Farewell Roaccutane

‘You’ve got a secondary infection,’ said the dermatologist as I walked into his office.

No sh*t, Sherlock.

I hadn’t said a word myself. I didn’t need to. All the words I needed were written all over my face. In bright red.

It was nice to have an acknowledgement that something was badly wrong.

I hoped he’d have a miracle for me. A week of antibiotics, then back on the Roaccutane and back to perfect skin in time for Easter.

But skin doesn’t work like that. Every change of treatment takes two to three months to really have an impact.

Apparently I don’t even have acne. I have rosacea. There’s a name for the particular sort of rosacea, but I can’t read his writing. He is a doctor, after all. Acne doesn’t affect the eyelids, rosacea does. It causes blepharitis, the nasty eye infection I’ve had. It’s all linked.

But he had some answers for me. Antibiotics, of course. Nasty ones.

‘Not everyone can take them.’

That made me nervous. Apparently they have a horrible metallic taste, which I can probably cope with, and can cause diarrhoea and nausea, which I possibly can’t cope with. A person with IBS needs something that causes diarrhoea like a hole in the head. I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. All I can hope is that I don’t get the diarrhoea. Because, much as I don’t want to, you CAN go out with a hideous, blotchy red face, you can’t go out with diarrhoea.

I’ll be taking them for seven weeks, gradually reducing the dose.

I have to stop the face wash and moisturiser I’m currently using, which are both very gentle ones anyway, and use particularly gentle (expensive) ones. Oh, and I won’t be able to use the antibiotic eye drops for my bad eyes any more. It’s like I’m playing top trumps with my own health. My appearance has trumped both my eyes and my digestive system.

And when the antibiotics are done and my face has calmed down?

Topical lotions.

Topical flipping lotions. Back to square one. Back to where I’ve been since I was 20. Back to spots. But not evil, nasty ones that make me wear a hat and keep my head down because I’m scared to look people in the eye. Just back to bad spots. The sort of spots a 41 year old woman shouldn’t have. The sort of spots even a 21 year old woman shouldn’t have.

‘And will I go back on the Roaccutane then?’

No more Roaccutane. My Roaccutane journey is over.

I feel cheated. I had perfect skin for the first time since I was 12. Perfect face, perfect chest, perfect back. It was an amazing feeling.

And then something went wrong. Badly wrong. It didn’t just stop working, it spiralled way out of control. Sending me not just back to square one, but to uncharted territory. The worst skin I’d ever had in my life. The only time I’d ever felt I wanted to hide myself away because I couldn’t take people’s stares, people’s questions, people’s pity.

The dermatologist has never seen Roaccutane cause rosacea before. But, as he says, it’s a funny medicine.

So my Roaccutane journey has all been for nothing. Now the best I can hope for is to get back the poor skin I had a year ago before I started on this.

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Author: Sarah Mummy

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40 Comments

  1. Oh lovey, my heart goes out to you xx Let’s hope you feel a little bit better each day and after seven weeks you feel a whole heap better xxx I’m so sorry that the wonder drug turned out less than wonderful.

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    • Thanks very much! The antibiotics are working remarkably well, even though they’re horrible! It’s very disappointing that the wonder drug hasn’t worked.

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  2. Oh my you poor thing. That looks so soar! I can’t imagine how awful it is for you. I really really hope these antibiotics work for you and they magically make it all better x

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    • Thanks very much, they do seem to be working, thank goodness! x

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  3. Oh my that looks so sore. I had read that you had had a flare up but didn’t realise quite how bad it was. Hope they can get you back to something better. Please don’t hide yourself away though xxx

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    • Thanks very much! It’s not easy to hide myself away as I’m always having to be places wit the kids, but I do feel uncomfortable and awkward. Hopefully not for much longer. x

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  4. Oh Sarah you poor thing. I really feel for you. I hope it works much faster than you expect and not the full 7 weeks. Try and find something to make you feel good about yourself, to treat yourself maybe? A nice manicure? I know that sounds a bit stupid but you don’t want to spiral downhill 🙁 x

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    • You’re very right, I’ve been looking for treats everywhere I can find them (I talk about that in tomorrow’s post) – admittedly mainly food! x

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  5. Sorry I am rubbish saying the right thing, and know you don’t want pity but I do feel for you – getting that far to return back to square one. I hope you are ok and hope it’s not painful. x

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    • Thank you! That’s just the right thing to say. x

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  6. oh Sarah, that sucks. I’m so sorry for what you’ve been going through. Wishing you a very speedy recovery.

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    • Thanks very much! It’s been a rubbish few weeks, but I’ll get there!

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  7. Ouchy! I do not have proper experience with this yet but I do know of people who have had success with using just essential oils. I’ve only used a bit of Lavender and Frankincense so far and I have sensitive skin and it has been working. But I don’t have your skin so I can’t possibly say, you will know that far better than me. I use Young Living Essential Oils and I drink their Ningxia Red drink everyday and I’ve noticed a difference. In any case I hope your skin gets better and that the antibiotics work without nasty side effects.

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    • Thanks very much! I must say going down the alternative route with my skin is something I’ve never considered as it’s always been too bad. If even the strongest acne treatment there is fails, I feel like nothing will work! But there’s no harm in giving it a try, is there?

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      • I use Young Living Oils because they are pure and rigourously tested. I am not one of these people who would banish all modern medicine though! I think the two can work together. I suffered from chronic headaches and migraines.. it was awful and as a last resort I was put on a medication by my doctor. It did stop the headaches but I became depressed, moody, I put on weight, my skin suffered. There were just lots of horrible side effects and over time (I took these meds for 2 years) it just got worse and worse. I came off the meds just about a year ago and tried hard to make lifestyle changes (diet, drink, exercise, sleep routine, etc etc) but then discovered the oils via another blog I read. Since using a blend called deep relief and peppermint oil I have not had to take my actual migraine medicine at all in nearly 6 months and I when I do get an ordinary headache (again really not very often now) I tend to manage by using the oils. Now this obviously is not your skin but the oils managed to improve my health so much that I feel like a different person. My headaches and migraines were chronic and it made me miserable so it would be great if they could just help you even a little bit.

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        • Thanks very much for sharing this story. It is definitely something which I will look into. Glad you’ve got a solution that works for you now.

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  8. So sorry to hear that Roaccutane hasn’t worked for you. Can’t begin to imagine how you’re feeling, so gentle hugs Sarah and I hope that the antibiotics work their magic without the horrendous side effects x

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    • Thanks very much! The antibiotics are actually working really well, but I do feel dreadful on them! x

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  9. Oh God! The side effects of meds 🙁 Welcome to the “joys” of rosacea – or the “30 year old’s acne” as it was called when I got it just shy of my 30th b’day in France. I really hope the antibiotics work – I had hardcore ones at the start and now just have daily Erythromycin to keep it under control. And my skin now looks great, so I really hope that things work out for you and you manage to avoid the nasty side effects. Sending hugs in the meantime x

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    • Thanks very much, it’s good to know that yours is under control now. Most of the time I’ve used erythromycin lotion on my skin. It hasn’t been brilliant, but it’s been OK. Will be interesting to see where I go from here.

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  10. Aw Sarah I really feel for you. You are having a tough time with your skin and also your daughters leg. Really hope it works quickly for you. hugs xx

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    • Thanks very much! The good thing is that the antibiotics are starting to work, even though they’re horrendous! Hoping we’ll get some answers and improvement with my daughter soon! x

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    • Thanks very much! I just appreciate the comments 🙂 x

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    • Thanks very much, the antibiotics do seem to be making a difference, thank goodness! x

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  11. It must be gutting Sarah, after having had such good results, to have that taken away. What an awful side effect though! I hope it clears up soon and you are able to get back to some sort of normality. Annoying that there doesn’t seem to be anything else to try.

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    • Thanks very much! I guess I’ll just have to accept living with acne as I always have. I really thought I’d found a way to live without it, but now I will just be happy to get rid of this awful skin.

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  12. That looks so sore, I really feel for you. I hope that the antibiotics are ok for you. Xx

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    • Thanks very much. The antibiotics aren’t nice, but they’re working! x

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  13. Sorry to see your having problems with your skin again, I hope and pray the antibiotics work without too many nasty side effects. ((((((hugs))))) xxx

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    • Thanks very much! They’re working quite well, although the side effects haven’t been nice! x

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  14. Oh Sarah, that really sucks 🙁 I’m glad to see from the comments that the antibiotics are starting to help. Sending hugs x

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    • Thanks very much. It’s annoying that I’m looking so much worse than I looked before I ever went on the Roaccutane, but it’s good the antibiotics are at least working. x

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  15. ((hugs)) I know just how you feel – I have been having a nasty flair up the last two weeks – the kind where everyone stares and even hubby noticed and I can’t get a GP appointment for three weeks.
    I had a hair app yesterday and the resident beautician took pity on me and gave me some cream to try. Touching wood, so far it has really calmed my skin and I look almost human again and as someone who has tried every cream going and none have worked this is amazing!
    I am hoping that my GP will prescribe me these antibiotics though as I’ve not been able to take them for years as been either pregnant or breastfeeding – I really need it to go as it affects my eyes too!

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    • Sorry to hear you’re in the same position – and a three week wait to see a doctor sounds like a nightmare! Great to hear the cream is helping and really hope you get some antibiotics to clear it properly. x

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    • Thanks very much, that’s a lovely thing to say. x

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  16. What a nightmare! I know that you were told the risks and all but that must be hard, especially after the initial effects. I hope that the antibiotics work for you and quickly.

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    • Thanks very much! Luckily the antibiotics do seem to be working. It’s annoying that rosacea or a worsening of the acne was never mentioned as a possible side effect!

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