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wrestler125's avatar

5th month of accutane - why am I still breaking out?

Asked by wrestler125 (11points) February 27th, 2011

I have been on accutane for the past 5 months. I’m getting towards the end but my derm reccomended me taking it for another month. At the end of my cycle I would have completed 6 months of taking Amnesteem 40mg twice daily. I still get pimples usually a couple new ones a week. I notice my face being drier but zits just keep coming. My face was never that bad but after the first months of treatment it started getting blotchy and more noticeable. My cheeks don’t have a lot of pimples, mostly redness. I’m looking to find what helps redness and swelling on the face. I’m also wondering if finishing accutane after 6 months would of helped my acne problem at all. I’ve read plenty about accutane and still breaking out after 5 months but id like to get some advice for myself.

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9 Answers

bolwerk's avatar

I would maybe see another dermatologist and get a second opinion if the first isn’t helping you.

Unfortunately, acne is poorly understood. Factors seem to include diet, stress levels, hormones, and God knows what else – but Google around, and you’ll easily find someone who disagrees with those. I had a major problem with it until I was in my 20s. What practically stopped it for me? Cardiovascular exercise, believe it or not – truly the last thing I ever imagined would solve my problem. I started using an exercise bike to lose weight, not fix my skin. Now I get compliments on my skin.

Of course, I have no idea how old you are or how severe your problem is. Whether what worked for me would have worked in my teens, I don’t know. And I’m certainly not saying it would work for you. But if you’re breaking out, it might be worth it to try to experiment with some (safe) lifestyle changes – particularly ones that don’t involve bleaching your skin or taking psychoactive drugs.

Kraigmo's avatar

Make sure you don’t touch your face…. ever. If you catch yourself touching it.. even once… then go wash it immediately.

I can’t address your problem specifically, but in general, acne medication failure is due to patients touching their faces during the day.

Also, Accutane and Retin-A, as well as antibiotics… any of those, or any combo of those… can cause redness in the face. Sometimes over-washing with soap or over-drying can do that, too. If soap is starting to dry you out too much, switch to glycerin soap.

Seaofclouds's avatar

Are you using any kind of moisturizer? You mentioned that you’ve noticed your face is drier. If it’s too dry, your body will produce extra oils for your face, which could be causing the breakouts. A moisturizer might help so that your body isn’t over producing oil due to the dryness.

cazzie's avatar

‘glycerin soap’ is a misnomer. A proper soap is full of glycerine. Just because it’s a bright colour and semi-transparent doesn’t mean it’s better for your skin. It just means there are no extra fatty acids in the bar and it’s appearance has been altered by use of alcohol. (I’m a soap maker and registered cosmetics formulator)

I don’t know what you are using to clean your face, but you may want more than just some supermarket soap and water. I’m sure your dermatologist has gone through the whole alpha-hydroxy routine with you, if not, have a look at this site:

It explains some of the most recommended ways of topically cleaning your acne.

Regular aerobic exercise also does wonders for your skin, as @bolwerk experienced. Another lifestyle change is, if you smoke, stop now. No amount of creams, drugs and vitamins can undo the harm to your skin from smoking. Do you have access to a sauna after exercise? Try that in moderation. Another thing that helped me when I was having skin issues, was eating things that helped clean out my system and get my liver working better. No alcohol for over a year (yeah, that was hard…) and I ate as low on the food chain as possible. No red meat. Lots of organic, simple food.

SuppRatings's avatar

The problem with acne nowadays is that dermatologist just want to throw accutane at it without actually doing a real qualitative and quantitative diagnosis. Your best bet would be to go to a highly respected and popular dermatologist in your insurance network.

wrestler125's avatar

Well I moisturize my skn on a daily basis and I wash my face with a moisturizing soap. I’m sixteen so yeah not being able to go out and drink is hard but I hope it was worth it in over time

wrestler125's avatar

Also does anyone have any information on things that can cause acne. I shower once or twice everyday and wash my face 2–3 times a day. My skin isn’t oily as much which is good. I read up on chemicals in shampoos that can cause acne so if anyone has information on this let me know. I also would like to know what kinds of food can help acne go away and what soaps can help. Does using a sauna help clear your face. Please remember I’m on accutane so I can’t do anything extreme.

bolwerk's avatar

@wrestler125: anything anyone tells you about acne is supposition at best, stupidity or FUD at worst. Nobody understands it very well, not even dermatologists. Some people find things that work for them, like that acne dot org guy. It’s definitely good to avoid oily soaps and irritating shampoos anyway, especially if you have sensitive skin. Look for non-comedogenic items (I use Purpose bar soap). In my personal experience, benzoyl peroxide is extremely irritating and was best if not used outside the shower (I use a 10% soap solution to scrub my face to this day, even though I don’t really experience breakouts like I did a decade ago).

Try to follow a generally healthy eating regimen. Avoid excess sugar and salt – and a high salt intake means a high iodine intake, which I believe is directly linked to acne. Favor whole grains over processed foods. Many American foods are so ridiculously salty that some people can hardly enjoy the tastes of things that aren’t salty. Just try and see if you can go without it for a while. In my personal experience with food, breakouts occur if I overindulge on red meats, salty, or starchy foods (e.g., potato chips or french fries) – but having these things in moderation never hurt me. I say eat red meat sparingly. And for dairy, sugar, and other dietary factors, there seems to be serious data backing that they’re culprits.

As I said before, exercise can affect how your skin looks too. Try a reasonably intense, sweat-inducing cardiovascular workout daily for a week or two and see what happens. Maybe try all these things together.

squirbel's avatar

I second the exercise advice. During my teenage years, I never got a pimple…maybe once. Right on the tip of my nose and my family called me Rudoplh….

But when graduated from college, and stopped exercising, my face broke out in a mean way. And I mean MEAN!!! I started excercising a few years later – not to fix my face, but to get into good shape. And my face cleared up!!

Honestly, exercise and keeping your body healthy is the best way to deal with problems. My rough guess at what causes pimples? Pimples are your body trying to get rid of excess impurities in your body. You get rid of them naturally when you eat right and exercise.

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