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24/f Battling With Roaccutane For The First Time

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#1 JennyBop

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 05:47 PM

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. Im a teaching assistant in a special needs school (this is sounding like a job interview isnt it). I suppose Im 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 Ive tried almost every treatment available under the sun. Throughout the years Ive 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. Ive 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 isnt 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 didnt!) I FINALLY got referred to a dermatologist again and was prescribed Roaccutane. Though admittedly I dont 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 its more the psychological effects that get me, and Im 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 peoples 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 Im praying this will be the end of my spot-ridden angst. Im on a low dose to start with, 20mg, which is probably to match my weight (Im 55kg) and have just popped my first pill about an hour ago. Im 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 wasnt 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. Wont lie, am dreading the initial breakout. Will keep posting over the coming days and weeks. Would love to hear about anyone's experiences or advice you have. Thanks :-)
Jen

Edited by JennyBop, 28 September 2013 - 03:52 AM.


#2 EatsRainbows

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 03:51 AM

Hey there!

 

As a fellow UK Roaccutane-er I just wanted to wish you good luck! I am 4 months through my course and the difference in my skin is amazing, I hope you get the same results :)



#3 JennyBop

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 03:58 AM

Hi EastRainbows,
Thanks :) I'm so excited to be finally taking it. Really glad yours is working out well, any tips for starting the treatment?
Jen

#4 EatsRainbows

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 09:41 AM

Hi EastRainbows,
Thanks smile.png I'm so excited to be finally taking it. Really glad yours is working out well, any tips for starting the treatment?
Jen

 

Hi Jen!

 

Hmmm, I would say try to be as positive as you can. That's something that I failed to do during the first couple of months but I know I would have found it easier if I could have simply smiled through the pain and thought about the end result.

 

Also read other people's logs to see when you can expect each side effect to kick in, product recommendations etc

You may like to check out my log for these things (also to see the photos).

 

Whatever happens, just imagine your amazing skin in the end and try not to think about things like how your lips that are close to falling off! :P

Feel free to message me if you have any questions :)



#5 lalaland24

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 06:15 AM

hi, i am currently trying Dianette but having some side effects :( i wanted to try Roaccutane but since i have suffered with depression in the past my gp is against it- however my depression was due to my skin and illness- anyway all the best - if dianette deosnt work i am going to try and go on this :)



#6 JennyBop

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 12:07 PM

Day 6 – LIPS and IB

 

Everybody is always talking about the side effects of this drug, and I’ve always wondered how badly they would affect me. The result has been pretty ordinary. No allergic reactions, or bright red face on day 1, or feeling suicidal when the milk runs out. However I haven’t been one of those lucky gits who has no side effects either. The most common one that pretty much everyone complains about (and is already becoming spectacularly uncomfortable) – dry lips.

 

Oh yes. I’ve been putting on Vaseline like a maniac, about 6 or 7 times an hour, for the last two days. Fortunately I work in a school, so dipping into my bag regularly isn’t difficult. My lips are constantly dry though, no matter how much water I drink (I’m managing about 2 litres a day plus my usual cups of tea, but feeling so bloated all the time) and no matter how much Vaseline I put on.

 

My initial breakout is also starting to rear its ugly head, and started from about day 4. At the moment my entire chin has painful little bumpy spots on which haven’t come to a head yet. I seem to have sprouted blackheads all over my nose, cheeks and chin. Annoyingly I also have about 4 little spots around my lips and about 5 larger ones that have rapidly come up between my mouth and my nose. This was particularly embarrassing today at work, as one of the young people was leaving to go to a new supported living school. The staff had got him a cake (yum!) and after I’d finished my piece I wiped my mouth with a paper napkin, and one of the young people (can’t really blame him, he has autism) said “you’ve missed a bit. Actually loads, and on your chin”. The tactful little thing had just seen my spots and obviously thought they were bits of jam or something. Wonderful. Naturally after that I was super self-conscious for the rest of the day, and tried to hide myself in paperwork until the work day ended.

 

I’m not sure if this is due to a general lack of sleep and stress, but I’m also feeling a lot more tired than usual. I’ve fallen asleep on the tube on the way home for the last couple of days, which I never do, and am having to go to bed at about 10 o clock every night just from feeling exhausted (pre-accutane it would be more like 11). My boyfriend isn’t thrilled with this, as we end up having different bed times, and it isn’t exactly how I envisaged things when we started living together. On the rare occasion where I don’t feel like I’m going to drop dead the second the sun goes down he always seems to have loads of uni work to do, so ends up staying up late without me anyway. He’s training to be a barrister, and it’s a pretty big deal to him as it’s all he’s wanted since he can remember. I’m trying to be supportive of him staying late at uni and having loads of work, but I’m feeling sometimes that we don’t get a lot of time together any more. Ironic considering we live in the same flat now. Hopefully it’s just a short term thing, as he won’t need to study forever and I won’t be on this drug forever either.

 

My moods have been a bit up and down this week as well, though I’m reluctant to attribute that to roaccutane. Does anyone else have a tendency to blame every little ache and pain on roaccutane when you’re on it? I’m more tempted to say it’s life stressors making me feel more emotional, as I’m starting a new job on Tuesday, which I’m quite apprehensive about, and am trying to train my bunny (more stressful than it sounds! He’s so cute though).

 

All in all, things are going pretty ok. I’m trying to just keep positive and not scrutinise my reflection too much, though it’s really quite difficult when my face is getting worse by the day so rapidly. Distraction is a fantastic technique though, so I’m having some of my girlfriends round tomorrow for a DVD night. No wine for me though. *sob*



#7 xCharliex

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 12:25 PM

Good Luck 

I am also 24 and have been on Roaccutane for nearly 3 months now, any questions let me know :)



#8 lalaland24

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 07:01 AM

hi im keeping an eye on this thread as i hope to try this.  do you know when your supposed to start seeing results in the amount of acne appearing?

 

also, i love your bunny! i have 5 rabbits and two are house buns! that picture in your avatar is so sweet!!!!



#9 JennyBop

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 12:47 PM

Day 18

 

I haven’t posted for a little while because, to be honest, I haven’t seen much change in my skin for the last week or so. I think my IB is starting to calm now, thank goodness. I’ve now gone from getting about 2-3 new spots a day during the IB to just one, which is kind of similar to how I was before the roaccutane anyway. My energy has perked up a little bit now as well. Between days 4 and 10 I just felt EXHAUSTED and felt quite emotional a lot of the time. I guess my body is kind of adapting to it now.

 

There have been a couple of little changes that I’ve noticed recently actually, some better than others…

 

Dryer skin (finally!)

My skin has been so much less oily this week, and it’s wonderful. I can put on makeup at 7 in the morning and it will still be there by 3pm, which for my skin is a minor miracle. I’ve had the odd side effect of getting very dry skin though, where my chin and/or nose will get really flaky. I’ve been trying to put on suncream each morning to minimise this, just in case it was happening due to sun overexposure, but it’s still there. Kind of annoying, as my new job had just launched into full swing  and I’m working in a psychiatric hospital where nothing can be taken onto the wards, not even cream (eek!).

Less greasy hair

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still worse than most people’s hair, but before I started roaccutane I could wash my hair in the morning and it would literally be greasy again by the evening. It was a nightmare if I was ever meeting someone after work or wanted to go out on a Friday/Saturday, as I’d have to wash my hair all over again (or at the very least the front bits). Now I can actually go two days without washing my hair, and it still looks shiny(ish) and clean the next morning! I’m shocked, but very happy, with this little effect

 

Dry lips – bane of my life

Ah yes, these little buggers. I’ve told my ward manager that I’m on this medication and thankfully she’s said I can take a small tub of lip balm onto the ward with me (my shifts are 12 hours long, so without some kind of lip hydrator I’d have cracked sore lips constantly). However, sometimes even this isn’t even enough. Often within half an hour of putting on some Vaseline my lips are bone dry again. It was a bit awkward last week in my training, as someone actually commented that I was ‘very vigilant with my lip balm’. Didn't really know what to say to that apart from "Yeah... winter's coming". Not my wisest ever comment, but it started a Game of Thrones discussion which took a bit of the focus off my dry lips.

 

And lastly (boys look away) – apologies if this is too much information, but – dryness down there, anyone? I’ve only noticed this in the last few days, and it’s making things with my boyfriend a teeny bit uncomfortable when we get down to it. It’s not a massive problem, but if it continues it might be. I’ve been pretty lucky so far managing to evade the other dryness-related side effects. I haven’t got any nose bleeds, my joints and general skin (not on my face) is fine, and can still wear my contact lenses. However, this is a rather awkward side effect that I’d rather not have to deal with!

 

So that’s all for now. Will write back again when anything changes. I start proper shift work on Monday, so fingers crossed I can stick it out without my symptoms getting in the way too much. Drop me a comment if you like, would love to hear how other people are getting on, and I'll try my best to reply smile.png

Jen






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