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How to Adjust Your Skincare Routine While on Accutane

How to Adjust Your Skincare Routine While on Accutane

Adjust Your Skincare Routine While on Accutane

When you take Isotretinoin, often known as Accutane, two things are likely to happen: your acne will start to improve, but you will also start to feel some side effects on your skin. Because Isotretinoin reduces sebum production, it’s common for your skin to feel dry and tight, to the point of discomfort. This means you may have to adapt your skincare routine while on Accutane to suit the new needs of your skin.

If you’re not sure where to start, we’re here to help, with a small selection of products that will be useful to you over the course of your treatment:

Try a very simple moisturizer

Skin dryness is one of the main side effects of Isotretinoin, or Accutane. To counterbalance this, it’s important to build a skincare routine that focuses on hydration. Now’s not the time to get creative with strong skincare actives–now’s the time to dial things down and bring your routine back to basics.

Below, you’ll find some moisturizers designed specifically for skin that’s currently undergoing acne treatments:

The A-Derma Biology AC Hydra Ultra-Soothing Compensating Cream uses 99% naturally derived ingredients, including moisturizing Organic Rhealba® Oat Sap®, to offset the drying effects of acne treatments and hydrate the skin for up to 48 hours. Furthermore, it helps to calm redness and prevent the formation of dark spots onde the pimples have healed. The formula is BIO certified and free from ingredients of animal origin.

Driven by microbiome science, the La Roche-Posay Effaclar H Iso-Biome Hydrating Cream offers a quadruple action: it soothes the skin, helps minimize imperfections, hydrates, and helps reinforce the skin barrier, which may be weakened by the ongoing acne treatment. The formula combines hydrating and repairing niacinamide with anti-imperfection Orellana extract; Aqua Posae Filiformis, a unique thermal bacterial extract, completes the formula and helps to rebalance the skin microbiome.

Designed with teenagers in mind, the ISDIN Teen Skin Rx Acniben Repair Gel Cream helps to soothe and repair fragile skin undergoing acne treatments. In addition to glycerin and hyaluronic acid, which help keep the skin hydrated in order to dryness and flaking, the formula also contains Calmoactive®, an exclusive complex that helps soothe the skin and reduce discomfort and itching. The gel-cream texture absorbs quickly without leaving an oily residue, which makes this cream ideal for those who prefer a natural matte finish.

Last, but not least, we also like the SVR Sebiaclear Hydra Anti-Mark Soothing Repairing Moisturizer, a soothing and repairing cream that also helps reduce redness and dark spots. In addition to ceramides, which help restore the skin’s protective barrier, this formula also uses niacinamide to minimize redness and prevent the formation of dark spots, which so often form once acne lesions have healed. With a matte texture, this cream leaves a velvety finish on the skin, making it perfect for use under makeup.


Keep a lip balm close at hand

Dry lips are one of the most common–and most annoying–side effects of Accutane. To make sure you’re as comfortable as possible, consider investing in a good lip balm:

The Eucerin Aquaphor SOS Lip Repair is one of our most recommended lip balms: it’s practical, no-nonsense, and it gets the job done in less than 60 seconds. Formulated with glycerin, dexpanthenol, bisabolol, and vitamins C and E, this lip balm provides hydration and immediate relief to dry and chapped lips, all the while creating a protective barrier that helps repair the lips and prevent further dryness.

Many people swear by Vaseline Original Protecting Jelly as the solution for dry and chapped lips than, and we’re not about to argue. While Vaseline doesn’t feature any fancy ingredients–it’s made from petrolatum, and that’s about it–, its ability to act as an emollient, forming a protective layer over the skin to prevent water loss and lock in moisture, makes it ideal for anyone struggling with dry and flaking skin. You can use Vaseline as a lip balm, but feel free to use it anywhere else you see fit–it’s also perfect for cuticles, elbows, and other dry and rough areas.


Use a very gentle face cleanser

When your skin is dry and sensitized due to the use of Accutane, cleansing can be one of the most aggressive moments of your skincare routine, leaving your skin even drier, tighter, and more uncomfortable. Should you just skip cleansing, then? No, not at all. It’s perfectly possible to cleanse your skin daily without harming it–all you have to do is pick a gentle skin cleanser adapted to the dryness and sensitivity of your skin.

The Avène Cleanance Hydra Soothing Cleansing Cream is a cleansing cream with a physiological pH that gently cleanses and restores comfort to dry and irritated skin. The gentle formula combines Glicoléol, a key ingredient that boosts lipid synthesis in order to offer intense and ongoing nutrition to the skin, and dextran sulfate, a calming ingredient that helps soothe skin irritation and reduce redness.

We also like the Martiderm Acniover Soft Cleansing Cream, a rich cleansing cream formulated with prebiotics and shea butter. Ideal for skin that is very dry and uncomfortable due to ongoing acne treatments, this product helps restore balance to the skin’s microbiome through the action of the prebiotics in the formula; in parallel, shea butter offers nourishment and comfort to the skin, helping reduce dryness over the long term.


Accutane, or Isotretinoin, is a very effective acne treatment, but it’s not without its side effects. With small adjustments to your skincare routine while on Accutane, however, it’s possible to minimize these side effects and make your skin feel softer and more comfortable.

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