When I first visited my GP as a teenager about my skin, the first step to treatment was topical. I was prescribed Zineryt, a lotion containing zinc and antibiotic- erythromycin.
It is prescribed to patients with acne for around three months, where it usually clears up two thirds of spots. However, for the unfortunate few, their strain of acne bacteria are resistant to erythromycin.
After a few months I was prescribed oral antibiotics. At the time I didn’t understand the health implications for taking antibiotics for that length of time. I had developed a very sensitive gut and have ever since suffered with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
With minimal results, I requested to try Dianette, a contraceptive pill that is prescribed to women with severe acne that has not cleared up with the use of antibiotics or other treatments.
At this point I had finished my qualifications as a beauty therapist and entered the world of skincare. I loved learning everything about the skin. I wanted to know it all. I hoped that along the way I would find the answer to clearing my skin.
Years went by and my career got in the way of ‘finding the answer’. I looked after my skin impeccably but was no closer to ridding myself of acne, not while my digestive system and hormones were so out of balance.
At twenty four I decided that I had enough. I set up a private consultation to enquire about isotretinoin (roaccutane). It was a lengthy process because I had to lower my cholesterol before I was able to start the medication. I was told then that the side effects of the drug were severe depression and damage to the liver.
I was completely torn. My holistic, beauty therapist self was telling me ‘DON’T DO IT’ and my blemished, emotionally exhausted self was saying ‘IT’S THE ONLY WAY.’
Did I really want to take the risk of medication again after what happened with the antibiotics?
Yes… I was desperate.
I was closely monitored and had to make some adjustments to my diet to maintain my cholesterol levels. It was an expensive process because I opted to go privately due to the long wait for our national health service.
After nine months, my cystic acne improved and my pores were incredibly tight.
Four years later… I still have acne.
In all this time, it seems the cause of my acne has never been treated.
I have recently made an appointment with a naturopathic doctor to try and eliminate some possible causes for my acne. Answers certainly do not come cheap but at twenty-eight, it is worth the investment.