What Is Accutane?
Accutane is a brand name for the drug Isotretinoin.
This drug became extremely popular (and remains to this day) for its overall efficacy in getting rid of acne, and preventing it from coming back.
When I was a teenager I had really bad acne.
It was pretty bad on my face, but it was really bad on my back and my body, even before touching any anabolics.
I literally had cystic acne on my back that was so bad to the extent where if I did a squat without the pad on the bar I would be bleeding by the end of the set because of the acne getting crushed on the top of my back.
I ended up getting a prescription of Accutane for 6 months.
My dosage was 80 mg per day.
If you get a prescription for Accutane in the first place your dermatologist has determined that your case is bad enough that it justifies using Accutane, because it's not a no-risk drug.
Typically, dermatologists won’t prescribe Accutane until you’ve tried all other treatments, or your acne is extremely severe.
Accutane Mechanism Of Action
Accutane works by decreasing the size and sebum output of the sebaceous glands.
I’m sure you’ve noticed if you don’t shower for several days or wash your face that your scalp and skin start to get a greasy, oily gross texture.
This is sebum secretion that hasn’t been rinsed off.
Accutane permanently reduces the amount of this grease that gets produced.
The benefit of this is hair follicles no longer get plugged with oil causing acne.
Prevalence Of Accutane Side Effects
I was pretty ignorant to the extreme side effects mentioned intermittently on the internet, and I more than anything just wanted to get rid of my acne.
When it comes to the prevalence of Accutane side effects, I’ve come to see them similar to the prevalence of Finasteride related side effects.
In sheer quantity, there have been a significant amount of reported extreme cases of negative side effects with Accutane usage.
However, relative to the total number of users, that giant quantity is relatively small.
The same goes for Finasteride.
The majority of individuals experience no side effects, but you will always have a subsection of users who experience horrible life altering side effects.
Fortunately, with Finasteride these can more often than not be completely reversed, but with Accutane, as the mechanism is less clear and it has a permanent effect on the body, the side effects are less manageable.
The majority of side effects stem from the drop in sebum levels in the body, but there are some other very odd side effects that are reported in a very small percentage of users.
Knowing what I know now, would I still use Accutane if I went back in time and had to relive the chances of getting rid of my acne vs experiencing those side effects?
In a heart beat.
My Accutane Review
The only side effect I experienced from Accutane was the same side effects you’d expect from a permanent reduction of oil in the body.
It made my skin drier and my lips chapped.
On Accutane I had really chapped lips all the time and my skin went from very oily and greasy looking to flaky and dry.
After my Accutane cycle finished, the reduction of oil in my body maintained itself to a large extent, but the intense dryness in my lips and skin did improve.
Basically, it got rid of enough oil to eliminate the occurrence of acne, but not so much that I need to apply chapstick several times per day or anything crazy like when I was on the drug.
I still need to use moisturizer on my face, and I have a permanent reduction in oil, which I'm totally okay with because it's what prevents me from getting acne.
To this day (almost a decade later) I still have not experienced a relapse of acne in any capacity, even when using high dosages of anabolic steroids.
I used to have full-blown disgusting cystic acne all over my shoulders and all over my back to the point where I couldn't even wear a sleeveless shirt to the gym because I just looked gross.
Acne kills your confidence, it makes you feel like crap and it doesn't look good obviously.
Out of every drug I’ve ever taken in my life (and you guys who follow my content know I’ve taken a f*cking ton of different drugs), Accutane was bar none the most life-changing drug.
I went from being a train wreck of acne; to literally having none whatsoever, even if I blasted a heavy cycle of steroids.
Do I recommend Accutane? That’s not a decision for me to make.
Take my experience with a grain of salt.
I think Accutane is a great drug, but just like any other drug on this planet there's a small chance you could have a terrible reaction to it.
I’m sure every single person reading this has taken Tylonel before, and there’s a minuscule chance you could have spiked Steven Johnson syndrome via an extreme autoimmune response where your skin starts blistering and peeling off.
There are a handful of rare and scary side effects for every single drug out there. Just keep that in mind.
I’ve been asked several times how I prevented myself from getting acne on supraphysiological dosages of anabolics, and that’s literally all I did to get rid of it permanently.
I tried all of the Proactiv products, as well as all of the other notable topicals.
I even used to boil a giant bowl of water and then stick my face over it and hang a towel over my head to replicate a steam room to open up my pores so I could wash the oil and dead skin cells out of them to try and get rid of my acne.
None of it had more than a negligible effect.
Prior to actually using Accutane I tried every popular method known at the time, and the only thing left for me to try was the drug.
If you are experiencing horrendous acne and nothing is working, it might be worthwhile to make an appointment with a dermatologist, get a blood panel done to check if your liver enzymes and blood markers are all in check, and discuss if Accutane is the right option for you.