Isotretinoin will damage body growth
What is isotretinoin?
Isotretinoin is a retinoid, a type of vitamin A that you may know as retinoic acid. If it is applied to the skin as a cream or serum, retinol ensures faster cell renewal in the skin. This is very helpful for blemishes and blackheads, because clogged pores are ready and a radiant complexion can return.
If creams with tretinoin or zinc against acne are not (or no longer) helpful for external treatment against inflammatory, severe acne or late-onset acne, retinoids can be administered as tablets from the age of 12 years. Isotretinoin has an excellent effect, when used it ensures increased cell growth in the upper layers of the skin and ensures that the skin is exfoliated. Blockages in the pores dissolve. At the same time, according to evidence, the effect of isotretinoin impairs the function of the sebum glands, which run at full speed in the case of inflammatory acne and provide a breeding ground for pimples and bacteria due to the increased sebum production. All the triggers of painful acne will be stopped with this treatment.
How is isotretinoin used?
Anyone who suffers from severe acne should contact their doctor or dermatologist. He prescribes the drug in the form of soft capsules and determines the correct dose depending on the patient's weight and the severity of the acne. In the pharmacy, a monthly package is issued, of which one soft capsule is taken daily. Best after dinner, because if the use of the soft capsules should cause nausea or stomach pain in the beginning, you simply overslept this reaction.
What do I have to consider before taking?
If you are toying with the idea of taking isotretinoin for severe acne, you should be aware of four important points.
- UV radiation
- Women need to rule out pregnancy: The use of isotretinoin causes great harm to an unborn baby in the womb and while breastfeeding, so that it would not be viable after birth. The central nervous system, heart, and blood vessels can become deformed. That is why the dermatologist checks every month before a new monthly package is prescribed to see if you are pregnant. Contraception is very important while you are taking it. Three months after stopping isotretinoin, the active ingredient is completely broken down and you can get pregnant again without any risk. There is no longer any risk of malformations in the child during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- Refrain from alcohol: Since isotretinoin is broken down by the liver, you should avoid alcohol while taking the active ingredient. One to two glasses of wine a month are allowed, but excessive consumption should be postponed for the sake of your liver.
- No new tattoos: With the ingestion of isotretinoin, the scarring increases and the tattoo cannot heal optimally. Cosmetic treatments such as laser treatments, dermabrasion and wax treatments for hair removal should also be avoided for this reason.
- Avoid sunlight and UV rays: On summer vacation you should apply sunscreen SPF 50 and always stay in the shade and avoid sunbathing. Isotretinoin makes your skin more sensitive to light and sunburns faster. Solariums are also a no-go during therapy. Never underestimate the effects and risks of isotretinoin, even if you want to get a nice tan. This also works in the shade
You must also not take isotretinoin if you suffer from liver failure, high blood lipid levels, hypervitaminosis-A, or are taking tetracycline antibiotics at the same time. You should also discuss interactions with other medications with your doctor beforehand.
What are the side effects of isotretinoin?
As with any drug and drug, taking the isotretinoin soft capsules can cause side effects. According to studies, symptoms could be:
- Dry skin and eyes
- Dry and burning lips and mucous membranes
- Allergic skin reactions
- Back pain
- Body aches
- Mood swings
- Visual disturbances
- Nervous system disorders
- Hearing impairment
- Respiratory diseases
- Gastrointestinal complaints
How long do you have to take isotretinoin?
That depends on the severity of the acne. Many dermatologists recommend a therapy duration of at least one year. After three quarters of a year and a significant decrease, your dermatologist can minimize the dosage and, according to the evidence, end the therapy. You should never stop taking it at your own discretion, as a certain amount of the active ingredient must be consumed in order to achieve long-term improvement.
Onset of action: is there an initial deterioration?
Yes. About two to three months after the start of isotretinoin therapy, the appearance of the skin of an acne patient will worsen. The acne blooms, the production of sebum and sebum is slightly stimulated before it quickly subsides. Many patients notice this initial deterioration, but it is a sign that the therapy is working. After five to six months at the latest, there is a high probability that you will notice a significant improvement in your skin condition.
Isotretinoin therapy: field report
After taking the pill, I suffered from minor blemishes that later turned into severe and inflammatory acne. For over a year I tried to get my skin back in check with chemical peels and retinol - in my case, to no avail. Creams and ointments simply no longer help against severe acne. After the skin disease hit my psyche more and more and I didn't want to leave the house anymore, I tried to talk to my dermatologist. After an informative conversation and a night to think about it, I decided on therapy.
After a pregnancy test and a blood sample, I held the first monthly package in my hands and finally had hope that everything could soon be the same as before. I took the soft capsules every evening and drove very well with them. I had neither stomach ache nor pain in my limbs or back. The only side effects I could experience were extremely dry lips, eyes and nose. I was able to get the dry lips under control with Kaufmann's children's cream, and Bepanthen's nasal ointment works very well against dryness in the nose. I used hydrating eye drops for my dry eyes. I did not suffer from depression during the application, but on a few days I could guess at evidence of it. It is helpful to mark such bad days and check whether they are at risk of isotretinoin or are part of PMS in women.
Of course, before starting isotretinoin therapy, I read through many medical information sheets, package inserts, studies, drug explanations, tips and Instagram experience reports. Unfortunately, at that time there were only scary reports that talked about dehydrated muscles and the fact that you are not allowed to go to the gym during this time because the muscles tear during exercise. I clarified this saga with my dermatologist and he assured me that this is total bullshit. And so it was. I went to the gym four times a week, spent a lot of time doing weight training and on the treadmill, and I didn't have to be scared.
During my year-long Aknenormin treatment, I avoided alcohol as much as possible. I allowed myself a glass of wine with pasta during the week (I even got the go from the dermatologist), but one should really avoid high-percentage alcohol and alcohol intoxication during this time in order to protect one's liver.
Onset of action
The first deterioration already described actually occurred for me, but if I scroll through my camera roll now, I would say that I took the first selfies for a long time after about five months of starting. From then on, my complexion improved immensely. After the dose of the tablets was halved twice towards the end, I was allowed to stop the therapy after a year. I can't say exactly when I last had a pimple, let alone one so inflammatory that cleaning my face became a pain. Only scars are still visible, which will certainly fade in the next few years with the regular use of BHA, vitamin C and retinol.
I can only recommend the isotretinoin regimen to anyone who suffers from painful and inflammatory acne. At a certain point, I had no choice but to try Aknenormin. And I am glad that this therapy and the drug exist, because it works, thanks to many studies and trials, the evidence has been proven. And if you know how to deal with the side effects, almost nothing changes in life, except for the complexion - for the better.
Sources used: bfarm.de, apotheken-umschau.de
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