Hey guys, my name is Niss and I’m a 25 year old skin obsessive from Canberra, Australia. I’ve been on the acne rollercoaster for at least 10 years now and have learnt a lot of things about myself and skincare along the way.
In year 8 I started to get a lot of acne (thanks, puberty) and I remember being so embarrassed about it and caking on foundation to try and cover it up. In year 10 I went on the pill to address my acne, and it worked wonders! Who knew, a little pill could solve all my 16 year old girl problems.
Coming off the contraceptive pill
I continued to take the contraceptive pill until about 2017 where I decided I wanted to see how my skin would fare without it. Spoilers, it did not fare well haha. I broke out in cystic hormonal acne on my jawline and my cheeks, and as someone with melanin, I was prone to hyperpigmentation so any cystic spot would leave behind a dark spot for months. These nodules were so painful, that often it would be uncomfortable to even sleep on my side if there was a deep pimple there.
If you’ve had bad acne before, you’d know the lengths we’d go to to get rid of it. It’s not only painful to the touch, but mentally having prevalent acne is quite challenging. I tried different supplements, in clinic procedures, prescribed topicals, and expensive products. In the end, I decided to seek out the advice of a dermatologist as I felt I had exhausted all my other options.
Getting help from a dermatologist
Guys, if you struggle with a skin condition and have tried your best to address it and nothing has worked – just go see a professional. It will save you so much time, money, and heartache. Man, I wish I went to see a dermatologist sooner! This dermatologist put me on Accutane straight away. Was I a little nervous? Of course! I had heard some horror stories, but I was also willing to do anything for clear skin.
Luckily, my dermatologist made me feel very safe and comfortable with the medication, and placed me on a low dosage to avoid any adverse reactions. Within 3 months, my skin was clearing up, and at 6 months my skin was crystal clear. The before and after was like night and day, I couldn’t believe it !! During this time, I had to strip my whole skincare routine to the bare minimum. The catch with taking Accutane is that you are required to be on some form of birth control while taking it. So although I had my dream skin, I was back on the pill – the thing that had been my acne band aid for so long.
After a lot of thought, research, and nervous breakdowns, I decided to rip the band aid off and come off the pill. I was tired of taking synthetic hormones that were essentially just a safety net for my skin, and I knew that long term, I would have to come off it at some point. Fast forward 4 months later, and here we are! No longer dependent on any medications for my skin, and let me tell you – it’s so freeing!
Achieving healthy, not perfect, skin post pill and post Accutane
Do I get breakouts here and there? Yes! Absolutely. But having pores, breakouts, and spots is a part of life. It’s a part of healthy skin and it’s completely normal. I always emphasise that the only way I achieved “perfect” skin was through intense medication, but in reality having spots and wrinkles and uneven skin is completely natural and still beautiful.
So what do I use now to keep those pesky spots at bay? Let me share with you my ride or dies for my acne prone sensitive skin.
I have been using Cerave since I was on Accutane, and I still use it today. They are an affordable brand and accessible too. They are dermatologist recommended and have a wonderful range of products. I specifically love their hydrating cleanser and their lotion. As someone who is prone to dark spots, I need to keep my skin hydrated to ensure minimised inflammation. These products are wonderful!
I will admit it, I am a bit lazy when it comes to cleansing my face. Although I believe that cleansing is crucial to a clean canvas, I always tend to rush through the process so I can get to the fun stuff – serums! Using a cleansing device like the LUNA Play Plus 2 makes sure that I put more love and attention into the cleansing process.
Cosrx 96 Snail Mucin Essence
If you have normal – dry skin ( and if you’ve been on Accutane, this is probably you, ha!) then this essence is wonderful for nourishing and strengthening the skin barrier. It is an amazing product for hydration and bringing radiance to the skin.
Cosrx Pimple Patches
If you’ve never had the urge to pick at a pimple, you’re lying! Although it may be satisfying to pick at a spot, it will always lead to more irritation, inflammation, and therefore lead to post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. These hydrocolloid patches are perfect for sucking out any gunk that may lie in your breakout, while also preventing you from prodding and poking it throughout the day (or night!).
I LOVE LED light, and I especially love this blue light LED wand from FOREO. This device targets acne spots and helps to kill acne causing bacteria and reduces inflammation (big yes from me!) I find that using this at night over ant breakouts really helps to speed up the healing process too.
So that’s it guys, those are my current favourites for my post Accutane and post pill skin. Of course, the rollercoaster is never ending, and I am still trying to figure out my hormones and body post pill, but that’s a story for another time ;)
If you’d like to follow along on my journey you can catch me @thisisniss_ on Instagram! See you there!