The Viral TikTok That Proves You Should Never Wax Your Eyebrows On Accutane

Accutane is an extremely strong drug used for the treatment of severe acne. The treatment uses high doses of Vitamin A to target skin problems that have resisted other solutions, per American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (AOCD). Due to its strength, Accutane is typically prescribed for a short period of time and comes with a long list of potential side effects.

While it's easy to dismiss the drug entirely after hearing stories about birth defects from the 1988 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Accutane has improved the skin and confidence of many of its users. According to the AOCD, the medicine provides a complete acne "cure" for about 50% of those who take it — meaning they never have to deal with or treat acne again. TikTok creators like Sam Vicchiollo and Alix Earle have achieved viral popularity through documenting their journeys on Accutane.

Needless to say, the video-sharing app has done wonders in reducing the stigma around acne and seeking treatment. Viewers can get first-hand accounts of what to expect when going on Accutane. And while Vicchiollo and Earle celebrated big Accutane wins, one user felt empowered to share her horror story — which saw her skin burned after mixing waxing and Accutane — to prevent others from making the same mistakes. 

TIkTok user warns against waxing on Accutane

"Oh my gosh — I messed up." So begins a TikTok by user @agooodie, which has now been viewed over 20 million times. She talks to the camera with a solemn face ... and bright red skin around her brows. She explains that she decided to get her brows waxed while on Accutane, and quickly regretted her choice. 

"I did not remember you're not supposed to get them waxed," she said. When at a technician at her salon suggested she make the most of her errand and also touch up her brows, she readily agreed. In the video, she told millions of enraptured viewers, "It burns across my eyebrows and I start my new job in a day and a half. I'm so screwed." 

This particular Accutane requirement might be easy to forget among its many other symptoms, but it's a painful mistake to make. Because the drug reduces the oils your body is naturally producing, your skin becomes much more sensitive (via West Lake Dermatology). Using hot or cold wax in these newly sensitive areas can cause intense pain or even permanent damage. 

How Accutane affects the skin barrier

Accidentally waxing on Accutane is a common enough problem that TikTok's resident dermatologist Dr. Chris Tomassian weighed in. "This is something you don't wanna do," he said in a duet video, noting that both Accutane and retinol — which may be part of your skincare routine — make waxing risky. "Your skin barrier is weakened. You could tear the skin and it can give you a lot of irritation." 

Not only could waxing on Accutane give you an unusual look for your first day at work, but it can also cause lifelong damage to your skin. While Dr. Tomassian noted that Aquaphor and Vaseline can help ease the pain, they may not undo all of the harm. The American Academy of Dermatology Association notes that people taking isotretinoin — the scientific name of the drug branded "Accutane" — may experience permanent scarring after waxing. To be safe, they recommend avoiding the practice while taking the prescription, and continuing to skip wax appointments for at least six months after your treatment is complete. 

Notably, sensitive skin is a much longer-lasting side effect than some of Accutane's other symptoms. For example, while the risk of severe birth defects is a well-known and highly discussed aspect of Accutane, users can safely pursue pregnancy within one month of stopping the drug, per MotherToBaby. As always, if you have any doubts about your health and safety while taking any drug, your best option is to consult with your prescribing doctor and follow all of the medication's guidelines.