About isotretinoin gel
- Type of medicine A rub-on (topical) retinoid
- Useful for Mild to moderate acne
- Also known as Isotrex® (discontinued); Itsotrexin® (discontinued). (contains isotretinoin, erythromycin).
- Available as Gel
Acne is the common cause of spots. Most people who have acne are between 12 and 25 years old, but there are also people younger and older who are affected. Your skin’s small sebaceous glands, located under the skin’s surface, produce an oil (sebum), that keeps it soft and smooth. The tiny pores in your skin allow the skin to absorb the sebum. Some of these pores can become blocked and cause small pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads (comedones).
It is possible to treat acne by applying isotretinoin on the affected areas. It can also reduce inflammation. You may be recommended Isotrexin®, which contains an antibacterial agent called Erythromycin.
You can also purchase Isotretinoin capsules to treat severe cases of acne. There is a separate medicine leaflet which contains more information about this, called Isotretinoin capsules for acne.
Before using isotretinoin gel
Certain medicines may not be suitable for certain people. It is important to let your doctor know before you begin using isotretinoin.
You should not be pregnant if you are breastfeeding or trying to have a baby. If you are pregnant, you should not use isotretinoin cream.
You may also have other skin problems, such as eczema and rosacea.
If you have had skin cancer, or any family members who have.
You are currently taking or using other medications. You can also buy creams without a prescription.
If you have ever experienced an allergic reaction to medicine.
How to use isotretinoin gel
Before you begin the treatment, make sure to read the printed information leaflet provided by the manufacturer. This leaflet will provide more information on isotretinoin as well as a complete list of side effects that may be experienced from the use of the gel.
Follow the instructions of your doctor when applying isotretinoin gel. Before applying isotretinoin, wash and dry your skin. It is important to apply the cream to all areas where you have spots, not just one. You should apply the gel once to twice daily at first. However, your doctor may recommend that you reduce this frequency once your skin is more mature. Apply a thin layer of gel. After applying the gel, wash your hands.
You should wait for your skin to heal from any acne treatment that caused your skin to peel.
Avoid using the gel on sunburnt areas or other sensitive skin. Avoid getting the gel on sensitive areas such as your nose, eyes, mouth, and nostrils. It is important to not let the oil build up in your skin’s folds and creases.
Get the best out of your treatment
As acne can be worsened by using hot or cold water, it is best to use mild soap and warm water. Blackheads cannot be removed by washing. Blackheads are a skin pigment that cannot be cleaned or scrubbed.
It may be a good idea to apply a moisturising lotion to your skin if it becomes extremely dry. Avoid using ointments and oil-rich creams as they could clog pores.
Make-up and moisturisers can be used, but not at the same moment as isotretinoin. Avoid products that dry or exfoliate your skin.
The sun can make your skin more sensitive than usual to isotretinoin gel. Sun protection creams can be helpful if you’re out in the sun, even on cloudy days. Avoid sunbeds.
It is common for isotretinoin treatments to take several weeks before you notice a difference in your skin. Stopping treatment too soon because it isn’t working is the most common reason for treatment failing. You should consult your doctor if you don’t see improvement after eight weeks of using the gel. There may be other options that are more suitable for your situation.
It is best to avoid becoming pregnant while using isotretinoin. There is a small risk that unborn babies may be harm. Discuss with your doctor the best contraception for you and your partner.
After your spots are gone, you may notice that acne flares up again. It is common to continue with maintenance treatments after you have cleared your spots. It is common to use a lower dose to prevent spots from coming back than the one used to treat it. For acne to disappear, it is not uncommon to require maintenance treatment over a period of time.
Can isotretinoin gel cause problems?
Although most medications have beneficial effects, side-effects can be unpleasant. However, not everyone will experience them. Below is a list of some of the most frequent side effects associated with isotretinoin cream. The leaflet that came with your medication will contain a complete list. Your body will often respond to the medicine in a way that is more comfortable. If you have any questions or concerns, talk with your pharmacist.
Side-effects of isotretinoin gel are very common (they affect more than 1 out 10 people).
What should I do if this happens to me?
Redness, irritation, skin peeling, drying, or burning skin For a few days, reduce the frequency with which you use the gel to check if it settles. Talk to your doctor if it becomes severe or persistent.
Talk to your pharmacist if you have any additional symptoms that you believe may be caused by isotretinoin.
How to store isotretinoin Gel
Keep medicines out of reach of children.
Keep it in a dry, cool place away from heat and light.