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Isotretinoin for Severe Acne

Dear Doctor

I recently had a major acne breakout (as can be seen in the photo).

I’ve been prescribed doxycycline but its been a month now and it hasn’t worked.

Is there any product you can recommend to get rid of the acne?

isotretinoin for severe acne

Dear Patient

This condition is known as severe acne vulgaris.

I recommend the following treatment for severe acne vulgaris:

Use an acne face wash twice a day

Clean your face in the morning and evening with an acne face that contains ingredients that treat acne like 10% Benzoyl peroxide which is found in Clean and Clear Acne Cleanser  or Salicylic acid which is found in Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Wash.

Apply an acne treatment moisturizer in the morning

After cleansing your face in the morning, apply an oil-free moisturizer that contains ingredients like salicylic acid like Clean and Clear Oil Free Moisturizer.

Take retinoids by mouth

I generally recommend taking acne medication for atleast 6  to 8 weeks before saying that they have not worked.

I therefore suggest, adding the anti-acne face washes and oil-free moisturizer to your skincare regime as you continue with the doxycycline for 1 more month.

Isotretinoin for Severe Acne

If the doxycycline has not worked by that time, your next option is isotretinoin. This medication is available only by prescription and you will therefore have to consult your nearest doctor.

Isotretinoin is very will reduce your skin’s oil production, inflammation and the development of white heads and black heads.

However, isotretinoin can cause severe birth defects and so women of reproductive age should take it together with two methods of contraception. These contraceptives should be started 1 month before beginning treatment and end 1 month after stopping the acne medication.

Isotretinoin also causes many other side effects like cheilitis (dry lips), xerosis (dry skin), dry eyes, joint pains, depression, and decreased night vision.

I would also like to mention that if your breakout is only concentrated on your right cheek, evaluate yourself to find out the things that commonly come in contact  with it since they could have triggered it. For example mobile phones can contribute to breakouts and this can be reduced by cleaning them with antiseptic wipes.

Adopt an Acne-Free Lifestyle

In addition to the above measures, adopt an acne-free lifestyle by doing the following:

*Joining a smoking cessation program if you smoke cigarettes

*Cleaning your mobile phone with antiseptic wipes regularly

*Eating low glycemic index foods like whole grain bread, spinach, and tomatoes. To learn more read How to Treat Acne at Home.

Isotretinoin side effects


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