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So It Begins...



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. I’m a teaching assistant in a special needs school (this is sounding like a job interview isn’t it…). I suppose I’m 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 I’ve tried almost every treatment available under the sun. Throughout the years I’ve 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. I’ve 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 isn’t 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 didn’t!) I FINALLY got referred to a dermatologist again and was prescribed Roaccutane. Though admittedly I don’t 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’ it’s more the psychological effects that get me, and I’m 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 people’s 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 I’m praying this will be the end of my spot-ridden angst. I’m on a low dose to start with, 20mg, which is probably to match my weight (I’m 55kg) and have just popped my first pill about an hour ago. I’m 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 wasn’t 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. Won’t lie, am dreading the initial breakout. Will keep posting over the coming days and weeks

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thanks for writing your story . yeah it takes time to go on and write about your feelings. I know what you mean about getting angry to see other people with clear skin , and yet here you are trying everything and not succeeding on getting clear , just wishing you had skin like theirs ..are you sure about taking Accutane again. I have been doing everything in my power not to go back on that drug.. my skin changed so much is more sensitive and it heals a lot slower, from cuts or scrapes or bruises .. but I do wish you the best

acne is one of the worst things a person could live with . it takes years from your life. I have missed so many things because of it . but we all have to have hope . and keep on going living as much as we can .

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Hi hope,

Thanks for your post. Yup am definitely sure about Roaccutane, I know it has horrible side effects but my acne has affected me so much that I'm willing to give it a go. Sorry to hear you had a bad experience on it, what are you trying now instead and is it working? I figure I'll try roaccutane as long as I can and if the side effects become unbearable I'd consider stopping

Jen x

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right now I started using a all natural progesterone cream and dim-plus pills

I read a girl here that posted it cured her hormonal acne. haven't been on it for 2 long so can't say if its going to work.. but I did some research on it and low estrogen can cause acne ..

I dropped all of my other supplements

I was using saw palmetto , alpha lipoic acid and a probiotic called acidophilus all 3 did

improve my acne but never cleared it.

but I think im going to bring my probiotic back on my regimen ..

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JennyBop, how's the Roaccutane going? I'm on my third week now with no results to speak of. It's changed my acne from regular inflammatory papules and pustules to the more painful cystic type. I hope that this is my initial breakout and that it gets better from here.

I'm doing low-dose because my acne is moderate (and it was non-cystic until I started on the drug--ha!) so I'm only on 20mg per day (10mg in the morning and 10mg at night). What's your dosage like and are you seeing results?

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JennyBop, how's the Roaccutane going? I'm on my third week now with no results to speak of. It's changed my acne from regular inflammatory papules and pustules to the more painful cystic type. I hope that this is my initial breakout and that it gets better from here.

I'm doing low-dose because my acne is moderate (and it was non-cystic until I started on the drug--ha!) so I'm only on 20mg per day (10mg in the morning and 10mg at night). What's your dosage like and are you seeing results?

Hiya :) it's going well thanks! Not many side effects just yet. I'm on 20mg a day too, one tablet that I'm taking just before bed. It sounds like everyone's acne gets worse before it gets better, so hang on in there with the cysts :( I know how painful and horrible they can be, but just think of how great your skin will be after it's all over. I'm seeing a little bit of progress (see post below). How's yours going, and how long have you been on it?

Jen x

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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 :)


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