Monday, 24 July 2017

How I Cleared Up My Severe Acne

I’ve struggled with acne since I was 11 years old. I’ve experienced all variations, from a few minor whiteheads here and there to large under the skin cysts that were painful even when I simply moved my jaw. I’ve tried an endless amount of skincare products, prescription only creams, oral antibiotics and hormonal contraceptive tablets, all with little to no affect. It wasn’t until I was 18 years old and had someone spit in my face because of my acne, which you can read about here, that I went to my doctor and, through a lot of tears, requested being put on a treatment that is pretty much the final resort for anyone struggling with acne. I’ve now been on this treatment twice and I have spoken about it in my previous acne post, and also my reasons for having to go on it a second time, so to get the full picture please head on over and check out that post, but for today I am going to be chatting you through what this treatment is, the side effects that I experienced and my final opinion on it. I am also going to preface this post by saying that I am not a skin expert, I am not a dermatologist, I am not qualified to tell you that this will work on your skin and that you will have the same experience as me, I am just sharing my experience and my opinion and hopefully giving someone who’s struggling with acne some information about a potential option! If you do think this treatment is something you want, please please research it fully and make sure you’re aware of all the potential side effects and information before making a decision. But with that said, here is how I cleared up my acne!

ROACCUTANE (ISOTRETINOIN)


WHAT IS IT
Roaccutane is a treatment for acne that consists of taking a certain number of tablets (whatever your dermatologist deems appropriate for you) that reduces the amount of natural oil your skin produces. The treatment usually lasts for 6 months and in most cases completely clears up a persons acne. It usually begins to work around a few weeks into treatment, although your acne can get worse prior to this. There are a number of people who cannot take roaccutane tablets, predominantly women who are pregnant, but also people that have had certain diseases so again, please do your own thorough research and speak to your doctor!
When taking this treatment, you’re required to be on one or more forms of contraception in order to prevent pregnancy, and you also have to have a pregnancy test every month, due to the level of harm this treatment can cause to unborn babies. You also have to have a blood test every few months, so they can monitor your cholesterol levels and various other things to ensure that the treatment isn’t causing any harm.
There is also an extensive list of side effects, some common, some rare, but all that you should be aware of before taking the treatment. The treatment can affect your mental health and cause depression/suicidal thoughts, so again please do your research properly.
I’m aware I’ve made this treatment sound very scary, but I don’t want to sugar coat it into being the perfect fix for everyone because it is intense and there is a lot to consider, but also at the same time, I’ve been on this treatment twice and both times have only had minor discomforts so it completely varies from person to person. You just need to make sure you’re aware of everything before considering it.

HOW IT AFFECTED ME
Throughout the 6 months, I only experienced the common side effects which affect everyone who takes this treatment. These are mainly dry skin, dry lips, dry eyes, dry nose/nosebleeds, and skin becoming incredibly sensitive. Because this treatment works by stopping the oil production in your skin, your entire body becomes incredibly dry and it’s important that you use creams/moisturisers/lip balms/sunscreens to reduce discomfort. The worst thing I experienced was the dry lips, which is really nothing serious, but they did crack and bleed which occasionally became painful when I smiled, but if you keep on top of this from the beginning and use an intense lip cream, this should help. I used a moisturiser called Cetaphil, so I didn’t really notice the dry skin apart from when I wore makeup for long periods of time and couldn’t moisturise. The nosebleeds only happened when I had a cold and had to blow my nose. The main thing that bothered me were the dry eyes because I couldn’t wear contact lenses, so I had to wear my glasses for the 6 months which even though it was frustrating, I could definitely tolerate for the sake of clear skin. I experienced the exact same side affects for both treatments, although the second time I also experienced muscle ache if I ever did any extreme exercise, and I also would get a very sharp pain in my lower back whenever I would stand up after being sat down for a while. But again, I would do it all over again in order to clear up my acne.
This treatment will affect everyone differently, these are just the common side effects that most people experience and that I experienced myself. The list of potential side effects is very long so make sure you’re aware of them all before starting treatment.

MY RESULTS AND OPINION
Honestly, this treatment is the best thing I’ve ever done. Twice. The first time I had this treatment, it completely cleared my skin and I didn’t have a single spot for around 2 years. As mentioned in my more detailed acne post, around January 2016 my hormones were completely messed up by the mini pill (an oral contraceptive), which caused the worst acne I’ve ever experienced. I then had my second round of treatment, beginning in December last year and I am now again spot free. I’m aware that I only experienced the very common and minimal side effects of this treatment, so if you experienced worse then your opinion will differ, but I love this treatment and I’m so thankful that it exists. Without this treatment, I’m not sure if my acne would have ever cleared itself up, after having tried everything else available to me. Even though I know this treatment works for me and I haven’t had a spot since I completed it, I’m still terrified that my acne will return so I’m also very strict with my skincare routine and take as much care and caution as I can when it comes to my skin.
Also, whilst this treatment completely stopped my acne, it doesn’t do anything to the scars and discolouration left over, so that’s something I am left with. You can’t have any scar treatments, give blood, get a tattoo, or use sunbeds/be in intense sunlight for at least 6 months after completing roaccutane, and whilst you’re on it, so it’s going to be a while before I can look into tackling my scars. Right now, my confidence is ten times the amount it was 6 months ago, and even though my skin is nowhere near perfect, I am so much happier. I still have a long way to go until I’m comfortable with showing my bare face, but this treatment has helped me feel like me again, and I’m so thankful for that.

I apologise that this was a reeeally long post, but as you can probably guess, acne is a subject that I’m very passionate about after having dealt with it for almost 12 years, so I’ve got a lot to say! I hope this may have helped and given some hope to anyone out there who feels like their acne will never go away, but again please remember this is thought of as a last resort treatment. If it sounds like something you want to do, do your research, talk to your doctor and make yourself aware of everything. This was just my experience and things may be completely different for you!
I still have a long long way to go before I’m happy and comfortable with my skin, but I’m getting there, and so will you!
xxx


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4 comments

  1. I can say that I know what you went through. I had a horrible acne myself, I still get few spots here and there but it's practically non existent today. I suffered from a cystic acne for 8 or so years and believe me, I had so many people insulting me because of it. Complete strangers would look at me with a disgust and some women would come up to me in a bus or while waiting one and would suggest all different treatments for me. It was the most uncomfortable experience in my whole life. I decided to go to see a dermatologist and get it all fixed. I changed 3 dermatologist in 3 years time and nothing seemed to work. It got better a bit and then it got worse again. Then this year I started using treclin and another medication for it recommended by my current dermatologist. It worked like magic! But I could only use it for 3 months, so she also prescribed me a pill and from that day I said goodbye to acne. Roaccutane was one of the options but I didn't want to risk it as it has sooo many side effects. Plus, my dermatologist said that it should be my last option, so I'm glad that I didn't need to try it out :) But congratulations for you and I'm happy that it helped you! :)

    -Leta | The Nerdy Me

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    1. I'm sorry you had to deal with it for so long! People can be really insulting sometimes, I've definitely been on the receiving end of some horrible comments because of my acne. I've never heard of that medication! I'm so glad you were able to get rid of it without having to resort to a medication you didn't want to do! I know roaccutane can be incredibly scary and affect everyone in different ways so it's brilliant that you were able to tackle it with something else! Thank you <3 xxx

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  2. I cannot imagine how hard it must be for people with acne. I have always been incredibly lucky with my skin, but my sister had acne and I know how it used to get her down!

    Danielle xx
    http://www.fashionbeautyblog.co.uk/

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    Replies
    1. It affects everyone differently but for me personally it completely destroyed my confidence! I hope your sister is feeling better about her skin now <3 xxx

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