African American girl looking at her acne in the mirror

Dealing with severe acne can be miserable. Not only does it make you self-conscious about your appearance, but it can also be quite painful. For these reasons, many people turn to medications like Accutane to treat their cystic acne. Accutane is one of the most well-known and effective treatments available for people with major acne problems. The medication, which is also known as isotretinoin, is often prescribed after other acne treatments have failed. But is Accutane truly a permanent solution for severe cystic acne?

How Does Accutane Work?

Accutane is effective primarily because it targets the underlying causes of your acne. Acne is most commonly caused by your pores becoming clogged with oil, dirt, and dead skin cells, which allows bacteria to thrive and cause inflammation. However, when you take Accutane, it shrinks the oil glands in your skin and reduces oil production. That helps prevent your pores from becoming clogged, which decreases bacteria growth and keeps acne from forming.

Does Accutane Cure Your Acne Immediately?

Accutane is an oral medication that is typically taken twice per day for approximately six months. In most cases, it takes some time for severe acne to fade after you start taking the medication. Usually, you will start to see noticeable results in approximately one to two months, but it can sometimes take a bit longer.

There is a common misconception that Accutane will make your acne worse when you first begin taking it. This is a myth; although your acne is unlikely to disappear immediately, taking Accutane will certainly not make it worse. There is no acne medication that starts by worsening the problem before treating it.

Does Acne Return After Taking Accutane?

With many acne treatments, the positive results only continue for as long as you’re using the medication. However, that is not the case with Accutane. After you finish your course of Accutane treatment, its effects on your skin will continue to prevent acne from forming. With most patients, the acne never returns; and if it does, it’s typically much less severe than it was before taking Accutane.

So, at the very least, you shouldn’t need to worry about your acne ever becoming as bad as it once was. If you want to ensure that the positive effects of Accutane last permanently, consider using non-oily skin cleansers and moisturizers.

In the rare occurrence that your severe acne does return after finishing a course of Accutane, you should contact your dermatologist immediately. They may prescribe you antibiotics or a second course of Accutane to finish the job.

What Is the Takeaway?

Accutane is an effective way to defeat a severe acne problem; but are its results permanent? Most of the time, the answer is yes. For the vast majority of patients who take Accutane, severe acne never returns. There may be an occasional breakout, but those occurrences should be minor and uncommon. If you’re interested in learning more about Accutane treatment, schedule a consultation with one of our skin experts at Certified Dermatology. We have multiple locations across New Jersey, each of which is staffed with compassionate and experienced dermatology professionals.

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