Does Accutane Really Shrink Your Nose? We're Digging Into The Truth

Accutane is often considered to be one of the most effective solutions for treating severe acne, but can it shrink your nose, too? Some users think so. The claim first picked up steam in 2021 when a now-deleted TikTok video by user @m0ldaviteking_ started making the rounds. In the clip, the TikToker shared that he and his sisters noticed their noses shrunk in size after using the prescription drug. Flash forward a couple of years and the claim is gaining momentum again after influencer Alix Earle insisted she "got a nose job in her sleep." In an earlier video, the content creator specifically credited Accutane with giving her a slimmer nose, and now, countless others are chiming in with similar accounts of their own.


However, you might not want to run to your dermatologist for the acne drug just yet. For starters, Accutane is only intended for acne that hasn't responded to other treatments, per MedlinePlus. Additionally, women who could become pregnant must meet certain requirements to receive the prescription, including taking regular pregnancy tests. Put simply, Accutane isn't all that easy to get your hands on.

More critically, Accutane can't give you rhinoplasty results, despite what the TikTok videos might lead you to believe. Still, there's a little truth to the smaller-nose theory.

Accutane may cause subtle changes to your nose

Let's cut to the chase: Accutane won't shrink your nose the way that a nose job would, as Dr. Ife J. Rodney, a board-certified dermatologist and the founding director of Eternal Dermatology Aesthetics, confirmed to Health. According to the Mayo Clinic, rhinoplasty procedures typically involve adding or removing cartilage to create the desired nose structure. Accutane doesn't affect the nose in this way, nor can it be used to precisely alter the shape of the nose.


However, you're not imagining things if you think a Tiktoker's — or your own — nose looks smaller after a round of the acne treatment. Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital's Department of Dermatology, explained to Self that the effect has to do with the way Accutane targets acne-causing oil glands. "By decreasing oil production, Accutane will shrink the glands themselves — including the ones on your nose. That's why this area tends to show a great level of improvement when taking the medication," he shared with the publication. Think of it this way: When the oil glands shrink, your nose can visibly shrink, too. However, the change is often small and not as obvious as you might hope, noted Dr. Zeichner.


Not everyone experiences the Accutane 'nose job'

If you go on Accutane expecting a smaller nose along with clearer skin, keep in mind that the former doesn't happen for everyone. In fact, most people won't notice any changes to the size of their nose, as dermatologist Dr. Doris Day revealed to Health. The skin professional explained that shrinking would only be obvious in those who had large, overactive oil glands — which most people don't. Moreover, Dr. Day asserts that Accutane wouldn't turn a rounded or aquiline nose into a sharper or narrower one.


Similarly, people with thicker skin might notice that their nose seems smaller after Accutane, while those with already-thin skin likely wouldn't experience any shrinkage. "The structural anatomy of the nose does not change [from Accutane], however the covering becomes thinner," Dr. David W. Kim, a facial plastic surgeon, told NewBeauty. "It would be like a nose swapping out a puffy jacket for a T-shirt."

The takeaway: Your nose might change only if you have large pores and thick skin, and even then, the update could be hard to spot. Next time you see a video on SkinTok alleging that Accutane slimmed, sculpted, and shrunk someone's nose, take the claims with a grain of salt.