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Private acne treatment - isotretinoin

Acne is a common skin (dermatology) condition that affects most people at some point. It causes spots, oily skin and - sometimes - skin that's hot or painful to touch.

What does isotretinoin acne treatment involve?

Isotretinoin is a retinoid used to treat severe and chronic forms of adult acne and young people over the age of 12.

Oral isotretinoin (sometimes known as Roaccutane) can only be prescribed by a Consultant Dermatologist as it’s a specialist acne medication. There’s a broad range of acne medications available, so your Dermatologist will need to assess whether isotretinoin is the best acne treatment for you.

I have a question about isotretinoin and acne treatment

Why would I have isotretinoin treatment?

Isotretinoin is an acne medicine used to treat very bad acne. It’s usually used for cystic acne that hasn’t improved after treatment with other medicines.

How does isotretinoin treat acne?

Isotretinoin capsules help severe acne by reducing the amount of natural oil made by your skin, so blocked pores are less likely. The medicine also kills the bacteria that cause acne and relieves redness and soreness.

Are there any side effects of isotretinoin?

At least one in ten people experience one or more of these common side effects when taking isotretinoin capsules:

  • Skin becoming more sensitive to sunlight
  • Dry eyes
  • Dry throat
  • Dry nose and nosebleeds
  • Headaches and general aches and pains

Your Consultant will discuss the possible side effects with you before you start your treatment and further details are available from the patient information leaflet, which you’ll be given during your appointment. You should talk to your GP or Pharmacist if these side effects bother you or don't go away.

Serious side effects are rare and happen in less than one in 1,000 people.

Who can and can’t have isotretinoin?

Isotretinoin capsules are for teenagers and adults with severe acne and shouldn’t be given to children under the age of 12, or before puberty. We’ll only prescribe isotretinoin to patients over the age of 18.

You shouldn’t take isotretinoin capsules if you:

  • Have had an allergic reaction to isotretinoin, soya (the capsules contain soya) or any other medicines in the past
  • Have an inherited digestive disorder called fructose intolerance, as the capsules contain sorbitol

To make sure isotretinoin capsules are safe for you, you should let us know if you:

  • have had a mental health illness or live with depression
  • are pregnant (or think you could be) or if you're breastfeeding
  • have ever had an allergic reaction to isotretinoin or any other medicine
  • have liver or kidney disease
  • have high levels of cholesterol or other fats in your blood
  • have high levels of vitamin A
  • have Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis

If you have diabetes, you should talk to your doctor before beginning treatment with isotretinoin capsules. You may need extra monitoring while you take isotretinoin as it can cause a rise in blood sugar levels.

How much does isotretinoin treatment cost?

The cost of isotretinoin treatment can vary, depending on how many appointments you need. It’s common to have one initial appointment, and between three and seven follow-ups, but this varies from person to person. We’ll discuss this with you during the booking process and at your initial consultation.

Your consultation price will include a 30-minute acne review consultation, plus all blood tests and pregnancy tests as required throughout your journey.

  • Initial consultation price - £250
  • Follow up consultation price - £175

The cost of the medication will also vary, depending on the dosage and length of treatment you’re prescribed. A typical month’s supply of medication can be between £20 and £60.

How much isotretinoin will I need to take?

It’s important to take isotretinoin correctly. Your Consultant Dermatologist will calculate a dosage for your treatment, which typically lasts for between 4 months and 7 months.

Before you start taking isotretinoin, you’ll need blood tests to check that your cholesterol, liver and kidney functions are normal. These tests will be repeated every four to six weeks during your treatment and, in some cases, further repeat tests may be needed. Female patients will need to have regular pregnancy tests and will need to ensure that robust contraception is in place.

Your Consultant Dermatologist will review your dosage every four to eight weeks and may increase it as part of your follow-up appointment.

To find out more, or book an appointment, please complete our online form or call our Private Patient Team on 01580 363158.

Our Consultant Dermatologist

Dr Ayerst

Kurt Ayerst


Dr Ayerst's specialties include skin cancer management, complex medical dermatology, male genital dermatology and dermascopy (mole scanning).

Dr Cherng Jong Consultant Dermatologist at Benenden Hospital

Cherng Jong

Consultant Dermatologist

Dr Jong specialises in Hyfrecation of skin lesions, Eczema treatment, Acne treatment (isotretinoin), Keloid scar injections, Removal of moles, cysts, skin tags

Contact us about isotretonoin acne treatment

It's easy to find out more about treatment by giving us a call or completing our enquiry form.