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Initially I thought I'd lost this blog, but I found it! I am going to repost what I wrote as a topic in the general forum. As you can tell from the post, I am SO HAPPY with the results of Spiro. I got my life back. Yay!

I finally have some time on my hands to sit down and write this post. I was keeping a blog on here, but I hadn't updated it in a while and I guess it got deleted.

My story: I hardly ever got acne when I was in high school. If I did, it was mostly on my forehead and cheeks, but it was very mild. In my early twenties, I started noticing that I had acne pretty much all the time. It was concentrated on the lower half of my face, and sometimes between my eyebrows. I started using a lot of over the counter stuff, but nothing worked. I eventually got the blue-light treatment. Six sessions over the course of three weeks. I wasn't 100% clear, but I remember it helping a lot. The effects lasted around six months. After that, the acne came back, so I went for another six sessions. This time, it didn't work at all. I eventually upgraded to the levulan treatment (the one that will put you out of work for a week or more). I saw success with it, but only temporary. In about a month, the acne came back. I had two more sessions. A month later, the acne came back again.

Around my 28th birthday, I had the worst breakout of my life (see the before pictures). It is honestly still very hard for me to look at those pictures, because my skin had NEVER looked that bad. For a few months prior, I had noticed my face was extremely oily, and the breakout just kept getting worse. When I took those pictures, I looked at them and decided I needed to be on prescription medicine ASAP. I am usually pretty opposed to taking pills, but I was desperate. I did a LOT of research, and it seemed like my acne was the exact kind that spironolactone successfully treated. Since I had just moved to a new city, I made an appointment with a general physician. He recommended spiro without me even asking for it. He gave me a blood test to check my hormone levels. When he called with my results, he said my testosterone levels were in the normal range, HOWEVER, it's the RATIO of testosterone to estrogen and other hormones that is the important part. My ratio was like 5:1 or something, I think the normal is 2:1 or around there. He was confident spironolactone would help.

I started on 50 mg. For a month, I saw no difference. He increased it to 100 mgs. For six weeks, my face just kept breaking out. Then, all of a sudden, the breakouts started drying up. That took another few weeks. I started the medicine at the end of August of 2013 By the end of October, I had no more acne. Since then, I have had AMAZING skin. I will get a blemish here and there, but since my acne initially cleared, I have had virtually no acne since.

You have to take these pills like a religion. I notice if I skip a day or two, or don't take them pretty much exactly 12 hours a part, I get blemishes. Give it time to work, too. Get your hormone levels tested! And do your research. I was very opposed to taking birth control (which has always been recommended to me by the dermatologist) because you will eventually have to come off of it, and it messes with your hormone levels. Spironolactone does nothing to your hormone levels. It simply blocks the excess androgen you have in your body, which in turn decreases oil production.

The after pictures were taken today (no makeup). As you can see, I was left with some pretty bad scarring, but this is easily covered with makeup. I am considering Fraxel for the right side of my face. I have been on spiro for 9 months now. It is a maintenance drug, and as soon as you stop taking it, it stops working. I will be on it until my 40s, probably.

I hope this will help some of you. I know what it's like to be frustrated by acne, trust me. I tried everything over the counter, prescription creams, light treatments, diet changes (never hurts to eat better, though!), etc. I finally found something that works for me, and I hope it will work for you too!

I just read my previous posts back to myself, and I can honestly say the last few months have been the worst months of my life. I stopped going outside, stopped going to lunch with coworkers, stopped all my hobbies and extra curricular activities because I didn't want to be seen. I remember standing in my bathroom a few months ago, looking in the mirror, and saying out loud, 'I can't believe this is my face.' I looked so bad, I could not even look at myself most of the time. I washed my face in the dark and tried to put my makeup on without even looking in the mirror half the time, which I'm sure made me look even worse. I basically just gave up on having a normal life.

Two months after starting spiro, I'm here to tell you I have my life back. My skin is not perfect. The scars will last years probably. But in two months, I went from having 20-30 active breakouts to having zero. None. Do I think I'll never have another breakout for the rest of my life? No. But I am amazed how well this has worked for me, given that literally NOTHING has ever worked previously. Not countless topicals, antibiotics, peels, lasers, blue lights or even the crazy levulan treatment that's supposed to be amazing (it worked for six weeks, then back to normal). I hope to only keep improving, since I finally decided to treat from the inside out, instead of the other way around.

I will keep updating. To anyone considering spiro: please take 100 mg or more and please give it at least six weeks to start seeing results. I saw almost no results until about a month, but real improvement has come from about six weeks in until now. My skin is less oily and now when I take my glasses off, I don't see my makeup smudged all over the bridge of my glasses, because it actually stays on my face. Spiro has given me my life back. Like I said, my skin is far from flawless, but I can face the world again. If you have oily skin, cystic acne, driven by hormones (I didn't notice a change around my period, I just knew my face was so oily and constantly breaking out), give spiro a shot. I've had almost no side effects, and it's worked wonders.

So I have been on spiro a little over a month. 50 mgs for the first three weeks, and for the past week and a half, I've been on 100mgs a day.

Before I started spiro, my acne was not under control at all, yet it was not all over my face or anything. It was just stubborn. When I started taking doxycycline, I thought it would help, but I kept getting progressively worse. Then I added benzaclin and that made it worse, but it's because it just made my skin dry, yet also broken out and red and disgusting. I could not tough it out with Benzaclin. I I decided to stop the doxy and try spiro, and that combination (I assume that's what it was) gave me the worst breakout I've ever had in my life. So, for me, yes, spiro did cause an initial breakout. It was truly horrible. I toughed it out, though, and I think I am turning the corner! My skin is much better than it was a week ago, and 10000X better than it was two weeks ago. However, it's still not anywhere near it was before I started on doxy. The redness and scarring from the last few months will last a while, I'm sure. But I'm hoping that my acne is at least starting to be controlled. My skin is still oily and breaking out, but they are much smaller and clear up within a few days. I have seriously had spots on my face that last for months, so that's a nice change. My skin is also getting dry, which is weird because it is also oily during the day, if that makes any sense. The texture of my skin feels really nice, though. I am still using Ziana at night, and I use Cetaphil oil control wash, which I really like a lot. I am hoping I will continue to improve. I haven't had any side effects from the increase in dosage of spiro, except when I was at a football game this weekend, I stood up really fast to jump up and down and cheer and I felt like I was about to pass out. It went away quickly though. So just don't stand up super fast if you're prone to a head rush.

I'll update again soon. For those of you going through the horrendous initial breakout, hang in there. Avoid mirrors...that worked for me! Now I'm actually able to look in one without crying. Hope it keeps getting better.

3 Weeks

I have been on 50mg spiro for three weeks now. My face is so broken out. I thought I was getting less oily, but now I'm not so sure. My hair is less oily for sure, but my face, I can't really tell anymore. The breakouts I am having are huge, disgusting whiteheads. Really sucks. All over my face except my forehead. It has gotten a little better in the past few days, but I look like a mess. I am going to the doctor this week to see if I can increase my dosage to 100mg, since that seems to be what most people are on. I am definitely not giving up because i know it takes a while to see results, but I wonder if I would be better on a higher dosage. The breakouts I am getting aren't cystic at least, so that's one good thing. I would just like to see the best results in the quickest amount of time, though. 100mg seems like a normal dose. I'll see what my dr. says.

Forgot to add, my face has been quite itchy in the past 10 days or so. I do notice the breakouts tend to go away quicker than normal, but there are so many, it doesn't really matter. The itchiness is really annoying.

Day 7?

I'm not really keeping up with the days, I think yesterday was a week on spironolactone, but this is only my third or fourth day taking the full 50mg. The good news is, I'm not experiencing any major side effects. I did start feeling a little weird a few hours after I took my morning dose the other day. I had a weird dizzy spell that lasted a split second, but then afterward I got very nervous, cold, clammy hands, etc. I can't figure out whether it was from the medicine or if I just got nervous about the side effects and worked myself up, if that makes sense. Other than that one spell, I haven't had any problems. I always take it with food, so no nausea. Also, a major benefit is that it's a very small pill, which I still cut in half, and I can take it that way. I've never been able to swallow a pill in my life. I was getting doxycycline in a liquid form! Speaking of that, I decided to give up on the doxy. I have been on it for 7 or 8 weeks now and each week I've noticed a worsening in my skin. I have always had oily skin, but on the doxy, I think it got even oilier. I know that's counterintuitive, but I really think it did. It was expensive as hell with my insurance ($500 a month!!) and I just find it did no good at all.

I am still breaking out, but today, I started to notice my skin is less oily. It's still oily, but not as bad as it was a few days ago, or even yesterday. Hopefully, every day it will get better (also could have something to do with not taking the doxy). I also have noticed my skin everywhere is SO soft. Like a baby! Anyway, the right side of my face that has been so bad the past few months has immediately started to clear up, but I have other spots around my mouth that are pretty bad. I don't really expect to see much improvement for awhile, but who knows. I'll post again in a week or so or if something happens before then!

PS: Forgot to add, my bloodwork came back and I was officially diagnosed with PCOS. My testosterone level was at 60 (doctor said normal for my age was 40). Also, whatever hormone ratio they check (he told me, but I can't remember exactly), he said anything over 2:1 is indicative of PCOS. Mine was 5.5:1. So I am really hopeful spironolactone will help me, not just with acne but also with the fact I am losing my hair. I don't expect to notice anything with the hair loss for many months, but I'll update on that too.

Hi everyone!

I am 28 years old and have started having all sorts of issues. Cystic acne (moderately severe, on right side of face and chin), hirsutism and my hair is falling out like crazy. I don't mean, "Oh, I think my hair might be falling out." I mean, I wake up, it's all over my pillow, it falls out on my desk at work, and in clumps in the shower. My hair is super thick, which is why it's probably not noticeable to anyone else yet, but it will get there soon enough if I don't do anything about it. Also, my skin and hair became so incredibly oily, it was disgusting.

I started doxycycline for my acne around seven weeks ago, and it has only gotten worse since then. I don't think it was the doxycycline that did it, because all my other symptoms have gotten so much worse since then too. I think it was just a coincidence. I have done a ton of reading/research on what might be causing this, and I absolutely believe I have too much androgenic activity AKA my hormones are out of whack. i have every symptom of PCOS, but I haven't been officially diagnosed with it yet.

My dermatologist wanted to put me on Accutane. My acne has gotten so bad in the last few months that I went from refusing to take any oral medication whatsoever to considering accutane. However, I am almost positive I would be one of those people whose acne comes right back after the course is over. I want to treat the cause and not the symptom. So I went to my general physician and he immediately suggested spironolactone, which I was going to ask him for anyway. He said he has seen a lot of success with it in women he's prescribed it to. He also did bloodwork to check my hormones (and a metabolic panel), but said even if my hormones were in the normal range, it's still obvious that something is off, and I should try spiro anyway. This made me happy because I've heard a lot of stories of people who get their hormone levels checked and they are 'normal,' and therefore abandon hormone treatments.

I was prescribed 50 mg a day, 25 mg in the morning and at night. I started two days ago, but I only took 25 mg because it's a blood pressure medication and I wanted to make sure I wasn't going to pass out or get dizzy or whatever. Luckily that didn't happen, so today I am taking the full dose. Since I started a few days ago, I have noticed a slight improvement. That could be a coincidence, though. I am also still taking my 200 mg of doxy. I am really hoping the spiro helps with oil production sooner rather than later! I put on makeup and within an hour, my face is covered in oil. I know this is supposed to take several months to work, but I'm hoping I will see at least a little improvement relatively quickly. Regardless, I am going to stick it out for 3-4 months and see what happens. I also use Ziana twice a day. I've tried every topical under the sun and it's gotten to the point where that alone is not enough.

I will keep everyone updated.

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