October 3rd, 2016
Accutane (Isotretinoin), or Roaccutane as it is known in parts of the world, was discovered in 1979 when it was first given to patients with severe acne. It was originally recommended for people with severe acne that did not respond to other treatments, but has gained in popularity in the past 25 years and is prescribed more and more frequently for less severe acne. This practice is controversial because Accutane is a serious medication that can cause severe birth defects as well as potentially long-lasting side effects to the user. Accutane is a medication taken orally and only for a limited time due to the severity of the drug.
In most cases acne can be treated topically without any risk. It just requires the individual to be consistent with their home care routine. My advice would be to always try and treat topically first. The risk of side effects simply isn’t worth it. (See side effects below!)
So how does Accutane work?
Exactly how Accutane works on a cellular level is unknown but we do know that it affects all four ways that acne develops:
1) It dramatically reduces the size of the skins oil glands, therefore reducing the amount of oil the glands produce.
2) Acne bacteria (P.acnes) causes acne which lives in the skins oil, therefore reducing the amount of bacteria
3) It slows down how fast the skin produces skin cells inside the pore, which helps pores from becoming clogged
4) It has anti-inflammatory properties
Does it work for everyone?
Acne may get worse within the first month of Accutane and studies show a relapse of about 33% in most patients, not to mention all the side effects (stated below) so please know while it can successfully clear some patients acne, it isn’t a CURE for everyone!
Accutante side effects:
Accutane is a systemic medication that affects the entire body. Side effects are numerous and widespread and affect almost 80% of patients. Side effects are most often mild to moderate but in some cases they can be severe or long term.