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Treatment for Severe Acne

Isotretinoin: Treatment for Severe Acne

Isotretinoin is a prescription drug used in the treatment of severe acne. This type of acne leads to deep, painful nodules and cysts. These can be the size of a pencil eraser, or even larger. Scars often develop as this acne clears.

The treatment of severe acne can be challenging. When other treatments are unable to clear the skin, the dermatologist may recommend isotretinoin. Treatment with isotretinoin typically leads to a prolonged acne-free period, which can be permanent for some patients.

Note: Buying this medicine from an online website that does not require a prescription may be a serious risk to your health.

One treatment course takes around four to five months. At times, one course of treatment takes less time or slightly more. Dermatologists customize the treatment to the exact needs of each patient.

Dermatologists at the Palm Harbor Dermatology Cancer and Laser Surgery Center provide safe and proven skin care treatments to patients in Palm Harbor, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Brandon, Tampa, Spring Hill, Riverview, Florida, and surrounding locations.


Isotretinoin is the only acne treatment that combats all four causes of acne, blocked pores in the skin, excess oil production, swelling, and too much of the bacteria P. acnes.


Isotretinoin treatments usually result in an extended period of no acne, which can become permanent for some patients. Certain patients do not clear after a single course of treatment and may require another course of treatment.

Studies indicate that this enables some patients to see clear skin. The patient should wait at least eight weeks between treatments. The skin typically continues to clear for a period after patients discontinue the medication.


Dermatologists prescribe isotretinoin for cases of severe acne, which can often be quite painful. The painful nodules and cysts of severe acne leave permanent scars after they clear.

Many individuals with severe acne undergo depression, while some feel anxious. Patients often develop low self-esteem. People can experience plummeting grades or diminished performance at work.

Many people experience an improvement in their lives when severe acne clears. However, most acne treatments have little effect on severe acne.

When other treatments fail, isotretinoin can clear severe acne. It can permanently clear the skin with only a single treatment.


This medication treats many patients in a safe and effective way. However, it is not appropriate for everyone. Patients should discuss the risks and benefits with their dermatologist.

Patients should inform their dermatologist if they have any of the following when discussing isotretinoin:

  • A disease that impacts the immune system, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), HIV, AIDS, graft vs. host disease, or psoriasis.
  • Allergies.
  • Plans to become pregnant or are pregnant or nursing.

According to the AAD, this medication can be an effective treatment for severe acne as long as the prescribing physicians inform their patients about the possible risks.


Regular office visits and medical tests enable a dermatologist to check for early signs of possible side effects and understand how effectively the medication is working. The dermatologist will also look for indications of inflammatory bowel disease, depression, and other potential side effects.

Dermatologists at the Palm Harbor Dermatology Cancer and Laser Surgery Center receive patients from Palm Harbor, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Brandon, Tampa, Spring Hill, Riverview, Florida, and nearby areas for advanced and innovative skin care solutions.

PH Dermatology Cancer & Laser Surgery Center, led by board certified dermatologists, provides advanced dermatology treatments to patients in Palm Harbor, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, Brandon, Riverview, Spring Hill, Florida and surrounding communities. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.