Let’s Talk: Acne and Reaccutane

Let's Talk (2)


Warning: This is a long read – So grab a cup off coffee or tea and a snack….

My journey of acne, in a understated way, was the least to say horrid. From name calling to statements made such as “Eeew why is your face so yellow, you should clean it” was not very pleasant especially when you are only 11. Well what nobody knew was that I was doing everything I possibly could and nothing helped. I think due to the fact that it was a genetic problem and not hormonal. You see, my father and my uncle both had extremely bad acne, in the times where technology wasn’t so advanced. They both ended up with the worst, permanent scarring, and to say the least that was my worst fear. The scarring – now I feel it gives my dad character, it makes him unique but as a girl the thought of it made me depressed, especially when your already an overweight child – and now the acne adds more feelings of simply being inadequate.


So time went on, and yet nothing worked, by this time I was 14, starting out highschool and yet I am stuck with this BS problem. I took contraception tablets at the age of 14 and not for reasons that it is actually produced for but simply that just maybe it would control my outraged skin, and no luck. Then I went on Purbac, a low cost prescription tablet. Purbac tamed the acne a little but not in the ways I wanted it to ( I actually drink it now when its that time just to control and keep my skin in place – consult your Doc on it if you are only looking for something mild).


By the time I was 15 I was mentally exhausted and not to mention the cycle of skincare products I went through. My self-esteem was completely broken. Nothing ever looked right, foundation in my opinion made it look much worse and makeup without foundation…OMG I think we all know how that could actually end up. I felt ugly with my angry red bumpy yellow skin. The worse started to happen – scars began to develop from constantly going for facials and extractions.

Acne and Reaccutane

Here I am wearing foundation. It was so hard to get a picture of me and my acne as I mostly avoided camera’s. You can see the acne and inflammation on my cheeks, nose, forehead and chin.

My dad started to get frustrated – he didn’t want his girl to go through the same turmoil as he didn’t, and eventually he forced my mom to take me to a dermatologist. After numerous blood tests I was prescribed Reaccutane. I had little hope as everything before failed and oh boy was I wrong. I know you may hear many horror stories on it and a lot of them may be true but for me – It was everything and I will never turn a moment back.


Let me just be clear – Reaccutane is no breeze in the park. It literally dries up everything. The benefit of this was that after two weeks I realized I haven’t washed my hair, and to be frank I didn’t wash it because I NEEDED to I only washed it because the thought of not doing so for two weeks was cringed worthy. That is how much everything dries up, you literally don’t have a drop of oil on your hair or body. When receiving your first prescription there are a list of creams and lotions for every area in your body to assist with the dryness.
My main problem when it came to dryness was my face, eyes and lips. On my face I used a cream intended for normal to dryskin, although it was really fun as I went from super oily skin and only to be limited to what products I put on my face to a normal dryskin where I can now experiment with serum and so forth, just be careful when it come to cleansers as your face becomes extremely sensitive in the sense off chemicals.

Acne and Reaccutane

Excuse the yucky picture quality of the yucky acne in my attempt to find pictures. NOTE the middle Photo. That was during my cycle off Reaccutane. Your Face is constantly Red

My lips were chapped and painfully red all the time and no matter what lipbalm I used, nothing seemed to work. Atlas after 4 months into my cycle I came across a tube called Carmex, because after four months and 20 different lipbalms – nearing to the end of my 6 month cycle I finally found something that works. Better late then never right? My burning dry eyes were also easy to tame, a little bit of eyedrops can go a really long way.


Sunscreen will become friend – well it should already be your friend so lets just say it will become your best friend. Your skin is already red and dry and trust me you do not want to go in the sun all exposed. There are a lot of rumors running around that exposure to the sun can worsen your condition or result in scarring however this is not the truth and I wish I knew that way back then.  However what it can and will cause is pigmentation and quickly, so my advise would be to try and plan your cycle so that it is in Winter that way the sun won’t be as potent.


Buh-Bye Waxing. Today I think it is a whole lot better to shake this one off as you can simply turn to threading but when I used Reaccutane threading wasn’t existent. I had to walk around with unshaped bushy brows as a tweezing is so excruciatingly painful and well waxing? Yeah it would tear off your skin.


Alcohol? You deserve only the truth, so let me be honest. I was not to far from 16 and me and my friends decided to take a LARGE sip of Mampoer.  Mampoer on its own is poisonous enough – Mixed with Reaccutane, it can be deadly. My Stomach, Pancreas and Intestines went into spasm. It was an unbearable pain suffered for 2 weeks and pain tablets was not even debatable as it would only worsen the spasm. Eating and drinking or merely breathing was the least to say impossible.


There are a lot more possible side effect but I decided to share only those which I have experienced and you can find a list off all the others here.

Lets get to the good stuff. Did the dry face, chapped lips, bushy brows and near death experience outweigh the use of Reaccutane? Definitely NOT. It was the best decision I made.

On my second day of drinking the tablet little dry patches started to develop and my skin was starting to clear. We all thought it was impossible because it was only my second day. However it was the truth.

Acne and Reaccutane

Left: My skin without any makeup or filters Right: The filter extenuates the scarring on my forehead. it still does not show the full effect but its something.

After the first month my skin was completely clear and cured and I mainly continued with my 6 month cycle as I really wanted to destroy the acne. I did not want to leave it any room whatsoever to creep back on me again.

And so it came that my cycle was complete. What happened then? I was paranoid the first three months after my cycle, constantly questioning the potency of the tablet  and if it could actually murder something as string as a gene. Well to my relief it did. The redness of my face started fading and within a few months my skintone was normal.

The acne? I haven’t seen a pimple for at least 3 years after my cycle. Not ONE pimple – not even hormonal breakouts or blackheads (Yes even Blackheads)could touch me.  Eventually when I did see a pimple it was literally only 1 pimple and nothing more. I also took care of it really quickly. From my fourth year up, when I was about 19 my hormonal breakouts started to return and the usual “nose” blackheads (for the lack of a better word).


On a Final Note: Overall I was really pleased with what a 6 month cycle of Reaccutane did for me and how it has changed my skin, my life and confidence. When I started the cycle I had very little hopes and the results and the long-term effects just blew me away. In the end if you are contemplating Reaccutane it comes down to the fact of what you want and desire and by weighing up those wants with the possible risks and what you are willing to do in order to achieve your desires. There is not a moment in my life where I have regretted taking Reaccutane regardless of all possible and dangerous side effects.


Have you been on Reaccutane before? If so did you get the results you wanted? How were your side effects? I would really love to know what your experience was so please drop a comment or just Tweet Me.


Disclaimer: In no way whatsoever am I an expert in Dermatology, Acne or Reaccutane. The opinions and thought expressed above are those of my own experiences. Remember that it is vitally important to consult with a doctor, in this case a dermatologist on any tablets that you are thinking of consuming. The above side effects are only what I have experienced. You may not experience anything at all or your side effects may be worse. That’s the beauty of life and beauty – We all are different.
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  • Reply
    May 26, 2016 at 6:54 am

    This post resonated so much with me! It’s an everyday battle with not wanting to wear makeup but having to due to how self conscious my skin makes you feel. But like you said makeup just makes acne look even worse! You definitely have to weigh up what you’re willing to sacrifice before going on this treatment but I have no doubt that it’s worth it. Your skin looks amazing!

    • Reply
      May 26, 2016 at 8:53 am

      Thank you so much.
      Yes Acne can become a difficult journey – I hope you decide what works for you and that things might just ease up.
      Have you tried any other treatments?

  • Reply
    May 26, 2016 at 6:56 am

    Omw I have had in school as well and I know the horrible feeling. I just wanted to hide at all times. My sisters, brother and I also inherited it from genes unfortunately. They have been on Reaccutane and completed their course but somehow the acne is slowly returning. I really wanted to consider it now that I am 31 with huge mountains popping up and leaving scars behind. But I was reading up on the side effects, I am not sure 🙁

    • Reply
      May 26, 2016 at 8:54 am

      Yes it sucks badly.
      As I mentioned you have to weigh up the risks with your desires. Only you would know what is best for you.

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