I have no idea how to start this blog, never written one of these before! Have been stalking these forums for years but have been too chicken to write anything until now. Here's a bit about me I guess...
I'm 24 and live in London with my boyfriend, my flatmate and my (new) very lovable bunny. I’m a teaching assistant in a special needs school (this is sounding like a job interview isn’t it…). I suppose I’m pretty average in a lot of ways, happy and easygoing. Apart from when it comes to my skin.
I've had acne since I was 12, and at varying stages I can safely say it has taken over my life. It was at its worst at 15, where I had every centimetre of my face covered in pimples, papules, blackheads and bumps. It was also all over my back to ridiculous levels. It feels like I’ve tried almost every treatment available under the sun. Throughout the years I’ve tried countless over the counter washes, lotions and potions, and had a huge amount of topical treatments prescribed. (The ones I can remember): Duac gel (and cream), Retin-A (horrible!), differin, benxoyl peroxide of varying strengths, salicylic acid, the list goes on. I’ve also been on a bunch of antibiotics and pills. To list a few: lymecycline, doxycycline, erythromycin, yasmin. Finally when I was referred to a dermatologist the first time (aged 17) he prescribed Dianette as a last option before going on Roaccutane. Thankfully, this drug worked miracles for my skin. For three years I was on it happy as larry and my skin was beautiful. Unfortunately, because of the high risks of DVT, I was told it isn’t healthy to stay on it long term. I was forced to come off it, and every time I did my skin went crazy. I began to get large painful cysts along my jawline, which I had never had before, and got acne on my chest and neck in addition to my face and back. After each burst of 3 months being off Dianette I ran straight back to my GP to get me back on to it, and (to my utter joy) they did. This process repeated for about 2 and a half years, coming off Dianette after 6 months, having a break with my acne returning, then going back on the drug. I was finally told by a GP just under a year ago that I needed to try a longer break, and even I admitted that repeating this cycle was doing nothing to help my acne, or my confidence.
Long story short, after having to repeat many of the topical and antibiotic treatments I have tried in the past (due to the fact, according to my GP, that my skin could react very differently to when I was a teenager – it didn’t!) I FINALLY got referred to a dermatologist again and was prescribed Roaccutane. Though admittedly I don’t have the severe acne I did when I was a teen, I still get moderate acne on my face, neck and chest, and get the odd cyst.
Though my acne might not be considered ‘extreme’ it’s more the psychological effects that get me, and I’m sure many of you can empathise. On the days my skin flares up the worst it makes me dread social events, and I sometimes find myself scrutinising other people’s skin and getting angry at how greasy mine feels rather than enjoying myself. I have to plan regular trips to the bathroom to fix my makeup, and feel horrific if I see that my spots are showing. I never let anyone see me without makeup on, and I feel like it takes up a large amount of my day. I could rant on for hours about ways it effects me- how sleepovers where the girls all want to do facemasks are my worst nightmare, how I DREAD suncream, how I have to explain to people when they ask about my skin, how I have to shrug off and look grateful for comments that people make about trying such and such facewash (honestly you non-spot people, why is it you think this is self-inflicted from not washing our faces – who would choose this!?!). Rant over *breathe*.
The point is I have been prescribed Roaccuatane, and I’m praying this will be the end of my spot-ridden angst. I’m on a low dose to start with, 20mg, which is probably to match my weight (I’m 55kg) and have just popped my first pill about an hour ago. I’m stocked up with some iron and vitamin C tablets, loads of moisturiser, Vaseline, and eye-drops. Any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated.
Lastly, best of luck to anyone undertaking Roaccutane as well. It wasn’t a decision I came to lightly, but I finally decided that at 24 enough is enough. Hopefully if anyone is reading this on the drug you are getting on well with it and seeing some positive effects. Won’t lie, am dreading the initial breakout. Will keep posting over the coming days and weeks