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Got Acne? Get Accutane!

At the present there is a wide range of treatments available ranging from herbal or even homemade remedies through to antibiotics and specific drugs like Accutane.

Although this article is not directly a bodybuilding topic as such, it is one of the most talked about topics on the teen forum. Many people suffer from acne and the severity varies, in fact as much as 80% of people have suffered or currently suffer from acne in one way or another.

At the present there is a wide range of treatments available ranging from herbal or even homemade remedies through to antibiotics and specific drugs like Accutane. In this article I am going to discuss what acne is, and the controversial treatment of it, that is Accutane and how it may effect you.

What is Acne?

The way to understand acne is to realize that it is actually a disease of the skin that can be cured.

Here are a couple of myths:

Myth 1 - Acne is caused by junk food, bad eating habits and bad hygiene.

Wrong - The truth is that diet has NO effect on the development of acne, and that paying too much attention to hygiene (such as washing your face and body a lot) may actually increase it.

Myth 2 - Acne is just a part of growing up and you grow out of it.

Wrong. Although the changes your body goes through during puberty can make acne worse, it is much more than just a part of growing up.

Acne is actually caused by the glands in your skin producing too much oil, which then gets mixed together with dead skin cells and bacteria and blocks the pores. Sometimes pus and inflammation (redness) develop. Blackheads, whiteheads and pimples are all common, so are the boil-like spots that appear when a pimple bursts below the surface of the skin.

Now, in order to treat this problem, as I mentioned above there are many options available in the treatment of acne but in this article I am going to focus on Accutane.

What is Accutane & who needs it?

Accutane is a treatment for serve cystic acne, that has not responded to conventional treatment (antibiotics). If you have tried many methods of treatment and still suffer from acne then maybe it is worth discussing it with your doctor.

Accutane is related to vitamin A and has similar effects. Vitamin A plays an essential role in the formation, renewal and protection of cells (the upper layers of the skin and mucous membranes).

How does it work?

It works by reducing the amount of oil produced by glands in your skin. It also decreases the number of bacteria and reduces inflammation (redness / swelling).

  • Less oily skin:
    Accutane very quickly and dramatically reduces oil production by up to 95%
  • Fewer spots & blocked pores:
    You can expect more than a 50% (in some cases a lot more) reduction after two months.
  • Reduced bacteria:
    It helps kill the bacteria that cause acne.
  • Less redness and soreness:
    Reduces inflammation.

When starting out on Accutane you may notice that your skin condition worsens during the first two to four weeks. Don't worry about this because this is a sign that the medication is working, then a short time after you will start to see improvements! In the first few weeks before you see any healing you may suffer some effects, these are usually mild and dose related.

Common Side effects while on Accutane

  • Dryness:
    Leading to dry and cracked lips, dry eyes and nose (this often leads to nose bleeds) is usually the most common side effect of Accutane. Sometimes, it can cause dermatitis and blisters on the hands and feet.
  • Sensitive skin may be noticed as general redness
  • Itchy skin, rashes, and peeling of palms and soles.
  • Nail infection
  • Bleeding and inflammation of gums
  • Mood swings
  • Do not drink excessive amounts of alcohol while taking Accutane*.

Some very rare side effects include:

  • Reduced night vision
  • Severe headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Upset stomach
  • Thinning of hair (extremely rare)
  • Increased levels of fats (cholesterol and triglycerides) in the blood, as well as inflammation of the liver.

Because of the above side effects, your dermatologist will give you a blood test before you start Accutane and another after about a month to see if your cholesterol or triglycerides have risen due to the drug.

Side effects more related to the bodybuilders include:

  • Sensitive skin: This means no tanning, solariums or body waxing. Your skin burns very easily while on Accutane and it is too sensitive to wax. So shaving and using a tanning aid like pro tan will have to do.

  • Muscle and Joint aches: This is something that you need to pay close attention to. It is common for people to suffer from sore joints while taking Accutane so putting extra stress on our joints, as we do in almost all our exercises, could become extremely painful at times. When attempting a new weight make sure you have someone to spot you because your joints and muscles might not be able to handle the extra stress straight away.

Hopefully this article has given you an insight on Accutane and what it will do for you and how it will effect you. This medication gets recommended on the Teen Board to acne sufferers, but what people fail to explain is some of the sacrifices involved. Some people do not suffer as much in the way of side effects as others but this is something you need to be made aware of.

Remember this medication is only for Cystic Acne that could not be treated with antibiotics. I am a sufferer from cystic acne. My acne problem is on my chest, arms and back. I have tried antibiotics, and although it cleared up my face, it had no effect on my body. That is why about 4 weeks ago I started on Accutane. If you feel you have similar problems and have read the side effects, you might like to contemplate getting some Accutane.

If you have any questions regarding my use of Accutane, email me at