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New FDA-Approved Treatment for Acne: AviClear

Finally, an alternative to Accutane!


Is Accutane the Only Option?


Accutane (former brand name of the drug isotretinoin) is prescribed by dermatologists for individuals who have severe, cystic acne that does not respond to any other acne treatment. Until now, it has been the last resort option to treat acne. Accutane works by shrinking the sebaceous (oil) glands and stopping the production of oil, essentially cutting off the source of acne. It is prescribed often because it works. However, it comes with many side effects. The list of side effects is quite long, but here are just a few.


Common side effects include:

  • bone or joint pain

  • eye inflammation and irritation

  • difficulty moving

  • nosebleeds

  • lip burning and pain

  • skin infections or rash

  • headaches

Rarer side effects include:

  • thoughts of suicide

  • back pain

  • gum bleeding

  • blurred vision

  • changes in behavior

  • severe diarrhea

  • severe stomach pains

  • chest pain

  • rectal bleeding

  • difficulty breathing


AviClear: A New Remedy


Recently my 20-year old son who has struggled with acne told me he wanted to go on Accutane. This is a conversation we have had for many years and his dermatologist has been suggesting he go this route. But I have not been able to get on board with it. Still, as my son is now 20 years old and still battling acne, I was ready to consider it. We had a zoom call with his doctor and decided it was time to go this route. I still did not feel comfortable with it, but also understood he was ready to be done with acne. Around the same time I had dinner with my friend who is a nurse with Dr. Tyler Hollmig, Director of Dermatologic Surgery and Director of Laser and Cosmetic Dermatology at Ascension Medical Group. She told me about an exciting new laser treatment that had just been approved by the FDA to treat acne.


AviClear from Cutera
AviClear from Cutera

AviClear is the first and only FDA-cleared energy device for the treatment of mild, moderate, and severe acne. It works in the same way as Accutane, by targeting the source of acne—the oil glands. However, AviClear has zero negative side effects!


Acne forms when the oils in the skin combine with dead skin cells and clog the pores. By targeting the production of sebum (oil), you are able to cut off the source of acne. The laser uses heat, instead of harsh toxins and chemicals, to shrink the oil glands.


The protocol involves three treatments, one month apart so it only takes three months. Results continue to improve even after your treatment is complete. Accutane requires a 6-month treatment plan for most, and sometimes longer. In addition, some people require a second round of Accutane after a year or longer. With AviClear, clinical studies show impressive results two years post-treatment. However, if someone does have reoccurring pimples, they can do one laser treatment as a touch up, but it is unlikely they will need to repeat the series.


Early Results


My son has had his first treatment and will get his second in November, followed by his third in December. He was told not to expect many results after the first treatment, but he has already seen improvements. He has noticed already that his pimples are much smaller, healing quickly, and not leaving large red marks (post-inflammation) when they are gone. The treatments are not exactly pain free, however they numb the skin with a topical to make it tolerable. And once the treatment is done, there is no pain at all. I will post a follow up after he has completed all three treatments and share his results.


This is such an exciting development for curing acne! Until now, for those suffering with severe acne the only choice has been Accutane. We now have an option that has zero negative side effects on the body!


If you would like more information or have any questions about AviClear you can contact Kristin Campbell,RN directly at Kristin.campbell1@ascension.org.