Taking care of your skin on acne medication

Taking care of your skin whilst using acne medication!

Sometimes, despite our very best skincare efforts, acne just won’t quit, and this can feel pretty soul-destroying. While we certainly don’t recommend visiting your doctor for a prescription for an acne drug such as Isotane as your first plan of attack in fighting breakouts, sometimes when acne is severe and hasn’t responded to other methods of treatment, it may be an option to consider. Taking medications such as these, however, can bring about some temporary but uncomfortable changes so we will take a look at how to best look after your skin while taking acne medication.

Firstly, what is Isotane? (Also called Roaccutane, Isotretinoin and Accutane). Developed in the 1950’s, this drug delivers a potent synthetic version of Vitamin A which is a powerful weapon in treating acne. It does this by slowing our skin’s natural oil production, shrinking the glands that produce this oil and reducing clogging in our pores. This Vitamin A also decreases inflammation and the formation of bacteria. Although highly effective in the fight against acne, there can be some pretty unenjoyable side effects for our skin from this form of treatment. These include extremely dry, fragile and reddened skin, chapped, sore lips and increased sun sensitivity. These changes aren’t fun, but they are temporary and a relatively small price to pay for the end result – clear skin! To make life easier while on Isotane, it pays to know how to take care of your skin to help to ease these annoyances. So, what can we do…?


Your skin is used to being nicely lubricated by the oils produced by your sebaceous glands. As Isotane slows this process right down, your skin is going to be dry…like a desert. When you take away this moisture your skin will not only feel uncomfortable and flaky, but it will also lose a lot of its resilience and be more reactive and red. You can counteract some of this by treating your parched skin to a juicy, hydrating moisturiser that incorporates soothing ingredients. An ideal choice here is Clear Start’s Skin Soothing Hydrating Lotion – the name says it all here!

Exfoliating loosens the ‘glue’ that holds dead dry skin cells together so that can then be sloughed away easily. In addition, an effective exfoliant will help to loosen and remove plugs of excess sebum, stopping pimples and blackheads before they are a thing. Many chemical exfoliants also have an antibacterial action, even better!

Go easy

In its temporarily tender state, you’re going to need to treat your skin as gently as you can. By all means please cleanse your skin but lay off rough face cloths and hot water and choose a nice gentle cleansing formulation which won’t further dry your skin. Remember this when choosing what to cleanse your body with too, no soap please! You’ll also have to put away that exfoliating scrub and any type of professional exfoliation treatments such as microdermabrasion will be off the menu for you for at least 6 months after you’ve finished your course of medication. If you love a good brow wax, you don’t have to forgo your usual grooming but switch to tweezing until you’ve been Isotane-free for 6 months or you’ll risk some serious skin-lifting – ouch!

Lip Love

Your lips are where you may notice the harshest side effect of acne medication. Dry, cracked and even bleeding lips are experienced by most people while taking Isotane and this is super-annoying to deal with! As tempting as it may be, whatever you do, don’t pick! This can cause some serious damage to your pout and prevent healing. Instead, find the juiciest, most intensely nourishing lip balm you can find and keep your lips slathered in this all day long. You’ll be back to your favourite lippy (to complement your clear skin) in no time!

This is a non-negotiable. Even if you wisely choose to take Isotane in the less sunny months, you absolutely must wear SPF protection every single day and reapply every two hours. As long as it’s light outside, there are UV rays present and while taking acne medication your skin is ultra-susceptible damage from them. Not properly protecting your skin while taking Isotane could leave you with irreversible sun damage so don’t take any chances. When outside, top your outfit off with a hat and sunnies too!

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