My acne journey, Accutane and AM skincare routine

This post is going to be a lengthy one, I hope you're into a more personal update. First, big thank you for everyone participating the giveaway - I love your post suggestions! Some of you requested my skincare routine and obsessed with Asian skincare I gladly write about it. Except, I'm on Accutane and not following my regular routine. Maybe this post will serve as a documentation of my skincare journey and interest others with troubled skin. I will review the products I use more in depth in the future posts, if they are good or interesting.


Growing up I had unproblematic skin. I didn't have any major break outs as a teenager nor remember suffering from a very dry skin. In my mid twenties my skin started to change. When I moved to Japan in 2014 I had a very bad diet, and a lot of small whiteheads and impurities started to appear. The break outs weren't massive deep cystic ones, but my cheeks looked very angry and covered with small red pimples. I had to quit hot yoga as my body skin got itchy and irritated.

First actions

After a year I moved back to Finland and gave up gluten and dairy again, my skin started to clear up a bit and became less angry looking. The itchiness vanished completely. I still had whiteheads and impurities on my forehead and on my cheeks, bigger pimples left a red scar for months. I educated myself about skincare: acid toners, exfoliant, lotions and potions. I'be listed my first tips for mild acne here. I find Paula's Choice salicylic acid and a retinol serum helped me as the larger break outs surfaced less frequently, but wouldn't go away nor did the smaller impurities.

Trying medications

After +2 years of struggling I went to see a doctor who prescribed me topical a gel with retinoid and benzyl peroxide (not a common ingredient in Finland). The impurities and small whiteheads disappeared from my forehead, cheeks and chest in an instant. However, the gel made me extra dry, very flakey and easily irritated although I had stopped using exfoliators and paid extra attention to moisturising. It didn't stop the larger pimples outs or scaring, I kept breaking around chin and cheek bone area, could be hormonal(?). 

Then, I got described Accutane/Roaccutane, an oral Vitamin A medicine. I'm taking it for about two months. I was mentally prepared for even drier skin, dry eyes, flakey lips and sensitivity to sun and light. It took about couple of weeks until I noticed any side effects at all. Not using my regular BHA/AHA I got blackheads on my nose and once tried an acid on them.. not my smartest moment, as a result my skin literally peeled off. After a month on the medication, my arms got tanned during a holiday and the skin turned extra parched and dry. I look like a lizard vigorously slapping body butter and sunscreen on my skin. But my face has started to clear up - so far I've had only 1 pimple on Accutane.

Focus on hydration

Before taking Accutane I was all about acids, peels and exfoliating. Now they're on a break, shyly in the corner of my skincare cabinet. I've been extra focused in nourishing, moisturising and using a sun block. You can read more about necessary sun care in my earlier post here. These are steps I've always done, but now with extra care. I use a gentle facial wash in the mornings, pat dry with a towel and prep my skin by layering Niod Copper Amino Isolate 1.00%, layered with hydrating Estée Lauder Micro Essence and moisturising lotion Hadalabo Gokyjyun (しっとり =moist version). The Esteé Lauder essence is lighter than the Hadalabo lotion, which is why I use it first in my attempt to make my face a moisture sandwich. 


These are my current serums I rotate or use together for day time. I was lacking actives in my routine opted for Mad Hippie Vitamin C serum. Gotta say, I'm not crazy about it. The price is reasonable and the ingredient list is nice, I've read it having 10% sodium ascorbyl phosphate, but I haven't seen much effectiveness and I'm almost finished with the bottle. I have similar feelings about Hylamide, but I haven't made up my mind quite yet. At the moment, all the hydration is welcome, but I wish I could see more improvement on fine lines and texture issues.

Eye care

NIOD Fractionated Eye Contour Concentrate* has the same parent company as Hylamide, all three products I've shared here share the similar bottle and watery consistency. I feel it's a good eye serum, keeping the visible signs of my ageing at bay with antioxidants and peptides. No effect on my genetically dark under eyes or hooded lids, but I don't expect it from anything. It's hydrating, but on Accutane I crave for more moisture around my eyes, so I top the concentrate with Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado. It's a classic, heavy and creamy moisturiser. Good, but doesn't do much else.


My favorite step

Moisturiser, sunscreen and coffee. Yep, having a cup of joe after my routine is a necessary part of relaxation and recharging for the day. Don't they all say skincare should be "me"-time? I'm in love with this January Labs Revitalizing Day Cream*. Very fluid, very pleasant to use, packed with niacinamide, antioxidants and moisturising ingredients. Equally in love with this Innisfree Eco safety perfect sunblock SPF50+ PA+++. It's a heavy duty physical sunblock, which does leave some white cast if you don't massage it in, but my dry skin loves this stuff. I'm on my 5th? 6th? tube of this.

After thoughts

To a blush addict it's a nightmare to break out around the cheek area, and I'm afraid medication won't totally prevent it in the future. Despite the dryness, I'm quite happy with how my skin looks. It's not angry, bumpy, inflamed. I don't feel the need to roll in concealer. I can't wait my medication to end, go back to my acids, testing new products and see how things go. I'll be talking a lot about skincare in the future: routines, knowledge and product reviews.

Have you suffered from troubled skin? What kind of skincare have you used?

Related posts:
My comprehensive sunscreen post
5 simple ways to battle break outs

This post contains products (*) that were generously provided for consideration. Regardless, my opinions are my own honest and unbiased views. The links are for your convenience and do not contain ads.