Adult Acne

Does Acne Worsen After Accutane?

By  David

Acne outbreak is an indication that something is wrong with your system, and it could be your hormones, diet, lifestyle habits or your medications (Accutane) and cosmetics. Therefore, proper nutrition, cleansing products, and supplements are very important to correct the problem.

For very severe cases of acne, doctors may prescribe Isotretinoin or Accutane, a drug that often tends to initially increase acne breakouts. In fact, many users have reported that their acne gets worse after taking Accutane.

When under the care of your dermatologist or doctor, Accutane is mostly considered safe and may be one of the most effective treatments for severe acne, since most patients are free of acne after 4 to 6 months of treatment with it.

The unfortunate shortcoming is that some people will have a relapse after taking Accutane and the long-term cure rate is a lot lower than what people expect.  The relapse rate for Accutane can be as low as 10% to as high as 60%

What Is Accutane?

Accutane (Isotretinoin) works by disrupting plug formation shrinks the sebaceous glands and reduces the amount of sebum in your skin glands. In nearly 90% of cases, it is known to show positive results.

Accutane is one of the world’s most commonly prescribed acne treatments, and a lot of people have turned to it to clear their severe acne or acne that has been resistant to other treatment methods.

However, doctors usually prescribe Accutane or Isotretinoin for moderate to severe cases of acne only because it can sometimes lead to the following symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Very dry skin
  • Joint and muscle aches
  • Nosebleeds

Regardless of the stigma surrounding it, systemic use of isotretinoin remains the most effective treatment for severe acne, as well as cases of more moderate acne that is unresponsive to other treatment.

To date, the efficacy of isotretinoin has not been superseded by any other treatment, and still remain the most clinically effective anti-acne therapy.

Most patients who receive oral isotretinoin will be free of acne by the end of 4–6 months of treatment depending on the dose administered.

However, clinical experience suggests that the long-term cure rate may be lower than was initially thought, and relapse rates may be higher. This depends on a variety of variables

Accutane Efficacy

Many patients actually experience an increase in acne flare-ups within a week of taking it, but patients who continued taking it for 2 months, saw an improvement in their skin after this period.

Many dermatologists deny the relation between acne worsening and Accutane, as they argued it could be due to inadequate use or low dosage of the drug.

A relapse of acne at some point after an initial course of isotretinoin may refer to a re-emergence of acne that ranges in severity, varies with regard to the types of acne lesions and differs in the type of retreatment that is used.

Relapse rates in patients with acne after treatment with oral isotretinoin vary between 10% and 60%. In lower-dose treatment groups, the relapse rate is around 47%, and in the high-dose group, the result is 27%. This shows that in some cases relapse rates can be quite high, and in other cases, they are quite rare.

However, the worst side effect of this drug is that it can lead to fetal deformities and other birth defects, and as such, if you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, it is important to talk to your dermatologist before taking this class of drug.

Even after discontinuing Accutane, one needs to wait for a couple of months before conceiving as the effects could linger for this period. This is the main reason why medical experts do not recommend Accutane to women in their childbearing years.

Many patients are also known to suffer from depression and other side effects after taking Accutane, and another study is questioning whether the drug leads to bone density losses, which may results in Osteoporosis in later years.

Accutane Use and Precautions

Drugs like Accutane are best taken under a doctor’s or health specialist’s supervision. Your doctor will taper its dose accordingly, and you should be seeing your doctor every few weeks to ensure that the medicine is working as intended.

In general, you should take it for at least 2 months to see results, and if, despite taking Accutane for 6 months there is no improvement, then your doctor might have to make the decision of switching the medicine.

Meanwhile, take the following precautions at home:

  • Use a cleansing enema to reduce constipation and toxic buildup, in order to promote faster healing of severe acne.
  • Keep your skin as free as possible from oily buildup, and use a clarifying shampoo to reduce oiliness of scalp.
  • Also use a cleanser daily to wash off oil, makeup, and dirt.
  • Do not rub or scrub the skin too hard, but use gentle patting action when drying the skin.
  • If you must use makeup, go for hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic and dermatologist approved products.
  • Use a mixture of organic apple cider vinegar with water to cleanse the skin. You can also consume apple cider vinegar internally to balance ph and fight inflammation.
  • Avoid touching the face too much or popping the zits, because, that could easily transmit bacteria and increase the pimples.
  • Friction aggravates acne, and you should avoid things that cause friction to your skin.
  • Do not use oral or topical steroidal products that are very harsh and drying on the skin.


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