This is a new topic on here and something I've never really talked about on my blog before. It's not as glamorous as travel, or design, or art, or photography but right now I just have this feeling that this journey is something I want to document. I'm hoping it might help somebody going through the same thing, but I'd also like to record my thoughts and feelings over the months to come too.
I've suffered from acne from about the age of 14. To be completely honest, in high school it never used to bother too much because well, everyone else had spots too! But I think because my older sister had never had the persistent spots that I had, my mum wanted to speak to a doctor to find out if anything could be done. I went along because even though the acne wasn't having a big impact on my life at that point, of course I was open to possible solutions. Over the following years I tried various creams and antibiotics but none of them made even the slightest difference. Eventually I gave up and decided I would let the acne run it's course.
However, it upsets me to say that now at the age of 21, my skin has never been worse. My acne has migrated from the typical teenage t-zone and now consumes my cheeks with aggressive breakouts on a daily basis. It's not just one type of spot either. I have been blessed with whiteheads, blackheads, deep painful cystic acne as well as raised flesh coloured bumps which cover any patch of skin that's left. It's harder to deal with now too. I've watched all of my friends skin clear up having done their 'time' with teenage spots. I was diagnosed with PCOS a year and a half ago and it felt like a life sentence of bad skin was on the cards for me. The underlying thought process that people with adult acne must be burger scoffing, cola chugging slobs who never wash their face is particularly painful, as I see my bank balance diminish from trying what seems like every skincare system on the market and all the organic vegetables Whole Foods can offer. Nothing is a match for the angry breakouts which greet me in the mirror each morning. This week I decided that enough is enough. I've accepted that this just isn't something that is going to go away on its own, so I booked an appointment with a consultant dermatologist.
Inside I was worried that I was going to sit down and he'd say that somehow my skin was not bad enough for treatment, or ask me patronising questions about whether I was drinking enough water. To my relief, I'd barley got comfortable on my seat before the "R" word was dropped. Yep, Roaccutane. Isotretinoin, to call it by its proper name, is a drug used to treat severe acne in patients who do not respond to other medicines. I found out about Roaccutane very recently while watching Katie Snooks' documentary for the BBC, 'Me, My Spots and I'. The program was part of the reason I decided to finally take action on my adult acne.
You may have heard that Roaccutane gets some bad press. It is a very powerful medicine which comes with a long list of potential side effects, some of them serious. But my dermatologist was very reassuring. Of course there are no guarantees and the risk is up to the individual, but he assured me that in his 30 years as a dermatologist the worst side effect any of his patients has had is the typical dry skin, lips and hair situation. What's even more amazing is that he assured me that the fact that I have PCOS is not relevant and Roaccutane could still work for me! Despite its bad reputation, with a success rate of 95% I really feel like Roaccutane is not only my best option for clearing my acne, but my only remaining one.
So here my journey begins. I now have to have my blood taken to ensure that I am healthy enough to be prescribed Roaccutane, sign a consent form and hopefully I will be beginning my medication within the next two weeks. I have to say I am extremely excited. I realise it probably won't be all plain sailing, and my acne may even get worse to begin with, but if I have a chance at getting the results I have seen this drug give, I really believe it will be worth it.
I'm hoping to post monthly updates of my progress. My dermatologist is estimating I will be on a 6 month course of the drug, so it's possible that I will be acne free by the end of 2017! I will be posting progress photographs as I go but right now there's not much to see other than my blotchy cheeks so I will spare you that until my next post.
Have you ever tried Roaccutane? Or are you thinking about trying it too? I'd love to hear your experiences!