Female Roaccutane UK

I was reluctant to try accutane for a few years...

I was reluctant to try accutane for a few years due to the side effects but my acne has got so severe that it has been affecting my life for some time now; I feel terrible in my own skin, I feel as though I am always hiding my face and hoping that people will not look at me. I do not see my friends much and avoid going out in public when I can. The acne makes me feel as though I look unkept and unclean - which is not in my character at all. It is time to do something about it to change my life, and to make me happy about my appearance again. My acne has been widespread for almost four years; it is on every area of my face, my shoulders, neck, chest and back. Below is a short history of my skin and at the bottom I will include details of contraceptives/pregnancy during that time, for female readers to use as reference.

I had acne for a few months at around 14 years old, my skin was then clear until the age of 17 when I developed minor acne. At around 19 I no longer had acne but I did have normal occasional blemishes. Now at 23 years old, I have had this current acne for almost 4 years. This time the acne is very red and widespread (as mentioned above.) The majority of my acne is red bumps (small and large) but only a few of them are filled with pus, I also have a few cysts on my neck, jawline and across the back of my shoulders. Sometimes after washing my face I see that some of my blemishes are bleeding, which is the cause for the little scabs you might be able to see in the photos. I went to my GP every time I had bad skin, and over the years I have tried Lymecycline, Tetracycline, Trimethoprim and topical lotions. From 19 I used Trimethoprim long-term, which helped my skin look less inflamed but did not do much else. I was recommended for referral to a dermatologist to try accutane a few times, but insisted I did not want to go down that route because of the side effects. Eventually Trimethoprim stopped working on my skin altogether, and it seemed my acne was spreading and getting more inflamed by the day. My GP took me off the medication as there was no point taking tablets which were not working, and I finally requested a referral to a dermatologist. There was a short wait and I finally saw a derm two weeks ago. She did a pregnancy test, took my weight, explained side effects and I signed the pledge. She prescribed accutane right away but I had to wait to get bloods taken and results back before I could start the course, so today is my first day! I am going to be taking 20mg for the first 7-10 days and then 40mg from there onwards. I will see my derm again in 4 weeks time.

Diet & skincare regime: A few weeks ago I changed my diet and I no longer include bread/pasta/rice in my everyday diet. Since making this change I noticed a very slight decrease in inflammation of my skin (although I didn't change my diet for this reason!) I make sure I drink plenty of water throughout the day. My skincare regime was always the Clinique 3 step system until I got severe acne. After that I tried Clinique anti-blemish 3 step system, Clarins, Chanel, you name it I tried it! None of these skincare regimes worked against my acne, and I think this will always be the case for any acne. I have been using Simple products for a few months now, and my skin is no worse-off for it.

Contraceptives/pregnancy during acne: I have read a bit about some females experiencing 'hormonal acne' - this is not a term I had read or heard of before reading reviews on Real Self, and it isn't something my dermatologist mentioned either so I don't know much about it. I used Yasmin contraceptive pill from the age of 15-17 and then again at 18-21. I was on Yasmin when my current acne phase started (almost 4 years ago.) I also went through pregnancy and the post partum period without my skin being affected (acne remained just as bad as it had been for years.) I now have an IUD but still have periods and I do not notice my skin getting worse, or any new outbreaks during those periods.

I have attached some photos and will keep them updated. Wish me luck!

One week side effects

I wasn't going to update yet as my skin hasn't really changed (at least not for the better yet) but I wanted to write down some of the side effects I have been having while they are fresh in my mind, in case it helps others.

Today was my 7th day on accutane! Since day 3 I have had pain inside my nose, I think it is dryness, and it has been accompanied by a little bit of blood. I had quite a bad headache on days 2 and 3, but have not had one since. I have read that a headache for the first few days of the course is pretty common. As a preventative, I use moisturising eyedrops here and there and I use hydrocortisone on my lips everyday. I have had mild peeling lips all winter so I'm trying to take good care of them before accutane makes them worse. I've ordered some Eucerin Aquaphor products as so many accutane users swear by them, and I'm looking forward to trying them out. If you are in the UK you can buy those products from Boots. None of my skin is peeling or flaking or any thing like that at the moment. I will keep you updated about what products are working for me! Also my scalp has been itchy for the past 24 hours, which is a common side effect I think.

On to skin progress - My derm prescribed me 20mg/day for my first 7 days, this was to try and keep the initial outbreak to a minimum. I am not sure if that is what I am experiencing, but over the last few days I have developed 4 or 5 deep, painful spots across my face (the kind that you feel as soon as you wake up before even touching your face!) These are the least common kind of spots for me, so I'm guessing this could be the initial outbreak but at this point I'm really not sure. Tomorrow I am starting 40mg/day, it will be interesting to see what impact this has! I'm nervous and excited!

Five Week Update

I intended on updating this every four weeks after I've seen my derm but I've had a really busy week! I have completed five weeks of accutane now. I had an initial breakout which started in my second week. I broke out with a lot of painful, deep pimples which turned to white heads soon after they appeared. I got these under my eyebrows, on my nose, above my lip and in the centre of my cheeks. Apart from the cheeks, these are places I do not normally have blemishes. The rest of my face (yes, all of it) was covered in small pimples. Almost my entire face was red and my skin started to peel slightly in my nose creases, the bridge of my nose and a patch on my chin. My skin looked sore and I remember I just wanted to rub it all the time. The corners of my mouth peeled a bit. I used Aquaphor on said peeling areas and I am still using it on my lips constantly. I was feeling bad about my appearance during this time but I stayed positive knowing that it would soon pass.

The IB began to calm down after around two weeks. My nose creases are no longer peeling and I am only having to use aquaphor on my lips and the corners of my mouth. Around the two week mark I developed 'accutane induced eczema' on my hands - I have never had eczema in my life so this is something I am hoping will disappear after my course. It began on my thumb, then fingers around where the hair follicles are and now I have a tiny patch on each wrist. This is itchy and sometimes I wake up and feel the intense itch. My scalp was extremely itchy for a few days but thankfully this passed and hasn't returned since.

I have only washed my hair twice since beginning my course. I am very careful about my hair care and I know that the scalp needs natural oils for the hair to grow and for the scalp and hair to stay properly moisturised. Once it becomes oily I leave it for as long as possible before washing it. I believe this could help prevent problems such as hair loss, which I have read could be due to the hair follicles drying out. (I hope that makes sense!) I am using head and shoulders for itchy scalp, followed by my normal haircare routine which is Morroccanoil moisturising shampoo, Morroccanoil hydrating mask and Moroccanoil moisturising conditioner. Once my hair is towel dried I use Morroccanoil original treatment (the oil in the glass bottle) through the lengths of my hair, leave to dry naturally and then apply the oil to the lengths and ends every day. I do not blow dry or use any heat on my hair. So far my hair isn’t dry at all, just the scalp. Any good moisturising products will do, this is just a brand that I’ve used for years.

My face is doing pretty well in terms of dryness - until I put foundation on that is! When my face is bare it appears to be in great condition (aside from the acne of course) it feels very soft and well taken care of - I love touching it now just to feel the softness! It only peels very slightly on the bottom of my chin and in the middle of my forehead, and even this is not all the time. As soon as I put my foundation on my face looks like it's cracking! I am hoping this can be resolved by using a different foundation. I am using MAC studio sculpt at the moment, which is meant to be for dry skin. If anybody could recommend a different foundation and concealer that would be great! I dread to think how much money I'd have spent on products by the end of my course.

So - how is my face actually looking?! Well, it doesn't look too different but it has improved. It looks like I have almost as many pimples as I did when I started, but actually many of them are flat red marks where the pimple used to be. For example when you look at the temple area of the left side of my face on the photo, it looks like there are lots of pimples but actually only three of them are raised (in the five week photo.) Sure, I still have a fair amount of active pimples but not as many as when I started. It was the weirdest thing a couple of weeks ago, all of the blackheads on my face started coming out. There were hundreds, even in places I had never realised I even had them before. After a bit of research I found that this is something that happens when on accutane; it pushes the blackheads out and eventually they 'drop off.' I never noticed them dropping off but the majority of them are gone now, and now it has started happening on my chest (who knew there were even blackheads there?!) It’s pretty fascinating really. My face has been quite red since starting - not like roscea - just red in colour and especially on my chin. You can tell from the photo that my face is a different colour from the rest of me, I naturally have yellow undertones. So overall yes, there have been improvements but it is a small step forward at the moment.

Four week derm appointment:
My derm basically was just asking me how I was feeling, what side effects I was having and etc. I did the pregnancy test and bloods tests. She looked at me and could see that there wasn't much improvement. She wanted to up my doseage but because of the consistent nose bleeds she wanted to wait for my blood results to come back and reevaluate at our next appointment. So for now I am still on 40mg a day. In case anyone is wondering, she said it doesn't matter wether I take these together or separately. I’m a bit nervous about upping the dosage, I wonder how much worse the side effects will get. She prescribed Epaderm for the eczema on my hands, I really didn’t think it would work but my hands look SO much better! I have been using it for 9 days now and the worst patch I had has almost disappeared.

Current side effects:
- Pain inside nose
- Bleeding nose (this is daily but not severe, only notice when clearing nose)
- Flakey scalp
- Two very small patches of peeling skin on face, not all the time.
- Eczema on hands and wrists
- Joint aches in my left knee and achillies - I had just recovered from an injury in those places when I began accutane, so I am quite sure that is why those areas have been affected this early on while all other joints are ok. I have only had this pain three times.
- Just a bit dryer all over.

Current products used:
- Clinique Moisture Surge Intense, morning and night.
- Clinique Moisture Surge night mask, at night time (on top of the normal moisturiser.
- Clinique All About Eyes eye cream, morning and night.
- Eucerin Aquaphor on my lips, at absolutely all times!
- Epaderm, prescribed by my derm for the eczema on my hands.
- Aveeno hand cream
- Moisturising eye drops (I haven’t felt the need to use these yet, I just use them here and there.)
- Head and shoulders for itchy scalp
- Haircare routine mentioned above

If you have any questions at all please feel free to ask! And any product recommendations or tips are always welcome.

Eight Week Update

Time is flying by! These past few weeks have been some of my happiest for years. My skin looks better every morning; every single day there is improvement. I can see my face clearing, I can see red marks fading. Again, the red marks you can see in the photos are actually flat, and are gradually fading. There are only two active pimples right now and those are on/under my jaw. There are a few tiny but slightly raised marks on my forehead, those are from old pimples which are disappearing. My skin feels so nice and soft, I can’t wait to get rid of all these red marks so I can finally see my face again! The difference in my skin and my self esteem is incredible. I really can’t express how happy I am!

Side effects have subsided massively. In my last update I mentioned that I had joint ache in my left knee and ankle, I had it three times and it didn’t last long - I have not had that since (for reference, I workout at the gym at least six times a week both cardio and strength training, and I walk around 5 miles each weekday.) I have not been having nose pain for the last two weeks or so but still having the bleeds every day, still extremely small bleeds. Eczema on my right hand has disappeared but it spread slightly on my left hand. I am still using Eparderm and Aveeno hand cream to moisturise it, and my derm prescribed me Eumovate steroid yesterday. My eyes still don’t feel dry but I am still trying to remember to use eyedrops every day to keep them moisturised anyhow. My lips have been totally controllable by using Aquaphor every day, however I spent a few days when I wasn’t as strict with it as I was travelling and I paid the price! I then applied Hydrocortisone to my lips a total of probably 4 times, and they were totally healed, and now back to Aquaphor!

I finally tackled my makeup problem! I found two miracle products which I cannot be without now. Instead of switching my foundation I tried out a hydrating primer. I kept reading roaccutane user blogs who recommended Smashbox hydrating primer (the blue one.) I didn’t want to spend £28 incase it didn’t work for me, so I visited the counter and the girl gave me a (huge) sample so I could try before buying. WOW! I did not expect the result to be so good! My skin did not flake or look dry when I applied foundation and my skin even looked dewy when I was done applying my foundation and concealer! My second miracle product is the complexion sponge by Real Techniques (Beauty Blender but cheaper!) I was using a foundation brush to apply my foundation before, which was probably dragging and pulling up all the peeling parts of my face and making it look a whole lot worse. With the sponge, you use a stippling motion and just lightly pat the product in to your face, no dragging, no peels or flakes! Recommend this sponge to everyone, dry skin or not!

Eight week derm appointment:
My dermatologist was so happy to see me happy! We did the usual pregnancy test and spoke about side effects which are extremely minimal at the moment. At my four week appointment she had mentioned upping my dose next time, but after she saw how well it is working she said we don’t need to up the dose. I’m very happy about that because like I say, side effects are minimal and I was a little worried about how they might change with a higher dose. So I am still on 40mg daily. This does mean I could be on the medication for longer but that doesn’t bother me at all. My derm prescribed me Eumovate for the eczema on my hands which I have used around 3 times (1-2 times daily) and it seems like really good stuff so far. I am still using the Epaderm to moisturise it.

Current side effects:
- Dry skin on face, rarely flakey or peeling though.
- Generally dry skin on whole body
- Bleeding nose
- Eczema on left hand, two fingers and thumb

Current products used:
- Clinique Moisture Surge Intense, morning and night.
- Clinique Moisture Surge night mask, at night time (on top of the normal moisturiser.)
- Clinique All About Eyes eye cream, morning and night.
- Eucerin Aquaphor on my lips, at absolutely all times!
- Epaderm, prescribed by my derm for the eczema on my hands.
- Eumovate steroid cream prescribed by my derm for the eczema on hands.
- Aveeno hand cream
- Aveeno body moisturiser
- Optrex eyedrops for dry eyes
- Head and shoulders for itchy scalp
- Moroccanoil hydrating haircare range including the mask every time I wash, and oil twice daily.

Makeup:
- Smashbox hydrating primer
- Followed by normal foundation/concealer products (MAC studio sculpt foundation, MAC mineralize concealer)
- Using sponge by Real Techniques to apply foundation and concealer

16 Week Update

I haven’t had a pimple since my 8 week update! The red marks are still fading slowly and my skin continues to get better and better.

Hair
I am one of those people who don’t get much fall out at all, I could brush my hair or wash my hair and notice only one or two strands come out. My hair remained that way during my first few months of roaccutane but around 3 weeks ago I noticed increased fall out. What I am considering ‘a lot’ is probably normal for many people, on average women lose between 50-150 hairs a day, and I don’t think I’ve been losing more than 150 but this is still more than what is normal for me. Here is a good article on what is considered normal for women’s hair loss: http://stylecaster.com/beauty/how-much-hair-loss-is-normal/ myself and my hairdresser are keeping a close on my hair!

Eyes - please read!
I thought I was experiencing normal accutane side effects when my eyes became very sore and extremely sensitive to sunlight. My eyes would weep and sting so bad every time I went outdoors, they wouldn’t open and to be honest it was pretty scary. I also had stringy discharge coming out of my eyes and my vision was constantly blurred. I considered giving up the medication because I couldn’t bare it, I was scared about my eyes becoming permanently damaged. My 12 week dermatologist appointment was around this time and my usual derm was on leave so I had a different derm, he told me I was experiencing normal side effects and sent me on my way with my prescription. I booked an emergency appointment with my GP the next morning because I couldn’t bare it, I couldn’t look at my laptop or my phone because it hurt so bad (I work in tech = no bueno!) anyway she said to me, I don’t know much bout roaccutane but those are symptoms of an infection. She prescribed an ointment for my eyes called Chloramphenicol and she told me to use it for 7 days and if my eyes were no better I was to come back and try something else. Around 4 days later my eyes were back to normal, I continued to use the ointment for the 7 days and voila. My eyes were back to normal - no soreness, no discharge, no blurred vision and no light sensitivity. I did a bit of research after this and learned that dry eyes are very prone to infection, thus roacctuane patients very commonly get eye infections throughout their course. I read about patients who had an eye infection every month during their course! My point is, if you get these symptoms please don’t assume it is the normal effects of the medication, it is most likely an infection which can be cleared up in a few days with drops/ointment.

Other side effects
The ‘accutane induced eczema’ I had on my hands completely disappeared after my dermatologist prescribed me Eumovate ointment at my 8 week appointment and it has not returned. I still sometimes use the Eumovate with my Aveeno hand cream as a kind of maintenance. My lips are still very dry and peel constantly, I keep it under control with Aquaphor still and also use Eumovate which heals them fast when they are sore or split. Everything else is still all good - no phycological side effects, no joint aches/pains.

Dermatologist appointment
The derm decided to up my dosage from 40mg to 50mg daily. He said even though I have had no new pimples, the fact that the red marks have remained for 8 weeks is a sign of inflammation. I am not sure about this really and would have rejected any dose higher than 50mg. Not long left on my course now, 4 months done and probably only 1-2 left!

I need to take a photo this week and when I do I will upload it, for now I have added the 12 week photos and 14 weeks (no difference between them really!) Any questions please feel free to ask.
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