If you’re considering the use of Roaccutane aka Accutane or Isotretinoin (among many others) for the treatment of acne – we strongly encourage you… don’t! Explore all other options before even considering this drug.
Yes, we know there are some amazing before and after photos out there, but that is no justification for its use. What these photos don’t show is the path taken in order to the achieve the result. That path could be one you’ll never forget, and very much regret.
Medical journals and a quick Google search will clearly highlight the adverse effects of this highly toxic drug. Granted, many of the effects are not overly common and you may just end up with dry lips, dry skin and perhaps the odd blood nose. But that’s just the beginning; and what could follow is extremely risky. Other symptoms can include depression, extreme sun sensitivity, dry and irritable eyes, impaired night vision and joint and muscle aches and pains.
It has also been linked with malformations and neurological defects in children who were maternally exposed, as well as stillbirths. This alone should be enough to turn anyone away yet it’s still a common drug sort by many for the treatment of acne.
All of these side effects can create additional stresses on the body. The body has a highly toxic drug that it trying to combat – a foreign element that isn’t supposed to be there. Excess stress is linked to emotional, physical, cognitive and behavioural symptoms – some or all of which display themselves when using Roaccutane.
This drug, as far as we are concerned, should be banned – and it almost was many years ago. At the very least, it should be closely monitored in terms of who is prescribing it and under what circumstances. In fact, the drug is that bad that in the early 2000s a program called iPLEDGE was established in the United States in the hopes of further assuring that women who are pregnant or intending to become pregnant, avoid isotretinoin-containing medications. Even our very own NPS (National Prescriber Service) in Australia have a detailed article on the drug – and it’s not good.
The NPS article states, and I quote “Isotretinoin is the gold standard treatment for severe cystic acne, but there is a major risk of harm associated with its use.”
Anyone who can call this drug the gold standard of anything given it’s severe side effects both short term and long term, has some serious issues. It’s both disappointing and saddening that we live in a world where these kind of drugs are considered a “gold standard” when it’s well documented and proven that acne can be treated with a variety of different methods including simply changes to diet, skincare, lifestyle and so on.
There may be a place for Roaccutane under very strict and closely monitored conditions but unfortunately it continues to be handed out to people that simply don’t need it.
Treating Acne Holistically
There are far better ways of treating the average acne sufferer than with a drug such as Roaccutane.
Acne is commonly linked to imbalances within the body – including hormonal. Unfortunately, when it comes to hormones, the acne may not completely clear up or could take a little more effort to really keep it under control.
Working holistically, you can often treat acne with a combination of both topical but most importantly, internal components. Changes to your diet such as reducing your sugar intake, alcohol and removing additives and preservatives will be a good start. If you’re consuming high amounts of diary, it’s worth cutting back or perhaps eliminating it completely (at least initially). Changing your pillowcase regularly (every 2-3 days) and washing your hands prior to touching your face will help further.
See a naturopath, dietitian and/or nutritionist
Before even contemplating the use the Roaccutane, we recommend seeing a naturopath or someone that specialises in nutrition. It could be one of the best decisions you ever make. Not only can they help to correct internal imbalances, but you’ll also gain a lot of knowledge that may assist you with everyday health and wellbeing moving forward.
This step is especially important if you’re acne is severe. You should never underestimate the importance of this.
Combine your internal components with high quality, topical serums that can help calm, heal and reduce inflammation and you’ve got a winning combination without any side effects whatsoever (or very limited). For an added boost, LED Light Therapy is clinically proven to be a key player in the fight against acne. Skin Needling can also help depending on the severity.
High quality topical serums are an important step – especially Vitamin A.
Not only can topical serums aid in the healing process, but they can also help to prevent, reduce and remove scarring – not to mention play an important role in overall skin health. Going for that cheap supermarket brand or buying the latest celebrity endorsed garbage is not going to do you any favours.
Remember, acne is a form of inflammation so you treating it should be approach with caution. Peels are a common approach and may be beneficial under the right circumstances. Harsh exfoliants like scrubs should be avoided at all costs. Although peels may help, it is not a cure and it’s often why acne will return when the treatments are stopped – especially if the clinic you’re seeing hasn’t made any effort to correct any internal imbalances.
In this industry, we are often the first point of contact for skin conditions such as acne. If it was diagnosed and treated correctly in the first place, we’re confident drugs like Roaccutane wouldn’t be necessary. Instead, far too many clinics will happily slap on the acids and go crazy with the micro-dermabrasion without any consideration whatsoever for the cause and the long term effects of the treatments being performed.
Cheap doesn’t get you quality, and quality doesn’t come cheap.
If you would like to discuss a more holistic approach, please get in contact with us. We would love to help you achieve your desired results – safely and effectively – and not to the detriment of your long-term health and wellbeing.
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4439741/ – Light-based therapies in acne treatment
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16249142 – An open study to determine the efficacy of blue light in the treatment of mild to moderate acne.
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2923954/ – Clinical Efficacy of Self-applied Blue Light Therapy for Mild-to-Moderate Facial Acne
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12218231 – The antibacterial activity of topical retinoids: the case of retinaldehyde.