During one of my appointments to the dermatologist, I got my lip balm out and applied some to my lips. The dermatologist asked me which one it is. I seemed puzzled so she continued… ‘just so I know what works so I can recommend it to other patients on Roaccutane’. That is so true, the power of recommendations and previous experiences is crucial when it comes to caring for your skin while taking Roaccutane (Isotretinoin).
If you think your skin will look very dry, red and unattractive during Roaccutane, think again. You can minimise the side effects with an excellent skincare routine, lots of care and research. I prepared a list of products I have used while taking this medication and that I feel worked beautifully. Most of them were recommended to me by a professional beautician with many years of experience. When I met her around month five of my treatment she thought my skin looked fantastic and was surprised how healthy it looked and felt.
If you are not taking Roaccutane but have very dry skin, these products could be suitable for you as well!
Please do your own research about these products and keep in mind that although they worked extremely well for me, our skin is very complex, particular and everyone should personalise their skincare routine. As my beautician says, no advice works for two people the same.
Disclaimer: Isotretinoin is an oral medication which brings restrictions to what you can or cannot use on your skin. Some dermatologists recommend different skincare routines during treatment. Please speak to your own dermatologist first about what skincare you intend to use in order to avoid irritation.
Comfort Zone, Hydramemory Mask (60ml), £32
While this is a mask, my beautician recommended me to use this every morning. It contains moringa oleifera seed oil, which is considered to be one of the best skincare ingredients. Moringa oil contains several antioxidants such as zeatin, quercetin and vitamins A, C, E. Also, it is a source of oleic acid which can replenish skin and help against moisture loss. Moreover, it can have a calming effect on the skin.
I have been using this every morning for more than a year now. It hydrates really well, and it was keeping up even with the extremely dry and dehydrated skin caused by Roaccutane. It performs excellently under makeup, as it leaves the skin soft and hydrated. However, it is quite perfumed. I would still wholeheartedly recommend this, on or off Roaccutane. My beautician swears by it, at least for my skin issues.
Revolution Skincare, Lightweight Hydrating Gel-Cream, (50 ml), £8
In hope to find something affordable that would further give a dewy feel to my skin and that also did not contain any irritant ingredients, I discovered this amazing product. Does not contain any alcohol or perfume. It is refreshing, hydrating and works very well under makeup. I used this every time before wearing makeup as it leaves a dewy finish on the skin, helping with my very dry skin. It is very lightweight.
The ingredients are amazing for the price! The second ingredient is Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, perfect for hydration. However, I gave it to my beautician to have a look at, and she said it has the property to lock things in place, having some film-forming agents (which explains why it works so well under makeup). She only recommended this to me on the days I am wearing makeup, and for the rest of the days to stick with the Comfort Zone mask (see above), which is exactly what I did anyway!
It did not keep up with the dryness of the skin by itself, but in combination with the rest of my skincare routine and under makeup, it performed excellently. Take this one as an amazing makeup base, or as a brilliant top-up of dewiness and hydration.
Unfortunately, I do not know the name and price for the product that saved my skin during Roaccutane. It was given to me in this travel container by my beautician. However, I did analyse it and I am able to offer you some guidance regardless. The product seems to be an emulsion of very thick and greasy consistency. It smells of Lanolin, which is known to be an excellent ingredient for very dry skin. I also believe it contains some Vaseline. You can always look for products with these two ingredients and check for it to be an emulsion rather than a cream or gel.
Medicalia – Post Operative Care Cream, (50 ml), £40
I used the Post Operative Care Cream from Medicalia only about twice a week. It is a professional line, quite pricey, with an excellent list of ingredients. This cream is rich in Marin Collagen and Elastin Peptides, improving the healing process of the skin. It minimizes scarring and promotes healing. It contains ceramides, squalane and other hydrating ingredients.
This did not keep up with the dryness of my skin during Roaccutane, but I am certain that it helped with scars and with the entire healing process of my skin. My beautician said this cream is very important to be used, at least for my skin, during Roaccutane.
Canmake Mermaid Skin Gel (40g), £10
If there is one thing I think you cannot skip using during Roaccutane, is your sunscreen. Do not think that you will be fine without one, as your skin can get very irritated from UV radiation. My favourite during the treatment was the Canmake Mermaid Skin Gel with SPF50+ .
This sunscreen is for both UVA and UVB radiation, which is very good. It is extremely moisturising, leaving a sheen on your skin, so I would recommend this 100% while being on Roaccutane or if you have very dry skin. It leaves the skin luminous and hydrated (has moisturising ingredients as well). Works absolutely gorgeous under makeup and it is actually marketed as a makeup primer as well. I used this everyday in the morning, which also prevented sunburn and further irritation from the sun. While I loved the Kao Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence while having really oily skin, the Canmake one is much better for dry skin.
Medicalia Gentle Cleanser, 100ml, £19
This is the best makeup remover I have ever used. It has the consistency of a cleansing milk but it does not leave the skin greasy at all. It is moisturising and removes makeup fast. It contains Green Tea, Chamomile, Oat Amino-Acids, reducing signs of inflammation. It removes makeup very fast and does not irritate skin at all.
It worked beautifully on my acne-prone skin as well, before using it on Roaccutane, so if you still have active acne during the treatment, this product will not cause any issues. I wholeheartedly recommend this one to anyone.
Medicalia Clarifying Cleanser, 100ml, £17
The Clarifying Cleanser is recommended for acne-prone skin. It contains Lauroyl Oat, which is a natural cleansing agent, Lactic Acid and Salicylic Acids, which are exfoliating ingredients. While not meant to use these ingredients whilst on Roaccutane, this cleanser made my skin feel fantastic and did not dehydrate. I believe that because it is a wash off product, the Lactic Acid does not have enough time to sit on the skin. While on the treatment, I only used this once or twice a week.
The Ordinary, Squalane Cleanser, 50ml, £5.5
While I still think the Medicalia Gentle Cleanser is the best makeup remover I have ever tried, I did try to find a cheaper alternative as well. I was very keen to try this new squalene cleanser from The Ordinary and so I have discovered another good option for removing your makeup. This one, however, has a different consistency, being more like a cleansing balm and having an oily texture. Leaves skin really hydrated, so I really enjoyed this whilst on Roaccutane! I alternated using this one with the Medicalia one.
Emma Hardie Amazing Face, Moringa Cleansing Balm, 200g, £73
I loved to use this product in my makeup removing routine as well. Celebrity makeup artist Lisa Eldridge said she loves it! It is a fantastic cleansing balm, and I love using the cloth it came with to remove it – it is also a way to remove dead skin cells. While on Roaccutane, be very gentle when using a cloth though, as your skin can easily shed.
Some of the ingredients are moringa seed extract, Wild Sea Fennel and Vitamin E, which balance skin. It does contain some essential oils, but it has not irritated my skin at all. In fact, it has helped to remove some of the redness. Despite the price it remains one of my favourite products to remove makeup of all times, as it always had a very calming effect on my reactive skin.
Comfort Zone, Hydramemory Byphasic Mask, 12 masks, £70
This is the best hydrating mask I have ever used, but it is also the priciest one. Is it worth the money? Well, yes. However, it is not a retail product, being sold only to professionals. I got mine from my beautician. This hydrates my skin really well and it is a true saviour for really dehydrated skin. It does contain perfume, but it also works beautifully.
It is a biphasic mask, which means it contains two bases that need to be mixed together to create the mask. You get one with hyaluronic acid and one with the activating cream. It contains propanediol, which can enhance the absorption of ingredients, making the mask more effective and sodium hyaluronate – a salt form of skin-replenishing hyaluronic acid, an excellent ingredient for hydration.
I have to admit it causes pain to the wallet but everytime I used this mask I could tell a noticeable difference in my skin. It was more hydrated and less reactive.
Balea (DM) Aqua Tuch Maske (Hydrating Sheet Mask), 80p
The only other mask that visibly hydrated my really dehydrated skin while on Roaccutane is the Balea Aqua Tuch Maske. This one is really inexpensive! It contains algae extract, avocado and rose oil as well as vitamins. I think the ingredients are fantastic for the price and it always offered quick relief from tightness and dehydration of the skin.
Nivea Original Care, £1.99
This is probably the section you have all scrolled to to begin with! Lips are the ones that take the hardest hit when it comes to Roaccutane. They can get very dry to the point of bleeding and pain. It is very important to take good care of them to prevent wounds. Lucky for you, I do have a recommendation that saved my lips. The Nivea Original Care lip balm was the best lip balm I used during my treatment, even though I have tried countless products. The issue I seemed to have with others is that they did not absorb into the skin, leaving only a waxy layer on my lips. This one though sinks into the lips and keeps them moisturised.
Alex Steinherr x Pimark, Overnight Lip Mask, £4
This product is an interesting one, as it only works effectively if used as an overnight mask. If you want an immediate effect from it, it will not do much. However, if applied before sleep and left on overnight, my lips would feel hydrated and relieved from tightness and pain in the morning.
Exfoliation of the lips is very important during Roaccutane, as your lips can collect layers of dead skin cells. While the elegant thing to do would be to recommend a lip exfoliation product, I’m afraid my best tip for it is to rub your finger on your lips in the shower, once your lips have been in the steam for a while. This will remove the dead skin cells and leave your lips soft. I know it sounds weird but this works so well I never found anything that worked better.
As I have mentioned, be mindful that you are taking an oral medication for your skin, so always double check with your dermatologist about the topical products you are using. In my experience, less is best when it comes to Roaccutane. Good moisturising cream and masks and some good makeup removers are enough.
Please feel free to write about your favourite products while on Roaccutane in the comments down below!
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