I have suffered with bad skin on and off since as long as I can remember. I have tried so many different things – some which I think have worked, only to find that it was a very short term solution. I have been on Roaccutane in the past, but a very low dose, so I decided to see if it was an option again. I documented my journey through daily vlogs, which I found incredible useful to watch when I was on Roaccutane the first time round. I hope these may help someone too.
Going to the hospital to see if I could go back onto Roaccutane and seeing what my course would be if so:
Month One’s (on 30mg per day) progress:
Month Two’s (on 40mg per day) progress:
Month Three’s (on 60mg per day) progress:
Month Four’s (on 60mg a day) progress:
I am now 6 months post-treatment and loving my skin! It has got oily again, which is annoying – I loved the ‘normal-ness’ of my skin while I was on Roaccutane. BUT… NO SPOTS!
Somehow, today is the 87th day I have been on Roaccutane – doesn’t time fly?! I started on 20mg, then moved to 30mg for month two and three – I’ve recorded a video sharing my experiences of being on the drug, and also super scary photos of myself before I started and at each month, up until now. I say in the video that I don’t see much difference in my skin from the end of month one until now – but once I added the photos in afterwards I realised just how much my skin has changed! If you’d like to know more, have a watch of the video.
If you follow me on Instagram, YouTube or Twitter, you probably know that I made the decision to start on Roaccutane last month. Today is the 30th day I have been on it – I have recorded a video explaining how I got on Roaccutane in the first place, how it’s going, the side effects I have experienced, and my progress so far.
Laura Jane Williams has just launched an amazing (and free! And HILARIOUS!) eBook on adult acne, called “ACNE: a comprehensive guide to identifying, treating, and generally showing spots who the boss is”. You can download here. As a fellow bad skin sufferer, I do my fair share of swotting up on the subject – most things bore me so much that I can read no more – this eBook is genuinely the first spot related information source I have read from start to finish – I think it’s fab and wanted to share it with you guys.
Laura offered to share her story about how the book came about…
“Adult acne is probably one of the least glamorous things to talk about-especially on a beauty blog as pretty as Alice’s. But one in five 25-40 year old women will suffer from bad skin at some point in their lives, and all the lotions and potions in the world sometimes can’t help stubborn acne that could have appeared for all kinds of reasons, from stress to pregnancy to hormones.
I’ve suffered from acne myself- and at 26, I thought spots were a thing of my teenage past. Surprisingly, in my twenties my face looked worse than it ever did at 16. As one of the most confident, positive and carefree women you might ever meet, it was shocking to find how my feelings about myself changed as I noticed my skin deteriorate. It was horrible.
Anyone who has ever had bad skin, regardless of their age, knows how much of a downer it is. It affects how we feel about our bodies, our sexuality, our likeability- it can make us feel worthless. And that’s just how I began to feel: worthless.
We all know it’s what is on the inside that counts, but obviously whoever said that didn’t have to face a job interview or second date with puss-filled pustules on their chin. I felt so embarrassed that talking to friends about it was mortifying, and my doctor didn’t seem to think my problem was a very big deal at all.
I set to finding out as much about adult acne as I could online, where I was anonymous and didn’t have to look anyone in the eye. But all of the information I found was either really medical and didn’t consider the devastating effects of acne on my emotional life, or else told me I was beautiful whatever my skin condition, and gave no hints as to how I might cure it.
Feeling frustrated and disenchanted with everything I read, I wondered what everyone else who had acne thought. I asked around on Twitter and Facebook, read beauty forums and comment boxes. It was such a relief to find out that other people felt the same. Thing is, they were as dejected at the lack of helpful information as I was, and so an idea started to form in my mind…
I decided to write the book we all wanted to read.
ACNE: a comprehensive guide to identifying, treating, and generally showing spots who the boss is was months of hard work collecting expert skin advice and confidence tricks and tips. I desperately wanted to help people who were in the same situation as me- people who wanted to feel less isolated but also figure out how to kick acne’s ass.
I tried to have fun with what I included, since acne is pretty depressing stuff, calling chapters witty things like If we are what we eat, at what point did we chow down on a plate of blackheads? And Acne and our period- because that’s just what we need when our vagina is bleeding.
I wanted to balance the serious with the whimsical, and the light with the dark. I wrote it to feel less alone, and to make other acne sufferers feel less alone too. And the people I’ve met on the journey towards sharing it with you have made it all worthwhile.
Yesterday I went for my first Dermaroller session. I didn’t know much about it – and didn’t want to know much about it. All I knew was that it helps to reduce scarring and pigmentation, and is a treatment a lot of ex acne sufferers use. The procedure is done by having lots of little needles rolled all over your face, forcing collagen to the surface, and therefore repairing the skin. Once I heard about the needles I didn’t want to know any more – I didn’t want to freak myself out – I’d seen before and after photos and that was enough for me to know I wanted to do it.
So off I went to Destination Skin, in High Barnet, nervously excited. Once I’d filled in the necessary forms, I was lead to the treatment room, where the procedure was explained a little more clearly, and Natalie set to work on my face. She explained that a course of 3 to 5 sessions within a year were the norm, and once you’d done 5 you wouldn’t really see any further results – although you can keep topped up with 1 a year. She was very nice and friendly and told me if I felt uncomfortable at any point to let me know and she’d take a break.
She started by cleansing my face, then applied what felt like a gritty gel to my skin, which was to prep my face. She then squeezed any little spots I had, and emptied a whole tube of anaesthetic cream to my face and left me for half an hour while it started to numb me in preparation for the needles. My face felt a little tingly while this was taking effect, but nothing uncomfortable.
The moment had arrived. She returned.
After testing that my face was feeling numb, she began by scraping off a section of the cream then began using the Dermaroller on it. I said “ahh, it’s alright, I was expecting it to be worse!” – that was before I realised she would have to be going over and over the same point. Imagine someone with a really rough brillo pad the size of a 50 pence piece on a stick scrubbing at your face. That. It wasn’t the most comfortable thing in the world – I wouldn’t do it just for the fun of the feeling, but it was bearable. No tears were shed.
The upper lip and temples were the worst parts, but a little squeeze of my own hand and curl of my toes and it was done. She worked as fast as she could and within 10 minutes the needles had made enough tiny little bleeding pinpricks to know she could stop. Ya-hah, I said bleeding pinpricks.
She then applied some Chrioxy oxygenating cream which she wiped off, to remove any blood, then applied another layer, and some Heliocare Factor 50spf Gel, both of which I have been given to use daily. I must must must do this, it’s an essential part of the treatment.
So I sat up, and had a look in the mirror, and WOAH! I was expecting to be red, but for some reason, not quite this red!
Sorry – had to blank out those bits for total vanity reasons!
You are allowed to wear mineral make up for the first 48 hours – and luckily they also stock that, so Natalie applied some to my face as I hate going out make up free, let alone looking like I have just been massively burnt!
Once that was on, I looked fairly normal, but rather puffy – like I’d been ill or asleep for a while… and my face felt very tingly and sunburnt. I was told that most of the redness will go down within about 4-5 hours, but with the mineral make up I couldn’t see how long it actually took.
I was told not to have a hot bath or shower last night, and just to be as gentle as I can for the next 48 hours. I may experience some breakouts and that is normal – but stick to mineral make up and don’t pick anything that may pop up.
Today, my face looks a tiny bit red and I don’t know if I’m imagining it, but my face looks better already. In terms of how it’s feeling, it’s totally back to normal. If anyone planning to get it done was concerned about the discomfort and after effects I’d tell them not to be – it’s a very short while of discomfort for what will (hopefully) show worthwhile results.
The only downside is that results usually take a minimum of 6 weeks to show, but I’m already looking forward to my next treatment in 4 weeks. I will show you some before and after pictures when I post about my next session, fingers crossed there’s an improvement!
I have suffered with bad skin for most of my life. My GP put me on Dianette contraceptive pill at the age of 14, to help my skin, and a big bottle of the stuff surgeons use to ‘scrub up’ before an op, to use as face wash. I couldn’t cope with the orange liquid, but the pill was easy enough to take, and within a couple of years I had clear skin.
I came off the pill to have my children and it has never gone back to how it was… I ended up with teenage skin. I tried the pill, but it didn’t have any effect on my skin. My doctor suggested I switched contraception as I had been using Dianette for so long, and seeing as it wasn’t helping my skin there was no advantage to using it. The new contraceptive had acne as a known side effect. Great!
Luckily I had just been contacted by a very lovely lady at Azani Medical Spa asking if I would like to try one of their products. We entered into an email conversation – the more I told her about my skin the more it became evident there was no point in me using this one product without the others as it would probably do nothing for me. She gave me a free email consultation (which is available to everyone via their site) and I sent some photos of my bare skin.
Dr Monica Gavin recommended a series of products to me and told me that I’d need to use them in conjunction with each other. I have to admit it did cross my mind that this was a scam, to get me to spend lots of money at their store! I couldn’t find much on Google about their products, but in the end I decided to take the chance, and I think it was one of the best decisions I could have made!
I have used the products for roughly 2 months, which is how long it took me to use up one bottle of each of the products. You’ll have to excuse the battered packaging; it’s been well used!
The products I was recommended and used, were:
Salicylic Face & Body Wash (180ml / $28.50) – I used a gentle face wipe (i.e. Simple) to remove my make up before using this. It works like any other cleanser – massage it over your face and rinse off with cool water. It contains 2% Salicylic Acid which calms skin irritations, improves the look of fine lines and is effective for clearing acne and dry skin conditions. It felt gentle on the skin and didn’t smell of much. I now use the Emma Hardie muslin cloth to remove this to help buff away my flaky skin (more on that later!)
AHA Clarifier (50ml / $30) – This contains 12% Glycolic Acid and botanicals to adbsorb excess oils, clear skin and improve the appearance of pores on oily skin. It recommends applying with a cotton pad but I felt I wasn’t getting enough of the product on my skin so I used my fingers. There’s a warning on the bottle that your skin might find this hard to tolerate, in which case to rinse it off for the first couple of weeks, but my skin was fine.
Oil Free Moisturizer (50ml / $45) – This is a fab moisturiser that leaves my skin feeling hydrated without it being oily. It feels very light and make up goes on well over it.
Pumpkin Clarifying Mask (50ml / $37.50) – This mask is meant to be used a few times a week (I alternated it with the other mask). It is supposed to help loosen blackheads and whiteheads, leave your skin super-clean and looking smoother and clearer. It smells slightly of cinnamon, and goes see through as it dries. You rinse it off after 5 to 20 minutes, and your skin really does feel smooth afterwards.
Antioxidant Soothing Mask (50ml / $37.50) – This mask reduces redness and inflammation, heals blemishes and absorbs excess oil. It contains clay, Alpha Lipoic Acid, 105 Sulphur, and Grapefruit extract. It has a slightly powdering smell but nothing unbearable. It dries white on the skin and after 20 minutes it feels rather tight, but my skin felt great once I rinsed it off. I always made sure I applied an extra pump of moisturiser after using this!
Dr Gavin had also recommended that I visit my GP to ask for some things only available on prescription – antibiotics and topical retinoids. By the time I got to see my doctor I’d been using these products for about 4 weeks – my skin had improved so much that I was refused the antibiotics. I had to plead to be given Retin-A gel, which I got given in the lowest dosage of 0.025%.
This is a very powerful product which must be used very carefully! You need literally a pea sized amount to cover your face, but be warned, it is very drying! Before I started using it I did a bit of online research and saw a lot of people saying that their skin got a lot worse before it got better, but telling everyone to stick with it because the end results will be worth it.
Luckily I didn’t suffer any of those results but my skin has gone very flaky around my nose and chin. In my next order from Azani I will buy their Micro-Buff Creme ($52.50) to help get rid of those patches. In the long run I’d rather have the flakes than the spots, so I’m bearing with it!
Using these products has improved my skin so much, that I recommend anyone with problem skin to get a free consultation from Azani Medical Spa. Although I have a bit of scarring still, I know that will fade in time. It’s so lovely to wake up and not have a new spot to have to deal with every day! I do still get the occasional spot, but it’s so much smaller and is gone so much quicker. I wish I had known about these products years ago!
I had had a few requests on YouTube for a skincare video, so have also recorded a video about these products. If you’d like to watch it, click play below!