no shame to that. Very thankful for western medicine!

  62. You put more effort in clearing your acne naturally than most people so I would not feel one bit bad about your decision (if someone leaves a nasty comment) you look great and if you feel better that’s all that matters!

  63. I took accutane for about 8 months last year. After I finished I couldn’t believe I had procrastinated doing it for so long. I let everyone’s scare tactics get to me. I even had my dental hygienist yell at me once because her son had a bad reaction to it and she freaked out when I told her I had started it. But I really didn’t have any trouble. Other than super dry skin the only other symptom I had was achy joints and they didn’t start bothering me until about 5 months in. I think if you do your research and are a reasonably healthy person that’s in tune with their body, you don’t have anything to worry about. I know it changed my life. My self esteem sky rocketed and I probably save a small fortune every month on foundation and concealer. Anyways, I’m glad you blocked out the haters and I’m super happy that you have beautiful skin now! Congratulations!

  64. You are beautiful! Your honesty is refreshing, nice to know that there are options for acne 🙂 thanks for being so awesome!

  65. Good for you. Don’t let negative comments bum you out. You have done a lot to help people improve themselves, and this is just another positive step in that direction.

  66. So happy for you, Juli. You’re so brave to share those photos and your story. I’ve dealt with my own skin issues and have always tried to be really upfront with everyone about what was going on with that. It’s always nice to know you’re not alone, right? Making the decision to go on medication of that kind is always a tough one. I have psoriasis and have usually been able to control it without any scary medications, but a couple years ago I had a really terrible outbreak and eventually made the decision (with the help of my dermatologist) to go on methotrexate. It was not a fun 6 months, but I’m glad I did and would certainly make the same decision if it happened again. I agree that diet can go a long way, but sometimes it can’t do everything. Glad to hear you’re happy with your decision. That’s really all that matters!

  67. Juli – good for you! I’m sure you will get some ignorant comments but ultimately, you made a decision that has worked for you. I agree that eating and exercise can probably cure about 99% of what ails you – but for the 1% it doesn’t, we shouldn’t feel ashamed or embarassed to look for other (potentially prescription) solutions.

  68. Good for you for finding what works for you! I had cystic acne for a long time as a teen and into my 20’s. I’m 31 now and it will still come back if I don’t keep to my routine. I used Proactive for 10 years and that helped but never really got rid of it all. Now I mix my peroxide cream with my wrinkle cream lol! I never thought that I’d still have this into my 30’s. I’m so glad for you! Your skin looks great and I bet that makes you feel so good!

  69. You look F*%$&#@ amazing!!!!!! And you are the coolest kid in town for sharing your experience candidly and with pictures that aren’t the most flattering. <3 Mandalicious. Let's laugh together soon.

  70. Glad you had a positive result in the end, but sorry to hear you had to go through those awful side effects. I dealt with cystic acne for over 10 years. Was treated with antibiotics off & on for years, tried hormone balancing, all of which *kind of* worked, but nothing totally eliminated it. Finally had a food allergy test a couple of years ago and discovered I’m highly allergic to bananas, pineapples, and pecans. Once I eliminated those foods from my diet, the acne totally resolved. A mild tomato allergy reminds me from time to time that I’m still susceptible to breakouts, especially since I love anything & everything tomatoes, so I tend to load up my system with them occasionally. But otherwise, the food allergy test was a life saver! It was a simple finger stick, got results within a couple of weeks, and it’s made life a lot easier. Hubby also recently had been dealing with terrible back acne, had the food allergy test, discovered several big allergens, but one in particular he ate EVERY day was egg yolks. Now he just does the whites for breakfast ~ acne gone. Just wanted to share, if you haven’t tried already, it might be worth trying… Best of luck. Love your blog and recipes!!!

  71. Thanks for sharing!!! Glad you’ve found a solution that has worked for you! Acne sucks…I’ve had it my entire life and dealing with it is just awful sometimes!

  72. I have been trying different natural remedies but I think after the new year if its there, ill try it out. Mostly, I just wanted to say that its really great what you did by sharing your experience. A lot of people don’t understand that sometimes acne isn’t caused by not having a healthy lifestyle or not taking care of yourself properly. sometimes is just happens and you need a little help. haters going to hate, but just know I am very happy for you! 🙂

  73. I had really bad acne starting in 6th grade and went on Accutane in 10th or 11th grade I think. I also had a good experience…although I wonder how much it affected my body (my aunt developed permanent joint issues while on it).

    In the end though, I am a different person b/c I was able to go through life without acne. It seems like a small, insignificant thing to worry about – but I feel your pain. Glad it worked out for you!

    (and I just a had a flashback to the dry lips thing….yeah that was terrible)

  74. I’m so happy this worked for you!!!!! My brother had a bad experience on this stuff, but it’s great you didn’t! I’ve been wanting to do this stuff for a while, because I get horrible painful acne, but because I don’t get it daily (just have it most the time haha) they won’t allow me to. Oh well, hopefully with age it will get better!!

  75. Thank you so much for sharing honestly. Your perspective is great, and I find it refreshing that after exhausting your natural options, you didn’t let naysayers get you down. As you stated, so many things CAN be changed with diet and lifestyle that we seem to forget to acknowledge there are limits. Enjoy your new face! 🙂

  76. Thanks for sharing your experience! I used to deal with bad acne when I was in high school. I remember when my DR suggested accutane and it was a very scary thought to me. Luckily my acne cleared up with some low dose birth control. It’s nice to read (and see) detailed results and side effects. Good for you! I am happy it worked for you and you feel better! You look great!

  77. Hi Juli! I’ve been lurking on your blog for a while and this was a read that I really related to. I had horrible acne in my teens and went on Accutane at 16. I went through all of the symptoms you describe, peeling lips being the worst, and I have to say that now at 27 my lips are finally going back to normal! Anyway, Accutane was a life savor for me. It cleared up my acne and I have been basically acne free ever since (so 11 years!) I’m currently washing my face with coconut oil (from your recommendation) and am loving it! Don’t listen to the negative people, unless you’ve been though it you don’t get it and this is something you don’t regret!

  78. Thank you for sharing your story! I have had a serious fight with acne most of my life and have been debating taking accutane as well. I’m on a current topical regimen and just got off antibiotics. My current problem is just living alone, fairly far away from my family, so I am scared of the possibility of depression. I’ve dealt with anxiety as well, so I know I can recognize it when it comes, it’s just the fear of having to go through it. Anyway, anyone with mean comments can just go away. You’ve inspired me and I thank you for it! =]

  79. I finished 4 months in September after trying to cure with food and a million home remedies for many years. The scarring became too much of a stressor and I didn’t want any more. I am so glad I did it because it sucks going to the mirror everyday and thinking how awful you look.

    I had also eaten mostly Paleo for over a year when I decided to get the prescription.

  80. Thanks for sharing your experience. My daughter went through a round of the treatment as well (last resort) and she had a similar experience as yours. Not always fun experiences, but in the end she was very pleased wtih her results.

    Oh, and don’t worry what weird internet people say. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do for yourself.

  81. I’m so thrilled for you Juli! I remember that original blog post about Accutane and wondered what you had decided. I applaud your choice to tell people about your journey on Accutane… it may help others who are on the fence about this who do Paleo. Your skin looks beautiful!

    I went through a similar experience in high school and college with my acne. I had perfect skin until I was 16 and then BAM! Cystic acne like crazy, concentrated around my jaw, but also literally everywhere on my face. It was not only humiliating, but painful and scarring. I remember staring into my mirror and wanting to claw my face apart.

    I spent so much time trying to figure out how to fix it. I tried everything- salves, creams, Proactiv, internal meds, acne facials, expensive face washes… my dermatologist just kept telling me, “Apply the creams, keep the hair out of the face, drink plenty of water…” Nothing.

    And then came Accutane in April of my senior year of HS. It was a Godsend. Like you, my lips were dry and chapped, my skin was easily irritated, my hair became brittle and the hoops I had to jump through to get the stuff was insane, but my skin started to clear up! By prom at the end of May, my skin was clear enough (for me) that I actually took pictures that night! I got a severe case of sun poisoning that summer when I forgot my sunblock during an outdoor concert, but other than that, I would do it again in a heart beat.

    I had to have another course of treatment during my junior year of college, but my acne was less prevalent at that time and it cleared up very quickly.

    Since college, my face still does break-out, but not nearly close to what it did in HS. I know people who have had bad experiences with Accutane, but to me, it was almost a miracle. I’m so happy that it helped you too. And thank you for sharing your story… it may help someone more than you will ever know.

  82. WOW! I’m so glad you posted this! I’ve been feeling so frustrated with my face. I’ve been having the same symptoms with the cyst like acne that is very painful. It did get worse for me too when I started Paleo, and I have tried everything “natural”. And was feeling bad if I resorted to anything chemical! You just gave me permission by posting this! Thank you! I’m making an appointment today with my dermatologist!

  83. I was one of the accutane detractors when you posted about it 6 months ago. After reading your post, my point of view has changed. I think that you did the responsible thing to try everything else, do the research and then follow the precautionary steps to take the drug safely. Western medicine gets slammed a lot in the paleo world but there really are ways to take medication safely…and it is the right thing to do in many situations. A good diet, well-suited to the individual, is the base for good health and I hope that anyone taking accutane would not just rely on the drug but look at all aspects of health to heal. We (adults) are all responsible for our own health and I am happy that you are open and honest and setting a good example on your blog. Your skin looks great…you look great!

  84. This is not negative, read the whole thing! When I saw what this post was about I was shocked. I felt a little angry that an opinion leader in the paleo world was promoting this. I have heard awful things about accurate and birth control is so harmful to the female reproductive system. Once I got to the bottom and saw the pictures I realized you really don’t know what you would do until you’re in the same exact position. Right now I say I would never take it myself, but if I had painful acne like that and tried everything you did, I would probably end up making the same decision.. So I applaud you for having integrity and doing what you feel is best for yourself despite what others think. Such a hard thing to so knowing so many are watching and judging.. A true leader!!

  85. Thank you for sharing your story. You look beautiful in all of the pictures and I know it takes courage to share what you are sharing with strangers. I am dealing with acne for the first time in my mid-20’s and it is a very hard thing to deal with especially when it becomes painful.

  86. Good for you! You look great! I too resorted to Accutane. It was scary but I was at my wit’s end with cystic acne. And the Accutane worked. The redness fades after time too.

    I never had acne as a teen but when I was 21 I made the mistake of taking the birth control, orthotricyclene. I took it for about a year, and had no issues. But when I went OFF it, all hell broke loose! It ruined my hormones and my skin. Suddenly I was developing painful, cystic acne that responded to nothing, and I had no coping skills either, as I had no experience with acne and was no a huge make-up girl. Every day was an art project of applying makeup to hide the acne, which I’m sure made the acne worse! But I had to work, go to school etc. I was absolutely miserable, physically and mentally.

    The side effects of Accutane were not fun but it was worth it (however, I did like the dry hair because mine is normally so greasy I can’t skip a day without washing it). That was over ten years ago and my skin is pretty good, I get monthly break outs sometimes but no cystic acne since.

    Love your blog.

  87. Good for you girlfriend! It takes a strong woman to show yourself in such a vulnerable state! Your skin is looking fab, and good for you doing what was best for you! We are all different, and have to find our own path! I loved you for your recipes before (my hubby too, of course) and love you even more now for sharing this experience! You’re an inspiration!

  88. Juli, I have been reading your blog for about 6 months and have read how much the acne has affected you. I understand, I didn’t have the severity of your cystic acne, but it was enough to become extremely self conscious about it. Luckily for me, I cut out dairy (due to starting Paleo) and my skin cleared up almost immediately. I admire your strength to put this out there to help anyone that might be struggling as well.
    P.S. YOU’RE my favorite Paleo chef and I recommend your blog to everyone.

  89. Your skin looks incredible! This post really hit home for me. I eat clean paleo and I was still getting awful cystic acne to the point where it hurt to even put moisturizer on. I feel like my progression of acne mirrors yours exactly! From occasional teenage acne to this. I was so hesitant to go on accutane because I am a naturalist and tried literally EVERYTHING and nothing worked. I am now into my second month and am so glad I made the decision. I am experiencing joint and muscle pain, and the dry lips is redonk, but between aquaphor and my all time favorite sugar lip balm by fresh (I should own stock in this company at the rate I’m going through it!) I’m getting through it. Your analogy about meth cracked (literally) me up because I freak out if my lips aren’t moisturized. Anyhow I am so grateful for your post because it’s so annoying to me when people say it’s because of your diet and we are proof it’s not! I even stopped eating nuts for awhile because of it! Didn’t help by the way. I love your blog and all your recipes, and posts!

  90. Juli, I am so glad you have found something that works! I totally understand what a blow to your esteem it is to have bad skin and just pray every night before you go to bed that you would just miraculously wake up and have clear, beautiful skin everyone around you has! You look so happy!
    I was on Accutane 3 times in high school. Had great skin all through college and up until my first pregnancy when I was 28. Then I couldn’t get it under control and really struggled with my skin. I didn’t want to go back to the dermatologist so I just kind of suffered through for a few more years. I just discovered Nerium and have the best skin ever! For all of you looking for something to help your skin, especially scarring, discoloration, and redness, you need this! I can’t say enough good things about it!

  91. Juli – I am so glad that Accutane is working for you!

    I have had a very different experience with acne and Accutane. I’ve had to take a course of Accutane twice in my life, once when I was 16, and then again (after years of daily antibiotics and prescription topical creams, etc. that ended up being only temporary fixes, and bad ones at that) when I was 25. Both times the acne vanished during the treatment, but would come back again 3-6 months later, slightly different (different breakout zones) but no better than before.

    I’m now 27, and have been eating paleo for about a year now. While I still have the occasional breakout from stress at work or around my period, my skin is clearer than it ever was after Accutane. Just goes to show that we are all different. I also think that if I had been eating paleo during my Accutane sessions, they would have worked much better for me! Perhaps the combination of the two is key…

    I am so happy that you’ve found something that works for you! You are an inspiration to so many not only in terms of nutrition, but also in terms of your honestly and willingness to bravely put yourself out there as you are. 🙂

    Thank you for your recipes, and for helping us all. Best of luck!

  92. Looks great! I am using a treatment that makes me red, but when paired with the microdermabrasion at ulta that has a calming finish it helps. Highly reccomend it!

  93. Juli, has it also made your skin less oily, post-treatment?

    I’ve had acne since I was a young teen. Still get it all the time now as a 35 year old. I also have a lot of sun damage because I tanned and burned all the time – tanning beds and sun were the only things that partially cleared it up and hid the blemishes and scars.

    The last few years, I now get it horribly on my jaw line, and my neck under my jaw (along with all over my back and shoulders). The thing that drives me crazy, in addition to the actual acne, is that my face looks like an oil slick within a hour or two of cleaning, my pores are huge, and I get a lot of black heads.

    My brother did accutane in high school and I think has liver damage from it, but I’m done having babies and am strongly considering it now.

  94. I know exactly how frustrating acne can be! I wrote a post about mine too. I was able to see some improvements with OCM, but what really helped me was doing a liver cleanse. I am currently taking some Chinese herbs that are strengthening my liver and spleen and have noticed my skin is looking really great. So happy for you and hope your skin continues to look great!

    1. I was just thinking how you said your acne got worse after starting Crossfit. If your liver overwhelmed and unable to keep up with filtering “junk” out it might make sense that sense that you were releasing more toxins from sweating more and that was causing the acne. It’s good that you got in under control now, but I would keep that in mind to avoid it coming back.

  95. Judge not, lest ye be judged.
    Unless people have suffered with acne, they can’t truly understand how horrible, painful, and detrimental it is to your self-esteem. Good for you for doing what you thought was best for you. You look lovely!

  96. Juli,
    I have followed your post and often wondered if you had bitten the bullet with acne and gone the Accutane route. I had recommended you try the spironolactone which I used for years..did not do much of anything long term for me and taking a blood pressure medicine..really?? I am so glad you will not spend the next 20+ years suffering with this disease as I have. At 58 I am finally going to do the Accutane. My hansom son in college at 19 has resorted to growing a beard, I know it’s the lazy stage but I do believe these breakout’s bother him even though he blew off my discussion of doing the Accutane. As a Mom, the minocycline, tazorac, etc, is not going to cure him. He’s going if it’s the last thing I do! You did the right thing, your an adorable, confident, beautiful young lady and your really going to shine now!!

  97. So happy for you! Your skin looks great! I used Accutane for 5 months when I was 20 and it was the best decision ever. I had painful cystic acne like yours and the Accutane really, really helped. I had already tried everything else so it was a last resort. It’s been 13 years and my skin is still in good shape. I’m glad this worked for you!

  98. Julie first I want to say you look beautiful. I’m glad you found something that worked for you. Painful or not it’s important to feel good about ourselves and what we see in the mirror is part of that. I wanted to recommend a treatment for the residual scarring. I don’t have any scaring but am getting to the age where I am starting to see some of those fine lines around my eyes. I started having a treatment done three months ago called a derma pen. It’s performed by a derm or medically licensed esthetician. It’s like a wand with about 11 tiny needles in it. Like acupuncture needles. Tiny. And when turned on the needles move up and down penetrating the dermis. Basically making small punctures all over the face. This procedure is mildly uncomfortable. The more I do it the better it gets. But if you are sensitive they have numbing cream. The derma pen increases collagen production by 100% with each treatment reducing fine lines and scaring. I have only had three treatments at this point but I’m really happy with the results. Good luck!

  99. Juli! I’m so happy for you! I have struggled with cystic acne for so many years – i feel your (literal) pain. Everyone told me that if I ate paleo it would go away. Or if I ate X it would go away. I tried so many medications over the decades with mixed results. Sometimes you just plain have acne. It’s such a hard thing for others to understand – and I do understand. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It helps to educate others about acne and let them know that it’s not anything that we can actually control. Big hug!

  100. Congratulations! I am so happy that this worked out for you.

    I also suffered from cystic acne for years and when I finally decided to take Accutane, it was truly life-changing. Prior to Accutane, I never would have considered leaving the house without a LOT of makeup. After, no problem. It was only after completing my round of Accutane that I realized how much energy I had been using stressing about the condition of my skin. Acne can really exhaust you emotionally and psychologically (not to mention physically, when it is painful like ours).

    And this is not a scary warning, but just a heads-up that after many years of great skin following Accutane, I am now pregnant (with a boy) and my acne is back with a vengeance. Before, I never had acne anywhere but my face; I now have cysts on my back and neck. I am more blasé about it now, because there really is nothing that I can do about it (except go back to wearing three layers of foundation), but I spent a few weeks really upset about it when it started. I will probably be pregnant and/or breastfeeding for the next 4-5 years of my life, so my next round of Accutane is far off, but I admit that I sometimes daydream about it as a “reward” awaiting me in the future. So if this happens to you (if/when you have kids), just be aware that it’s a possibility and don’t stress too much about it.

  101. Congratulations! I went on accutane in college and it has been 14 years since (I’m old). I get blemishes here and there but NOTHING like what I dealt with for the 6 years leading up to accutane. You gotta do you and what is best for your body. Jerks be damned.

  102. In my years during college, I continued with cystic acne that I had during highschool. The big, swollen lumpy kind of acne and what made it really bad for me was I also had it on my back, my chest and even upper arms. This was tough for someone growing up living on the Southern CA beaches. I tried the antibiotic tx’s but nothing made a dent. Finally, I did the Accutane tx and in 6 months all of the swollen bumps were gone, basically for the rest of my life (30 years now). Accutane is a scary, but 6 months cured a problem I had for almost 10 years and continued antibiotics over that time frame did not address. I would encourage anyone dealing with the trauma of cystic acne to seek a good doc and see if Accutane will work for them.

  103. Congratulations. I use something called “Clarifoam” by prescription which helps keep my skin “in check.” And I’m 47!

  104. Hi Juli! You look great!! I’m glad you had a positive experience. Thank you for sharing your story! You’re awesome. 🙂

  105. Good for you, Juli! Like a lot of other posters, I took Accutane. It was about four years ago, and until the last few months (while dealing with a very stressful work project), I’ve hardly had any acne. It was inconvenient, but so worth it. You look great!

  106. Hey Juli, I’ve followed you for a year + now, but this is my first time commenting. Thanks for sharing your story and pictures. Very brave as always. And I second what Melissa said…you are beautiful in all your states.
    – Cleo

  107. I work in healthcare and there are ALWAYS options. Kudos to you for trying everything before running to the Dr. So many people think that people in healthcare are the “end all be all” and we know all the right answers but lots of times it is simple changes in diet/lifestyle that make the biggest changes. You look great, don’t let anyone try to give you crap about taking the medication either. Obviously, it was the best choice for you as a patient! So many people don’t weigh the risk to the benefit and sometimes sanity is the biggest pay off so congrats! I love your work and you look great!!! Keep your head up, and don’t listen to the haters. The closer to the top you get, the more people are gonna try to bring you down! <3 your recipies!

  108. I have tried everything out there for acne and even went through 2 rounds of Accutane in my younger years. I am now 40 and still struggle with it. I found one cleanser that has been really helpful which I wanted to pass along now that you are done with Accutane. It’s called Black Soap. Look it up and feel free to read about it. I think you might like it as a maintenance cleanser as it helps to prevent acne and dry up anything you’ve already got. I know how frustrating it is to deal with! You look great.

  109. I also had really bad cystic acne in my early 20s. I tried everything Western medicine had. I didn’t know about the diet connection at that time, but I wish I had. I did 2 rounds of Accutane – the first one was when I was 24, and it was only 40 mgs. The dermatologist I was seeing was too scared about the medication to go any higher. It worked great, but started coming back within 2 years. I found another derm and went on another round when I was 26, this time at a much higher dose – up to 140 mgs daily, which was just above the maximum amount for my weight. It worked wonderfully, and up until recently, I said it was one of the best things I’d ever done. The only lasting side effect that I was aware of was dry lips and eyes. The dry lips aren’t nearly as bad as they were while I was on Accutane, but it’s almost 10 years later and my lips still peel and I won’t go anywhere w/out lip balm. The dry eyes have gotten better. I used to have a hard time being under a ceiling fan because it would dry out my eyes so horribly.

    It’s only recently, after dealing with some mysterious health issues for awhile and getting diagnosed with leaky gut, among other things, that I’ve started to realize what lasting effects Accutane has had on me. Shortly after my last course of it, I started getting patches of hyperpigmentation on my face. I thought it was hormone related from a few years of being on the pill (which is a horrible thing to do to your body, by the way – double whammy that they make you go on it while on Accutane). But after years of being off the pill, the spots just kept spreading, to the point that most of my cheeks and forehead are covered. So I went from having to wear makeup to cover the acne, to having to wear makeup to cover the melasma. At least melasma isn’t painful!! I finally made the connection recently that Accutane caused my leaky gut, which caused my melasma. I finally found a supplement that is helping to heal my leaky gut (zinc carnosine) and I’m starting to see the melasma begin to break up. Leaky gut comes with a whole host of other issues though.

    I won’t deny that Accutane was a life saver for me at the time. Though I’m prone to occasional depression, I didn’t experience it at all on Accutane. I was so friggin’ happy that my cystic acne was clearing up! Now I wish I’d tried changing my diet first, as it’s been 10 years dealing w/other issues that I didn’t know were caused by Accutane. Obviously you tried that route! Now that you’re off of Accutane (and hopefully off of birth control!), you might consider taking some steps to both get your hormones back on track (fermented cod liver oil and lots of healthy saturated fats are good for that) and protect your gut. Supplementing with some glutamine for awhile would definitely not be a bad idea. Some high quality colostrum (Synertek or Surthrival) would be great as well. Accutane does amazing things for acne, no doubt. Just be aware that it can have some unseen and long lasting effects, but you can take steps now to make sure they’re minimal.

    Despite the warning, I’m very happy for you and your clear skin! I know how good it feels!! 🙂

  110. congrats! i had bad cystic acne and feel super lucky that topical retin-a and paleo cleared it. i would also HIGHLY recommend a jessner chemical peel. my derm suggested i get one when my acne was starting to clear and it’s the best thing i’ve done! i wish i could get them every few months! i had a few cysts developing when i got it and it stopped them in their tracks. i had baby perfect skin for 2 months after! and it definitely helped with scarring! i originally thought it would opnly be good for scarrig but it was actually even better as a treatment! good luck! 🙂

  111. In high school I had such bad cystic acne that people would ask if i got punched in the face, cause it was so swollen! I took accutane and it definitely helped out, but the long lasting effects are not worth it. I now have Crohn’s disease and believe accutane was a huge contributing factor. Accutane is more than just a high dose of Vit A as you mention, it is also a very powerful antibiotic, that completely messes wioth your gut flora.
    If I could go back I would absolutely trade having acne and trying to figure out a non medical way to solve that, over shitting my pants every day, like now!
    Im glad it worked for you, and I hope you dont see any |side effects” like I have.

  112. Thank you for sharing! I have noticed a huge increase in acne since beginning my crossfit journey. It is the worst around my hairline; so I automatically assumed that it had something to do with the sweat. I immediately shower and wash my face following work outs, but nothing has helped. I have tried all of the different cleaners, but haven’t found anything to help. I may have to look into going on the Accutane. Thank you for the info and for sharing your story.

    1. I’ve been using apple cider vinegar as a toner on my face post workout and its been keeping the hairline acne at bay. Everyone is different, but its worth a shot!

  113. Good on you for taking the initiative with your physical and emotional health. Love Paleo, but that doesn’t mean science can’t help out. Keep up the good work and awesome blogs & recipes!!


  114. Thanks so much for sharing your journey and so glad the Rx worked for you. I’ve been following you (love your writing stye!) and your recipes cuz I just started Paleo over 2 months ago to lose weight before a total knee replacement surgery (which is 2 weeks away, sooo excited!) and I’m hooked. I feel so much better. I have energy, focus, and no more brain fog. I sleep well, all through the night. Now, I’m extolling the virtues of healing the body from within after decades of poor choices. Nothing like a Born Again! Thanks for being one of my top go-to sources and making learning about Paleo and living Paleo an enjoyable experience.

    By the way, NeriumAD night cream works wonders for clearing up discolored skin. It’s only been on the market for two years. I’m happy to send you a sample to try before you buy, if you’re at all interested.

  115. Kudos to you for sharing your story. I have been suffering with some cystic breakouts (hormonal, on my chin) since I started crossfit as well. I recently did a paleo challenge at my box and it cleared up significantly…I think it was dairy for me, personally. I can’t imagine dealing with acne for as long as you have, and I’m so happy that you found something that works for YOU! Thanks for all your wonderful recipes and for being such an honest, genuine blogger! xo.

  116. I am SO GRATEFUL for this post right here in this moment. I haven’t reached th point of trying accurate but I’m about to try birth control to contain this acne. I was about to call my doctor when is saw your post….the stupid guilt I feel for not being able to heal it on my own is assuaged by your honesty. THANK YOU!!!!

  117. Juli-
    I wasn’t going to comment because I saw so many people already reply. I was on accutane when I was younger and I have perfect skin now. I get random pimples when I get my period, but overall I have people tell me all the time how great my skin is. You read such horror stories about Accutane, but I am extremely thankful for it. I admire your willingness to post those before pictures. I’ve been there! I think it’s awesome of you to post this. I had to tell you 🙂

  118. I went through two cycles of Accutane & had the exact same reactions as you did! I still get (some) acne in my 30’s due to hormonal changes but it’s not NEAR as bad as it was when I was younger. Kudos to you for sticking with it!! You look amazing!

  119. Wow!!! So glad you found a treatment to help with your acne!!! I know you must be relieved 😀 I always had great skin until my mid 20’s where i started having breakouts, nothing horrible tho and what i thought was bad cleared up after a few chemical peels. It wasnt until this past spring when i was in a car accident that seemed to spark some stress or something in my body i began to continuously break out…each time getting worse, to the point where i had to wear full faced make up to leave the house which anyone who knows me knows i’m not a full faced make up girl. i hated it! nothing worked, i’m 30 and was beginning to get really down about it. finally went to the derm and they put me on 3mo of doxycylcine for now. i’m sure you tried that. it’s helping a lot, but slowly. once i’m all healed i’ll do chemical peels to help w/ the minor scarring. i feel you!! we talked thru fb briefly about this before and happy you’ve found your cure!! 😀 i’m just about done w/ month 1 and hoping i can kick these break outs for good! my derm thinks it was the initial stress of the accident that lead to the first break out (i had facial injuries) and then my own stressing over the breaking out (painful kind like yours) lead to me continuing to break out. cheers to finding out cures! (*hopefully*)

  120. Hi, ive been on Accutane 3 times. I love being on it because it WORKS! the side effects are nothing compared to being able to walk around and show people my face. [Kids should NEVER be given accutane, only adults past 25]. The problem is, even being strict paleo for three years, the problems come back. Not the same, a little different but my skin is still “stupid”. It’s acting up again so im going to try your oil cleasing routine. I am PETRIFIED to put oil on my face. I may start with a test patch first to see how it goes. Did i mention i am terrified of making this mess worse? Well, i am. I have oily skin. With major peeling dry patches. Please please please keep advising on brands of oil to buy and blends. If this saves my skin i will start paying you. No one can understand the hell of bad skin if they have never had it.

  121. i went on accutane at 16 yrs old. the side effects were nothing compared to the daily struggle having acne… depression?? yeah having pizza face was depressing. im 29 years old now and my skin has remained perfect after 13 years of completing the accutane cycle. im so happy for you!!!!! you go glen coco! xx

  122. I have had problem acne here and there and had great luck with Paula’s Choice products (not spam, not any kind of sales pitch, just a satisfied customer). At the least, her beautypedia has wonderful, impartial reviews on many many skin products and can tell you how to get rid of the redness and prevent further acne. You do not have to spend a ton of money on the Creme de la Mer mentioned above.

    Realself has a ton of reviews on different laser and cosmetic procedures. Personally, I’ve had IPL (“photofacials”) done twice with fantastic reductions in scarring and redness. Do your homework and find a place that has good equipment and satisfied customers. There is a lot of different equipment on the market and you can end up burned if you have an inexperienced technician.

  123. Juli you have always looked amazing and you are so beautiful inside and out – but I am glad that you found something that helped you get to where you wanted to be. Congrats!

  124. Juli, i’m so glad you had a great exprience! I was on accutane in high school (about 10 years ago) and it was strict then but it seems to have gotten even more strict, which is a good thing because it’s a very serious medication. I experienced the exact same side effects that you did and it all gets better once the medication is done. i never had to go back on it again, although i sill get bemishes every once in a while, i hope it’s the same for you! your skin looks great! i’m so happy for you! it does wonders for self confidence!

  125. You are incredibly brave for posting this story, the pictures and putting yourself out there.

    Your blog is awesome—not only for the recipes, but for how open, honest and forthcoming you are.

    Congrats on your success!!!

  126. I am so happy for you! I know for the most part what causes my acne (nut butters!!) Yet I refuse to quite them! HAHAHA! I am glad you found something that worked for you and who cares what others think! This about you and your journey, not theirs.

    LOVE your blog, Keep it up!!

  127. Thanks for your story! You should look into the Body Deli products made in Palm Springs. You can order them online, but they are made from Raw and Organic foods. They’ve helped my acne prone skin a lot and have cleared up scarring and large pores along with fine lines.

  128. I’m so happy for you! You look beautiful and confident. Way to go for sharing your story with us and being brave enough to post the pictures!

  129. as someone who also suffers from acne on and off – it always amazes me the community of people out there who suffer from it and I really do believe that you don’t understand how much of a physical and emotional toll it takes on you. Forget not wanting to leave the couch because of the medication you are on…I’m sure most people (including myself) feel like that just looking in the mirror when you are suffering from an acne flare. All I can say as glad you found something that worked for you and 1000% hope that it continues to work wonders 🙂 As another reader said, I would never wish this on aaanyoneee

  130. Dang girl. you need to be an accutane spokesmodel and get on their payroll! What amazing results an I am SO happy your skin is much less painful now!

  131. Lovely skin darlin’ – I had to do the same.. it wasnt insanely bad but I had to do three months of accutane – and now my skin is perfect. 🙂 Only a zit or two once in a while but so worth the dry lips for those few months. <3

  132. When I was 25, the same thing happened to my face! It was AWFUL!!! My face hurt so bad and I had little self esteem. I too went on accutane and had the same positive results! It is difficult to go through all the tests but definitely worth it! I think something happens to our hormones around 25. A friend of mine had the same thing happen to her at that age and also had to go on accutane. Crazy.

    I used vasoline on my lips and inside my nose. I had a jar with me at all times! I still do (but just for the lips now 🙂

    As someone who has been there, you MAY see some acne return when/if you take yourself off the birth control. That happened to me. My dermatologist warned me it would happen and it did, just fyi…

    I am 33 now and I thought I was going to have to get back on accutane again. My face got so bad with the cycstic acne. When one started to disappear, another would reappear, with a friend. I didn’t want to put my body through accutane again, I just couldn’t think of it! So I got myself on a gluten free and dairy free diet and my face (no joke) looks like it did after 7 months of accutane!!! It’s amazing! I know you already eat this way and everyone is different, but it’s what helped me and I am SO SO thankful!
    Your skin look beautiful! I am so glad you are happy with the results!

  133. Thank you for posting this. I have been battling acne for about 10 years now (I’m almost 30) and it gets exhausting wondering if it will ever go away and, like you, have tried many different diets to make it go away. A doctor recommended accutane a few years ago but I was too scared of the side effects and have not tried it as of yet. Since reading this, I am seriously thinking about trying it again. Thanks!

  134. You look great! This is really interesting Juli and I love how open you are about everything. People need mentors like you to bring up the things no one likes to talk about because they’re embarrassed..but really we’re all going through the same battles!

    I have found that microdermabrasions help with my facial scarring from acne. I always get Groupons for these but Maral Day Spa in Cherry Creek is wonderful!

  135. I would first like to apologize for not reading all of the comments, but there are just too many and I want to address one thing…I’m wondering what form of birth control you settled on? I have literally tried every single birth control pill/ring/IUD/whatever on the market. I finally realized that it was the hormones I was reacting to. As we are Paleo ppl here, we know messing with our hormones is bad news…I finally settled on Paraguard (sp?). Yes, there are some side effects…mostly spotting for the first month, but once they went away, I realized that being off of hormones lifted a huge fog, and even my original personality came back. I’m an RN…not just some opinionated blog troll…I really understand the science behind the shit I subscribe to, so if you haven’t considered this particular, hormone-free form of BC, please do.

    1. I have paraguard too! I love it. LOVE it.

      One of the side effects is more painful periods at first, but those were totally manageable and gone after the first year. Definitely worth the hassle to get it – a lot of doctors won’t implant it if you haven’t had a child, so I had to go to another county.

  136. I had terrible acne as soon as I turned 12. We tried everything. I took Accutane twice as a teen, once my junior year of high school and then again in my freshman year of college. It was like a miracle. I remember all the rigamarole of the testing, pain in the butt! And I had the super dry skin and lips too. Each time, the acne went away completely, but it came back fairly quickly after the Accutane doses were over. My doctor said two courses was the max you can do over your lifetime (I don’t know if they changed the rule since 2003). I tried several prescription meds after. Antibiotics worked, but I was allergic to them so I stopped taking them. And then I got married and I stopped using the gel and pill I was taking because they lowered the effectiveness of birth control. So I haven’t had a prescription for acne control since I was 23. Now I’m 29 and I still get acne (and have scarring) but it isn’t as bad as when I was a teen, and I wash my face with something gentle every night and put moisturizer on every morning. It’s not perfect and I still wear makeup almost every day, but it’s ok. I hope this improvement lasts for you! I’ve found that the Garnier dark spot corrector is really good for evening out skin tone and diminishing dark spots. Not cheap, but worth it (and soothing to the skin and less expensive than laser therapy for sure!)

  137. Good for you. Accutane saved my face, chest, and back. I still get smalls amounts of acne on my back where my sports bra sits, but it’s NOTHING compared to how it was before Accutane. One of the best decisions ever.

  138. I just wanted to say thank you so much for writing this and sharing your story. I am in the month waiting period and will start Accutane on the 22nd, and Ive been terrified. I’m 31 years old and just want my life back! No one around me understands why I’m so depressed and upset about it, and all I hear is that “I’m a pretty girl, it doesn’t matter”, but it does matter to me. I’ve never been more depressed or lonely in my life since I got cystic acne a year and a half ago. I finally decided Accutanes side effects couldn’t be an worse than shutting myself off from the world.
    Thanks again, I feel so much better about this journey I’m about to start. Congrats on kicking acnes ass!

  139. You look awesome Juli! I took accutane three times and finally, I feel good about my face! Also, I made your marble cakes last night, and they were gone in minutes. You’re the best!

  140. I don’t have any personal stories or connections to what you’ve been through. I just wanted to make sure I told you how awesome you are for sharing. And purdee. And sweet. And freakin’ high-lar-E-ous!

    that’s all. 🙂

  141. First, you are SO pretty!

    Second, I’m thankful that you posted this even at risk of “paleo police” judging you.

    I started Paleo to address a health problem, and while it helps with a lot of other stuff and taught me a lot, I have felt a ton of guilt and shame that I wasn’t able to fix the problem just with Paleo. I have felt TONS better since allowing a lil’ medical science into my life, and I’ve realized that no one person or movement knows all there is to know.

    I think we should all use our brains, make thoughtful decisions, and do what works even though there are those who would steer us the other way. If high fives were still socially acceptable, I would give you one. 🙂

  142. Congrats to you and thank you for sharing!
    I am curious to know if you were on birth control before you started Accutane. The more reading (and experimenting) I do point me in the direction of food. Apparently sugar can have a huge impact on our hormone especially out thyroid. So I find that when I have low sugar …less than 50 Grams of carbs/day, I have zero problems with my skin. It’s just keeping it up is the HARD part 🙂

  143. Wow Juli! Your story sounds EXACTLY like mine…

    I have tried everything in the book… Topical creams, chemical peels, anti-biotics for over 10 years and nothing has ever seemed to work. I ended up going on spironolactone after numerous tests and blood work last year and that didn’t work for me either. I finally decided that I had exhausted all of my options and Accutane was my last resort. I have now been on it for 2 months and your results have definitely given me hope!

    I actually started paleo about a year and a half ago to try and clear up my acne with my diet… and I have been following your blog ever since! I definitely feel your pain and know how frustrating it can be to eat clean, take care of your skin, and live a healthy, active lifestyle and still deal with acne as a young adult.

    So, thanks for sharing and giving me hope for the future!

    PS I make at least one of your recipes a week and have NEVER been disspointed. Keep being AWEOMSE 🙂

    – Lindsay

  144. You rock!! You are very brave indeed for posting this and opening yourself up to the hurtful comments from the anonymous internet (but all of us nice commenters will kick the asses of the mean ones if you want!!). I am so happy that you got results that YOU are happy with!! You look beautiful and I bet it feels TONS better!!! Thanks for also touching on that eating “clean” or paleo might solve a lot of things, but not everything!!! There are not many sources that will admit to that and it can leave people feeling discouraged – sometimes it is OK to want/need modern medicine!! Moral of the story (comment?) – keep up the awesomeness, JB!!

  145. Hi Juli,

    Thank you for sharing yet another great post! I love your blog and would not be able to feed my family without it. Literally. 🙂 Congratulations on finding something that finally worked at healing your skin. I have struggled with acne too and know the toll it takes on ones self-esteem. Anyway, I digress. I just wanted to let you know about a makeup that I’ve been using ever since I discovered it at my dermatologists office. It is called Oxygenetix- you don’t need a prescription, you can order it online and a small amount goes along way to provide coverage and relief for acne prone skin.

    Keep up the amazing work.

  146. 1. Love your honesty.
    2. Love your humor and personality
    3.. Love your recipes

    I’m really glad you found something that worked for you. I have had acne since I was in Jr. High. Since I’m so old, all they ever recommended was “you must not wash your face enough”. As we all know, you can literally wash off your skin and it will not get rid of acne. I’m an old lady now and still have it. I am glad to hear there are products out there that can help people with acne, because the people who don’t have it never understand how debilitating it is.

    Good luck with your journey and thank you for sharing your success with acne treatment. I think you are an amazing woman. Did I mention I love your blog? I do!

  147. I too love your blog & recipes! You inspire so many of us out here.

    I too had used accutane after trying everything else unsuccessfully. It truly was a blessing for me. I feel your pain & also know how cruel some people can be, often not on purpose but still cruel.

    Your skin will continue to improve & you won’t have to worry about breaking out or covering up break outs any more. Now if I could only get rid of all the scarring – I was a terrible picker.

    Keep up what you are doing & continuing to inspire others!

  148. I rarely comment (but like looking at your recipes), but just wanted to throw out that I took accuatane in high school, and it permanently fixed my acne, within a year, bam. Over.

    One of the hazards of the new popularity of paleo style dieting is the immediate zealotry that a lot of people leap to. By which I mean there is some evidence and certainly logic on some of the metabolic stuff (I’m a fan, I’m on board with a lot of it!) – but the anti-modern medicine that can creep up, and the fix-everything-with-natural-ancient-remedies, anti-vax, all that, I think it’s the same mechanism that makes other people religious – it’s just something to believe (without full evidence).

    Anyway, I’m sorry to hear you got so much negative research and feedback, and glad you sifted through it! Some people have side effects (like you experienced – I happened to not, other than some dry skin), but hence the doctor’s oversight. Enjoy!

  149. I had bad acne as a teenager and tried almost every drug there was without results.. Ended up on accutane for 8 months when I was 19 and that cured it completely. My skin was clear for three years and then I started breaking out again periodically but nowhere near as bad as before. I took some minor prescriptions unsuccessfully and a year later started paleo. Fortunately after being on paleo for about 6 months it did clear up my skin! If I eat any large amounts of grains though I break out.. It was a long battle that’s for sure. I don’t believe healthy eating can cure everything. My anxiety and depression certainly hasn’t gone away.

  150. Thanks for sharing your story! I too had really bad cystic acne in college with huge red cystic pimples on my cheeks. I tried everything including proactiv, 2 antibiotics, and was on the strongest Rx cream my doctor had and decided to try accutane even though I read about all the risks. It was the best thing I could have done for my face. It completely cleared my acne up after one round.

  151. Brave post, Juli and congrats. Severe acne is the absolute pits. I went on Accutane in high school after YEARS of battling terrible acne. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. I was a bit freaked about all the birth defect warnings but had two healthy kids in my 30s so I guess it flushes out of your system. So happy for you!!!!

  152. I just wanted to say that I am so happy you shared your story. It’s super real, and I know how you feel. I took Accutane my junior year of high school, and it worked for me. I’m now 20 yrs old and no longer have any trouble with acne. Like ever. It’s all gone. So I am definitely an advocate for Accutane! It does suck while you’re on it, but it’s so worth it! Anyway, stoked about your progress and all that, and can’t wait for more rad paleo recipes.

  153. Hi Juli ! I’ve done Accutane 3 times 😀 ! It has always worked – last round was a very low dose and cleared up everything. Congrats for sharing & don’t be scared to do it again. xxx

  154. I’m really happy to see this post, because my son is just finishing up Acutane, and I’ve been beating myself up over whether he could have avoided the drug if I’d just done a better job of feeding him Paleo or oil cleansing or whatever. Congratulations!

  155. Wow! Your skin looks incredible 🙂 So grad you have found something that works so well for you.

    I know you were off of nuts in hopes that it would help, so I’m curious… Does this mean you will be incorporating nuts back into your diet and your recipes?

    1. no. i eat them occasionally because they really irritate my gut and make me bloated. so when i do cook with them, i usually give that food away. but i’ll still be making recipes with nuts!

  156. Good to hear (and see) there are indeed people that had a positive experience with Accutane. I just stopped taking it a couple of weeks ago because the depression got so bad it was unbearable. All other side effects were manageable (to me), but I just couldn’t handle the depression.

    I’d love to get rid of my acne, but if I have to choose between depression and acne I’ll rather live with acne. So now I’m hoping I’ll find another way to treat it.

    Anyway, I’m glad you’re feeling good now and I hope you finally got rid of your acne once and for all.

  157. I’m so glad you found something that worked for you! You get lots of credit for trying to many remedies! I had some post acne scarring (hormonal after the birth of my son, in my late 20s) and I found some awesome products to get rid of the scarring. I’d be happy to send you my pictures so you can see the difference. Just shoot me an email and I’ll send them to you.

  158. fantastic! i’m so glad you decided to do this. it has made a world of difference for me, even 25 years later, and my son has also experienced its benefits.

  159. Juli! So happy for you! My oldest son is on his 3rd time of taking accutane. The first round of 6 months cleared him right up. Then after being off for a while it came back. Then the 2nd round didn’t do as well…wtf?! So then we just tried doing the cleansing, better diet, blah, blah. Still not good results. He had terrible painful cysts also that would rupture and bleed for hours. Then for this 3rd time around he is on a low dose but he’s on it for a year. As a parent, I hated all the side effects. I left it to my son because it’s his body and his self image. He has scarring also. During the summer he lets the sun get on his bare skin and it’s amazing how the scarring clears up…so get some sun!

    Good for you girl! I’m just so proud that you shared your story and that I could relate to everything you wrote about! I’m sorry I didn’t see your earlier post when you were considering accutane because I would of definitely given you a positive recommendation. BTW, I can’t even tell you how many tubes of lip balm I’ve washed from my son not emptying his pockets. Lip balm is your friend! lol

  160. Thank you for being so open & honest with your experience and pictures. My story is very similar to yours…never had great skin through adolescence/high school, but it got really bad in my 20’s. Tried everything I could think of/read about and finally gave in and did Accutane, although I was scared. It was the only thing that truly worked for me. That was about 5 years ago that I did the treatment. I still have the occasional zit or blemish, usually during my period…but NOTHING like it was before, and no hints of it returning like it was. So worth it to me.

  161. This is a very brave and honest post. I suffered with acne very, very similar to yours when I was in my late teens. I had tried EVERYTHING and nothing worked. My dermatologist talked to my mom and I about Accutane and I decided to try it. I was put on birth control and started taking Accutane.

    It was AMAZING. Yeah it had side effects (I remember my lips were so dry once that the dentist had to stop cleaning my teeth because my lips started cracking and bleeding), but it worked amazingly well. After the 6 months I looked like a completely different person.

    It’s been about 11 or so years since I was on it and I do still get the occasional acne spot, but nothing, NOTHING like what it was. The medication also has no long-term side effects. Once it’s out of your system it is safe to get pregnant and what not. I was worried about that when I got pregnant with my son 4 years ago (I brought it up with my OB and she said that there were no concerns with that), but both he and his little brother are perfectly healthy.

    You will be amazed at how different your skin will be even after you come off of it. You may still get the occasional flare up, but if your case is anything like mine was it won’t be anywhere remotely close to being as angry/painful as it used to be.

  162. Juli,

    Thank you for sharing your story. I think it’s great that you took a risk and put your story out there. So many people are dealing with acne and it’s good to have real role models out there. I’m glad you really took the time to notice your symptoms and to pay attention to your depression. I think some people can be too judgmental and that is too bad. I’m happy it worked for you and I’m glad that you stayed aware during the process because I think that is important when anyone takes a prescription drug. Thank you for sharing and much love to you!

  163. Thank you for your honesty Juli. I was on similar treatment when I was 18 but in Finland it was called Roaccutan. I had tried everything before this; lotions, porions, strong antibiotics etc. This was the only thing that worked for me and then my youth could only really begin. I am now 36 and I still get the odd spot but the cystic acne has never come back. You look gorgeous, enjoy your new skin 🙂

  164. Thank you for your honesty Juli. I was on similar treatment when I was 18 but in Finland it was called Roaccutan. I had tried everything before this; lotions, porions, strong antibiotics etc. This was the only thing that worked for me and then my youth could only really begin. I am now 36 and I still get the odd spot but the cystic acne has never come back. You look gorgeous, enjoy your new skin 🙂

  165. Julie… Don’t let anyone get you down over something you did for yourself!!! Paleo is awesome… but there are reasons that they made medicines for things like this… BECAUSE IT WORKS! Glad you found your happy skin ending!!

  166. Hi Juli,
    First time commenting, but this really hit home for me. Acne runs in my family, and I went on Accutane in high school. I had been on everything else, even antibiotics that burned a hole in my esophagus because I didn’t drink enough water with it. Of course, had the dry skin- and I was a swimmer, so the chlorine made it even worse. A huge hassle every month with getting blood drawn, but now I don’t flinch when I have to have other tests or donate! I would recommend it in a heartbeat. I carried 3 tubes of this one specific chapstick that I still have to this day- it’s the only thing that lasts: Dr. Dan’s Cortibalm. Thanks for this post, a balanced life can’t cure everything all the time and I’m glad this could help you.

  167. Thanks for posting this blog. It takes alot to put yourself in a vunerable position. I am sure many people are benefiting from this. I am glad you had great results!

  168. Juli, you look fabulous! So happy for you that you got great results. If you are worried about scarring, I would recommend cosmetic acupuncture- no drugs, no surgery, really impressive results. Martha Lucas is an acupuncturist in Denver and she’s the bees knees when it comes to cosmetic acupuncture.

  169. Thank you so much for sharing your story and I hope that others will find it helpful in taking this medication. You are brave for sharing those photos so don’t let any negative comments bum you out, you look awesome!!!

  170. I had to undergo two rounds of Accutane treatment too, several years apart. That was a long time ago and now I usually get ONE cystic acne bump during ovulation of my cycle. It certainly was a life changer for me. I wouldn’t go anywhere without makeup. Now I am happy to spread on a little tinted moisturizer (for the sunblock in it) and go. I say good for you!

  171. Hey Juli,
    I was on accutane in high school. It cleared up my acne but I did have scars, just like you. They do clear up eventually, it just takes time. congrats to you.


  172. Thanks for sharing your experience. I did 6 months of Accutane about 10 years ago and also experienced the painfully dry lips. The only thing that soothed them was straight up Vaseline. My skin was perfect for maybe a year then the acne came back.

    Your skin looks amazing. I hope it stays that way!

  173. I as well took acutane. I did it when I was I believe 16. Tried everything and nothing worked. Finally a doctor recommended acutane. It scared me to try it but I am so glad I did. It’s hard for some people to understand why some one would go as far as taking something Like acutane but until they truly understand the heartache of having severe Acne they’ll never understand. I haven’t had to do it again and it’s been 8 years now. I still get a few tiny pimples here and there but not like I did. It’s more “normal” now. My side affects were the same as yours dry mouth, redness…My lips getting back to normal has improved over the years but it was I think the hardest part of taking acutane.

  174. I totally had/have bad skin call it acne call it a curse whatever you want. I too had painful bumps all over that never seemed to go away! I have been following your story and I am SO happy your meds worked for you! Recently I have been using natural cleansers that I’ve made (via wellnessmama) and using jojoba oil as a lotion. My skin too will probably never be perfect but its good to know that there are some options out there to make it at least BETTER. I still struggle with looking people in the eyes because Im like omg are they staring at my skin but now that its a little better I have to get over that! How do you deal with confidence issues?! Tons of love!

  175. Wow, what terrific results. I’m very happy to hear that the product worked for you, even though the side effects sound like quite a trial. Congrats, you must be quite relieved!

  176. That is great…I am 63 years old and have had acne since I was 13. After I adopted a gluten free/paleo diet a year ago, acne’s gone. No meds. Not sure if that will benefit anyone else, but I had to tell you.

  177. Congratulations! I was on Accutane for a year and half when I was 19, and I basically saw the same miraculous change as in your pictures. Since I’ve been off the meds, I can probably count on both hands the number of times I’ve washed my face that wasn’t directly related to sunscreen, sweat, or makeup. I just don’t need to. It was a few years before I adopted a GAPS diet, and I definitely had some lingering side effects from it, but with your diet, I’m sure you’ll undo any of the negative effects from it in no time now that it’s over!

  178. So brave to share your story, looking at you now you would have never thought that you had skin troubles! I get occasional bouts of acne, usually stress related (which doesn’t help the situation) and it’s just such an influence on your life. So glad that you took it all in your stride and sought the help you thought would most benefit you. You are beautiful!

  179. I, too, used accutane in my early 20’s. Sounds like our stories are similar. It was the best thing to happen to me and my confidence! I am 41 now and face has maintained beautifully.
    I use Obagi now which I swear by. Ask your dermatologist about. Love it!
    Happy for you! I know you will feel more confident in everything you do! Yay!

  180. I was on Accutane in highschool and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Everytime my birthday or Christmas came around I was dramatic and would say, “I want something you cant give me! Clear skin!” So I know exactly how you feel! My skin has been clear up until the past year when I got off birth control and started trying for a baby. Now I’m pregnant and my skin is completely freaking out. Hormones make your skin do crazy things.

  181. I was shocked to come across this topic on an Paleo site and was SO relieved to read your story. I can relate to everything. I started Paleo 10 months ago and did a sugar detox…my acne changed. I started getting the terrible cysts. I’ve tried everything to clear it up and it is a big downer when I how people’s skin clears up after going Paleo.(Good for you guys! I’m really happy for you! I am.) But I’m glad I’m not alone.

  182. Thank you for sharing your photos, I know that had to be scary, but it’s appreciated to have real, honest opinions and experiences and results when considering something like this. You ROCK, Juli!

  183. Great post Juli. I took accutane 3 times during my teenage years and for me it was always a short-term fix (good for up to a year and then it always came back). In my late 20’s I researched the internet and found that sulfacet, a topical prescription drug that was prescribed many years ago, worked for a lot of people but went out of favor for newer drugs over the years. I asked my GP to give me a prescription and it worked so incredibly well for me and was the first product that was a permanent ‘cure’ for me. Several of my friends and coworkers tried it after my success and they had the same results. Just a suggestion. I liked it because it was topical and didn’t have any side affects and MUCH cheaper than accutane – bonus!

    1. Kit, Yes, I’ve also used a sulfacet drug that helped immensely for several years. Back when I was a teen, the pharmacist actually made me a compound of sulfur and salicylic acid (aspirin) and that one worked awesome compared to the mixed cream sulfur a they have now. He actually had to grind up the aspirin and mix with the yellow sulfur. So, maybe if flare ups happen again, this might help you, Julie, to keep it under control, a sulfur and sulfacetamide cream 🙂

  184. Cystic acne is the worst. I cry uncle when I have one, so I can’t even imagine what a whole face full of them would be like. I’m so glad accutane worked for you! The dry lips sound maddening though.

  185. I am also three years into a battle with cystic acne, but after doing the research, I was determined to fix it the natural way and get to the root of the problem. Acne does not happen in isolation-it’s a sign of an underlying imbalance or deficiency. Clearing out the acne with chemicals covers up your body’s cry for help. Accutane is not just vitamin A-if that were the case it would not be so closely monitored, and people could recreate it’s effects with high doses of A supplementation. As well high-dose vitamin A supplementation is dangerous because it depletes your vitamin D (among other things). Both accutane and birth control wipe out your beneficial gut bacteria, which makes you susceptible to illness, autoimmune, and skin conditions, as well as the same for your future children (who get their first gut bacteria from you-immunity lies in gut bacteria).

    I don’t judge you for your decision-I have shed many a tear over cysts and I understand they are painful. I do, however, disagree with your choice to promote the drug to your large and impressionable audience. You are an amazing cook, but people look up to you for nutrition advice, and your support for this drug could unfairly sway people’s opinions and prevent them from doing proper research themselves.

    I encourage everyone to see a holistic practitioner (NTP, MNTP, DO, CNC) to get to the root of their acne issues. Had I not persisted in going the natural route, I would not have discovered that I have a gene mutation (MTHFR) preventing my body from processing folate, and I could have had children with spina bifida. Within a week of supplementing folate my acne has almost completely subsided, and I know it won’t come back now that my body is receiving the nutrients it needs.

    1. I agree 100% with the need to investigate MTHFR mutations. My lips peeled constantly for years. Now I know it’s a methylfolate deficiency. It’s miraculous what methylation protocols have done for me mood-wise and energy-wise too.

    2. I couldn’t agree more. A few years ago I did 2 rounds of acutane b/c I was sick of suffering from cystic acne & pustules and I wanted quick results. I regret not doing the research b/c I suffer from digestive issues til this day and reading some of post confirmed my suspicion.

      Now. Acutane does work SHORT term. For a about a year my skin was flawless but about 6 months post treatment , my skin broke out even worse.

      Since I had been laid off from work this forced me to research natural methods and find what was causing my acne. Acne is purely toxins trying to rid themselves from the body.
      I realized my acne was caused from toxins and poor digestion & taking acutane was making it worse b/c it was screwing up my digestive system even more.

      I began doing full body cleanses with green foods, fruit and natural supplements only for 28 days every season.
      I also tried different natural products like sea salt, lemon juice, turmeric, bentonite clay, ACV, raw honey etc.

      I did this until I figured out which products gave me the best results and bentonite clay was the BEST hands down. Bentonite draws out all the impurities from your skin & you can literally feel it pulsating.

      My skin got worse before it got better b/c all toxins were being released, but the clay was healing my skin at the same time.
      As my skin improved I got tired of mixing concoctions and began researching natural beauty products.

      I decided to try MyChelle Dermaceuticals, which is a life saver and I use Mychelle till this day.
      I’ve always been advised to keep my skin exfoliated b/c of my acne, but I never realized how important this is until recently.

      I now exfoliate 3-4 times a week w/ MyChelle Incredible Pumpkin Peel, which I swear by and continue with bentonite clay mask twice a week,