OK, I’ll admit it. I lied and cheated a bit with my Roaccutane. Cheating and lying isn’t my thing, but this was my skin we’re talking about and I was scared.
When I saw the dermatologist last autumn, he said I should take Roaccutane every day in November and December, every other day in January and then once a week in February. After everything I’d been through with acne and rosacea, that all seemed a bit sudden to me. So I built in a couple of extra stages – twice a week in February and once a week in March and April. I didn’t even admit I’d done this when I saw him in April. I pretended I was off it, like I was supposed to be.
But I wasn’t. I didn’t come off it until 30th April.
On 30th April, and for most of the preceding few months, my skin had been perfectly clear. It was lovely how many people complimented me on it when I went to BlogOn on 1st May. Every one of those comments was very much appreciated.
But, during the day on 9th May, exactly nine days after my last dose of Roaccutane, spots began to appear on my face. And they started to join together. This wasn’t one or two. This was lots. I guess it was rosacea. I’m still not that familiar with rosacea. After 30 years as an acne sufferer, it still seems strange to me that I now have rosacea too. They were on my left cheek, which is one part of my face that got off relatively lightly in my two horrendous flare-ups last year.
Was it caused by sun? We’d had a couple of hot, sunny days. Was it caused by suncream? I’d been using the exact super-safe, very expensive one recommended by the dermatologist.
But the likelihood was, it was caused by coming off Roaccutane. Which sadly means my skin is now unable to function without it.
My dermatologist had given me an emergency plan for flare-ups – some nasty antibiotics. They will sort it, but they will make me feel dreadful.
Should I take them? Should I give it a day or two to see if it settles? Or will a day or two just give it a chance to go a lot worse?
On 10th May, still less than 24 hours after the spots had appeared, my face hurt when I caught my nail on it and my skin felt uncomfortable with even my hair touching it. Sadly, these are feelings I remembered from last year. I knew there was only one thing to do. I couldn’t wait a day or two for it to settle, I had to take the antibiotics.
Even after two doses, I could feel the negative effects of them – tiredness, heavy legs, a funny taste in my mouth, a little bit of nausea and a heightened sense of smell.
If the antibiotics clear it and it stays clear, I might be OK. But I don’t hold out much hope.
If it doesn’t work, what now? Do I go back on Roaccutane? Or is there something else that can sort me out? I actually do want to come off medication, I don’t want to be on it forever, but right now it feels like I’ve got no alternative if I want to avoid looking like a monster.