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Low Dose Accutane: Results without side effects? Too good to be true?

Last time we talked about Accutane, we talked about the drug’s effectiveness in treating moderate to severe acne, typically the cystic acne of the teenage years. Accutane is a great treatment option for this otherwise difficult skin condition. However, it often comes with side effects such as dry eyes, nose and lips, muscle aches, etc. And like a TV drug commercial, I have to mention the less frequent but more severe possible side effects like vision loss, hearing loss, bone growth abnormalities, suicide risks, and GI symptoms.

But what if there was a dosage of Accutane that would still clear acne (or excessively oily skin or rosacea papules) often without the same side effects of the typical dosing?   Sound too good to be true? It’s not! Normal dose Accutane is regularly dosed based upon body weight and often increases slowly over the course of several months. A low dose regimen uses less milligrams and is taken less often. For example, instead of taking a high dose of 40mg twice a day, the lower dose protocol might be 10mg, twice a week.  

This off-label use of Accutane provides great control of oiliness, as well as eliminating many, if not all of the common side effects.  We call it “off-label” because the original FDA approval tests did not use this dosage or this frequency when the medication was approved.  This also means we do not know what effects this protocol may have when used long term, or if this eliminates any or all of the more serious side effects.  We do, however, still believe that absolute birth control is a must for female patients.  

If you have persistent acne or oily skin into your adult years, come see us at Dermatology Realm and let us determine if the off-label use of Accutane may be something that is appropriate for your skin.

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Accutane – The Answer for Acne?

Memphis AccutaneAccutane, otherwise known as Isotretinoin, is a powerful drug used in the treatment of severe acne, or acne that is not responsive to typical treatments. The word acne may have you thinking this is a drug just for teenagers, but Accutane is prescribed for patients of all ages. It is a derivative of Vitamin A and can be a miracle drug for those suffering from acne – able to stop and reverse acne, prevent new scarring, and reduce existing scarring.

Acne occurs due to over-active sebaceous glands in the skin producing too much sebum, or oil. The oil then blocks the glands and causes an accumulation of sebum under the skin. The bacteria associated with acne thrive in these conditions. Accutane is able to decrease the size and activity of sebaceous glands, reduce the amount of sebum produced and reduce the amount of keratin that clogs the pores. Accutane can actually cure acne in about 80% of patients (which means little to no acne for 5-15 years). There is really no other medication that even comes close to being this effective.

It’s important to know that Accutane is not just a prescription; it’s an acne treatment program in which the patient will be actively involved. Women who are considering Accutane should not have any interest in getting pregnant while on the drug as it can cause major birth defects. There are other guidelines and side effects (some severe) that people considering Accutane should be aware of so make an appointment with Dr. Baker to discuss whether or not this acne “miracle” drug is right for you.

Stay tuned for more information on Accutane, including an off-label way of using Accutane in adults with excessive oil, female adult acne, or rosacea.  

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November is National Healthy Skin Month

healthy-skin_smDid you know your skin is the largest organ in your body? It regulates your body temperature and protects muscles, bones, and internal organs from outside infection and disease. But there is much more to your skin than that! Your skin accounts for 15% of your body weight and contains more than 11 miles of blood vessels. It also acts as a waterproof, insulating shield guarding your body against extreme temperature, damaging sunlight, and harmful chemicals. Here are some tips to keep your skin in great shape not only during National Healthy Skin Month but all year long:

  • Wash your face every day and after exercising
  • Examine skin regularly for any signs of skin cancer – see Dr Baker if you notice any unusual spots, as well as anything changing, itching or bleeding
  • Protect your skin from the sun by seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, and using a broad spectrum SPF 30 water resistant sunscreen everyday

In addition to all the above, adding a Vitamin C-serum to your skin care routine has a multitude of benefits. This powerful antioxidant helps even out skin tone, shields your skin from visible impacts of pollution, protects skin from sun damage and improves hydration. C-serums even help boost collagen production which fills in fine lines and wrinkles, and can dramatically brighten dull skin keeping your skin looking younger, longer!  Obagi offers several skin care products containing Vitamin C. In honor of Healthy Skin Month, Obagi Vitamin C products will be 20% off the entire month of November.

These are just a few of the things you can do to keep your skin healthy and beautiful. See Dr Baker or Denise for expert advice on all the ways to keep your skin healthy and beautiful, prevent skin damage, reduce signs of aging, and protect one of the most vital organs of your body.

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