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I am a 25 year old female who has suffered from acne since I was 15. Before I turned 20, my acne was quite mild, and I could easily treat it with benzoyl peroxide. However, after I turned 20, I started to develop those deep, painful, inflammatory cysts that would take weeks to go away. Benzoyl peroxide didn't seem to work so effectively as before, and I have tried all kinds of OTC acne treatments, antibiotics, even herbal tea... The sad thing is, none of these seem to improve my acne. For the past five years, my self-esteem was down to the lowest point. I wouldn't go anywhere without my makeup on, even just for grocery shopping. I would spend more than an hour to work on my makeup just to cover those f***ing pimples. I turned down my friends' invitations for trips or any kinds of outdoor activities, because I was afraid that the strong sunlight would expose the horrible bumps on my face, and then they just gonna keep asking what the hell was going on on my face (Maybe they are just cared about me, but when you are already worried about your acne even in your dream, you just want them to stop asking, and pretend that there is nothing wrong with your face)...
Anyway, I was finally recommended to a dermatologist by a friend who has suffered from severe acne for 10 years. I know accutane is the solution after I saw the dramatic improvement on my friend's face. It's like she was born with such great skin. You could never link that to a face which is covered with pimples, scars, and large pores.
So back to my story. In the 1st month, my face broke out like hell. I remember I was on this blog all the time reading reviews about accutane, and lots of people did experience an initial breakout from this medicine. I guess things have to get worse before they get better right? But the breakout was so so so horrible that I didn't even want my own parents to see my face. I basically just stayed in my room as much as I could. (Because my acne was caused by deeply clogged pores, so I was told not to wear any makeup while I was on accutane, I will talk about this in a bit.)
In the 2nd month, the breakout finally stopped, the number of pimples on my face decreased from 30+ to around 15. In the 3rd and 4th month, the number of pimples kept decreasing dramatically on my face, and my face was much smoother and softer than before. Now I just started my 5th month treatment. But basically, I only have a couple of tiny little pimples on my face, and the scars have faded a lot as well. I might need to keep on taking this drug for another 2 months or so, just to make sure those clogged pores are entirely cleared out.
As for side effects, mine were just dry lips, dry hair, and occasional joint/muscle pain, but they didn't bother me that much. But your skin will be super sensitive when you're on this drug, so it's very important for you to avoid sunburn or any strong topical treatment, otherwise you may end up with a red, itchy and swollen face.
As I have mentioned, my cystic acne was developed from deeply clogged pores. From my derm's opinion, these clogged pores can be the result of my excessive use of makeup. I kinda agree with him, 'cause the cysts started almost a few months after I started applying full makeup. I used lots of different makeup brands for the past five years, from high end brands like Dior, Estee Lauder, Giorgio Armani to drugstore brands like L'oreal and Clinique. I also tried lots of skincare products that claimed they would improve my skin texture, brighten my acne marks, etc. ... But I didn't see any major improvement on my skin after so many attempts, or at least, the result was only temporary. With more pimples that I got, I tended to apply more foundation to my face, and I ended up with more clogged pores. Then these nasty clogged pores would turn to cysts, and I used more makeup to cover...The whole process just repeated over and over...
So for the past few months, I took my derm's advice and completely stayed away from makeup, changed my entire skincare regime, and also stayed away from unhealthy food. Although my face is not flawless at this moment, but it has improved so much compared to what it used to be. And I can feel quite normal and confident when I walk on the streets now, because I don't have to worry whether people may stare at my face and wonder what the hell is wrong with this woman...
This drug destroys lives. The dermatologist selling this stuff may tell you that all of the side effects are only temporary. Pure BS. Many people have suffered and many more people will continue to suffer because of this drug. Sure, it may get rid of your acne, or it may not. You may be left with all kinds of damage to your body. You may not make the connection right away or ever. The side effects may show up during your course, or weeks, or months, or even years after your treatment is over. You may think, wow, this is weird, I feel like I am still taking the drug years after stopping it. Acne does not cause harm to your body. It won't cause your skin to be permanently dry, or your hair to be brittle and fall out like crazy. Acne won't cause you to have no energy to walk up a flight of stairs. It won't cause infertility, digestive problems, or joint pain. Acne won't cause Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. It won’t cause you to have to have your intestines surgically removed. Acne won’t cause your body to start attacking itself. It won’t cause you to have low to no libido. Acne won’t cause erectile dysfunction or decreased genital sensitivity. It won't cause you to age prematurely. Acne won’t cause you to spend thousands of dollars going from doctor to doctor because you are wondering why your body is breaking down. After taking this drug, you won't care about acne anymore. It will be the least of your worries and not because it got rid of your acne. It will be the least of your worries because it got rid of your healthy life in an instant. Boom! Gone, just like that. You will wish you could go back in time and punch the dermatologist for ever mentioning this drug to you. You will be wondering what have I done to my body and my brain. You will be wondering what is next. Will I ever get out of this? It is plain and simple. Don’t kill your body by taking this drug. You will regret it if you do.
I'm 22 years old now (female) and have been struggling with acne since I was 13. It got to a point where I was severely depressed over the state of my skin and didn't want to leave the house. My confidence was very badly affected and I still suffer with the crippling self consciousness that acne induces. I do still have acne now, but I would like to say first and foremost that does not mean that this drug doesn't work - Accutane works, it really works. I had cystic acne in almost every pore in my face and all over my neck and back - I simply felt terrible about myself. Now I have a clear back, but I do still struggle with hormonal acne - I am hoping to go back on Dianette and I will also be getting laser treatment on my face for the hyperpigmentation caused by my acne.
I took 40mg for 6 months alongside Dianette (the contraceptive pill) and I also took (and still take) daily B vitamins and cod liver oil. The first month was very difficult as it is common to experience a flare up in your skin when you first start taking Accutane, in other words, it gets worse before it gets better. That is exactly what happened, alongside very dry lips. However with the use of a brand of moisturiser called Cetaphil, plus a good lip balm, and persevering with a good skincare regime, all my acne cleared up wonderfully within 6 months. I had baby soft, smooth, and clear skin, I was so delighted to feel normal again - i.e not look in the mirror and feel horrified at my reflection.
Long story short, my skin became spotty again fairly soon after stopping it but I would like to be clear that this was probably due to one of the following factors 1) I entered a depressive episode and wasn't taking good care of my skin, 2) I was under a great deal of stress, 3) I started taking the drug lithium which is known to cause acne, 4) I switched to a contraceptive pill (Gedarel) that aggravated my acne and skin inflammation issues. Despite this, I don't regret using Accutane, it is a very effective drug and if you maintain a good skin care regime and a healthy diet, it should stop it from returning. Be careful with contraceptive pills, I have personally found that the only one that doesn't aggravate my skin massively is Dianette. Dianette blocks the effects of androgens in the body which is why I feel it was particularly effective for my severe hormonal acne.
I used it for two months. But had to stop as it caused me severe anxiety (I have no past history of this), as well as insomnia, kidney pain and other very unpleasant side effects like constipation and pain during sex. My skin was starting to get much clearer but it just wasn't worth the effects for me, I felt like I was losing my mind and I still don't feel 'normal', my digestive system is messed up and I'm constantly getting infections. Think carefully before going on it, I didn't and my acne was only mild. I would only consider going on this if it really is a last resort.
I took 50mg for 6 months, I've now been off it for seven months
I started out with mild, but persistent inflammatory acne
Took me about 4 months to clear completely, and I had horrendously bad break outs.
Side effects: nerve problems, anal tearing, dry skin, back pain (I took fish oil and aquafor for these, and they mostly all went away or were more manageable)
After I stopped the drug, all my side effects completely went away. Unfortunately, my acne also started coming back slowly but surely. It's not nearly as bad as it was before I took it though, so I would recommend it to people that have tried all the different retinoids without success. Expect your acne to get better, and for you to clear completely while on the drug, but don't expect any miracles after you stop taking it. This is not a cure for most people. Don't freak out too much about all the accutane "horror stories." In my experience, they sucked but didn't stay around forever.
I still have mild, but persistent inflammatory acne. At least it's better though.
I am beginning my third month of accutane and what can I say, I LOVE IT! I have experienced the usual dry skin and lips but nothing too bad. I recommend using carmex for your lips, it is a life saver. Before accutane my face was super oily. I noticed after 2 weeks on accutane I was not producing oil. My makeup would stay on all day and I could go days without washing my hair, awesome right?! If any of you are nervous about taking accutane I would give it a try. Talk it over with your dermatologist and determine what is best for you. I am so glad that I made this decision. Sure, the monthly blood tests and pregnancy tests are a hurdle to go through, but if you want clear skin its totally worth it. I hope that my skin will stay clear even after accutane so fingers crossed! Good luck to all.
Extremely harsh drug, experienced side effects during the whole course ( hair loss body wide, back pain, jaw lock, bloody nose, eyes dryness) but the outcome was excellent. Works phenomenal with Comedonal acne (had +200 closed comedones on my face, i'm not counting the ones on my back/chest) and obviously also with inflammatory acne. Unfortunately after 5 months of finishing the course i'm still experiencing back pain (not serious at all, but scary) and dry lips.
I had terrible, painful cystic acne all over my face, back, and chest from the time I was 12 until I was 23, when I was finally put on Accutane. I took a six month course of 40mg and had very few side effects; just the usual dry skin, dry lips, and a few days my eyes were too dry to wear my contacts, but I have had no long term effects. I turn 30 next month and my skin is still clear (I still get a bump or two every now and then, but it's drastically smaller than my old cysts and goes away in a matter of days instead of weeks.) I still have pretty noticeable and bad scaring on my cheeks and back, but the Accutane even seemed to smooth those out a little bit, too.
Accutane was seriously a miracle cure for me, before I finally got my prescription I had tried years of scrubs, washes, medicated lotions, antibiotics, etc. I do believe it is important for everyone to fully research what they plan of taking and look into several options, but don't be afraid of Accutane. :3 It wasn't nearly as scary as I expected and I'm incredibly thankful for the results I received.
I'm a 32 year old female and broke out with very severe acne all over my face about a year and a bit ago. I've never had flawless skin but I've also never had acne before. This was very sudden and there is no obvious cause for it.
Before starting my course of accutane, I spent over a year on this site (and many others) reading people's reviews trying to pick out the positives and trying desperately hard to ignore all the scary negative reviews. About this time last year I was offered accutane as my final solution to my hideous acne and I turned it down. I wasn't particularly convinced by the suicide claims but put off more of the apparent ageing of your body and the fact that you have to sign a disclaimer before you take the drug ( I don't know of any other). Anyway after a year of trying apple cider vinegar, tea tree, jojoba oil, diet changes etc etc and of crying everyday as I tried, unsuccessfully, to cover huge cysts that were so bad they changed the shape of my face I decided to go back to my docs and asked for a referral. By this point, I'd had holidays ruined (one's were I don't appear in any photo's, where people cruelly stared at me on trains probably because they thought I had a contagious disease), so many night's out missed, so many old friends falling by the wayside as I didn't want them to see me how I was, that I really didn't care about the side effects anymore. If anything, I was panicking that the derm would find a reason not to give me accutane and I'd be stuck that way forever.
When I started taking 30mg, I was ultra-aware of every change in my body and immediately blamed any aches and pains on the tablets. Nothing I have experienced so far has made me want to stop taking them. It was after two weeks that I started getting dryness and I was pretty dry already..I could live with this and as for the initial breakout (which didn't happen for me) I don't think I would have noticed as my skin was so bad anyway. I am now over a month in and on 40mg, my skin on my face is dry - about 4hrs after washing my face and moisturising I get sort of like tiger-striped peeling on my lower cheeks, chin and a bit on my forehead. My skin is also quite red and I have dry circular patches on my arms and chest which I know will go when I stop taking the drug (somedays if I moisturise well it's barely noticeable and it has calmed down loads as my body gets used to the dosage increase). The real deal-breaker though is that after a month, loads of people have commented on how much better my skin looks and I feel that although I have some way to go, if I had to stop the tablets for any reason I would be far happier to have it as the way it is now. I'm no longer in pain, I don't spend every minute of the day thinking about my acne (or what other's think), not rushing home to wash my face so I feel clean. If you do any of that, you at least need to give accutane a try, I know a lot of people say this but I really wish I had taken it sooner. I saw a lad sat at a bus stop the other day with skin that was as bad as mine and I wanted to tell him to take it. There is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't have clear skin like everyone else.
Products I find useful are:
Liz Earle's Skin Repair Moisturiser for dry/sensitive skin - when I was doing research all I read about was Cetaphil. I bought both the moisturiser and the wash and hate them both. They are full of chemicals and they made my skin feel like I'd put aftershave on it.
Clarins Santal Oil - this is great under moisturiser when your skin gets REALLY dry
Liz Earle's Instant Boost Skin Tonic - nice calming softening toner.
La Roche Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel - I've used this on and off since I first started getting acne, I always want to try new things but this is good at cleansing and it's very mild. I use it with Liz Earle's muslin cloths which I use to scrub the dead skin off my face. These are great because even though the derm will tell you not to exfoliate, there is absolutely no way you won't...you just can't leave it like that, especially if you are a girl and wear foundation.
I use Neutrogena Deep Moisture Comfort Balm for my body and this stuff is brilliant, I even use it on my face sometimes when I need more moisture than usual. You get a 300ml tub for £6 and it is so soothing and lasts ages ( I know this as my skin feels slimy when I wash in the morning)
For my lips, which get really really dry - I tried Burt's Bees lip balm, Palmer's Coco Butter lip balm, a Vitamin E rescue balm from Superdrug, oil, Cetaphil and nothing stopped that weird cracked and greasy feeling you get. I found an old lip balm in my bag that I got from Germany and it is the only thing that works for me. I paid £8 to get it delivered to the UK and I wouldn't hesitate spending that again when it runs out it is so worth it. It is called Med Protection SPF 15 by Labello and it's amazing. Labello is the German version of Nivea and I'm not sure whether the UK version matches up but I would definitely recommend just trying Labello.
I know this has been a lengthy review but I really want to help people who are agonising over whether to take accutane. Acne is a horrible and heart-breaking thing to have to go through and I sympathise with anyone who is. Please give it a try!