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6 Reasons Why Accutane for Back Acne Is a Bad Idea

Acne, particularly severe forms like cystic acne, can be physically and emotionally painful. When conventional treatments fail, some people turn to a powerful medication known as Accutane, the brand name for isotretinoin. Acclaimed for its efficacy, isotretinoin has long been used to treat severe acne. But is it the right solution for everyone?

This article will illuminate the potential drawbacks of using Accutane for back acne, giving you the full picture of this commonly prescribed treatment. We'll uncover six reasons this drug might not be the best choice for everyone. But before we dive in, let's briefly outline what Accutane is.

Also read: How to choose the best acne treatment

Biggest Take-Aways:

  • Isotretinoin, known as Accutane, can effectively treat severe acne, but it's associated with serious side effects, including mental health problems, severe birth defects, and potential damage to internal organs.

  • Isotretinoin requires rigorous monitoring, involving frequent medical appointments and blood tests, and is not a quick fix, with noticeable improvements taking between 3 to 6 months.

  • Despite its effectiveness, isotretinoin's potential for causing new acne scars and the existence of safer alternatives make it a choice that must be carefully considered.

  • Alternatives like the Exposed Skin Care system offer a comprehensive approach to managing different types of acne with fewer side effects and no risk of severe birth defects associated with isotretinoin.

Back side of person filled with acne

What is Accutane (Isotretinoin)?

Accutane or isotretinoin is a medication used to treat severe acne, such as nodular or cystic acne, that does not respond to other treatments. This oral drug, which falls under the retinoid family, reduces sebum production, an oil sebaceous glands produce.

It's often seen as a 'last resort' for acne treatment, prescribed only when acne has proven resistant to many other acne treatments, including oral antibiotics and topical creams. While Accutane can be highly effective, it has also become synonymous with a long list of serious side effects, which we will delve into shortly.

Six Reasons to Think Twice About Accutane for Back Acne

While the potential benefits of Accutane are undeniable, it's crucial also to consider the possible downsides. Here are six reasons why using Accutane for back acne might not be the best idea.

Serious Side Effects

The side effects of isotretinoin can range from mild to severe. Common side effects include dry skin and lips, joint pain, temporary hair thinning, and mood changes. However, some people who take isotretinoin experience severe side effects, such as:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): Some studies suggest a link between isotretinoin use and an increased risk of IBD.

Woman having intense stomach ache

  • Mental health problems: Isotretinoin may contribute to depression, anxiety, and rare instances of suicidal thoughts.

  • Damage to internal organs: Long-term use can potentially affect the liver, kidneys, and pancreas.

Need for Rigorous Monitoring

People who take Accutane need to be closely monitored. This typically involves regular blood tests to check liver function and cholesterol levels and the aforementioned pregnancy tests for those who can become pregnant. This could be a significant downside if you struggle with frequent medical appointments or blood tests.

It’s Not a Quick Fix

The isotretinoin treatment for acne isn't a quick solution. It typically takes between 3 to 6 months to see noticeable improvement. In some cases, acne can worsen before it gets better. Additionally, since the body continues to process isotretinoin for about a month after stopping taking the medication, side effects can persist even after treatment ends.

Potential for New Acne Scars

While isotretinoin can help reduce the appearance of existing acne scars, it can also make the skin more susceptible to scarring and discoloration, especially in the early stages of treatment. So, in treating severe acne, you could be trading off for potential new scars.

Potential for Severe Birth Defects

Isotretinoin carries a significant risk of severe birth defects for individuals capable of becoming pregnant. This risk remains even if the drug is taken for a short period. It's so serious that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) runs a restricted distribution program known as the iPLEDGE program, which requires individuals who can become pregnant to use two forms of birth control and take monthly pregnancy tests while on the medication.

Lying down woman worried about her pregnancy

There Are Safer Alternatives

Considering the risk of side effects and the rigorous monitoring that isotretinoin treatment involves, it's worth considering other treatments first. Other options include a combination of over-the-counter products, prescription medications, and lifestyle changes.

Weighing the Pros and Cons

There's no denying that Accutane can work wonders for people suffering from severe acne when other treatments have failed. However, weighing these potential benefits against the possible side effects and challenges associated with isotretinoin use is important. It's not a decision to be taken lightly, and it's important to talk with a doctor or a board-certified professional in dermatology to help you decide whether it's the right treatment for you.

Advantages of Using Exposed Skin Care for Acne Management

While options like Accutane exist for severe acne, they can present several challenges. The potential side effects while taking this medication, and the associated risk of birth defects for those who can become pregnant can make it an overwhelming choice. Luckily, alternative treatment options are available.

Exposed Skin Care Basic Kit

One such option is the Exposed Skin Care system. Here are some reasons to consider this regimen:

  • Comprehensive System: Unlike a single-dose medication, Exposed Skin Care offers a holistic approach. It targets acne lesions with a range of products.

  • Natural and Scientific Ingredients: The system blends nature and science, incorporating ingredients like green tea extract, passionflower, and aloe vera along with scientifically proven acne-fighting compounds like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid.

  • Minimal Side Effects: Users typically report fewer side effects than those prescribed isotretinoin.

  • No Risk of Severe Birth Defects: Unlike treatment with isotretinoin, Exposed Skin Care does not carry a risk of severe birth defects.

Taking drugs like Accutane can be a big commitment for many to treat acne. Fortunately, Exposed Skin Care is a safer option with fewer associated risks.


Acne can be a formidable adversary, whether it manifests as cysts, nodules, or any other form. People with severe acne often feel drawn to powerful treatments like isotretinoin, commonly known as Accutane. Indeed, the medication can work wonders to rid of acne, but it's not without its caveats.

The side effects and risks associated with isotretinoin are significant. Hence, while it is available for those battling severe acne, it may not be the most suitable or desirable choice for everyone.

Fortunately, alternative solutions exist. Systems like Exposed Skin Care offer a comprehensive approach to acne management without the severe risks associated with isotretinoin.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the most common form of acne?

A: Acne vulgaris is the most common form of acne, involving inflammatory and non-inflammatory lesions.

Q: What are the side effects of Accutane?

A: Side effects of isotretinoin can range from common ones like dry skin, chapped lips, and mood changes to severe ones like inflammatory bowel disease, depression, and severe birth defects.

Q: How long does it take for Accutane to work?

A: Isotretinoin usually takes 3 to 6 months to show results. In some cases, acne may worsen before it improves.

Q: Are there safer alternatives to Accutane for treating acne?

A: Yes, there are many other acne treatments available, including antibacterials, retinoids, and lifestyle modifications. Exploring these options is important to find the best treatment for your specific needs.

Q: What happens if I stop taking isotretinoin prematurely?

A: If you stop taking isotretinoin prematurely, your acne may return. Additionally, isotretinoin remains in the body for about a month after you stop taking the medication, so that side effects may persist for a short time.

Q: Is there a risk of mental health problems with isotretinoin use?

A: Some people have reported depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts while taking isotretinoin, although a direct link has not been definitively proven. It's crucial to discuss these risks with a doctor before beginning treatment.