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lexxi

Seriously considering taking 'Tane; tips on protecting hair??

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Hello everyone,

After trying and failing with a load of different acne medications and procedures (including creams, pills, and light therapy), I'm seriously considering taking Accutane for my acne. The BP regimen works decently (especially considering I have very severe acne), but I still have a ton of painful, ugly pimples on my face. I'm starting to feel really desperate and don't seem to have many options left. My question is: if I decide to take it, what are some measures I can take to protect my hair? I've been offered the medication in the past, but the fear of possibly permanently losing my hair always held me back. I know hair loss (especially permanent) is suppose to be a rare side-effect, but I've gotten rare side-effects from other medications before so I tend to be more than a little cautious. I have heard that taking a high dose (but not too high) of vitamin E should be taken with Accutane for the joints -- could it possibly help protect the hair, too? I assume the main problem of shedding/hair loss on Accutane is the reduction of oil production throughout the body. Hair needs the natural oils the scalp produces to keep it healthy. If I could somehow replenish the oil in my body, could that help prevent any potential shedding/hair loss? I would appreciate ANY advice ANYONE can give me. I want some relief from my acne (even if it might only be temporary), but I want to make sure I keep my hair as well.

Thanks!

- L

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i took tane for 2 months (couldn't really stand it anymore) and didnt suffer any hair loss

until----

2 months after i stopped taking tane. Now hair is falling out at alarming rate, and i was also wondering if there are anything that can help stop it. Im hoping its just going to stop once its completely out of my system, but its been two full months since I've been off of tane so I thought it'd be gone by now. Im still experiencing the side effects such as dry eyes and flushed face along with some dryness.

I did get clear though, if that means anything.

Is there ANYONE that knows how to help preventing the hair loss?

- L

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- biotin

- vitamin E and Zinc

- don't use hair gel

- use moisturizing shampoo

- protect hair from the sun

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Nioxin shampoo, conditioner and "scalp treatment" is the best stuff out there for thinning hair. It's pretty pricy, but worth it. I think you can only find it salons, or places that sell salon-type products....

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There are two types of hairloss that people experience on Accutane. The first type is simple breakage, directly caused by dryness, and is fairly easy to counteract. As your scalp dries out, limit shampooing. At the height of dryness i was shampooing only once every three weeks - and it didn't need it then due to oiliness, but due to conditioner buildup. Use a deep conditioner whenever you shower instead of shampooing, use a leave-in conditioner. Avoid alcohol based styling products, and heat styling. Be gentle with your hair when you comb or brush it.

The other type of hairloss is called telogen effluvium and it is temporary. The hair loss occurs after you have been on the medication for some time - sometimes it doesn't begin until a couple months after you are done with the course. It's important for peace of mind that you understand why it happens. Hair naturally cycles between the active growth phase - called "anagen" and the dormant phase - called "telogen". Telogen hairs are the ones that you naturally lose every day when you brush your hair or shampoo or whatever else applies enough pressure to loosen it from the follicle. If nothing happens to manually remove it from the follicle, it will literally fall out when the follicle reactives and the new anagen hair pushes it out.

Accutane stresses the body - particularly higher doses and longer courses. When the body is stressed, it diverts resources away from hair growth, and sends many more hairs than normal into the telogen phase. You may begin to notice that you are pulling more hairs than normal out of your hairbrush or your shower drain. A few months after your course is over, your body no longer needs to divert it's resources, and so lots of the telogen follicles reactivate and enter the anagen phase. This is when hairs begin to fall out en masse, and when people start to freak out - which is ironic because all that hair is actually falling out because it is growing again. Because the follicles reactivate over a period of time and not literally all at once, the diffuse shedding can continue for a few months. And the only people likely to notice it are you, your hairdresser, and whoever cleans out your shower drain. :P

This side effect only happens in something like 12% of Accutane patients, and again it's coorelated to higher dose and longer length courses.

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beentheredonethat - I love your posts. Always the voice of knowledge and reason!

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Wow, SERIOUSLY

My derm tried to tell me to stay off message boards, because the only people that would be posting are those with something negative to say. (it was hard to not laugh, considering how much positive feedback there is on here, among other great stuff) I told him if I relied on the information HE gives me, I would feel like a blind rat in an experiment. I'm so grateful for everyone's 2 cents, and especially for straight-up scientific shit that's not subjective...yay, board! amen

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Just a tip on the biotin...

I was taking some for my hair before going on Accutane. I'm in pharmacy school and I happened to look up information stating that there is a potential interaction between biotin and Accutane. I'd probably stay away from taking the two together.

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Thanks so much for all the tips/advice and comments, everyone!

JC,

Sorry for your troubles with hair loss. Looking at beentheredonethat's explanation for hair loss on Accutane, it sounds like your hair should be just fine. You weren't on the medication very long so I don't see why your hair wouldn't return back to normal. Glad to hear you were successful with clearing up your skin though.

beentheredonethat,

Thanks for your post. I actually feel much better. I've never even gotten such an explanation from a physician before -- all they say is that it almost never happens and to basically not worry about it (yeah... very comforting). I think if a dermatologist had explained something like this to me earlier, I might've not been so against potentially going on the medication. I have one little question I'd like to ask though: if/when I go on Accutane, I'd mostly likely be put on 40mg per day. Is that a high, low, or normal dosage? Or does it depend on the person's body weight?

- L

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Depends on your body weight and whether your derm is going to kep you on a long course (lower dose) or shorter course (higher dose). Relatively speaking though, 40mg is just below what most people are taking so expect to be on it for a slightly longer time.

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Depends on your weight in kilograms. A small dose is in the 0.5mg/kg range. A moderate dose is 1.0mg/kg. A high dose is 1.5mg/kg. Max dose is 2.0mg/kg. Normal courses last 4-6 months. Higher doses and longer courses are more associated with the telogen effluvium type hairloss. Simple breakage can happen at any dose if you don't take the dryness into account.

But you'd have to be pretty tiny for 40mg/day to be a high dose.

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I was blaming a lot of my hairloss on Accutane too, even after many years. Beentheredonethat told me about the possibility of PCOS for females....Polycistic Ovarian Syndrome (he prolly don't remember, lol!) in which alopecia is a symptom. I haven't gotten checked for PCOS yet, but now I'm pretty confident that my extended hairloss even after so many years wasn't really due to the Accutane although the med did brittle my hair and it is now very frail. The reason for my continued hairloss could have been a number of things including stress, bad diet and other elements. You may be the healthy eater type, but in many cases there is always something, that one thing you are not getting that could be contributing to hairloss. A good way of determining what you might be missing or have in excess (like high levels of metals) could be a hair analysis. If you're female, get your hormones checked because an imbalance or high levels of testosterone, aside from an increase in facia/body hair, alopecia or the lossof hair could be a possibility especially with PCOS.

Thanks Beentheredonethat

BTW: One of the ways I was able to alleviate my hairloss a little, but this was only temporary, was with garlic treatment.

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There are two types of hairloss that people experience on Accutane. The first type is simple breakage, directly caused by dryness, and is fairly easy to counteract. As your scalp dries out, limit shampooing. At the height of dryness i was shampooing only once every three weeks - and it didn't need it then due to oiliness, but due to conditioner buildup. Use a deep conditioner whenever you shower instead of shampooing, use a leave-in conditioner. Avoid alcohol based styling products, and heat styling. Be gentle with your hair when you comb or brush it.

The other type of hairloss is called telogen effluvium and it is temporary. The hair loss occurs after you have been on the medication for some time - sometimes it doesn't begin until a couple months after you are done with the course. It's important for peace of mind that you understand why it happens. Hair naturally cycles between the active growth phase - called "anagen" and the dormant phase - called "telogen". Telogen hairs are the ones that you naturally lose every day when you brush your hair or shampoo or whatever else applies enough pressure to loosen it from the follicle. If nothing happens to manually remove it from the follicle, it will literally fall out when the follicle reactives and the new anagen hair pushes it out.

Accutane stresses the body - particularly higher doses and longer courses. When the body is stressed, it diverts resources away from hair growth, and sends many more hairs than normal into the telogen phase. You may begin to notice that you are pulling more hairs than normal out of your hairbrush or your shower drain. A few months after your course is over, your body no longer needs to divert it's resources, and so lots of the telogen follicles reactivate and enter the anagen phase. This is when hairs begin to fall out en masse, and when people start to freak out - which is ironic because all that hair is actually falling out because it is growing again. Because the follicles reactivate over a period of time and not literally all at once, the diffuse shedding can continue for a few months. And the only people likely to notice it are you, your hairdresser, and whoever cleans out your shower drain. :P

This side effect only happens in something like 12% of Accutane patients, and again it's coorelated to higher dose and longer length courses.

:clap:

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