I have had spots since the age of 15, but 10 years on, I found my skin had become so much worse than it ever had been before. It all got too much this year, when I regularly ended up in tears whilst putting on my make up in the morning - as it was so painful to touch my face, and it just looked so angry and inflamed. I'd constantly be back and forth to the bathroom at work, just to make sure my spots weren't on display - and to also apply pressed-powder to get rid of the constant shine I had, from having such oily skin. I put it down to a stressful job, lack of sleep, a busy lifestyle in London, and not being happy with my life - and that perhaps one day it would get better. I just didn't know what to do...
For years, GP's told me that I would 'grow out of it', and that 'it was my age'. They prescribed me all sorts of creams, and antibiotics, but nothing ever worked. 2 months ago, I was so fed up that I decided to go private. I had an initial appointment with a dermatologist, who said that he could put me on Roaccutane, but he felt that it was more deep-rooted than just being skin deep. He then referred me to an endocrinologist (hormone specialist) - as he suspected that I may have PCOS (polycystic ovaries). The endocrinologist had a look at my face, we had a good chat, and he sent me for blood tests. When these came back, he then referred me to get an ultrasound. During the ultrasound, they discovered that I did in fact have PCOS (harmless cysts on your ovaries, which increase your Androgen levels - male hormones i.e. Testosterone). Some women have a few cysts on each, but if you have 12 or more on each side, you are considered to have PCOS (I had about 18 on each!). The symptoms of this - as well as a number of other things - are oily skin and acne. On communicating with one other, and myself, my Dermatologist and Endocrinologist then decided that the best thing going forward would be to start me off on Spironolactone (to balance the hormones), and Roaccutune a month later - once I'd returned from a holiday in the sun (your skin becomes photosensitive on this drug, so it's not ideal to take it before a holiday) to double whammy it, and sort out the infections in my skin.
I have been taking the Spiro since Saturday, and plan to start the Roaccutane as soon as I return home at the end of this month. I feel as though my skin has stopped looking as 'angry' - which I know can't be down to the drug this fast - however, I think because I finally see light at the end of the tunnel, I am a lot more relaxed about the situation, and I know that after 10 long years, I have finally discovered what has been wrong with me.
I am writing this, because I know for a fact that I will not be the only one in this situation, and I just wish that I had read something like this many years ago, so that I didn't spend the first half of my twenties going through emotional turmoil because of my skin. It's effected so many more parts of my life then I have ever realised - relationships, exercising, holidays, work, friendships, my personality - and to know that I am finally on the right path, has been a huge weight off my shoulders.
I will keep you updated with my process...