Roaccutane Changed My Life

Roaccutane changed my life, for the better.

Back in May 2016 I finished a six month course of Isotretinoin, a form of the roaccutane drug which is prescribed by dermatologists to treat serious acne. Roaccutane is usually prescribed as a last resort to patients whose acne can’t be cured with lotions, antibiotics and other treatments. In this post I am going to be explaining exactly how roaccutane changed my life for the better as well as talking about my initial results, the side effects and how my skin is today, almost a year post accutane.

My acne wasn’t just bad spots, it was cystic. I often came up in huge painful boils. Boils that made simple tasks like eating and talking become agonising, spots in or around my nose which resulted in me being too scared to blow my nose and fearing sneezing. Spots so big that they gave me a black, weeping eye. Many people assumed that I wanted to be rid of acne for cosmetic reasons, and yes, part of it was, but the main push for me was the pain. My acne was affecting my everyday life. Don’t get me wrong, names like ‘pizza face’ bothered me, but after suffering for so long I had just gotten used to the fact that I would always have acne.

I was initially told that I could be taking isotretinoin for anywhere betweens 6-9 months, depending on how well it worked. I had monthly check ups where the nurse checked my skin, asked questions about side effects, concentrating on mental health, and carried out a pregnancy test. When I went along to my usual monthly check up in May, after taking the drug for six months, I felt a mixture of emotions when they told me that I no longer needed to take it. I felt shock as I had just assumed that they would simply give me another repeat prescription, I felt relief as I no longer had to worry about the side effects and I felt upset as, although my skin was a lot clearer now, I still had spots on my back.

The dermatologist explained that these ‘spots’ were actually scars and roaccutane, or the NHS for that matter, couldn’t help with these. There is an option for laser treatment but I would have to wait for at least a year for my skin to recover from the accutane before perusing that, and I would have to pay privately.

Roaccutane worked for me, but it isn’t a miraculous cure and won’t remove all traces of acne completely. 

Acne scarring left on back following roaccutane treatment - it worked but it isn't a miraculous cure

Once over the initial shock I was relieved that my journey was over. I could get on with my life, I could have the tattoos and piercings that I wanted, I could consider trying for another baby, we don’t have plans for that just yet but it is nice to know that if we decide to try we can, as getting pregnant on roaccutane is a big no no.

I would no longer have to put up with the nasty side effects of roaccutane. Thankfully I didn’t suffer too much but it still affected me. It can cause suicidal feelings and depression, this wasn’t the case for me, instead I suffered with occasional mood swings and exhaustion. It dries your skin out which some find unbearable, for me it wasn’t unbearable. My usually greasy skin on my face went quite dry but it wasn’t too bad, if moisturised well it felt super soft and smooth, and still does. My lips were awful and leaving the house without lip balm would cause a mental breakdown and, at times, anxiety attacks, which sounds crazy now but at the time it was like a life line.

The purging stage was horrible, I broke out in spots literally everywhere, even areas that weren’t a problem previously, including my arms! The drug seemed to work on my body from the top down, so one month my face would break out, the next my back, and so on.

My skin is so much better than usual, yes, I have quite a lot of scarring on my back but so what. The skin on my face is amazing now. I no longer get greasy skin and for the first time since I can remember I can go out without make-up on, today I have even updated my facebook profile photo to a photo of me without make-up. Granted I have filtered it a little but I am not wearing make-up, that in itself is a huge achievement for me.

Post roaccutane I only ever wore make-up on nights out, I was so excited to be able to leave the house without make-up! This phase has now passed and I wear it most days, but if I am rushing or running late, or just nipping up the shop I don’t bother, and it feels amazing to have that option.

Roaccutane has changed my life.

make up free and happy following years of suffering with acne and successful roaccutane treatment

Unfortunately approximately three months post roaccutane spots started to appear again. One or two on my face now and then but nothing unbearable, just your typical hormonal spots. What did bother me was that the main problem areas started filling up with big, painful spots again, my breasts, armpits and groin area. I was in pain and unhappy again.

I made the decision to come off the pill to see if this had any effect on the return of the spots, I had been on the pill for a while as females aren’t allowed roaccutane without being on some form of contraception. Fast forward three months and my spots have almost completely gone again. I still get one or two around that time, but nothing that bothers me, both vanity or pain wise.

I am so glad that I decided to take the risks and try roaccutane. It doesn’t work for everyone but it worked for me, roaccutane really did change my life, for the better.


Find out more about roaccutane here.

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Isotretinoin Update #1

At the grand old age of thirty I decided that it really is about time I got my acne sorted out. I’ve suffered with it for years, I’m not sure exactly how long but I do recall being called pizza face in the last year of junior school, and that was a very long time ago! Back last month I started taking a drug called Isotretinoin, also known as roaccutane. This is a very strong drug with some very serious side effects, thankfully both my Doctor and Dermatologist agreed that it is about time my adult acne was sorted out and decided that this was the drug for me. I’ve now been taking it for just over a month.

Carry on reading to find out how the past month has gone, side effects and everything.

blog post isotretinoin one month update roaccutane

First off, a little background information about my acne and my skin. My skin on my face is combination, dry patches and builds up oil throughout the day, my skin on the rest of my body is quite dry, but not too dry. I suffer with acne on my face, back, chest and sometimes thighs, I suffer the worse on my back. The main reason for wanting to get rid of my acne once and for all is the pain rather than the vanity. I often break out in large boils which can be very painful, and also very messy when they explode. I also suffer with some very smelly spots, I will often scratch my back or chest and accidentally scratch the head off a spot, this results in a lot of pain and a horrible, embarrassing stench.

I first started taking 40mg of Isotretinoin each day, at my monthly check up my dermatologist decided to increase my dosage to 60mg each day, I started taking this dosage on 16 January after taking 40mg for a month.

Within the first couple of weeks of taking Isotretinoin my skin on my face became very red, sore to touch and swollen. It felt as though it was burning and I couldn’t go all day without removing my make-up and moisturising. I also broke out quite badly around my chin, this is perfectly normal, a lot of people will experience a purge which is just all of the bad stuff leaving your body.

Once the redness had gone down the spots on my face started going, there were still new spots coming out but they were pretty much drying out as soon as they appeared. My skin didn’t get dry too quickly, but it was no longer getting greasy. My make-up was lasting a lot longer than normal and my skin felt smooth to touch.

Fast forward one month (today) and I’ve had a small break out again, this time around the jaw line. My skin is very dry. I’ve always suffered with dandruff but it is worse than normal. My make-up is clinging to dry patches and close up my skin looks dry and patchy. Far away it looks great, apart from those couple of spots on my jaw line which are easily hidden with make-up.

The spots on my chest and back are no different than when I started, though I have had a few large boils come and go so I am hoping that the bad stuff is slowly leaving. The skin on my chest hasn’t changed, but my back is quite dry and itchy. I’ve also noticed red spots on my hands in the past few days which I think is eczema.

Almost straight away my lips were dry, I used lip balm quite often before but am now applying it more and more often, probably once every 2 – 3 hours at the moment.

A very common side effect of the roaccutane drug is mood swings and depression. Thankfully I’ve not suffered with this (yet!), if anything, I have been happier since taking the drug. Spencer did joke that it’s because I’m usual so miserable the mood swings are making me happier, but I personally think that the drug hasn’t changed my mood at all, I’m just happier because it has finally stopped raining (for now) and the sun has been shining, I often wonder if I suffer with SAD!

Another common side effect which I have so far escaped is aches and pains. I often suffer with my joints as I have a condition called Lax Ligaments which flairs up in damp, cold weather. There has been joint pain but no worse than usually so again, I think the tablets haven’t (yet) affected this.

Overall I am very happy with how month one of Isotretinoin has gone and am feeling very positive, I may finally kick this acne once and for all!

Do you suffer with acne? Have you tried any drugs for it?