Skincare TikTok is a wild barrage of both sound advice and outrageous claims, the most recent of which is that Accutane, aka Isotretinoin, can give users a ‘free nose job.’ In the short clips, users create a montage of their Accutane journey, showing their noses shrink throughout their treatment.
But can Accutane really shrink your nose, or is this just another TikTok myth? We asked an expert.
What is Accutane?
First off, to understand why Accutane might be giving people this strange side effect, we need to know what it is.
Accutane is a powerful brand of retinoid also known as Isotretinoin. This prescription medication is often used to treat mild to severe acne, but it can also prevent ageing. Cheryl Woodman, a scientist, cosmetic chemist, acne expert and award-winning skincare formulator at Honesty Skincare, gave us the low down on Accutane:
Accutane is a type of retinoid and retinoids are ingredients which are able to bind to 'vitamin A receptors' within skin. They're sought after in skincare because not only can retinoids help prevent and reverse signs of ageing, they also help to treat acne.
Accutane usually works over three to four months and reduces acne by shrinking the oil glands, reducing sebum production, inhibiting the growth of P.acnes bacteria and even reducing inflammation.
Can Accutane really shrink your nose?
While Accutane may be a powerhouse when it comes to shrinking your acne, it probably won’t give you a nose job. But, if you find your nose looking a little smaller after treatment, you wouldn’t be amiss to believe your Accutane was involved.
Woodman explained that because Accutane can help reduce the size of oil glands in the skin, it’s likely that these glands and pores on your nose would also shrink, making your nose smaller:
The active compound in Accutane can turn down and kill off skin's oil making cells - called sebocytes. Pore size is significantly determined by the size of oil glands inside pores which is why Accutane can be effective for not just minimising but actually reducing pore size.
With a smaller pore size and reduced oil production, this can give the effect of changing the shape of your nose - especially if the area was previously prone to congestion which can give a lumpy and bumpy texture and nose shape.
But, before reaching for that Accutane in an attempt to give yourself a cute little button nose, just remember that using this product outside of its prescribed use can be very dangerous and have many side effects and can even interact with other medications.
In short, while Accutane or Isotretinoin can shrink your nose and make it appear smaller, it can’t change the shape of your cartilage or bone structure like you would expect in an actual ‘nose job.’ If you are looking to change up the shape of your nose, you'd be better off opting for a rhioplasty.