The Sanova Guide to Accutane Therapy | Activities While Taking Isotretinoin

high school student writing class workThere are many questions that pop into your head once you decide to take Accutane (Isotretinoin) for your acne. “There are dos and don’ts with every medical treatment,” says Dr. Adam Mamelak, board-certified dermatologist in Austin, Texas. “Accutane is extremely effective in treating and in many cases, eradicating acne from the skin. With all it’s notoriety, patients are always wondering how this treatment is going to affect their work, activities and livelihood.” Here are some answers a few commonly asked questions of those patients currently using or contemplating Accutane.

Can I Tan While on Accutane?

Tanning is not something I typically recommend as a dermatologist,” says Dr. Miriam Hanson, board-certified dermatologist in Austin, Texas. “But this is especially true when patients are on Accutane.” Increase sensitivity to the sun (AKA photosensitivity) is a recognized potential adverse effect of isotretinoin. Patients should be aware of this increased sensitivity when spending time outdoors. Tanning beds use concentrated UV rays to tan you, which increase the chances of developing skin cancer, and are never recommended for acne patients.

Can I Take Vitamins & Supplements?

A great question for your Dermatologist! In general, we recommend patients avoid Vitamin A while on Accutane therapy. Your body is already receiving a large amount of this vitamin with the medication, and too much Vitamin A can cause increase your chances of dry skin and other side effects.

Can I Exercise?

Staying fit and keeping a healthy lifestyle is usually encouraged with all health-related issue, and Accutane therapy is no different. Some patients claim they feel a little more sluggish, or have more muscle aches, but there is no need to cut back or your routine. Unless told otherwise by your physician, it is OK to exercise normally while on Accutane.

What Should I do If I get Sore Muscles or Joints While Taking Accutane?

“One good way to combat any soreness or aches while on Accuatne is by taking Advil or Motrin. If this doesn’t work,  lowering your dose of Isotretinoin usually alleviated these side effects, as well as any others for that matter,” says Dr. Hanson.

Can I Give Blood?

No, it is not advised to give blood while on Isotretinoin. When donating blood it is not certain where your blood will go. If a baby or pregnant woman receives your donated blood, they may be exposed to the isotretinoin and its potential adverse effects.

Can I Drink Alcohol?

“As Isotretinoin can affect liver functioning, it is not suggested to drink excessively,” notes Dr. Mamelak. Drinking can weaken the liver, which is a necessary for healthy body function. Many are able to have the occasional drink during their treatment, but it is suggested that you do so with caution or avoid it completely.

Should I Wear Sunscreen While I am on Accutane?

This is the best way to protect yourself from the sun and skin damage, regardless of Accutane use. Since your sensitivity to the sun can be heightened while taking Accutane, it is suggested that you use sunscreen consistently and correctly while taking this medication.

Can I Treat Acne Scars While on Accutane?

Scarring due to acne is one of the most common reasons I recommend Accutane therapy,” says Dr. Hanson. “But when it comes to peels, resurfacing and scar revision, patience is key.” Many of the topical creams, chemical peels and lasers used to treat acne scars can exacerbate skin sensitivity while on this medication. There is some evidence that resurfacing treatments can make scarring worse during the time, and for a 6 month period after taking this medication.

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Dr. Mamelak and Dr. Hanson practice at Sanova Dermatology in Austin, Texas. If you suffer from acne or have questions about acne therapies, please contact us today.

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