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Albeit quite controversial, Roaccutane is still a common prescription for those suffering from cystic, uncontrollable acne, especially in your teens and early 20s. This oral medication definitely has its side effects, taking a toll on the complexion before it magically clears up for good.
If you’re considering going on Roaccutane, or have recently started taking it to get acne under control, you’ll need a few quality skincare items in your arsenal to keep your complexion as healthy as possible. It’s also tough to find products that won’t react with your skin in its newly-fragile state.
Thankfully, we know how challenging creating a routine whilst on Roaccutane can be, so we’ve rounded up a range of skincare must-haves that not only have zero conflicting side effects, but also will ensure your skin stays hydrated and soothed throughout the process — keep on reading to discover them.
First, let’s start with the ingredients you must never use simultaneously with Roaccutane. As it clears up excess oil production, Roaccutane can make the skin dry, scaly or flaky in nature for a few months, in addition to making it extremely sensitive. As a result, you should avoid typically harsh ingredients and especially those that encourage rough and regular skin cell turnover.
Retinols – Anyone who knows their skincare is aware that Retinol, despite being one of the most effective skincare ingredients around, isn’t gentle in nature. Even those with regular skin not taking any medication will notice peeling, flaking and irritation if used too frequently or not in conjunction with a good SPF. As Roaccutane heightens your skin’s sensitivities, it’s a good idea to stay away throughout your course of treatment.
AHAs and BHAs – Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) are incredible chemical exfoliants that buff away at the skin’s outer layers, revealing smoother, softer and more radiant skin underneath. However, they also can be on the rougher side when your skin is extremely fragile. Thus, they’re a no-no when you’re on Roaccutane. Even after finishing your treatment, we’d recommend sticking to BHAs for a while, as they’re a little less intense and have moisture-locking properties.
Manual scrubs – You know those grainy exfoliants most of us keep in the shower? Well, Roaccutane users should be giving them up, as they (once again) slough away at the skin’s outer layers. Although this is an important process, it’s not good for skin on Roaccutane due to that increased sensitivity.
Now that all the don’ts are out of the way, let’s get onto some Roaccutane skincare dos. It’s important to combat against two key side effects whilst on this anti-acne drug — excessive dryness and increased sensitivity. The former means you’ll need a truly soothing, hydration-locking moisturiser, whereas the latter can demand serums, cleansers and more designed for redness and reactivity.
Thankfully, there are a few quality items out there that are raved about for skins on Roaccutane. They contain no nasties, nothing harsh or overpowering, and instead, focus on soothing and re-instilling skin health.
Cleanser – For your cleanser, it’s important to find something that doesn’t strip the skin’s natural oils. Although you may have had oily skin before trying out this acne cure, you’ll be experiencing quite the opposite now. The Skinstitut Gentle Cleanser is a fantastic option, as it has been designed with post-procedural patients in mind, and so is incredibly light and non-irritating. Green Tea, Goji Berry and Vitamin E work to calm and nourish.
Another go-to is the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Dermo Cleanser, which has a milky texture that helps to lock moisture to the skin. It’s never drying, so will leave your complexion in top shape despite your medication. It’s been designed for skin that’s on the fussy side, so you can guarantee no nasties or unwanted reactions.
Toner – Toner isn’t particular necessary when on Roaccutane, as it tightens the pores and can often be a bit too harsh. Instead, we suggest opting for a mist or spray that you can spritz whenever you like. This will help add on-the-go hydration to the skin, and also feels a little luxurious! Opt for a natural formula, such as the Trilogy Hydrating Mist Toner, which is super hydrating and feels cool on otherwise-stressed skin.
Moisturiser – You can’t skimp on the hydration when using this treatment — trust us! The skin will dry right out ’til around a month after you stop taking it, so it’s important to have a quality product or two on hand to lock in moisture. The La Roche-Posay range has a few great options, as each product is free of typical chemicals and names hydrating spring water from France as a key ingredient. To truly soothe and nourish chapped or uncomfortable skin, opt for the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Overnight Moisturiser before bed.
If you want something lighter for during the day, try the Dermalogica Active Moist. Raved about by skincare lovers everywhere, this ultra-light moisturiser still gives the skin hydration whilst keeping pores clear of any clogging. It’s perfect for those who experience acne, making it a go-to while skin is still sensitive and reactive on Roaccutane. If your skin doesn’t get enough moisture from this product, instead switch to the Dermalogica Intensive Moisture Balance.
SPF – All Roaccutane users should ensure they have a solid SPF in their collection, to apply to the face before heading out into the sun. We all know SPFs are non-negotiable parts of our routine, after all! When choosing your sunscreen, simply ensure none of the offending ingredients are present and that the formula itself has been designed for the face.
Lip care – If you know anyone who’s used Roaccutane before (or if you’ve been using it for a while yourself), you’ll know lip balm is a complete must. The lips can dry out to the point of cracking when on this treatment, so keeping them nourished is key. We recommend using something that relies on natural ingredients like shea butter or ultra-nourishing lanolin to do the job.
If you’re on or have used Roaccutane, what are your skincare go-tos? Let us know over on Facebook or Twitter!
I'm a journalism grad and avid makeup fan with an unhealthy addiction to buying nude lipsticks, no matter how similar they all may seem. I love chatting to anyone who will listen about my new favourite products, skincare dos and don'ts and practically any other beauty-related topic under the sun. That doesn't mean I'm frivolous with my recommendations, though--you can count on me to give you the nitty gritty on all your wishlist products. In my spare time, you'll find me binge-watching old episodes of Gilmore Girls or at brunch with a large iced coffee in my hand.
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