While smoking is one of the most challenging habits to get out of, and if you are struggling with it you should definitely seek help; it doesn’t actually conflict with Accutane, so you can smoke while taking the medication if you choose so.
However, over the years, some reports have raised a concern of smokers being at an increased risk of cancer while taking Accutane, so if you are thinking of starting this medication for your acne, you might as well use it as a motivation to quit.
On the other hand, and much like cigarettes, smoking weed doesn’t conflict with Accutane; however, some experts advise that it can increase the risk of depression and even psychosis.
So, let’s talk about what Accutane is, how it affects the body, and whether or not smoking cigarettes or weed is a good idea while taking the medication.
What is Accutane and How Does it Work?
Accutane is the brand name for the medication known as isotretinoin, an oral medication used to treat severe acne on the face and body.
It is also commonly prescribed to people whose acne has resisted previous treatments, such as benzoyl peroxide, adapalene, and antibiotics, as well as those dealing with severe acne in larger areas such as the chest and back.
The exact mechanism of action is unknown; however, it’s been observed that Accutane inhibits the function of the oil-producing glands by reducing the gland’s size.
Once the gland’s size is reduced, the gland will then produce less oil.
And since excess oil is essentially food for the acne-causing bacteria that live on the skin, lack of it will cause the bacteria to become starved, thus minimizing proliferation and eventually minimizing acne, too.
Accutane is a very effective medication and has been noted to drastically diminish severe cases of acne in as little as six months.
However, despite its efficacy, Accutane is known to come with some unpleasant side effects, the most common ones including dry skin, chapped lips, and dry eyes.
Sometimes, people that are going through a long course of Accutane can experience joint pain, headaches, and hair loss, but these are rarer side effects that don’t happen to most people.
Another important thing to note about Accutane is that it’s also a teratogen, meaning it can cause birth defects in pregnant women.
For this reason, women who are taking Accutane must use two forms of contraception and take regular pregnancy tests to make sure they’re not pregnant while undergoing the medication and/or a couple of months after stopping it for precaution.
Can You Smoke Cigarettes While on Accutane?
Now that we know more about Accutane and how it works, let’s talk about smoking.
As I already mentioned, there is no contraindication between smoking and taking Accutane, so you can technically smoke while on the medication.
However, this doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea.
Smoking is, of course, terrible for your health, and we all know the many risks that come with it, such as cancer, lung disease, and heart disease.
However, a couple of studies done between the early 1990s and 2000s raise a concern about smokers being at an increased risk of developing cancer while taking Accutane.
A study done in 1995 followed over 1,500 people who were taking Accutane and found that those who smoked had a 2.5 times greater risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer.
Another study, done in 2000 and presented in the same paper linked above, found that smokers had a four times greater risk of developing this type of cancer.
Now, it’s important to note that the studies were observational, meaning that they can’t establish cause and effect.
And it’s also important to note that in both studies, it was revealed that due to poorly done follow-up with the participants, researchers were unable to know how many people had actually continued smoking while taking Accutane or have died from smoking-related diseases.
However, despite that, these numbers are definitely concerning; therefore, if you are considering taking Accutane to tackle your acne, you should also consider quitting smoking.
Additionally, smoking can, in some cases, worsen the side effects of Accutane, and while there isn’t a study done to confirm this, we can consider this as yet another side effect based on what we know about smoking and Accutane.
For example, smoking can worsen dry skin, and we already know that one of the most common side effects of Accutane is dry skin.
Smoking can also make chapped lips worse, and as we already know, chapped lips are another common side effect of Accutane.
Lastly, smoking narrows the small blood vessels that transport macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, and micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals that work together to maintain the skin’s barrier functions.
This means that the nutrient and oxygen supply to the skin reduces.
And when the skin becomes dehydrated and drained of nutrients, it is even more challenging to fight against harmful pathogens.
Pair this up with Accutane, which also makes the skin vulnerable, and you have a recipe for disaster.
So, if you are considering taking Accutane or are already taking it, my advice would be to quit smoking.
Not only will this be better for your health in general, but it could potentially help lessen the side effects of Accutane.
If you’re looking for resources to help you quit smoking, there are many, so definitely do some research and find one that works best for you.
Personally, a book that helped me ditch smoking was Allen Carr’s Easy Way To Stop Smoking. I know some of you may consider this a goofy title, but the book is an easy and interesting read and has a good track record of helping many people quit smoking.
Additionally, coming from someone who can’t stand self-help books, this one was a breeze and one of the most useful books I’ve read in my life.
Quitting smoking is not easy, but it’s definitely worth it, especially if it means having clear, glowy, and healthy skin!
Can You Smoke Weed While on Accutane?
There seems to be a bit of a controversy about smoking weed while on Accutane in places like online forums and blogs.
Some people claim that it helps them relax and get their mind off things, while others have complained about experiencing “bad trips” such as panic attacks that last for a long time, increased anxiety, and exacerbated depression.
Now, again, weed won’t interfere with the medication’s effectiveness, but since some have complained about nasty side effects from smoking weed while on Accutane, I would recommend avoiding it, as much as you can, at least.
If you want to relax while on Accutane, you can do plenty of other things such as reading, listening to music, taking a bath, going for a walk, etc.
On the other hand, if you decide not to take this advice at all, at least try not to overdo it, drink plenty of fluids, and eat good food such as antioxidants that will help with cell repair, as this is essential for people who are suffering from brain fog due to smoking weed.
Lastly, you must take your body’s needs and signs of distress into consideration, and if weed by some chance ends up making you feel depressed, anxious, or experiencing any psychological condition that doesn’t feel right, you should definitely think about laying it off for a little while.
My name is Simone and I am a certified skin specialist. I created this website to teach my readers how to take great care of their skin and I also like to occasionally share my honest opinions on skincare products I’ve tried. You can learn more about me here.
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