Close up of a woman's face. She is wearing makeup, the lighting shows the texture of the skin including bumps from spots and a few pigmentation marks from spot scars Isotretinoin: Things You Should Know

Things you should know about Isotretinoin/Roaccutane


Isotretinoin, commonly known by its brand name Roaccutane, is a medication used to treat severe acne. It is an oral medication that is a derivative of vitamin A and works by reducing the production of oil in the skin. It can be highly effective in treating acne, but it is also associated with some risks and side effects. Here we take a look at the risks you should consider before use.

Benefits of Isotretinoin

The primary benefit is its ability to treat severe acne that has not responded to other treatments. It is particularly effective for treating nodular acne, which is characterised by large, painful, and deep cysts that can leave scars. Isotretinoin can help to reduce the size and severity of these cysts, prevent new ones from forming, and improve the overall appearance and texture of the skin.

In addition to its acne-fighting properties, it has some other potential benefits. For example, it may help to reduce the risk of certain types of skin cancer, such as squamous cell carcinoma. It may also be helpful in treating other skin conditions, such as rosacea and psoriasis.

Risks of Isotretinoin

While isotretinoin can be an effective treatment for severe acne, it is also associated with a number of potential risks and side effects. Some of the most common side effects of isotretinoin include dry skin, chapped lips, and dry eyes. A good way to manage this is with the use of moisturisers and eye drops.

More serious side effects of isotretinoin include liver damage, depression, and birth defects. Because of the risk of birth defects, isotretinoin is not safe for use during pregnancy. Women who are taking isotretinoin must use two forms of birth control to prevent pregnancy.

Products to Use with Isotretinoin

Isotretinoin can cause dry skin and chapped lips. It is important to use gentle, hydrating products to help keep the skin moisturised. Some good options include gentle cleansers, moisturisers, and lip balms. It is also important to use a daily sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to protect the skin from further damage.

When using isotretinoin, it is important to avoid other acne-fighting products, such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. These products can further dry out the skin and exacerbate the side effects of the drug.


Isotretinoin can be an effective treatment for severe acne, but it is important to carefully consider the potential risks and side effects before use. It is also important to use gentle, hydrating products to help manage the dryness and chapped lips that can occur with this medication. By working closely with a healthcare provider and taking proper precautions, many people with severe acne can benefit from the use of this medication.

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