Saturday, October 18, 2014

Accutane—easing the side effects

There can (and probably will be) many reactions from taking Accutane, or any drug really. In this case, I hope the following information will help ease any effects you may be experiencing if you are indeed taking the acne medication Accutane. Take care to treat any symptoms that you can so you will be more comfortable during the time you are on this drug. And please contact your prescribing doctor if you have any questions about the side effects you are experiencing. Don’t be shy!

If you think you have cheilitis (inflammation of the lips, usually concentrated around the corners of the mouth, common with Accutane use) or another severe lip condition, I recommend calling your dermatologist and informing him or her of this occurrence. Your doctor can prescribe a potent medication to help get rid of this uncomfortable skin problem. Keeping a non-petroleum lip balm constantly on the area will help to ease the dryness. Try not to lick your lips as this will just further the problem. For women, not wearing lipstick would help keep the lips from drying out as well.

Chapped, flaky skin is something you will probably have to contend with while on Accutane. It is the most common side effect from taking this drug. Using gentle exfoliators will help to keep the dead skin from getting out of hand. I highly recommend using body oils (vs. lotions) to keep the skin on your body from getting too flaky and dry. Generally, you want to keep your skin well lubricated to keep the dryness down to a minimum.

Dry eyes can be soothed by using eye drops. Dry skin inside your nose can be helped by either putting some cream there or better yet an oil or balm. Balms are thicker than oils or creams and have better sticking power.

If you are experiencing excessive peeling of the palms and soles, brittle nails, or inflammation of the nailbeds, I would recommend getting a manicure and/or pedicure. This might seem like an extravagance, but these services can really help relieve the symptoms you may be experiencing on your hands and feet. If you can’t afford one of these nail services, at least get a pumice stone (very inexpensive) and get rid of the dead skin that way. Using the stone on dry skin works best, although it can be used in the tub or shower as well. Just massage the area with the stone (only on palms and soles!) and enjoy smoother skin afterwards. You could put some body oil or even oil from your kitchen on your cuticles if they are dried out.

Because being on any medication can make your skin more photosensitive (unusually sensitive to the sun), you must wear sunscreen on a daily basis. This is true whether you are on Accutane or not, but be especially diligent while on this medication. 

What you may not know. You cannot get waxed anywhere on your body if you are currently on Accutane or even recently have been. The reason is your skin is so incredibly dried out and fragile that the wax will (or can) actually pick up several of the deeper layers of skin when it is pulled off. I have heard of people going in for facial waxing, neglecting to tell the aesthetician about the fact they are using Accutane. When the wax strip was ripped off, a good deal of skin came off with it!

Don’t forget, no breast feeding your child while taking Accutane. And you also cannot give blood for at least one month after ending your treatment. This is a small fact, but an important one you may not think about. If you give blood and still have Accutane in your system, guess what? You can potentially pass this medication along to another person who might be pregnant or is about to get pregnant. I recommend waiting longer than a month to allow this powerful drug to be totally eliminated from your system. Taking supplements like chlorophyll might help to clear it from your body faster than just leaving it up to nature.

As I have said in any and all of my articles on Accutane: please do your due diligence. Plan on doing research, and read up to examine in detail the facts and concerns surrounding this powerful drug—and if you think it is the right thing for you to consider taking.

For additional information, see: