This post began as a response to a question by a reader, and as the reply got longer, I realized it answered some questions I've been meaning to address for some others that have asked them-- so here it is--
First, I was asked if there were any long-term side effects from my experience with this treatment--
I am happy to report that there have been no long-term side effects in my case. It has now been about four years or so, and I can still report that my skin is nice and "normal". You are correct that I have maintained a special level of attention to the products that I use to wash with. I use Dove Sensitive Skin bars for pretty much everything these days, and the Cetaphil cleanser and lotion are simply the best thing ever during and after treatment--ESPECIALLY for the face. I also use only hypo-allergenic/dye-free laundry detergents and such-- I have experienced a welcome reduction in skin irritation and itchiness since switching to these types of products.
I also have a condition called Dermatographism.
It makes my skin sensitive to scratches and scrapes that don't affect most people. Nobody really knows why it happens. I do not think it's related to my Accutane treatment, as there appear to be many people that have the condition without having ever used this drug-- some people are even born with it.
It's actually kinda cool to write stuff anywhere on me and have it grow out of me for an hour, as you can see in the link above, but gets annoying having bright pink itchy marks all over anywhere I scratch ;)
As it is an overactive histamine response in the "mast cells" of the skin, I take Zyrtec daily to reduce the effect. I also have dust allergies, so this is a dual-solution for me.
As far as the foods avoided-- I'll just say right away that I don't expect most people to consider my diet reasonable or easy-- but remember I wanted to accomplish more than just clear skin-- I wanted clean, simple nutrients, protein, and fuel for my body-- and little else. I figured that diet was the one thing I had complete control over, and while I was hoping accutane would work, I knew adding in a clean, healthy diet would probably help it work better--not to mention stabilize and optimize all my other body systems.
When I was beginning treatment I was already completely away from most processed foods and refined sugars as part of my efforts to clean out the inside of my body as well as the outside. NO High-Fructose Corn Syrup!!! My God, what a cancer that crap is for the human body... I have specifically rejected anything containing it for many years.
I mainly ate whole grains, like brown rice, whole wheat breads, and pastas. Though nowadays I have migrated away from grains. Mostly vegetables on the menu.
Albacore white tuna, and as many other fish types as I can get-- excellent for you in many ways. Lean meats, like chicken. Though I'm not into pork, it is pretty healthy as well. I eat a LOT of skinless chicken breast with my pasta/rice.
Vegetables--especially dark green. The lady that spurred this post mentioned that her doctor recommended against eating any fruits/veggies with red pigment, as they somehow exacerbate skin allergies. I admit this is news to me, but mention it here to relay what her doc said, so that other readers might consider the advice.
No fried foods. No *fast food*.
Alcohol is specifically warned against in the regimen by the drug makers and doctor-- I had already quit drinking entirely a couple of years before I started Accutane. I remember learning that the dehydrating qualities of the alcohol were horrible for the already-weak skin. Again, since I don't drink I have no direct experience with this, but mention it so you might reflect upon it during your own treatment.
(PS-- I'm happy to report that chocolate as a cause for acne is, as far as I've ever read, no more than an urban myth-- though from the refined sugar perspective is something I have moderated.)
I also cut out all dairy from my diet-- I have read that dairy foods contribute to skin issues and other negative body ailments. Take it for what it's worth. I do love all kinds of dairy, but moderate the best I can. Remember that humans are the only animal in the world that actively ingest the milk of another animal on a regular basis. Just sayin...
I hope this post has answered your questions-- if not, please don't hesitate to ask more, or new ones. I recently had a computer disaster, and have only recently been able to get back online-- deepest apologies to those that I have delayed or overlooked in replying to-- you guys are a bright point in my life, and I feel great getting the feedback and stories from you--
Here's a few general heath links you may enjoy:
The last vitamin and mineral guide you'll ever need.
Onward and upward....