MY SKIN & ME: IS ROACCUTANE THE ONLY WAY?


I often hear people talking about the importance of being ‘comfortable in your own skin’. Everyone has their own interpretation of the phrase, but personally, I’ve always taken it quite literally.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve suffered with breakouts. There’s no need to dress it up and beat around the bush, acne has been a big part of my life for a long, long time.

Just a quick one - I don’t have this expectation of insta-worthy skin by any means, and I definitely don’t prioritise aesthetics over health - I know that there are so many people worse off than myself! 

My skin is something that has sometimes held me back from doing things that I've wanted to do (this includes stepping out of my front door on some occasions). But ultimately, it's just been a right old pain. 

A SKINCARE ROUTINE




Over the years I’ve discovered that there are only a few products that ‘work’ for me. One of those is L'Occitaine soap (and my word, it’s unreal, but not at all cheap). I've come to realise that good old soap and water seems to be the only combination that sometimes lessens the oil production on my face.

Clarins is another brand I favour. I was sold through word of mouth. My grandma uses it, my mum uses it… most women I know rave about it. The cleanser, toner and eye make-up remover are my absolute go-to’s.

Let’s face it - Clarins ranks pretty high within the skincare world. But - and this is a big but - luxe products do the job for a short while, until I find myself frantically trying to cover up new blemishes within the next few days. 

MEDICATION


When I was 13, I started taking medication for my skin. ‘Lymecycline’ tablets were prescribed to me. Again, they did their job for a while, but I never saw any kind of permanent change.

Benzoyl peroxide was also a friend of mine growing up, but the cream caused my skin to dry up and peel - it also burned ferociously. It's kind of weird, but the pain made me feel hopeful, thinking that the medicine was finally 'doing something'. 

I still use a gel called Panoxyl, which contains the peroxide - although I do feel as though my body is becoming immune to the bacteria attacking substance, and that realisation is probably one of the most aggravating things I have had to contend with in my life. 

I’d be lying if I said that my self-esteem wasn’t affected by my skin. And when my friends tell me ‘but you cover it up so well!’ or ‘It’s not that bad’ - As nice as that is to hear, it doesn’t help.

ROACCUTANE

I think everything could be beginning to change. After consulting my GP recently, I’ve been prescribed antibiotics. A ‘let’s give this a go’-type method which will span over the next three months. 

He’s also given me another option - the pinnacle of this post if you like - Roaccutane, or Isotretinoin as some may have heard of it. I've read so much about the drug, and I'd be lying if I said that the word spoken aloud didn't leave me walking out of the surgery scared stiff.

Most people who have suffered with their skin are probably aware of this drug, laden with its pretty horrific side effects, which affect more than 80% of the people who take it. These include:

  • Muscle pain
  • Depression
  • Dry skin / rashes 

Unfortunately the list goes on, and it gets worse.... My GP advised me that if I were to get pregnant whilst on Roaccutane, the likelihood of the child suffering birth defects and being born disabled becomes pretty much a certainty. 

But the likelihood of my acne returning is less so.

THE FUTURE

I’m now at the stage where I have to start thinking about making a decision, weighing out the pro’s and cons of the medication - ultimately deciding if I want to take a ‘risk' for the possibility of great skin. 

It doesn’t help that I’m the most indecisive person in the world, but I think the first step is being able to post about it - I definitely don’t think that this kind of topic should be taboo either. 

Has anyone been prescribed Roaccutane? Would you go through with it? I'd love to know!

2 comments

  1. I used Roaccutane for 3 years, having periods of 6 months then a rest for 6 months. I'd be lying if I said it was anything less than pure hell. From the first and second round my lips were so dry they were shredding, my muscles ached, my skin was so dry and thin, I had to keep out of any sunlight as the UV damage was something like 10% greater on your skin when using roaccutane. But it was the last 6 months whilst on it that were the worst, on top of all those symptoms, I started getting mood swings, depression and insomnia. I was up most nights crying for no reason, and I was only 16/17 years old. It was horrible. My GP took me off them shortly after my first meeting and I refuse to go on them again.
    BUT
    It did clear my skin, it did something all the other medications I tried couldn't.
    That's not to say some of my acne didn't come back, I still have a slight bit on my forehead and chin.
    If I could go back and tell myself not to go on it I would, I especially know I couldn't handle the side affects now at 20.
    xx

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    Replies
    1. That's so awful Jess. I've heard mixed responses from friends and read countless 'skin diary' type posts online! I don't know if I could deal with the mental side effects if I'm honest. It's just the most frustrating thing in the world having problem skin! I think you look fab. Thank you for telling me about your experience angel xx

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