Chris Pine admits to using Accutane for his acne problems

When you’re a super famous, super handsome guy like Chris Pine, you have to think about a lot of things. How a recent frontal scene will exceed, perhaps, or if your banana bag looks silly. You know, normal things. And while it’s easy to assume that truly beautiful A-listers never have to think about skin issues, you might be surprised to know they’re like us.

While promoting his new TV show I am the night earlier this week, Pine was the last male celebrity to being asked about your skin care routine (join the likes of the skin gods before him Franck Ocean and Pharrell). While his first instinct was to erase it and thank a “deep” sauna session, he eventually confessed to having terrible acne problems as a teenager, crediting a controversial treatment, something much stronger than a night cream or an exfoliation with its radiance. “I have been on Accutane,” he said. “It is the wonder drug of all time.”

* Record scratch * The A-list actor admitted his skin issues were so too bad he needed the most potent acne medicine in the world to get by.

*Double scratch record* But Accutane is a super intense and potentially dangerous drug, isn’t it?

Before you start running to buy Accutane (which you would need a prescription for anyway) there is a lot you need to know about it. Many people call it the “last resort” of acne treatment, which means it’s so powerful that it should only be used in the most extreme cases. And while we commend Pine for being honest about his past (likely without some sort of sponsorship deal, like other celebrities), Accutane is not for everyone.

I called Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research, dermatology, at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, to find out everything you need to know about Accutane. While the ‘wonder drug’ doesn’t increase your chances of having a lip-lock scene with Gal Gadot, if it’s right for you, it could help bring you a little closer to the main man’s skin. .

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WTF is Accutane, anyway?

“Accutane is the brand name for a drug called isotretinoin,” says Dr. Zeichner. “The branded product was withdrawn from the US market in 2009, but several generic versions are currently available.” So, if you ask your doctor for Accutane, be aware that you probably won’t get Accutane. However, that doesn’t mean that the versions on the market today are less intense. “It is perhaps the most effective treatment we have for severe acne,” he says.

How it works?

Acne is caused by four main factors, but most over the counter treatments only target one or two of them, this is the key to how effective Accutane is. “Isotretinoin is a derivative of vitamin A which decreases the production of sebum in the skin, reduces inflammation, prevents cells from sticking to each other in the pores [buildup], and lowers the levels of acne-causing bacteria, ”says Dr. Zeichner. “It’s the only drug we have that treats all of the major underlying causes of acne.” Many claim that isotretinoin can even help treat acne scars.

Who is Accutane for?

Isotretinoin is FDA approved for anyone over the age of 12 and “is indicated for people with severe acne and those with physical (or emotional) scars,” says Dr. Zeichner. These emotional scars? “We know that acne is more than superficial and can have a significant effect on emotional well-being,” he says. More importantly, and the reason it’s sometimes seen as a last resort, is that it’s especially helpful for people who have resisted other more traditional treatments like topical medications and antibiotics.

How long should you take it?

The exact treatment plan will vary depending on a variety of factors including your gender, weight, and the severity of the acne. “Patients take the [oral] medication daily, usually for five to seven months, ”says Dr. Zeichner. While most patients only have one set of treatments, some extreme cases require two. If more than one treatment cycle is needed, doctors recommend waiting around two months between them.

How long do the results last?

“Patients almost universally experience permanent improvements in the skin,” says Dr. Zeichner. “We can’t promise they’ll never get a pimple again, but the skin is noticeably better after the treatment.”

What should I keep in mind when using it?

“The most common side effects are dryness of the skin and lips,” says Dr. Zeichner, which means you may need to speed up your hydration routine. It can also make your skin more sensitive, so that the American Academy of Dermatology advises using daily sun protection and avoiding tanning beds. They also advise against donating blood during treatment (and 30 days after your last pill) and not plucking your hair for at least six months after completing treatment (as this can cause permanent scarring).

Does it have a lot of other side effects?

The conversation around Accutane is fraught with controversy, mainly due to its other potential side effects. “Rarely, it can affect the liver, so monthly blood tests are necessary. [when taking the medication], explains Dr. Zeichner. “Some patients may develop headaches and blurry vision.” Confusion can come from word of mouth and misinformation. “There is a questionable association with depression and mood swings, which have been widely refuted,” he says. “It has also been linked to ulcerative colitis, a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), but a French national study 2014 refuted this.

I have heard that it causes infertility. Is it true?

Studies have shown that it has no negative effect on male fertility. However, it can have an effect on women. “It can cause birth defects, so women of childbearing age have to use two forms of contraception,” says Dr Zeichner.

Someone told me that Accutane could kill you. Which give?

Death from Accutane is a myth, likely sparked by a court case in 2010 where a man claimed the drug gave him IBD, which resulted in his colon being removed. Not only was the verdict in its favor ultimately overturned, but as noted by Dr Zeichner, the 2014 French study refuted a link between the two.

How do I know if this will work for me?

“It’s important to discuss the ideal diet for you with your dermatologist,” says Dr. Zeichner. “Despite its many potential side effects, when properly monitored by your dermatologist, isotretinoin is a safe and effective drug that I use daily in my practice.” As with other prescription drugs, there’s a reason you need to get Accutane from a doctor. But if you have severe acne, it’s worth having the conversation.

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