When I was in my late teens, I had my first experience with acne. Having always prided myself on my almost-flawless skin, I was completely mortified to experience this sudden turn of events, and even more surprised to experience it at such a late stage in my so-called youth.
Anyhow, with this sudden outburst of acne, I tried every cream there was, but to no avail. Stumped, (and very emotional) I resorted to Accutane, the controversial medicine that I had heard so many great and no so-great tales about.
In my case, Accutane helped clear my skin completely, and I, luckily, only experienced the dry chapped lips for about 3 months.
Looking back, I realized that I had not done much research on Accutane then, out of my desperation to get ride of my acne; so I thought that I would revisit this acne mediation and provide a general overview of its properties and side-effects for the benefit of those who may be suffering through a bout of acne like I did in the past.
So, what exactly is Accutane?
The word “accutane” is the trade name for isotretinoin, a medication that is structurally almost the same as natural vitamin A, and is known as the vitamin A retinoid. It is a powerful drug used to help reduce the amount of oil released by oil glands in your skin, and is usually prescribed to treat severe acne, but only after other acne medications have been tried, with unsuccessful results.
Accutane helps reduce the number of bacteria in the oil glands and on the skin surface. It controls the keratin levels which can otherwise clog pores. It stimulates the hormone, testosterone, which causes different oils to be produced by the skin. These oils don’t block pores or cause acne.
However, the Vitamin A in Accutane will not only eliminate oils in the skin, but also liquids and oils throughout the whole body, including the eyes, joints, mouth and other important areas. This leads to dryness of the skin. Some studies have shown there is a higher risk of developing depression with the use of Accutane.
According to www.aocd.org/skin/dermatologic_diseases/accutane.html some of the common side effects are listed below:
• Chapped lips (90%)
• Dry skin and itching (80%)
• Dryness of nose, mild nosebleed (80%)
• Joint and muscle pains (15%)
• Temporary hair thinning (10%)
• Rash (7%)
• Intestinal symptoms (5%)
• Urinary symptoms (5%)
• Headache (5%)
• Increased sensitivity to sun (5%)
• Decreased night vision (<1%)
• Depression, thoughts of suicide (<1%).
Since this drug is proven to be effective and powerful, and quite controversial because of its side effects, any female old enough to have children must take every possible measure to avoid pregnancy if she is consuming the drug, since depression appears to be the most damaging side effect of Accutane.
We welcome your thoughts on your experience with Accutane, so that our other readers in the community who are contemplating the usage of this medication can benefit from your comments.