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The lovely Saatchi Vaghela Durley has shared her insight into her acne struggles, her time on Roaccutane and finding love for her skin.

Roaccutane: the Holy Grail of Acne Struggles

Amongst skincare fanatics and acne-strugglers, Roaccutane carries heavy connotations: it can be your worst nightmare or your saviour. After three years of topical solutions, antibiotics and variations of the Pill, my GP finally referred me to a dermatologist at a hospital an hour away from home. Before even a discussion of Roaccutane could commence, I was required to provide a negative pregnancy test (to be done in the hospital and my pee-stick handed to a nurse) and undergo blood tests to check my suitability for the powerful drug. 

As I expected, Roaccutane took its toll almost immediately on my mental health

As I expected, Roaccutane took its toll almost immediately on my mental health. My skin, which, for the past 17 years, had been excessively oily and spotty suddenly became extremely sensitive, dry and inflamed. I knew dry skin was a side effect of Roaccutane but I could never have predicted the extent of it. I tore through carmex after carmex, trying to salvage my new, flaky lips. At first, I flailed. I had always been so cautious when it came to choosing skin-care products, afraid of worsening my already oily skin. I used to feel like skincare was too much work for a face that I had begun to believe wasn’t worth salvaging. Without TikTok dermatologists and the willpower to save my seemingly beyond-help acne, I didn’t even know where to start.

So, I turned first to bio-oil. It seemed heavy enough to repair my drying skin and the ability to heal acne scars, of which I had dozens, and I’d heard fantastic reviews from my then-boyfriend, who swore by it for his stretch marks. There’s no doubt about it, bio-oil worked wonders magic-ing away the dark spots across my chin and forehead. And so, my skincare journey began. As we all know so well, you shouldn’t overload your skin with multiple new products at once. I had little choice. Collecting sudocremes, moisturisers, toners and neutrogena products, I soon had quite the collection.

I finally became comfortable enough to brave nights out without so much as concealer

As the months went by and my skin got progressively drier, I learnt how best to balance my new products. ‘Less really is more’ finally rang true and I struck gold with a gentle balance of aloe Vera, moisturisers and bio-oil. I religiously continued my routine through the first year of uni (I found it extremely calming standing in front of the mirror and massaging my face after long days!) and finally began to see results. My skin became softer and significantly brighter. I had spent years reapplying foundation and powder throughout the day and I finally became comfortable enough to brave nights out without so much as concealer. The aftermath of Roaccutane was truly when I came into myself and my confidence.

The real lesson was learning that the most expensive products are not always the best. Packed with alcohols and chemicals, it is best to find the purest forms of ingredients. Notably, my aloe Vera (that I still use, three years later, every night!) is a cheap supermarket one, marketed at sunburn rather than dry skin. Bio oil recently became available as a gel rather than a literal oil and it’s still as effective as ever. My newest addition is The Ordinary’s retinol, which I very tentatively use twice a week but, honestly, I love how it’s fading my scars. I can’t wait to add Perl Cosmetic’s pearl powder clay mask to my routine as it’s so simple and will fit perfectly!

You’ll realise just how important it is to look after your skin, and eventually strike gold on how exactly to do it

Overall, I would say Roaccutane is worth the wild ride. You’ll realise just how important it is to look after your skin, and eventually strike gold on how exactly to do it. My advice: be ready for the commitment of meticulously tending your skin, and you’ll have a brand-new face before long. Happy skincare!


We hope you enjoyed reading about Saatchi‘s journey to loving her skin. If you’re thinking about going on Roaccutane, please check out the wealth of resources available online such as NHS and this POPSUGAR article about products that saved drying skin whilst on Roaccutane.

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