There is a lot of information on the internet about Accutane and whether it can cause weight gain.
Some people say that it does, while others claim that it doesn’t.
Therefore, in this article, we will take a look at the evidence and see how Accutane can change your body.
What is Accutane and How Does it Work?
Accutane, also known as isotretinoin, is an oral medication that’s prescribed to treat severe acne.
It is a derivative of vitamin A that works by reducing the size of the sebaceous glands, which are the glands that secrete oil into our hair follicles.
And since this oil can sometimes be the culprit of acne due to clogging our pores and serving as food for the C.acnes strain of bacteria, reducing it will help to reduce inflammation and acne.
Accutane is considered the nuclear weapon against acne and due to its strength, it’s usually only prescribed when other treatments, such as topical creams or antibiotics, haven’t worked.
Does Accutane Cause Weight Gain?
Besides the few established side effects that have remained consistent for most people, everyone will have a different experience with Accutane.
This is why there’s no definitive answer on whether Accutane can cause weight gain.
However, from what has been observed throughout the years, the drug has been used as a treatment for acne, the chances of Accutane causing weight gain are extremely low.
RELATED: Can You Tan While on Accutane?
Can You Take Accutane If You Are Overweight?
Yes! Current Accutane treatment strategies are safe and appropriate for overweight and obese people.
In a retrospective study consisting of over 500 participants who had completed at least two months of Accutane therapy, most participants had similar results, which was improvement in acne lesions.
However, this study also observed that 18% of overweight and 15% of obese participants experienced more common headaches compared to participants who were normal weight or underweight.
This shows that the response of obese and overweight people to Accutane is understudied; however, the drug has proved efficient in all weight groups.
How to Manage Your Weight While Taking Accutane?
DISCLAIMER: The following section consists of tips on managing weight based on my experience with weight fluctuation. I am not a doctor or a certified nutritionist; therefore, you shouldn’t take my advice as such. Please consult your health provider on the best ways to manage your weight while taking Accutane. I am in no way, shape, or form advocating for obsessive behavior and eating disorders, and these tips aren’t meant to be followed if you have any history of eating disorders or obsessive behavior.
If you’re noticing that you’re starting to gain weight, there are a few things that you can do to help manage it.
Avoid Junk Food
The first thing that you can do to maintain a healthy weight while on Accutane is to try and avoid eating junk food.
Junk food tends to make people overeat because it’s full of refined carbohydrates, added sugars and fat that appeal to the human palate.
However, most of these foods tend to lack fiber, protein, vitamins and other important nutrients your body needs to perform optimally.
The lowered ability to perform will inevitably lead to weight gain, sometimes as fast as a few weeks of exclusively eating junk food.
But weight gain isn’t the only downside of the body’s lowered ability to perform. Instead, you might also start noticing issues such as brain fog, chronic tiredness, inability to focus, mood swings, anxiety, and even depression.
These are all things that can potentially be exacerbated by taking Accutane, therefore, it’s definitely crucial to have a great diet while taking this medication.
So instead of indulging in a mouth-watering burger every too often, try to reserve this for special occasions and fill your regular diet with healthier alternatives such as nutritiously-dense foods, lean protein, whole foods, and complex carbohydrates.
Minimize Processed Sugar
Processed sugar is another thing that you should try to minimize while on Accutane.
There are currently no studies that show the combination of Accutane and processed sugar can particularly harm your body; however, just like junk food, processed sugar can also make you gain weight and it’s detrimental to your health in other ways, regardless whether you are going through a course of medication or not.
For example, processed sugar increases your risk of developing type II diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Not to mention, it also wreaks havoc on your skin and contributes to premature aging.
So what can you do to minimize processed sugar in your diet?
First, try and avoid sugary drinks such as soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweetened tea and coffee.
Second, read the labels of the food you’re buying and try to avoid anything with more than five grams of sugar per serving.
Third, try to make your own meals as often as possible so you can control the amount of sugar that’s going into your food.
And lastly, if you do end up eating something with processed sugar, don’t beat yourself down. Instead, try to balance it out with a healthy meal or snack later on.
RELATED: Nasty Effects Of Sugar On The Skin.
Avoid Inflammatory Foods
Another thing you should try to avoid while on Accutane are inflammatory foods.
Inflammatory foods are those that tend to cause an inflammatory response in the body, and they can be detrimental to your health whether you’re taking medication or not.
Some of the most common inflammatory foods include processed meats such as hot dogs, bacon, and sausage, as well as fried foods, margarine, shortening, seed oils and artificial sweeteners.
And since Accutane can already be taxing on your body, it’s definitely best to avoid eating any foods that are going to increase the inflammation.
RELATED: Does Spicy Food Cause Acne?
Eat More Fruit and Veggies
One of the best things that you can do for your body, whether you’re taking Accutane or not, is to eat more fruit and vegetables.
Fruit and vegetables are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients that are essential for optimal health.
Plus, they’re low in calories and high in fiber, which means they’ll help you stay full without packing on the pounds.
So try to make at least half of your plate fruits and vegetables at every meal, and if you’re struggling to meet this goal, consider supplementing with a multivitamin.
Get Enough Protein
Protein is another essential nutrient that your body needs for optimal health, and it’s especially important if you’re taking Accutane.
Protein helps build and repair muscle tissue, support the immune system, and keep your energy levels up.
It’s also a good source of essential fatty acids, which are important for skin health.
So make sure you’re getting enough protein every day by incorporating lean protein sources like chicken, fish, tofu, legumes, and eggs into your diet.
RELATED: The Best Antioxidants For Your Skin.
What Other Measures Can You Take to Counteract Potential Weight Gain From Accutane?
Besides minding your diet and avoiding some foods which are nutritionally low but high in sugars and unhealthy fats, here are a few other lifestyle changes you can make to counteract potential weight gain from Accutane:
Avoid Eating Late at Night
One of the simplest things that you can do to help prevent weight gain while on Accutane is to avoid eating late at night.
When you eat late at night, your body doesn’t have as much time to burn off the calories, which means they’re more likely to be stored as fat.
Additionally, late snacks can also get you incredibly dehydrated and thirsty throughout the night, which not only means you will have a terrible sleep quality followed by frequent waking up to drink water, but the state of dehydration will make it more difficult for the body to properly break down food and use its nutrients.
So try to make sure you’re eating your last meal of the day at least three to five hours before bedtime.
Get Regular Exercise
Exercise is sadly a factor that doesn’t get enough credit when it comes to the potential it has to improve the overall quality of your life.
Exercise is also another great way to counteract potential weight gain from Accutane as it helps burn calories, tone your body and improve your mood, all of which can help prevent weight gain and help you counteract some potential side effects such as mood swings linked with Accutane.
Additionally, exercise will help improve your metabolism function, blood flow, detox, and nutrient delivery to the skin, which is essential for keeping your skin healthy while on Accutane.
So try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
Consider Experimenting With Different Diets
Trying out different diets such as paleo or keto might help you counteract potential weight gain.
Both of these diets are high in protein and healthy fats, which can help you maintain your weight while on Accutane.
Additionally, both of these diets are low in carbohydrates, which can help keep your blood sugar levels stable.
If you’re interested in trying out either of these diets, make sure to talk to a healthcare professional before you start, to make sure that they are right for you.
Moreover, if you want to broaden your options, feel free to research different diet types and see which ones might work for you, depending on your lifestyle.
These are interesting things to consider, especially if you are unhappy with your current diet and are looking to change something.
However, make sure to take it easy because the goal isn’t to punish yourself while trying to lose weight and jump from one obsession (your skin) to another (your weight.)
The goal is to make tweaks and changes that will improve your lifestyle, your mood, and your health.
Most Common Side Effects of Taking Accutane
Accutane is a powerful medication that comes with a few potential side effects, some of which are more common than others.
The most common side effects of taking Accutane include:
- Dry skin.
- Sun sensitivity and sunburns.
- Mood swings.
Other, more intense but less common side effects of taking Accutane include:
- Nose bleeds due to severely dry and chapped skin.
- Joint pain.
- Stomach ache.
- Hair loss.
- Blurry vision.
- Severe mood swings.
While most people don’t experience any intense side effects besides dry skin that’s more sensitive to the sun while taking Accutane, it is important to be aware of the potential risks associated with the medication before you start taking it.
If you experience any of these side effects, make sure to talk to your doctor right away.
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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