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Laura
Hi! I'm Laura, a 23-year-old millennial girl discovering who I am by sharing my life experiences on my blog. You'll find me writing about me discovering my personal style, my growing wanderlust or giving any sort of style, uni or mental health advice.

If you ever have any questions, notes or other things that you want to know, feel free to email me

styleandsushi@outlook.com

From July 2012 all items marked with a (*) are gifted items or PR samples. Posts on this blog may contain affiliate links or sponsored content. Please read my disclaimer for more details.

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TRAVEL

MY ACCUTANE JOURNEY: STARTING ACCUTANE

Please note that everyone's skin is different. I have decided to go on Accutane after doing extensive research into it and discussing my options with my dermatologist.

Acne is my worst enemy. It’s never been a secret on here that I struggle with acne. I have a whole page dedicated to my acne and talk about it regularly. In January of this year I started with an Accutane prescription under supervision of my dermatologist. Taking that first step is scary! Since there are not that many bloggers I could find that post about their progress while on Accutane, I thought I would document the nine months I am on it. This is not just for me to look back on in years time, it's also for that someone like me. Who has spend thousands and thousands of euros on skincare products that don't work. That want to get rid of their acne and are afraid to go on Accutane. This is not to gain any sympathy; I just hope this might help that person who is just like me. To give that person an insight into the highs and lows of my Accutane journey on a monthly basis.

A brief insight into my acne story

I started getting spots when I got my first period back when I was ten or eleven. Ever since I have had a pimples pop up all over my face. It has been something I felt insecure about for as long as I can remember, especially while growing up in high school. Everywhere I looked at school I saw girls with flawless skin and I couldn’t help but feel so insecure about myself and my pimple covered face. Back then I still found it manageable and didn’t really see a reason to go to the doctor for it. Everyone told me I would grow out of that phase once my hormones had settled down a bit. So I waited it out. And the acne never really went away. When I turned 20 it actually flared up even more than I expected it to be. It seemed to be both stress and hormones. I blamed university and hoped that it would disappear once the stress of most deadlines was out of the way. Sure my acne got a little better at the start of 2019, but then the acne came back. Then it disappeared and then it came back again. That was kind of how it always went with my acne. Especially around my period my acne would have the biggest flare up and I would wake up with at least five new pimples on my head. At the beginning of November of last year my skin was actually quite good. Something changed and to this day I don’t know what; but it made me break out like crazy. This breakout was so bad, it lasted until January when I finally went to see the dermatologist.

When I made that first step to go to the GP to get referred to a dermatologist, I felt so insecure. My skin was at its worst it had been in a while. This was back in December. It seemed like my skin could from the breakouts as new pimples came up every single day. No, I wasn’t eating lots of crap, yes I drank enough water. Whatever I did, this breakout did not seem to go down. It got so bad that halfway through December I didn’t want to go outside anymore because I felt so ashamed of my acne breakout. I spent an entire week holed up inside of the house because I felt so insecure about my face. The thought of having people, strangers, looking at my face gave me enormous anxiety and I cried lots during that week. After that week I had a sit down with my parents and I decided to go to the GP to get help. I felt like there was no light at the end of the tunnel anymore. Nothing helped, and I was over it. Over this breakout that lasted over a month. Over being in pain when lying on my pillow at night. Over spending lots of money on skincare products that did absolutely nothing for my skin. I was done.

In December I went to my GP. During that visit my GP already told me that it was highly likely that I will be using a prescription of Accutane for a couple of months. I had heard about this type of medicine before, but didn’t know exactly what it did. On my walk home from the GP I typed it into Google and saw so many negative messages on Accutane. Instantly I decided I didn’t want to go on it. The side effects I read about scared me to death. As someone who has a history with anxiety and depression I just did not want to use something that might purposely trigger it.
It’s easy to only see the negatives reviews and value those more than the positive ones. At first those negative reviews were all I saw. While doing some research in Facebook groups I am part of, such as Caroline Hirons Skincare Freaks and Beauty Questions Answered by Mixed Makeup, I found lots of people who had both positive and negative experiences with Accutane. Since I had to wait a whole month before I could see a dermatologist, I had plenty of time to think about Accutane, to do research. And so I did what I felt was necessary for me to get some grip on the situation. Researching the shit out of all sorts of acne solutions provided by dermatologists. I made a list of possible solutions and wrote down any questions I had about possible side effects for my first consult at the dermatologist. I wanted the dermatologist to answer all the questions I had during that first consult. And while doing all of this research I slowly had a change of mind. I felt like it was worth it to deal with possible anxiety, depression, eczema and definite dry skin. It was worth it to me because my acne was already giving me anxiety and making me feel depressed and insecure about myself.

Fast forward to January of this year when the dermatologist had a proper look at my face. We soon came to the conclusion that Accutane was the best option for me at the moment. I had very painful, under the skin acne that leaves quite a lot of red hyperpigmentation. At this point I felt much more at ease with Accutane, knowing that my dermatologist would check up on me and my body frequently while I will be on this prescription. My dermatologist explained everything to me about Accutane and the side effects and answered all the questions I had. He then sent me off to take a blood test, pregnancy test and a prescription for me to pick up at the pharmacy.

Things to know before starting Accutane

  • My dermatologist had explained all the side effects of Accutane in depth with me. Before you start on Accutane there are a few things you should realise. Firstly you have to take some type of birth control. You cannot get pregnant while on Accutane, as it can cause birth defects. I take the pill, as it’s a type of birth control I have taken since I was teenager. You also cannot donate any blood while you're on Accutane. Whether you’re a boy or a girl, you can't do it for the amount of time you’re on Accutane until 1 month after you’re done.
  • Your skin gets extremely dry and sensitive. It can also cause eczema; so make sure to use a really good moisturiser that contains hyaluronic acid, ceramides and niacinamide. These are all ingredients that are going to help to keep your skin barrier healthy and will prevent you from having sandpaper-like dry skin.
    Since your skin can also become extremely sensitive, it’s also best to avoid any sort of fragrance on your face and body for that time being. Besides the moisturiser you should also invest in SPF. Your skin becomes super sensitive to sunlight, so make sure to get yourself a moisturiser with SPF for the wintertime. For spring, summer and autumn I would recommend using a separate SPF on top of your moisturiser. This is necessary because the SPF inside a moisturiser usually doesn’t have the strength to protect your skin from UV-rays like a normal SPF has.
  • My skin itself isn’t oily from itself. My nose however gets super dry and painful, especially in winter. This is because of the cold, crisp air. I have had this problem for a long while now and have a dry nose every winter. If you have the same problem, I would recommend investing in some sort of nose salve or anything you can put inside of your nose, such as Vaseline or Aquaphor to make sure it’s all properly moisturised.
  • Muscle ache and sore muscles are a side effect from Accutane. In one of the skincare groups I follow on Facebook I read that someone still has lower back pains because they went to hard on the lifting while they were on Accutane. To me having lower back pains for the rest of your life seems like a nightmare, especially since I am only 23 years old. I read that you should take it slow in the gym and not lift as heavy as you did before. Start light and then build your way up to find your limit to prevent any long-term damage.
  • Headaches and fatigue also are side effects. Once again I read in the skincare groups on Facebook that if you struggle with headaches and feeling fatigue that you should take Vitamin D supplements. This can contribute to preventing you from feeling tired and having headaches.

I also want to put it out there that I am wearing makeup in these photos and cameras always make your skin look better than it is in real life. At this point in time I still feel too insecure to share my bare face on the internet. I always wear lightweight makeup and avoid full coverage foundations and concealers. In these photos you can still see the hyper pigmentation and acne on my skin in these photos. However it is not as inflamed and red as it is if I don't have any makeup on. So please not that my skin is more inflamed and red if I don't wear makeup.

If I feel more confident in the upcoming months with my skin I might start sharing photos of my bare face on here in the monthly update posts.

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