According to the American Academy of Dermatology, “Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, affecting up to 50 million Americans annually.” Severity and duration of acne vary widely based on factors such as genetics, hormone changes, puberty, oil imbalance in the skin, stress, poor diet, application of certain cosmetic products, side effects of some medications, and a host of other variables.
Because there are so many causes of acne, and because symptoms of acne can be difficult to treat through at-home remedies alone, Vanguard offers multiple treatment options for patients struggling with acneic skin. One of those treatments—which we reserve for severe acne cases and for patients who have yet to experience positive results through other methods—is Accutane.
What Is Accutane?
Accutane is a commonly used brand name for the oral medication isotretinoin. This medication is a retinoid and vitamin A derivative most commonly used to treat acne vulgaris—a chronic skin disease that results in inflammation, pimples, tenderness, and (if left untreated) acne scarring.
Accutane Side Effects and Benefits
While highly effective at treating chronic acne, Accutane does come with some potential risks. Ingestion and handling of Accutane should be avoided by women who are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant. Additionally, Accutane can cause acne symptoms to temporarily worsen upon initial use, but these side effects will subside. As such, Accutane is typically prescribed only when other treatment options have proven ineffective.
Vanguard Board-Certified Dermatologist Maria Sheron explains that “Isotretinoin is a strong medication that can have some serious side effects, so we carefully evaluate each patient prior to starting the medication and monitor them closely while taking the medication.”
Dr. Sheron goes on to illustrate the reasons why, despite these risks, Accutane is so valued as an acne treatment. She states, “Isotretinoin can be one of the most effective acne treatments for severe cystic acne or moderate-to-severe acne that has been recalcitrant to other therapies. Severe acne can result in permanent scarring to the skin and can also impact people’s lives socially and psychologically. Isotretinoin is the only acne medication that, with just one treatment course (which lasts about 6 months) can result in long-lasting improvement in acne.”
Consult Your Dermatologist
We understand how disruptive a struggle with chronic acne can be to our patients’ lives. If you have found that acne treatments aren’t working for you, or if your acne is worsening despite treatment, contact Vanguard Skin Specialists today at 719-355-1585 or by filling out our online appointment request form.
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