First of all, I want to apologise for not keeping up with my roaccutane diaries posts after the first entry. Once I was past month one/two, it all sort of blended into one in my head (even though a lot changed), so I didn’t want to repeat myself or bore you with ‘not too much happened this month’ so I decided just to leave it until the end to do this one big post. I was updating people on social media as the months went on, so if you follow me on snapchat (@thelovecatsinc) or Twitter then you probably know the gist of my experience.
So, first of all, I actually filmed a Youtube video explaining everything from start to finish, including photos, so you can listen instead of read if you prefer (ie. please go watch it and give it a little thumbs up!):
Please do subscribe, as my next one will be on products to use and things I’d recommend whilst on the tablets or if you have mega dry skin (live next weekend!)
Otherwise, if you don’t like videos, I’m going to break it all down for you in this blog post! If you want to know a bit more about my reasoning for going on Roaccutane, then please go to my first blog post on the topic as that’s more of a ‘acne backstory’ style post. Let’s start with month one and two.
In the first month (30mg), I didn’t really notice any changes until around 10 days in when I put my foundation on and it literally clung to my face – it was so dry, so patchy, just awful! I obviously changed my skincare routine massively and really upped the hydration to cope which made a huge difference. My skin was rather irritated (read: I wanted to claw my skin off for a few days) as it was adjusting to the dryness, but I just exfoliated and applied a lot of oil (sometimes 3-4x a day) and it was very manageable within a week or so! My hair started to be less oily/greasy from about week three and it’s something that I totally love, as I detest washing my hair every day/every other day. Towards the end of the month my skin started breaking out, as expected with Roaccutane, as it basically stops oil production/closes your pores and pushes all of the crap out of your skin so it can start healing it. My lips were super dry, but you’ve just got to apply as much balm as you can (as often as you can) and it keeps them soft and hydrated – difficult but manageable once you get into a routine.
In month two (40mg), my skin was worse than it was before I started the treatment due to it breaking out. I knew this was only temporary and treated the entire time I was on the medication as a process, so tried not to get too sad about this at the time. It broke out on one side first and then moved over to the other side, but, as I was keeping ontop of my skincare and found a makeup routine that helped, I knew I could hide it and I work from home which made me feel better.
In month three (40mg), my skin was starting to calm down towards the end. I was definitely still breaking out at the beginning, but I would say at around three weeks in to my third month I started really seeing a difference. Sure, there was a lot of marks left, but the rate at which I was getting blemishes was starting to reduce and I could see some areas starting to clear which made me feel 10x better!
In month four (60mg), my dose was increased to really work on any marks that were left and to get rid of any deeper blemishes (I had one or two on my jawline that were super deep, basically just bumps that needed to come up). In the first week or two of upping my dose, my lower back really started to ache which was bad, as I was in Iceland at the time and I think it ruined my holiday a bit! My lips got more dry on 60mg, so I was applying ultra nourishing balm way more than I had previously. My skin was really clearing up towards the end of the month and I think I was getting maybe a spot a week (which stopped by week three of month four). I definitely noticed the biggest difference in this month!
In month five (60mg), my dermatologist basically kept me on the tablets for the last month so it could work on any remaining marks, which was fine with me as it would be much quicker on the pills than naturally fading them over 6+ months. My back hasn’t really hurt since the two weeks in May, but my arms were definitely more irritated (read: super itchy) in the last two months, so I had to make sure I definitely applied moisturiser literally everywhere morning and night to keep that at bay.
Overall I’m extremely happy with the results and, despite the (manageable) irritation, I would do it all again if I had to. I can leave the house in a tinted moisturiser and a dot of concealer (or sometimes just concealer) and not have to worry about feeling embarrassed or upset about my skin. It makes getting ready on a morning 10x quicker and I feel 100% more happy when I look in the mirror. I know taking medication, and strong medication at that, might not be for everyone, but it’s definitely worth just going and talking to a dermatologist to see if they have any solutions for you if you’re suffering in the same way I was.
The tablets stay in your system for around five weeks after you stop taking them so I’m embracing only washing my hair once a week until the drug disappears! I’ve been off the tablets for around two weeks now and my lips have pretty much gone back to normal and my skin, while still dry, is definitely more on the normal side of the spectrum.
Here’s a roundup of my top tips if you’re thinking of going on Roaccutane:
One: Do your research | Obsessively watch Youtube reviews and blog posts, but do take everything with a pinch of salt (or as a rough guide, including this blog post) as one persons experience may not be the same as yours. More often than not, the people who have horror stories to tell you haven’t actually been on the tablets themselves!
Two: Prevention is better than a cure | This refers to skincare – you know the dry skin is coming (it happens to everyone) so stock up in super hydrating skincare and lip balm, buy a million tubes of the stuff, and apply it all from the minute you start the tablets. You might feel a bit greasy if you have oily skin, but trust me it’s better than trying to solve dry skin later on. Check all of your skincare for vitamin A and/or retinols as you’re not allowed to use them once on the tablets. Get into the habit of applying body moisturiser every day too!
Three: Keep note of the side effects | Because Roaccutane can have serious side effects, note down all of them (from changes in mood to muscle ache etc) and make sure someone else is keeping an eye on you and your mental state too. You might not notice changes yourself, so it’s good to have someone watching out for you.
Four: Remember it’s a journey | You will more than likely break out, you will more than likely feel worse at some point and you will more than likely think it’s never going to end – but it will. Remember it’s a 4, 5, 6 etc month process and to focus on the end goal instead of obsessing month to month. Having that mental attitude really helped me!
Do let me know if you have any questions, as I’ll be happy to answer them!