Isotretinoin is a serious drug with potential severe side effects. I am sharing my journey to help those who have been prescribed it, are thinking of taking it or for those that want to read about other experiences and advice from a patient’s point of view. I am not a doctor or a pharmacist, and I am not going to write about my journey from a medical point of view. My journey will be tracked from the perspective of a patient, which will make my decisions, my experience and my results subjective, personal and for informational purposes only.Please consult your doctor about any health-related issues.
Please note that these monthly diaries, although written at the time, are being posted RETROSPECTIVELY. There is an approximate one-year delay. This is so that any public testimonial does not affect my everyday life.
I was extremely nervous to start my treatment. I have heard so many horror stories online, that I started to feel like I was waiting for a bomb to go off. I started my treatment with 20mg per day, which is considered by most as an extremely low dose. However, for my body weight of 46Kg 20mg/day is the optimum dosage. In the UK I was also told that because of my weight, the maximum amount I could ever take was 40mg/day.
Week 1 and 2
To my surprise, I had no side effects at all until the fourth day, when I had a migraine and felt depressed. However, I slept pretty badly and had nightmares, so it could have just been a bad day. On the fifth day I experienced the first side effects on the skin – red, tight skin. Applying a high-end cream with ceramides really helped. Also, my hands were dry, but I had that before occasionally in the Scottish weather.
For a few days my skin got really itchy, my scalp included, my face was very reactive and red, itched a lot. Therefore, I took the first strong action since I started the medicine: I bought a new shower oil that I massaged into the skin really well over my entire body, and after my shower I used a pharmaceutical hydrating cream over my entire body again. I let it sink in for a minute before putting my clothes on. For my hair I started using a professional hair care for damaged hair and I put leave in oil on the lengths every evening (and I am quite generous with it), after which I brushed it. On my face I used an oil balm as the last step to remove my makeup which I gently removed with a wet towel. After that I applied a hydrating mask for twenty minutes, used heaps of lip balm and my usual night time face cream. The difference was huge, both in the feeling of my skin and hair. The next day after the Operation Recovery my face was almost not red at all, the skin calmed down, no itchiness. Victory!
The end of the first two weeks showed itself with no unpleasant events. Other than my skin getting drier and some skin shedding nothing happened. No matter how I touch my face my skin is exfoliating, so I have been careful to use every day or every other day a hydrating mask as my moisturizer (I applied it and didn’t wash it off). This left my skin hydrated, very smooth and calmed down the shedding as well. I will say that I went to a wedding and I thought my makeup will absolutely melt off my face in the fourteen hours I wore it… but surprise, surprise, my makeup stayed looking absolutely perfect until the end of the day! I did not blot once! And my hair does not need to be washed as it does not get greasy at all in the first four days, but it is almost not greasy even after five days. If the side effects are my makeup looking gorgeous all day and me not having to wash my hair every day, then bring these side effects on! I love them.
Week 3 and 4
Not much changed since the first two weeks. After walking more than 10 km and working for hours on my feet and bending down for several days in a row I experienced some bad back pain and joint pain. However, I cannot tell if it was from over working my body or from Isotretinoin.
My skin is dry now, as well as my hair, and it is amazing. My makeup lasts all day and I can wash my hair only once a week as it does not require more. I use highly hydrating creams and masks on my face every day to avoid dry patches and feeling my skin tight – all good so far, my lips look alright as well. I use hydrating oil on the lengths of my hair every night and my hair looks fine as well.
I still get new pimples though, both pustules and painful nodules.However, my skin is smooth and looks much better. I never experienced the purging period, when your acne is supposed to get a lot worse before getting better. My skin started to improve immediately. Although I do have to say that managing acne while having dry skin is much easier.
Highly sensitive to light and sun, so I wear sunscreen all the time. So far, I am very pleased of how the treatment is going, still a long way for my acne to disappear, but because my skin became dry it is very manageable, makeup looks like a dream, hair is very easy to control as well. I definitely see improvements even if there is still a long journey ahead of me.
Overall, after consulting the official leaflet of the medicine, these are all the side effects I have experienced during the first month, listed from first as the most predominant and the last as only happening once.
- Dry, chapped lips
- Drier skin and scalp
- Shedding skin
- Increased sensitivity to the sun
- Red, tight skin
- Itchy skin
- Itchy scalp
- Dryness of the eyes
- Low mood (although I had a low mood before starting the treatment)
- Back pain, muscle and joint pain
To be continued…
Next post will be about the best skincare products while taking Roaccutane.
This blogpost is not sponsored.