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About JennyLG

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  • Birthday 02/28/1984

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  1. JennyLG added a blog entry in Spironolactone   

    One Year On Spironolactone!
    Hitting my one year anniversary and I couldn't be happier. My skin barely breaks out, and if it does, it's a tiny clogged pore and is gone within 2 days. I haven't had a cyst in a really really long time, I can't even remember when. Such a drastic difference from last year -- I would literally have 4-5 large painful cystic breakouts on my chin and cheeks at all times. Dermatologist visits happened almost weekly, so I could get them injected with cortisone to ease the swelling. I'm so happy I stuck with the spiro and made the decision to stop taking antibiotics. And I'm also very happy that I never took accutane, even though my dermatologist told me numerous times I "needed" it. Looking back, here are the factors that I think helped my skin improve:

    Moisturize in the morning and at night, every day! I like cerave AM and PM, it's gentle and really effective without being greasy.
    Don't pick, ever!!! This was the hardest thing for me. I used to squeeze and pick and do all sorts of icky stuff to my face, and it never ever helped. It always made it worse, and I have the scars to prove it
    Don't use harsh ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide if you're using any kind of tretinoin cream. These ingredients were making my skin so much worse - they were not helping at all.
    Use tretinoin cream every night, and always moisturize after.
    Eat veggies and fruit and drink water! If I have a crazy weekend and eat a lot of carbs and junk food and alcohol, my skin always suffers. It looks dull and I have clogged pores and it takes a few days to get back to normal after that. I really noticed how an organic, healthy diet that is low in sugar has helped my skin look and feel great.

    And of course, use the spiro. I think my hormones played a large role in the ups and downs of my breakouts, and now that they are under control, I hardly think about my skin anymore. Literally, my skin was ruining my life. You can read some of my earlier posts to see just how bad it was -- but I was basically depressed and always worrying about my makeup covering up my inflamed red skin and who was looking at me and it totally took over my every thought. I didn't want my boyfriend to sleep over (see me without makeup?? no way!) and I didn't want to go swimming in the summer and all sorts of other activities that I really missed out on. Now, I'm living with my boyfriend (with a ring on the way soon I think ) and I hardly give two seconds of thought to what my face looks like. My best advice is to stick with your treatment, be patient, and have hope, because I struggled for a long long time, basically from the age of 15-29, and I promise it can get better if you find the right solution!

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  2. JennyLG added a comment on a blog entry 8 Months On Spironolactone   

    It wasn't on my jawline, it was widespread around my cheeks (under my cheekbones kind of) and on my chin, either on the right or left under my mouth. From what I understand, spiro will only help hormonal acne, but if you're 18 or older I think it's worth trying. I saw great results even after my dermatologist told me repeatedly the only course of action was accutane. I was on antibiotics for a long time and used every topical under the sun. Spiro is the only thing that helped. Good luck with your accutane!! Hopefully you won't need other options
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  3. JennyLG added a blog entry in Spironolactone   

    8 Months On Spironolactone
    It's been a while since my last post... mostly because I hardly have to worry about my skin anymore! I've been taking spiro for over 8 months and have never been happier. I'm still using tretinoin cream at night and moisturize with cerave PM. In the morning I use cerave AM. That's all! Every other day I use St. Ives apricot scrub to help clear away the dead skin from the retin-a. I stopped using all benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid products. They made my face much more inflamed and irritated and dry. Since I stopped using that harsh stuff, I noticed my skin is more balanced and actually breaks out less. I think the cerave moisturizer is helping a lot.

    I still get a pimple or two when I PMS but it's nothing too crazy or unmanageable. I'm so happy with my skin finally!!!!! My best advice to anyone with cystic acne is to be patient and give spiro a long time to kick in. It took months and months (with LOTS of ups and downs) before I really felt I had made significant progress. And not to mention 15 years of bad skin before that... !

    My dermatologist was constantly telling me I needed accutane and I'm SO GLAD I didn't go that route. At 29 years old, I didn't think that would be a long-term solution. Most women at my age who use accutane have relapses and have to do additional rounds. I think that my acne was mostly related to stress, hormones and years of putting harsh acidic topical irritants on my face. And diet too --- I've been eating an organic, GMO-free and dairy-free diet while minimizing my intake of processed food. I think that has made a huge difference. There are some awesome sites about how GMO foods are causing lots of health concerns and I whole-heartedly believe my skin breakouts were directly related to food allergies and/or upset stomach caused by overly-processed food. Corn and soy ingredients that are genetically modified are being linked to lots of diseases like autism, cancer, and more... it's crazy. Okay enough about food! I hope anyone who tries spiro sticks with it and sees great results like I did
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  4. JennyLG added a comment on a blog entry Days 1-10 On Spironolactone   

    I can't remember exactly... but within a month I noticed a big difference. Within 2 months my skin was much softer and smoother, I didn't have to blot with oil removers during the day, my makeup stayed in place and I could wash my hair every other day instead of every day. Hope that helps!
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  5. JennyLG added a blog entry in Spironolactone   

    6 Months On Spiro And A Few Lessons Learned....
    Can't believe it's been 6 months! I started taking spiro back on October 23, 2012. Time flies. I've had ups and downs, and here are my latest thoughts:

    -- Spiro is great at keeping hormonal levels in check. In addition to a birth control pill that is low in androgens, I 100% think spiro is a great option for women who struggle with acne brought on by stress, PMS etc.
    -- Spiro does not make miracles happen. Don't get me wrong, it helped A LOT, but I also learned that there were other underlying issues causing my acne:
    -- Picking at pores. I know it's gross but I would pick and pick and pick and then immediately regret it when a simple blackhead turned into an inflamed, icky sore. Spiro will help, but I HAD to stop inspecting my face every night!
    -- Diet. I cut out dairy and that helped a lot too. My stomach was always upset and once I stopped eating ice cream, milk, cheese (basically all the yummy stuff, boo) I noticed my face was less inflamed as well. When I eat veggies and fish and drink a lot of water, I feel great and I look great. When I eat sugar and loads of junk, I look like junk.
    -- Makeup. Obviously I want to cover up my acne marks and breakouts with concealer, but I realized the kind of makeup I was using was causing more redness and irritation. I used to use neutrogena concealer with salicylic acid, thinking that would help clear my skin also. It wasn't until I switched to a maybelline product formulated with vitamin c (meant to clear dark spots, etc) that I noticed how much smoother and less irritated my skin felt. While acne products can be great for some skin types, I'm 29 and think that keeping my skin moisturized is more important than drying it out with harsh chemicals. They seemed to do more harm than good.
    -- Moisturize at night. I didn't fully understand how important this was until recently. I was getting really upset because the spiro seemed to stop working, until I realized that my breakouts were beig caused by dry skin (thanks to tretinoin, which works wonders on clogged pores but can really suck the moisture out of your face). When I used tretinoin at night and didn't follow up with a PM moisturizer, my skin would dry out and flake and get irritated and red and 2-3 days later I would magically have breakouts in the dry patches. I think my skin was confused, it would dry out and then start pumping tons and tons of oil to compensate, leading to more acne. Now that I use a moisturizer every night, no matter what, I've noticed my skin is constantly "normal" and isn't swaying between crazy extremes from dry to oily to wacky to acne. That always seemed counter-intuitive to me, that putting moisture on a breakout would make it worse, but the right moisturizer will help it heal and reduce redness (like cerave) while products like clindamycine and benzoyl will only make it peel and look worse. Granted I know those products can work wonders for some, just not right for my super sensitive skin.
    -- Stay calm. This sounds funny, but as much as spiro can help, if I'm super stressed about something (work, personal life, the fact that I'm breaking out again and don't know why, etc) my skin gets ten times worse. It's a fact. At this point, even with all info about spiro and tretinoin and diet, I will still get a nasty acne flare-up that takes weeks to heal if I don't stay calm and stress free.
    -- Antibiotics are overrated. Just my humble opinion. I took doxy at 200mg per day for about 5 months and recently just stopped. Yes, it helped with inflammation. Yes, my deep acne cysts were better when I took it. But my skin was also super sensitive to sunlight to the point where 15 mins outside and I felt like my face was burning off (I'm Italian and have olive skin and normally tan like crazy in the sun so definitely not normal) and I know tretinoin will obviously affect sun sensitivity but this was even more intense. My stomach was not normal, and in general long term antibiotic use is not good for your body's natural balance. Yes, I broke out when I stopped taking doxy (some of the worst cysts I've had in a while, to the point where my derm again suggested accutane and I resisted. And am still healing some of those breakouts) BUT I firmly believe that the outbreak will go away and it was just my body getting back to "normal." I'm also taking a probiotic and that has seemed to help a lot. So much of your outer appearance is linked to your inner health, and I firmly believe that antibiotics are killing way too much good bacteria along with the bad. I know they work wonders for some, but after a long thoughtful decision, I'm done with them. Call me a health freak, that's fine I'd rather get to the root of the issue (lack of moisture, stress, hormones, food allergy) rather than take an antibiotic that is only masking the condition. Antibiotics won't permanently cure acne, they only work to reduce inflammation while you're taking them, and there's no way I want to take them for an indefinite period of time. Just my own view on it.

    I'm meeting with a nutritionist in a few weeks to review my diet in more detail. Since I cut out dairy, I've lost about 15 lbs but I'm also only a out 110 lbs now so I need to make sure I'm still getting the nutrients and vitamin d and calcium I need. Plus she may have some insight into the antibiotic vs probiotic topic, which is still interesting to me. Will keep everyone posted how that goes!

    I guess that's it for now. Still healing some spots from stopping the doxy but altogether feeling great about the spiro, birth control pill and retinoid treatment I'm on. Also a quick note that I recently started using cerave products and LOVE them, absolutely recommend to anyone using a retinoid.
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  6. JennyLG added a comment on a blog entry Days 1-10 On Spironolactone   

    Pretty much! I'm about to post a new update with more detail, but in general the spiro did a great job keeping my hormonal acne away.
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  7. JennyLG added a comment on a blog entry Day 98 On Spironolactone -- Clear For The 3 Month Mark!   

    The spiro only helped with the deep cystic type acne that was caused by stress, PMS etc. a topical retinoid has cleared up my pores really well, I use tretinoin and its great for that. Just be sure to also use a moisturizer night and day since those products can dry out your skin (which leads to more breakouts, at least in my experience).
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  8. JennyLG added a comment on a blog entry Day 98 On Spironolactone -- Clear For The 3 Month Mark!   

    Glad to hear you're seeing improvements! I would definitely recommend hanging in there, there were more than a few days I felt like it was hopeless and my skin was getting worse, and I think it just really does take 3 months or more to fully adjust. I'm sure you'll feel just as good in another month
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  9. JennyLG added a blog entry in Spironolactone   

    Day 98 On Spironolactone -- Clear For The 3 Month Mark!
    Feeling GREAT about my skin... finally! My derm and my doctor both said to let the spiro work for 3 months and then reevaluate my progress once my body and hormones have been able to adjust. At this point, this is the best my skin has looked in years. I'm absolutely amazed. There's not even one spot underneath my skin -- before I would have cysts forming every few days that I could feel when I washed my face. And now my entire face feels smooth. I went through some ups and downs, and I think it was just my body adjusting (and since I also switched my birth control pill in the process) but at this point I feel great. I have maybe 3 spots on my face right now, but they couldn't even be called pimples. They are just little pores that are blocked. It's a miracle! Granted, it wasn't an overnight miracle, and over the last 3 months I definitely had some days where I wanted to give up, and before my spiro treatment I struggled for 10+ years (basically since high school) with problem skin. So overnight ---- not so much! But I do finally feel like I've found the right mix of treatment. I have a lot of hyper pigmentation and a few scars that still need to heal, so I'm still a little dependent on makeup to cover those spots, but at least there aren't new breakouts forming. And anyone who has struggled with cystic acne can probably relate --- I don't care how red my face is, as long as I don't have huge bumps that are painful and swollen, I'll consider that a good day!

    I've also learned an important lesson to let my skin heal on its own. All those years I was picking and squeezing and irritating my face was only making things a million times worse. I've realized that my body will take care of a clogged pore within 3 days, and if I squeeze it that will only create a scab and a scar and not heal any faster at all.

    The only side effect of the spiro I've noticed to be lingering is the fact that I lost about 15 pounds. I used to weigh about 125 and now I'm around 110. I didn't change one thing in my diet or exercise, but I think the fact that its a diuretic just means I don't have any water bloat anymore. Not a bad thing! And my breasts feel bigger -- almost a little swollen? -- but they don't hurt at all, just seem to fill out my bra better. That's also a good thing I guess.

    I'm slowly stopping the doxy, I don't think it was helping at all anyway. So right now I'm taking 100mg spiro in the morning, 100mg doxy in the morning, my birth control pill (Sprintec) and using tretinoin cream .025% at night. In 2 weeks I'll stop the doxy altogether. My advice to anyone who's struggling is to stay positive and be patient. It can take a while to see results with any program. And now I realize that less is more --- I used to try a bajillion products and all that really did was dry out my face and cause redness and irritation. Now I use moisturizer in the morning and at night, and no harsh astringents or creams that will dry out my face. It always seemed counter-intuitive to me, why would I moisturize my face when it's already oily? But now I know that maintaining a balance - not using too much product and not leaving my face too dry - is really the best approach for me. Okay enough rambling for now... I'll update in another few weeks with what is hopefully lasting results!!
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  10. JennyLG added a blog entry in Spironolactone   

    Day 88 On Spironolactone
    Almost at the 3 month mark. Still experiencing some ups and downs. Have a larger outbreak below my nose (weird spot!) that sucks, but in general the spiro seems to be helping in terms of the severity. Any cyst-like outbreak shrinks must faster and tends to not even come to a head. It will just be a big bump under my skin for a few days, become a little red, then slowly vanish (as long as I don't pick, which I have gotten SOO much better at!).

    I started having more whiteheads and blackheads, which was frustrating since I haven't had any of those in a long long time since using tretinoin every night, so I switched to a new exfoliating wash from St. Ives that contains salicylic acid. Usually I use the regular apricot one, which is great for getting rid of the dead skin cells the tretinoin helps to turn over. Well..... that was a bad idea. I used the salicylic adic one a few times this week and my skin was not happy. I think it dried it out too much, and so it started pumping out way too much oil to compensate. Yikes. Nothing so major but definitely a step back. I stopped using it and have been making sure to moisturize really well and my skin is starting to become more balanced, less red and overall more "calm."

    Lessons learned: Don't use harsh things on my skin. Period. Don't pick. Ever. And keep moisturizing.

    Another thing I noticed is that my pigmentation that's left over from past breakouts seems to have gotten worse. Probably just irritated from that harsh scrub. Yuck. I'm also getting my period so I think that one breakout might be a result of that.

    All in all, still feeling good, no more side effects from the spiro at all, and just looking forward to another month with fingers crossed I continue to improve. Using 100mg spiro in the morning, tretinoin 0.25% cream at night and 100mg doxy daily.
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  11. JennyLG added a blog entry in Spironolactone   

    Day 73 On Spironolactone -- 2.5 Months And Bye Bye Dairy
    Happy New Year! 2013 didn't start out as I hoped it would. Just got back from the derm and had to get 3 more spots injected with cortisone to reduce the inflammation and swelling. What the heck happened?? Well, I was wondering that too, since I was on such an awesome path with the spiro. Like anyone who has ever struggled with acne, or any kind of medical issue for that matter, I've googled a bajillion "solutions" to the problem. There are a lot of theories out there, most are a little crazy, but one thing I noticed during all that googling is that dairy kept appearing as a trigger. And while most articles admit that dermatologists do not officially consider dairy a cause of acne, recent studies have been able to link the hormones found in milk with acne-inducing hormones found in a human body. After all, milk and all dairy products come from a pregnant cow, so no wonder it can effect your body's own hormone levels. For me, hormones are absolutely the #1 cause of my acne. So the spiro has been awesome at curbing those major outbreaks usually brought on by stress or PMS. My birth control pill has also been a huge help. And for the little clogged pores, tretinoin cream is still working out really well.

    So back to the milk.. Totally unrelated to my acne, I stopped consuming dairy products about 6 months ago after my friends and my boyfriend convinced me that I was lactose intolerant. It would go something like this:
    Me: ouch my stomach hurts.
    Friends: oh no, what did you eat today?
    Me: yogurt for breakfast and ice cream after dinner.

    Multiply that scenario by about 5+ years and you can see why I finally admitted to myself that maybe, just maybe, my body had a hard time digesting lactose and hence the belly aches. Since I've stopped eating it (did I mention how much I miss ice cream???) I've felt great. No stomach aches, no diarrhea (sorry for the TMI but it's true!) and no cramping.

    Simultaneously, I've been starting a new regimen of spiro and loving it. Had a few ups and downs but overall my oil production is basically zero, my makeup stays in place like magic, and I don't even have to wash my hair every day which is a miracle considering how oily I used to get.

    Last week I went to the lab at my doctor's office for a lactose intolerance test. I wanted to be 100% sure I had to say goodbye to ice cream and pizza and cannolis before cutting them out, I didn't want to be missing out on something if it's wasn't even really a problem to begin with! The lab tech made me drink 12 ounces of pure lactose that tasted AWFUL and was like a big syrupy glass of luke-warm milk. Bleh. Then I had to sit around there for 3 hours while they tested my reaction at 15 minute intervals. Still haven't heard back from the lab about the results, but I'll tell you this: MY FACE WENT BANANAS.

    Literally, the next day, I had about 4-5 super super red pimples on my face that were well on their way to becoming big swollen cysts. This probably sounds dramatic, and I know people can exaggerate, but I'm not even kidding... I went from having calm, normal-colored skin with a few little clogged pores here and there that no one would bat an eye at to having a red, inflamed, out of control complexion. I'm not a scientist, nor a doctor, but it's pretty crystal clear to me now that dairy, or lactose, or whatever you want to call it, is not a good idea for me. After months of getting my acne under control (not to mention the years I've spent struggling with it) suddenly it became obvious that dairy is a trigger for inflammation. It seemed like any little spot on my face went from being calm to being VERY angry almost overnight. Not fun.

    I went to the derm today to get some of the spots injected with cortisone and asked her about a possible link. After telling her the history, she said that it's very very likely dairy is a "trigger" for my breakouts, just like gluten is for some other people, and that I should avoid it given what it seems to have caused. She said it's not uncommon for food allergies to manifest some symptoms in your complexion.

    So.... needless to say I'm done with dairy. Soy milk is delicious, especially the vanilla flavored one from Whole Foods, and I'm taking a daily vitamin D pill that my primary care doctor recommended. I will miss ice cream for sure, but I won't miss my red, inflamed skin! Hoping once these bumps go down I will be back on track with my spiro success. I tend to be weary of people or articles that claim to have found a "cure" or a "cause" of acne, since so much of it depends on each person's individual situation. So I'm certainly not trying to say "everyone should stop eating dairy, it causes acne" duh that would suck and all the ice cream vendors would go out of business and that would be a very sad day. It's just so clear to me after this "experiment" (that was accidental in terms of testing dairy's effect on my skin) I can't eat it anymore! Maybe the best thing to do if you're curious whether a certain food (milk, gluten, etc.) is messing up your complexion is to cut it out of your diet for a few months, then carefully watch what happens when you re-introduce it. My derm said it's obvious there's a link there for me, so if you try testing out the theory you should pretty clearly be able to tell if it causes a reaction to occur. Sorry for all the exclamation points, I'm a little shocked myself at how obvious the connection was for me. Clear as day on Tuesday, drank a bunch of lactose, red inflamed yucky face on Wednesday.

    Also as a last note, I'm still really glad I didn't take the accutane route. It might have cleared my skin in the short term, but I never would have realized the link between my hormones and dairy consumption with inflammation and breakouts. Trying to look forward and stay positive and although this breakout sucks and makes me feel like I took 12 giant leaps backwards -- at least now I know what to avoid and how to better manage my skin. But god, I'm going to miss ice cream!
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  12. JennyLG added a blog entry in Spironolactone   

    Day 60 On Spironolactone - Month 2 Is Over! Time Flies!
    Well that last post was quite a doozy. Thankfully my skin took a turn for the better after that.... The areas I was freaking out about on my chin are completely GONE now! I think I overreact a bit when I see something forming because of how bad my cysts were before I started spiro, and I'm so scared that it will revert back to that. But finishing month 2, I can honestly say this is the most confident I've been regarding my skin in a long long time! Still have lots of red marks and "scars" that will most likely fade other time, but I have no huge breakouts at all right now! And even more amazing, I have nothing brewing "under my skin" --- for anyone that has had cystic acne or those deep painful kind of breakouts, you know what I mean

    Before I started spiro there was always at least one, if not two or more, spots on my chin or jawline that were just hanging out deep under my skin, ready to surface. The best feeling is when I wash my face in the morning and my skin feels completely smooth!! Granted, I still get a few clogged pores here and there, probably thanks to my makeup, but I try to do a good job of keeping my face clean and use a tretinoin cream at night to keep them clear. The major win for me is that my cysts are gone! I'll take a clogged pore or even a "regular" little pimple any day over those massive bumps. Feeling really positive about what the next month will bring, since both my derm and my primary care doctor both say the third month is when the full effects of spiro really kick in, once your body has fully adjusted to the treatment.

    Side effects are minimal, no more dizziness, although I do notice I can't drink as much as I used to. That probably sounds funny, but seriously if I have one glass of wine I feel like I just took a drowsy benadryl. Oh well, not too big of an issue since alcohol isn't exactly an antioxidant and wasn't doing my skin any favors anyway

    Also, I've lost almost 10 lbs since starting spiro, which is CRAZY since I haven't changed a thing other than taking that pill. No extra exercise, no change in diet. I think it's mostly water weight.
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  13. JennyLG added a comment on a blog entry Day 57 On Spironolactone - Ups And Downs And Working On Self-Esteem   

    Thanks for the encouragement!! I'm sorry you're struggling with the same thing, but I agree, it's comforting to know that I'm not the only one who feels that way. The good news is that I did see positive effects from the spiro after just 2 weeks. I've tried every single other thing except for accutane, and so far spiro has been the absolute best thing! And the last 2 months really did fly by, so before you know it you'll hit the 3 month mark and hopefully see huge improvements Good luck and keep me posted on your progress too!!
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  14. JennyLG added a blog entry in Spironolactone   

    Day 57 On Spironolactone - Ups And Downs And Working On Self-Esteem
    Just shy of the 2 month mark! I've had some ups and downs, but am still feeling confident this will be a good long-term solution. Taking 100mg/day of spiro and have tried to slowly taper off the doxycycline, which I've been taking 200mg/day of since August. I didn't think it was helping, but over the last 2 weeks every time I lower my doxy dose, I have a breakout! So maybe it was helping after all. I don't mind the daily spiro since I know that's okay for long-term use, but the antibiotics are really not my first choice since your body can build a tolerance and they're really not good for long periods of time. My derm recommened once I hit the 3 month mark with spiro, I can drop the doxy to 100mg/day for 2 months then stop altogether. So that's good there's an end in sight for the antibiotics. And I'm still feeling really happy I avoided accutane, even at the strong suggestion of my derm, since now I see how much my acne was related to my hormones and that I really can get it under control with spironolactone.

    At my appt with my derm yesterday I asked her to use a cortisone shot for a breakout on my chin. There are 2 bumps that have all the makings of turning into swollen cysts, the kind that don't come to a head and just hang out on my face for 2 weeks. Since I haven't had any really large cysts in the last few weeks, and I'm trying hard to work on clearing my acne scars and hyper-pigmentation, I wanted to be proactive and try and get rid of these before they got any bigger. But she said she wouldn't inject them since there is too great of a risk of atrophy, which is when your skin sinks in and leaves a "hole" that can last for months, or even years. Sooo.... I guess that is a good thing? That they aren't that bad? I was a little disappointed since those shots are like little miracle workers that immediately make the bump go down, plus it's a $25 co-pay every time I go in, plus I have to take off work and travel to the office, so it's hard for me to get in there often. She said if they get bigger to just make an appt later in the week but I can't just keep trekking off to the dr. and leaving my job! Oh well. I guess I shouldn't complain since I've been relatively clear and these are certainly nothing like the kind I used to get. I think I just have such an emotional and knee-jerk reaction when I start seeing something forming. I immediately go into a kind of panic mode and worry that they are going to keep growing (which now I know makes it *even* worse since stress throws off your hormones and makes your body pump out even more acne-inducing stuff) so I try to keep calm. But it's hard when I feel like acne is controlling my life and my self-esteem and confidence basically goes down the drain when I see them appear. I feel ugly, I feel like a loser, I feel like no one will love me, etc. etc. of crazy reactions that I *know* aren't true but can't help from worrying about.

    Last night I was thinking about all the times I either changed plans, or was in a bad mood, or stayed in, or avoided people including my boyfriend and friends, or snapped at my parents because of the stress I felt.... the list goes on. I know it sounds crazy but acne has controlled so much of my life for the last 10 years. It makes me feel sad and like I've missed out on feeling happiness and maintaining a carefree attitude. I see women around the city who are my age, late 20's or early 30's, who have perfectly clear skin and I seriously feel jealous. Jealous! Of complete strangers. I know it's not normal, but I can't help it. I think I might seek some professional help by setting up an appt with a therapist through a referral from my primary care physician. It's gotten really hard for me to relate to people and the only outlet I have right now for my stress is on this blog. Which helps! But I still feel like I have a lot of leftover anxiety, stress, and sadness from the experiences I've had. There were literally days last year when my face was so swollen that I would call out sick from work and mope around my apt all day by myself. I think that's borderline depressing. If not full-on depression. Granted, it goes in waves and is definitely better when my skin improves, there's a direct correlation. And everything else in my life is fine. I have a good job, friends, family, etc. so I know it could be way worse. But I can't stress enough how emotionally devastating it has been to look at my face in the mirror some days and just cry. Granted, it's way way way better since the spiro, thank goodness, and I don't think I'll ever go back to those terrible terrible days, but I do think I need to get a handle on how to deal with those leftover emotions. Some people say acne is a cosmetic condition, but I know for sure based on my experience that it can cause severe emotional pain. There were days I wanted to just curl up in my bed and sleep for days and days until the marks went away (which I obviously couldn't do, and didn't do) but still, those feelings are not healthy!! One big thing I've accepted in the past few months is that the more in control of my anxiety I am, the healthier I look. And since my anxiety is directly linked to what's going on with my face, I need to be confident that even if I have a breakout, or 4 or 5!, that it's not the end of the world and life goes on. Easier said than done, but I'm trying every day to work on my confidence and self-esteem. I start beating myself up that I'm inadequate, that my boyfriend will think I'm ugly, that he won't want to be with me, and loads of other craziness. When in reality, we've been dating for over 2 years and he's seen me without makeup at my worst. And has never said a bad or mean thing about it. He's also not super supportive, in that he doesn't understand how upset I can get when I get a huge cyst, but I think that's because he's never had anything like that and doesn't get why I think it's a big deal. I don't talk to anyone about it really, for that reason. I feel like no one understands how much it effects me. But that's just the thing...... it's my own fault for beating myself up about it! No one is making fun of me (or, at least, no one that I know of haha) and all the close people in my life love me unconditionally. I'm absolutely my harshest critic and feel this need to look perfect. I think a therapist could help me a lot. So that's my goal for 2013 --- to work on my self-esteem and improve my self-worth and stop beating myself up for not being perfect.

    In terms of side effects of spiro, no more dizziness and only a slight increase in urination. Still need to drink extra water throughout the day. Other than the few spots on my chin here and there, no major crazy cysts and my forehead and cheeks are completely clear and look amazing. Chin is still on the mend, but my derm reminded me that 3 months is the ultimate mark for it to work so here's to hoping the next month is the best one yet! The tretinoin has been awesome in reducing my clogged pores and keeping my skin smooth, I've been using the 0.025% for over a year and love it. Lately I've been using it every other night, and just moisturizing on the "off" nights, which has really improved the tone and texture of my skin in the cold winter weather. I stopped using benzoyl peroxide and clindamycin (in the form of acanya or duac) altogether. My skin is MUCH less red. I noticed that without those topicals, my skin is actually in a better state. It's not flaking or scabbing or irritated, and that really those things were just making the cysts appear worse. Since not only were the cysts creating a bump on my face, the topical stuff was making the bump red and scabby. Without the redness, my skin can still look uneven since the cysts are deep within my skin, but at least the tone of my face is even (well, not perfectly even, but not red and inflamed and crazy looking!). I know those products can help certain kinds of acne, but for mine, I think it just made it worse. Mine are so deep within my skin that only cortisone injections or internal meds are going to make a big difference.
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  15. JennyLG added a comment on a blog entry About Me!   

    I can relate too -- my face went through a terrible phase the last 2 years (I'm almost 29 now) where it wouldn't respond to ANYTHING. And I literally tried every single product, including antibiotic pills, except for accutane. I'm using spironolactone, which is also a pill, but it's not an antibiotic. It helps regulate your hormones by blocking testosterone receptors. It's usually prescribed for high blood pressure, but happens to have that great side effect, so more and more derms are prescribing it to female patients with "hormonal" acne, which mine definitely was. I would get deep cysts around my chin, jaw and mouth and it would get WAY worse when I was PMSing or if I was stressed out. I've been on it for over a month and have seen amazing improvements. Still not 100% clear, but a huge difference in the oil my skin is producing (or lack thereof!) so much so that I can go 2+ days without washing my hair, which would never happen before. I'm on 100mg/day. I asked my doctor about it after my best friend told me she had been using it for 4+ years, and she literally has PERFECTLY clear skin. I would definitely recommend looking into it further, especially since you said you had PCOS, since this is prescribed for that as well. I also noticed that my red, irritated skin has gotten much better since I stopped using so many harsh topical products, and I'm actually breaking out less. I totally agree with you about the different chemicals! I just use a mild cleanser for sensitive skin, moisturize with oil-free sensitive formula, and use the spiro pill. Whatever you decide to do, good luck with it! Hang in there and try and stay positive!
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