“SO HER’ES MY STORY, HOW I’M FINDING IT AND LITTLE BIT OF ADVICE FROM SOMEONE WHO’S (MOSTLY) TRIED IT ALL, IN A QUEST TO FEEL COMFORTABLE AND SMILE AT HER REFLECTION”
This morning, I got up, put some eyebrow pencil on and swipe of lip balm (because, let’s be honest, good looking lipstick is almost, impossibly achievable whilst on Roaccutane 😉 ) and I decided to shoot some bare skinned, images for today’s post. I still have redness, my skin is a little uneven and can be drier than the Sahara, but I couldn’t feel more happier and confident within myself and my skin. This is something which I don’t think I would have fully come to appreciate had I not battled with acne for the past few years. I’m sharing my full skin journey on my Youtube if you fancy a good old, long chat about all things skin. But long story short, after having a plain sailing 17 years I began to breakout a little, leading me to consult my doctor and discuss options (this had worked well for my friends!) From then on, I was placed on antibiotic after antibiotic, each one sequentially making my skin the worse it’s ever been (pretty ironic for a skin medication.)
After being referred to go on Roaccutane (AKA, Isotretinoin – if you’re not familiar, a quick google search will go into full about what this is), I decided that actually, my skin (and hormones!) needed a break from medication, so for the last few years I’ve tried most products on this side of the planet, various diet and lifestyle changes, none to which have prevailed. Last April I decided that Roaccutane was my last resort and only thing left to give a go (worst comes worst: I don’t like it and come off of it!) I was ready, excited and eager to see what changes it would bring. I researched, interrogated friends about their experiences and also sadly got a little bit lost in the system, but after 8 months of chasing, I started my course on the 14th of November 2017. You guys on Instagram have been eager to hear my story, see my results and have also been crazy supportive and amazing a long the way! So here’s a Roaccutane update: How my first 2 months have faired, the ups, the downs, how I’m finding it and a little bit of advice from someone who’s tried (mostly) it all, in a quest to feel comfortable and smile back her reflection (Teaser: I now do this a lot!)
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU’RE STRUGGLING WITH YOUR SKIN?
If you want to know in more depth about what I’ve tried before Roaccutane, medication or products, you can catch my video here. Lots of you were sending in questions on Insta Stories for me to answer in my video, so I sat down, screen shotted them all and talked about a few different topics. The most common thing that you guys mentioned is that your skin was getting you down and you had NO IDEA what to do! I feel you! Firstly, if you can avoid taking medication: DO. IT. This isn’t me saying you should go on Roaccutane – far from it, actually. But for me, I’d exhausted all other options. I’ve linked a few of my fave acne fighting products that helped me along the way below (as well as what my skin is LOVING whilst on Roaccutane!) But 3 products I’d recommend to try before consulting a doctor: Freederm, La Roche Posay Effalclar and Proactive. All 3 definitely made a positive impact on my skin. If you think your skin is past the point of products (I tried natural remedies and lifestyle changes too; nothing worked sadly.) Talk to a doctor or dermatologist. Change doctors if that’s what it takes to find someone you’re comfortable with and make sure you express how your skin is making you feel. I regretting not telling them the true extent of how my skin was affecting me and that in turn, slowed down the referral process which further affected me! They’ll discuss options, whether it’s medication, topical products or lotions. Do your research and only do something you feel comfortable with. It took me 3 years to decide I finally was ready to take Roaccutane. It’s a strong drug and decisions shouldn’t be made rationally (personally). Lastly; surround yourself with a positive, support network. Talking to my friends and family about how I was feeling helped hugely and them understanding was a huge burden off my shoulders. Also, don’t underestimate the internet! #Acne #roaccutane hashtags and dedicated Insta accounts for acne suffers are CRAZY supportive and always there to offer advice and guidance as well as kind words if you’re feeling down! Reach out to others, they’re just a click away.
SIDE EFFECTS AND WHAT STOPPED ME GOING ON IT FOR SO LONG?
Like I mentioned in my video, it was a lengthy decision for me to go on Roaccutane (also lengthen by my unfortunate delay in getting lost in the NHS slightly – if you can go private, in hindsight, I would probably recommend this if you’re able to!) There are some pretty hefty side effects that can potentially come with going on Roaccutane and it’s such a personal decision that took me a lot of time and talking to friends and family to come to. I was constantly asking questions to those who had been on it, for their advice and honest opinions. The conclusion was that everyone’s experiences were so varied, you can’t really anticipate how it’s going to pan out for you, but you are closely monitored by doctors and if you don’t like it? You can always stop taking it. Once I realised my skin was making my life such a struggle, there lied the changing point for me and all the possible side effects became irrelevant.
A shift in mood and possible depression was the thing that scared me the most about Roaccutane. One day I realised my skin was getting me into such a state, that anything that could possibly help improve it and with it, my self esteem and happiness would be worth a shot. So far I’ve been unbelievably lucky throughout my treatment. I don’t even feel like I’m on any medication, apart from having to apply lip balm more frequently and having drier skin. If anything the side effects have been a plus, because dry shampoo has become redundant and I can FINALLY get away with wear highlighter without looking like a sweaty mess. No headaches or pains out of the ordinary and a few disturbed nights of sleep soon settled down. Hearing others accounts I do feel lucky it’s been so plain sailing – fingers crossed it stays this way!
THE GOOD STUFF: MY PROGRESS SO FAR!
On the THE BEST part – the goodness, the progress and results! Excuse the bed hair and unruly brows 😉 I got into the habit of taking progress pictures first thing in the morning and for me, I hadn’t noticed the sheer, colossal size of the improvement up until the point of stitching these images together! Into my 3rd month and I’m astounded how fast and just how incredible the improvement has been! It started working from day 1, I was lucky enough not to even break out hugely before it started to get better. Now? I don’t even know what a blackhead is anymore. (in the first couple of weeks ALL OF MY PORES expelled themselves from my skin, leaving my complexion crazy smooth and clear afterwards!) I haven’t had a spot in MONTHS and my hyper pigmentation (that redness you see on my skin) is majorly going down, probably because my skin has had a chance to relax and heal! The thing that annoyed me most, besides having a sore face was that even if I had little breakouts – I was still left with all of that redness, which in turn made my skin look a lot worse than it was sometimes!
I’m almost half way through my 6 month treatment; how will the rest fare? Who knows. I’m trying not to think too much about after treatment, I get filled with anxiousness thinking about what if my skin were to worsen off of treatment. I have become so used to being happier within myself and comfortable, but I’ll cross that hurdle if it arises. The best part about this all, is that I’ve discovered the amazing community of people in the same boat, just a click away to offer guidance, kind words, advice and support. My experience so far has been more positive and effective than I could ever have imagined. I feel very lucky that it’s worked so well and of course the story is so varied for every individual, but for me, so far it’s been the best decision I’ve ever made. It’s changed every aspect of my life (fellow sufferers you’ll know this isn’t an exaggeration!) and every morning I appreciate how happier and self assured I feel. I’m no longer in discomfort and I’m filled with self esteem that was for so long chipped away at.
SHOP MY SKINCARE SAVIOURS FOR ACNE
SHOP MY ROACCUTANE SKINCARE FAVES
I really, REALLY hope you found this insightful, interesting and hopefully helpful! I was a little nervous about sharing this here and on my Youtube, but if I can just help one person by sharing my little journey, or educate them about their options and how they can take a step towards improvement and happiness – then that’s exactly what I set out to do! Personally, I found reading and hearing others experiences of Roaccutane helped me to come to my decision (finally!) after a few years of trying everything else! This is going to be an on going series on my Blog and Youtube and if I can be OF ANY support or help what so ever, PLEASE do get in touch! Pop any questions below for future posts and videos that you want answered, or if you just want to talk to someone you can pop me a message on Instagram! Advice, recommendations, I’m always here!
If you want to hear my full skin story and how I came to make my decision, as well as a big, old Roaccutane chat – you can catch the video below on my Youtube Channel, so make sure you’re subscribed!
Photography by Ben Kapur
WATCH MY SKIN PROGRESS