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How to Wash Your Face When You Take Accutane

author image Denise Minger
Denise Minger, an independent researcher, writer, editor and public speaker, published her first book, "Death by Food Pyramid," in January 2014. Passionate about health, she runs a blog at dedicated to debunking bad nutritional science, and offers health consultations for individuals with special dietary goals.
How to Wash Your Face When You Take Accutane
Accutane can cause skin dryness and sensitivity.

Accutane--a brand name for the generic drug isotretinoin--is a potent medication used to treat moderate and severe forms of acne. As the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology explains, Accutane permanently heals acne in approximately half of those who take it, making it the most effective skin-clearing medication available. Despite its benefits, Accutane also yields a number of side effects--some of which mandate changes in your skin-care regimen. To counter the skin sensitivity and dryness this drug often creates, adopt a gentle, non-abrasive routine when washing your face.

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Step 1

Select a mild, non-medicated face wash that contains no alcohol, scrubbing agents or astringent ingredients. Products labeled "non-comedogenic" or "oil-free" are unlikely to aggravate acne, according to, and cleansers marked with the terms "non-overdrying" or "non-irritating" will help minimize the dryness associated with Accutane use. Avoid using face washes that contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, two acne medications that dry the skin.

Step 2

Wash your face using warm water, your skin cleanser and your hands. Rub the cleanser gently over your face with your fingertips, avoiding contact with your eyes, and then rinse it off. To minimize skin irritation, limit each wash to 10 seconds or less. Do not scrub your face with abrasive fabrics like sponges or washcloths; these can cause your skin to chafe while you're taking Accutane.

Step 3

Dab your skin dry with a soft towel. Avoid harsh rubbing motions, which can worsen Accutane-induced skin irritation.

Step 4

Allow your face to dry for five to 15 minutes before using any additional face products or cosmetics. According to, applying substances to your skin immediately after you wash your face can result in skin irritation.

Step 5

Apply a small amount of gentle moisturizer to your face. Using a moisturizer can help restore your skin's hydration and prevent the flaking, peeling and redness that Accutane users sometimes experience. As with your face wash, choose a product labeled "oil-free" or "non-comedogenic" to ensure the ingredients won't trigger acne breakouts.

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