What Happens After I Finish Accutane Treatment ?

I will be finishing a 6 month treatment in a few days and will see my derm a few days after. A few months ago he mentioned we'd discuss maintenance once I finished. I'm pretty clear but have red scars ( I think the previous active acne was hiding scars) from occasional breakouts while taking it. Online searches said topical retinoids are commonly used. I used Retin-A-Miro prior to accutane with no results. Generally speaking, what's the next step after I finish?

Doctor Answers 2

Isotretinoin After Care

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After a typical course of Accutane (Isotretinoin) patients are generally completely clear of of all active acne lesions, and require no continue after care unless new acne develops.  Many patients never see acne again, and few will see any acne for at least 6 months.

The red spots you see sound most consistent with Post-Inflammatory Erythema, a temporary color change seen in most all inflammatory acne lesions, and generally fade by 6-9 months.  Persistent redness can be treated with the Pulsed Dye laser, such as the V-Beam. 

True scars are textural changes-- like pot-holes in a road.  These are much more difficult to erase, and often best treated with a resurfacing modality such as fractionated CO2.

Metairie Dermatologic Surgeon
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What happens after Accutane

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Accutane is used to address current and active acne. Usually after finishing a course of Accutane a maintenance program is set in place, depending on the type and degree of your initial acne, to help keep it from coming back. Additionally it's at this point that any PIH (post inflammatory hyperpigmentation) in red or brown forms, and any scarring can be addressed. Some patients will go on a topical course like Retin A Micro, some may get some light laser treatments (like Cutera Genesis) and some may need deeper treatments for scarring like Matrix RF or Fraxel. You and your physician need to address your specific concerns and long-term plan, as there are many options. 


These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.