My clear skin journey using Roaccutane (Isotretinoin)

Today’s post is on Roaccutane and my journey to clear skin using it. If you follow me on twitter I recently posted a few pictures of before and after treatment. As a result of numerous requests I have decided to share my journey with you, it’s quite a long one.

WHY I STARTED TAKING ROACCUTANE

As a teen my skin was very problematic, it wasn’t horrendous and I know that people have far worse skin than I did; however I can appreciate how the individual is feeling. I tried various creams, washes and tablets recommended by my GP none of which helped clear my skin. I was on the coil rather than the pill which has been known to make skin bad and was advised that this wasn’t contributing to my skins condition. As a last resort my GP advised that I could start this treatment and being very unhappy in my skin (quite literally) it was worth a shot. I was at the point that I would cover as much of my neck, back, shoulders and face as possible. I’d like to point out that I don’t wear much make-up and never did so this wasn’t the cause of my problematic skin.

 

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WHAT THE TREATMENT INVOLVED & HOW LONG IT TOOK

The treatment involved visiting the hospital once a month to get the medication and do a pregnancy test, this was because the medication would severely harm any unborn child. You would collect a prescription for a months supply of tablets (you can get this in gel form too) and repeat this process for several months, I did this for a year. This takes different lengths of time depending on the individual most peoples skin clears up within 4-5 months. If you don’t get free medication on the NHS it’s worth looking at the pre-paid certificate where you can pay for a whole year of prescriptions.

WHAT YOU’RE ADVISED NOT TO DO..

 Alcohol is advised to be avoided and as it doesn’t react very well with the medication. Direct sun exposure is also not advised. Waxing, epilating and laser treatment.. this is explained further in side effects.

THE SIDE EFFECTS

My skin got really dry on the medication to the point that my hands would bleed in the winter, my nose would peel and my lips would crack and be so sore that it hurt to move them at times. My GP gave me some steriod gel that helped ease this. The hospital gave me special shampoos and moisturisers that were advised for very sore and dry skin. Bathing in Oilatum was my saviour. I spent a lot of time in rubber gloves, avoiding chemicals and away from the cold. The winter was the worst time of year for me during the treatment because the colder it got the sorer I got. My scalp got sore and flaky as the treatment my body creating Sebum Oil (the oil that makes your hair/ face / skin oily). Waxing was not advised for the whole treatment and then for 6 months after as the skin was very very fragile. Meaning that I had to learn to like shaving, I never learnt to like it if truth be told, epilation and laser treatment are also not reccomended.

other side effects include:

  • Negative thoughts that could lead to depression
  • Achey joints
  • Dry eyes
  • Dry throat
  • Dry nose
  • Nosebleeds
  • Headaches and general aches and pains

MY ADVICE

  • Dont drink – It’s not worth feeling rubbish have a mocktail no one knows the difference anymore right?
  • Invest in a sensitive skin razor and lots of sensitive shaving gel/foam.
  • Avoid hot baths or showers – Sore skin and very warm temperatures don’t mix.
  • Buy a shampoo and conditioner for dry skin or ask your GP/ hospital if they have any samples you can take home.
  • Avoid sun/ use at least 30 SPF if you need to be in it.
  • Use Oilatum – A moisturiser that you can use in the bath and or in the normal way it was so soothing.
  • Wash your hair as little as possible – The more you wash it the more you strip it of it’s natural oils. Roaccutane stops the body from producing these oils so all you will do is dry your hair out and make your scalp sorer.
  • Eat well and exercise regularly – This will help keep your body healthy whilst it’s undergoing changes.

Something I hear many people say which seems true is ‘your skin will get worse before it gets better’ this may not be the case for everyone but it was the case for me, for over a month I felt like my skin wasn’t improving and that it wouldn’t. It got worse, but after a few months it started to clear. I’ve always been a spot picker and it was SO hard not to pick during the treatment but my skin was very fragile and I didn’t want it to scar, this would put me at risk of my skin cracking more and it was painful enough without helping it along.

HOW I FEEL A FEW YEARS ON FROM TREATMENT

A few years on from treatment my skin is much better, my back, face and shoulders are clear from spots most of the time and I feel comfortable showing them in public. I’m past the point that’s advised not to be in the sun, drink, epilate or wax and it’s great! My scalp is still a little dry but I don’t think that will change. Area’s of my face are still very oily but nowhere near as much as they were. I’d be lying if I said that my skin is always clear because it isn’t but it’s SO much clearer than it was before treatment and I feel so much more confident, so although I have described an unpleasant experience it really was worth it. I finally can say that I’m comfortable in my own skin which I never thought I would be.

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For further information and guidance please visit the NHS website this post is written based on my experience.

I hope my journey has helped answer any questions!

Thank you for reading,

Love Saff x

 

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