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Wednesday, 7 January 2015

My Story | Roaccutane Treatment for Acne/Spots Review

Roaccutane Treatment for Acne/Spots Review

I have had this in my draft folder for a couple of months. As I prepare to begin another course of treatment I remembered how little personal experiences there are on the Internet. Many of the reviews that do exist are mainly negative and stories that come up in the press involve pretty awful stories; this is not the case for me, mine is positive. So in support of the many sufferers of acne, here is my story and how Roaccutane changed my life. This is a long post, but all of my experiences are ones I wanted to discuss. 

Acne is something that most people will suffer with at some point in their lives and for most people it clears up. This is usually during the most crucial time of your teenage life; starting to like boys, wearing makeup and going out with friends. It can be crushing for someone's confidence so it is important to educate people into the health reasons behind it. You are not dirty and nor is your skin for a start so do not scrub at it with a harsh face wash, it will just leave you with scars- as I learnt. 

Many of my readers, friends and colleagues have mentioned my skin recently and I wanted to explain why there has been such a dramatic change over the last year. This is not something I am embarrassed about, but I have been nervous to share photos of my skin before and after treatment. I think you have to be a little bit brave to put your naked face out there. Lots of people said they never noticed my skin, but that was because I never left the house without thick foundation and hours of careful application.

Roaccutane Treatment for Acne/Spots Review

I have suffered with acne since my early teens. As many can relate to it causes a lot of problems with confidence and often products you buy over the counter just wont kick it. I tried the usual Freederm, Clearisil and Neutrogena with no improvements and it really affected how I felt as a young woman growing up and learning to love herself.

As a woman who works in the beauty industry I often felt self-conscious about my skin, especially when I was trying to pitch skin care to journalists and make up artists. How can you convince someone that a product works when your own skin looks like it is melting? Now I know that my acne is not as severe as some of the cases I have seen on the internet. But for me it was ruling my life, stopping me going on holiday, swimming or even not wearing make up in front of  a boyfriend; I seriously used to wake up before him to put it on!

Roaccutane Treatment for Acne/Spots Review

Over the last 5 years my GP and I have tried out every treatment on prescription that he could give me but last April, once I reached 25 we finally gave up and decided to call in the big guns. I was referred to the hospital to see a dermatologist and put on the waiting list in Wales. Wait lists can vary. I know that in Wales they are a lot longer than in England and I was on that list for 7 months, so be prepared for the long haul; this is not a quick fix.

During those I kept a skin diary, taking photos on my iPhone every day so that I could demonstrate how bad the flair ups could be when I met the dermatologist. I would recommend this is something you should do if you are thinking of seeing a dermatologist, some days were better for me than others and this way I could show that. 

When I was finally called to the hospital I was so excited, the promise of clear skin was something I had always wished for. If you are going for Roaccutane here is my personal account of what to expect.

Arriving at the clinic on a cold Tuesday morning I was greeted by a lovely nurse who showed me in. I first lay on a couch while the doctor looked at every part of my face, back and neck under a bright light and magnifying glass. It was a little awkward because no one spoke for the entire time this went on. My lovely doctor then decided I was a good candidate for the Roaccutane treatment and that they would be happy to start the course after blood tests and a pregnancy test. We then discussed the downside to the treatment and the risks involved, depression, risk to sun exposure and very dry skin, plus others. They make these sound very scary because the drug you take is so so strong, take this on board and seriously think about it, side effects can be different for each individual and range in strength. 

A note for girls: You can’t get pregnant during or a month after you take the medication as it can seriously damage the baby and cause extreme deformities. They ask you to sign a contract to say you understand this and that if pregnancy does occur the NHS are allowed to take action. (I am not sure what this means). For me the positives of having clear skin outweighed any of the side effects and I was keen to go ahead. I had to do a pregnancy test then some blood test to ensure I was healthy and not already pregnant.

Roaccutane Treatment for Acne/Spots Review

After all this I began my treatment. Starting off with one Roaccutane tablet a day after a week I was told to up it to two. I had heard that your lips become very dry and can chap and bleed, so before I got to that stage I was applying Clinique Super Balm Lip Treatment every couple of hours. This is a huge tip, because although my lips did dry out they were not as bad as my siblings, who suffered really bad bleeding and cracking. The skin on the face also gets really dry and sometimes it can look like you have sun burn. I recommend putting an intense moisturiser on overnight to really treat the skin while you sleep and use a moisturiser again when you wake up. You also need to avoid over exposure to sunlight and UV rays and the skin burns really badly. Having come back from holiday recently I burnt so badly and it was really painful, so wear SPF!!!

I have now been on the treatment for 6 months and my skin has changed dramatically. I no longer have any raised spots and the redness has almost disappeared. I still have some scarring but I am using a Clarisonic to help with this. The treatment has really impacted my confidence and I can now go out with no make up or just a tinted moisturiser – something I never would have done previously. I even went makeup free in the pool during my hols - for me it's unheard of! 
Roaccutane Treatment for Acne/Spots Review
No editing, natural light only
I will probably need one final course of treatment to hopefully clear the skin and I have been told that there is the possibility of it reoccurring sometime in the future. 

If you have any specific questions regarding this treatment you are welcome to drop me an email and I will do my best to answer from a personal perspective. You can read into Roaccutane and its side effects on the NHS website here

Disclaimer: I am in no way a doctor or dermatologist. I am speaking from a personal experience on my own treatment, some people experience different side effects and results. Speak to your doctor for more information. 

Thank you for reading and I hope this is helpful to someone.

Stay beautiful

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  1. This was a great thing to share! I've been okay with my skin over the years so never needed any intervention but I have had a few friends who have been on Roaccutane and it has been great for them as well x

    Jasmin Charlotte | UK Lifestyle Blog

  2. Great (and brave) post! My brother went on Roaccutane too and it really helped him, although he has been left with some acne-scarring. If you have any product recommendations for this I'm sure he would appreciate them! Steph x