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 acne treatment for those suffering from severe acne.
The remarkable effectiveness of Accutane, however, comes with a lot of changes to the skin, hence the importance of adapting your routine during treatment. Let’s take a closer look at how to care for your skin during and after Accutane.a
How Does Accutane Work?
Acne forms due to pores becoming clogged with sebum and dead skin cells, creating an environment for the growth of the C. acnes bacteria. This is what eventually leads to inflammation and the appearance of imperfections.
While there are many treatments to treat various types of acne such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and topical antibiotics, Accutane remains the go-to treatment for treating severe acne.
Isotretinoin (Accutane) targets the four main causes of acne, hence its effectiveness. Accutane helps improve severe acne by reducing the size and production of sebum of the sebaceous glands, which minimizes the growth of C. acnes, and decreasing inflammation (1).
How to Care for Your Skin During Accutane?
As Accutane reduces sebum production, the skin barrier becomes weakened and the skin becomes very dry and irritated during treatment. Isotretinoin also increases the skin's sensitivity to the sun, hence the importance of adapting your routine during Accutane treatment.
The key is to take care of your skin gently. Since Accutane does the heavy lifting, keep your routine simple: a gentle cleanser, a non-comedogenic moisturizer, and don't forget sunscreen.
Step 1: Gently cleansing milk
To gently remove impurities from your face, opt for a gentle cleanser suitable for sensitive skin. To comfort your skin upon 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.
Step 2: Non-comedogenic moisturizer
As your skin will become drier on Accutane, you will need to compensate by providing it with more lipids (fats) with a rich-textured moisturizer.
Omy's Personalized Day Cream is a good moisturizer to use during Accutane since it is formulated with both humectants and non-comedogenic emollients such as hyaluronic acid and shea butter.
Step 3: Sun protection
As this treatment can make skin particularly sensitive to UV rays, be sure to add sunscreen to your Accutane routine.
Opt for a high-protection, broad-spectrum sunscreen to maximize your protection. A broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen is the ideal shield to protect your skin from the sun every day.
Ingredients to add to your routine
Niacinamide can support your skin during Accutane with its anti-inflammatory and healing properties (2). This Personalized Serum contains 5 % niacinamide.
Certain natural extracts can also assist your skin during Accutane. For example, willow herb extract helps reduce acne-induced blemishes by soothing the skin.
Tazmanian Berry Extract is also ideal for soothing and calming skin irritations. You can include these two extracts in your routine by adding ingredients 1 and 2 to your personalized skincare.
Don't forget your body's skin!
Similar to the skin on your face, the skin on your body is also at risk of becoming very dry while on Accutane.
Opt for a soap-free body cleanser adapted to the pH of the skin and rich in lipid-replenishing butters such as a body cera-cleanser.
To hydrate and protect your skin, choose a lipid-replenishing body cream designed to protect the skin’s barrier.
And after Accutane treatment?
Although your skin will regain its balance after treatment, it is recommended to maintain a gentle routine after Accutane. Here are the products to incorporate into your routine after this acne treatment:
A less rich cleanser and moisturizer
For cleansing, opt for a cleansing foam to thoroughly dislodge sebum and impurities from your face.
As your skin will regain a more balanced level of hydration after Accutane, opt for a light-textured moisturizer.
The light texture of this Personalized Day Cream contains a low dose of salicylic acid to unclog pores and prevent the appearance of new spots.
Prevent post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation
Scarring may develop on the skin after Accutane; this is called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Exfoliating with a tri-exfoliating mask can help prevent and fade the appearance of residual marks.
Niacinamide also effectively targets residual scars (3). You'll find this ingredient in Omy's Personalized Serum.
If in doubt, contact us
It can be difficult to navigate through all the information available about care to use during and after Accutane. We invite you to make an appointment with a skin expert. 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.