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5 Over-the-Counter Accutane Alternatives for Effectively Treating Acne

5 Over-the-Counter Accutane Alternatives for Effectively Treating Acne

Anyone who has struggled with acne for a long time has most likely heard of Accutane. This oral medication has been used to treat acne for decades with great success. This drug, which is also sold under the names Isotretinoin, Claravis, Zenatane, and Absorbica, has an 85% success rate in treating moderate to severe acne.

Unlike most acne treatments, which are applied directly to the skin, Accutane comes in a pill form. However, it also comes with some serious side effects, forcing many to seek effective over-the-counter Accutane alternatives. This medication is also known as isotretinoin, Claravis, Zenatane, and Absorbica.

Accutane is a pill, unlike most acne treatments, which are applied directly to the skin. It does, however, have some serious side effects, prompting many people to look for effective over-the-counter Accutane alternatives.

accutane alternatives

What is Accutane and how does it work?

For almost 30 years, Accutane, also known as isotretinoin, has been used to treat moderate to severe cystic acne. It’s a type of vitamin A that works by lowering the amount of oil produced by the sebaceous glands.

While “Accutane” has been a popular treatment, the medicine actually hasn’t been manufactured since 2009. It’s active component isotretinoin can still be found in oral acne medications including Myorisan, Claravis, and Absorica.

However, these and comparable drugs are only available with a prescription. Isotretinoin has remained the most clinically effective anti-acne therapy since it was approved by the FDA in 1982.

However, it is a powerful medicine, and Accutane alternatives are usually offered first.


Why do people look for Accutane Alternatives?

The majority of Accutane’s side effects are minor, ranging from chapped lips and dry skin to an increase in cholesterol. Pregnant women, on the other hand, are advised against using Accutane due to the risk of birth abnormalities. Accutane is also known as a “black-box” drug because of the risk of dangerous side effects as reported by the British Journal of Dermatology such as cheilitis, elevated liver enzymes, decreased appetite, suicidal thoughts and depression. 

Despite the fact that the chances of experiencing these side effects are extremely low (less than 1%, according to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology), many teens and adults with acne are eager to try out treatment with Accutane alternatives first.

Accutane users are obliged by doctors to submit to regular blood tests and receive a fresh prescription every 30 days as a result of these side effects. This can be frightening, which is why Accutane is frequently used as a last resort treatment for acne and over the counter Accutane alternatives are preferred.

We’ve compiled a list of five of the most effective over-the-counter acne remedies below. While these options are not medically equivalent to Accutane, they can be beneficial in treating mild to severe acne.

Take a look around and choose the best option for you.

Acne serum

1. Adapalene

Accutane Alternative

Isotretinoin, also known as Accutane, is an oral retinoid. As a result, popular Accutane alternatives also fall into the retinoid family. The majority of over-the-counter solutions, such as this Differein Adapalene Gel, are topical preparations.

All retinoids work to unclog pores and inhibit the skin cell renewal process, preventing pores from becoming clogged again. It is reported that adapalene can achieve similar results to Accutane, but with fewer adverse effects, according to a 2007 analysis published in Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management.

2. Salicylic Acid

Accutane Alternative

If you have sensitive skin, a salicylic acid-based acne cream may be your best bet for addressing obstinate spots. This effective beta-hydroxy acid acts as a natural exfoliator, removing excess oil that can clog hair follicles and lead to acne breakouts.

Salicylic Acid has been demonstrated to be just as efficient as Benzoyl Peroxide for treating specific types of acne while having less adverse effects making it one of the best Accutane alternatives. As a result, salicylic acid is still one of the most widely used acne-fighting chemicals.


3. Benzoyl Peroxide

3. Benzoyl Peroxide

Accutane Alternative

Antibacterial qualities make benzoyl peroxide one of the effective Accutane alternatives for both inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne. Although it may not exfoliate the skin as effectively as Salicylic Acid, it can destroy acne-causing germs.

Benzoyl Peroxide, like adapalene, can cause skin irritation. Stop using Benzoyl Peroxide as soon as you detect burning, itching, or redness at the application site.



  1. Tea Tree Oil
Accutane Alternative

Because of its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial characteristics, tea tree oil is one of the popular and natural Accutane alternatives for treating acne. It’s thought to reduce inflammation, edema, and redness. It may even aid in the prevention and reduction of acne scars, leaving you with clear, smooth skin.


  1. Hormonal Drugs
Accutane Alternative

Ask your doctor about hormonal medication therapy like Spironolactone and the birth control pill if you have hormonal acne. Hormonal medication therapy works by controlling hormonal variations that might cause acne breakouts to be obstinate.

Building an Effective Skincare Plan for the Long Run

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When you’re prone to breakouts, having a solid acne skin care routine is crucial to help your journey with one of the above Accutane alternatives.

Make sure to get rid of any extra oil, keep your pores clean and assist in the healing of blemishes to ensure a better acne care regimen.

The most effective strategy to deal with acne is to face it straight on. To prevent pimples from breaking out at all, adopt a skincare routine that you can stick to every day before it gets out of hand.

Toner, moisturizer, and cleanser should all be part of your routine. If you don’t have any of that, at least, depending on the type of oil buildup on your face, you should splash some water on it once or twice daily. Also, always put on sunscreen before heading outside. Acne symptoms might be aggravated by exposure to the sun. Some people, however, have acne as a congenital problem, in which case you should first try all over-the-counter medications before turning to prescription medication.