As you may have seen in a post from a few weeks back, I’m currently on a course of Roacctutane. In a nutshell it’s a drug which helps to clear up acne by reducing your oil glands. I’ve written a little more detail about the tablets and why I decided to go on the drug in my first Roacctuane post here.
Anyways, just before Christmas, I had my first month’s appointment at the Dermatologists and was prescribed my second month’s dosage, which I’m already halfway through- where is time going?
I knew from the get go, that I wanted to document my experience on Roacctuane, so today is my first monthly update, and I have to say that my first month on Roacctuane honestly wasn’t that bad.
Roacctuane is a serious drug, the nurse who I see for my appointments told me ‘you’ll know you’re on this drug’ which did scare me a little bit. From horror stories you see online, to the monthly blood and pregnancy tests, you know the treatment is pretty hardcore. I did honestly expect the worst; I armed myself with lip balms, moisturisers, and eye drops, but genuinely it’s been fine.
So my dosage for the first month was 40mg, your full dosage (which I’m now on) is equivalent to your body weight, now my body weight is an odd number so they’ve put me on 60mg. The dosage is totally different for everyone, some people start on 20mg then go up, or I’ve even heard some people starting at the full dosage. You can also control how much you take, for example, I was told that if the side effects got too much, I could drop down to 20mg if I wanted, and the treatment would just be a bit longer. But as I was told on my first appointment ‘it’s not a race, think of the tortoise and the hare – you will get there in the end.’ It’s better for the treatment to last a little longer and be tolerable rather than race through and suffer if that makes sense.
I also just want to mention that I’m not on the contraceptive pill either, before going on Roacctuane, I was under the impression you had to be on the pill. However, the nurse explained to me that whilst the clinic does prefer you to be on two forms of contraception (roacctutane can severely damage unborn babies and I gathered that, if you got pregnant on the drug, you would sadly have to have an abortion.) I was signed up to the Pregnancy Prevention Plan which I think women in a relationship on this drug are put on to, I had to sign this to agree that I knew the effects that Roacctutane would have on an unborn baby, that I agree to be on at least one form of contraception and to have monthly pregnancy tests.
I did go and get the pill from my doctor as I thought it would be better to be safe than sorry, however, my history with the pill isn’t great- you can read more about that here. I started the pill and within a week, I started to get side effects that took me right back to being on the pill before (feeling down, unmotivated and hungry) and I just didn’t want to be on it. I’ve worked so hard on getting my mental health to a good place over the past year, and I felt I could get through Roacctutane much better without having to be on the pill. I explained this to my nurse who was very nice and said at the end of the day, it’s my choice. So don’t feel like you have to go on the pill, if you don’t get on with it, like I don’t.
Week 1 :
I started to take my tablets ( 2 a day) after I finished my dinner, and surprisingly have remembered every night ( I was convinced I would forget!) Anyways, the first side effect I got was about three days in when I suddenly realised my whole body was really itchy. I wondered if we’d changed the washing powder and I’d not realised, but I soon realised it was my body being irritated. My skin also cleared up on my face, and it was looking really clear, which was lovely.
Week 2 :
My skin was really itchy by this point and driving me a bit mad, I changed all my skincare and body care products, switching to soap free shower gel from Sanex, using very heavy duty body moisturisers, and using a ton of lip balm. My lips didn’t feel too dry, but I didn’t want to risk them getting dry, so I had a lip balm with me all the time. At the end of the second week, my nose started to dry up. It felt very weird, and it feels like you have big bogeys right up your nose (lovely) and when I blew my nose I would see blood (again lovely.) I started putting Vaseline up my nose every morning and evening and using Saline nasal spray which made it feel more comfortable. I also picked up a big bottle of E45 intensive body lotion and it stopped my skin itching straight away.
Week 3 is when my skin really broke out which I was expecting to happen. It got very red which is also called the ‘Roacctuane glow’ as the blood is nearer the surface of the skin. My skin was starting to be less oily, in fact, I was only needing to powder in the morning and that was it (the best thing ever!) But I seemed to break out from what felt like every pore on my face. I got some really big under the skin spots especially on my forehead (so sore!) I tried to not feel down even though my skin looked the worse it ever had, because I knew it was a means to an end, it would calm down soon.
I discovered a new hero product in the form of the Pestle and Mortar Hyaluronic Serum which transformed my tight dry skin into normal skin. I also found that my scalp was starting to get dry and itchy (however the upside was that my hair wasn’t greasy anymore) but it wasn’t a good look having a dry flaky scalp. I used conditioner on my scalp and really massaged it in, and this has solved the problem. My lips were also starting to feel a bit drier but again, I was applying lip balm all the the time so didn’t allow them to get too dry. I also had my blood tests this week which I absolutely hate having done- but the results came back all fine.
Week 4 :
By week four, I was finding that I was managing all the side effects quite well. I was on top of moisturising, and putting Vaseline up my nose so I thought I was doing alright (then the extra dosage threw it all out again but more about that next month!) Then my skin really started to clear up (literally a Christmas miracle) and for the first time in a very, very, long time, I felt good about my skin. It was starting to smoothen out, it wasn’t oily, I had less breakouts, and although my big breakout was still healing, my skin to me, looked great. I felt so positive, and excited and felt like I was breezing through my treatment.
I was given the all clear from my next set of tests (blood and pregnancy) and was giving my second months worth of Roacctuane on the 21st of December. I decided to start taking the 60mg on Boxing Day as I wanted to get through Christmas without worrying about any extra side effects.
I have found this past week (first week of my second month) pretty tough, but I don’t know if that’s because I’ve been ill as well perhaps, but my first month on roacctutane was honestly pretty easy. It’s definitely not as bad as I was expecting, even with this last week included, it’s not been absolutely awful. But this is all a means to an end, it’s temporary and hopefully will sort out my skin for a while.
I’m going to do a separate post on what products I’ve been using that have really helped with side effects. The side effects that I’ve struggled with the most are; itchy skin and a dry nose, then my face got dry and tight for a couple of days till I started using the Pestle and Mortar serum, and my lips have only started to get really dry this last week. But like I said, I’ll share everything I use in a few days.
So for now, I will stop waffling and go. I’ll update you with my second month’s progress next month!
Have you ever been on Roacctuane? If so, how did you find it?
Also if I’ve missed anything out, or you have any questions, tweet me @dizzybrunette3 as I’m always on Twitter, or send me a DM on Instagram if you’d rather ask in private 🙂