So where to start…
If you’ve read the very first blog I ever wrote (HERE), then you’ll know that I have taken the acne medication, roaccutane, once before when I was 24.
Fast forward 4 years later to age 28 and my skin has behaved relatively well, with a good skincare routine. Asides from the odd hormonal breakout that coincided with my period, my skin remained relatively clear.
Then in October 2020, almost exactly 4 years later to the date of my first bout of adult acne, I broke out in a second bout of full blown adult acne.
Over the course of 3 months I tried everything from salicylic acid to retinoids and even to a very basic routine of just cleanser, moisturiser and SPF… nothing worked!
Trying An Online Dermatology Service
In December 2020 I decided to give the online dermatology service, Skin + Me a go. They work by getting you to complete an online consultation, including submitting makeup free selfies, which is then reviewed by a dermatologist. From there they will then decide the best prescription for you, it will be made up by their pharmacists and then posted out to you for £19.99 a month.
The whole idea of their service is that you simplify your routine and let the prescription strength ingredients work their magic. For me it worked really well, over the course of 6 months, at clearing up my acne but my skin did become more sensitive and reactive.
In May, after trying a vitamin C serum that I had a reaction to, I had a barrier breakdown and my skin became sensitive, dry and red. Alongside this I then had an absolutely horrendous outbreak of acne (obviously my skin’s barrier was compromised and therefore, allowing bad bacteria to get in, leading to acne). I, of course, had to stop my prescription (which contained tretinoin, azelaic acid and clindamycin) and focus on repairing my damaged skin barrier.
Seeing A Private Dermatologist
It was at this point, after many tears, that my husband said enough was enough and I booked to see a private dermatologist. He couldn’t bear to see me so upset anymore and if I’m honest, I was so tired of being so sad all the time. Unless you’ve had acne you really can’t appreciate the toll acne can take on your mental health, self esteem and worth. It really is soul destroying.
In the UK, you have to have a referral from your GP to see a dermatologist on the NHS and the waiting list can be anywhere from 6 months up to 18 months. Your only other option is to pay to see a dermatologist privately. Prices can vary across the country and you also have to pay for the treatment/prescription/blood tests that they recommend and this could be for many months. So, you really have to do your research before deciding if this option is suitable for you. After all you wouldn’t want to start treatment and not be able to complete the full course recommended by the dermatologist!
Round 2 With Isotretinoin
At the end of May I went to see a private dermatologist for an initial consultation. We went through all my past skin history, what products/ingredients had worked and what hadn’t. After this 30/40 minute discussion it was decided that the best course of action for me, based on my history, would be another course of roaccutane, otherwise known as isotretinoin.
“Isotretinoin (brand name Roaccutane) belongs to a group of drugs called
retinoids, which are closely related to vitamin A. It works in a variety of ways, targeting different factors that cause acne including the production of sebum (an oily substance produced by the skin) and the production of keratin (outer scales of skin) that block the pores of the hair follicle.” – British Association of Dermatologists.
So that’s where I am now, on my 2nd month of my 2nd course of roaccutane and to be honest, I couldn’t be happier to be back on it. I have faith in this 2nd round and in its ability to clear up my acne.
So now you’re all up to date with me and my skin and it may explain why I’ve been relatively quiet on here the last few months. My next blog post will be all about my first month on roaccutane; what side effects I’ve had, how my skincare routine has changed and an update in pictures on how my skin is doing. Stay tuned and look out for it in the next week or so!