I first suffered with cystic acne in my 20's and, after trying topical creams with Retinol A, oral contraceptives and antibiotics, I decided to self-refer myself to a Dermatologist and was prescribed Roaccutane. My mum, who was a nurse, was concerned about the side effects but I was feeling so depressed about my skin, I felt that I would risk anything to have clear skin, which sounds totally dramatic but the pain from cysts on my back was making it difficult to sleep and I dreaded waking up each morning to find a new bump had appeared overnight. I took a 6 month course which left me with beautifully clear skin and, for the first time in ages, I was happy and confident to look people in the eye without feeling they were talking to my spots! Unfortunately, with the onset of the menopause, I'm going to be 50 this year, my skin starting breaking out again. This time, I was adamant that I was not going to let it affect me but after several months of plastering myself in various creams and wearing heavy make-up to disguise the discolouration on my skin, I decided to seek help from a Dermatologist. I am now taking a second course of Roaccutane and, although the side effects are a pain, I know it works. This time round it's very different in terms of having to be monitored very closely, I have monthly pregnancy tests and blood tests to monitor my liver and cholesterol, which didn't happen when I took Roaccutane in my 20s, so they are obviously more aware of the side effects and that it can potentially cause depression. I have to say that I have been fine, in fact, the fact my skin is clearing up has actually raised my mood and I feel happier now than I have in a long time.