Accutane is an extremely powerful and prevalent method for treating severe acne in teenagers and young adults.
This prescription-only medication is usually taken for a few months at a time, and any other medications or medical procedures are likely to be affected by the medication during the treatment—and even for a while after. Because severe acne can have major aesthetic consequences, many people wish to pursue skin treatments after their course of Accutane is over. But when is it safe to do so?
Severe Acne and Accutane Treatment
While many people suffer from acne at some point during their lives, some get it worse than others. In addition to being painful and embarrassing, severe acne can cause lasting problems, such as acne scars. This is primarily caused by a type of acne known as cystic acne that is very difficult to treat using over the counter medications. Accutane is extremely effective, since it tackles bacteria, inflammation, oil production, and clogged pores all at once. Most people do not need to repeat a course of Accutane treatments once they are done.
Though Accutane can provide serious relief from painful and embarrassing acne, it does not prevent or treat acne scarring. Acne scarring is permanent and may make the skin appear red and pitted. Scars can be shallow or deep, but they can be almost as distressing to patients as the acne itself, and many people seek cosmetic treatments once they have completed their course of Accutane medication.
Treatments That Can Help
Following a course of Accutane, there are several treatments that can help improve the appearance of acne scars. Acne scars can be difficult to resolve, but a powerful skin treatment can go a long way toward improving the overall appearance of the skin. Here are just two of the options for treatment that can help reduce acne scarring:
Carbon dioxide laser resurfacing is used to promote cell renewal through a peeling process while stimulating the body to produce additional collagen. In addition to improving acne scarring, carbon dioxide laser treatments improve overall skin condition and appearance. Laser resurfacing is a fairly invasive process, but most patients who undergo treatment find the difficulty of the recovery period to be worth the results.
A procedure that essentially “sands” down the skin to minimize the appearance of acne scars and help them blend in with the skin, dermabrasion is by no means a gentle treatment. The procedure requires a minimum of two weeks’ recovery time, and it may take up to six months for all redness to fade. Dermabrasion is best for wide, shallow acne scars.
How Accutane Affects Healing
Because most skin treatments are ablative and require the skin to form new cells to replace those that are destroyed through treatment, Accutane can affect healing from these procedures. Accutane inhibits the formation of new skin cells and shrinks oil glands, which can cause improper healing, even after the drug has been stopped.
How Soon Is Too Soon?
While it can seem like a long time to wait after active acne has cleared up, it is very important to wait long enough to be sure the Accutane will not affect healing. In the case of cosmetic treatments, it is always better to be safe rather than sorry. Most plastic surgeons suggest waiting at least six months to a year after treatment is complete to undergo any skin procedures. The waiting period may depend on how invasive the treatment in question may be.
If you would like to discuss plans for improving your skin after Accutane treatment, then it’s a good idea to speak with a board certified plastic surgeon about your options. The waiting period is the perfect time to research, gather information, and choose your procedure and plastic surgeon, so use the time wisely.
When you’re ready to begin scheduling your consultations, give our expert surgeons at Masri Clinic a call. Our highly skilled and board certified doctors offer a wide range of skin treatments, including those for active acne and acne scars, so call 866-487-3223 to schedule a free consultation at our Birmingham or Dearborn, Michigan locations today.