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Before-and-after pics of extreme acne go viral: 10 things to know about miracle drug

22-year-old US student and Instagram user Kali Kushner has gone viral for her before-and-after acne photos on social media. Her acne journey is incredible. But is the ‘miracle drug’ she took, really safe? We ask dermotologists.

fashion and trends Updated: Oct 12, 2017 08:26 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Acne,Acne photos,acne treatment
Kali Kushner’s claim to social media fame is her acne - or, rather, her truly shocking before-and-after photos throughout her acne treatment, which she’s been documenting on her Instagram account.(Instagram)

Having clear skin is considered the epitome of beauty, but acne is one irritant almost everyone has to deal with. Whether it’s in the form of that annoying, stray zit, or more extreme breakouts. Either ways, it is so hush-hush and shamed in society that sometimes it can be tough to get comfortable talking about it. But one woman decided to Instagram her acne journey, sharing her good skin days as well as the bad ones, winning her Instagram fame.

According to Cosmopolitan, 22-year-old Instagrammer Kali Kushner, a student from the US state of Ohio, began to get noticed on social media when she documented her acne treatments over time. She’s been sharing her acne- or, rather, her truly shocking before-and-after photos throughout her Accutane treatment on her Instagram account, @myfacestory, for almost two years now, amassing more than 28,000 followers in the process.

Accutane is a form of vitamin A, which helps skin renew itself more quickly, and often works for acne when nothing else will. According to Dr Sanjay Chatterjee of Pearl Skin Clinic, Delhi, “It works by reducing oil secretion in the skin and is seen as the only choice for severe, scarring, nodular acne.”

Kushner is an Instagram sensation, but not for undergoing some weird, botched surgery, or starting an insanely crazy eyebrow trend. It is because of her acne. ( Instagram )

In 2014, Kushner’s acne went full-force crazy, covering her entire face. She told Cosmopolitan that she tried everything: the oil cleansing method (where you wash your face with oil), the caveman method (where you don’t put anything on your face at all) and the creams, potions, and antibiotic her dermatologist prescribed her. But nothing worked.

So, after a year of feeling “constantly embarrassed and upset,” Kushner worked with her dermatologist to get on Accutane, which began clearing her skin within the first few weeks. “It was honestly like magic,” she says.

Although Accutane is touted as a miracle drug by derms and hailed as the permanent cure for acne, it’s not without side effects.

“The only downside was the side effects, which, for me, made me dry literally everywhere, and made me feel achey all over, all day long, every single day. It’d take me ten minutes just to get out of bed in the morning, because my back was so sore,” Kushner told the publication about her Accutane use.

Though Kushner has been off Accutane for more than a year, she still posts regular selfies to track the progress in her skin, which was left with mottled scars from the severity of her acne. ( Instagram )

Dr Pallavi Mishra, head of the dermotology department at Delhi’s Shanti Mukand Hospital, warns that this permanent cure for acne can come at a huge price. “If you have a history of depression or are of sensitive disposition, where you get rattled easily, it may do more harm to your mind than any good it will do to your body and face,” she said.

Though most side-effects disappear after you finish the medication, Dr Mishra adds that there’s still a risk for chronic, long-term effects, which is why it’s imperative that you chat with your dermatologist thoroughly before starting. Below are some side effects of using Accutane:

The most dangerous side effect is birth defects in an unborn child if pregnant women take Accutane. If you are planning to start a family soon or are pregnant already, Accutane is not worth the risk. Though it should be cleansed from your system after a month of last use, there is no guarantee. If there are resides in the system, it could harmful for the foetus. Also, the harmful side-effects are not limited to women of child-bearing age. It could be harmful for men too.

2. Accutane could also cause anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, hallucinations. These side effects can range from a bad mood to full-blown psychosis.

3. It could lead to gastrointestinal bleeding, Inflammatory Bowel disease.

4. Liver toxicity due to Hypervitaminosis A.

5. Body ache, muscle pain.

6. Excessive hair loss.

7. If you are taking Accutane, you cannot donate blood for one month after your last dose.

8. It may affect your hearing and eyesight.

9. Regular blood tests are needed to check for problems (not commonly done in India)

10. Not really a permanent cure. Acne can come back after a year or so.

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First Published: Oct 12, 2017 08:24 IST