Accutane Or Just AccuPAIN??
How many times have you heard, “Accutane literally changed my life?” Or, “IDK what the F I would have done if I didn’t go on Accutane?” But do you ever hear people talk about the monthly blood draws? The chapped lips from hell? The fact that your sex life just got a lot more complicated? Probably not.
Acne sucks. This is not up for debate. It really, really sucks. So for some people who struggle with acne and have dealt with it their entire life, Accutane is a drug sent from the heavens that can completely transform your skin, the way you feel about yourself, and ultimately, your entire life. Sounds pretty ideal right? But while Accutane might be a Christmas miracle for many people, it’s no walk in the park for your body or your even your emotional state. If you’re going to play the Accutane game, you need to seriously consider if you’re willing to put up with all that comes with using this powerful drug. Here at Mirra we want you to have clear skin, but we also want you to feel happy and healthy while getting your skin under control. So saddle up for a crash course in Accutane and read on!
What is Accutane and What Does It Do?
Remember that acne is caused by excessive sebum production. Some people’s sebaceous glands are ~v excited~ to produce sebum and they simply produce too much. When sebum blocks the glands, the oil accumulates under the skin and this is where acne can #thrive. Accutane, whose fancy science name is Isotretinoin, belongs to a group of medicines called retinoids. When you take this drug, you’re reducing sebum production by decreasing the size and activity of the sebaceous glands in the skin. If the glands are no longer blocked, the acne bacteria is no longer living its best life. Mmbye oil production! Mmbye acne!
“Why You So Obsessed With Me?” (Derms and Accutane)
Accutane is typically prescribed when all else fails, AKA, you’re at your wits’ end and nothing else is working. It’s an intense drug, so it’s not prescribed casually, but because it works for pretty much everyone, derms love it. When you first start taking it, don’t freak out if your acne gets worse. This is totes normal, and in most cases it takes 16-24 weeks for the complete clearing of your acne to occur. Patience is the name of the game when it comes to Accutane, and while most peeps only need one course of treatment, it is possible that you have a relapse. If your doctor does suggest a repeat course, you won’t want to pick back up again until at least eight weeks after stopping the first treatment.
Pad Thai First, Accutane Pill Second
While dosage varies from person to person depending on how severe your acne is, always remember to take your pill on a full stomach. Unlike your birth control pills, you shouldn’t double up on Accutane pills if you miss a dose.
The Dark Side of Accutane: Side Effects
With every major gain always comes some pain, and we can’t lie that Accutane can have some pretty serious side effects. Before you commit yourself to #thataccutanelife, we want to be sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.
If taken during pregnancy, Accutane can cause major birth defects, so there are strict rules imposed on women using this drug. Ladies, your doctor will not prescribe you Accutane if you don’t adhere the pregnancy prevention program. When on Accutane, you have to use two forms of contraception at the same time--i.e. condoms and birth control pills--and you have to start using both one month before you start Accutane, the entire time you’re on it, and for a month after you stop treatment. You also need to take monthly pregnancy and blood tests.
My Lip Balm is Poppin, My Lip Balm is Cool
If there was ever a time to moisturize, it’s now. Accutane majorly drys out your body, so if you already suffer from dry skin or eczema, you’re going to have a harder time handling this drug. A fabulous moisturizer and lip balm are going to be key during your Accutane journey: Aquafor is to Accutane like Sonny is to Cher. Get the picture? You should also avoid direct exposure to the sun whenever possible. Even on a cloudy day, SPF is a non-negotiable when on this drug.
Love to wax? Wax-a-holic? Said goodbye to shaving like, forever ago? Sadly you’re going to have to put your routine on hold while on Accutane, and for at least six months after stopping treatment. You don’t want to strip that top layer of skin, so same goes for holding off an any fancy laser treatments or chemical dermabrasion.
Long term side effects include Crohn’s disease, dry eye syndrome, and abnormal bone growth. These are a lot less common than the ones we mentioned above--they only occur in about 7% of patients. Some people are also more likely to develop depression while taking Accutane, but again, it’s not nearly as common as the dryness. Seriously, prepare yourself for prune life.
Both Sides of the Coin
Here at Mirra we don’t want to “knock” Accutane, because we know that it’s a huge savior for a lot of people. 85% of patients see amazing results, which is pretty rad. That being said, it can take a pretty serious toll on your body, so just know that sometimes clear skin comes with a big price.