Acne is one of those things some people fight in their lives – and I have been fighting for the ‘clear skin cause’ my entire pubescent life. And apparently, it’s a war I’m going to have to keep fighting. My dermatologist and I have worked together for 9 years to solve this (seemingly superficial) crisis, but my body is just not having it. I’m sitting 6 and a half months in of my 7 month stint, forth time around. Before, I was taking the original Roaccutane (branded, fairly pricey), but after years have passed, the generic version of the wonder drug, Oratane, has become available. The isotretinoin (a form of vitamin A) based capsule is used to ‘cure’ serious acne, and encourage collagen production, reducing scaring.
I have been there, and tried everything – and this drastic measure was the ONLY thing that helped. So I have a few tips to share, as well as my favourite ‘must-use’ products for when you are going through this hectic treatment.
One of the main side effects is incredible lip dryness. if there is one thing you do during this time – it needs to be ‘splurging’ on all the Blistex DCT ‘Daily Conditioning Treatment‘ (R68,95*, Dischem) you can get your hands onto. And pack that stuff on – at least 5 times a day. It will hydrate your peeling, cracked lips as well as give you that needed sun-protection. It smells great too.
As a perfectly clear face is the end goal – what you wash your face with obviously makes a huge difference. I swear by the African Extracts Rooibos range! The ‘Purifying‘ mini-range uses bio-active rooibos and boabab extracts to soothe the sensitive skin. I have tried out a few of the ranges moisturisers (of other brands too) but this ‘Dual-Action Moisturiser’ (R47,99*, Pick n Pay Online) is absolutely perfect! No shine and it leaves the skin soft and smelling fresh. Best use it on soft skin, such as the face, neck and chest.
Added bonus: It’s endorsed by Beauty without Cruelty. Winning.
Being on Oratane basically feels like all the moisture and oils have been sucked out of your skin. That’s why it is SO vital that you replenish the liquids into your body. Drink water, water and more water. Take long, luxurious warm baths with salts and bombs. Apply high SPF sunscreen if you HAVE to be outdoors, but you should avoid direct sunlight for the duration of your treatment, and for a month or so after.
After every shower/bath, pat yourself down (well) and take a few minutes to cover your body in Nivae Creme Tin (R32,95*, Clicks). This nourishing body cream coats your skin in a cool layer of hydration, and absorbs quickly – leaving the skin feeling soft and heavenly. I wouldn’t suggest using this product on your face, but rather focusing on the courser areas like elbows, hands, feet and behind the knees. It doesn’t mix with water, so make sure your body is dry before applying.
The basic, general idea of this is to advise you NOT to be a hero – you cannot survive your treatment without incredible amounts of moisture being put back into your skin and body. The medication also has other side effects, and should only be used in serious cases, so read up about the product before speaking to your GP.
Dermatologist: Dr Stephan Voget, 021 426 2107, 87 Loop Street/181 Longmarket Street, Ground Floor Christiaan Barnard Med Chambers, Cape Town.
*Prices are subject to change, and may vary from store to store in South Africa.
DISCLAIMER: The thoughts are of the writers own, and not that of Blistex, African Extracts, Nivea or the PR Agencies representing them in South Africa. The product was store bought and tried/tested by the writer on her own body over a period of 6 months.