Oral Retinoids for Adult Acne (ISOTRETINOIN)
Oral retinoid is very useful in treating severe to moderate adult acne and it works by restricting the secretion of sebum and pore-clogging oil, and by limiting inflammation and localized infection. Oral retinoid medication is only available by prescription and it may be even more efficient when mixed with topical retinoid cream.
Warning: Before advising oral retinoid medication, a physician may need a pregnancy test and at least one month of reliable birth control for women looking for the medication. Because oral retinoid may lead to abortion or severe birth defects, its use is highly regulated.
Usually reserved for severe acne, especially on the back and chest and when all other avenues have been tried without much success. It may also be prescribed in less severe acne if this is associated with psychological stress or scarring.
Retinoids when used orally augments the processes involved in the acne cause and have been found very efficient. They really have revolutionized the severe acne treatment.
Retinoids lessen SEBUM production. Retinoids reduce the hypercornification (the excessive production of skin cells in the lining of the follicle) of the pilosebaceous duct. Retinoids do not have any antibacterial properties but appear to lessen the bacterial population on the skin by removing some factors that allow their skin growth.
Retinoids lessen the inflammation associated with the fatty acids which are produced by bacterial action on the plugs in the skin pores. (These plugs are dead skin cells mixture, bacteria and sebum) Retinoid therapy is costly and is available only via dermatologist supervision. Regular blood tests to check on liver function are very common.
Side Effects of Oral Retinoids:
Side effects in some cases can be very severe. Retinoids are TERATOGENIC and appropriate contraceptive precautions shall be taken in the female patient. Treatment can last for up to 16 weeks and if there is a relapse, a second course of treatment may be prescribed by your dermatologist.
Retinoids when taken by mouth can cause dryness of the facial skin. Peeling and skin itching is quite common. Dryness around the lips, mouth and nose is common. Fissures on the lips may develop and can be treated with moisturizing lip balms, especially those carrying a sunscreen. Nosebleeds are also quite common and the petroleum jelly application is recommended.
Eyes and eyelids irritation is also to be expected. This may be lessen by using lubricating eye ointments such as LUBRIDERM, VIDISIC GEL, TEARS NATURAL, GEL TEARS or a similar product. Pigmentation and sensitivity to the sun can develop but is very rare.
There have been oral Retinoids reports causing depression but this link has not been conclusively proven. One must remember that severe acne itself can cause anxiety and depression. On first starting treatment with a Retinoid you may feel headaches or body/muscle aches.
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