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How Well Does Accutane Work?

acne Oct 04, 2022


It's a common assumption among acne-sufferers that Accutane (also known as Isotretinoin) is the ultimate cure-all for acne. And when you struggle with acne and have tried everything with little success, the idea of taking a pill and ending your skin problems is appealing. 

Accutane does indeed sound like a magic pill, but does it really work as well as it seems? We all know someone who's taken a course of Accutane and never had their acne come back. But are these results the norm? 

In our clinic, we regularly see clients who've taken Accutane and their acne did come back, mostly within a few months of stopping the medication. However, these results are to be expected because if Accutane had been effective, people wouldn't seek our help. 

In order to get a non-biased idea of the long-term efficacy of Accutane, I conducted an anonymous survey of a group of Accutane users from around the world. Most people typically see an enormous improvement in their acne while taking the medication, but I wanted to know how long their skin stayed clear after taking 1-2 courses of Accutane. Here are the results:

  • 80% said their acne came back within 2 years (of those, 45% said their acne came back within 6 months) 
  • 20% said their skin has remained clear after 2 years (of those, 6% said their skin remained clear after 5 years)

This was by no means a scientific study, but I did find these results to be very interesting.

While I completely understand the desperation someone feels when they have acne, it seems Accutane might be more of a gamble than a sure thing. And, the long list of side effects should be seriously considered before taking it, especially since there is no guarantee that your acne won't return once you stop.

Just recently, three clients reported the following side effects they experienced while taking Accutane:

  • hair fell out in clumps, had to quit the drug and acne is now coming back
  • bones and joints hurt so much sports performance was affected - after completing a full course of Accutane, acne is now coming back
  • took 2 courses of Accutane over a 5-year period - skin dried out severely, left discoloration and has not recovered - acne is now coming back 

If you are thinking about taking Accutane, contact us first. Our acne program has a 95% success rate, and we've cleared many clients when Accutane failed to provide long-term results. 



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