What is Accutane?
Accutane is the medication that is given to those suffering from serious cases of acne and is usually prescribed by a physician. Its effectiveness is attributed to the science behind it; targeting the clogged sebum pores. Ones’ pores are typically clogged with sebum and bacteria and it is this combination that causes pimples. Acne is an inherited disease of the pores, or sebaceous follicles, and occurs when the pore linings shed too many dead skin cells that then combine with sebum to plug the pores. This is the ideal situation for the P.acnes bacteria, the bacteria that live deep in our skin, to overgrow and contribute to plugging the pores. When all these factors combine, the result is acne lesions, blackheads and pimples. This medicine has many other names, such as Isotretinoin, but Accutane is the most popular. Accutane is a commercial product and its generic form, Claravis, can also be consumed as an alternative.
The science behind it
The source of Accutane is vitamin A and the drug decreases the amount of oil produced by the oil glands while also increasing the skin’s ability to rejuvenate. What separates Accutane from other acne combating products is the fact that Accutane alters the user’s skin composition while other products are simply antibacterial products. When Accutane reduces the amount of oil produced, it is also reducing the chances of acne forming. The powerful agents in the medicine make it incredibly efficient but while this may sound ideal, Accutane should only be used in extremely severe acne cases as a last resort. This is because there are some serious side effects that could be experienced. Women are especially warned as most of the side effects concern them.
The side effects of Accutane
- The risk of a birth defect
Should a woman be taking Accutane, she should not become pregnant during the period of her consumption or one month after finishing the treatment as the risk of a birth defect is high. Women who are both sexually active and consuming Accutane should also consume birth control pills to prevent a pregnancy. This is a precaution as some teens practice safe sex while others do not. It is important to explain the risk that Accutane consumption puts these women at as they should be kept aware.
- Other side effects
While the first side effect only applies to women, the following side effects can happen to anyone consuming the drug. Headaches, muscle and joint pain, dry and itchy skin, irritated eyelids, nosebleeds, poor night vision, suicidal thoughts and could even cause suicidal thoughts to occur in one’s mind. These symptoms are probable, not definite, but they should be looked out for just in case.
When to use it
As mentioned several times in this article, Accutane should only be used when other forms of treatments for severe acne have been sought and have failed. An example of severe acne is cystic acne. This type of acne is hard to cure as it happens frequently and recurrently and calls for special medical attention. The telltale signs of cystic acne are the nodule just under the skin’s surface and when it hardens, a cyst is formed over time. This is a serious issue that calls for medical attention and can take a toll on both the patient’s physical and emotional strength. Usually, the first step to fighting serious acne is the prescription of antibiotics or creams. When those methods fail, Accutane is then given as the final solution to stop bacteria growth and reduce inflammation.
Other facts to note
Accutane is the more popular, commercial name of the product but it is also known as Isotretinoin. As Accutane comes from vitamin A, other supplements containing vitamin A should not be consumed throughout the period of Accutane consumption. Staying away from the sun is also advised as Accutane makes one’s skin more susceptible to sunburns. Despite the promise displayed, there is no guarantee that the drug will work for you. While many people have had success with it, it might not work for you.
Should you begin using it and see no significant improvement in skin quality, the product might not be your solution. Alternative acne treatments may be your cure, many of them produce results, but finding the right cure for your skin might take some time. The clearing of acne is a journey that might take a long time, but eventually, you will find the right cure for your skin type.