The other night I mentioned on the Twitter that I'm back on Roaccutane. For those unaware... Roaccutane is a super strong medicine made from Isotretinoin which is basically very similar to Vitamin A. Roaccutane was first marketed as Accutane. It is used to treat severe, cystic acne and also, some cancers. But in lower doses, Roaccutane is used to treat hormonal, adult acne. Read more about it here. When I mentioned on social media that I was going back on to this medication (my last dose was when I was 20 years old) the unanimous reaction was "but your skin is so great" and "you don't have problem skin!" And this bothered me. I'll post pictures of my real, unedited and make up free face here and as I go along.
Old and high school friends reading this - Bethany, Izelke, Jean-Marie, Tammy, Mareli, Bernice, Nadia, Minette, Karlien, Monique - you are well aware. My best friend Tammy once fainted while I was getting an acupuncture facial to remove cysts. I really hope that you've hardened up a bit Tam :) I have struggled with severe hormonal acne on and off since I was about 14 or maybe sooner. I have been to dozens of doctors, dermatologists, gynecologists, pharmacists. I have tried every local and some international topical cream, ointment, anti-biotic and contraceptive pill. The only thing that ever sort of worked was the pill (only after 3 months and only Minerva) because I have hormonal acne. In fact, the more creams, soap, lotions, facials, scrubs and potions I used... the worse it got.
And you'll hear it all. Use this soap, not that. Scrub. Don't scrub. Never exfoliate, don't eat tomatoes or oranges, don't go in the sun, go in the sun ALL the time... And in my case it was just nonsense and completely unhelpful. Then, after I left home and got my first job and my own medical aid... I marched in to a Dermatologist's office, washed off about 27 layers of foundation and asked for advice. He wrote that script for Roaccutane faster than a bunny to a carrot. Four months later, my skin was translucent. My pores were tiny, my scars were gone and I was surprised when boys looked at me, asked me out or thought I was pretty.
Over the years, it's slowly started coming back. When I was pregnant with the boys I didn't even want to leave the house. How Graeme continued to love and live with me is a mystery second only to the Bermuda Triangle. I need to pump my body with hormones every day for the rest of my life to even keep it under control, but it's still not great... this little face of mine. The boys don't understand, so sometimes they ask why I have mosquito bites on my cheeks. When they play 'doctor' they start sticking plasters all over my face to fix my ouchies. The other day, Ben asked me why I have sores on my face and I asked him if it looked sore because it's not, and he said well maybe I fell down some stairs or something. My heart!
It is recommended to do a second dose of Roaccutane, so here I am. I've been on it for just over a week (20mg once a day) and am ready to bathe in milk. Side effects include dry, dry skin. I am busy stocking up on DCT lip balm, Cetaphil face wash and Nutraderm cream which is what saved me last time and are the BEST products to use while on Roaccutane. You don't understand how dry your skin gets. I need to put regular lobello lip ice on every 20 minutes otherwise they crack and burst open. My eyes are dry as if I haven't slept in 40 hours. My body is itchy and my skin feels a bit raw. I can't go in to the sun at all, because my skin will break out in to a rash and burn. Winter is the best time to be on these meds. The thing is, the results are guaranteed. Your acne WILL disappear and I won't need to take hormones or lather my face with cover sticks, BB cream, a foundation and powder every day just to feel mildly comfortable and able to face my family, let alone friends, clients and the general public.
I don't know why I got allll these (too many) hormones but both my siblings and my dad and his whole family had the same. I swear the moment one of my boys even have one little blemish I am going to Roaccutane the rabbits out of them. It is the only thing that works 100%, especially for adult acne. I'll be in touch re the progress and I look forward to beautiful, fresh skin again. Eventually. In the meantime, things are a bit crispy around here.
PS If you're feeling a bit shy about having skin problems, remember that some of the world's most gorgeous, beautiful and talented people have also struggled with acne. It is not YOU, it is just your body.