Vitamin A-Based Acne Treatments – Isotretinoin

Vitamin A is known to help maintain a healthy skin. As an effective nutrient that can help combat acne, vitamin A can help lessen oil production, making your skin less prone to breakouts. Because of this, some potent acne medications are actually derived from vitamin A. One such example of a potent acne treatment derived from this vitamin is Isotretinoin.

Marketed under the brand name Accutane, this medicine serves as an effective cure for severe and disfiguring forms of acne that have not responded to typical treatments and oral antibacterials. As of today, this is one of the few medications that can cause noticeable improvements in those with severe cases of acne.

Unfortunately, this potent drug has serious unwanted effects and is only available through a doctor’s prescription. Before taking this medicine as an acne treatment, your doctor should inform you about the following unwanted effects and risks:

  • dryness
  • scaling
  • painful joints
  • skin cracks especially near the mouth
  • itchiness
  • congenital defects
  • an upsurge in your cholesterol levels
  • swelling of the brain
  • increased sensitivity to sunlight
  • hepatitis (only in rare instances)
  • depression

Because several of the possible unwanted effects of this medication are life-threatening, this medication should only serve as a last resort or option. Before a doctor could prescribe this medicine, other acne medications and antibiotics should have been tried first.

If you are currently using this medicine, avoid pregnancy by using effective birth pills. The effects of this medication on an unborn child are serious and detrimental, causing severe physical deformities and other defects. Because of its negative effects on an unborn baby, it’s also possible that isotretinon could pose serious risks to nursing infants.

Since this medication is derived from vitamin A, your doctor may advise you to avoid vitamin A supplements since this could lead to an overdose. Also, this medicine should be orally taken with a full meal since it might cause nausea.

Despite its risks, isotretinoin has proven its effectiveness as a treatment for severe kinds of acne. In most cases, drastic improvements can be seen after undergoing an accutane-based therapy for about six months. These drastic changes could be seen in the number of lesions before and after the therapy. Moreover, this medicine can also prevent the recurrence of acne.

While taking this medicine, your dermatologist should carefully monitor your progress. As a precaution, you should inform your dermatologist if you are currently taking other medications since some drugs may adversely react with isotretinoin. Never try to increase or change the dosage without your dermatologist’s consent since this could only lead to overdose, making you more vulnerable to isotretinoin’s side effects.

You and your dermatologist should weigh the risks and benefits when choosing the most appropriate treatment for your acne. As with all kinds of acne treatments, never expect overnight miracles since it might take months before your severe acne lesions could respond to isotretinoin. Before agreeing to take any kind of acne medication, make sure that you have understood its possible risks and unwanted effects.