Whether or not to take Accutane (or Isotretinoin) is no small decision, as it has some serious side effects that come along with taking it. Although countless personal and medical trials have been done on it since its release in the early 1980s, there are a lot of side effects that you should be aware of before starting on this drug. Here we will start with some of the short-term side effects.
Accutane’s most common side effect is dry lips, almost always described as “painful and persistent.” Can be treated with lip balms and products like Aquaphor, but these do not actually make the dryness go away, just abates it for a short while. Besides dry lips, there’s also extremely dry skin, which can last beyond the time the drugs are taken for some patients. This dry skin has been characterized as “½ inch chunks falling off at a time,” which was sometimes helped by moisturizers, but not all the time. All patients describe extreme caution when it comes to exposure to the sun, as Accutane causes skin fragility and thinness, therefore sunburns develop much more easily and severely. Hair loss is another common but not as serious side-effect. However, this particular reaction seems to be more prevalent in men than in women.
Other frequent side effects include extreme fatigue, headaches, and brain fog.
The longer-term side effects of Accutane can be more subtle but other times far more serious. Many users of this drug report having continual dry eyes after they stop taking it. Some describe this as painful at worst and annoying at best. The more serious side effects include damage to the intestinal lining, leading to Irritable Bowel Syndrome or even Crohn's Disease. Besides the possibility of an inflamed intestinal disease, there are other factors like joint and body aches, which can vary from mild discomfort to being nearly in constant pain.
Among the more serious side effects of taking Accutane, mental health is often affected. Patients have often reported some sort of depression, anxiety, or wild mood swings related to Accutane and a smaller percentage even report more serious mental health issues. It is always recommended that you talk to your doctor or healthcare professional if these symptoms occur with you.
A lot of people turn to Accutane when they think they don’t have any other choice. Unfortunately, many dermatologists are all too happy to prescribe it so patients will receive quick results. But oftentimes, these results come at a cost. We talk about many of the side effects here in this blog, but have barely mentioned all of them, some of which include long term fertility issues and horrible problems with pregnancy if it occurs while taking the drug. Most often, doctors will prescribe termination as becoming pregnant on this drug causes huge problems for the fetus.
Accutane is a serious solution to a dire problem, but it is NOT the only solution. In fact, it is one that we most often recommend is not even necessary.
You may have tried everything you can think of; chemical exfoliation, drugstore acne remedies, facials, you name it. And nothing worked. That doesn’t mean that you simply have to turn to drugs like Accutane. It is a not the easy way out.
Far more beneficial to your well being would be to find a skin care professional who deals with mostly acne. Dermatologists can see acne as a frivolous problem that can be treated easily with drugs, but that is not the case! You want to be more than a chart in a doctor’s long list of patients. Find someone who has time to actually take a deep look at your skin and find a viable solution without drugs. Not only is it possible, but it is much better for your long term health than seeing someone who immediately tries to put you on drugs.
Believe it or not, acne can be treated topically, with products on the skin. We know this because that’s exactly what we do everyday. In the same amount of time it would take to get clear with Accutane, we can also get your skin clear, but without any of the nasty side effects of serious drugs (perhaps some dry skin, but that’s it, and easily fixable!)
Acne affects so many aspects of our daily lives. If you have acne, chances are your self-esteem is down the drain and you just want to stay inside, sometimes not even wanting to spend time with friends and family because it is so bad. That is not good! It makes life harder when it shouldn’t be.
That’s why our main goal here at Skintherapy to help people with acne get better. The best way to do that is to let us guide you with the right products and routine so that your skin gets clear and STAYS clear.
That’s our promise to you.
Look into booking an appointment here today and you won’t be disappointed.
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