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Controversial drug finally cleared my acne but I’ve been left housebound for months on end over my repulsive scars

A WOMAN has revealed she's housebound for months on end, because of cruel comments from strangers about her acne scars.

Katie White suffered from daily migraines, nosebleeds and spiralled into depression after taking controversial prescription medicine roaccutane to treat her severe acne. 

Katie White, 24, from Sheffield, spent years battling acne before roaccutane cleared it
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Katie White, 24, from Sheffield, spent years battling acne before roaccutane cleared itCredit: Triangle News

The 24-year-old, from Sheffield, continued with the treatment despite the side effects - because she was desperate to stop strangers calling her "pizza face", "ugly" and "a tramp who needed to wash her face" every time she left the house.

But although the medicine cleared her spots, the special needs assistant was left with extensive scarring across her face and chin - which made her so insecure she once didn't leave the house for two years.

Speaking exclusively to Fabulous, Katie said: "I hate looking at myself in the mirror so I can’t imagine what other people think.

"My skin is so horrible – it’s lumpy and pot-marked from where I had such terrible acne. 

But she's still horrified by her 'repulsive' scars
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But she's still horrified by her 'repulsive' scarsCredit: Triangle News

"I spend more than an hour covering it up every day, but I hate going out because people will stare at me and the last time a bunch of kids asked me ‘what’s wrong with your face?’ 

"A man even came up to me thinking he was being kind saying he thought I was pretty.

"Then he said 'but I’m 30 – young guys probably won’t go near you because of your scars.' I waited for him to leave and then burst into tears. It was awful.

"Now I just want my scars gone and will do anything to get rid of them. They’re all I think about 24/7, they’re ruining my life."

I just want my scars gone and will do anything to get rid of them. They’re all I think about 24/7, they’re ruining my life

Katie White24

Katie has spent more than £1,000 having laser microdermabrasion – to get rid of the top layers of skin - and needles stuck into her cheeks to make her face look and feel smoother.

Now she’s saving for a £2,000 treatment which is the equivalent of a second degree burn, to scorch off the scars in a bid to look ‘normal.’

Katie didn’t even let her boyfriend Ryan Walsh, also 24, see her without make-up for the first eight months of their two-year relationship.

Katie wouldn't let boyfriend Ryan Walsh, 24, see her without make-up for eight months
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Katie wouldn't let boyfriend Ryan Walsh, 24, see her without make-up for eight monthsCredit: Triangle News
Ryan makes it his mission to get Katie out of the house to see friends
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Ryan makes it his mission to get Katie out of the house to see friendsCredit: Triangle News

"He kept telling me I was beautiful but I thought he would be repulsed if he saw me without make-up," Katie said. "I would spend an hour covering up my scars every day.

"I’d make sure it was long-wear foundation so I could wear it in bed and I’d sleep with all my make-up on.

"When I woke up I’d check in my phone to see how bad my skin looked and cover it with powder if it was OK. If it was looking really bad, I’d get up and go home to shower.

"If it still didn’t look good enough after I’d spent an hour putting primer, foundation, concealer and powder on, I’d take it all off and start again until I looked alright."

Ryan kept telling me I was beautiful but I thought he would be repulsed if he saw me without make-up

Katie White24

Katie’s obsession with her skin began when she first got spots aged 11. "They were OK at first," she said.

"I thought everyone gets a few spots growing up, but then I woke up one day and my face was smothered.

"By the age of 15, I had too many spots to count. They were huge, red with yellow heads and they hurt. I looked horrific and went to see my GP who referred me to hospital.

"I was prescribed roaccutane which got rid of my acne but gave me throbbing migraines every day - I had to go to bed as they were so painful. 

"I’d have nosebleeds too and then became depressed – all side effects of the medication."

Katie first developed spots aged 15
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Katie first developed spots aged 15Credit: Triangle News
She says they were manageable until they erupted 'overnight'
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She says they were manageable until they erupted 'overnight'Credit: Triangle News

Because of this, Katie missed so much school she couldn't take any of her GCSEs - and went to college the next year to take her exams.

"By then I’d cover myself in make-up, grew my fringe and hid behind my hair as I hated people looking at me," she said. "They’d call me 'pizza face', 'ugly' and tell me to wash my face. 

"Little did they know that was all I was doing – I spent all my money on skincare and foundation to hide my spots. I have tried so many it’s ridiculous."

When I was little, everyone used to tell me I was pretty. Now I feel hideous

Katie White24

Her acne came back with a vengeance at 18 but with another round of even stronger roaccutane it went – leaving Katie with deep scars across her cheeks instead.

"The scars almost looked worse than the acne," Katie said, "though I was glad the painful spots had gone.

"I've spent every moment and all my money trying to get rid of the scars, but nothing has worked.

"I’ve had micro needling to try and produce new collagen, microdermabrasion which takes off the top layers of skin, and even laser treatment, but my scars are too deep.

"I need something far stronger – ablative laser treatment which burns off the skin and makes new collagen. It’s very expensive so I’m saving up."

Katie spends at least an hour every day applying her foundation
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Katie spends at least an hour every day applying her foundation

Roaccutane: the facts

Isotretinoin (roaccutane) is an effective treatment for severe acne.

But it can have serious side effects, so must been prescribed by a doctor.

The capsules start to work within a week to 10 days - and 80% of people are left with clear skin after four months.

Common side effects include:

  • Extremely dry skin, which is sensitive to sunlight
  • Dry eyes, lips, throat and nose, sometimes causing nosebleeds
  • Headaches, aches and pains

There are also some more serious side effects, which affect less than one in 1,000 people.

Stop taking the medicine straight away and speak to your doctor if you experience:

  • Anxiety, aggression, depression or suicidal thoughts
  • Nausea, sickness and/or a severe pain in your stomach without diarrhoea (signs of pancreatitis)
  • Bloody diarrhoea (signs of gastrointestinal bleeding)
  • A serious skin rash that peels or has blisters - sometimes causing eye infections, ulcers, a fever and headaches
  • Difficulty moving your arms or legs, swollen or bruised limbs, or dark pee (signs of muscle weakness)
  • Yellow skin/whites of your eyes, difficulty peeing, or feeling very tired (signs of liver/kidney problems)
  • A bad headache which doesn't go away and makes you feel/be sick
  • Sudden changes in eyesight, including not seeing well at night

Roaccutane can harm unborn babies and increase the risk of miscarriage. If you fall pregnant on the tablets, stop taking them immediately and speak to your doctor.

Roaccutane manufacturer Roche previously told The Sun the majority of users have positive experiences and research had not established clear links between the drug and psychiatric disorders.

Katie still hates going out and has spent "months at a time" hiding away at home.

She said: "I see Ryan and he tries to persuade me to go out as I miss my friends, but every time I do someone is nasty.

"I’ve been called 'crater face' and told I’m ugly. It’s not nice when you already have self-doubts as I really believe it.

"When I was little, everyone used to tell me I was pretty. Now I feel hideous.

"I just want to have smooth skin like my friends but right now it seems an impossible ask.

"I’m so anxious and nervous about my skin – it’s all I think and talk about. I’m lucky I have Ryan who constantly reassures me but I would just like to have a nice complexion like everyone else."

Katie can't even go on holiday as the sun makes her skin worse - but she says Instagram is helping her to cope.

She said: "When I’m locked away and feeling depressed I just wanted someone to understand but lately I’ve realised there are other people on Instagram with the same problems and I’ve been talking to them.

"It means I don’t feel so alone. The other girls with acne and acne scarring share their experiences and it has helped me feel much better."

We recently revealed how acne sufferers are raving over "life-changing" vitamins.

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