Does Isotretinoin Work? The Lowdown on Accutane

Having severe acne can be challenging and, at times, embarrassing. If you are suffering from serious acne conditions, you may have heard of Isotretinoin or Accutane. Isotretinoin is used to treat more major levels of acne and must be supervised by a dermatologist due to possible side effects. Here is what you need to know about Isotretinoin:

How Does Isotretinoin Work?

Isotretinoin, or Accutane, is associated with a group of medicines known as retinoids, which are derived from vitamin A. Isotretinoin is taken orally and reduces the production of the skin’s natural oil, sebum.

This can be very beneficial for the skin, as acne essentially occurs due to a saturated production of sebum. This happens due to overactive sebaceous glands in the skin. The sebum will block the sebaceous glands, which hinder the oil from flowing freely and triggers an accumulation of sebum under the skin.

The bacteria correlated with acne actually grow in these conditions. They feed on the sebum and then create waste products or fatty acids that irritate the sebaceous glands, causing inflammation and spots.

Isotretinoin will decrease the size and activity of the sebaceous glands, which then reduces the quantity of sebum produced. Following decreased sebum production, the glands will no longer be blocked, the bacteria will be less likely to survive, and inflammation of the skin will be reduced.

How Long Until I See Results?

Once you begin your treatment, your acne may get worse at first. Yet, your acne will eventually improve within 7 to 10 days of persistent Isotretinoin treatment. The entire treatment usually takes about 16 to 24 weeks for completion. Repeating the process of Isotretinoin is not recommended unless there is a relapse once the treatment has been stopped.

In that case, the repeated course of action should not begin until at least eight weeks after first treatment, as the acne conditions may still improve later on.

How to Take Isotretinoin

How to Take Isotetinoin

When Isotretinoin is prescribed, dosage and instructions are given. This depends on the individual's conditions and may vary. Instructions and guidelines will be printed on the dispensing label which your pharmacist will give you.

Isotretinoin capsules are typically taken once or twice a day, either while you are eating your meal or once you have finished eating. You should swallow the pill as a whole with a drink, to make sure it goes down smoothly. Isotretinoin is better absorbed with fatty foods, like avocado and nuts.

If you realize you’ve forgotten your dose, make sure you take it right away unless it is too close to the time of your next dose.

Things to Consider Before Isotretinoin

Although Isotretinoin has been proven effective in some cases, there are many things you want to consider before moving forward. For example, if taken during pregnancy, there can be severe complications and birth defects. Also, when taking Isotretinoin you should not donate blood at any time, as there is a potential risk your blood may be given to a pregnant woman.

You should also avoid sun exposure completely, and use sunscreen at all times. As Isotretinoin causes your lips and skin to be very dry, it is important to always use a lip balm and moisturizer to treat the dryness. Your eyes may also become dry, and it is suggested to carry artificial tear drops, especially when wearing contact lenses.

Although very rare, Isotretinoin may cause depression, anxiety, aggression and mood changes. It is vital to notify your doctor if you have ever suffered from depression. If you begin feeling any symptoms of depression, contact your doctor right away.

When it comes to your skin, you should always know the best way to take care of it. Here, at Elias Dermatology, our certified professionals can help you find the best treatment. Contact us today to get started.

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