“I CAN’T BELIEVE MY ONCE, SEEMINGLY, NEVER ENDING ACNE JOURNEY HAS BEEN OVER FOR A YEAR!”
My Roaccutane/isotretinoin journey has been something that, before I embarked on it, seemed like a forever, on going, cycle of getting lost in the system of GPs and referrals. It was my last resort after exhausting almost every other avenue of medication, no medication, diet changes and expensive, face washes. So it’s crazy to believe that now, I’ve been off of it for well over a year (I stopped taking roaccutane in April 2018) If you’re intrigued about my acne and skin journey so far, or want to see some further progress images, head over to my blog post when I was 2 months in!)
For those of you reading this that are currently on their roaccutane journey, I’m always over on Instagram if you want a chat, any advice or just want to ask away any questions – it’s a topic I love discussing with you guys over there!) Or if you’re feeling the dryness of the side effects, I also have my top, gentle and hydrating recommendations if you’re on roaccutane or have no idea what skincare to use whilst on it! But for now – let’s discuss! How have I been since coming off of acne medication, and how has my skin held up, over a year on?
HOW DID I FEEL COMING OFF OF IT AFTER 4 AND A HALF MONTHS?
Being frank, I was terrified of coming off of roaccutane. My time spent on it was on the whole, a pleasant one. I prepared myself for ALL of the side effects, but in the end, only really suffered from a little bit of dryness to the skin and hair (hello having fresh hair for ages – how I miss you!) and perhaps a little bit of (almost unnoticeable) joint pain towards the end. Admittedly, my mood was quite low on roaccutane at points, but being honest, whilst the medication could have contributed to it, this was mostly down to my situation at the time. I have no doubt I would have felt similarly, medication or not. With that, I’d have no problem going on it again, which I know for a lot of people happens. Most people I’ve spoken to have had to take roaccutane for 2, sometimes 3 rounds before their acne disappearing. This was also something I prepared for, but made me anxious at the thought of waiting 8 months to even properly be seen about my skin.
Acne, in the end, very much mentally took control of my wellbeing, so I felt nervous that it would re appear. At what point do you go to see someone about it if it returns? Would it come back worse? How long would a referral take again?
HAS IT RETURNED? HOW IS MY SKIN NOW?
I half expected the process of coming off of roaccutane to be instant, but it was a rather slow and natural process. It takes a good several months to leave your system, hence why you can’t wax or have facial peels until you’ve been off of it for at aleast 6 months I believe. You skin is too delicate to do any of of this. It wasn’t the nightmare I imagined by having my oily skin return, but rather, a new skin type has gradually been born. When you take roaccutane, it’s like being given a new face and skin, and then when you come off of it, you go through this process again – what your skin likes, what it doesn’t and what works well.
Has my skin slowly gone back to how it was before? Absolutely not. My skin is less dry than when on the medication; the oil has started to produce again but nothing near the crazy, oily, mess it was before (it was so hard to keep makeup on my face!) For me, roaccutane began working from day 1 and I was without ANY new spots for months. (as you can see from the photos below) Over the last year or so, I’d say I have a ‘normal’ skin type now, however over the last month I’ve discovered it may be sensitive, as I had a breakout due to some stage makeup. I’m certainly going to be more cautious about what I put on my skin, but a ‘breakout’ now is a mere couple of tiny pimples, nothing of the magnitude before roaccutane.
WAS IT WORTH IT?
For so many years, I was so headset against roaccutane, so it’s crazy coming through the other side, after changing my mind and doing research. For me, it was literally life changing (absolutely not an exaggeration, if you know, you know.) That said, I would NEVER lightheartedly recommend roaccutance/isotretinoin/accutane. It’s not a quick fix, an instant solution or decision to be made on a whim. I’m always very hell bent on stressing this when you guys ask me about it and my skin journey on Instagram. It’s not the same as using a face wash for acne suffers, it’s not like other medication from the doctors. It’s a very intense drug, where you need monthly pregnancy tests, referrals to a hospital and numerous blood tests, it can have pretty substantial side effects which shouldn’t be taken lightly. For me, it was the absolute LAST resort, but it was also 100% worth it in the end. Please be sure to explore other avenues first, and if you do embark on it, surround yourself with supportive friends and family, and chat to anyone if you have any queries or worrying side effects.
For now, I’m happy looking after my skin, enjoying the new confidence it’s given me (and still not worn off!) and gradually experimenting with scar treatments (more of this soon with the fabulous Battersea skin and beauty centre!) and if the acne returns? I’ll take it one step at a time.
I hope you found this helpful – whether you’re just intrigued, are thinking of approaching a doctor about your skin or are already taking roaccutane! If you have any questions, do pop a comment below or my Insta DM’s are always open for a chat!
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Photography by Ben Kapur