If you’ve been battling acne, you have most likely heard of Accutane. Accutane, also known as isotretinoin, is a very powerful medication used to treat severe acne. While Accutane tends to be very successful in treating cystic acne, it is also very well known for its numerous side effects. This makes it a last-line treatment for acne.
What is Accutane and How Does it Work?
Accutane is a form of Vitamin A and is part of a class of drugs called retinoids. It works through multiple different mechanisms to calm down acne. It works by reducing the size of oil glands, reducing the amount of bacteria in the skin, slowing down the production of skin cells in pores which prevents clogging, and reducing skin inflammation.
Unfortunately, the biggest issue with this is that Accutane does not address the root internal cause of acne. It does nothing to address the hormone imbalances in your body, and can actually worsen them. For example, Accutane damages your skin sebum glands and liver function. By the time you stop taking the medication, your liver function won’t be able to balance out your hormones properly. It also won’t be able to prevent the overproduction of sebum.
Accutane also has effects of normalizing the shedding of dead skin cells, improving fat metabolism, and reducing inflammation. While these are great positives, these same effects can easily be achieved through diet. Things like Colostrum, Vitamin E, C, and Zinc can reduce inflammation and are available in many foods as well as through exercise. Using Papaya as a home peel can simulate the peeling action of Accutane and help with sleep. Foods rich in Vitamin A and Beta Carotene can also help with fat metabolism. So while Accutane does provide these benefits, it is easy to get these from other natural sources without the side effects.
Now that we’ve covered what Accutane is and how it works, we need to delve into the side effects of Accutane.
Many of the side effects are mild and tolerable. Things like dry lips, dry eyes, nosebleeds, sensitivity to the sun, thinning hair, and very dry skin are definitely not pleasant. But, they can be tolerated for a mild duration. However, there are many side effects that have continued to persist even after stopping the medication. Things like joint pain, severe allergy reactions, vision problems, liver damage, hearing problems, and migraines are just a few of the major problems that can occur with use of Accutane.
What is more concerning is the black box warning of Accutane: the fact it can cause birth defects in pregnant women. This medication needs to be absolutely avoided in pregnant females. Women who are considering starting Accutane need to take pregnancy tests prior to starting to make sure that they are not pregnant.
The other major side effect associated with Accutane is the mood changes. Accutane can cause patients to become depressed, violent, or aggressive. In some cases, people have even committed suicide!
Accutane can also stop bone growth in teenagers who are still growing. Some people may need to have their blood cholesterol checked while on the medication, since isotretinoin can raise levels.
While Accutane can be very successful, it comes with some serious side effects. Things like mood changes and birth defects are just a few of the side effects that come with this medication. Accutane is a hugely popular medication worldwide, but there is a reason that it is a last resort. I believe that natural methods like diet and exercise should be used well before Accutane is considered. I hope that this article was informative for you and has helped give you more information about Accutane so you can make an informed decision about the product!