How to care for your skin on Accutane (Part 2)
Derived from Vitamin A, Accutane is a potent little pill often prescribed by physicians to treat all sorts of acne and breakouts. If you’ve been on it before, you know that Accutane is a serious drug with equally serious side effects. If this is your first time and you’re reading this, you’re already ahead of some of the worst and most obvious side effects. Accutane is known for being incredibly drying - oftentimes depleting the skin of all sorts of moisture, causing a rash, chapped dry lips, dry nose (both inside and out) and a whole lot of itching. Now that you’ve braced yourself for the worst, it’s time to prepare for the best in order to make your Accutane experience as positive as possible. You are or will be under the care of your own dermatologist throughout this process, so if you have any questions or concerns make sure to reach out to them asap. For the most part, the care advice given by doctors and dermatologists is minimal, and while it’s absolutely of the utmost importance that you pay attention to what is working for you, here is what I recommend to anyone starting, already on, or thinking of using Accutane:
First and foremost, throw away all of your over the counter acne products, you will no longer need any of them and you shouldn’t even think of using them while on Accutane. Check all of your skincare products and make sure that they don’t contain any acids. Go to your local drugstore or open up Amazon on your browser and add these things to your cart -
Your Shopping List:
- Egyptian Magic All Purpose Cream
- Aveeno Calm + Restore Oat Facial Cleanser
- Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Wash
- Aveeno Calm + Restore Oat Moisturizer or OLSC Pep-Revive Daily Moisturizer
- Aveeno Skin Relief Moisture Repair or Eucerin Advanced Repair Body Cream
If you haven’t started your Accutane treatment yet, start using the products above a few days prior to starting your treatment to ensure that your skin will be extra moisturized and resilient to the upcoming onslaught of dryness. If you’re already on the treatment, don’t stress - start on your new highly moisturizing routine ASAP! I know the purge your skin is experiencing is pretty aggressive, but try your best to resist the urge to treat your topical acne with anything. Right now, the milder the product, the better because using your regular products will most likely cause rashes, itchiness and sometimes even eczema.
So, here’s your Accutane care guide:
- As soon as you get out of the shower, apply face and body lotion from head to toe. Before bed, you should literally slather as much moisturizer as possible on your body, face and even work it into your scalp if you feel that it’s getting dry. Mix equal amounts of Aquaphor and Egyptian Magic and apply a generous amount on all areas of your face and body, concentrating on areas where you are experiencing the most itching or dryness. If the itching becomes too much to bear, ask your dermatologist for prescription cortisone. Reapply Aquaphor or the mixture of Aquaphor and Egyptian magic on the corner of your mouth and around your nose every couple of hours. I know it sounds weird, but make sure to apply this mixture to the inside of your nose with a Q Tip as well.
- Sunblock is more important now than ever. Stay away from the sun as much as possible, use SPF 55 or higher, and wear SPF protective clothing if you are vacationing, hiking or gardening. Your skin sensitivity to the sun will be heightened so make sure that you are protected. As your skin is also undergoing an immense purge, your risk for scarring is higher than ever. Protect yourself from the sun to prevent dark spots and acne scars that are hard to deal with later.
Your post-Accutane care guide:
Your post-care guide comes with a warning - while it was very nice to hydrate your skin with heavy moisturizers and oils while on the treatment, you must stop as soon as treatment is over. While accutane is 90% effective in curing acne, it doesn’t mean that it has permanently changed your skin type. If you are naturally prone to breakouts, you can still break out especially from using too many products that are not supportive of your skin type. While you can start using the anti-aging ingredients that previously you couldn’t use, it doesn’t mean that you should continue to slaughter your skin with Egyptian magic and Aquaphor, or heavy moisturizers and serums.
Here is an almost foolproof post accutane protocol:
- OLSC Purifying Cleansing Gel / or you can continue to use Aveeno for few weeks post (AM/PM)
- OLSC Rebalancing Toner (AM/PM)
- Weightless Moisturizer (AM)
- Lightweight Sunblock, I like Canmake Mermaid Skin Gel (AM)
- OLSC Nighttime Skin Quencher or OLSC Lactic Acid Hydrating Serum (PM)
- OLSC Eye Cream (AM/PM)
- Add a few drops of Heal The Need to your moisturizer if you’re feeling dry
- Once per week, treat yourself to a Red Carpet Facial in a box
- After 60 days on the regimen above, add ISclinical Pro Heal Serum after toner, before moisturizer
- 60 days after that, ask your dermatologist for 0.05 tretinoin to add to your evening routine. This will help plump your skin, improve fine lines and get rid of any acne scars or discoloration you might’ve gotten from your Accutane. Start using it once per week until you work up to 3-4 times per week. After cleansing, apply your eye cream and then follow with tretinoin, wait 5 minutes before applying a night cream like Nighttime Skin Quencher.
If at any point you start to experience rashes, irritation or general skin congestion, discontinue use. It usually takes 2-3 weeks for your skin to adjust to new products, just monitor how your skin is feeling.
As you embark on this journey for clear skin, know that you are doing the best you can! It is absolutely not easy, but I hope that I can make this process easier for you. Be sure to communicate with your dermatologist about your skin concerns and good luck!