Severe acne, particularly cystic or nodular, often resists typical treatments like topical and oral acne medications. In such instances, our dermatologists might offer isotretinoin, a powerful prescription medication for those hard-to-treat cases.

Isotretinoin can offer lasting, sometimes permanent relief from severe acne. At MOD Dermatology, we provide isotretinoin acne treatment to our Bellevue clients. Our dermatologists will discuss your symptoms, ensure you understand how to take this medication safely and outline potential side effects. This approach aims to tackle severe acne effectively when other methods have not succeeded.


Isotretinoin, a powerful acne medication available only with a prescription, targets the four main causes of acne at once: too much oil production, bacteria P. acne, blocked pores, and inflammation. To understand why isotretinoin is effective, it’s important to be aware of the common causes of acne. 


It’s important to know how isotretinoin works before receiving this powerful acne medication from our Bellevue-area clinic. The body sometimes produces too much sebum, an oil meant to keep skin and hair moisturized. When there's too much sebum, skin cells can get stuck in pores. These clogged pores might then become infected with bacteria on the skin, causing inflammation. Isotretinoin is used to address these issues, including:

  • Excess Sebum Production: Isotretinoin makes the oil glands smaller, greatly lowering the skin's oil output. This action helps stop pores from getting blocked and stops acne from forming.
  • Bacteria P. Acne: Isotretinoin works to make the growth of bacteria P. acnes more normal, which are major players in causing acne flare-ups. By cutting down on these bacteria, isotretinoin reduces swelling and stops new acne spots from popping up.
  • Clogged Pores: Isotretinoin aids in reducing oil production and encourages the renewal of skin cells, helping to keep pores open. This action prevents the mix of dead skin cells and oil that can cause blackheads and whiteheads.
  • Inflammation: Isotretinoin possesses qualities that calm inflamed skin, lessening both redness and puffiness that often come with acne.


Isotretinoin is a strong medication for severe acne treatment. Isotretinoin acne treatment offers our Bellevue clients numerous benefits. It is very effective but needs extra care because of its side effects. This treatment stands out because it requires more attention from doctors and might lead to changes in daily habits. Here's what to expect with isotretinoin acne treatment:

  • Monthly Dermatology Appointments: Your dermatologist will need to closely monitor your progress with monthly visits. You will also need monthly blood work to monitor liver function, blood count, and fasting lipids.
  • Strict Monitoring: Isotretinoin is regulated due to the risks of birth defects and side effects. Women who can have children must undergo regular pregnancy tests, use two forms of birth control and enroll in the iPLEDGE® program.
  • Enhanced Sun Protection: Increased sun sensitivity from isotretinoin necessitates a strict sun protection regimen. This includes using sunscreen with at least SPF 30, wearing protective clothing, and limiting exposure during peak sunlight hours.
  • Potential for Dryness: Isotretinoin often leads to dry lips, skin, and mucous membranes. Adjustments in skincare routines to include more intense moisturizers and lip balms are usually required.
  • Lifestyle Adjustments: Due to isotretinoin making the skin more fragile, modifications in activities such as waxing, laser treatments, and vigorous exercise might be needed. Consulting with a dermatologist is essential to identify any necessary changes.
  • Mental Health Awareness: The connection between isotretinoin and depression is being studied, but there's a potential link. Physicians monitor patients for mood changes and may suggest additional support if observed.
  • Blood Donation Restrictions: Isotretinoin users are advised against donating blood during treatment and for a month after the last dose due to its potential impact on blood cell counts.

At your first appointment, we will carefully go over all the important details and safety measures of your severe acne treatment. Our Bellevue-area dermatologists will also clear up any doubts or concerns you might have, ensuring you feel fully prepared and comfortable before starting your treatment.


Clear skin boosts self-confidence. One option for acne treatment is isotretinoin. Bellevue’s MOD Dermatology customizes treatments for your specific needs. Schedule a consultation to explore options for clearer, healthier skin.