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About bradmanda

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  1. bradmanda added a post in a topic Weaning Off Of Spironolactone   

    Hey everyone,

    Lately I’ve received a lot of private messages asking for updates regarding my skin after weaning myself off of spiro. I decided to provide a more public, candid summary here of how I have achieved clear skin. Besides, I also feel like ranting a bit, spinning my acne yarn….I emboldened my main talking points so you can easily scroll to the parts that you find the most relevant.

    About Me

    My skin is essentially 100% clear. I am a half-Filipino female, 27-years-old, and tend to have hyperpigmentation that sometimes takes months to fade. But besides the marks, there is no active acne on my face.

    If I were to list the top factors that have shaped me as a person, acne would, sadly, be up there. It really robbed me of my confidence as a teenager, and to an extent as an adult. The psychological damage that acne can wreak should not be under-estimated! Especially in our image-obsessed society, etc., etc. Initially, my teenage-years dermatologist did not take my skin issues seriously because she claimed to treat other patients that had more serious ailments to deal with- as if the inner suffering caused by external, skin-related issues is relative! If you encounter a dismissive expert that is supposed to use their expertise to help you, but ends up gas-lighting you, do not go back. Anyways…

    What Has Worked

    My skin has had its ups and downs, but for the past 3 months or so it's been clear except for the occasional, manageable pimple, usually the result of a hormonal breakout, lack of sleep, or a night of heavy drinking and paired with a lack of sleep. I can usually reliably track them to a concrete cause.

    I'm very happy that I am no longer dependent on spiro, birth control, or other oral medications or supplements. Spiro resolved a lot of my bad skin problems but it did do a number on my body. Birth control also made me a bit crazy. I was terrified to wean myself off of spiro because acne has been such a constant problem for me and spiro made me look so much better and gave me peace of mind. However, I've found other means that have kept my skin clear and probably made me healthier, too. To give you a quick list, this is what I believe has helped the most:

    1. Diet: Avoiding most dairy products except butter, ghee (clarified butter), and some goat cheeses. Watching my carb intake (blood sugar/glucose levels). Eating more fruits and veggies in general. I do indulge in the occasional slice of pizza or other yummy junk food item with cheese but with no breakouts to report. I use to be gluten-free, but re-introducing wheat into my diet does not seem to make a noticeable difference in my skin appearance or otherwise general health. Ditto for eggs: I stopped eating those for a while but now enjoy eating them again.

    2. Exercise: I get about 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day which, for me, tends to leave me in a better mood and my skin less oily. Sometimes I do yoga, which lasts an hour. I do my errands by bicycling around town. My belief is that the main culprit is not to remain sedentary, to reduce your overall stress and anxiety levels, and to improve digestion.

    And, related to digestion and diet: Do not get constipated! I find joy in monitoring my daily BMs because a good BM for me usually means that I’ve been active and eating well, and in turn can count on good skin days. I’ve found that when my BMs are irregular or if I’m constipated, my skin erupts! I was traveling with my partner once in a country that serves mostly carbs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We both got very constipated for days, and my skin became a mess! Lesson learned.

    3. Hair Products: I use to be a loyal user of Pantene Pro V conditioner until I noticed that when I went through periods of being without it, the acne around my hairline would disappear. I think shampoo and conditioner in general can equally affect the skin beyond the scalp, perhaps leaving a residue. In any case, I no longer use Pantene and no longer get the same type of hairline breakouts.

    4. Skin Products: I started to invest in higher quality skincare products, with low PH levels and which tend to have glycolic acid. I also have become a huge fan of primarily Japanese and French skincare products. There may be less expensive options out there but this is what works for me.

    Skin Routine AM:

    1. Wash face with cold water (no cleanser or face wash)

    2. Apply light layer of Biore Aqua Rich sunscreen

    3. Apply light layer of Biologique Recherche Dermopurifiante

    4. Spot treat hyperpigmentation marks and discoloration with MAC Studio FX Foundation, and dust it off with Neutrogena Mineral Makeup pressed powder. Neither seem to have contributed to my breakouts directly, unless I don’t wash my makeup off at night, which is a different issue.

    Skin Routine PM

    1. Gently steam off face makeup with warm wash cloth.

    2. Oil cleanse: Apply jojoba oil on face and let it sit there for about 1-2 minutes.

    3. Double cleanse: Sop off jojoba oil with wash cloth and apply face cleanser. I have been using Burt’s Bees Cream Cleanser, which seems to be gentle and effective. I also have success with face washes containing lactic and glycolic acids, although I’m currently out of those at the moment. If I were to make a change in this routine, I would slowly reintroduce a glycolic or lactic acid face wash.

    4. Every other night I use my Mia Clarisonic to exfoliate my skin. Rediscovering my Mia, and realizing that I don’t have to use it every day for it be effective, has really been a game-changer! My pores look smaller, and I feel that it prevents any unmanaged build-up on my skin.

    5. Apply glycolic acid gel on face.

    5. Professional Help: I tend to have deep pockets of gunk underneath my skin. Like, blackheads that I would cover up with foundation and call it a day. I then went to see an experienced esthetician that specialized in acne and blackhead extractions using steam. That really boosted my skin to another level! I think acne clinics with this type of expertise are becoming more popular as alternatives to dermatologists.

    6. Scientific Fluency: I am a researcher by profession and so have some fluency in reading scientific articles, but I think most people can read and comprehend the research out there on acne, nutrition, cosmetics, etc. once they get past the technical language. Understanding the underlying mechanisms for myself has really enabled me to find the right treatments and lifestyle changes that work for me.


    I am much happier now than I was a year ago with my skin and general health. In my opinion, you have to treat acne internally and externally. Topical products are just as important as nutrition and exercise. I am also much more at peace with my appearance, and no longer obsessively jump around trying to find that silver bullet solution to my acne. It is possible to have good skin after spiro, Accutane, or whatever you consider to be your crutch!
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  2. bradmanda added a post in a topic Allergy To Eggs   

    That's great! I was red around the eyes, raccoon-like, from eczema caused mostly by eggs. (Now I'm suspecting also caused by yeast.)

    After eliminating eggs, the eczema went away! As did much of my acne.
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  3. bradmanda added a topic in Diet & holistic health   

    Allergy To Eggs
    I am 99% certain that I am allergic to eggs, and that eggs have been one of the main contributors to my adult acne (I'm 26).

    I recently wrote a post about becoming clear while on spironolactone (the popular anti-androgen that has been featured on and elsewhere). In that post, I mentioned that since February I had reduced my dose of spiro from 100 mg to 50 mg (still too afraid to wean myself off that final dose!), and had been pretty clear until June.


    I'm a researcher, and right before I was about to take a research trip to Brazil my face began to break out (jawline, strangely the areas of skin between the corner of my eyes and forehead). While in Brazil the breakouts only increased, my face also looking more tired and inflamed, and the zits even migrated to the center of my forehead, a place where I never break out.

    I have been systematically trying to find what variables in my diet cause my acne, and I really thought I had it nailed down: I reduced my intake of sugars and carbs (which did help dramatically! especially with general oiliness), and eliminated dairy products made from cow's milk. Given, these changes were all done while I was on different medications (birth control, spironolactone, supplements). Despite being common allergens, I never thought eggs would be the culprit - I always thought eggs would help me stick to my low-carb, quasi-paleo diet. My family has also kept a flock of backyard hens since I was in elementary school, and eggs had been a staple of our household diet.


    Before said research trip, I was a eating A TON of eggs. My roommate had also left on a trip, leaving me with her carton of eggs to finish (I can't handle seeing good food expire). I was eating, like, 4 eggs a day, without other changes in routine or diet. This was following a period when I wasn't buying eggs regularly, for some reason. So, pre-flight, my face was a mess, probably the worst that it has been since 2012.

    At the moment, I attributed the breakouts to stress, "random" "hormonal changes", and considered that my use of coconut oil to cleanse my face might be causing the breakouts. I was particularly saddened that I might have to stop using coconut oil, because it had helped so much with clearing my face of blackheads and pulling out dirt/dried sebum that was really stuck in there.

    Well, to speed up my eggs and acne story, in Brazil I continued to break out. Did coconut oil finally turn on me? Was I experiencing an infamous "purge"? No. I was still consuming eggs like a madwoman in the mornings. One week when I had stopped buying eggs (again, for whatever reason), my face started to calm down, the patch of inflamed skin next to my left eye was looking less pissed off. Eggs? Could it be? Yes.

    Furthermore, I eliminated eggs while increasing my consumption of common allergens, such as wheat/gluten, cheeses, and I definitely ate more sugar and carbs. (In Brazil there are less options than in the US, and Brazilians love their sweets and rich foods). Yet the breakouts began to disappear.

    It has been 1.5 weeks since I have consumed eggs or something made with eggs, and my skin is calming down quickly, it's amazing. My skin is also much less oily, and only oils up a wee bit when I wear heavy foundation.

    Scientifically, I still cannot prove that eggs are the cause of my acne given the other environmental and dietary factors at play, but I'm pretty sure of it. I'd bet my spironolactone prescription on it. I'm also wondering if I'm really allergic to milk/cheeses as I had thought, since I've been consuming more cheeses these days without any ill effect to report. Maybe I should have looked into eggs since the beginning, and saved myself the agony?

    Last comment: Regarding the spiro, I think it might have been masking the allergic reactions that my body was having. My skin wasn't producing any oil on 100 mg of spiro, and from my understanding, as an anti-androgen spiro blocks androgens at the site of the pore. In sum, spiro might have resolved my acne and maybe some of my hormonal issues, but it didn't resolve the underlying issues related to diet, nutrition, or allergies.

    Anyways, I consider this a success story for myself. My face is transforming and drying up like when I took my first round of Accutane as a teenager. I'll continue to monitor my progress and other observable changes in environment and diet and report back here

    In conclusion, eggs might not be causing your acne. But, a patient, systematic approach to finding what about your diet or environment is making you break out is my best advice as a veteran acne suffer of 14+ years.

    • 5 replies
  4. bradmanda added a post in a topic Weaning Off Of Spironolactone   

    Still going strong! No change in my regimen or diet and no acne as yet to report, except a little oiliness.

    I must admit, I'm only taking 50 mg of spironolactone now but because it has become my crutch, the one thing I can depend on from numerous trials in clearing my skin, I'm a bit afraid to go cold turkey. I'm still clinging to the acne safety net provided by spironolactone.

    Let me emphasize again, I FEEL so much better than when I was on birth control and taking 100 mg of spironolactone daily. It all really took a toll on my system. My boyfriend has even noticed a change in my mood.

    Man, the things we have to put ourselves through because mainstream medicine is so backwards
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  5. bradmanda added a post in a topic Weaning Off Of Spironolactone   

    In sum, a little rant:

    I have suffered from acne and oily since elementary school, and I cannot emphasize the extent to which having acne has influenced my life. Having had more consistent and long-term success with changes in diet and lifestyle, rather than antiobiotics, aggressive bouts of Accutane, birth control, etc., I find it increasingly difficult to turn to conventional medicine for solutions. I've had many kind doctors throughout my life, but their view of diet as secondary, or even a minor factor to finding the "right" medication is astounding. This is not to say that I am, therefore, a converted believer in the power of supplements. (I believe that serious problems exist with this camp, as well).

    I also find it discouraging that anyone who points to a connection between diet and acne, or overall bodily health and acne, is deemed a "hippie," a "granola eater," "confused," or must even be "bad" at science (baha). I actually believe that the problem is not with science, per se - it's the way that scientific knowledge is manifested in mainstream medical practice. Throughout my journey of bad skin, I have read over 100 scientific articles which have highlighted the connection between carb or sugar intake and acne, the connection between the functioning of different organs and acne, anthropological accounts on acne, etc. etc. The research out there is growing, but it seems that more informed, dear I say it "educated" ways in which people are treated by their health practitioners are lagging.

    Wasn't science once justified on the basis of serving humanity?

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  6. bradmanda added a post in a topic Weaning Off Of Spironolactone   

    Hi everyone,

    Just popping in to give another update on my face:

    I am still taking my reduced dosage of 50 mg of spironolactone during the morning, in addition to 1 tablet of Nature's Way DIM in the evening.

    Like I said, I feel a lot better than when I was taking 100 mg of spironolactone and birth control. I am overall "happier," and no longer experience periods where my emotions are flat-lined. It would take me a lot to feel much of anything, and the easiest emotion which came to me was "anger," unfortunately...

    Also under this previous treatment, my fingernails were weak, flaky, and tore easily. (See other posts about how birth control interferes with the absorption of many key vitamins and minerals.) Now, my fingernails are strong, once again!

    Now, the downsides:

    My oily skin has slowly come back. It's not the oil slick that it was, but when I eat carb-y meals or do not move around enough (like when I recently took a 9-hour flight), it gets oily. But really, only enough to soak one oil-absorbing sheet. That's pretty good progress still, and not a really huge downside, in my opinion.

    I have one hard, medium-size pimp on my jawline. I've noticed that pimples usually form on this part of my face when I get off of birth control or spironolactone (this happened the last time), or when I am following a diet or using supplements that are suppose to "cleanse" my system. Since I'm doing both (DIM is also used a liver support), I'm not to worried, and the pimple does not look like it will come to head, anyways.

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  7. bradmanda added a post in a topic Weaning Off Of Spironolactone   

    So, three weeks ago I reduced my 100 mg of spironolactone to 75 mg daily.

    A week and a half ago I stopped taking birth control (Ortho-cept), and now for a week I have further reduced my spironolactone dose to 50 mg daily. The day of my last spironolactone reduction, I started supplementing with 1 pill of DIM before I go to sleep.

    I don't know if it's a placebo effect, but I generally feel more happy and more energized. I also sleep better at night: I experienced mild heart palpitations with 100 mg of spironolactone, especially if I had been out drinking prior. Not taking spiro before going to bed seems to have improved my sleep.

    My skin is also looking rather RADIANT, relative to what I have been able to achieve for myself outside of the momentary acne-free and oil-free perfection attained through Accutane. No new acne or pimples or blemishes, and I actually think my skin is looking better than when it did under my previous routine of spiro/BC.

    In a month or so, when I'm less chicken and more able to gauge any results from my current sprio/DIM regime I'm going to eliminate the spiro completely. In the meanwhile, I'll keep updating.

    Also, just to recount my background: I eat a rather "clean" diet, lots of fruits and vegetables on most days, low intake of processed foods and simple carbohydrates, and with my allergy to cow's milk I only consume sheep or goat milk products, mostly cheeses. I also do yoga and walk everywhere. These changes in my diet and lifestyle reduced my acne and inflammation by 50% or more.
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  8. bradmanda added a post in a topic Weaning Off Of Spironolactone   

    Yeah, diet is definitely the way to go!

    I still find it incredible that modern dermatology largely ignores the connection between diet and acne. It's really to the disbenefit of acne suffers, and others suffering from skin/health conditions related to diet.

    Also, thanks for the words of encouragement! Not having to take prescription medication for acne seems like a dream.
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  9. bradmanda added a topic in The Regimen logs   

    Weaning Off Of Spironolactone
    I have had acne since the 5th grade, and have a very conventional story: I have treated myself and have been treated by medical doctors with the long-term use of antiobotics, two courses of accutane, topical creams, supplements...the list, and the hit to my wallet, goes on.

    I am now 26, and have clear skin. CLEAR SKIN. That's right - when I touch my face in the morning, there are no new bumps, no oily grease on my nose!

    I'll give it to you straight -

    I was cleared through the combination of primarily two things:
    1. A dairy-free, low-carb, nutrient-rich diet
    2. Spironolactone

    The low-carb, dairy-free diet helped to clear 50% of my acne. When I no longer saw any progressive improvement, my doctor put me on 50 mg of spironolactone. I believe my body is very dose-sensitive, because with 100 mg I became absolutely clear.

    Knowing well that spironolactone is not a long-term solution, I am beginning to wean myself off the spiro. The anecdotal stories I've heard of women using spiro and birth control for years and then trying to come off is terrifying. I also plan to start supplementing with DIM (diindolylmethane). I hope I can achieve the same effects, since DIM is an androgen inhibitor (see medical studies and other postings).

    I hope to update this posting with my progress on "coming off spironolactone" and "trying to balance my hormones" and relieve my acne without resorting to a dependency on drugs, to help those of you who have suffered like I have - especially, women who suffer from hormonal acne and are given little options from mainstream medicine!

    • 8 replies