Roaccutane changed my life and I didn’t get depressed

If anything, it prevented depression


Most of us will have had acne affect us at some point in our lives. Even just one spot can be a terrific pain in the arse (and the face). For some students however, having just one spot to worry about would be like a dream.

Severe acne affects many students here and around the world, and while it has the obvious effects of skin inflammation and greater numbers of cystic spots, many of us don’t realise the psychological effects that it causes such as depression, low self-esteem and even suicide in some very extreme cases.

Roaccutane – a treatment for severe acne – has been divisive for it’s potential side effects of depression and mental health issues.

But I want to stress that this will only affect 1 in 10,000 people. As someone who has completed a course of Roaccutane, I can happily say I am not writing this from a mental institution and that taking it was one of the best decisions of my life. If anything, it prevented depression.


From around the age of 13, I started developing acne which gradually grew more aggressive as I got older. Without wishing to make a sob story out of it, it really does suck.

My self-esteem and confidence were pretty low through school, and having boils on your face is rather painful for both yourself and for those who lay eyes upon you. Perhaps the biggest tragedy of all was that I felt the need to grow my hair to cover my face which made me look like a cross between Garfield and Brian May.

After discovering that no other treatments worked for me (antibiotics and topical creams), at 16 I was referred to a dermatologist who advised I take a four month course of Roaccutane.

The extent of the damage caused by acne


As somebody who has incredible medical knowledge, I can tell you that the drug basically sucks all the nasty acne juice out of your system – which has both incredible and shitty effects.

Within the first two weeks, I noticed that my acne reduced a hell of a lot. It also continued to reduce throughout the treatment until I had totally clear skin by the end of the four months. Ever since, the most I can ever complain about is perhaps getting one or two spots every few weeks. My self-esteem shot right up, I didn’t need to worry about using special facial treatments and all in all I was a lot happier.

That said, Roaccutane is not a drug that is to be taken on a whim and should only be considered for severe cases. When I was on it, my skin has the texture of Weetabix. I had to be careful how widely I opened my jaw as the sides of my lips would rip if it was opened too widely.

But the biggest downfall for me was that you’re not supposed to drink on it due to the stress on your liver caused by the drug – a major conundrum for students.

Now, I don’t advocate drinking while on Roaccutane, but I will say that I occasionally had a couple of pints when on it and was fine. However one time I stupidly decided to do shots, and ended up in a quivering mess on the floor.

You have to take four tablets a day (but this may differ depending on the case). You also have to go in for a couple of blood tests to ensure that your liver can take the beating.

I could never imagine having clear skin during my teenage years, but now I feel like I could star in a Gillette advert. It will be a pain in the arse when you’re on it, but the freedom and confidence it grants you afterwards is absolutely worth it.