Friday 2nd – Monday 12th September
All was well with my new smooth face until mid-week prior to my period. As I have mentioned previously, I still get a few spots before my time of the month, but on this occasion I had an outbreak of lots of tiny pimples on my forehead. I’m still not 100% sure as to whether they were definitely spots – it could have been a reaction or something triggered by my dry skin as they were often itchy - but it was a massive concern for me when I had only a few days left of Roaccutane! I also had the usual few spots around my chin
Luckily, as is always the case, everything vanished by Monday and my skin was back to normal again. I tried not to stress too much about it because that often makes it worse, and was relieved when they cleared up. I accept that I will still get a few spots at certain times of the month, its not able to stabalize hormones unfortunately! A few days of blemishes is perfectly fine as long as they stay away for the majority of the time!
Today is 1st September and once again I am catching up. August flew by and I can happily say that I have had no more than 5 spots, all of which were tiny and hardly visible. I now have 12 days to go and I am extremely happy. I take notes most days of any side-effects or occurrences that I feel have been triggered by the Roaccutane, and throughout August I have not had much to say because everything has been so positive and problem free.
The first week in August was quite hot and on one particular day I was caught out in the sun without any sun lotion. I burnt quite badly on my back which was very itchy and sore for a few days and then peeled slightly. I alternated between tea tree oil and Lush Dream Cream to soothe the area which helped. It was my own fault ultimately and I learnt my lesson. Always use protection.
I have continued my Pilates classes on a Tuesday evening and I can feel that I am getting stronger. I am not yet convinced that it is helping my back but I will persevere, as I don’t expect things to improve instantly.
I had a couple of spots in the week prior to my period, as I always do, but these cleared very quickly and apart from that my complexion has been brilliant. I also haven’t had as many sensitive, red and flushing days as I used to. I bought a new cleanser from Lush called Angels On Bare Skin which I can’t recommend enough. It has exfoliating almonds in but is gentle enough to use everyday and filled with beneficial essential oils. My skin feels soft and smooth afterwards but never tight, plus it helps even out my skin tone.
My body has still been achy at the usual times, after exercise and when I am tired or have spent a lot of time sat down. The main parts being my back, hips, neck and shoulders. The aches are not restricting me like they have done before however, so I am not complaining. I think I may have neglected to mention previously about how my bodily skin has been whilst on the treatment. I apply E45 moisturiser every day after my shower, and that seems to keep any dryness at bay as it has been absolutely fine.
I went to the Chewton Glen for a spa day with my mum and sister on the Friday of bank holiday and I don’t remember the last time I was so relaxed. We had an amazing back, neck and shoulder massage, which helped release lots of tension. Plus, a facial which was tailored to suit our skin type. I informed my therapist that I was taking Roaccutane so she used very gentle products, and my skin was visibly brighter and even toned afterwards. Our last treat at the end of the day was a pedicure and in between treatments we used the different hydrotherapy pools and did lots of relaxing around the facilities. A quote from my mum, ‘Is this what heaven feels like?’
My lips have had occasions where they have been extremely dry and sore, but I often exacerbate the problem by picking them which I must stop doing! Facial dryness hasn’t been a problem, a few times in the shower lots of skin has come off which has resulted in soreness afterwards, but nothing that Manuka honey and my Lush Skin Drink moisturiser can’t sort out. I have maintained my Camomile steaming, baking soda exfoliating and honey smothering routine which always brightens and smoothes my complexion.
I don’t even have much to say about my August check-up at hospital because I was pretty much in and out! No baby, no spots and no problems. I asked the nurse how long the Roaccutane would stay in my system for afterwards, out of curiosity, and she said about 2 months. So by Christmas I will be Roaccutane free, and hopefully still spot free.
With only 12 days to go I can confidently say that Roaccutane has done a wonderful job in treating the acne, and the process really hasn’t been that bad at all. I must admit that I sometimes worry that the acne will return, but I know there are plenty of options available. My dermatologist said that it is extremely unlikely, and it certainly won’t be as severe if it does. But that is just me sitting here with my glass half empty. I will continue to look after my skin and take each day as it comes.
Saturday 23rd July
I woke up itching the same area on the back of both my right and left shoulder. Initially I thought I must just have a particularly dry patch, but then I noticed that my thigh was itchy too, so I took myself to the mirror. Somehow, despite wearing jeans and a jumper, I managed to get bitten 10 times at the pub the previous night. I have always suffered with the odd bite but these were something else! I don’t know if it was due to the Roaccutane in my blood or whether I was simply the most fanciable dish on offer, but I hope the little devils dried out. Chris and I went to a BBQ at a friends that evening and I sprayed myself with mosi-guard and smothered them in tea tree oil.
Sunday 24th July
They stayed away! No new bites fortunately but the others were still extremely itchy, it was very distracting and irritating. I kept them topped up with tea tree oil but I had to scratch a tiny bit… We went to another charity gig at our local pub which was set up outside as the sun was shining. I was wearing SPF40 but still managed to get a little pink on my cheeks and nose.
Monday 25th July
Extra tired after a busy weekend and more drinks than usual. I went to body max and then steamed my face over some Camomile tea, exfoliated with some baking soda and smothered it in honey for a while. My pink cheeks now just had a healthy glow and my complexion was looking lovely! My bites were still driving me crazy but I tried my best to ignore them…
Tuesday 26th July
Me and Chelle went to a Pilates for backs class after work. Chelle has back problems too so we decided to give it a try. It was enjoyable, as we did gentle exercises concentrating on the core but I could really feel my muscles working.
Wednesday 27th July
My skin was very dry, especially around my mouth. I had itchy eyes and struggled to stay focused at work. I went to body conditioning and in my shower that followed lots of skin was rubbing off again. It seems that on a Wednesday it decides that its had enough. Finally the itchiness of my bites was starting to ease, slowly but surely.
Thursday 28th July
I had clearly entered another dry spell. My lips were sore and I had to frequently re-apply my lip balm, along with spray for my itchy eyes too. I went to West Quay shopping centre in the evening to buy my sister a birthday present and have a wander. We went to Chiquitos for dinner, unaware that it was their first night open after recovering from a fire last year. Our dinner was half price and we had a free glass of pimms! I had been feeling a little down over the last couple of days, for no particular reason, but cheap, delicious Mexican food lifted my spirits.
Friday 29th July
Everyone was in happy spirits at work which meant the day flew by. I had Chinese for dinner, plus some giant chocolate buttons for pudding. And then Ben & Jerry’s chocolate fudge brownie ice-cream for pudding number 2. Sweet stuff has a separate compartment. Dry skin was flaking off my cheeks again but it was smooth and normal looking underneath. Also, my bites were fading away. Still itchy on occasions but much more bearable.
An itchy week, thank goodness for tea tree oil and chocolate.
It’s been a long while since there’s been any Spanks action unfortunately so here’s an update!
Monday 18th July
I felt tired, restless and slightly moody as my period started. But I was spot free which is the most important factor at present! I went to my body max class in the evening and had an early night.
Tuesday 19th July – Dermatologist Check-up
My dermatologist observed that my skin was looking great after 4 months of Roaccutane, which was very pleasing. When I explained about the severity of my aches and pains she did suggest lowering the dose if I so desired, but I chose to persevere with 30mg as I only had 8 weeks remaining! I questioned what would happen when I stopped taking the medication, as (if I hadn’t mentioned already) I’m going on holiday and don’t want anything unexpected to occur. She assured me that it would all settle back to normal, with my sensitivity/redness reducing and my oil glands slowly starting to produce oil again. I left feeling very chirpy and went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, which was amazing. I also discovered a new popcorn wonder from Tesco – Chocolate Brownie Popcorn – delicious!
Wednesday 20th July
Dopey after a late night and my lips became very dry again, especially at the corners of my mouth. My skin was also flakey around my mouth and chin area. I went to body conditioning that evening and in the shower afterwards a lot of skin was rubbing off my face in the hot water. I used a gentle St Ives apricot scrub and applied some honey for a couple of hours. The apples of my cheeks were very sore as though too much skin had escaped.
Thursday 21st + Friday 22nd July
I had a rough patch of skin on my right cheek where it had been sore. As I suspected a little too much skin had rubbed off in the shower and it was obviously healing… at least it wasn’t spots! Different muscles ached after body conditioning but nothing unmanageable. My back has been much better recently, as although I have done a fair amount of exercise it hasn’t caused me any trouble. I get the odd twinge and it feels quite weak, but I am working on strengthening. As my facial dryness increased throughout the day the rougher patch of skin flaked off my right cheek and left it nice and smooth again. Friday was a quick day and I went to the gym after work, followed by a shower, followed by a trip to the pub. It was a warm evening so we sat outside with our drinks, little did I know the mosquitoes would get me…
A dry yet spot free week, yay!
Tuesday 12th July
More aches and pains arrived after my Body Max exercise class the previous evening, but these were welcome as I felt like I’d had a good work-out after being slightly inactive recently. A couple more spots appeared on my face. I normally have a little breakout the week prior to my period however the spots were bigger than usual which made me feel down. I went to yoga in the evening and it really helped release some tension in my neck and shoulders and improve my range of movement. When I finished the class I felt very relaxed and my posture seemed a lot better… I shall definitely go again when I can make it.
Wednesday 13th July
My spots calmed down a little as I found a tea tree, lavender and melissa oil spot stick which helped. I went for a naughty pizza with a couple of friends after work. We ended up eating nachos to start, a pizza and a salad bowl (which didn’t really contain a lot of salad). Each. When I got home I found a box of maltesers in the fridge from which I scoffed about 20. It’s impossible to just have a few maltesers… thank goodness what you eat doesn’t affect your complexion! I had quite a big food baby when I got into bed.
Thursday 14th July
My food baby wasn’t so big in the morning although I was very hungry. I always become extra hungry the day after I have been greedy. Another couple of spots popped up on my cheeks which were quite red. I’m not used to having spots these days so when I do it makes me unhappy and worried. After work I met my Dad for a drink at Nero’s and ate a raspberry and white chocolate muffin, a sweet treat that I can never resist. I then had a dilemma… aerobics or steak night with my family? I recently started a 5 week unlimited use program at my local leisure centre and wanted to get my money’s worth, however I also wanted steak and to spend some time with my grandparents while they were down. I opted for steak, followed by hot chocolate fudge cake for pudding. Oh dear.
Friday 15th July
In the morning my food baby seemed to have grown again unsurprisingly, however my day at work went by quickly and I did some exercise in the gym after. My face was very dry in the evening, and when I steamed it over some Camomile tea a lot of skin was coming off. Snakey Spanks. I don’t mind this however, as I like to think that I am shedding my spotty skin and hopefully the skin underneath will be smooth and clear. It also helps me feel fresh as it is often unpleasant when my skin is dry and the odd little patch becomes flakey. I had a BBQ in the evening followed by 2 slices of home-made maltesers cheesecake. I was clearly lacking some will power… I blame it on my hormones.
Saturday 16th July
My face had pretty much cleared up again thankfully and my stomach wasn’t quite as full in the morning as I had expected. It was quite a busy Saturday as we helped a friend out with a music video and went to a charity gig in the evening. For dinner I had fish and chips, a chocolate muffin, a twirl and an innocent smoothie to make me feel less guilty, although it didn’t really work. My body was quite achy and tired after a busy day and full once again as I got into bed. I had to wear quite a lot of make-up for the music video unfortunately, and my face was quite red after I removed it, but it didn’t take long to calm down.
Sunday 17th July
I had a wonderful lie-in and a lazy day in general. Chris and I booked our cruise excursions which got me excited and we had a salad for dinner, yes, a salad! My joints were very stiff and I felt tense in my neck and shoulders again, I had a relaxing and early night.
A few spots during the week got me a little down but I am sure that it is purely because my period was due shortly, as I never get them at any other time throughout the month. I aimed to practise a little more self-control with my eating habits the following week, as healthy Frankie seemed to have taken a holiday!
Today is Monday 11th July. The past couple of weeks have been so busy, with plans most nights and if there hasn’t been a plan I have needed to sleep rather than stare at my laptop screen. It is now catch up time! Overall, my face has been great; no new spots and reduced redness. Happy Franks. However, on Saturday I had 3 new spots… nooooo! All tiny on my right cheek. They aren’t so bad today, but have left tiny red dots in their place. The little buggers always have to mark their territory. Nevermind, these shall fade swiftly.
A couple of weeks ago on Wednesday 22nd June my back pain deteriorated. I bent down slightly in the morning to put something in the bin and felt a terrible pain in my lower back. I could hardly move for 10 minutes or so as I suffered with awful spasms. When it calmed down I managed to make it to work, however an ache made its way gradually up my back and settled in for the day, unwelcome. Over the next couple of days it was very sore, and sitting at work for long periods of time made it exceptionally uncomfortable. On Friday evening I had painful twinges down the back of my thigh on my left leg, which felt like they were coming from my bum, and I am aware that this is the sciatic nerve. I went to dancing as I thought a bit of gentle exercise might do me good, and could no longer feel it afterwards. Next, on Sunday, I got stuck lying on my back in the forest as an awful pain in my right hip prevented me from rolling over to sit up. When I did eventually manage to sit up I couldn’t walk properly for the rest of the day…
I went to the doctors on Tuesday 28th June and explained that I have had problems on and off for the last 4/5 months but that all of a sudden the pain had become very severe. She had a gentle feel and informed me that I had strained my right hip-joint, which as a result had put pressure on my sciatic nerve. She seemed pretty confident that it would clear up within a couple of weeks and prescribed some ibuprofen. I was understandably dubious, finding it hard to believe that after months of discomfort and pain it all came down to a strained hip-joint, but decided to give it a couple of weeks and return if there was no improvement. I checked out my Roaccutane leaflets and they did say that joint pain was a common side-effect…
(On a happy note, I went to see Bridesmaids at the cinema in the evening and I don’t think I have laughed so much at a film in years.)
I woke up with a very sore throat on Wednesday morning. I thought it might just be from where I was tired but unfortunately it didn’t go away. It stopped me from sleeping at night because it was so sore and on Thursday the sniffles kicked in. You can see where this is going…
By Friday it was a proper cold. I went for a few (too many) cocktails after work and woke up on Saturday morning congested and hung over. A pizza and chocolate buttons eventually sorted me out, but I could tell that my liver wasn’t happy and next time I will be more sensible with the amount I drink. Over the next few days I suffered with a nasty cold which exhausted me. On Tuesday a painful cough kicked in and my chest hurt. I ended up being ill off work on Thursday and Friday and the doctor confirmed that I had a chest infection. Today is the first day that I have felt much better and not needed to blow my nose every 5 minutes.
It is clear that I have a low immune system whilst taking Roaccutane as it was only a couple of months ago that I had laryngitis. My back has become quite clicky and is still often tender, but the sudden severe pain has ceased and I am keeping an eye on it. I do feel like I am living in a frail old lady’s body these days, but hopefully I’ll find mine again when I stop taking the medication. As I write this I have a face covered in Manuka honey, I also have some on my lips as they have been quite sore lately, but I can feel it working its magic.
Tomorrow will be week 15! I’ll pop up some more photos soon. I am now going to rinse off my honey and get some sleep, and hope that Tuesday is kind to me.
Tuesday 21st June
Exactly 3 months into taking Roaccutane! The weeks have flown by…
I had a check-up and pregnancy test at the hospital in the morning. The nurse said that my skin was looking good and I saw her write on my notes that it was clear of spots. Yay! I explained that I occasionally get the odd pimple around my chin, and she felt the area and assured me that there was no active acne there. I also told her about how achey and tired my body gets and she advised me to reduce my exercise.
My pregnancy test was negative unsurprisingly, and she prescribed another 4 weeks of Roaccutane for me, still at 30mg a day. I asked if she could say whether I would be taking the medication for the full 6 months and she explained that it was most likely, just to be certain. It is preferable to take it for 2 months after the skin has cleared up. I don’t mind at all as the side-effects are nowhere near as bad as I imagined and completely manageable.
I looked at my diary and calculated that my last day of taking Roaccutane should be Tuesday 13th September, if all goes well. I am not sure of how long it stays in your system afterwards however I imagine quite a while… in any case I will have a couple of weeks before my birthday and cruise for things to slowly begin settling back to normal.
My face was the clearest it has been since the beginning of my Roaccutane journey… so much smoother and even toned.
Aches and pains remain the worst side-effect, with my lower back and neck having been particularly sore in the last few weeks. My joints have also been a little on the clicky side recently, especially in my back and hips. My body is starting to feel older by the day, but thankfully it isn’t long term…
It was a tiring week as I had plans each night, but at least it meant that my weekend lie-ins arrived in what seemed like no time at all. My lips were dry and my eyes were itchy but they didn’t seem as bad as previous times.
I had a new, uninvited occurrence of discomfort with my stomach and bowels. I do not know whether this was a side-effect of the Roaccutane but I was often extremely bloated and had stomach aches in the evenings. I had not made any changes to my diet and have always endeavoured to be a very healthy eater, but my stomach did not feel right. I found this message board on acne.org and it seems that other people experience similar symptoms around the halfway/3 month mark. I shall certainly keep an eye on it:
- Facial dryness: 2
- Bodily dryness: 2
- Itchiness on face: 2
- Itchiness on scalp: 1
- Hair loss: 2
- Eyes: 3
- Lips: 5
- Fatigue: 4
- Aches & pains: 5
- Mood in general: 3
I didn’t photograph my skin at 8 weeks unfortunately… but here are some photos of my skin at present, 11 weeks into the medication, added on to my Pre-Roacc and Four Weeks photos. It is clear that the medication is improving my skin, fingers crossed it will continue to get better!
Sunday 12th June
I have nothing new to report so decided to summarise my experience of Roaccutane up to this point. I have now been taking 30mg a day of Roaccutane for nearly 11 weeks. My acne was moderate/severe when I started taking the medication and these days it is rare for me to get a pimple. Roaccutane has worked brilliantly for me so far, although I hate to tempt fate!
My skin has become very sensitive and flushes easily, more so when I am on my period. When my face is flushed it highlights areas where I have previously had spots and goes red and blotchy. As annoying as this is, my dermatologist has assured me that it is not long-term, and often I will flush one day and be normal the next. I have to be very gentle with my face as it does mark easily, but they disappear swiftly.
My face gets dry, however not as much as I expected. It is generally most dry in the mornings and occasionally flaky around my chin, but I use a brilliant Lush facial moisturiser called Skin Drink. I only need to apply it in the mornings before work and at night before bed and it keeps my skin feeling soft and supple all day. It is made with almond oil, rose oil, aloe vera and plenty of other soothing, natural ingredients. I seriously recommend Skin Drink for dry and sensitive skin. A few times a week I gently exfoliate my face with some baking soda to remove any dead skin. I also steam my face over Camomile tea and apply Manuka honey for a couple of hours which is very soothing. Here is an article which explains the benefits of Manuka oil and honey, it really is amazing stuff:
I moisturise my body every day with E45 cream and this seems to prevent any dryness. If my body does feel dry it is normally on my shins and the backs of my hands. On any particularly dry or irritated patches that appear (face and body) I use Dream Cream from Lush which works instantly. Another recommendation of mine as it contains lavender oil, chamomile, oat milk and the list goes on…
I have noticed that my eye irritation has stepped up a notch within the last week. They used to get itchy sporadically, but this week they have been dry, itchy and tired every day, especially in the evenings. I will continue to use my Optrex spray and I have moisturising eye drops too. Annoyingly I get squeamish with eyes so I need someone to do the eye drops for me!
I can’t be anywhere without my lip balm as they can become very dry and sore. Although I admit that I often pick them when they are dry, which undoubtedly makes them worse, so I blame myself for a lot of the discomfort. If they are particularly sore I apply Manuka honey to them at night-time, over the top of my lip balm, and this helps them heal rapidly overnight. I have been using a natural lip balm that contains honey… it keeps my lips moisturised for a long while and means I don’t have to keep applying it. Lips don’t have any oil glands in them so it is extra important to keep them moisturised with a nourishing balm.
Fatigue, Aches & Pains
This is the worst side-effect for me. I have always suffered with a slightly achy body at times because I used to dance a great deal for many years. However since taking Roaccutane my body gets exceptionally sore and my lower back can be terrible, worse when I am stood up or walking around for a while. I still exercise when I can as I hate to be inactive, and stretching after must do my muscles some good. I get extremely tired and restless when I am at work as I find it hard to get into a comfortable position.
When I first started taking Roaccutane I had a significant amount of hair loss, however this has now settled down thanks to my New solid shampoo bar from Lush. It contains cinnamon and clove to stimulate the scalp and encourage hair growth, and amazingly it has actually worked. I lose very little now and my hair feels much stronger and in better condition. New paired with Jungle solid conditioner does a beautiful job on my curly hair.
I have not had any suicidal thoughts or depressed feelings whilst taking Roaccutane. I feel down and not totally myself at times, but this could just be as a result of how tired and achy I am.
Overall, I am so pleased that I decided to take the medication and the side-effects are nowhere near as bad as I anticipated. I will just keep my fingers crossed that the next few months continue to go by as smoothly.