Milwaukee Dermatology and Medical Spa Blog

Is Accutane Safe for Treatment of Severe Acne?

Posted by Marsha Davis on Tue, Jul 17, 2012 @ 09:36 PM

Accutane Provides Relief, But is it Safe?

Accutane for Severe Acne"My teen has acne and the Doctor has recommended Accutane. I have heard so many bad things, I wonder is it safe?"

Most teens and young adults experience occasional acne breakouts.

But some suffer from severe acne may need to seek oral medication. These are the deep, inflamed lesions that characterize severe acne and can lead to permanent scarring. 

4 Types of Acne

The first step towards treating your severe acne is talking with your doctor and identifying what type of acne you are suffering from. There are four different kinds of acne and each type benefits from a different method of treatment.

  • Nodulocystic acne- This type of acne produces large, painful, pus-filled cysts that sometimes are felt underneath the skin and then are full on top of the  face and body. They can be seen as reddened areas as well just by looking at times also. Sometimes it is not obvious that they are not filled with pus as they often do not come to a head like regular blemishes. Sometimes you can feel them as hard firm lumps rather than see them when they are deep below the skin but they can still be painful.

Accutane treats this type of severe acne that is cystic, nodular and has failed all other traditional therapy that typically treats regular putular acne, pimples or regular skin blemishes.  Accutane is not intended for the other types of acne treatment. 

As seen in the video below, Accutane comes highly reccomended for those suffering from severe acne.

FAQ About Treating Acne With Accutane

1. What is Accutane and how is it different from other acne medications?

Accutane is a form of vitamin A know as isotretinoin. It is an oral form of retin A.  It acts to inhibit oil production so the bacteria in the follicles don't grow. This makes the acne to go away.

2. Is Accutane safe?

Under most circumstances, Accutane is safe.

There is strict criteria you have to pass or the prescription can't be written. You can only be prescribed accutane from a doctor with a special certification. After a doctor has given you a perscription, you'll have to follow through with appointments to monitor your safety.

It is much easier for males to get Accutane than females because it can cause birth defects. That is why there are several strict rules for females.

3. How long will I have to take accutane before I see results?

Usually the skin gets worse before it starts to get better. It is especially worse in the first two weeks. It can become very reddened and dry.

You might start to see noticeable changes about 1-2 months into treatment but the treatment cycle is intended to be 3-4 months, or maybe even 6 months. It might take the worst cases 2 cycles of treatment before the acne goes into remission.

4. What Side Effects Come With Accutane?

Some of the more serious effects of Accutane are birth defects and depression. Women taking accutane should make sure they are also taking contraceptives if sexually active. Seeing a therapist is also reccomended because depression and moods should be monitored.

Other side effects to be warned against include sun sensitivity so a good SPF of 50 or more should be worn, and direct exposure to the sun avoided.  Extremely dry skin with cracking lips are also known issues but can be managed with good moisturizers and lip balms.

Accutane can sometimes change the texture of the hair, and if it does, the change will be permanent.

Combat Your Accutane Side Effects at A Medical Spa

Anytime the skin is very dry, special facial hydrating masks can help. Also potent medical grade moisturizers are also available for the severely dry skin and lips. 

When considering any treatment for acne, risks and benefits always need to be weighed. Overall, when recommended and used properly, accutane is a safe and effective treatment for severe acne.

If you have severe acne and would like a free consultation with Marsha Davis MD, call Solaris Medical Spa today. If accutane is your only option, Dr. Davis can help with that decision no matter your age. You too can have that clear, young looking skin to feel and look your best!