Accutane Side Effects: Why I Walked Away Midway

Isotretinoin or Accutane is one of the few clinically proven oral treatments for severe acne. And the results can be pretty impressive if you continue the treatment.

But it takes a lot of patience in the journey of healing acne.

And you won’t certainly be the first person to stop Accutane treatment midway.

So, how does stopping Accutane mid treatment affect your skin?

Stopping Accutane mid treatment may cause your acne to flare up again. But, the severity of the acne flare-up depends on the dosage. If you are prescribed a high dosage, the flaring may be worse for you. But it’s unlikely that the flare-up will be worse than before starting the Accutane treatment.

Accutane has many side effects on your body besides treating your skin. Keep on reading to know more.

How Does Accutane Work?

Accutane is a vitamin A derivative also known as isotretinoin.

According to Pubmed it was first approved as treatment for severe acne by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1982. You need to take isotretinoin for four to five months.

In one to two months, your acne will start to get better. And the majority of patients are acne-free at the end of treatment.

It is the only acne treatment that permanently reduces acne by an average of 80%. Some patients see slightly greater and slightly lesser reductions.

Long-term, it also helps our skin become less oily. If they still have considerable acne, 20% of patients take the medicine again. A few blood tests are necessary.

Normally, knowing how the medication works, patients expect dramatic results. But Accutane takes patience and time to affect your skin. 

What Happens If You Stop Taking Accutane?

If you stop taking Accutane the effect depends on how long you took your medicine. If you stop after beginning your Accutane, nothing noticeable will happen.

Your acne condition will stay the same, stopping Accutane won’t have any effect.

When starting Accutane, the patient’s acne gets worse in the short term.

That’s when the patients want to stop Accutane thinking the medication is making it worse.

If you stop your Accutane mid-way, your acne might flare up. If your acne was improving, the flare-up will not be worse than how it was.

Side Effects of Stopping Accutane Midway

After stopping Accutane, some long-term negative effects might still be present.

These may potentially result in long-lasting issues like scarring, eyesight loss, or organ damage.

According to a research paper of Harvard, although Accutane is a very effective treatment for acne, but it can also cause serious side effects, including birth defects.

According to a 2018 analysis, some patients experienced sexual adverse effects that appeared after treatment stopped. The effects – are genital numbness, low libido, and erectile dysfunction.

Meanwhile, a 2010 research discovered an elevated risk of suicide. It persists after 6 months following the cessation of Accutane treatment.

However, prior to receiving treatment, there was a greater chance of suicide attempts.

This makes it impossible to confirm the existence of any increased danger brought on by Accutane.

To make it clear, scientists only found a link between Accutane and suicidal tendencies.

Your skin will become sensitive to sun exposure. I strongly advise you to wear at least SPF 50 sunscreen when you go out.

How Long Does an Accutane Treatment Course Last?

The Accutane treatment regimen varies and is dependent on a number of variables. Including the kind of acne you have, your body weight, And where it is located.

And any adverse effects this medication may cause. 

One cycle of treatment lasts an average of 6 to 9 months. 10–12 months of severe acne with truncal and bacne acne. 14–20 month low dose Roaccutane/Oratane regimen based on your acne type and lifestyle.

Your dermatologist will determine the best Accutane treatment plan for you.

What Side Effects Can I Expect On Accutane?

The most typical adverse effect is dry skin and lips.

Accutane may cause dry eyes in some patients. Thus using eye drops may be beneficial, especially if you wear contact lenses.

Throughout the treatment, dermatologists also order specialised blood tests to assess your cholesterol and liver function.

Female patients are cautioned about the high risks of birth abnormalities while using Accutane. Various other adverse effects include:

  • An increase in acne (usually early in the course of treatment)
  • Headaches
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Aches and pains in muscles
  • Ingrown fingernails and toenails
  • Gastrointestinal signs
  • Changes in mood and depression

Can You Stop Accutane Halfway Through?

In general, stopping Accutane halfway through is not a wise decision. Answering this question is tough.

A lot of factors depend on the decision to halt Accutane medication halfway. 

There are 2 instances where you would want to stop Accutane midway – 

  • When the Acne is worse than before, take Accutane. 
  • When the patient’s acne has cleared up. 

For the first instance, it’s understandable that you would want to stop Accutane. Since Accutane isn’t working, what’s the point of making it worse right?

Well, Accutane has a medically proven 90% efficacy rate of curing acne. And at the beginning of the dosage, it does get worse for some people.

Skincare is all about patience and resilience. And it’s normal for acne to get worse before healing.

Dermatologists advise patients to be patient with their Accutane journey. So, if you’re one of them, you shouldn’t stop Accutane halfway through.

If you’re one of the second group, where your acne has healed completely. And you’re halfway through your Accutane, it’s advised that you finish the dosage.

Because suddenly stopping Accutane can trigger your acne to rebound. For maintenance, you should continue taking Accutane in a low dosage.

For both groups, visit your doctor before taking any decision about stopping Accutane. 

What Happens If You Stop Accutane For a Few Days?

Nothing drastic happens if you stop Accutane for a few days. Accutane remains in your system for several days.

And skipping a few days (or even weeks) will have no effect on the end result. 

Tips for Patients Under Accutane Treatment

These tips will help optimise your Accutane treatment –

  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Stay hydrated
  • Apply water-based moisturiser to help with dryness. 
  • Moisturise your skin at least twice
  • Use a lip balm or chapstick for dry lips
  • Exercise moderately to stay active.
  • Apply SPF50 sunscreen in the morning
  • Follow a healthy diet, cut your sugar consumption

With these tips, it will be easier for you to navigate through your Accutane journey.

Review of using Accutane:

According to, accutane garners an average rating of 7.9 out of 10 based on 611 reviews for its effectiveness in treating Acne.

Among reviewers, 73% reported positive experiences, whereas 14% reported negative ones.

On the other hand, Webmd shows a rating of 3.9 out of 5.


Can You Stop And Restart Accutane?

You can stop and start for a little length of time. While on vacation, stopping Accutane will lessen your sensitivity to the sun. But you might get an acne flare-up.

Dermatologists advise patients to start with a dose of 10 mg. And then gradually increase it to the full dose when they return.

Does Accutane Permanently Shrink Oil Glands?

To put it simply, Accutane causes your oil glands to permanently shrink. Because the skin produces more sebum than necessary.

Removing the extra sebum keeps your skin clear, and your pores are no longer clogged. No clogged pores mean your skin won’t have acne anymore. That’s how Accutane stops acne.

Does Oiliness Return After Accutane?

In most cases, the skin’s oiliness does return. Though it might not do so to the same extent as before. Accutane stops the extra sebum production of the skin.

Most patients consider this to be an additional benefit of the Accutane treatment. Since naturally produced oil is crucial for skin health.


Accutane is a revolutionary medication to treat severe cases of acne. Hopefully, after reading the article you know everything related to stopping Accutane mid treatment. 

I will suggest you to prevent acne at the initial stage and take good care of your skin, know how to find out safe makeup and learn are cosmetics harmful.

A valuable advice for people under Accutane, wear your sunscreen and reapply every 2 hours. 

I wish you the best of luck with your Accutane journey.

P.S: Take advice from dermatologist before using Accutane.


My name is Maria and I am a beauty blogger and writer. I am passionate about all things beauty, from skincare to makeup. On my blog, I share product reviews, tips, and tricks to help others feel confident and beautiful in their own skin. I strive to create a positive and inclusive space for everyone. Join me on my journey as I discover my unique beauty brand and share it with you.