I thought I’d start a monthly blog post feature on my recent drastic skincare routine, good ol’ roaccutane. I am one month in and thought it would be an interesting read, especially since I know that I personally scoured the interwebs looking for stories before I made the decision to start taking the meditation.
Roaccutane (accutane in the states) is basically a very high dosage of Vitamin A (isotretinoin). It is taken orally with meals and works by shrinking the sebaceous glands which produce oil that clogs pores and traps bacteria resulting in pimples. So if you target the source and permanently change it physically, your results are going to be far better than to just deal with the consequences of the problem.
I’ve struggled with problematic skin since I was 12. I’ve taken pills and used potions that needed to stay in the fridge, steroid creams and even antibiotics. I have rosacea and in the last 3 years perioral dermatitis. I was put on the pill when I was 15 and that really helped clean up my skin since my acne is predominately hormonal. Four months ago I stopped taking the pill for a variety of reasons and my acne came back with a vengeance. It got so bad I didn’t wear anything even slightly low cut and the spots started scarring my decolletage. And it came back even worse this time with horror, freak show pimples that I’ve never experienced before that were sometimes actually quite painful. I even got some on my neck (what the actual fuck). I have tiny scars that formed into bumps all over my chest from when I was a teen so I didn’t want to have that happen all over again. I also just want to say that my skincare routine has never been more impeccable yet as soon as I stopped the pill it was like 2004 again, so it just goes to show that acne is not always a derivative from a lack of a good skincare routine nor is it cured from good one either. My dermatologist assured me that if I have acne now as an adult I am going to struggle with it for a long time to come. I vaguely recall her words being “for the rest of my life” but I refuse to believe that I will be in my 60s and still dealing with shit skin. So on this road I have began.
– High cell turnover rate. This means my skin heals very quickly and when I do get pimples they are pretty much fully gone after 48 hours.
– I have yet to have dirty hair. No oil on my skin also mean no oil coming from head too. So my hair is super clean all the time. In fact after 4 weeks I feel like I could go the rest of my treatment, 5/6 months, without every seeing shampoo. Crazy!
– Back and chest acne has almost 100% cleared up. Praise Jesus.
– The texture of my skin is incredible. Although my skin is dry, my pores have decreased in size significantly and the surface of my skin is super smooth. It’s so smooth that when I get out the shower it my face resembles a bald man’s shiny head, freshly polished.
– The flaking. Oh God the flaking. I have it the worst in my beard area and around my nose. Come 5pm the skin around my nose and mouth starts to lift and peel from my face. You’ll also have some intense dandruff. Think coconut flakes.
– I get flushes everyday around 3:30/4 that last until 7ish and result in a permanently red complexion. My face flushes with colour because my body temp usually peaks at this time so it’s directly related to getting hot.
– I still get cystic acne on my chin for two weeks of the month. I’m hoping I’ll get less spots next month after the treatment has been working for double the amount of time.
– Make-up doesn’t sit well on my skin which sucks because I now want to cover up the red in my face but the dry, flaky skin is really highlighted my any make-up. So I just don’t wear any during the day and the night time light is more forgiving then so I’ll wear then if I have to go out.
– I have pretty sensitive skin in the sense that any friction irritates my skin. It feels like I’m permanently sunburnt, like when you get your nose burn and it’s all shiny and red so I have to be careful not touch my skin or towel dry my face to harshly.
– I feel like I’m managing the dry lips side effect well as I’m pretty religious about keeping my lips hydrated, but it does feel like my lips are tight and the skin is thin there so it does pull uncomfortably when they dry out.
I started to see some side effects around the end of the second week. I didn’t feel nauseous or have any joint pain or any of the common side effects what so ever. I can even stick my skin in the sun (with lots of spf) for about 20 mins without having any reactions or discomfort all, however, I did have a tension headache for a solid 72 hours which almost resulted in me stopping my treatment. I’m not sure if that was even roaccutane related but I haven’t had any headache issues since. Physically I’m actually pretty comfortable with the side effects for the most part, but the things that are causing the most discomfort are more vanity related and I’m getting pretty over people asking me if I just went for a run or why I let myself get sunburnt on my face. I hate my pink complexion more than anything so it’s more emotionally taxing when people point out the things I’m feeling super insecure about. The other half of the time I have to justify why I’m taking it because they don’t see under the make-up or I never showed my bad skin when it was flaring up. But I’m one month in excited to start the next so stick around for the end of november’s post where I’ll be talking a bit about products that I currently use to help me out during my treatment.