Common Questions and Answers

What causes acne?

Your skin has thousands of oil glands that produce sebum to moisturize your skin and help it act as a protective barrier. Sebum within each oil gland is carried to the skin’s surface through pores. The highest density of oil glands is found on your face, especially at the nose, forehead and mid cheek areas. The largest oil glands are found on the back and mid-chest. This explains, in part why acne appears mostly on the face, chest and back.

What actually causes acne is still unknown. Hormones may play a role in pore blockage and increased oil production. Unfortunately, you may inherit acne-prone skin, particularly the type associated with more severe, scarring forms of the condition.

Who gets acne?

More than 85% of teenagers get acne, but anyone can get acne, including adults.1

Where does acne develop?

You can have acne on any part of your skin where sebaceous glands are found. These are the glands that produce oil for the skin. Acne can appear on the face, chest and back, and even on the arms and thighs.

What is severe acne?

Severe acne is when many red, swollen, tender lumps form in the skin. These can be the size of pencil erasers or larger.

What is persistent acne?

Persistent acne, also known as recalcitrant acne, is acne that is resistant to oral antibiotics or topical antibiotic lotions, creams or gels.

What can make acne worse?

The most common things that can aggravate your acne are: cleansing your skin too much, and squeezing, picking, or popping zits. Excessive cleansing, particularly with overzealous use of abrasive facial scrubs, can irritate your skin and worsen inflammation.

How is acne treated?

Acne treatment ranges from cleansers, topical gels and creams for mild acne, to antibiotic or hormonal pills for moderate cases of acne.

Clarus® is a medicine used to treat severe acne (nodular and/or inflammatory acne) and acne that cannot be cleared up by other treatments including antibiotics. The first signs of healing most often occur after two to three weeks of treatment. It may take one to two months before beneficial effects are seen. Please work closely with your doctor and take your Clarus as prescribed.

Is acne contagious?

No, acne is not contagious. See the section of this web site called 'About Acne' for more information about the causes of acne.

Will I get acne if I eat junk food?

There are many myths about what causes acne. Chocolate and greasy foods are often blamed, but foods seem to have little effect on the development and course of acne in most people.

Do you get acne because you don't keep your face clean?

If you have acne, it does not mean that your skin is dirty. Cleansing and scrubbing your skin excessively will not help your acne. In fact, it may make it worse. Remember that the causes of acne affect oil glands, which are well below the surface of the skin. The best thing to do is gently wash your face twice a day with a mild soap and then pat dry. Ask you doctor for the best types of cleansers to use on your skin.

The sun seems to help my acne. Is this really true?

While it is true that sun exposure may dry out existing acne, it won't prevent new acne from forming. For some people, the sun can make their acne worse, and some medications, like Clarus can make your skin sensitive to the sun, leading to serious sunburns. When you're in the sun, it is always wise to use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher to protect your skin.

Will squeezing or picking my acne make it better or worse?

Squeezing or picking can damage the cells under your skin and cause the pimple to become inflamed or leave a permanent scar. As tempting as it is, you will be better off in the long run to leave pimples alone and let them heal on their own.

Can make-up camouflage my acne?

Camouflage make-up can be used to cover acne lesions. The best types of cosmetics to use for acne-prone skin are oil-free, non-acnegenic (may not cause acne) and non -comedogenic (may not cause blackheads).

Will Clarus make me feel depressed?

Major depression is a rare problem with children, but common among teens. In fact, up to one in every four people has suffered from depression by the end of adolescence.2 Unfortunately, studies have shown that teens with acne have an even greater likelihood of being depressed.3

Some patients, while taking isotretinoin or soon after stopping isotretinoin, have become depressed or developed other serious mental health problems. Signs of these problems include feelings of sadness, irritability, unusual tiredness, trouble concentrating, and loss of appetite. Some patients taking isotretinoin have had thoughts about putting an end to their own lives (suicidal thoughts), tried to end their own lives, and some people have ended their own lives. There were reports that some of these people did not appear depressed. There have been reports of patients on isotretinoin becoming aggressive or violent. No one knows if isotretinoin caused these behaviors or if they would have happened even if the person did not take isotretinoin. If you become depressed during or after isotretinoin therapy, it's important to tell your doctor immediately.

Why do I have to sign a consent form before taking Clarus?

The consent form is a policy requirement for taking Clarus. Signing the consent form, or having your parent or guardian sign it on your behalf, tells your doctor that you understand all the information you have received from your doctor about Clarus.

If you are male, you must read and sign Part I of the form. If you are female, you must read and sign Part I and Part II of the form.

Your doctor should explain all the information in the consent form to you, and you should also read it over carefully before you sign it. If there is anything you don't understand in the consent form, ask your doctor about it before you sign the form.

What should I do with my signed consent form?

Give one copy to your doctor to keep in your medical file and keep one copy for yourself.

Bibliography and References

AccutaneTM Roche® Acne, Accutane and You (Revision: 2006)

  1. James WD. Clinical PracticeL Acne. N. Engl J Med. 2005 Apr 7;352(14):1463-1472.
  2. Kessler RC, Avenevoli S, Ries Merikangas K. Mood disorders in children and adolescents: an epidemiological perspective. Biol Psychiatry. 2001 Jun 15;49(12):1002-14.
  3. Gupta MA, Gupta AK. Depression and suicidal ideation in dermatology patients with acne, alopecia areata, atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. Br J Dermatol. 1998 Nov;139(5):846-50.

This patient information web site does not contain all information about Clarus.
Talk to your doctor if you have questions.

Where can i get more information about acne?

you can find out more about acne on the following websites:

Pregnancy Prevention

Important Information about Prevention while taking Clarus Click Here.

A Guide For Patients

All the information you need about your medicine in a handy booklet.
Download PDF here

Birth Control Information

For more information about birth control or for confidential counselling call the toll-free number at 1-877-776-7711