Roaccutane: I Hope It's Worth It. - Australia, AU

I was about ten years old when I got my first...

I was about ten years old when I got my first pimple. I had never noticed them on other people in my school, or even on my older brother - until I got my first one. I asked my mum about it, and she told me to leave it alone and it would go away.

Fast forward five years, and I'm fifteen, being put on the pill and antibiotics at the same time to try and combat bad skin, after trying a multitude of over-the-counter products, and having many facials for problem skin. Many people reassured me that my skin "wasn't that bad" and "it wasn't like I had acne".
But I still remember coming home on the bus from school one afternoon, covering my face because I was so embarrassed by my face.

Fast forward six more years; I'm twenty-one, and still having skin problems. I've literally tried everything - antibiotics, benzoyl peroxide, facials (by beauticians), pH balances, over-the-counter face wash and facial scrubs - you name it, I've tried it! And yet some nights I still find myself making excuses to not appear at social events, because I'm embarrassed by my face. When I look in the mirror, I often wonder "is this really as good as it's going to get?" and "I thought it would get better after teenage years?".
My mum still gets upset when I come for a visit, and my skin is red, bumpy and sore.

However, after waiting for a few months, I finally got in to a dermatologist, who looked at my face for a few moments with his special goggles and recommended I try a course of Roaccutane. He told me that I most definitely had acne - and a complex case of acne that would continue to get worse, which is consistent with my symptoms.
My skin has progressively gotten a lot worse in the past eight months. I had a period where it had gotten better, and I thought I had finally escaped the clutches of acne! And then it got worse, and worse, and worse.

Currently, my forehead is constantly sore, and my face is always very red. Often I have flare-ups on my chin which are very painful. I have several (at least seven) large, painful cysts on my face, which have been present for several months with no recovery.

It was a bit of a relief when my doctor recommended Roaccutane. But I'm a little worried about the scary side effects. Luckily, I'm heading home for a month halfway through June during my university holidays, where my family can keep and eye on me, just in case I have any mood changes.
I'm also a little worried about the initial worsening of my acne at the start of the medication, but my mum has already said I can hide out at home if it gets too bad!

I know it will be worth it if it helps my skin to become clearer and less sore. I'm hoping to have clear skin for my university graduation in December.

I'm still signing all the documents, and am getting my blood test on Monday. However, I am supposed to begin my Roaccutane treatment next Thursday.
So hopefully in the next month or two I will see some positive results for my poor skin! I'll update soon regarding my skin progress.

Three weeks in.

I started my Roaccutane treatment three weeks ago today, and next Thursday I get to double my dosage.
So far the most annoying aspect has been my dry (and occasionally cracked) lips, but I combat that by always having paw paw ointment on me, and especially using it before bed. It usually keep my lips fairly smooth.
I am feeling very good about my overall progress with Roaccutane so far, and look forward to hopefully continuing down a path to clearer skin in the next month.
The first thing I really found that my skin was actually clearing up! I came home to my parents, and my mother sang the praises of Roaccutane. Something I did find, however was that my skin was more oily than usual (and it was usually fairly oily!), and my hair was very very oily and my scalp was very dry and itchy. I looked like I had quite severe dandruff at one point.
I was a little worried about how oily my skin was, and was worried that the medication was having the reverse effect - making my skin more oily, instead of drying it out!
However, I woke up a few days ago, and all of a sudden my skin was dry. I didn't have to wash my hair for several days because it wasn't oily at all (which is very unusual, I usually need to wash my hair every second day, or everyday). Also, my dry, itchy scalp has settled right down. I guess my body just took nearly three weeks to expel all of the oil in my skin.
However, I have found that I am peeling quite badly on my nose, which is a shame. It makes it seem like I badly sunburned my nose. I have been using moisturizer regularly, and especially before bed to try and fix this up.
But the good news is that some of the cysts look like they're healing up. A few have shrunk in size.
The bad news is that I'm starting to get the break-out that I was warned about when I started Roaccutane. My face has been quite sore over the past few days due to a sudden flare up of several of my cysts at once.
However, I am very happy to report that even though my skin is flaring up, my face is not as red as it usually is - it's only red where my acne is! Improvement!!
I haven't found there to be any change in my mood or demeanor - if anything, I think I've been feeling a lot happier!
So far the only side effects I have found is oilier skin, then dry skin, and the occasional nose bleed (which are very small anyway, and usually in the morning).

Third Month Blues.

I've started my third month of Roaccutane today, and I start it sad. My face has flared up, is very red, very sore and very bumpy. Today, I could not wear my sunglasses or my reading glasses due to a very large painful lump on the side of my nose, that I convinced myself that no one noticed. It's disheartening that I've been taking the Roaccutane for two months now, and my skins looks as bad as ever.
However, I'm still hopeful! Hopefully in the next month or so, my skin will really start to clear up, and all the big nasty lumps will disappear.
I don't go back to my doctor for another month and a half yet, but I'm hoping that if all is not well by then he may up my dosage.
I've been having more trouble with side effects too. The good news, is my hair is not going as oily as fast as it used too! I used to have to wash my hair daily/every second day, but now I can go 4-7 days without washing it, which has been really good for my hair. I still suffer with a tiny bit of dandruff, but it's totally managable.
The not so nice side effects are: dry skin and lips (my feet are scaly on one side!! Ew!), nose bleeds, and a very nasty rash that has taken over both my arms. I have to consciously ensure that I don't scratch my arms, or else I end up making myself bleed, due to my skin being quite fragile from the Roaccutane! So my arms are a bit scabbed up at the moment, and I really need to go to a pharmacy to get some cream to fix my arms up. They've been like this for about 3 weeks now, but I've been quite busy so it hasn't been a priority (it's currently winter here, so I wear long sleeves/cardigans every day). But it's getting to be a problem so I need to have it fixed!
However, I still haven't found that I've had any mood changes yet, so I'm very happy about that. All I need now is for my skin to start clearing up, and I'll be very very happy!
Here's hoping my skin will clear up in the next month.

Still no success.

I'm almost at the four month mark of my treatment; nearly half way through.
It's disheartening for me to have to say once again, that my face is still quite bumpy and sore. I still have lots of awful awful cysts on my face, with there being a really unpleasant one on the edge of my bottom lip, near the corner of my mouth - it looks like a cold sore, and I don't get cold sores!
I have also noticed that I have an awful amount of scarring on my cheeks and forehead recently - if anyone has any tips for reducing this, I would appreciate it.
My face is still horribly sore, but one positive is that my face is less red, and I have had many comments from my friends and family about this.
I went back to my dermatologist last week, who was very unhappy with my face at this time. He said that my face should have cleared around the six week mark of my treatment (about two months ago). He also believes that my acne infection was a lot worse than what he originally thought.
This being so, he decided to keep me on my current dosage (40mg/day), but also prescribed me a "methylprednisolone aceponate" cream, that has benzyl alcohol in it. It's supposed to help heal up some of my bumps on my face. Here's hoping, anyway.
It's a bit disheartening to be about to enter my fifth month of treatment, to so far have minimal success - especially when my lips are splitting open regularly (by smiling, or putting a spoon in my mouth). Here's hoping my lips are the same after I finish the Roaccutane.
Anyway, I'm not noticing a huge change with the cream, but I'm still hopeful. And here's hoping that next month I will finally be able to say that my skin is clearing up!

Five months went fast.

I saw my mum last weekend, who spent half the day admiring me skin, and going on about how much better it was. It's a stark difference to the last time I saw her, where she was upset with how my skin hadn't improved.
It's nice that changes are finally happening! My skin is still healing, and I have one large cyst on my jawline that has only recently come up - but it's markedly improved from the last time I posted here.
The last time I posted here, I was feeling despair, as though I was doomed to a life of bad skin. But my skin is finally, slowly healing. I don't appear to be getting as many new blemishes, and my skin in general is feeling quite soft and smooth.
I've been very stressed at this present time, as I'm finishing up my degree and have had a lot of assessment due. It's good that this stress has not affected my skin (or the Roaccutane has stopped it from getting worse). My diet hasn't been great over the past few weeks as well (typical uni student under stress), but again, my skin doesn't appear to have been affected.
My skin has not been too bad for dryness, and I haven't had many nosebleeds, however my lips are as bad as ever.
I have had some mood changes recently, but nothing too serious, plus being under a great deal of stress at uni probably has worsened the situation.

Overall, I'm feeling a lot more positive this month. I'm hoping that I will have good news again when I post here next.

Getting there

Happy 2014! I was very busy over the Christmas period - sorry that this update is so late!!
My skin is doing really well! That being said, I have quite a large cyst underneath my chin right now, but other than that and a few small spots on my forehead and cheeks, my skin is pretty much clear!
It's been really great to go out, not wearing any makeup or tinted moisturiser, and not feel really embarrassed or self conscious about my skin. It's been very liberating.
However, I can't deny that I am a tiny bit disappointed that I'm at seven months, and my skin isn't perfectly clear - which seems to be somewhat of a "guarantee" of Roaccutance.
I'm also finding that my skin is having trouble healing - whether it's something on my face, or something on my leg. I'm not too concerned about that though, but hopefully it won't cause too much scarring on my face!
My lips are as dry as ever, but my skin hasn't been too bad for dryness. Emotionally, I'm doing fine as well.
So mostly thumbs up from me for this update! I am going to see my doctor in the next few weeks, so I will update soon.
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