After much debate with myself about which product I would discuss in my first ever blog post, I decided to use Roaccutane (or Accutane if you stay in the US).
Roaccutane is turning into a very taboo medicine with more negative reviews than positive, which is unfortunate because honestly it changed my life (not exaggerating it really did). Roaccutane if you did not know is a very strong medicine that is prescribed by a dermatologist to help treat (and in some cases, cure) acne. It is so strong that you are monitored on a monthly basis to ensure that your body is handling the drug well, and that it is not damaging you in anyway. You are also advised to not get pregnant while on this medication as it is highly likely that your baby will develop birth defects, due to this you have to also do monthly pregnancy tests and be on some form of contraception while taking Roaccutane. Usually people are on this medication for 6 months and that is fine for them, I on the other hand was on it for almost 9 months but this was at my dermatologist’s suggestion not my own.
Most people coming to read this are probably more interested in what side effects I experienced on it because honestly there is a whole host of horrible side effects that may occur while on Roaccutane. When I went to my first appointment they sent me away with a booklet of side effects. Yup that’s right, an actual booklet of side effects, which honestly scared the life out of me and lead me to doing what you are probably doing right this very minute and Googling Roaccutane reviews. I read mostly bad reviews but the good ones I read were good enough to convince me it was worth a try. What did I have to lose? At this point my skin was the worst it had ever been and I had been trying different treatments since the age of 15. I was 22 when I was finally recommended this medicine, so I was officially at the end of my tether and desperate for a cure or relief from the pain my acne frequently caused me (washing my face could be an eye watering experience).
So without further ado here is my experience, I am writing this about 3 months after having completely stopped the medication so my recollection of some of the months may be slightly patchy.
Month one was probably the worst for me, not because I experienced depression or discovered an imaginary friend (which are all things that were mentioned in my wee booklet), but because I was so very tired. I am generally a very tired person as it is, at this point I was juggling almost full time hours alongside my studies so feeling tired was not unusual but this level of tired was unbearable. I needed frequent afternoon naps and needed to go to bed at 9 or 10 on working days to be able to function properly the next day. Thankfully in further months this subsided and my energy crept back to my own normal level. As for any other side effects in this month, I recall being pleasantly surprised at experiencing nothing else, not a thing. At the end of this month (like all the other months), I went for my blood test and pregnancy test and everything came back perfect
These are the months when the dry skin started to pick up but to a level that I could handle quite well. My inside nose was itchy all the time but Vaseline on a cotton bud lightly rolled around the inside of my nose helped relieve that (sometimes). My face wasn’t exceptionally dry but it certainly wasn’t anywhere near as oily. The skin on my body was also slightly drier but nothing soap and glory moisturiser couldn’t tackle. At this point I stripped my skincare back to the most basic products I could. My cleanser was Cetaphil and I think my moisturiser was Simple’s Light Moisturiser. (For all the people already on Roaccutane looking for product recommendations I will link everything I used at the end). My lips also became flaky but not dry or peeling. Vaseline managed this well.
These months are when the dry skin started to get uncontrollable, and honestly unbearable at times. My lips as you can see are splitting and look like they are falling off. In this image I had put make up on only a few hours beforehand and so after this I stopped wearing make up entirely, not even mascara as even my eyes where dry and itchy.
This occurred in month 5 and carried all the way through to month 8. In one of these months I had my first ever nose bleed. This wasn’t because Roaccutane was rotting my insides, it was because the inside of my nose was so god damn dry. This carried on into my final months but only happened roughly once every 2 weeks. I changed to Simple’s Rich Moisturiser for a little while but it was no use and I eventually turned to Skin Drink from Lush which managed the dryness really effectively. In these months I started having hot flushes/hyper pigmentation. This side effect is the only one that has remained with me since stopping the medication. If I get too warm, embarrassed or angry my face and neck area turns scarlet and hot to touch. Honestly, the fact I have clear skin now makes up for getting a hot face occasionally.
In these final months my skin was completely clear but my dermatologist erred on the side of caution and advised I remain on it for another few months. Month 9 was not completed by me as my hair started to fall out a lot. Now I know what you are thinking “wait I thought this was a positive review?”, and it is. When I stopped the medication my hair returned to normal, the fallout greatly reduced, and all was well. As my skin was clear I thought a few more months was maybe pushing it a little, and also one of my blood results came back with slightly higher levels, so all in all I just felt my body was telling me to stop.
To conclude this review all I experienced was dry skin on my lips, face, knees, elbows and inside my nose. I got hot flushes, my hair had slightly more fallout than usual and I was tired for a month. I didn’t go crazy, I never saw things, my insides didn’t melt and my negative symptoms went away not too long after stopping the medication. Best of all my skin is clear and healthier than it has been in years, If I had to it all al again then I would.
If Roaccutane has been suggested to you the only way find out if it is for you is to try. I am not saying because I didn’t have a bad time with it that nobody will, and that all those negative reviews on-line should be ignored, because they shouldn’t. Roaccutane can have really bad effects. I just think that people should remember all drugs can have bad side effects, even paracetamol.
Enough from me here are the great products that saved me while on Roaccutane.
Lips: Carmex Lip Balm Original from here and also Palmers Cocoa Butter Lip Balm Ultra Moisturising from here
Face: Cetaphil Cleanser here, Simple Light Moisturiser here, Simple Rich Moisturiser here and also Lush Skin Drink moisturiser here
Nose: Vaseline here
Body: Soap and glory Smoothie Star here and Aveeno Daily Moisturising Lotion here