You know how they say oily skin is a good thing? Tell that to someone whose face shines with oil all the time and see if they agree. While oil protects your skin from the elements and from aging quickly, too much of it looks unhygienic and feels frustrating. As such, it’s not surprising why people with excessively oily skin take Accutane.
But can the powerful drug really eliminate the oil that keeps coming back?
What is Accutane?
Accutane is a potent drug used to treat severe acne. It is one of the most effective treatments for nearly all types of breakouts. Most dermatologists prescribe Accutane when other treatments for severe acne fail. While Accutane comes with many side effects, in some ways, it is safer than long-term usage of antibiotic pills and creams.
Effectiveness of Accutane
Over two million people have taken Accutane, so a lot is known about its efficacy rate. Five in every ten people find the drug effective that they never need to take anything else for severe cystic acne. In the first few weeks of taking the drug, one in five takers get a little worse, and one in five hundred takers gets much worse. The rest gets better for a while or gets much better for good. Interestingly, no other drug comes close to being this effective when it comes to treating severe acne. The usual patient takes Accutane for sixteen to twenty-four weeks, but others may need another sixteen to twenty-four weeks to be free of acne.
Accutane basically works by reducing sebum production on the skin and reducing the size of sebum-producing glands called sebaceous glands. This is an untraditional, yet effective way of reducing sebum production. Even 10 mg of Accutane a day can decrease oil production, resulting in a less oily complexion. However, according to one dermatologist, Accutane may not eliminate oily skin permanently. While the skin is not as oily as before while on Accutane, the skin oiliness eventually returns. The only good thing is that the skin oiliness does not return to the degree it was before.
Other treatments that get rid of oiliness permanently damages the oil glands, so they no longer produce oil. This makes the skin extremely dry, increasing the risk for infections, eczema, psoriasis, and others. As such, the fact that Accutane doesn’t make the skin oiliness go away for good doesn’t seem so bad after all. Unlike other treatments, Accutane doesn’t destroy the skin in the name of saving it.
Side Effects of Using Accutane
Accutane has many side effects, but the most predictable is dry skin, dry and irritated eyes, dry nose, dry mouth, and severely chapped lips. Don’t worry; these side effects will go away once you stop taking Accutane. Until then, you can use artificial tears, lip balms, nasal gel, and moisturizers to get relief.
You may also experience one or more of the following while taking Accutane: temporary thinning hair, rash, headache, increased sensitivity to the sun, muscle or joint pain, decreased night vision, and, in rare cases, depression.
If you develop depression while taking Accutane, your dermatologist will likely take this seriously. Also, most dermatologists are trained to spot warning signs of depression in patients. They even screen patients carefully for possible signs of being depressed before prescribing Accutane.
Serious birth defects can result from taking Accutane during pregnancy. These include mental retardation, malformation of the face and head, and severe internal defects of the nervous system, glands, heart, and brain. Accutane can also cause loss of the pregnancy, cause the baby to be born early, and cause the baby to die shortly after birth. It is critically important for women to use two forms of birth control at the same time before, while, or after taking Accutane to avoid getting pregnant. It’s unclear whether or not Accutane passes to the baby through breast milk, but it may be a good idea to take Accutane with caution.
If you miss a menstrual period or engage in sex without using two forms of birth control, stop taking Accutane and schedule an appointment with your healthcare professional. Similarly, if you are a male patient, tell your doctor right away if your partner is pregnant. A minimal amount of Accutane will probably be present in the semen when you take prescribed doses of this drug. Although it is unknown if the Accutane present in the semen will affect the fetus if your partner gets pregnant, it is still best to let doctors make choices that are best for you and your baby.
In sum, Accutane is highly effective in eliminating oily skin; however, this effect is not permanent. The thing to remember is that your skin will not be as oily as before- just the right amount of oiliness for a healthy complexion that looks glowy, not greasy.