The big guns
When 40 greeted Andrea Franklin with her first-ever cystic breakouts, she learned a thing or two about isotretinoin (the drug also known as Roaccutane).
Here’s what they don’t tell you right off the bat about isotretinoin: no drinking. The medicine stresses your liver. And alcohol stresses your liver. See where I’m going with this?
Three, four, maybe five months to glowing skin also meant three, four, maybe five months staring at my tequila collection with longing and nostalgia. (Maybe cutting back wouldn’t be the worst thing.)
I’m a full-on grown-up, and after a lifetime of pretty damn good skin, I was dealing with near-constant cystic breakouts. For two-plus years, I tried it all and finally asked my dermatologist for the hard stuff.
Here are the other things you don’t know about isotretinoin.
First: you will have to take a test every month. A blood test – to assess that liver situation – and a ‘test test’. You want blemish-free skin, you’ve got to multiple-choice your way there. The ‘test test’ is to prove that you know the hazards of getting pregnant while on the drug. The hazards can best be summed up as a cross between science fiction and straightup horror. If you ever don’t know the answer to a question, pick the one that you would see in a straight-tovideo Tobe Hooper movie. You have to use two kinds of birth control, but feel free to add a third: abstinence.
Secondly: moisturise, moisturise, moisturise. Use cases of moisturiser. isotretinoin shrinks your oil glands, and while you’re on it, your skin will be all kinds of dry.
Finally: in three, four, five months, sit back and glow. I’m halfway there and already freaking radiant. In another month I’ll be done, and I will be beaming like the goddess Venus.