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!
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 simply not worth the risk. Other symptoms can include depression, 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 behavioral 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. 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 by making simple changes to your lifestyle eg. your diet.
Treating Acne Holistically
Based on all the scientific research and clinical studies available to us today, there are far better ways of treating acne 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
Before even contemplating the use the Roaccutane or any other drug for that matter, we recommend seeing a naturopath. It could be one of the best decisions you ever make. Not only can a naturopath 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. For an added boost, LED Light Therapy is clinically proven to be a key player in the fight against acne.
High quality topical serums are an important step – especially Vitamin A serums that contain Retinaldehyde (Retinal) as opposed to Retinol. Retinal has clinically proven anti-bacterial properties – something no other form of Vitamin A has. In addition, Retinal is much better suited to both sensitive and inflamed skin.
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. Stay right away from anything that contains acids and harsh scrubs.
Remember, acne is a form of inflammation so you should not be treating it by creating more inflammation. Chemical peels, harsh exfoliants and acids (all extremely common and equally poor treatments) only suppress/mask the symptoms. None of them assist in a cure. This is sometimes 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.
This is yet another example of quick-fix treatments failing to produce long term results. 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 a laser without any considering whatsoever for what actually causes acne and the long term effects of the treatments being performed. Then you get those clinics that may recommend a naturopath or even attempt to prescribe internal component themselves – but then they completely contradict that approach with topically applied acids, harsh scrubs acids and other similar modalities.
Cheap doesn’t get you quality, and quality doesn’t come cheap.
Be very cautious of the big chains and franchises – especially those with their own skincare lines or those with close ties to one particular brand. They will generally promise the world and offer it to you at incredibly cheap prices. Do your research and do not commit to anything, regardless of the ‘hard sell’ tactics they often employ. It’s likely they won’t be recommending that you see a naturopath either – they will attempt to keep everything in-house.
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.