Is Your Prescription Treatment for Acne Really Safe?
When we find ourselves suddenly experiencing acne breakouts,
or when we suffer a long battle with acne and nothing seems to help, we may try anything that our doctor will prescribe.
What we often forget about is to consider both short-term and
long-term health consequences of treatments. Many products used for
acne treatment are systemic (taken orally), and obviously they will
affect not only our skin but our entire system. So, to be on the safe
side, you really need to educate yourself before putting anything in to
Learn more about your prescription acne treatment and
whether or not it's safe for you to keep using, and keep your eye out
for part 2 of this hot topic, which will help you decide whether your over-the-counter acne treatment is safe.
Retinoids and Retinoid Derivatives, including Accutane (isotretinoin) and its generics
Why We Use Them: Retinoids
and derivatives of retinoids are systemic or topical products thought
to directly affect the over-secretion of the sebaceous glands, which is
considered the primary cause of acne. These products are prescribed in
abundance to individuals who seek help from a dermatologist in treating
their acne. Systemic use of retinoids (Accutane & and its generics)
is mostly recommended for severe acne.
- Accutane (Lsotretinoin) helps to decrease sebaceous gland
secretions systemically. It usually takes up to 6 months to see the
difference and patients are asked to sign a legal release because of
severe health risks associated with those products.
- Retin-A (tretinoin) cream is often prescribed for severe and persistent cases of acne, and it also has to be used for at least 8-12 weeks.
(Adapalene) is a retinoid-based topical medication with a recommended
treatment phase of 8 to 12 weeks. Exacerbation of the existing skin
condition is frequently observed with Differin prior to improvement.
- Retinoid derivatives have a multitude of side effects,
such as dry, red, over-sensitized skin, and all require serious sun
- Accutane is presently the subject of a class action suit due to its severe health hazards and has been taken off the market.
and its generic formulas still available on the market are known potent
teratogens (cause birth defects) and are strictly contraindicated in
women not practicing a proven method of birth control.
- Accutane has been reported to cause severe depression, especially in young men.
- These products do not prevent new acne from forming.
Why We Use Them: Antibiotics
are topical or oral products that non-specifically kill part of
bacteria associated with acne. Even though these products are prescribed
in abundance to individuals who seek help from dermatologists,
internists and general practitioners, for all
stages of acne, many representatives of the medical profession are now
having second thoughts about liberal use of antibiotics in general as it
leads to development of new strands of bacteria that are
- Systemic antibiotics include tetracyclines, minocyclines and doxycyclines.
non-inflammatory acne, anti-microbial cream Azelex or Azelaic acid is
often prescribed. It requires at least 4 weeks of treatment.
- Topical antibiotics such as Cleocin T (clindamycin solution) or erythromycin are often combined with benzoyl peroxide.
- Antibiotics do not really treat causes of acne, and when you stop taking them, their impact on bacteria stops as well.
are strong warnings against use of systemic antibiotics by young teens
and pregnant or soon-to-be pregnant and lactating women.
- Antibiotics may cause severe GI problems and allergic reactions.
require serious sun restrictions as they may cause burns and are
considered unsafe for pregnant and soon-to-be pregnant or lactating
- Since these products do not address the
cause of acne but rather the bacteria trapped in the excess sebum, the
do not prevent new acne from forming once they are stopped.
antibiotics in particular are not specific for acne, which means they
may kill bacteria that your body actually needs in order to stay
- The indiscriminate use of antibiotics is
being strongly discouraged in the medical field due to the increasing
appearance of bacterial resistance.
Oral Contraceptives (OCs)
(For Women Only)
Why We Use Them: OCs
are often prescribed to control acne breakouts as "off-label" usage,
which means most of them have not even been approved for this use.
- Diane-35 is a hormonal drug (cyproterone-ethinyl
estradiol) that was used to treat hormonal acne, especially acne
resulting from too many androgens (male hormones). It is also an oral
contraceptive (birth control pill) with low estrogen levels. Diane-35
is not approved in the US, but it is available in Canada, and like many
other drugs, unfortunately finds its way to US consumers through
so-called "gray marketing."
- Ortho Tri-Cyclen is a combination of estrogen and progestin, which is a synthetic form of progesterone.
- YAZ contains a combination of estrogen and a form of progestin called drospirenone and is now the subject of class action suit.
Because of the list of side effects of so many of these treatments, many people come to us because they want a safe, clinically validated, natural treatment that actually works. And the results are astounding!
With a Promise of Clear Skin,