If you’ve ever been a sufferer of severe acne, you’ll know the depression that comes with it.
When I say ‘acne’ I don’t mean a few spots here and there. That’s nothing. Side effects of my acne included; crying because of how ugly I looked, not wanting to leave my room because of how many spots covered my skin that no makeup could ever conceal and knowing people called me ‘Spotzilla’ behind my back.
It started out with just a few spots on my forehead, but it was normal for a teenager to get spots. It was part of puberty. I was 14 and it continued for a year or so with a few spots on my forehead and chin but nothing I was overly concerned about. Although I was self conscious that not many people I knew seemed to have as many as I did.
I went to the doctors and was prescribed a contraceptive pill to help regulate my hormones and a cream that would dry out my skin and keep the oil at bay. This lotion was the stuff of witchcraft and six weeks later my skin was clear, although a bit dry. I got the odd spot but I lathered on the cream over night and it was almost gone the next day. I finally came off the pill and I thought my acne problems were over.
Then it came back
When I turned 17, my acne came back only this time one hundred times worse. I had spots covering every inch of my face. ‘Pizza face’ literally. Cysts appeared on my cheeks and forehead and they hurt to touch. I could literally see the ones sitting on my cheeks if I looked downwards. My parents kept saying it was normal, just a teenage phase but I looked at every other girl in my school and no one had anywhere near the same amount of acne that I had. They all wore makeup like I did, but why was I the one with the spots? I had a clean diet, I didn’t drink and I probably cleaned my face more than anyone else I knew.
It got to the stage where I had absolutely no confidence in myself, felt extremely unattractive and hated myself for being so ugly.
I went back to the doctor and he gave me another contraceptive pill and a different cream, as the one I’d been using previously had been taken off the market. They didn’t work. I found some of the old cream I used to use and covered my face with it before going to bed, but woke up the next morning with my face roaring red and burnt. I was put on another contraceptive pill but again it didn’t work. 12 weeks later and my face was still as ugly as ever.
By this point I was putting everything on my spots to get rid. Sudocrem, toothpaste, even my dad’s aftershave. I was taking shots of Aloe Vera every morning with my breakfast (would not recommend), buying anything from The Body Shop that was for ‘acne-prone skin’, using face washes I saw advertised on TV to clear spots, but nothing worked. If anything, they made my skin worse.
The doctor referred me to a dermatologist who took one look at my face and said ‘Roaccutane‘. She explained the dangers and stigma that comes with the drug but at that point I was willing to try anything to get rid of the lumps on my face.
When I went back to the hospital every month to check my progress I sat with my eyes burning into the floor because I was so embarrassed by the amount of acne on my face. But with each month I went back, the more confident I was because it was working. The only side effect I seemed to notice was very dry lips, but Vaseline helped with that a lot. My dermatologist also gave me samples of Aquaphor which also helped a lot with the dryness.
Roaccutane has a reputation of causing depression but for me it was quite the opposite, because acne was the cause of my depression and roaccutane was getting rid of it. On my last visit to the hospital I was the happiest I’d ever been, and much more confident. My face was clear with not one spot but a lot of acne scarring.
This is five months on Roaccutane. (March 2014 / August 2014)
I’ll always have a few red marks from previous spots but I’ll hopefully never have to go through that amount of acne ever again. I still get the odd spot when it’s coming up to my time of the month, or when I’ve been drinking too much but nothing I can’t deal with. I’ve been using a cream by Nip & Fab for the past few months and have noticed a huge difference in the reduction of my acne scars. I can even see freckles starting to appear on my white skin where there used to be a lot of redness. I apply a small layer all over my face at night-time, quite like a night mask and wash off the excess in the morning. It also helps in keeping my skin moisturised and less dry.
I’ve never been brave enough to share these images before, but it shows the wonders that Roaccutane can do.
People often hear the words ‘Accutane’ and ‘Roaccutane’ and immediately turn their noses up because of the negative aura the drug has. If anyone ever asked me about my thoughts on the medicine, as a past user of it I wouldn’t need to think twice about recommending it. I did a lot of research before going through with the treatment because of what I had heard, but seeing the results that people were getting was the only convincing that I needed. I didn’t care for the possible side effects, I just wanted my face to be clear again. I saw no negative side effects with the drug only the occasional dry lip, but the positives massively outweighed the negatives and I don’t regret taking Roaccutane in the slightest.
Roaccutane changed my life
This was my face at its worst, and my face today, with not one spot. I have fake tan on in the second photo (and just had my lashes done), but hopefully the sun shining in my face can show that there’s not one bump or spot on my skin and I couldn’t be more thankful. I’m four years on from my Roaccutane treatment and my skin has never shown any signs of returning to what it was before.
After trying hundreds of products, I’ve finally found a skincare routine that best suits my skin type. It’s also helped in keeping my skin in top condition.
Have you ever suffered from acne? How did it make you feel? How did you take control of it? If you currently suffer from a few spots or more, feel free to ask me anything and I’ll try my best to help!