So… I’m going on accutane (for the second time)

Picture this: it’s 2023, and after over a decade of dealing with cystic, hormonal acne, you’ve finally got your skin under control. You got your hormones tested, worked with a nutritionist (which, by the way, was not cheap), made a million lifestyle changes and saw amazing results.

This is it, you’re cured. Or so you think.

But in early 2024, your skin starts breaking out again. At first, just small breakouts – ah, must just be a short flare from all that unhealthy Christmas food. But as the months go by, despite following your healthy food and skin routine religiously, it continues to get worse.

You spend your 30th birthday trip in Vienna obsessively stressing about a sudden cystic breakout all over your chin, wondering what on earth you’re going to try next.

Yup, if you hadn’t guessed already, that little story is about me.

Here are just a few photos from the past few months.

Second round of accutane

Why I’m doing accutane again

After a lot of thought, research and, tbh sheer anxiety – I’ve decided to bite the bullet and start accutane for the second time.

This wasn’t an easy decision. I’ve done accutane before and I know it isn’t easy. I know I’ll be spending months with dry af lips and skin and I know I’m likely to see worsening of my acne before it gets better again. And I know there are dozens of (potential) serious side-effects too – rare, but still a possibility.

I know, I know, I know.

I guess I feel the need to justify myself after my last experience on accutane. I used to get messages from random accounts telling me I was vain for risking the side effects of accutane just for clear skin.

I don’t know why these accounts exist (to make people who are already miserable, even more miserable?!), but they’re still around. My recent post, which used the #accutane hashtag, led them back to my inbox again.

But to me, it’s worth the risk at this point. I can’t afford to endlessly re-test my hormones every time my skin flares up again (as much as I’d prefer that route) and pay for the expensive supplement and skincare routines that follow.

Plus, I’m 30 now. I want to:

  • enjoy social events without worrying for weeks in the run-up if my skin will flare up
  • focus on my career and self-development without my acne taking up the majority of my energy
  • get up in the morning and leave the house worry-free, without feeling the need to layer on endless concealer
  • go to bed early without worrying about a 45-minute skincare routine
  • go on weekend trips with friends without worrying about the state of my skin when I take my makeup off in the evening
  • enjoy an occasional slice of cake or packet of crisps without extreme anxiety about whether it’ll cause a skin flare-up
  • avoid even more scarring, as I’ve noticed that’s getting worse as I get older

Ultimately, I just want to feel confident in my own skin.

Because while I’ll always believe that I’m (and you, if you’re struggling too) much more than my skin and that acne doesn’t take away from my worth or value as a person, I would still prefer to be acne-free – or, at least, cystic acne-free.

So, I’m doing it, in the hopes that it’ll clear my skin for good this time or, at least, for a good while.

Second round of accutane

What my second round of accutane will look like

In 2019, I did accutane on the NHS. My dosage was 60mg per day, for around 6 months. The side effects were kinda shitty, but manageable.

I had constantly cracked lips with literal splits down either side, extremely flakey skin and eczema (something I’d never dealt with before) rashes up and down my arms. I also felt pretty damn tired all the time.

My skin cleared up amazingly, but it was short-lived. I was fully clear for around a year, before the acne started sneaking back again.

This time, I’m doing accutane with a company called acneclear. It’s essentially an online dermatologist, allowing you to skip the lengthy NHS waiting queues.

You still have a consultation with a doctor, have all the necessary blood and pregnancy tests, and have access to a doctor whenever you need. You can even pay-as-you-go for your treatment, which is pretty cool. 

For full transparency, acneclear is paying for my accutane treatment, and I’m blogging about my experience in return. I know that makes me incredibly lucky.

This time around, I’m doing a low-dose, long-term protocol – essentially, a lower dose for a much longer period. We’re still confirming what this will look like for me, but it’s likely to be something like 20mg/day for 12 months, potentially increasing slightly towards the end in order for me to hit my cumulative dose.

This means the side-effects should be much more manageable, and hopefully, it’ll lower the chances of relapsing again.

I also plan to be much more vigilant about preventing relapse again by using low-strength tretinoin as soon as I finish treatment and slowly buiding up. Last time, I let my skin get bad again before using tretinoin, so I hope this approach will help to keep my pores clean and clear for the long-term.

What you can expect from me in the coming months

I should be starting accutane in the next couple of weeks (mid-May 2024).

I’ll be writing an update blog every couple of months so that you can keep up-to-date with my progress, in case you’re considering accutane too.

I’ll also be doing monthly update videos over on Instagram, so make sure to follow me there.

As time goes on, I’ll link to new posts from this post, so give it a bookmark if you’re curious to see how it goes.

I’ll also do a full review of the acneclear service, so that you can see if it’s something you might be interested in. If you’d like to find out more, make sure to visit their website or follow their social media pages – Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook.

Fingers crossed for a smooth journey on accutane for the second time – this time, hopefully my last. Over and out for now – sending you all loads of love.

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