Why Your Acne Treatments are Not Working

How many times have acne treatments let you down?

Let’s say you have this friend and let’s call this friend Sue. You complain to Sue about your stubborn acne which refuses to leave you, no matter what you do. Now Sue says she knows someone who went to this dermatologist and got cured of some skin disease when no other doctor could. This dermatologist with magical skills certainly seems very interesting. If he can cure this problem when no one else could, maybe he can cure your acne too.

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Is Skin Purging an Actual Thing?

Have you heard the term skin purging? Pretty sure you have. If you have acne and are using a new product for it, within a few days you might start breaking out a little more. Skin purging is when your skin actually starts getting worse before it gets better. So is it a real thing and how long does it last?

Skin renews itself every 28 days, i.e old cells die off and are replaced by new, healthy cells. This is known as cell turnover. Acne forms deep within your skin. So the hair follicle gets inflamed and the pore gets blocked. Eventually the inflammation makes its way to the surface of the skin and this is when you breakout. However this “breakout” has been in the lower layers of your skin for a few days before it slowly shows itself.

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Why seeing Dermatologists for my acne was a bad idea

Note : This is not a complaint or a rant about any or all dermatologists. This is just my personal experience with dermatologists about my acne ONLY. 

As someone who has seen their share of dermatologists for acne, I think it’s only fair for me to say that not one of them helped me. Their treatment for acne was the same, whether I was 14 or I was 34. If I had had some guidance in my early twenties about proper diet and skin care I would not have fought acne well into my 30’s. 

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The truth about sensitive skin

Most of us who suffer from acne either feel we have sensitive skin or are told that we have it. So is it something that is genetic? Are we born with skin that is sensitive? Or is it something that we do that makes it that way?

I went through most of my 20’s thinking I had sensitive skin. I bought skin care products for sensitive skin and all that did was make my skin worse. As a kid, I did have skin that turned red easily but it was smooth and clear. As I grew older my skin got increasingly worse. It was red in places, dry in places, it felt tight when washed, it felt dry and tight but looked oily. And this type of skin is generally termed as sensitive skin. If you suffer from acne I am sure you know exactly what I’m talking about.

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Why I refused to take Accutane and why you should too – Part II

This is the second post on Accutane. Please click here to read the first part.

So how far would you be willing to go for clear skin? Would you be willing to put your whole body at risk? Only if you have experienced acne first hand will you understand the pain and frustration when nothing works to clear your acne. Only you know how excruciating it feels when you have to go to work but your acne is bad. Even as strongly as I felt about the drug, I bought it after it was prescribed to me. That’s how desperate I was!!!!! Though I never took it, I can truly understand why so many people do – acne is a big blow to your confidence and happiness.

So now let’s just take a  look at what it is.

What is Accutane

Accutane (isotretinoin) was initially meant as a chemotherapy drug for the treatment of cancer. However further research proved that it was ineffective in the treatment of cancer but it was found to be effective in treating acne. It was initially meant only for the treatment of the most severe cases of acne, acne that did not respond to anything else, but today it is prescribed for even mild cases.

How it works

1. It dramatically decreases the size of the oil glands in the skin.
2. The acne bacteria that live in the oil in the skin also decrease as the production of oil is decreased.
3. It slows down skin cell turnover which in turn prevents clogged pores.

However, while it may help clear your skin, you’ll be putting your whole body through hell, as Accutane has a lot of serious and even dangerous side effects.

Here are some of the most common side effects of the drug – dry skin, itching, rash, dry nose, nosebleeds, cracking or peeling skin, dry mouth and lips, cracks in the corners of the mouth, dry eyes, inflammation of the whites of the eyes, joint pain, back pain, dizziness, drowsiness and nervousness. And mind you these are just some of the side effects and the most common ones. There are other side effects like liver damage and alopecia (thinning of hair) which may be permanent. Some side effects may even occur even after the medication has been stopped. Check this link for the full list of side effects. http://www.rxlist.com/accutane-side-effects-drug-center.htm

The thing is, you don’t know if Accutane is going to work for you. Also you don’t know if you are going to suffer from the million side effects of it. Normally medicines are only prescribed only when the benefits outweigh the risks and I don’t think Accutane passes that test.

Acne is not a standalone cosmetic problem. It’s a sign that something is not working right in your body. You’re better off trying to fix that and making yourself healthier in the process. Don’t destroy your whole body trying to cure your acne. Taking a chemotherapy drug for anything other than cancer is really not worth it.

If this does not convince you I suggest you Google “Living with the side effects of Accutane” and read the stories that appear in the results before taking the drug.

Do comment and let me know if you have taken Accutane and your experience with it.