accutane skincare routine

The Skincare Routine That’s Saving My Skin – Accutane

If you follow me on Instagram then you know that I have been on Accutane for almost a month now. So obviously I’ll talk about my Accutane skincare routine.

If you don’t know, Accutane, or it’s active molecule isotretinoin, is a powerful drug that is extremely efficient for stubborn acne. It is recommended in cases of severe acne that leaves deep scaring, or moderate acne that resists to any other type of treatment. In a way, it’s the last resort.

Why a last resort? It causes severe dryness of the skin, high cholesterol levels, can wreck your liver, and God forbid you to get pregnant on it.

I want to share with you my impressions so far and my skincare routine hile on accutane.

Disclaimer: recommendations are based on my own experiences and one product might work for me but not for you. Please do your research to further decide if this is something you wish to try.

Disclaimer: I am not endorsing this drug. It is a powerful medication that can have severe side effects. Please consult your dermatologist or GP for more information.

Why Accutane

My acne is the stubborn type. I have been on about 6 different contraceptives including one specially formulated for hormonal acne. Tried 2 different antibiotics. I have been dairy-free for a year and a half now. And as you know, I’m a skincare enthusiast, and although my skincare routines help, they didn’t eliminate my breakouts.

Add to that the fact that I am 29 and have been battling this for the past 10+ years. I am simply fed up.

The side effects

I have to do monthly blood work in order to get a new prescription. My cholesterol (Accutane can increase it) has always been on the low side, so I’m not too worried about that. I don’t plan on getting prego so I’m good there. Accutane can also cause rare cases a depressive episode relapse. But it’s rare.

What the most common side effect is extreme dryness. And honestly, you have to experience it to believe it. Many people talk about it but you don’t realize the severity of it until you’re in the same situation.

I am currently on 20mg and I found a nice balance between side effects and skincare to counteract them.

Why is this happening?

Isotretinoin stops your glands from producing sebum, all over your body. This will starve the acne bacteria and eradicate it. The oil glands will also shrink in the process so that after the treatment they don’t overproduce sebum, and you’re acne-free. It will also increases the cell turnover rate which makes the skin more sensitive to environmental stressors.

My skin on Accutane

So as you might guess, my skincare routine on Accutane is all about hydration. It’s absolutely essential.

But, it was hard for me to navigate the new waters. As somebody with oily skin, I knew relatively well what products to use, what’s suitable for me, what type of textures I prefer. With dry skin, it’s like I am a fish thrown on dry land.

The in-between period was the worst. Dry and sensitive yet still oily? Where do I even begin? I tried to focus on hydration early on, and eliminate the actives to not exacerbate the oncoming symptoms. But it was difficult because I started breaking out like I haven’t in months. And I was well aware that it gets worse before it gets better, but it was a lot, especially mentally because several weeks before my skin was at its best. I tried to just take my mind off of it and tell myself it’s going to be ok.

Once the first about 20 days passed, my skin calmed down, and I was able to keep it happy. No more dry patches, no more sensitivity. I can even use an exfoliant once or twice a week.

Accutane skincare routine

My skincare routine on accutane got very simple.


The Good Molecules Rosewater Cleanser, which I received from the brand with no obligation to post. It is a very gentle cleanser that doesn’t strip the skin. I talk more in-depth about it here.


Lip balms were an absolute must. I have a collection so I wasn’t too worried about that, but I did decide to add the Summer Fridays lip butter. Its’a bougie lip balm but I absolutely enjoy the texture, longevity and the sweet vanilla scent. Otherwise, I went for the Aquafor which has also a rich and balmy texture that kept my lips protected.

At night I use my HG Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask. I recently got my 4th pot of this goodness.


My toner of choice is the Isntree Green Tea Toner. I have a whole post explaining the power of green tea and how much I love this toner. I also kept in my routine the Cosrx Snail Mucin Essence and the Hyaluronic Acid Ampoule, for added moisture and repair.

My stash also includes a Badskin Collagen Bomb Hydrating Ampoule. It’s a huge bottle that I didn’t see myself finish, so I mainly used it to mix powder masks. But, my skin felt so uncomfortable and sensitive so I desperately poured this in my hands and patted it on my skin. And boom! my skin looked and felt better. Long story short this is now a HG product.


Recently I found myself reaching for the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream. It’s airy but rich enough to keep my skin happy through the day. This is surprising because I bought it when my skin was oily and found the cream to be heavy and ended up using it on the body. Now I find that it’s the best thing in the world. The Cerave Moisturising Cream for very dry skin is a new find. I ordered it the week I found out I’m getting on Accutane and have been enjoying it a lot as well. It has 3 essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid, which help maintain the skin barrier. The cream is heavier than the FAB but it works fabulously.

In the evening I opted for sleeping masks such as the Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalising Mask or the Summer Fridays Jet Lag.


For my under eyes, I kept the Laneige Eye Sleeping Mask in my routine. I find that from all the eye products I have tried so far, this is the most hydrating one.

I also experienced dry and irritated eyes, for which I use the Rohto Eye Drops. Found these in Japan on our last trip and have been enjoying ever since.

To seal it all

I also started to use oils more frequently. My go-to is the Indie Lee Squalane Oil. Squalane is a molecule that is already found in the skin and it helps prevent the moisture loss by mimicking our own sebum. The Schmear Naturals Argan Tamanu Oil was also a saviour as Tamanu is very calming on the breakouts. I applied these as a last step in my routine to lock in everything. You can find more info on oils here.


How many times have I already said that sunscreen is important? I’ll say it one more time: APPLY YOUR DAMN SUNSCREEN!

On Accutane skin is particularly sensitive to the UVA and UVB rays, and thus burn. Many have experienced a sunburn after being for only 15min in the sun. This is also why I couldn’t start my treatment in the summer. Sunscreen is particularly important in this period, and also any other period, because nobody wants premature ageing.

My sunscreen of choice at the moment is the Skin Aqua Tone Up UV Essence. It is not my favourite but I have to use it up. It is very light, has a slight white cast because it’s a tone up, but not particularly moisturizing. I don’t mind the tone up effect, I am already so pale you don’t really see a difference.

I am defenetly looking into purchasing something new and more efficient for dry skin.

It’s a short routine, that I designed to help me out. I am pretty sure there is more that I can do and try, but as I said, it’s unknown territory for me. Many of the videos and blog articles I watched and read are from people who don’t have a skincare stash like mine. And don’t get me wrong, if everyone uses the CeraVe hydrating cleanser on Accutane it’s because it works. I just know that there is much more out there.

Follow me on Instagram for more product reviews, useful tips, as well as snippets of my daily life.

Some of the links listed above are affiliate links, meaning that if you click through and decide to make a purchase, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission. 

1 Comment

  1. Acne journey and being on Accutane - Before and After | Glowing Damsel

    20/04/2021 at 1:59 PM

    […] You can also find more about my Accutane skincare routine here […]

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