(No makeup, no editing, June 2014)
Hello! It's been a while since I've updated you on how things are going with my skin and roaccutane. I've been on this treatment for well over a year (since April 2013) and I'm hoping that my derm will let me finish sometime in July. I'm completely delirious at the improvement of my skin and how much of a difference this has made in my life. If you've read my first post about acne, you would remember I was extremely insecure about it and it was terribly hard for me to share pictures like that. Well! I've pulled through because these pictures were taken today and despite the quality being slightly skewed by Blogger, you can see that all that's left now is scarring and redness (which is a side effect of roaccutane anyway), which is a very stark contrast to the last photos!
Today I'm going to be answering a few questions I've been getting about this treatment - mainly from emailers who want to take Roaccutane etc.
Does roaccutane make your skin dry/ itchy/ inflamed? How did you treat it?
It really depends on the person but for me it did all of those things. Initially, when I was on a very small dosage but my acne was built-up under the skin and severe, it made my skin very itchy/ dry and inflamed. This went on for about the first five months. It was really hard and often made me cry because I couldn't put my head down on the pillow because I was in a lot of pain but eventually I got used to it. There are a few products you can use to help though: using a very gentle moisturiser like this one by QV will gently hydrate your skin without irritating it and using the moisturiser from their 'Flare Up' range also helped a lot too with the inflammation.
What did you skin look like this time last year?
Okay, so in June/July last year my skin was really inflamed and painful - mainly because my skin was starting to fully absorb the roaccutane AND because it was Winter and the air was so dry. But here's what it looked like a year ago:
And here's that side of my face today...
How many mg are you on now? How has it affected your skin?
My dermatologist dropped me down from 20mg on one day and 40mg the next day to only 40mg/week. That was a recent change and I can notice the difference in the redness of my skin already. I take one 20mg tablet on Monday and Thursday nights. This is for maintenance purposes to help my body get used to the change. If I get a pimple (which hasn't happened in a while), he'll bump the dosage back to 20mg a day.
What's the most annoying thing about this medication?
How dry it makes my skin/ lips! I used to have the oiliest skin EVER and now my skin is so dry it's like a cracking desert in Saudi Arabia. Depending on how many mg you are on, it also makes your skin very red and fragile. The other day I took my glasses off and the metal part that sits at the top of my nose lightly scraped my skin and took a layer off! I was like "Um, what?!" and also the other day I ran into the kitchen bench and the next day I woke up with a colossal purple bruise on my side. These things are annoying but it's not really a HUGE deal. I've just learned to be a lot less clumsy. I've never been in pain while on this medication so it's not a huge factor.
How often do you moisturise/ wash your face?
I moisturise and wash my face twice a day (morning and night), every day. It's really important to moisturise your lips as often as you can as well because sometimes they peel and it can be a little uncomfortable. My favourite lip balm of all time will fix that though. Another tip as well; NEVER go to bed with makeup on. Just don't, it's not good for your skin anyway, let alone if you have skin problems.
Before and after picture with the most difference?
This picture is kinda crazy actually. The top picture was taken in May last year I think... and the bottom one was taken today.
What are some products I can use for emergencies? My skin has been so dry and painful lately and it really hurts.
Ah, I know exactly how you feel. One of my favourite things to use if my skin is just really, really dry and itchy etc is the QV Rescue Gel. It's very cool and soothing and perfect for sensitive skin. I also like the QV lip balm.
If you're so happy with your skin, why do you still wear makeup?
Good question! I wear makeup because I'm self conscious about how red my skin is at the moment - not about acne. I also like wearing makeup; it's fun to put on. I won't wear it a lot when I finish my medication though, just because I won't really be bothered - there won't be as much point. For the time being though, I like wearing makeup. I use it to enhance my features, not to cover them up.
What did you skin look like last year when you had acne and when you wore makeup? Is there a big difference?
Yeah, a huge difference! Even when I wore makeup last year, you could still see major pigmentation and lumps under the skin. This is a comparison between June 2013 and June 2014, wearing makeup:
What's been the best thing about going on roaccutane?
Man, there's a lot. It's been a bit of a rollercoaster ride but going on this medication has honestly changed my life. Like I've said before, it's really helped me get my self confidence back. I was so unhappy last year; crying all the time because I hated myself so much. I've learnt a lot about myself this last year though. I've pushed myself to the absolute limit on a number of occasions. Now I am working towards TOTAL self confidence as well as skin confidence.
It's only acne... why make a big deal about it?
Let me just clear something up (no pun intended): Until you experience any skin condition at all, it can be really hard to empathise with someone who has. Remember that everyone is fighting their own battle and just because it may not seem big to you (or big in the whole scheme of things) doesn't make it hurt any less for the person experiencing it. (And that was a terribly ineloquent sentence... I'm really tired okay... you get the picture.)
I hope this post was helpful! If you have any more questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you'd like to have a look at my older acne posts, you can check them out here and here. As always, thank you for the support and kindness. It's because of you guys that I feel comfortable sharing this kind of thing on the world wide web.