If you're considering taking Accutane, you've likely considered the common side effects of doing so. Dry and peeling skin, extreme mood swings, and depression can be quite daunting to experience for the sake of treating acne.
But are there other things to worry about?
One of the most common concerns people have is that Accutane will make their hair fall out. And unfortunately, it's a real possibility that you must be ready for.
But how common is this side effect? How likely is it that you'll experience hair loss while taking acne treatment?
In this article, we'll discuss Accutane in depth, and what it means for your hair.
What Is Accutane?
Accutane is an acne medication prescribed to treat severe cases of acne. Its active ingredient is isotretinoin, which shrinks the oil glands and limits sebum production.
Accutane must only be used under a doctor's supervision, as it can harm your health if not administered properly. Accutane can cause serious side effects if you take more than the recommended dose or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Some side effects include dry skin, dry lips, nosebleeds, and eye problems such as dry eyes and redness. Hair loss is another common side effect.
Should I Be Worried About Hair Loss When Taking Accutane?
Accutane (isotretinoin) is a powerful FDA-approved drug used to treat moderate to severe acne. It is a retinoid, which means it works as an anti-inflammatory and has been shown to be effective against acne.
However, Accutane can cause hair loss and thinning when taken in high doses. In fact, research suggests that as many as 10% of Accutane users experience hair loss.
Further research suggests that hair loss may be temporary. However, hair thinning can continue even after treatment has stopped.
If you are considering taking Accutane for your acne and you have concerns about your hair, it’s essential to talk with your doctor about what other options are available to treat your symptoms without putting your health at risk.
How Can I Prevent Hair Loss When Taking Accutane?
If you are taking isotretinoin, you can take measures to reduce or prevent hair loss and thinning.
Boost Vitamin B Intake
Vitamin B deficiency is a common side effect of taking Accutane, and it can cause hair loss.
According to research published in 2014, isotretinoin therapy may result in a vitamin deficiency, especially folate or vitamin B-9. Talk to your doctor about taking vitamin B supplements or boosting your intake of folate-rich foods. Avocados, broccoli, and bananas are great options for this.
Stress, especially chronic stress, can increase androgen production, which in turn can cause hair loss. Stress can also make it more challenging to maintain healthy hair habits such as regular trims and moisturizing treatments.
To reduce stress, try meditation, yoga, or any other activity that helps you relax. When you are more mellow in your day-to-day life, you will not have to worry about excess hair loss.
Keep Your Scalp Moisturized
You can do a few different things to keep your scalp from drying out and losing its natural oils. You can use a leave-in conditioner with high moisture content.
Another option is to use an oil treatment on your scalp before bedtime and wash it out in the morning. You can try coconut oil or almond oil for the best results.
Take very good care of your hair by washing it regularly with gentle shampoo and conditioner. Avoid harsh heat treatments such as blow-drying or ironing as they cause irreversible damage to hair follicles and may lead to even more hair loss.
Brush Your Hair Carefully
One of the most common causes of hair loss is breakage and damage caused by combing or brushing too forcefully.
When you brush your hair, do so gently. Do not tug too hard to remove tangles; instead, slowly take the strands apart. A good rule of thumb is to use long and slow strokes, about five seconds at a time.
Use Products Designed For Your Hair Type
There are seemingly endless types of hair products available on the market today, and it's crucial that you choose the ones that suit your unique needs.
For example, if you have curly hair or thick waves, oil-based products will help keep them looking healthy and shiny without weighing them down. If you have thinning hair or flat locks with little volume, using a mousse will add body and bounce.
The Bottom Line
Accutane is an effective course of treatment for severe acne, but it comes with a wide array of severe side effects. It is known to cause hair loss and thinning in 10% of the people who use it. As such, it is critical to discuss this treatment with your physician, so you’re fully informed of the risks and you can take steps to mitigate its effects on your body.