I feel like before I start this post I should just write a little disclaimer. Roaccutane is a very dangerous and severe drug however personally for me I felt it was the only option left as I will explain further on. Please don’t read this blog post and think that it is a miracle drug and a miraculous acne cure; it was a decision I thought about for many many months once I had took everything into consideration.
As a teenager I had always been a bit spotty but I would never say I had suffered from ‘acne’ it was just a few teenage spots here and there. I had been on and off antibiotics for my spots throughout my teenage years but it wasn’t until May 2014 when I was 23 that my skin spiralled out of control.
I literally woke up one morning with about 20 cystic yellow heads. They came from nowhere. I hadn’t changed my skincare routine, foundation, washing powder . . Nothing. And from that day on the cystic spots kept coming and coming. I tried every product under the sun, you name it; I tried it! Even a Chinese herbal remedy which cost £40 a week and after 8 weeks nothing had even remotely changed. I cut dairy out my diet and yet again saw no change in my skin. Things continued to get worse and worse and by July 2014 I was having to wear four layers of L’oreal true match foundation to cover my cystic acne, yes four layers!! I went to my GP with make up on, and I think this is where I made a mistake, as all he did was give me a topical treatment and told me it was hormonal. Again it did not work and my skin continued to get worse and worse every single day! Back to the doctors I went in late August 2014 and this is how my skin looked by then.
As you can imagine going from clear(ish) skin to this in a matter of months with no explanation was really hard to cope with. Not only that but it was so painful and sore that even washing my face made me wince. So when I went back to the doctors for a second time, this time without make up on, as soon as I walked in to the room the doctor (this time a lady) knew exactly why I was there. She suggested a course of Roaccutane which I had previously read about (mostly horror stories) and she referred me to the dermatologist.
You can only get a referral to a dermatologist for acne if you have exhausted all other options (which I quite clearly had), it effects your every day life (I would cry every morning when looking in the mirror and it stopped me going out as much) & it is starting to or will scar your skin. So I went home and deliberated for weeks, did all my research, spoke to my family and Damny endlessly and finally decided to go for it. It was getting very close to a year before our wedding and I was at the end of my tether thinking I couldn’t walk down the aisle with such painful, red, cystic acne.
I waited and waited for my referral to come through for the dermatologist knowing full well the waiting list was extremely long but by late October I still hadn’t heard anything so luckily my Mum paid for a private consultation to get the ball rolling. If you have ever googled Roaccutane or accutane as it used to be called you will understand the pure fear you have towards this drug however once I met with the dermatologist he really put my mind at ease and I was lucky enough to then be transferred back through the NHS so I could get my monthly prescription at the normal price rather than paying privately.
I started to take Roaccutane at the end of October 2014 and I was on it for 9 months. I started my first month on 20mg, second month went to 30mg and spent the other 7 months on 40mg. They offered me the chance to increase my dose to 50mg which would have shortened my length on the drug (as I had a milligram target to hit rather than a set timescale) but I was quite happy coping with the side effects at 40mg as they weren’t too severe. With Roaccutane you need to monitored every month and have your bloods taken if I remember correctly they always took 4 tubes of blood every month. You cannot get pregnant on Roaccutane and I was made to sign a disclaimer at the beginning basically agreeing that I have been fully made aware if I got pregnant their is a high chance the baby will have severe birth defects, so one of the blood tests is to check you are not pregnant every month. The list of side effects is endless with this drug but personally I didn’t suffer too bad with anything in particular and I always reminded myself whether I would choose dry lips or painful cystic acne and it never seemed as bad. I had dry cracked lips, a bloody dry nose (but never actually had a nose bleed like some people do), I couldn’t drink alcohol as Roaccutane effects your liver but I also had amazingly dry hair and could get away with not washing it for a week, my face dried up but when I say that what I actually mean is it went from the most oily face in the world to NORMAL. I stopped using powder and my make up lasted all day!
As I said I spent 9 months on Roaccutane and I’ve been off it for about 6 months and I’m still spot free, I have heard a lot of people who say their acne has returned later on but you can’t control what the future holds and if that happens to me I will cross that bridge when I get to it but the dermatologist said for 90% of people it leaves them acne free for the rest of their life.
Here’s a picture of my skin now totally make up free.
This blog post is not me recommending Roaccutane in any way shape or form as I am in no position to do so as it effects everyone differently. But as I had spoken about my adult acne in previous post a few people messaged me asking for a more in depth post so I hope this helps a bit. I seriously did my research on this drug and it was not something I took lightly at all. I spent my life going back and fourth saying yes I’ll go on it one day and no the next day. The side effects can be extremely serious, the best thing I did was speak to almy lovely & understanding GP and a great dermatologist who were both there for me the whole way through. They monitor you so closely that there isn’t a lot of room for error and they will pick up any issues with your endless blood tests or through all the questionnaires you have to fill out. The main thing I realised was even though I felt alone, I wasn’t. There are so many people out there with information and advice around acne and YouTube was my saviour (and kept me sane!) at the time! Thanks for reading.