Dry skin is the most common side effect of Accutane. Almost everyone who is treated with Accutane experiences dryness of the lips and skin, especially the very sensitive and susceptible skin on the face. While the degree of dryness can differ for each person, it can often be very significant and uncomfortable. Patients are sometimes even reluctant to take Accutane because of their concern over the expected skin dryness and sensitivity that accompanies Accutane treatment.
Because of the added frustration and discomfort that severe skin dryness and sensitivity of Accutane can have on someone who is already experiencing the significant physical and emotional consequences of having acne in the first place, we developed a resource called Hydrating Base to help prevent the unwanted skin dryness and sensitivity.
Why most moisturizers don’t help with dry skin caused by Accutane
Isotretinoin, commonly known by its original brand name of Accutane, is the most effective treatment for acne in existence. A derivative of Vitamin A, Accutane is a retinoid that has a variety of effects, including the reduction in the activity of oil glands in acne-prone pores. By calming overactive pores, Accutane inhibits important steps in the formation of even the most severe forms of acne. However, in addition to the desired effects of Accutane on stopping acne breakouts, Accutane can also lead to undesirable consequences, one of the most common being the development of very dry skin.
Almost everyone under treatment with Accutane experiences significant dry skin and lips. Skin dryness is so common that dermatologists often look for this side effect as a sign that Accutane is being taken correctly and being sufficiently absorbed after ingestion. Nevertheless, the significant dryness that can occur can be a source of significant discomfort and can sometimes cause an interruption in the course of Accutane treatment. Therefore, it is very important to consistently and effectively hydrate the affected skin areas to compensate.
While there are a number of moisturizers available, not all are optimal for managing the severe skin dryness caused by Accutane. Some retail products contain ingredients that are not safe to use on acne-prone skin while others can contain harsh ingredients that can make the dryness and sensitivity worse. Still others can be thick and greasy and unpleasant to use.
At the Advanced Acne Institute, we developed a solution to help address the unique dryness and sensitivity caused by Accutane. We use a stepwise approach. The first step is to effectively counsel patients under treatment with Accutane to avoid harsh environmental exposures.
This includes becoming aware of and excluding all skin care products that can exacerbate skin sensitivity while taking Accutane. Avoidance of sun exposure, laser treatments, waxing as well as other sensitizing topical treatments such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid and glycolic acid is also emphasized. Rather, emphasis is placed on a very gentle, calming and soothing skin care regimen.
Our hydrating skin cream
One of the most important parts of a skin care regimen while undergoing treatment with Accutane is the need for optimal skin hydration. At the Advanced Acne Institute, we dispense a proprietary hydrating lotion called Hydrating Base to optimally hydrate and maintain the skin surface.
Hydrating Base was developed by us for this very unique application. It is fragrance-free, noncomedogenic (acne-safe) and contains high concentrations of humectants and moisturizers to help the skin resist the drying and irritating effects of Accutane.
By optimally hydrating at the skin surface, Hydrating Base can help to replace moisture loss in the skin which accompanies the harsh effects of Accutane. The result is well hydrated skin that feels soft and moist without feeling oily or greasy. Patients are very motivated to apply Hydrating Base consistently because they feel very reassured by the way it makes their skin feel. This in return reduces the chances of skin dryness and irritation, therefore resulting in a more comfortable course of Accutane therapy.
Hydrating Base has become a very integral part of acne management at the Advanced Acne Institute. It is incorporated into a variety of acne treatment regimens. For example, in addition to being an indispensable part of our Accutane treatment protocol, we also incorporate Hydrating Base into treatments that rely on various topical acne creams and gels and lotions such as topical retinoids and benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid that can otherwise cause dryness and irritation at the skin surface.
By minimizing the drying tendency of these acne treatments, Hydrating Base can aid in evening-out the rebound effect on oil production in which the oil glands would otherwise respond to the excessive dryness caused by acne treatments by overproducing oil to compensate.
Although we initially developed Hydrating Base for the purpose of countering the drying effects of acne treatments to optimize our acne treatment protocols, the unique feel and effectiveness of Hydrating Base on the skin has led to patients wanting to continue using it even beyond completion of their acne treatments. They depend on Hydrating Base as a core component of their skin care routines to maintain their skin quality and unique feel into the future.
Although we don’t typically market Hydrating Base outside of our practice, if you feel that it would be helpful for you and you would like to experience the unique quality of Hydrating Base, please contact us here.
The Advanced Acne Institute is a unique dermatology practice located in Miami, Florida specializing only in the treatment of acne. We focus solely on providing the most effective treatments to help our patients achieve clear skin. We are pleased to share our insights and perspectives in acne treatment as an educational service, however this information is provided strictly for educational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice and is not a substitute for seeking the advice and treatment by an appropriate medical professional.