This post is more audience specific than usual but I hope it may be of help to anyone going through a similar situation. I want to give you an insight into my Roaccutane journey as I know I often turned to searching Google for answers. Never did I think i’d be posting this on the internet but here goes...
Onto the back story, I had oily/ combination skin as a teenager and suffered with the usual teenage spots that cleared up as I approached my 20’s. Later, I was on the combined contraceptive pill and decided to take a break from it when I was around 23. I stopped it for 6 months and was hit with a backlash. Stopping the pill and a change in hormones is the only explanation I can put my breakout down to.
My skin broke out significantly. I had courses of Lymecycline prescribed and Zineryt (Zinc & Erythromycin) Topical Lotion. With minimal success from these, I was referred to a dermatologist.
Before all of this, I could probably count the number of times I had left the house without make-up on one hand. I had perceived my skin to be much worse when I was younger than it actually was. Even going to dermatologist appointments with no make-up on would concern me. In the beginning, I would take my make-up off in the car just before the appointment and reapply it before going back to work. But as time went on and my skin improved, I became more comfortable about this and didn’t need to take such extreme measures. I can remember getting numerous comments from people saying they hadn’t realised as my skin had always looked good but the truth was I had become very good at covering my acne and finding which foundations and concealers worked best. The picture below of me in pink is when my skin was at it’s worst underneath the layer of make up. Obviously by that point it was impossible to hide the bumps on my face but I think you will get my point.
Acne Vulgaris was the name given at my initial consultation. After agreeing to the conditions of treatment including joining the isotretinoin Pregnancy Prevention Programme’, I started Roaccutane in July 2017 completing a 6 month course in January 2018. I started on a lower dose of 30mg for 4 weeks that was then increased to 70mg. It is worked out against your weight as to how much your body can tolerate.
Throughout this time, I was subject to 2 weekly blood tests monitoring liver, kidney function and lipids as well as 4 weekly pregnancy tests. Alongside, my skin initially getting worse (this is to be expected with Roaccutane), dry lips, dry nose, dry eyes and dry skin were the bane of my life. I’d also signed up to 6 months of no alcohol. This wasn’t too bad however on a trip abroad, non-alcoholic cocktails ended up been pricier in Malta than alcoholic ones! And it was a breeze until a New Year’s Eve Party came around, that was a struggle. The worst day was when my arms were covered with blotchy lumps as below. I wasn’t sure that it was down to the Roaccutane; it was a Bank Holiday so I had to go to a walk in centre to get advice, thankfully i didn't need to be concerned. Another particular memory that stands out is having my eyebrows waxed. You are told not to wax but I overlooked this at the time and ended up with my skin peeling off too!
I’ve always had to frequently wash my hair as it gets greasy particularly quickly. Roaccutane also dried my hair out, this meant I could wash it less often but was affected by breakage when highlighting my hair. Your skin is more sensitive and you are advised to use a high factor sunscreen.
Onto my top product recommendations, I found that going back to basics with my skin care routine was best.
Aveeno - Shower gels, lotions, moisturisers - It’s so gentle and the best product range I used during my treatment
Cetaphil - Daily wash/ lotion - Once again, this range was very gentle on my skin and I've continued to use it long after my treatment ended.
Garnier Micellar Water to remove make up/ cleanse face
You are advised not to exfoliate whilst on Roaccutane as your skin is so sensitive but also after. I was under the impression that once my course had finished I could exfoliate to try and get rid of the scarring but I was advised against this as exfoliating encourages oil production and your skin renews itself regardless.
In my last consultation, I was provided with a bottle of Dalacin T Lotion (Clindamycin – antibiotic) to apply to any fresh breakouts. The first picture in my 'AFTER' collage is immediately after my 6 month treatment finished, my skin continued to improve thereafter.
2 years on, I still suffer with dry lips and you are guaranteed to find a lip balm in each one of my coat pockets but my skin is significantly better. As long as moisturiser is on hand, I don’t think the after effects have impacted me too drastically.
As time has gone on, I am finding that the Roaccutane is leaving my system and the oils in my skin are more present than they have been for a little while. I’m now working to find an adjusted cleansing routine.
Disclaimer: This is my journey and experience. Your doctor will decide what treatment is for you. Seek a healthcare professional’s advice.
Would I do it all again?.....Yes.