So I decided to do a useful post after moaning and sinking deeper into depression about my skin and I've been doing a lot of thinking over the past few weeks and seeing my endocrinologist etc..
For anyone currently on/considering/reconsidering roaccutane a.k.a accutane, here is a list of my pros and cons after two courses.
1) IT WORKS - for a time
Yes roaccutane will clear you up, yes it does work in that respect, but at a price, and only for a limited amount of time in my case. I have heard of miracle stories where people go on one course and TA DA thats that and years down the line thier skin still doesn't trouble them. However, I have also heard of many stories similar to my own, where skin only stays clear for an amount of months/years until you find yourself breaking out again. In my opinion, it is always worth giving roaccutane a try if you have tried everything else and if you want to discover if you are one of the lucky ones accutane offers permanent results to.
2) It gave me clear skin and therefore, confidence
Okay, anyone that knows me personally will know that I am a pretty loud and seemingly 'confident' person but scratch the curface, dig a litter deeper and get to know me a little better and discover someone riddled with insecurities and low self-esteem. My bad skin was a constant reminder to myself that I was ugly, worthless and disgusting, I hated people touching me, I hated my boyfriend touching my face, I used to apologise for my skin when I broke out bad (my boyfriend of the time was very understanding and kind about it), I felt like I could become nothing with my skin the way it was. Roaccutane was the answer to uncovering the real me amongst all of the insecurities. When my skin was clear, I woke up every day in disbelief. It was like I had shedded an old skin, stepping out of the door fresh-faced and leaving the shadow of my former self behind obsessing in front of the mirror and slapping on layers of foundation and concealer. I didn't worry about what people thought of me or my face or if they were staring at my spots. I was just me.
3) It offers relief
Not just relief of acne for self-esteem issues and aesthetic reasons - but the relief of acne and the physical pain it causes. Lets face it, acne is UNCOMFORTABLE. It itches! Its sore! It gets in the way! I could FEEL my break outs move on my face as I talked sometimes and they were annoying as hell.
4) It was a temporary answer
TEMPORARY. It bought me time, for a while, to have fun, acne aside.
1) The side effects
Now, personally, the side effects I suffered were bearable. I had dry lips, accutane induced eczema on my arms, I lost a little weight, and my nose was runnier. Oh and I was obviously more sensitive to sunlight, but I live in England and it rains 80% of the time so I didn't have to worry about that too much. The WORST was what accutane did to my hair - thinned it to the point of..god I don;t even know. Anyway needless to say my hair went from beautiful, almost elbow length to now a short bob. Don't get me wrong I love my hair in a bob now. But lets face it, I wouldn't have cut it that way if roaccutane hadn't of thinned it so much. Its now recovered but it's taken a good year and a decent haircut to make it healthy again.
2) ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS WORTH IT?
Roaccutane is a harsh drug. You have to be CAREFUL when you are on it. Look after yourself. Eat well. Stay out of the sun. Mousturise. Look after your hair. Stay off alcohol. That will minimise side effects a little. But they'll still happen. For me, going on a drug that harsh was not worth it, as it didn't clear my skin up for good. I won't be going on it again. But that is a risk you must take to find out if it works for you.
Personally, I didn't suffer depression. If anything, I was more depressed before I took it due to my skin being so bad - if anything roaccutane elevated that depression because it gave me clear skin. Depression/Suicidal thoughts is a possible 'side effect' of accutane but I havn't come across anybody that seems to have suffered this whilst on accutane. I certainly did not.
4) SO - SHOULD YOU GO ON IT?
It's entirley up to you. Weigh up all the pros and cons - you can include mine if you like but remember this is just one personal opinion. You will get people who rave about accutane and people who hate it. For me, deciding to try accutane came down to this:
-I had exhausted every other possible option - face creams, herbal remedies, various cleansing regimes, cutting out dairy, cutting out sugar, cutting out alcohol, cutting out junk food (that I didn't eat a whole lot of anyway), exercise (that I do a lot anyway) drinking ONLY water, antibiotics, facials, sun beds, make ups, various birth control pills -AND STILL MY ACNE WAS THERE.
- I was sick sick sick to death of my skin and ready to take drastic methods. Accutane is drastic I'll give it that.
- I wanted to feel beautiful.
- I figured, compared to how my skin makes me feel, it can't be all that bad.
It was tough at times. And even after two courses, I am still suffering break outs due to a late diagnosis of P.C.O.S. Was it worth it? Well...yes. No, it hasn't worked for my permanently. But it has improved my break outs a little. And it did work for a time. I know that I tried it, and I know that I won't try it again, so at least it is worth it for that. I am now working on controlling my acne from the root of the problem which is hormonal. Any questions jsut ask, and you can see my accutane journey from my blog (my second course)