Getting referred to a dermatologist to start a course of roaccutane (isotretinion) can be a really exciting, yet a real nerve-wracking experience. On the one hand you’re over-joyed to be finally prescribed the medicine which could cure your acne and quite honestly change your life (if you’re anything like me having suffered with acne for over 10 years). But at the same time, there are a lot of horror stories out there because of it’s side effects…
I finished my roaccutane journey over a year ago now (Feb 2017) but I still get asked daily for advice about dealing with the medicine, so I’ve jotted down here my top tips and advice for you all!
Tip 1: Stock up on lipbalm. Roaccutane works by stopping oil production in your body and so naturally, the lips having the most thin layer of skin is the first place you’ll notice side effects! They will become very dry and flaky and may also crack and bleed at the sides. Whilst nothing really stops the dryness completely, my favourite lip balms were Carmex, Blistex and the Burt’s Bees original balm – all three of these tingle which I loved! Elizabeth Arden’s 8 Hour Cream is also gorgeous if you have more of a budget and can be used as a multipurpose balm, but be prepared to have lots of options placed all over your house and in many bags!
Tip 2: Wear SPF every single day. You’re skin will be really fragile and susceptible to burning whilst on roaccutane so it’s so important that you wear a high SPF daily to help prevent irreversible sun damage. Also, it’s very important to wear it in the winter as well as on sunny days! Some of my favourite SPFs were from Eucerin, La Roche Posay & Origins.
Tip 3: Be prepared for your skin to get worse before it gets better. Most people who go on accutane experience a baaaad breakout in their first month of treatment so be prepared for this to happen and if it doesn’t, well that’s brilliant! Day 18 was absolutely horrendous for me, which you can watch in my ‘month 1 roaccutane skin diary‘ but from there onwards it only got better!
Tip 4: Be patient. Whilst it’s an incredible, sometimes miracle drug, it’s not a quick fix so don’t get disheartened if you’re not seeing results quick enough. I have so many people message me daily saying their on month 2/3 of roaccutane and aren’t seeing results yet but you have to stick in there and be patient. There’s a chance your acne will come back if you stop taking the medicine early so just be patient and trust your dermatologist.
Tip 5: Talk to people about how you’re feeling. Update friends and family on your progress and even better, others that have also been on the medicine. Roaccutane is a harsh medicine both physically and mentally so updating people on how it’s going will really help.
Tip 6: Track your results. I’d really recommend taking a photo or video of your face every day like I did. This not only allowed me to see my progress really easily, but when I was having a bad day I’d look at how great the results had been so far which made me keep going!
Tip 7: Say goodbye to waxing and also bleaching your hair. Your skin will be so sensitive that waxing could really damage and scar so get a top up before you start and stick to threading or plucking whilst on the medicine. I was also too scared to bleach my roots whilst on the medicine as my scalp was so dry and sensitive so I let them grow out and then had a hair makeover after I had finished my treatment!
Tip 8: Invest in some good, gentle skincare. My favs were the La Roche Posay Effaclar H range which I still use now in conjunction with other products. You can watch my roaccutane skincare video here to see the full selection of products I used! Steer clear of harsh products with drying ingredients and opt for really natural, clean ingredients in your products to put the moisture back into your skin.
Tip 9: Do your research so you’re prepared for the side effects you may experience. I know for a fact that if I had woken up with split, bleeding lips during month 2 without knowing that was a side effect, I would have thoroughly freaked out! But because I had thoroughly researched all side effects I didn’t panic as much and also meant I had product recommendations from those who had been through it before!
Tip 10: Don’t pick your skin, you could do damage. I really hurt my face after picking a tiny blackhead in month 5 (you can see a clip in this round up advice video) and it could have really scarred and damaged my skin! It’s just not worth the risk so keep picking hands away and let the medicine do its work!
Tip 11: Self care! Take this time to really spend time looking after yourself and your body. Be prepared & take time to moisturize your entire body on the daily, as well as hair – hair masks once a week will really help the dryness and it’ll also feel like a real treat!
If you’re unfamiliar with my roaccutane journey, I documented it ALL over on my YouTube channel. I filmed my skin every single day whilst on the medicine to document its improvements and my side effects, as well as filming monthly updates on my progress and how I was feeling. You can watch them all here!
I was on 20mg for the first month and then went up to 40mg for the remaining 7ish months (just over 8 months in total).
I really hope this helps some of you who are about to embark on your roaccutane journey! It’s been over a year since I finished my treatment and my skin is still almost perfect! Although it was tough I’m so thankful that I was finally referred to a dermatologist for the medicine – it’s honestly changed my life!
Have you been on roaccutane? What are your tips?