Prev Next

Is Accutane Right For Me?

By Amalah

Dear Amy,
I’ve researched your archived articles regarding acne and found little feedback from Accutane users. I know you suggest the Philosophy line, which I’ve tried, it made my skin go crazy! I have moderate acne which has developed over the course of the last few years, and I am 33 years old. I recently decided to quit spending the endless dollars trying the various acne remedies (ex/ Proactiv, Philosophy, Neutrogena, and so on…), and finally visited a dermatologist. He’s supposed to be the most qualified physician around, he took less than 5 minutes looking at me before he stated that I needed to try Accutane, that was it- no other suggestion. I am fine with this if it gets the job done, I just don’t know much about it.
Once the nurse entered the room, I was flooded with information/warnings/counseling. This somewhat concerned me, though I understand there is a huge liability associated with the product and birth defects (which won’t be an issue for me, no babies anywhere in this future). I’ve since scoured the internet looking for some more information, but what I really want is some users feedback, not clinical studies/doctor recommendations/etc. The nurse told me “not to worry”, “lots of people use Accutane with little to no side effects”, “we see great results”, etc. Yet the pamphlets state things like “if you start to feel like you are going to take your own life, stop taking this medication…” ummm, ok. Anyways, if you could please let me know your thoughts on this product it would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks !!
-Stella

Well, I wish I HAD lots of thoughts about Accutane, but I’m afraid I know probably less than you do. I know all about the birth defects warning and…that’s about it. Obviously, it’s pretty powerful stuff and thoroughly works its way around your system if it’s capable of crossing the placenta enough to eff with fetal development, so I don’t blame you for being cautious. In fact, I commend you for it, since I think too many people just blindly accept what’s on the prescription pad without taking some time to really research the drug, especially in this day and age of pharmaceutical commercials and glossy magazine ads. (“Oh! Zelnorm! With all those commercials with the women showing off their tummies! That was cute, sign me up! Oh wait…never mind.”)
A little Googling of my own reveals that lots of people have posed the question on message boards and other answer services — here’s a thread at the makeuptalk forums and Yahoo Answers. There’s definitely a mix of first- and second- and even third-hand reports here, but it’s clear that the side effects are definitely not something you should take lightly or feel silly for worrying about. Here’s the FDA’s take on the downsides as well. Depression and other psychiatric problems are very much noted, as is liver damage.
Perhaps the best and most informative site I came across is the forum at acne.org. There’s an entire subforum dedicated to Accutane — treatment logs, polls, before-and-after photos, you name it. Spend a few hours here and I think you’ll get a sense of how often the scary-sounding side effects actually happen and whether the risk is worth it in your particular case.
Now. After just that teensy bit of research, here’s my big question: You identify yourself as having “moderate” acne. Accutane is intended for severe acne. Full stop. It is a last-resort type of treatment, and even the FDA considers it a “high-risk” drug. From the link I provided:

Accutane should be reserved for cases of “severe recalcitrant nodular acne,” according to the product’s labeling. This type of acne is resistant to standard acne treatment, including oral antibiotics, and is characterized by many nodules or cysts–inflammatory lesions filled with pus and lodged deep within the skin.

Does this sound like you, at all? If you aren’t sure, just do a Google Image Search for “accutane” or “severe recalcitrant nodular acne” and take a gander at the faces and bodies that come up.
Obviously, it doesn’t sound like you got your prescription from a doctor who operates out of a van down by the river or anything, and without seeing photos of your skin I couldn’t even begin to question his recommendation. (Oh, and there’s also the little thing about me NOT BEING A DOCTOR.) It certainly does sound frustrating, since you’ve tried just about everything I would recommend to someone emailing for advice. So in that regard, yeah, maybe you ARE ready for a last-resort treatment regimen, but I’m still having an issue with the whole “moderate acne” bit, because that runs counter to a lot of the general info and advice I’ve come across.
So. Obviously I hope some readers will chime in here with any Accutane experiences — good, bad, middling — but beyond that I’m just going to repeat the suggestion of the acne.org forums. Look at the “before” photos and ask yourself if your acne is in the same realm and if you really do, in fact, have any business messing with this stuff. Maybe get an account of your own and post a photo and see what the other Accutane users think. Or poke around the other areas of the site and see if there’s a regimen or product that you might want to try first. (The basic acne.org regimen can be done fairly inexpensively, and I know we’ve had many commenters sing the site’s praises before.)
And again, GOOD FOR YOU for being suspicious and cautious. Personally, what little I’ve read in the past couple hours while working on this column scared the crap out of me, so I don’t know what I’d do either. (But to be fair, the Internet is sooooo good at scaring the crap out of me, just in general.)

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

icon icon
chat bubble icon

Comments

newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Robin
Guest
Robin

I used accutane about 15 years ago (… ugh) and it worked but I remember that my skin was irritated by the whole thing. I do not remember much else, as I am now over 30 and can’t remember much of anything 😉
I’m glad Amy suggested Acne.org – the regimen is the only thing that has ever really worked for me. And it’s cheap!

Heather
Guest
Heather

I took Acccutane twice, once when I was 22 and again at 25. My skin wasn’t as bad as the pictures you see on the forums, but the zits I did have were deep and painful and left scars. It was also bad enough that I had days I didn’t want to leave the house because I felt so ugly. That said, I tried EVERYTHING before I went on Accutane. My doc originally prescribed it for me when I was 19 and I chickened out and never got the prescription filled. The worst side effects for me were dry lips… Read more »

Jenni
Guest
Jenni

I tend to agree with Amy on the “moderate acne probably doesn’t need to be treated with Accutane” assessment, but only you know what’s right for you. I have had a lot of frustration with doctors as of late who don’t take the time to listen or understand before diagnosing and treating my body. It sucks that in the current age of health care as it is, you really have to advocate for yourself and your own gut instincts. If the remedy your doctor prescribes doesn’t seem to fit the bill or just rubs you the wrong way, you absolutely… Read more »

Amy
Guest
Amy

Take a look at the article linked to here (http://www.aafp.org/afp/20001015/1823.html) from the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). It has pictures and does a run down of different treatments. I’ve never had many acne problems, but any acne I did have completely went away with Ortho-tricyclen. AAFP also has a handout on Accutane: http://www.aafp.org/afp/20001015/1835ph.html.

Erin
Guest

I’ve been thinking about accutane too, but mostly because I’ve had acne since I was a teenager. I’m 28 and it really doesn’t seem to be getting any better. I’ve tried pretty much everything else my doctor can think of and while some things have made it a little better, nothing has worked completely. My family doctor used accutane when she was younger, as did my husband, my cousin and another friend and they all came out of it intact, none of them had any scary stories about it so that makes me feel better. I’ve been kind of nervous… Read more »

Christin
Guest
Christin

Stella – I took accutane when I was in my early twenties for my “moderate” acne after years of everything else not working, including proactive which I mega-hated. I loved the final outcome, and was mad at myself for not taking it earlier. I did have some skin peeling and sensitivity while taking it, and had to watch my diet so that my cholesterol didn’t rise. But it was so so so worth it, and my skin is still great almost a decade later.

Ramona
Guest
Ramona

Okay, so I did two rounds of Accutane in my teens. My acne was moderate, not like the pictures you see when you google, but it was persistant and resistant to other forms of doctor prescribed topical acne medications. Accutane was my last resort. And it was a life saver! Nothing else worked for me. Nothing. The only side effects I experienced were headaches when I took it on am empty stomach. Now that I am in my late twenties, I manage my acne with just birth control pills. All of this being said, ask your doctor about prescription strength… Read more »

Jezer
Guest

I used Accutane in high school. I had tried everything that my dermotologist knew to try. I had moderate acne that just WOULD NOT stop. Accutane worked. One round, and my skin was near perfect, with just a random breakout every now and then. The side effects that I experienced were very dry skin, one bout of nasty fever blisters, some fatigue, and bone spurs in my heels. All of these went away after I was done with Accutane. Also, Accutane “brings out” all of the acne in your system, so you will have to endure a period of severely… Read more »

Marin
Guest
Marin

Oh, Accutane. How you saved me. Backstory: awful, AWFUL acne develops at about 11/12 years of age. I went through years of topical ointments, oral treatments, etc. Really, it was insane. My last resort was Accutane, which I was put on twice. In short: it works. My side effects were a slightly achy back once in a while, dry lips, and developing eczema on my arms. My cholesterol also skyrocketed, but fixed itself once I was off the medicine. I’m surprised that your doctor would put you on Accutane right off the bat, because most doctors prefer to put their… Read more »

Kimmers
Guest

Ok, so I have taken Accutane. I actually took two successive courses of it, because the first was only semi-effective. This was when I was 16, and I’m now 24, so my little disclaimer is “things may have changed a little since then”. But here’s some of my experience with the drug. First, the possible side effects scared me to death. Everything from possible dryness of the eyes that could permanently prevent contact lens wearing (yikes!) to severe liver damage to possible suicidal tendencies. As far as the birth defects, my doctor had to sign a form swearing that I… Read more »

Jenny
Guest
Jenny

Just checking in to offer another opinion. My mom is a derm nurse and is very leary about Accutane. It’s some pretty strong stuff. I’d stay away from it if I was even thinking about having sex, but that’s just my opinion. Is there any reason why your doctor didn’t want you to try another oral antibotic? I had very good luck with a sulfa (sulfer?) drug, but was allergic to it. I also had good luck with arithomiscin (spelling, again) and amoxicillian. I would maybe suggest trying one of these first. One thing to remember on these drugs is… Read more »

Aimee
Guest
Aimee

I took a course of Accutane in high school (about 15 years ago) and regret it. I, too, only had moderate acne, and besides the side effects, I was unhappy with the results. I got severely dry skin and lips, and tons of nosebleeds. I had to constantly apply neosporin or vaseline with a Q-tip up my nose. Accutane messes with your entire body because it’s basically shrinking your sabaceous glands. And I think they do warn you that the side effects can linger after you’re done taking the drug. I still have patches of dry skin, and I still… Read more »

Tamara
Guest
Tamara

I, too, used Accutane in high school, after trying literally EVERYTHING (and I must say, antibiotics were a complete waste of time and messed up my digestive system for years). I had to stay completely out of the sun, my skin was crazy dry and I could only shampoo my hair every few days. Also, my skin seemed much more prone to scarring AFTER taking it. However, it worked, and for several years (all of college), my skin really cleared up. After that? Well, it is back (from 22 to now almost 30), but it is not the cystic stuff… Read more »

Andrea
Guest
Andrea

I took two courses of Accutane when I was in high school. Again, as others have said, this was after trying many other options. I think if you are classify in the amount of acne I had you would say it was moderate. However, it was of the not garden variety acne, it was the recalcitrant nodular acne. I think that is the part you need to pay attention to when you are thinking about taking Accutane. If you just have pimples, no, Accutane is over kill. If you have this particular type of acne, even if it isn’t a… Read more »

RJStewart
Guest

My husband just started taking Accutane. He did this only after 2+ years of trying various VERY STRONG combinations of prescription topical ointments and antibiotics. When the heaviest-duty antibiotics that the dermatologist could prescribe for acne were not working on any consistent basis, he and his doctor decided to take the step towards Accutane. I’ve also had mild to moderate acne, and my dermatologists always started with antibiotics and prescription topicals first – a little tetracycline and a commonly used topical or two, and a little retinol or alpha-hydroxy acid cream. A few months of those has always done the… Read more »

Bonny
Guest
Bonny

I used two rounds of accutane, one in my teens and another in my early twenties. I had moderate acne on my face, chest and back. I didn’t experience any crazy side effects, aside from severly dry skin (including my scalp and lips). For body lotion, curel worked best; for my face I used nothing but cetaphil cleanser and moisturizer for dry skin. I kept vaseline with me at all times for my lips, and I found I had to exfoliate them almost daily. I was only able to wash my hair weekly (I used to wash it every other… Read more »

Erin
Guest
Erin

I also took two course of Accutane, once at 19, and again at 22 for fairly severe acne. Before the first course, I had done years of different treatments (topical & pills – mostly antibiotics) with limited success. And the Accutane just plain worked. I do still have the occasional breakout … I still have to wash my face IMMEDIATELY after working out or sweating a lot, but I use Neutrogena’s ance cream on them, and they’re gone in a day or two. And, for the most part, I’m happy I did it – my skin is just so much… Read more »

Stella
Guest
Stella

Thank you so much for all the advice! I am slowly checking out the message boards that you found, it appears that the ratings are 50/50 between pro’s and con’s. I have also checked out the acne.org and found that my skin is not that of the majority of the before pictures, I would still rate myself as moderate. I think my dermatologist took the Accutane route due to my stating that my skin appears to worsen with everything I try, also probably because I told him that I “can’t take it anymore and never want to leave my house”.… Read more »

Stephanie
Guest
Stephanie

I’m 25, just finished a course of accutane about 3 months ago. I had moderate to severe acne, my dermatologist had tried topical and antibiotics for about 2 years prior to trying the accutane. I love my skin now. I’m a bit surprised that your doctor is going right to accutane, but as other commentors have said, he is the one with the MD. I think the side effects do vary significantly from person to person, but it’s a personal decision that you have to make. I spent several months researching other people’s accutane experiences before I started my course,… Read more »

Jude
Guest
Jude

My brother took Accutane almost 15 years ago but, we had both been seeing the dermatologist for 2 years before that course of treatment was offered to us. I looked at the side effects and balked and since my acne wasn’t nearly as severe as my brother’s I just continued to put up with it until a combination of growing out of it and ceasing the “must attack acne now” mindset of skincare took it’s natural course (I must say using a GENTLE cleanser was a life changing revelation for me). Anyway, my brother definitely had a more severe case… Read more »

Polly
Guest
Polly

I had moderate but not severe acne in high school – enough to make me really self conscious -as if it’s not difficult enough to be a teenage girl! Our family dermatologist prescribed everything under the sun and nothing worked, and he presented accutane as an option but my mom wouldn’t let me take it – talk about teen agnst. The acne and low self esteem continued through college and finally when I was out of college with a job and my own insurance I saw another dermatologist who told me I was an excellent candidate for accutane. IT CHANGED… Read more »

Megan
Guest
Megan

I also took Accutane in college after many, many frustrating rounds of antibiotics (oh hay yeast infection !), prescription topicals, over-the-counter regimens (eff u, proactiv), and on and on. It did make me depressed, and it did work. I took Vitamen E capsules to ward off chapped lips, so that wasn’t an issue. The depression lifted after I stopped taking the medication. I should mention that I didn’t become suicidal while taking it; I just felt ‘down’ and kind of…sad. (Which, obviously, I mean…not ideal.) The cystic acne flared again about 5 years later, at which point I did another… Read more »

kaelak
Guest
kaelak

I used Accutane for “severe recalcitrant nodular acne” when I was 16/17 – my understnading was that it was for that condition and/or adult acne that didn’t respond to other, less aggressive, treatment. I am firmly in the “loved it” category – there was no risk of baby when I was that old, so i didn’t have to worry about the birth defects thing, and the only side effect that I had was severe drying of…well….everything. I used Eucerin (love!) and Vaseline my face and in my nose (dryer skin = bloody noses) and I was pretty good to go.… Read more »

Amanda
Guest

I took Accutane when I was around 19 or 20 after a couple of years of trying topical and oral acne medication, in addition to using acne face wash and what not. I wouldn’t say I had severe acne, but I did have multiple kinds–whiteheads along with the kind of cystic type pimples that are big knots under the skin. So I too was very self conscious as others have said here. I think Accutane is the ONLY way to go, I’ve never broken out since, with the exception of a pimple here or there–but nothing cystic like before. Yes… Read more »

whitney
Guest
whitney

I was on accutane for almost a year when I was 16. I also had what I would describe as “moderate” acne. Accutane was pushed because my mother was concerned I would develope severe acne in my late teens the way several of my family members had. Those ten months were miserable (weight gain, dry skin, couldn’t wear contacts, hair loss (minimal), bloating, and a slight bout of depression) but I’m ever grateful for it now. I’m 24 and alost NEVER get any form of pimple. I have no scarring from my time before or on accutane, my hair, which… Read more »

acidspit
Guest
acidspit

You may want to read the comments from this particular post from Jezebel re: Accutane:
http://jezebel.com/363735/how-i-conquered-my-cystic-acne-in-just-17-painful-steps

Kate
Guest
Kate

I’m chiming in as another satisfied Accutane user. I started Accutane when I was 22, after trying topical antibiotics, oral antibiotics, birth control pills, and everything else under the sun. My acne did not look as extreme as many of the pictures of severe acne on the internet, but it was constant – I had been broken out for ten years straight at that point. The first few months on Accutane were a little uncomfortable, and my face was simultaneously broken out and peeling (it was gross), the pills were expensive, and having to go in for blood work every… Read more »

Beth
Guest
Beth

I was on Accutane as a teenager, after trying Retin-A, Benozyl Peroxide wash, etc. I took it for a few months, and went in for bloodwork while I was on it. Since I was a teenager, I forgot pills and eventually went off the medication because it was such a hassle. Also, I was already on antidepressants, so maybe this saved me from the scary side effects? I still had pretty bad breakouts in college, but more hormonal than the cystic acne I had as a teenager. After going on the pill at 22, my acne has cleared up significantly,… Read more »

e.darcy
Guest

I was put on Accutane for two years while in high school, I didn’t have bad acne, but the dermatologist told me that he was worried about scarring. it was dreadful, terrible… i still worry today about what side effects it could have caused to my insides since the effects are so horrible for pregnant women. (i don’t know if they still do it, but since i am a woman, i was paid to fill out their surveys of how it effected me) it left my face constantly chapped, red, raw. and after two years of taking the stuff?–it still… Read more »

Catherine
Guest
Catherine

just to chime in — I cannot recommend Accutane enough. I’ve done it twice — once in 2002, once in 2005, and while my acne has not completely gone away (I had really terrible acne), it’s cleared up, and now I’d classify it as mild to moderate. While I was on Accutane, my skin was perfectly clear, and it remained clear for months afterward; I just have a really bad strain of acne and honestly, I’m going to be taking my third (and hopefully final) round of it beginning in July. For most people, though, it clears up your skin… Read more »

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

Another former Accutane user here (wow, there is a mini community of us on the Smackdown!). Like many of the other commenters, I was on Accutane in high school for moderate acne that was resistant to all other treatments. I did one course and then stayed on a “low dose” regimen for several years, taking just two pills a week. Part of the draw for me was the idea that the results would be definitive, that I could forget about my acne problems once the treatment was done. I loved the results while on Accutane–it’s the only thing that’s ever… Read more »

Deanna B
Guest
Deanna B

I took Accutane when I was in high school for a couple of months. I had horrible acne that would not respond to anything else. I was on supposed to stay on Accutane for six months, but only lasted three. The first time I went to the beach while still on it, I wore a rash guard, pants, a hat, sat in the shade and the highest spf I could find and I still burned. Since I spend the majority of my time outside in the summer, me and accutane parted ways. The the side effects I dealt with were… Read more »

Di
Guest
Di

I was on it for about 3,4 months 9 years ago. It was brutal, I hated being on it every second I was on it. It cleared up my skin beautifully for about 2 years. Derms have tried to put me on it since, and I refused. It gave me these little bumps on my arms, dried out my eyes like you would not believe, and made me despondant.It was the scariest thing I ever was on. Take the warnings seriously when you read them.

Rachael
Guest
Rachael

My dermatologist had the same reaction that yours did when I went for my first appointment. The physician’s assistant that did the initial diagnosis put me on a much milder antibiotic (solodyn) and two topical creams (Tazorac and Benzaclin) for my moderate acne. Thank goodness she was the one I saw first, because when the dermatologist came in, he asked me if I wanted to be on Accutane. If I hadn’t known there were options, I probably wouldn’t have been so forceful in saying “No.” The antibiotic and creams have done wonders for my skin and I would encourage to… Read more »

Jessica
Guest
Jessica

I’ve been really happy with the Alpha-Hydroxy line of products (available on http://www.drugstore.com). It’s by far the best for me at this point in my life.
I’ve never tried accutane, but honestly, love the Alpha-Hydroxy line (I think I got the recommendation from acne.com or something).
Good luck!

heather
Guest
heather

I am on my last month of accutane. I am so thankful for it! I didn’t have severe acne, but moderate. It has worked wonders. The only side effect I have is dry lips. I use Aquphor all the time and that makes a big difference!
I would do your research but also realize that not everyone reacts the same so the people who have tons of side effects arn’t the only users. I love it and am so excited to see how I do when I go off! GOOD LUCK in whatever you choose!

AJMick
Guest
AJMick

Okay, I never took Accutane so I can’t weigh in on that stuff but I’ve fought acne for years and finally found a regimen that works. Philosophy doesn’t work for me – does absolutely horrible things to my skin – it works for Amalah, which is fantastic, but for me? OMG NO! Step away! Except for Purity to take off the makeup before cleansing. What I did find that works for me is the Dr Brandt line. Although, unlike Amalah, I cannot use Pores No More – it clogs my pores like crazy (it’s as if I have the opposite… Read more »

Lauren
Guest
Lauren

I took Accutane about nine years ago, when I was 26. I had a similar experience with the doctor as you. I went to a new dermatologist because I was tired of having adult acne. It wasn’t severe, but it was really ugly and annoying, for something I’d thought would be gone after I left my teens. Anyhow, the doc very quickly said, “so you’ve tried everything? Let’s do Accutane!” So I did it. I got a hat, wore sunscreen religiously, and didn’t get pregnant. Other than dry skin (and a bloody stool once, if I’m being totally honest), it… Read more »

shayna
Guest
shayna

Now, to be fair – I *do* get severe, recalcitrant nodular acne. I literally fear the day I ever go off the Pill because it’s the only thing that keeps my skin in check without Accutane. But I have taken Accutane, at varying doses for varying lengths of time, at least 6 times. It is not fun, and I can’t believe the number of people who are willing to deal with the horror for (what looks to me like) fairly mild acne. However, having also done some serious academic study on the psychological effects of acne, I can’t really question… Read more »

spookie
Guest
spookie

Stella, Given what you’ve said about your general skin issues with your arms having dry flaky spots and the moderate acne, I would consult a normal doctor or another dermatologist to have a look at your skin without you saying anything that might sway their judgment. I’m not a doctor, but it sounds like you might have a generalized dermatitis issue – from what you said, your skin is not happy in general, not just on your face. Best of luck with whatever choice you make – I really hope you write back in the future and let us all… Read more »

Janna
Guest
Janna

I’ve done 2 courses of Accutane – one when I was 16, and one when I was 21. I would say my acne was moderate in number – I never had more than 4 or 5 zits at once – but I think it was characteristically more like severe acne – if I pushed on them, I’d feel soreness and a cyst under the skin. Not sure if that makes any sense. Anyway, I tried just about every treatment in the book before going on Accutane, and it did work, at least somewhat well for me. I had fewer pimples… Read more »

Mintea
Guest

I’m currently on Accutane and I have to say that the stuff works. I had very active oil glands and my face was superbly oily,resulting in big, painful zits that wouldn’t go away no matter what I tried. I did the whole antibiotics and topical treatment thing but it didn’t work. I’m in my third month of treatment and the oil production has gone down considerable and I actually have normal skin now. There are side effects of course, like very dry lips and eyes. I have the blues more often and the cholesterol level went up too. I’ve got… Read more »

Lori
Guest
Lori

My teenage son went from BabyFace to PizzaFace practically overnight. The dermatologist tried antibiotics and Retin A first for two months, then threw up his hands and prescribed Accutane.
It didn’t make one bit of difference after three months. And every morning kvetching about the dryness. Every month kvetching about the liver function tests. Two years later, he still has skin issues.
How I wish I could put him on birth control pills.

lula
Guest
lula

You might want to consider seeing a naturopathic doctor. They are the primary care doctor to the natural medicine world. Just something to consider… I don’t have terrible acne, but did get my share of zits as a teenager. I’ve been extremely annoyed to have to deal with adult acne into my 30s…deep cyst-like acne that leaves scars. I went to a naturopathic physician who suggested a few things that might help (eg drinking more water) and at the end of her spiel said “well, you can always try giving up wheat”. It took me a while, but I was… Read more »

Becky
Guest
Becky

I used Accutane in college and would highly recommend it. However, I do find it odd that a dermatologist would recommend it straight off. Most experts I spoke to said Accutane was reserved for severe acne — or for resistant acne, as in my case. I never looked like most of the pictures you’ll see online – but my acne did not respond to anything — birth control pills, doxycycline, monocycline, Retin-A, sulfa drugs, creams, pills, etc. Even if you’ve tried over-the-counter stuff before, most dermatologists would want to try out a few other options before resorting to Accutane. In… Read more »

ekh
Guest
ekh

Just thought I’d add another data point. I had pretty good skin as a teenager, but things started to downhill when I hit my 20’s. My acne was probably moderate rather than severe, but I was really unhappy with my skin. I tried topical benzoyl peroxide (which I believe is the active ingredient in most of the Proactiv products), oral antibiotics, Retin-A, topical antibiotics, and nothing really seemed to make a difference. I went to a new dermatologist, who explained to me that, in her experience, Accutane was the only treatment that would be guaranteed to work for stubborn acne… Read more »

Stella
Guest
Stella

Wow, so much information, and exactly what I was hoping for!
Thank you everyone for your personal experiences and suggestions!
I’m still undecided but feel better prepared to talk with my dermatologist at my next appointment.
I’ll keep you posted-
Lula,
you’ve raised an interesting point, oddly my good friend was just informed that she was also having reactions due to wheat consumption. I find this so very unusual. Thank you for the info.!

R
Guest
R

I had a similar experience to many other commenters. I had moderate acne, but after trying oral antibiotics and topical prescriptions for three years without any change in my acne, my doctor prescribed Accutane. It made my skin really, really, really dry for about 6-8 weeks, and that’s about it. I don’t have acne anymore.

Steph
Guest
Steph

I completely, 100% second Lula’s recommendation of seeing a naturopathic doctor. I had moderate to severe acne for about 10 years before I went to one this year. I was off wheat, dairy, sugar, red meat, alcohol, coffee and a bunch of other random stuff for 3 months. It was SO HARD but it was SO WORTH IT. Not only is my skin is completely clear (took about 2 1/2 months of being off all that stuff) it looks AMAZING. It GLOWS. I smile every time I look in the mirror. Plus I generally feel way better. It sounds impossible,… Read more »

K
Guest
K

I’m 30, and have been dealing with mild-to-moderate acne for about the last ten years. I’ve tried Retin-A and a number of oral antibiotics (including erythromycin and doxycycline), with so-so results. About six months ago, I wanted something better and also wanted to go off the doxycycline (I had been on it for two years, and was worried about birth defects also – I believe all the acne antibiotics carry some risk of birth defects, though none as bad as Accutane), so I asked my dermatologist for something different. Like your doctor, his first recommendation was also Accutane! But I… Read more »