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How Safe is Your Acne Medication?

Monday, September 10th, 2012

It seems that every teen goes through skin issues because of all those hormones.  However, many women suffer from acne far into adulthood.  This has them using a variety of treatments to keep their skin looking nice.  Unfortunately, one acne medication has dangerous side effects, including birth defects.

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant in the next year, you will need to avoid medications, including acne treatments, that could be unsafe for your baby.  One brand in particular, commonly known as Accutane, can cause birth defects like cleft palate, heart defects, hydrocephaly, and microcephaly.  There have been warnings issued, but many women are unclear as to whether or not their medication is dangerous or not.  Take the time to check the ingredients and warning label on your acne medication boxes and bottles.  You’ve likely been using it for years, so you might not have thought to check these areas once you became pregnant.  Don’t just look for Accutane when weeding out your products though.  The drug is also found under the name Isotretinoin.  If you see either of those words on the label, you’ll need to replace it with a safer brand.  These particular ingredients are normally found in pills for treating nodular acne, so there are many other safe alternatives.

Getting a handle on skin care can be frustrating, but clear skin is not worth the price your child and your family will pay if you have a baby born with defects, some of which are life threatening.  As soon as you think you might want to become pregnant, take a look through all of the products you put on and in your body, because very soon, you’ll be sharing it with a very delicate new life.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, M. D., M. P. H.