If you suffer from acne, you may be familiar with the terms Accutane, Roaccutane or isotretinoin. Isotretinoin, better known by the trade name Accutane or Roaccutane, is often the miracle treatment for acne sufferers.
However, the remarkable effectiveness of Accutane generates several changes in the skin, hence the importance of adapting your routine during treatment. Let's take a closer look at how to take care of your skin during and after this acne treatment.
How Does Accutane Work?
Acne forms due to the clogging of pores by sebum and dead skin cells, creating the perfect environment for the growth of C. acnes bacteria. This eventually leads to inflammation and the appearance of comedones (pimples for intimates).
Although there are many treatments for the different types of acne such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide and topical antibiotics, Accutane remains the best treatment for severe acne.
Isotretinoin (Accutane) targets the four main causes of acne, hence its effectiveness. Accutane helps improve acne by reducing the size and sebum production of sebaceous glands, which minimizes the growth of C. acnes, and by decreasing inflammation (1).
How Does The Skin Change During Accutane?
Sebum is essential to ensure the proper functioning of the skin barrier. As Accutane reduces sebum production, the skin barrier becomes weakened and the skin becomes very dry and irritated during treatment.
In addition, isotretinoin increases the sensitivity of the skin to the Sun. It is for these reasons that it is essential to adapt your skincare routine during Accutane treatment.
How To Adapt Your Skincare Routine While on Accutane?
While your skin will become dry and flaky during this acne treatment, the key is to take care of it gently. Say goodbye to your drying products and hello to your new super gentle skin care!
Since Accutane does the heavy lifting, keep your routine simple: a gentle cleanser, a non-comedogenic moisturizer, and don't forget sunscreen. Also, favor so-called hypoallergenic treatments to minimize the risk of an allergic reaction. Here are the essentials to add to your Accutane skincare routine:
A Rich and Gentle Cleanser
To gently remove impurities from your face, opt for a gentle cleanser suitable for sensitive skin. In order to comfort your skin right from cleansing, choose a cleanser formulated with soothing and healing ingredients such as vitamin B5. Also called panthenol, this vitamin soothes the skin and strengthens its skin barrier.
For example, you could opt for a cleansing milk enriched with vitamin B5 to bring comfort and protection to your skin, right from the cleansing! Continue your cleansing step with mineral-rich thermal water to soothe your skin even further.
A Non-Comedogenic Moisturizer
As your skin will become drier under Accutane, you will need to provide it with more oil with a rich moisturizer. But if you suffer from acne, you're probably terrified of adding an oil-rich cream to your face.
Fortunately, there are plenty of moisturizers formulated with non-comedogenic ingredients. This term refers to ingredients that have no or very little risk of clogging pores. These ingredients are therefore adequate for acne-prone skin!
Among the non-comedogenic ingredients is notably shea butter. This emollient is ideal for moisturizing dry acne-prone skin since it has a comedogenicity index of 0, meaning that it has no risk of clogging pores. On the other hand, its rich texture allows it to soothe, soften and fortify the skin barrier of the driest skin.
To retain the most moisture in your skin, also look to have humectants in your moisturizer. This class of ingredients helps retain water in the skin. Among the popular humectants is hyaluronic acid. Produced naturally by our body, hyaluronic acid is a real sponge that is capable of retaining up to 1000 times its weight in water! This is what makes it such a powerful ingredient for moisturizing the skin.
Look no further, Omy's customized day cream contains both shea butter and hyaluronic acid in its silky smooth, rich texture. This is what makes it an excellent moisturizer to use during your Accutane treatment!
A Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen
Make sure to add sunscreen to your Accutane routine! Indeed, isotretinoin can make the skin particularly sensitive to UV rays. It is therefore essential to protect your skin from these rays.
Opt for a sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (SPF) and a broad spectrum to maximize your protection. For example, a broad-spectrum SPF 50 mineral sunscreen is the ideal shield to protect your skin from the sun.
Key Ingredients to Support Your Skin
The use of a moisturizing serum with humectants and niacinamide is ideal for supporting your skin during Accutane. Niacinamide is a key ingredient to add to your routine since it has anti-inflammatory and healing properties (2). Interestingly, Omy's customized serum contains 5% niacinamide in its base formula!
There are also many natural extracts to support your skin during Accutane. For example, willowherb extract helps reduce acne-induced blemishes by soothing the skin. On the other hand, Tazmanian berry extract is ideal for soothing and calming skin irritations. You can include these two extracts in your beauty routine by adding the Ac and In ingredients to your customized Omy products.
Don't Forget Your Body's Skin!
Similarly to the skin of your face, your body's skin may also become very dry during treatment. So give her some extra love! Opt for a body cleanser adapted to the pH of the skin and rich in lipid-replenishing butters such as a body cera-cleanser.
And After the Accutane Treatment?
You may be tempted to pull your drying acne products out of your drawers after the Accutane treatment, but not so fast! Although your skin will regain its balance after the treatment, it is recommended to maintain a gentle routine after Accutane. Here are the products to incorporate into your routine following this acne treatment:
A Less Rich Cleanser and Moisturizer
For cleansing, opt for a cleansing gel or foam to thoroughly remove sebum and impurities from your face. As your skin will regain a more balanced level of hydration after Accutane, the rich texture of your moisturizer may become too oily for your taste. If so, you can opt for a light-textured moisturizer.
Interestingly, the lightweight texture of Omy's customized cream contains a low dose of salicylic acid. The micro-dose of this ingredient gently unclogs pores, preventing the appearance of new pimples.
Ingredients to Reduce the Appearance of Scars
One ingredient that will work wonders on your skin both during and after the Accutane treatment is niacinamide. This ingredient balances sebum production and effectively reduces the appearance of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation that often appears after pimples have left (3). You'll find this ingredient in Omy's customized serum.
You can also add an exfoliation step to your routine to prevent clogged pores and work on your scars. Opt for a triple exfoliation (physical, enzymatic and chemical) for optimal efficiency. A tri-exfoliating mask is ideal for effectively exfoliating the skin thanks to its three types of exfoliation combined in one product.
Finally, keep your sunscreen handy, even after your Accutane treatment is over! Effective UV protection will help limit the darkening of your acne scars. In addition, you will protect your skin from the harmful effects of the Sun.
If In Doubt, Contact Us
It can be difficult to navigate through the wealth of information available about which care to use during and after Accutane. We invite you to make an appointment with a skin expert for a skin check-up over the phone. For any medical questions, please refer to your doctor.
(1) Fallah, H., & Rademaker, M. Isotretinoin in the management of acne vulgaris: practical prescribing. International Journal of Dermatology. 2021;60(4):451-460.
(2) Gehring W. Nicotinic acid/niacinamide and the skin. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. 2004;3(2):88-93.
(3) Hakozaki T, Minwalla L, Zhuang J, Chhoa M, Matsubara A, Miyamoto K, et al. The effect of niacinamide on reducing cutaneous pigmentation and suppression of melanosome transfer. British Journal of Dermatology. 2002;147(1):20-31.