After suffering from acne since I was 12, Roaccutane was a miracle cure for me. I’d been so afraid to go on it, there are so many scare stories and it seemed like such a big deal, but in the end there was nowhere else to go if I ever wanted to get rid of my acne.
And it worked. Almost immediately. My face, my back, my chest, they all cleared. I looked like a different person. And I had none of the scary side effects. Why didn’t I do it years ago? Why did I wait until my looks were fading into middle age to get rid of the spots which have meant I have never in my life looked as good as I might have done?
Then, just before Christmas, something happened. I got a couple of spots on my forehead. I was gutted.
Then I got more spots and more spots. I got a nasty eye infection.
It felt like I was falling apart and I looked awful.
My GP advised I come off the Roaccutane until my spots and the blepharitis in my eyes had calmed down. It seemed kind of ironic to come off the thing that is supposed to be making my acne better, because it had made it worse. But I had to do something.
And still it got worse. I asked for an appointment with the dermatologist and was told I could have one in three weeks. Three weeks! My face might be completely invisible by them – covered in one giant spot. When you first go on Roaccutane, you’re so well supported. It has so many side effects that you keep having check-ups. I was led to believe I could always call the dermatologist and get an appointment when I needed one. I didn’t need them at first, when I kept having them. Now I REALLY needed one.
And still it got worse. Half my forehead was a giant spot. The top of my nose was so swollen it was changing the shape of my eyes. Every time I looked in the mirror, something had changed. And by changed I mean GOT WORSE. I hated looking in the mirror, yet I couldn’t drag myself away. It was a horror show right in front of my eyes. A horror show on my own face.
I have never hidden myself away because of my acne. I’ve never felt embarrassed. It is what it is. It’s not there because I’m a bad person or I’m dirty or anything else, it’s just bad luck.
But for the first time in my life, I wanted to hide away. The kids were going back to school after half-term and I was going to have to face people I knew. They were going to stare at me or try not to stare at me, they were going to talk to each other and wonder what was wrong with my face. And I didn’t want that.
I wanted it gone. But how to make it go? What if it never went? What if it scarred? (I’ve never had scars, thank goodness.)
Everyone said it – I had to see the dermatologist. But the dermatologist had said I had to wait three weeks.
And then he backed down. I think it was the words ‘I’m scared to go out and see people,’ that did it. I got an appointment for the next day.