“Thank you for referring this lady with acne since the age of 18 on her face, neck and back. She has had oral antibiotics for a good period of time in the past and Dianette, but things have worsened in the last 18 months.”
This letter from the dermatologist to my doctor pretty much sums up the last 10 years.
I can’t remember not having a problem with acne – if it wasn’t my face, it was all over my chest, neck or back. It was put down to teenage hormones when I was younger – and I exhausted all treatment including creams, antibiotics and changing my contraceptive pill. For years, I didn’t take anything at all – worried about the horror stories of going on Isotretinoin (Accutane).
In 2016, I changed to the implant in my arm and things got really bad. My neck became so sore and painful; I couldn’t hold a conversation without being constantly worried people were judging me or staring at my spots. Of course, my friends told me they hadn’t even noticed – but I was paranoid in social situations. In the summer, wearing strappy tops or anything that would show off my back was out of the question. I was living around my acne, watching it get worse and worse.
I finally went back to my GP in September – and we agreed that Accutane would be the best option going forward. If you haven’t heard of Isotretinoin or Accutane, it is a last resort drug for treating acne that is prone to scarring. Some people call it the ‘wonder drug’ as it is extremely effective in treating spots – however up until now the side effects had put me off.
Accutane stops your skin from producing oil which leads to extremely dry skin and cracked lips. Alcohol should be avoided (!!) and under no circumstances can you become pregnant whilst you are taking the drug. It has also been linked to depression and suicidal thoughts – although this is rare.
Can you see why I was hesitant in the past?
I am confident now that this is the treatment for me – and the thought of having clear skin in 6-9 months excites me so much!
I should mention that being referred for Accutane takes a very long time on the NHS – my consultation appointment took 12 weeks to come through – and I haven’t started taking it yet. You have to have a lot of blood tests – as well as being prepared to take pregnancy tests once a month.
I will be prescribed the drug on Tuesday, so I am sharing my ‘before’ pictures to show my skin journey this year. I would love for you to share this with me, please feel free to ask me any questions at all during my treatment – and fingers crossed I’ll be sharing some transformation pictures in the autumn!
Also – big love to Em from My Pale Skin, her videos gave me the courage to post my own pictures and not feel ashamed!