Does Accutane Permanently Get Rid Of Acne?

Accutane is a brand name for isotretinoin, a powerful medication used to treat severe acne. According to Healthline, it is a form of vitamin A that addresses oil production, clogged pores, inflammation, and bacteria, which can help to prevent and treat the formation of acne. Accutane is typically reserved for cases of severe acne that have not responded to other treatments, such as antibiotics or topical medications (via Mayo Clinic). It can only be prescribed by your doctor or dermatologist.

The medication is taken orally, usually for a number of months. Patients may experience various side effects of Accutane during treatment, including dry skin, dry eyes, and chapped lips. Because of the potential for serious side effects, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), liver problems, increased pressure in the brain, and pancreatitis, Accutane is heavily regulated and requires careful monitoring. If you are considering Accutane for your acne, discussing the risks and benefits with your healthcare provider is important.

How long does Accutane take to work?

According to the Mayo Clinic, results from Accutane may potentially take a number of weeks and full improvement may take up to six months after completing the course of treatment. Many people experience an initial flare-up of acne when they first start taking the medication, which can be frustrating. The National Health Service (NHS) reports that most people will start to see an improvement in their acne symptoms after seven to 10 days of the initial flare-up. The time it takes to see significant improvement may vary, however, depending on the severity of the acne and how well the individual responds to the medication. 

Accutane can be very effective in treating severe acne, with an estimated 85% of patients responding favorably to the treatment, according to the Advanced Acne Institute. If you are taking Accutane for your acne, it's important to follow your doctor's recommendations for dosage and monitor any side effects during treatment.

Are the effects of Accutane permanent?

Many people taking Accutane experience significant, long-term improvements in their skin after completing a course of the medication. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA), the effects of a single treatment of Accutane can be permanent for some people. While some individuals experience a complete and permanent clearing of their acne, others may not. In certain cases, acne may return after completing treatment, per the Advanced Acne Institute.

The effectiveness of Accutane can depend on various factors, such as the dosage and the age and gender of the patient. Males and younger patients may be at a higher risk of experiencing a relapse. Other influencing factors are the type of acne being treated as well as where the acne is located on the body. Cystic acne, for example, requires higher doses and is much harder to treat while acne on the body may be more resistant to treatment than acne that is located on the face.