We’ve all heard the phrase “Beauty is pain.” But how much pain are people willing to endure to achieve beauty? As harsh beauty treatments grow in popularity, more teens are turning to medications that are effective against severe acne but come with a side effects warning.
Drugs like Isotretinoin, commonly known as the brand name Accutance, work against acne by decreasing the amount of the oil naturally produced by the skin glands that causes the redness and irritation of the skin known as acne, according to the FDA’s prescribing information. By stopping the secretion of oil, there is less inflammation and scarring of the skin, and therefore less acne. Isotretinoin is one of the most effective acne medications on the market now.
Philip Alexander, a 16-year-old junior at Augusta Christian, is one local success story. After taking Accutane in middle school, his acne was completely cleared with only a few side effects. However, the risk of side effects of Isotretinoin overshadow the positive results for some. These side effects range from less serious conditions like dry skin or nosebleeds to life-threatening issues like depression and even suicidal tendencies.
A freshman at Augusta Christian, Ashton Burton, 15, says she would never take the drug after hearing about these potential side effects. Despite success taking Accutane, Philip Alexander also says he “would not take it again” if he had the need, after learning more about potential side effects.
For others, like Augusta Christian School junior Danielle Mulherin, 16, Isotretinoin is worth the risk of side effects. She adds that “everyone reacts differently,” so some might be affected negatively by the medicine while others will only enjoy the clear skin it brings.
When asked about whether she would take Isotretinoin, Bailee Adams, another junior at Augusta Christian, says, “It would really have to depend on my acne. If that was the very last resort, I probably would.”
Many teens take this approach to the drug. Despite the negative side effects, it is seen as a better alternative to enduring acne. A great majority of people are affected by acne, especially during their teen years. Because acne is such a common disease, Isotretinoin is gaining popularity quickly.
Teen Board Member Rachel Scaffe is a junior at Augusta Christian School.