What is the Difference Between Accutane and Laser Acne Treatments?

Are you struggling with both the painful emotional and physical effects of acne? Have you been faithfully using prescription or over-the-counter treatments and found them to be messy, irritating and ineffective. If so, you may be wondering where to turn next for help. Many patients, just like you, start to think about whether Accutane is a good choice for them. Here at Celibre Medical, we understand your frustration and the difficulty you face each day dealing with the tough problem of acne. We’ve talked to and treated many patients who, just like you, feel that they’ve run out of options and feel hopeless facing the prospect of a lifetime of fighting and endless cycle of breakouts.

But we’d like to discuss another option with you. While Accutane may be a reasonable choice for some, there is something else: laser acne treatments. Again, our job isn’t to tell you what you should do, but to present you with all your options. Only after you are informed and educated on the choices, will you and your provider be able to make a decision that is best for you.

Accutane is a drug that’s been around for a while. It’s been prescribed for severe or unresponsive acne since the early 1980’s. There is no doubt that it has been a lifesaver for some acne patients and helped them tremendously with their acne, but it may not be the best treatment choice for everyone.

First, despite what you’ve heard from those who’ve taken it or read online, it is not a cure for acne. Many people see big improvements in their breakouts, but many others continue to struggle with acne after a round of Accutane. This is so important to understand, because taking Accutane can be financially expensive, time consuming and put you at risk for many side effects. You really must weigh out the risks and benefits of using it before you jump right in.

Taking Accutane will require you to visit the doctor’s office every month. You will very likely have monthly blood draws and lab work to make sure your body is handling the medicine okay, and if you’re a female, you will also have to have monthly pregnancy testing and be on two forms of birth control before, during and for a while after you take Accutane. This is because the medication causes terrible birth defects, so pregnancy prevention is a top priority when you’re taking it.

Lastly, remember that while Accutane affects your skin, it can also effect other organ systems because it’s an oral pill. It can have effects on your liver, muscles and joints and may put you at risk for depression or mood swings. You need to do your research and ask a lot of questions prior to making the decision to take Accutane.

You do have an alternative treatment option if you’re thinking about Accutane. Laser acne treatment has come onto the scene in recent years and is becoming a popular, alternative treatment choice for many patients. Lasers are exciting because they work in a totally different way to help acne; and because only the acne-affected skin is treated, there are no systemic side effects and no pills to take. The question is then, do they work?

The answer is yes. There are a couple different acne laser choices that are effective: class IV medical lasers can be used either alone or in combination with photodynamic therapy. They work by targeting different factors involved in acne, and they often do this in combination, which makes them helpful for both the treatment and prevention of breakouts.

First, lasers use different wavelengths of light to generate heat or thermal energy. When delivered to the skin, this energy decreases oil production. Along with this, many people see their pores shrink and their skin look smoother. The heat also kills the bacteria on the skin that trigger breakouts. Finally, the energy of the laser acts like a “shockwave” in the skin; this helps to breakup blackheads and whiteheads and allows for them to be more easily washed away. Since these are where more inflammatory acne bumps begin, lasers can not only help your skin look clearer in this way, but also help to limit the severity of your breakouts too.

An added benefit of laser acne treatment is that it may help stimulate your skin to make more collagen. This helps with any scarring that you have, and makes your skin look better overall. There’s also a different class of medical lasers that can be used to help return your skin to its normal color if you suffer with redness or brown discoloration from your acne. Accutane cannot do either of these things!

We understand that whether you’re a teen dealing with acne for the first time, or an adult who’s had a lifetime of disappointing or frustrating acne treatments, you’re looking for help for your acne and want to know and understand what your treatment options are. Again, at Celibre Medical, we know there are many different acne treatment options that may be right for you, but only you can decide which one is best. Each of them has its own risks and benefits that you need to consider, and we are happy to help educate you and serve as a resource. If you’re interested in learning more about our laser acne treatment program, we hope that you will give us a call today. Your consultation is free and we’d be happy to answer your questions about how this important treatment option can help you better fight your acne.

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* Acne laser treatment before and after photos

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