I thought I should update this given it's now nearly 18 months since my isotretinoin (roaccutane) treatment ended. I am over the moon to report that I've had no further spots since my treatment ended. All I have had is one small pimple on my temple which was tiny and went away in a couple of days - I've had no other spots at all. I can't quite believe it!
I also stopped taking the contraceptive pill and I was worried that coming off it would cause me to break out again badly (as it has always happened previously when I've come off the pill), but nothing happened - my skin has continued to be perfect.
I got married a few months ago and not even for a moment did I worry about getting spots on my big day, as I knew that I wouldn't. I just don't have to worry about it any more - it's so freeing to not think about my skin!
I've had no negative effects since coming off the roaccutane. I would say to anyone that has suffered with bad skin for a long time to give it a go, it was one of the best decisions I have made. Good luck all!
It's now been 6 weeks since I took my final dose of isotretinoin, so thought I should provide an update.
I noticed the drug leaving my system after I stopped taking it - I became less tired after a week or two, stopped aching after going to the gym after about four weeks and now I no longer have to apply lip balm every five minutes! The moisture levels in my skin and my eyes appear to be back to normal and I feel the same as I did before taking it.
The most exciting part so far is that I have still not had a single spot (or any feeling that one might appear), so it is still working. Hopefully that will continue!
I am still using Cetaphil cleanser and lotion as it has been great up to now. In my last week of taking isotretinoin, I experienced a slight rash on my chin, but it went away after a couple of days and has not returned.
All in all, I'm incredibly happy with the results and have received numerous compliments on my skin, which is pretty amazing given my 'before' photos.
I thought I would post some photographs of my progress since I started taking Isotretinoin 6 months ago. I have 1 month left to go and still no spots, so I am incredibly happy with the results so far!
Photos 1 and 2 were taken before treatment started in mid-April 2016. Photos 3 and 4 were taken in June 2016, 3 weeks after starting treatment. Photo 5 was taken in August 2016, just over 2 months into treatment and Photo 6 was taken in November 2016, so after 6 months of treatment.
I thought I would create a blog, as this site really helped me when I finally decided to take the plunge with Isotretinoin (aka Accutane) and I thought my experiences may help others in my position.
I am a 35 year old female who has suffered with cystic acne around my chin and sometimes my forehead for 20 years, probably linked to hormones, but I suspect also partly genetic. I would say my acne was moderate rather than severe, but it still very much affected my confidence and self-esteem, particularly as I got older, as I expected to 'grow out of it' and never did. Working in a professional environment with spots all over your face wears you down, especially when people just stare at them rather than look you in the eye...!
Over the years I tried everything - the teenage stuff (clearasil etc), oral contraceptives (worked for a while, but always came back or caused issues with moods), light therapy, facial peels, changing diet, benzoyl peroxide/salicylic acid combinations, antibiotics (again, worked great for a while, always came back worse). I spent a fortune to no avail.
I was first offered Isotretinoin in early 2015 because my skin still hadn't settled down and it was causing red scarring. At the time, I immediately dismissed the idea because I though it was too extreme given I only had moderate acne. However, in 2016 another doctor suggested it was my best option, so I did lots of research before taking the plunge. I also spoke to a couple of people who had taken it with success. I was still very worried about it, as you read a lot of negative stories on the internet, but at this point, I had exhausted all options and was tired of constantly despairing about my skin, so I decided to take the plunge.
I now wish I had done it 10 years ago! I went private, as the NHS waiting list was long and I had waited long enough. I am now about to complete 6 months of treatment, with one month left to go and I have had totally clear skin since the first month of taking the tablets - not a single spot anywhere on my face! My red scars have also gone. I started on 30mg per day and have worked my way up to 60mg, which I have been on for a couple of months now.
I have been very lucky in that I have experienced limited side effects. I have had a few side effects each time I have increased my dose, but my body seems to adjust within a week each time and almost continued as normal. I was concerned about skin dryness, as I have naturally dry skin anyway, but even this has been minimal. My lips are quite dry and my eyes, but nothing that lip balm and eye drops cannot sort. The other side effects have been a few headaches in the first week of each dose increase, which then subsided. I also have a patch or two of dry skin on my hands and arm and my chin is quite dry, but Cetaphil cleanser and lotion sorts that out.
I also have noticed that I ache more after going to the gym, but it is manageable and I still work out. I also had hot flushes when first taking the tablets, but again that has stopped. The only ongoing side effect is I am more tired than usual, but it hasn't stopped me doing anything, I probably just go to bed a bit earlier than usual!
All in all, so far, I can truly say this has been a miracle drug for me. I wanted others to know about my experience because I was put off taking it for so long because I only saw the bad press. Obviously the test will come when I see if the spots return after I stop taking the tablets in a few weeks, but at the moment, my skin has never been this clear and it is amazing to not feel self conscious without any make up on and not to rush to the mirror first thing in the morning to check if it's got worse or better.
I may post some before and after photos shortly...