*acne to be precise
I’ve battled with acne a couple of times now and boy oh boy is it zero fun at all. Not only is it frustrating and confidence knocking, there’s a big old stigma around it that it’s just about aesthetic and beauty. Which it is NOT! Obviously it’s on your face so you can’t hide it away from the world… and let’s be honest who wants to look at big old zits? But it’s so much more than that – it’s inflammatory, nasty and down right painful.
During my final year at school in upper sixth, my skin erupted with spots. No matter what the doctor prescribed, and I tried they persisted. Until we finally went down the old Roaccutane/Isotretinoin (Roacc) route. For any of you who haven’t heard of Roacc it’s basically the last resort for acne treatment, as it’s a super strong medicine which can have very serious side effects such as depression, kidney problems and if you’re a female taking it and happen to fall preggers you would need to abort the baby as it can cause serious complications to the baby’s development. This means you also have to have blood tests every month to check your kidney function and that you’re definitely not pregnant, alongside a consultation with your dermatologist. So, pretty strong stuff, but it generally does the trick for clearing up acne.
In my case it did exactly that, cleared all of the nastiness away but according to my mama also caused me to be even moodier than my normal teenage self (poor woman), so I stopped it earlier than planned. Despite this it seemed to still do the trick, I’d get the odd spot here and there but other than that my skin was much better.
Fast forward almost five years and my acne returned with a vengeance on my Year Abroad. At first it was only the odd boil here and there, but still pretty sore and it just got progressively worse. I popped home to the drs to try and get something to tame them, but alas nothing seemed to touch them, so I got a referral to the dermatologist via the NHS (as apparently since I’d had acne five years ago, it was now considered a ‘chronic’ condition under my health insurance *rolls eyes*). The NHS were surprisingly speedy at referring me, but naturally wouldn’t then treat me as I was abroad. So, I just had to put up and shut up until I was home and start the process again.
(Left to right) 28th Sept. 2018 (The first sign of acne), 20th July 2019, 5th January 2020
Long story short, I booked in with the Drs for as soon as I was back in the UK in June and finally managed to get a consultation in March 2020, by which time my skin was slowly starting to get better of it’s own accord. However, I pushed to hop back onto Roacc as my skin was still pretty inflamed even though improved and luckily they agreed just before lockdown 1.0 hit. Logistically it was then all a little bit of a nightmare as I was being treated in Reading (where I was at uni.) but had since moved home due to the Panny-D which hit… so I had to travel backwards and forwards between Reading and Kent every month for my blood tests and to collect my medication. Otherwise I would have had to have waited to be referred to somewhere in Kent and start all over again, which I just was not prepared to do considering how quickly I could see my skin improving.
(Left to Right) During my Roacc Treatment: 13th April 2020 and 3rd June 2020
I finished my last course of Roacc in July 2020 and my skin is so much better. Of course I still get the odd pimple when it’s that time of the month, but that’s pretty much it! I have got some pretty tasty scarring/pitting going on from where the little guys were so deep but hopefully with lots of Bio-Oil, sunshine and time they’ll eventually fade. If not, I believe I can be referred to a specialist and look into laser options in a couple of years time when my skin isn’t quite so sensitive (apparently!)… but sadly since this will be entirely ‘cosmetic’ it’ll be out of my own pocket.
(Left to right, then Top to Bottom) My Scarring situ. 3rd August 2020 (taken post work-out as I think my scarring looks worse when I’m all hot and bothered), 26th October 2020 and 18th Jan 2021 (about 5 mins ago! Featuring my hormonal spots)
All in all, I’d say it’s pretty clear what my trigger is: stress. There’s no saying I won’t get another lovely spout again in the future, which I’m told if I do, I just need to get myself referred again and go from there.
If you have/do suffer from acne, I hope this little post has helped provide some clarity/reassurance. As I know how horrid it is to be suffering with acne, not only are the (not so) little buggers persistent but they’re on your face so also incredibly hard to cover up even with the best make up products in the world and so can really knock your confidence. If there’s anything else you’d like to know/just fancy a chat my DMs are always open.