I have been dealing with sudden breakouts around my chin, mouth and lip area . Accutane for Mild Acne?

I have been dealing with sudden breakouts around my chin, mouth and lip area since experiencing a traumatic loss in my immediate family. I used every OTC medicine, and nothing worked to prevent the breakouts, so I sought out a dermatologist. I am on antibiotics, using Finacea cream, taking BCP and Spiro, but still experiencing some large, painful breakouts (usually 1-3 pustules at a time). I am wondering if I should be asking about a low-dose course of Accutane as a next step? Would it cure me?

Doctor Answers 3

Accutane For Unresponsive Moderate Acne

I typically use a simple grading system for acne severity, and an equally simple protocol for deciding on treatment.  I consider patients with only blackheads and whiteheads to have mild acne, patients with papules and pustules to have moderate acne, and patients with nodules and cysts to have severe acne.   Since you have at least moderate acne and are not controlled with antibiotics, oral contraceptives, and spironolactone, accutane could be the next logical step.  You should certainly discuss this with your dermatologist.  There are also other treatment options, such as photodynamic therapy (application of a topical medication followed by exposure to a light source).

Unfortunately, Accutane is not a cure for acne.  The good news is that the overwhelming majority of patients can expect 100% clearence of lesions with treatment.  While many patients have a long lasting remission following cessation of treatments, others will experience recurrence at some point. 

Atlanta Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Accutane (isotretinoin) for acne

Accutane is a wonderful medication that has the potential to cure acne.  Accutane has a lot of side effects and is usually reserved for people that have severe acne or scarring acne.  However, it may also be used in people that have failed other treatments or in people that have adult acne.   No other treatment can cure acne, so a several month, intense course of accutane may be a worthwhile tradeoff to many years of antibiotics, BCP, spironolactone.  You will need to have a program that is tailored for your needs. 

Melissa Chiang, MD, FAAD
Houston Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Accutane might be a good solution

From your description, I would first suggest that you have at least moderate acne, not mild. Large, painful breakouts are not consistent with mild acne. Accutane might be good for you. I'd consult the dermatologist you are seeing to see if he/she would recommend it, but I think it might be a good bet for a better, long term solution for you.

F. Victor Rueckl, MD
Las Vegas Dermatologist
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

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