‘I can’t wait for spring,’ my eldest said the other day.
‘Nor me,’ I said and I went on to moan about how fed up I am with this winter. I never like winter, but somehow I’m finding this one particularly hard to deal with. I just can’t seem to get warm.
But it turns out it’s not just the cold and dark my son is fed up with. He believes the spring will sort out his spots. He says he had spots last winter and they cleared up in spring. This was the perfect opportunity for me to have that discussion about spots I’d been wanting to have with him. His spots have got quite bad and I wanted to know how he felt about them, but I didn’t want to be the one to bring the subject up and potentially upset him. I told him that I didn’t remember him having spots last winter (because I don’t) and if they had cleared up, it was almost certainly coincidence.
Unfortunately, they’re not going to magically disappear in spring, because it’s his age. The likelihood is, they’re going to get worse before they get better, and they’re going to be around for a few years to come (but please don’t let it be 30 years, like his long-suffering mum!).
‘They’re not bad, are they?’ (Trying to stay upbeat and positive.)
‘They’re the second worst in my year.’
Well, that’s it then! No more waiting.
‘Do you want to go to the doctor’s?’
I’ve suffered from acne for 30 years and am now on Roaccutane, the strongest acne drug there is. My husband had terrible spots, although they were gone by his mid-20s. Sadly, when it comes to acne, our kids don’t stand a chance! I’m not willing to let them suffer and I would much rather they were on medication than feeling unhappy with their spots (and potentially being picked on for them).
So we went to the doctor’s. She took a look at him and listened to what I had to say about his family history – not that she needed to listen, after months of completely clear skin, my spots have flared up in truly dramatic fashion and are now worse than they were before I went on Roaccutane.
I’m pleased to say she didn’t say we would wait and see for a few months. She was happy to prescribe him medication and, in the light of his genetics, she said she would go in a bit harder than she normally would for a first prescription for acne. So he has a dual-acting peroxide gel which, as it happens, was the last medication I tried before going on to Roaccutane. It did a pretty good job for me, so I’m hopeful it will for my son too.
The doctor says to give it three months and if it’s not working, or not working well enough, we can go back again and try something a bit stronger. And a bit stronger. And a bit stronger. She even mentioned the ‘R’ word, but I’m not going there with my teenage son. It’s been miraculous for me, but it has also been cited as a factor in a number of suicides of teenage boys, so I’m not letting him take it! I’d never really thought about it, but its use is more widespread among teenage boys than young women because of the risks to unborn babies.
I’m just hoping we’ve caught it early enough and will be able to start to turn it around. In time for spring.