You may have heard of Accutane, which is prescribed to treat severe nodular acne. It functions as a form of vitamin A that reduces the amount of oil that your skin produces. Doctors will usually prescribe antibiotics and other treatments, like benzoyl peroxide, before resorting to Accutane because of its serious warnings.
When I was prescribed Accutane I also had to enroll in a program called iPLEDGE. Since the medication can cause depression, pancreatitis , vision changes, osteoporosis, and severe birth defects, such as brain and face deformities, women must take two forms of birth control while on the medication. I had to study a pamphlet about the side effects of Accutane, get labs drawn monthly, and take a quiz monthly to test the patient’s knowledge and understanding of the dangers of the medication. I also could not donate blood while on the medication or 30 days after I finished the course. The whole process to get the medication is extremely strict, but justifiable because of the potentially damaging side effects.
My dermatologist also prescribed prednisone, which is a steroid, to lessen the effects of the adjustment period, in which the body pushes out all potential bumps at the onset of taking Accutane. I’ve taken two rounds of Accutane, and while I showed great results while I was on the medication, I still do not have clear skin.
My skin was extremely dry while on the prescription, to the point that I had to slather medicated lotions on my lips and the inside of my nostrils to keep it from cracking and discomfort.
The results differ for some people, but my skin has returned to its previous state of greasiness. With the exception of a few painful bumps each month, my skin is overall better, in my opinion, only mostly due to the fact that I’ve outgrown my teenage hormonal years. I was so dependent on medications for a decade that I grew tired of putting chemicals into my body.
After reading up on how much medications and chemicals disturb the body’s natural disease-fighting capabilities, I knew that I had to replenish the “good bacteria” that was eradicated by the years of antibiotics I took.
Now, I purchase probiotics from Trader Joes and try to eat as healthy as I can by incorporating fruits and vegetables and practicing ways to keep my stress levels down by exercising and planning ahead. After this whole ordeal, I much prefer to heal internally rather than medicating myself with dangerous medications like Accutane.