ACNE // Roaccutane 3 years update (Scarring, breakouts, improvements)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

December, 2015 (click each image to see a larger version)  


It's been about a year and a half since my last acne update post in June, 2014, so I thought I would give you all an update on how my skin is going and address a few questions that I've been getting over email recently.
These pictures were taken today, no makeup! I've actually been off roaccutane completely since the beginning of November because I ran out of my prescription and didn't get a chance to see my dermatologist again (I'll book another appointment in the New Year though, before uni goes back). As you can see, my skin is far from perfect, however, it's doing okay! Since stopping medication I've found a number of things have happened:

1. There was almost an immediate increase in open and closed comedones on my forehead and around my nose area, which makes sense since they are the areas that produce the most sebum.
2. Cluster breakouts appeared in my chin area and around my lower and upper cheeks but they only occurred during my period.
3. My skin is a lot less red than it used to be when I was on full dosage. At the start of this year, Dr Pruim advised me to remain on 40g a week as opposed to 20mg per day, just as maintenance and overall, my skin looked a whole lot better.
4. MY SKIN IS OILY AGAIN. Which is both good and bad. Good: means my lips and skin don't peal or tear anymore. Bad: more pimples and congestion in the T-zone!

Due to the cause of my acne being both genetic as well as a possible hormone imbalance, it was recommended that I remained on medication as an "upkeep" as opposed to "necessity", and because my skin was technically clear at the start of this year, I was no longer eligible for the government discounts for my skin, so things got a little more expensive. Each consultation costs me about $135, as well as $50 for the 6 month supply of medication. Previously, it costed about $100 for the consultation (after government deductions) and $35 for the medication. The increase in price is a bit annoying but if it's looked at as a monthly cost, it's only about $30 per/m, so it's definitely worth it for me if it means the cystic acne doesn't come back.

May/ July/ August 2013 (click to view larger images)

Now, onto questions! It still amazes me and makes me very happy knowing that even after three years, people are still looking at these acne posts and asking me questions and knowing that they're not alone in their acne struggle.

"May I know after the accutane, did you have any indentations on your skin? Was there anything that you've done that improved your scarring?" - Jean, email

There was slight scarring, as you can see in the pictures but it is SO minor in real life, almost unnoticeable since it's so small. I was offered laser treatment to get rid of the scarring that is there, but it doesn't bother me, so I decided not to (plus it's quite expensive!). I take very good care of my skin and stick to a very thorough regime so I think that would've also contributed to the reduced indentations. 

"Can you tell me if you've experienced any long term side affects?" - Lynn, email 

I, personally, haven't suffered any long term side effects and I've been on this medication for three years now. Aside from bruising quite easily and shedding more hair than normal, I've been quite lucky. A lot of people have warned me about possible infertility, depression and weakened bones but unless they have a medical degree and have specialised in dermatology, then I tend to disregard their input as it can often come across as unhelpful and ignorant. Long term side effects are possible, but it's different for everyone. Do your research, talk to your dermatologist and weigh up your options - do what is right for YOU. 

"How do you deal with not feeling confident in your skin?" - Stacey, FB message

Practice. To this day, I am still paranoid about minor breakouts because I never want my skin to return to the way it used to look - acne takes a massive toll on one's self confidence. Taking care of yourself, drinking lots of water and wearing makeup (wash it off before bed though!!) were a few things that really boost me up if I'm feeling even the slightest bit worried about my skin. There's nothing wrong with wearing foundation if it makes you feel pretty, just don't feel like you NEED it to survive ;)! Surround yourself with true friends, who fill you up with love and support. And think happy thoughts! If you do, they'll shine out of your face like sunbeams and you'll always look lovely!

Alright, that's a wrap! Just a little disclaimer, I'm NOT a dermatologist, nor do I claim to be. I'm sharing with you what I have experienced and what I have read. I'm not endorsing roaccutane either, however I do think it is a remarkable product and I am grateful that it had the results it did on me. If you're struggling with acne, I completely understand what you are going through. As a young person, it's already difficult enough going through the process of growth and change, and not feeling confident in your skin doesn't help. I wish you the best of luck in whatever your endeavours are, feel free to email me on AVENUEMBLOG@GMAIL.COM if you'd like to talk about it or have any questions. 

If you'd like to see my previous acne posts, you can click on the links below: 


tulips // christmas outfit

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Dotti skirt. H&M heels. Witchery sunglasses

I bought this skirt for a number of reasons, mainly because the print reminds me of a watercolour tulip painting I did in year 12 and also because there was a $20 discount off the original price, and I'm a sucker for a price reduction. It's also very pretty, and very festive! I think skirts like this deserve to shine on their own, so I kept everything else in this outfit pretty low-key; white top, nude heals, you get the drill. Oh! And I totally forgot to mention my hair cut! Basically I bit the bullet and got a bob. Best decision I've made in a while... it's very low maintenance and makes me feel very flapper-girl-ish!

I'm finally home for a few weeks and I'm so excited for all the family to be together again for Christmas. The only downside to having a big family is that it is such a mission reuniting everyone because we are all so scattered, but I think it makes time spent together all the more special :) Over the last few days I've been devouring books, watching lots of old films and joining in on the sarcasm and banter exchanged between my two younger sisters. Man, those two have significantly increased their sass levels in comparison to this time last year - I haven't laughed so hard in such a long time! Speaking of which, the youngest has been begging me to play Monopoly for the last half hour and I think it's time to step away from the laptop, crank up Nat King Cole's Christmas album and commit! Wishing you all a happy, safe Christmas, wherever you are in the world. 

being a heroine/hero in your own story

Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Painting by Rob Gonsalves

I'm a romantic, through and through. However, as much as I love the classic story of a princess being swept off her feet by a knight in shining armour, my daydreams are often filled with my own goals - flourishing in a creative career where I am not only making a difference in the lives of others, but waking up in the morning with a grin because I'm doing something I know I was meant to do. 

In speaking with a dear friend of mine, the subject of heartbreak has come up quite often. I think everyone experiences some form of it, to an extent. I, for one, don't think my heart has ever been truly broken romantically, more so a little weather-beaten, with tiny little bruises that have slowly healed themselves over time. Throughout this year, I'll admit, there have been times when I have questioned my relationship status and my romantic life. Why on earth has nothing has happened yet? These relationships had potential, I'd think to myself. Why have they withered away into nothing, leaving me confused and a little flustered? No matter what happens however, the sun still rises and sets each day, regardless of unrequited love, and there's nothing stopping you from doing the same.

Today I thought I would share a few of my thoughts on this. Though I'm only 18 (almost 19, okay!) and my story has really only just begun, this is what I've learnt so far. 
1. Keep busy. My friend Marilyn has reminded me to pursue my dreams no matter what, focussing on bettering myself and sharing my gifts and talents with the world, emphasising the fact that love will makes its way into my life naturally, just by me being in the right place and right time and if it's meant to be. I guess this point is about remembering what you're good at, and focussing profusely on it, because the other good things will come when they are supposed to.

2. Be inspired.  Read exciting books, go on adventures, learn and create. On Saturday I went out dancing, dressed up with my friends and had a lovely time wearing a pretty dress and twirling to Elvis Presley and Billy Holiday. As eloquently stated by Helen Keller, "No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit". 

3. Listen to good advice. My Mother, and others (from the book How to be Parisian by Sophie Mas) on love and life:
"If he's the right horse, he'll come back at a gallop".
"Be financially independent, so that you love only for love"
"Love alone is not enough. You have to work at it".
"Love many, trust a few, always paddle your own canoe"
"As a girl thinks, so is she".

4.  Know, share and confide in people. Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice highlights perfectly the result of even the most fleeting look exchanged between two individuals; "A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment". It's so easy to romanticise and idealise situations and people that one can easily be led astray by the workings of imagination, as opposed to reality. Know, share and confide in people instead.

5. Be your own heroine/ hero. Perhaps you are Frodo undergoing a perilous journey to destroy the One Ring, or Anne Shirley, determined to accomplish her dreams of becoming a teacher, it's your novel. In the end, you need to be able to rescue yourself from the likes of snarky individuals, days that simply haven't gone to plan or even the Nazg├╗l Witch-King, because you never know when a Fellbeast could pop up and get hungry.

I really hope that when I'm an old granny, and technology has progressed to insane levels, I can look back over my blog (if it still exists) and tick off everything I thought I wouldn't be able to achieve or perhaps was too out of reach. Maybe one day someone will pick up my book and say to themselves "Perhaps my adventure will be inspired by Maria Savage's today; perhaps I will move to a big city, learn many new things and fall in love with life, just like she did!".

I hope one day I'm not just my own heroine, but someone else's too.