Kalissa Shares Her Story

In her early teens our daughter, Kalissa, had regular teenage acne…a zit here…a blemish there.  It was just the same that all of our other kids had.  Then at 17 it became much worse.  We tried Proactive (we don’t recommend that at all).  We went to a dermatologist and she ended up trying everything he recommended including birth control, antibiotics, vitamins, scrubs and face washes.  Still, nothing worked.

At one point, Kalissa came to my crying, saying she just hated how she looked.  I knew it was bad and I also knew that I was doing everything I knew to do.  Make up couldn’t hide it.  Changing foods and soaps didn’t help.  Her acne was starting to scar her face.  We didn’t know what to do.  Then Kalissa heard that there was a new physician’s assistant in our area who specialized in pediatric dermatology.  She asked if she could go.  There is no way I would say no….

Kalissa-1

The doctor recommended Accutane.  After hearing about the medicine, I was nervous.  If someone would get pregnant while taking the meds it is guaranteed to cause severe birth defects and likely death of the fetus.  Some people say it prompts suicide.  Severe dry lips and probable sunburn are also side effects.

Kalissa-2
Kalissa begged me to let her try it.  The doctor was very reassuring saying that she works kids all the time and that the suicide myth really wasn’t true.  She said in fact, most kids gain a wealth of self esteem just because they end up looking better.  She also said, 95% of users see amazing results after six month of use and typical users only need it for six months.

At this point our family decided it was worth a try.

Kalissa is now on month number 3.  It hasn’t been easy.  She has experience a lot of dehydration.  Chap stick and sun screen are constant must haves…but she is happy.  This is her with no make up.

Kalissa-4

Isn’t the difference amazing???  She says it is totally worth it.  Kalissa wanted to share her story here on the blog so that if any of you have kids or grand kids that might need some help with their acne, her story might help them.

As Kalissa’s mom, I can say that I can see a big difference in her self esteem.  I can see her being more confident when she performs.  I can see her more confident with her friends too.  She will start going off the meds gradually on month #5.

I do keep a close eye on Kalissa but so far, no depression problems.  The doctor keeps an eye on her too.  As part of her appointments she is required to fill our surveys about her emotions and how she is feeling.

I just wish we would have known about this sooner.  I remember so many days that she was crying and upset, we could have avoided so many of them had we only known about Accutane earlier.  For many kids acne doesn’t get so severe but for those that do, I am so happy that there is something that can help them.

Kalissa has been very generous with her time and has offered to answer any questions you might have.  Feel free to contact us by leaving a comment here…  Life is so much easier when a person feels good about themselves.  I am so glad Accutane was here to help Kalissa.

19 thoughts on “Kalissa Shares Her Story

  1. Terri in BC

    I wish they had had this when I was a teenager – what a difference it would have made to my self-esteem! I’m so glad for Kalissa, and I hope her sharing her story makes a difference in at least one person’s life!

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  2. Linnea

    One of my cousins had a horrible time with his acne. My aunt and uncle did eventually take him to a doctor, but I don’t remember what they said he took to combat the acne. I am glad there is a solution that will work for most teens. Definitely not a fun thing. I am so glad Kalissa is doing so much better. I hope others in the same boat will see her story and realize they are not alone.

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  3. Christine M

    Hi Jo. My middle son is on that and it is amazing how everything is clearing up. Hopefully he’ll finish in November. When we go to the dermatologists and see those photos taken the first appointment, it’s hard to now remember how bad it was! We were a bit worried when we read the side effects and I had the prescription for nearly two weeks before we got it filled. Austin made the final decision, saying he wanted to give it a go. He could always stop it. Austin is just so much happier now. Good luck Kalissa.

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  4. Quilt Hollow

    Both my guys had severe acne and we were able to go the accurate route as well. I can tell you years later they still have beautiful skin! Oh and as far as the paperwork you sign for Accutane….piece of cake! No symptoms of suicide thoughts etc here! I have plenty to say on the subject after learning the back story! Geez! I strongly recommend Accutane to anyone with a severe acne problem but this must be determined by doctor. Your daughters skin is beautiful and I bet she is much happier! The drug should advertise that!

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  5. mary

    You don’t have to be a teen to have bad acne. My husband had it when we met and after we married our doctor got him on the Accutane, cleared him up nicely, think he was about 29 when he took it. ( it was after the wedding so my health plan would cover the cost, was terribly expensive then hope it has come down now)

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  6. tammy k.

    kalissa is a beautiful young woman, with or without acne, but very glad you found a solution that helps. our son went through a terrible time of it, tried proactive with less than satisfactory results, and pretty much just ended up giving up and waiting it out. a little less stressful (but not much) for a boy. my question, once the 6 months is over and she is off the meds, will the acne recur?

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  7. Ann

    After many years my problem turned out to be that I was allergic to wheat. Not glucose intolerant, but allergic. I used RetinA with great success. As your daughter gets older if the skin condition returns please consider removing wheat from the diet. I do not know if any long term damage occurred from the RetinA, but I am concerned with long time use of the Accutane. Wheat is in mayonaisse and mustard these these days so I avoid any packaged item that contains it. It takes about six weeks to see results and they have been consistent. Eat wheat. Break out. Best of luck to you and your family.

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  8. Lainee

    My daughter went on Accutane when she was about fifteen (fifteen years ago) for severe skin break out. We went in for frequent blood test to monitor liver function and cholesterol levels and had no problems with depression. What a difference it make in her skin and her life…an emerging butterfly! After she came off Accutane (at this point I can’t remember how many months she was on it) she would have an occassional breakout (a zit or two).

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  9. McGill Ullrey

    Jo, I just wanted to share with you about my good experiences with Accutane. I went on Accutane 20+ years ago when I was a Junior in High School. I had to do all the blood tests and monitoring. I had back aches, sun sensitivity, redness and cracked lips also. But for me, the side effects were worth it. Accutane cleared up the acne and the scarring on my back, arms and face very well. It is definitely NOT a cure, but it sure helped me greatly in high school. I am in my 40’s now and I still have acne, but I have never regretted taking it. My oldest daughter is 12 now and struggling with acne already. She goes to a dermatologist, and we are trying different things to help her, but she is too young for Accutane. When the time comes, I won’t hesitant to put her on it.

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  10. vicki seals

    Thank you, both of you for sharing your story. I will definatly keep this in mind for my kids and my self. Kalissa, you are very beautiful. Keep smiling. vickise at gmail dot com

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  11. mary numme

    for the cracked lips, try shea butter, 100%. you can buy some on ebay. it is the only thing that has worked well for me. we live in alaska, and it is a very cold and dry climate in the winter, so the shea butter is wonderful. i also use it on my feet to keep them from cracking from dry skin. hope this helps. :)

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  12. Mary Jo

    Kalissa is a beautiful young woman. I am so glad that she has found something to help her acne so that she can look in the mirror and she the beauty she is rather than the acne she had!

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  13. Linda

    I took Accutane about twenty years ago when it first came out—it was wonderful–I had and still have extremely oily skin–nothing helped my acne but this….I get a breakout of one cyst here and there but most of the nightmare was over with Accutane—I took more than one treatment of it….I wish I could have taken it in my teens and twenties—I always felt so ugly…..

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  14. Anita

    I’m glad to hear everything is going well for Kalissa but Accutane has serious side effects and depression/suicide is not a myth. My son suffered with worse acne, as did I as a teen and we both took Accutane. He attempted suicide about 9 months after he stopped taking it. Luckily he wasn’t successful in his attempt, but I’ve heard about others who were not so lucky. He also answered those emotional questions and even saw a therapist before beginning medication. I felt his self esteem was so low before and he became a changed person once his face cleard, but the depression still came. I would not recommend it to anyone, especially if they are already suffering from low self esteem and are ultra sensitive. I personally have suffered some depression, but have never been diagnosed with it nor has anyone in my family. So I don’t know if maybe some people may be more susceptible to suicidal thoughts or not. His skin looks amazing, but I would not trade that for the night he tried to end his life.

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  15. Susan P

    My daughter had severe acne on her back and sporadic outbreaks on her face. She was put on a low dose birth control and withing 6 months her acne cleared up. Did the trick for her.

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  16. kathy

    Wow what a difference. Her skin looks beautiful. Many years ago, I knew a family who had a teenage boy with severe cystic acne. He had low self-esteem because of it. Before the acne, he was outgoing and friendly, but after the acne became so severe he would feel like hiding, rather than be his outgoing self.

    So I told his mom about Accutane. It worked for him too. It cleared up his skin beautifully! He was so happy. His mom thanked me so much.

    But it didn’t have a happy ending after all. After a while he began to experience a psychotic breakdown. He never had that before the Accutane, but he got it after taking it. He attempted suicide on at least 2 occasions that his mother told me about, but it could have been more after that, as we lost touch. The 2 times he did try, he cut himself on his neck and wrists. His mother found him both times in his room soon after he cut himself and she knew how to apply pressure to stop the bleeding until the ambulance came. It is incredible that he was still alive after all that.

    I’m not sure if she knew it was due to the Accutane or not because it was before the word was out about Accutane causing suicidal thoughts, actions, psychosis, depression, and other severe side effects. He stopped taking the Accutane when his acne went away. And it did go away.

    But I heard about it and to this day I feel very very guilty for suggesting that he take Accutane. If I ever see her again, I will ask her if she found out and ask her if she was ever told that the Accutane would cause this.

    Most doctors do not want to admit that the medication they prescribed is what harmed you the patient. So I don’t expect that she would have heard it from her doctor, but I wonder if she learned about it later through other means.

    It’s a shame that drugs made to correct one problem bring on several more problems. In this case Accutane is an incredibly risky drug for anyone to take. Do a Google search on Accutane birth defects. I am glad that it was pulled from the market.

    Reply

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