Dealing with acne
I can still remember my first day of college. Well I should be able to. It was only 5 years ago.
I remember staring at myself in the mirror thinking WHY. Why did my mum and dad never have this? Why doesn’t my sister have this so severely? Where in God’s name did this come from and why the hell do I have to suffer so badly? I remember walking into college sweating like mad with a scarf wrapped tightly around my neck and as many layers as possible on so I didn’t have to get my arms, neck or shoulders out to the college. Unfortunately, I can’t wear a scarf around my face too. Or a brown bag for that matter.
“If you still look back at how you looked during your last weeks of accutane, try to look back further: at how you looked before accutane.”
Anyone who has had a spot in their life (which is everyone), understands the paranoia as that one angry little zit dances smugly on the surface of your flawless skin; and thus drawing everyone’s attention to your beautiful little mountain on your chin. Well, imagine this on your neck, back, arms, chest and all over your face accompanied by many tiny, fatty under the skin spots – that under the sun and under makeup appear even worse.
Three courses later
The first course of roaccutane cleared everything. It was beautiful. If you’re not yet caught up with roaccutane, read about it here before proceeding with this blog post. What an elegant destruction of my pores it was. It was amazing to watch them disappear, all the oils cease to exist and all my spots destroyed. My skin was perfect. It was BEYOND perfect. Unrealistically perfect. And this is what they never prepared me for.
As good as roaccutane was, and as bad as the side effects were, I craved another course. This wasn’t because it was an addictive drug or something ridiculous like that. It was because it gave me a sneak-peek into an unrealistic standard. Although I airbrush my pictures now to smooth out my skin (which I openly admit to), this drug left me with no pores. It completely ridded my face of pores, blackheads, details, scarring, pigmentation. The whole lot. So, what do you do when suddenly, the pores re-open, the blotchy pigmentation returns, spots return, your skin is oily and blackheads are back?
“This is the hardest thing that I had to drill into my head. And to anyone else that has been on roaccutane and still hates their skin: I’ll drill it into yours too.”
Imagine your whole life only knowing one thing: spotty skin and inches of makeup. Then when the time comes where you get clear skin, it’s unrealistically clear and drills a ridiculously high standard of your appearance into your head. Since March 2018, the month I finished my last course, I used skincare religiously every day (Kiehl’s) and my spots came back. There was no bigger proof that even £50 skincare wouldn’t work as I used it from the day the drug left my system to the day the spots came back. I felt like I could never have that perfect skin.
When the first spot came back, I cried. Yep. It felt that damaging. After my third course of roaccutane, where I had finally been discharged so I knew there was no going back on it, I genuinely considered going back to the GP and asking to be referred back to dermatology again. I craved so badly that perfect skin. That airbrushed look that even in the back of my head – I knew was not REAL.
Stop with the unrealistic beauty standards
This is the hardest thing that I had to drill into my head. And to anyone else that has been on roaccutane and still hates their skin: I’ll drill it into yours too. The skin you have when on roaccutane IS NOT REAL. Your pores are annihilated. The oils in your skin sucked dry. Everything is killed temporarily as the oil sebum is shut off to cure the over-production of this oil and prevent them cystic monsters returning. Everyone has pores. Everyone has texture. Everyone has pigmentation and blackheads and oily skin, dry skin, combination skin: it’s NORMAL. The one thing they don’t tell you is how unrealistically perfect you look. Like fresh out the womb PERFECT. It’s damaging to your mental health to physically believe you shouldn’t have pores and should look like this all the time. But the problem is: once you see the results you crave them back so badly. I get that. Trust me. You get that glimpse of a physically impossible to achieve appearance at the hands of a drug that has caused many controversial discussions worldwide.
I still long for that skin you see in the final four weeks of roaccutane. I think about it a lot and looking back now I cannot believe I still wore makeup with such amazing skin. Thankfully, the drug kept the spots away from my body. Although scarring, pigmentation and small, under the skin fatty spots have reappeared on my face. However, it’s so important to please ensure if you are on this drug, off this drug or now upset because your skin is not as perfect as it was when on accutane – that you understand it is normal for texture and pores to return. It’s okay to have lumps and bumps. It’s roaccutane that unfortunately allows you to look like a real-life facetuned selfie. And we all know how real that is!
18 months post-accutane and I do think often about what type of person I was before this drug. To those who have never suffered with severe acne, you’re damn lucky. And you’re probably reading this thinking what a drama queen. But until you experience it yourself, you will never ever truly understand the physical and mental pain severe acne causes to you, your personality, self-esteem and mental state.
If you still look back at how you looked during your last weeks of accutane, try to look back further: at how you looked before accutane. How you looked when you really hated your own face and used to cry at how disgusting you felt – and then be happy! Because you don’t feel like that anymore, you don’t look like that anymore and now you’re just being greedy because you want even less spots than before!!!!!
It will forever be a love/hate relationship with roaccutane for me. So many pros and cons playing tug of war with each other (and none are winning).
My current skincare regime (been trialling this product for 9 months now)
It’s been a long time since I spoke about my skin. After my last blog post in December surrounding my “perfect skin care routine”, that I truly believed was the best my skin could get, my skin took a turn for the worst and the skin products stopped working after I had been using them since March 2018. In December, my mum found an article online that described a not very well known product as a miracle for acne users. As I looked myself, I saw one product was called “sebopure” which immediately caught my eye as sebum is the main oil in acne-prone skin that causes breakouts by blocking pores through the over-production of this particular oil. For an exfoliator, skin rebalancing serum, sebopure and a conceal & shield makeup concealer, the price was £30. I thought why not I might as well try it because I’m desperate now.
I’ve used this product since December and it’s now almost October. I also read your skin takes time to adjust to new skin care and so you should give at least 3 months for new products. The products worked, but the small, under the skin spots wouldn’t go.
So I use the exfoliator first thing when I wake up. Then I dry my face and apply the rebalancing serum. If I’m putting makeup on, I use the concealer shield provided and coat all my spots in it and then put makeup on but I tend not to wear makeup anymore. Then at night I do the same with the exfoliator and the rebalancing serum but then I also apply sebopure which helps with the acne. I complete this routine every day. I’ve now started using Nizoral shampoo on my face which has been helping with all the tiny small bumps I have under the skin (thank you Jess Meredith for recommending this to me as a fellow acne sufferer). I put it on my hands and rub it into my face at night and leave it for an hour and then wash it off. When I do this, I do it once every two nights and I do it after the exfoliator and then put the rebalancing serum on later when the shampoo has been washed off. When I do this, I don’t use sebopure as it’s very drying. If I find my skin is drying out, I use L’Oreal Hydra Genius Aloe Water. Please note I don’t find this shampoo works for large acne breakouts. Mostly just the tiny, fatty small clusters of spots that sit under the skin and are very prominent when makeup is applied.
I find this has been the most successful skin routine I have ever used since my third course of roaccutane. Obviously, my skin could begin to reject this skin care and go in the opposite direction again. But after a solid nine months using this, I’m so happy to see progress and the small, under the skin spots disappearing too. This is NOT sponsored. It’s NOT a paid ad and it’s just me trying to help anyone out who is suffering with bad skin too.