My Isotretinoin (Accutane) Journey

Written by Sally Matika, MPAS, PA-C, Certified Physician Assistant on September 4, 2020 No Comments

sally matika

I’ve debated posting my journey as I am not the typical isotretinoin (also sold under the brand name of Accutane) patient.  However, I decided that being both a dermatology provider and patient on isotretinoin has given me the insight that not many have as I get to experience both sides.

My story: I started breaking out in middle school.  It was mild at first but quickly became pretty severe on my chin and jawline. I tried everything over the counter and spent all of my savings at Sephora trying everything I could to clear my skin.  We did not have insurance that covered dermatologist visits so while I tried topical clindamycin and a retinoid from my primary care doctor, nothing worked.  Finally, I was placed on oral antibiotics but had to stop within weeks because it upset my stomach horribly.

I spent all of my free time in high school researching skincare and even made at home concoctions to try to help.  I also started birth control pills – which helped somewhat.

I became a licensed aesthetician after high school and learned more about how to care for my skin.  I started doing regular chemical peels and using physician grade skincare.  My skin would be good for a while and then freak out all of a sudden for no reason despite the time and effort I consistently put in.

Years (and a lot of education) later, I became a Dermatology Physician Assistant.  I then had the knowledge and access to all things skin.  My acne for the last three years has been the best it has been in 15 years, but not without frustration.

Every time I travel and use a new water source, or head to a new climate, try a new product or forget to wash my face just ONE night, it breaks out.

I’ve debated for a long time about doing a course of isotretinoin – but with the frustration of having to deal with skin issues for the past 20 years, despite having access to everything in the Dermatology realm, I’ve decided to take the plunge.

I’m currently in my first month of treatment.  I will make new posts on my Instagram regarding my journey so far and will keep you updated along the process.  I feel like I’m already kicking myself for waiting until my 30’s to begin, but I’m already so excited and happy I finally made the plunge!

Sally Matika, MPAS, PA-C

Sally Matika, MPAS, PA-C, is a certified physician assistant licensed by the National Commission of Certification of Physician Assistants. She obtained her Masters in Physician Assistant studies from Eastern Virginia Medical School. There she received the PAragon Award which is presented annually to a student practitioner for outstanding clinical excellence. She worked for many years as a medical aesthetician where she gained extensive aesthetic and laser experience. Along with her extensive training with her attending, Dr. Geddes-Bruce, she is also enrolled in the Diplomate Fellowship through the Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants.

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