Posted 25 June 2012 - 01:25 PM
I've lurked around this site for a few months now and thought that it would be a good idea to do what a lot of other people have done and (hopefully!) track my final battle against acne, aged 18.
So here's my story...
I remember getting my first spot aged 11, sitting in my primary school classroom. Neither of my parents nor my brothers or sisters had spots, so I wasn't really too sure what it was. I picked and picked at it and it lingered for weeks, it was all a downwards spiral from there...
My first encounter with the serious business was when I started to get huge, painful bumps under my skin on my forehead, mostly on my hairline. At the time I had no idea what these were but they caused me a lot of distress and there were often times when my forehead was a bloody swollen mess due to me messing with my skin and reaching for the foundation straight after. My confidence hit an all time low, and my main source of exersise, swimming, ceased immediately. Though these spots only recurred over a period of two or so years, this wasn't the end of the 'phase I would just grow out of'.
Clusters of recurring whiteheads and painful nodules started to appear on my chin and upper back when I was about 14. Stupidly I got into the habit of squeezing these before they could have possibly been squeezed and my chin still remains very red and filled with clogged pores due to covering the broken skin with makeup. Changing in front of classmates for PE became very embarrassing and I had even worked out a way of taking my shirt off and putting my polo sweater on without revealing my back to anyone. I didn't want to leave the house without makeup on and it started to take hold over my social life. At this point I went to see the doctor, and useless antibiotic after useless topical I am now at the point where in a week's time and after a long wait, hopefully I will be going on the 'miracle drug' that gives people's lives back. I often think about the life I would have led as a teenager if I didn't have acne.
I'm currently taking Dianette, and though my skin does seem to improve on the pill as it isn't particularly severe, it only masks the disease. As soon as I come off hormonal contreception it immediately worsens; after attempting to come off late last year, I now get acne all the way down my back as well as on the top of it and clusters of breakouts and small lumps and bumps on my chin like I've never had before. It pains me to take my makeup off in front of my boyfriend, friends, and even family. I rarely stay at other people's houses or go out at night with my friends because it's all I think about. Though my boyfriend tells me it doesn't matter and he still thinks I'm beautiful, I almost find this insulting due to my view of my skin. My forehead rarely breaks out and my cheeks, chest and neck are mostly clear apart from the odd one or two spots. Luckily I don't scar but since my skin is very pale I have a lot of hyperpigmentation that takes a long time to fade. I bought 5% BP today too just to tide me over until next week but I'm aware that I should probably stop using it once I start Roaccutane.
I realise I've started this a week early, but I was hoping that experienced Roaccutane users could give me any advice or things to buy/ be ready to use in preparation? Or any warning signs they've experienced that has meant they've had to come off the medication? Success stories are welcome too, of course!
I'm hopefully starting at a Drama School in September; my aim is for clear skin the first day I walk through that door!
Posted 25 June 2012 - 01:32 PM
I can't give you any advice as I just started Roaccutane myself, but it does mean that when you start I will only be a week or so ahead of you.
I'm 23 and I totally feel you on not staying out or over places. My acne has got worse as I got older so it wasnt so bad at 18. I'm hoping to start work acne free the same way you are hoping to start drama school, which sounds pretty exciting btw!
Posted 25 June 2012 - 01:43 PM
Ah I see, well you can give me the heads up for what I've got to expect
It sucks doesn't it I know that it probably seems bigger in your head but I think it's important to feel comfortable in your own skin. I've just finished my A levels and I'm so grateful at the oppurtunity to just hibernate in my house apart from when I have to go to work Fingers crossed that it only starts to improve for you now though! Yeah I'm really looking forward to it! The only thing that terrifies me is that they don't like you to wear a lot of makeup, but hopefully roaccutane will solve that problem for me and for you too
Posted 25 June 2012 - 08:14 PM
I know my derm really wasn't bothered about prescribing it (and my skin had got better too! Maybe when it gets really bad I'll just threaten it with the derm in the mirror), I didnt even have to take my makeup off, I took photos on my phone that morning and she barely glanced at them. I felt like I'd made all that effort and push for the referral, when she clearly didnt have any concerns about prescribing it, the way my GP did about the referral in the first place.
I think eventually I will make my own log to document, but right now I'm on day 4 on a low dose (20mg) and nothing has happened, so I thought I would wait til I had something to write about! I'll drop a link by when I do
Posted 26 June 2012 - 08:59 PM
Edited by The Observer, 26 June 2012 - 09:00 PM.
Posted 27 June 2012 - 08:22 AM
Posted 27 June 2012 - 09:53 AM
So I think the main piece of advice I would give you is to start moisturising EVERYWHERE right from the very beginning. Even if you don't usually need one, use a light moisturiser and work your way up to a thicker one as you need it. I did that and I found I didn't suffer from dry skin/rashes as much as other people have. I also noticed that on the few occasions I forgot to moisturise it led to dry skin rashes which have been a nightmare to get rid of (I have an awful rash right now actually), so I'd say prevention is a WAY better plan than cure. I'd also recommend using eye drops before you go to bed (and through the day if needed), and get an extra strength lip balm and slather it on all the time (if you need suggestions, you can see all the exact products I use in my signature below).
Aside from these practical things, the most important thing to do is to keep positive. It's really easy to get upset when you see no improvement or you get a new breakout (especially since all your hopes are riding on this working), so you need to do your best to have faith and try not expect anything in terms of results until the end of the course. It is hard to do, but you can totally drive yourself crazy if you don't. And now I couldn't be happier with the results, so it's definitely worth a few months of stress
Anyway, sorry for rambling on! I hope at least some of this helped you Feel free to ask me anything else if you want to.
Posted 27 June 2012 - 10:01 AM
Posted 27 June 2012 - 03:40 PM
Thank you so much for the advice Joanna (assuming that is your name!), I've had a massive dry skin rash due to overusing BP so I've been doing that pretty much all day today- I guess it's something I'll just have to keep up What kind of eye drops do you use and where do you get them from? I'm not looking forward to dry hayfever eyes haha And what's the deal with makeup on your face when it's very fragile? I'd be very scared to go out into the world uncovered!
Yeah I can imagine, I'm definitely going to have to adopt that attitude during the first few months when it gets worse- I'll just be glad to hide away in the house whilst it happens! Good luck to you for the rest of your course, glad to hear it's working well for you
Posted 28 June 2012 - 02:49 AM
Well I use Viscotears dry eye gel now, but I needed something really moisturising because I had my eyes lasered a couple of years back which made them prone to dryness anyway. They are really good though, you can get them at the pharmacy counter in boots for about £4 (no prescription needed). Before the serious dryness set in I was using Blink Contacts Eye Drops (also available off the shelf in Boots) which were also really good. It just depends how dry your eyes get really...
In terms of makeup, I probably shouldn't have but I have used it the whole time. I'd be far too embarrassed to go out without it anyway, but I'd also get a bit of grief at work too if I didn't (I work in PR so lots of networking etc...) I've not really been affected by the dreaded 'tane burn though, so I found I could apply it quite easily. Just make sure you are really gentle with your skin (I use a flat top foundation brush which is nice and soft) and give your moisturiser plenty of time to soak in before you apply it and you'll be fine
Posted 02 July 2012 - 01:22 PM
Not much to report, went to the dermatologist and found out the inevitable result of me not being pregnant (I'm a Christian so thankfully the whole getting pregnant thing won't be a worry for me) and was prescribed 30 mg a day. It's my mum's birthday so we went out for a meal and I took the roaccutane straight after that! Exciting stuff I've bought some E45 cream to deal with dry skin and I've got plenty of chapstick around to deal with dry lips, I've started applying it already to pre-empt the inevitable. Obviously nothing too major has happened just yet, I'll probably update this once or twice a week. Roll on getting clear skin and my life back!
Posted 02 July 2012 - 05:32 PM
Posted 02 July 2012 - 06:08 PM
Posted 04 July 2012 - 10:53 AM
And thank you! Same to you
Still not much happening in terms of side effects, my lips seem fine... I am layering on the chapstick though Some of the clogged pores on my chin and upper lip are starting to turn into spots which is good, as they've been there for months and I have some hope that this time they won't return! Though I have a huge one right on the corner of my mouth that really hurts when I talk I just want the IB to start now so I can get it over with and feel good about my skin having a good unclogging! My back is actually pretty clear at the moment, I have two scabby areas where old spots are healing and it feels lovely and smooth. I only wish I could say the same in terms of progress for my hyperpigmentation on my back!
I'm really worried that coming off the pill after taking roaccutane may worsen my skin, so I'm considering coming off it asap after putting my case to the derm next month. I'm not using it for birth control and my family has a history of thrombosis and high blood pressure so I don't really see the point in taking it right now. Did anyone see a change in their skin when they came off birth control during/ after their course? I may post this question in the accutane general questions forum too because it's genuinely worrying me
Edited by Littleflower, 04 July 2012 - 11:42 AM.
Posted 04 July 2012 - 07:23 PM
Glad to hear that you aren't experiencing many side effects yet and good luck with your Accutane treatment.
Posted 04 July 2012 - 07:32 PM
After I stopped taking Accutane before (I only did 3 months last time) I was clear for a while, only got a zit here and there. Then I went on birth control, stopped birth control, and all hell broke loose on my face. I'm not sure if the acne was related to the pill, but I know that I will never go on it again. I would definitely bring it up to your dermatologist -- if you are not sexually active you could pledge abstinence.
Posted 05 July 2012 - 02:21 AM
Oh no! That must have been really awful for you Though I wonder if that was anything to do with the length of your treatment too. Well hopefully after your next round of accutane you'll stay clear!
Lips feel a little drier. The areas on my chin where lots of the clogged pores are feel quite itchy? Not too sure if this is anything to do with the accutane. Not broken out with any new spots today, just the old marks and stuff lingering. The spot next to my lip has got a lovely scab over it and I look like I've got a cold sore oh well! Hopefully in a few months time I never have to obsess over things like that again.
Posted 06 July 2012 - 05:50 AM
Ok, I seem to be doing a daily update as I don't really have much else to do, it's throwing it down with rain here in the UK...
Slightly concerned that my lips HAVEN'T dried out completely yet! Not really experiencing many side effects at all. My chin and upper lip seem to have really started to break out now, covered in hyperpigmentation too so it looks quite horrendous but I'm not letting it get me down too much Some old spots seem to be healing a lot slower too so it all seems to be catching up with each other. However! Hopefully by the end of August things will be much more different, so I've just got to keep looking forward to that