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Green Gables

I Am 100% Clear. Severe Cystic Acne Cured With Spironolactone.

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I have combined cystic acne and rosacea. My skin is now 100% clear of zits! (The rosacea is still present.)

For privacy reasons the before and after photos have been removed. Apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

6 months ago I started 50mg a day of spiro, and after one month, my derm upped my dose to 100mg daily. I did not see ANY clearing until month 3, but after that the clearing was dramatic.

For those of you unfamiliar with spironolactone, it is an anti-androgen.

What I do daily:
-100mg of spiro.
-Wash once a day CeraVe cleanser and moisturize with CeraVe moisturizer
-7-8 hours sleep a night. Hard to do but so worth it.
-Dairy-free, low-sugar, moderate carb diet. Highly recommend the Paleo diet book for better health.

What I tried consistently but gave up on as a "cure":

-Benzoyl peroxide. It didn't prevent deeper acne. It may kill bacteria but it does awful things to the quality of your skin.
-Finacea (azelaic acid). It temporarily reduces my redness...but not much more.
-Blue/red lights. Specifically the Lightwave CS. While I think this is a great product for milder acne, it didn't touch my cysts.
-Oil cleansing method with 75% jojoba/25% castor.
-AHAs and BHAs
-Antibiotics. I have been on Tetracycline, Doxycycline (normal and Oracea versions), Clindamyacin (oral and topical), Minocycline, Amoxycyllin, Cephalexil, and Z-Pac. Treatment times for each have varied.
-Massive probiotics, Betaine HCL, and digestive enzymes. I actually highly recommend probiotics to everyone and believe there is a lot of hard science to support it. Many people see complete clearance from probiotics. Probiotics have been great for my health, but they just didn't stop the acne.
-Supplementation of zinc, B-5, garlic, magnesium, milk thistle, saw palmetto, and MSM.
-Water only method
-No washing method (this was a disgusting period of my life)
-Ketoconazole cream (antifungal)
-The baby brush method, the Clarisonic brush
-Retinoids

What I tried not really consistently:

-Hormonal birth control. I have tried both Ortho Tri-Cyclen and Yaz. Later I found out via genetic testing that I am at an increased risk for Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolisms, which means I cannot take hormonal birth control pills. I use a hormone-free copper IUD for birth control.

-I had one IPL. Reduced my redness a little for about a year.

Negative side effects of spironolactone:
-It is a diuretic. For the first few weeks you pee every hour. My body has mostly adjusted. Still drink a lot more water to stay hydrated.

Overall:
I'm clear!!!!!

Future:
Staying on spiro. Spiro's effects disappear when you stop taking it. Since spiro has been shown to be safe for long-term use, I plan to stay on it for as long as necessary.

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GreenGables

 


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I got really excited reading about this especially because you've had such amazing results, but then I saw only girls can take it. Damn...back to the drawing board lol.

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Daily Regimen:
-Clean and Clear Foaming Cleanser
-Dan's 2.5% BP
-Jojoba oil as moisturizer

Nightly Regimen:
-Clean and Clear Foaming Cleanser
-Dan's 2.5% BP
-Cetaphil moisturizer + a few drops of Jojoba oil

My Regimen Log:








 


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congrats on clear skin! i wish guys could take this stuff =(

I got really excited reading about this especially because you've had such amazing results, but then I saw only girls can take it. Damn...back to the drawing board lol.

It's not officially recommended for males, but some have used it. Reviews are mixed. It is an "off-label" acne medication, its original use was a diuretic. It has been prescribed to males. You just need a very low dose, which may or may not help your acne.

See:

http://www.acne.org/messageboard/index.php/topic/263655-spironolactone-for-men/

http://www.acne.org/messageboard/index.php/topic/258510-spiro-works-for-men/

http://www.acne.org/messageboard/index.php/topic/44731-can-men-take-spironolactone/

http://www.acne.org/messageboard/index.php/topic/190401-any-dudes-taking-or-planning-on-taking-spironolactone/

I would highly recommend trying a natural anti-androgen route though. If women can get such great results from hormonal treatment I think men can too, just need a different ratio of hormones. E.g. Saw Palmetto is natural anti-androgen used by a lot of males for various reasons. I did try saw palmetto without results...but I think that's because a) saw palmetto's effects really work better with men and b) my dosage was probably way too low.


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GreenGables

 


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spiro=saw plametto=soy=Pygeum=stinging nettle's=Pumpkin Seed Oil=DHT BLOCKER

dht cause oily skin, oily skin cause good conditions on skin to acne bacteria to grow.

lower dht=stop oily skin=clear

saw palmetto cleared me by the way

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spiro=saw plametto=soy=Pygeum=stinging nettle's=Pumpkin Seed Oil=DHT BLOCKER

dht cause oily skin, oily skin cause good conditions on skin to acne bacteria to grow.

lower dht=stop oily skin=clear

saw palmetto cleared me by the way

Good to hear! i actually have some but havent tried it yet, whats a good dosage to take it?

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Did you have any acne scarring from your past acne, and if so how did you take care of that? Was it just Retin-A?


[CURRENT REGIMEN]

AM:

Wash with La Roche-Posay Effaclar Foaming Gel (European version) + Clarisonic Mia

Apply CeraVe AM Moisturizer w/ SPF 30

Apply Aczone (dapsone)

PM:

Wash with La Roche-Posay Effaclar Foaming Gel + Clarisonic Mia
Apply CeraVe PM Moisturizer
Apply Epiduo (adapalene + benzoyl peroxide)
50 mg of Spironolactone

[CURRENT STATUS]
90% clear


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spiro=saw plametto=soy=Pygeum=stinging nettle's=Pumpkin Seed Oil=DHT BLOCKER

dht cause oily skin, oily skin cause good conditions on skin to acne bacteria to grow.

lower dht=stop oily skin=clear

saw palmetto cleared me by the way

Good to hear! i actually have some but havent tried it yet, whats a good dosage to take it?

i take 2 pill every day, 1 in the morning and 1 in the evning.

each pill contain:

Raw Saw Palmetto Berry Powder300mg

Standardised Saw Palmetto Berry Extract 150mg

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I definitely want to do more research on the DHT-acne connection. I actually have DRY skin and cystic acne, and spiro still cleared me.

Did you have any acne scarring from your past acne, and if so how did you take care of that? Was it just Retin-A?

Well I have accumulated some scarring over the years, as you can see in the pictures. I think the constant retinoid use kept my scarring level down overall. I'm still using Retin-A, but I will probably need laser for my indented scars.


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GreenGables

 


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Fantastic results!!!

Yay for kicking acne in the nuts!

I tried Spiro but my blood pressure is 90/59 and it made my dizzy. Has it affected your blood pressure (dizzy, tired, weak?), and what about the fact that you have to have your potassium levels monitored in order to prevent cardiac damage while being on this medicine long-term (too much potassium can cause sudden heart failure)? Have you discussed this with your doctor?

Did you ever consider Accutane? That's what I'm on now and it's amaaaaazing in terms of results. I hope it lasts after my treatment ends.


28 years young female nutrition ninja

blah blah acne forever. let's kick it in the nutz, accutane.

Barlean's omega 3-6-9 swirl, probiotics, Thorne liver support, vitamin D

Started Claravis May 16, 2012

Month 1: 40 mg

Month 2: 60 mg

Month 3: 60 mg

Month 4: 60 mg

Month 5: 60 mg

Ending October 18, 2012


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Congratulations! Thanks for sharing. May I ask what product of 2% salicylic acid you are using?

Clearasil Acne + Marks Lotion

Fantastic results!!!

Yay for kicking acne in the nuts!

I tried Spiro but my blood pressure is 90/59 and it made my dizzy. Has it affected your blood pressure (dizzy, tired, weak?), and what about the fact that you have to have your potassium levels monitored in order to prevent cardiac damage while being on this medicine long-term (too much potassium can cause sudden heart failure)? Have you discussed this with your doctor?

Did you ever consider Accutane? That's what I'm on now and it's amaaaaazing in terms of results. I hope it lasts after my treatment ends.

Yes, I get my levels checked every 3 months. Hyperkalemia is a possibility, but it is extremely rare and seen on doses much higher than mine. Accutane has a MUCH higher risk of complications.

For many, spiro is safe for long-term use. There have been a few studies done, notably one that lasted 8 years studying long-term spiro use.

After 200 person-years of exposure to spironolactone and 506 person-years of followup over 8 years, no serious illnesses thought to be attributed to spironolactone were reported. The long-term use of spironolactone in the treatment of acne in women appears to be safe. Side effects, however, are common, although not usually a cause for stopping the drug.

I noticed a little bit of dizziness the first week or two, but that subsided. I drink a lot of water every 2 hours. My derm said if you slack on water intake you will notice more dizziness. My blood pressure before spiro, however, was squarely normal.

I did not ever take Accutane though I had many derms push that on me starting at age 14. At first, cost was the deterrent (parents weren't going to spend thousands of dollars on it). As an adult willing to shell out for it, I ended up not taking it because

a) My roommate went on it in college and literally went bald

b) I am very active, and heard too many people report joint pain after Accutane

In the end, I don't think it would have helped me. After puberty I went from oily skin to dry skin and my acne actually got worse. Accutane drying me out even more? I don't see how that would have helped. My acne was probably a hormonal imbalance problem from the start, not an oil problem.


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GreenGables

 


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I had dry skin with severe cystic acne, too. I'm 28...and so far have seen amazing results with accutane. Both spiro and accutane reduce sebum production, but of the powerful DHT variety which causes acne. Either way, I'm happy it's worked out for you. :)


28 years young female nutrition ninja

blah blah acne forever. let's kick it in the nutz, accutane.

Barlean's omega 3-6-9 swirl, probiotics, Thorne liver support, vitamin D

Started Claravis May 16, 2012

Month 1: 40 mg

Month 2: 60 mg

Month 3: 60 mg

Month 4: 60 mg

Month 5: 60 mg

Ending October 18, 2012


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Just wanted to update that I have cut down to 50mg a day and I am still clear. Read an old article that suggested clearing acne on 100-150mg a day, and then cutting back to a maintenance dose of 25-50mg. This seems to be working for me and reversing the weight gain I described earlier. 3 pounds have come off of the 7 pounds I gained.


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GreenGables

 


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Crazy that you didn't have any big scars, wish I was that lucky.


*Moderator edit - Linking to websites other than Acne.org in your signature is not allowed*


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Crazy that you didn't have any big scars, wish I was that lucky.

Besides retinoids...I attribute that to not using benzoyl peroxide long-term. I did it religiously for a year and a half and then quit.

  • Repeated sun exposure or BP use generates free radicals that damage the skin’s structure and cellular DNA, resulting in premature aging of the skin.
  • Because BP generates free radicals it interferes with and slows the healing process. The red and brown marks that are a part of the acne healing process may last weeks longer when BP is a regular part of the daily regimen.


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GreenGables

 


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Oh wow thanks for the info, didn't know that!


*Moderator edit - Linking to websites other than Acne.org in your signature is not allowed*


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amazing difference! thanks for your inspiring story and being open about the process!

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So happy to see your results have been positive!

I am considering spiro for my severe acne, ive been struggling FOREVER :( I'm to scared of 'tane and birth control makes me crazy.

spiro sounds like a godsend, I'm just weary of the potassium levels, and I read it can affect your eyes (glaucoma?)

Any advice on how to quell the fears? Did you have an IB? your skin looks soooo good

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So happy to see your results have been positive!

I am considering spiro for my severe acne, ive been struggling FOREVER sad.png I'm to scared of 'tane and birth control makes me crazy.

spiro sounds like a godsend, I'm just weary of the potassium levels, and I read it can affect your eyes (glaucoma?)

Any advice on how to quell the fears? Did you have an IB? your skin looks soooo good

If you look at the studies, spiro is about the safest man-made acne medication you can be on. It has less serious side effects than Accutane, birth control, and systemic antibiotics. The nice thing about spiro is that if you are going to have side effects you will notice them and can lower your dose without long-term damage. Unlike Accutane, spironolactone does NOT make permanent changes to your body. It "mutes" your androgen receptors. Once you stop taking it, your androgen activity will return to what it was before. There are plenty of posts on here that anecdotally show women who went off spiro and went back to their pre-spiro state. That is great for someone like me who is not comfortable with all the possible permanent side effects of Accutane.

Spiro is also older than Accutane and many forms of birth control, and has been studied to be safe for long-term use.

CONCLUSIONS:

After 200 person-years of exposure to spironolactone and 506 person-years of followup over 8 years, no serious illnesses thought to be attributed to spironolactone were reported. The long-term use of spironolactone in the treatment of acne in women appears to be safe. Side effects, however, are common, although not usually a cause for stopping the drug.

Frankly, I have no idea why this drug isn't prescribed more. My bet is that since most women eventually end up on a hormonal birth control, they want to clear their acne and prevent pregnancy all in one go.

The one big thing that spiro can cause is hyperkalemia. This is very rare. Spiro is a potassium-sparing diuretic so you retain more potassium in your body. You just need to be careful of consuming lots of potassium. One person on this board was a gardener and consumed several pounds of raw vegetables while on spiro and temporarily passed out. But like I said...for any normal person it's pretty hard to consume that much potassium...

A caring derm will get your potassium levels checked every 3 months for the first year on spiro to ensure that you're doing okay. If they don't force you to do it, you can still request the test on your own, it's a cheap test ($15-$20).

I would recommend starting on a low dose (25mg) and just see how you react for a month. Some people have even cleared on 25mg! When I was on 25mg my body didn't even seem to notice. On 50mg now I do have to pee more often, but that's normal for spiro, and drinking a lot of water and peeing a lot are worth clear skin.

I did not have an IB. My skin was very bad to start with, but I didn't notice a sudden burst of acne coming to the surface like I did with retinoids. I was actually very discouraged the first 3 months of spiro because my skin was EXACTLY the same. But at month 3 I noticed some small clear patches of skin...and slowly over the next few months I noticed I wasn't getting any new acne.

Long story short, it's a very non-scary medication, and I HIGHLY recommend it for hormonal acne. It's so weirdly refreshing to look at myself in the mirror and not see acne. That hasn't happened since elementary school!!!

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GreenGables

 


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Awesome your skin looks nice. I'm on 50 mg's it's been almost 3 weeks. I stopped taking it for a week due to stomach issues because of it. But it cleared me up within a month (at least I think it was the Spiro) so after a week and a half almost 2 of not taking it i got back on it . I'm waiting patiently for my face to clear, I'm still very oily though. I'm thinking I may need to increase.

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congrats on clear skin! i wish guys could take this stuff =(

I got really excited reading about this especially because you've had such amazing results, but then I saw only girls can take it. Damn...back to the drawing board lol.

It's not officially recommended for males, but some have used it. Reviews are mixed. It is an "off-label" acne medication, its original use was a diuretic. It has been prescribed to males. You just need a very low dose, which may or may not help your acne.

See:

http://www.acne.org/...actone-for-men/

http://www.acne.org/...-works-for-men/

http://www.acne.org/...spironolactone/

http://www.acne.org/...spironolactone/

I would highly recommend trying a natural anti-androgen route though. If women can get such great results from hormonal treatment I think men can too, just need a different ratio of hormones. E.g. Saw Palmetto is natural anti-androgen used by a lot of males for various reasons. I did try saw palmetto without results...but I think that's because a) saw palmetto's effects really work better with men and b) my dosage was probably way too low.

The results are clearly fantastic and for a female the side effects sound a lot more reasonable than accutane....

BUT... why would a man want to take something which is going to suppress natural androgens (i.e. DHT, testosterone or whatever)? Surely the side effects would be massive... loss of beard/hair growth/sexual problems... and so on... in fact pretty much all hypogonadism symptoms would be likely I would have thought.

If you reversed the sexes this would be like giving a woman a testosterone injection or something... going completely against what is natural imo.


Took Roaccutane for moderate but persistent adult back & body acne.

04/2013. Completed course after 32 weeks, cumulative dosage of approx 100mg per kg.

02/2014. Completed second lower dose course.

04/2014. Acne is already returning.....


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The results are clearly fantastic and for a female the side effects sound a lot more reasonable than accutane....

BUT... why would a man want to take something which is going to suppress natural androgens (i.e. DHT, testosterone or whatever)? Surely the side effects would be massive... loss of beard/hair growth/sexual problems... and so on... in fact pretty much all hypogonadism symptoms would be likely I would have thought.

If you reversed the sexes this would be like giving a woman a testosterone injection or something... going completely against what is natural imo.

Both men and women contain testosterone and estrogen (and progesterone, but let's simplify the idea here for a minute). The only thing that differs is the proportion.

Let's say for sake of argument the ideal male has 20 estrogen units and 60 testosterone units. If his testosterone level keeps spiking at 80 testosterone units, his androgen activity is going to be way off what is healthy and he may have acne because of it. You see what I'm saying here? Although males naturally have more testosterone, it is still possible for a male to have a hormonal imbalance that gives him more androgen activity than is healthy for a male.

In response to your "testosterone shots", in fact some women are given hormonal treatment with testosterone or progesterone to treat an "estrogen dominance" problem where there is too much estrogen in the body.

Spironolactone has been used clinically in males. Spiro was originally a very early form of blood pressure medication. It does not lower the blood pressure very much and has since been replaced by more effective blood pressure drugs. But it was definitely prescribed to males. Typically a male dose does not exceed 50mg. On the boards, most women on spiro are on doses of 100mg-200mg for acne, PCOS, or hirsutism. So to answer your question, a male would not see sex change characteristics because most males have massively more androgens than women already. A women with a testosterone spike that causes hirsutism (facial hair) typically will not see results until a dose of 200mg. A man would have to be on a dose closer to 300mg-500mg to decrease testosterone so much that his beard goes away tongue.png

Even without spiro, there are other anti-androgens with similar effects that are almost exclusively prescribed to males! A hormonal imbalance can cause severe problems with prostate health. Saw palmetto and stinging nettle are almost exclusively marketed for MALE prostate health.

Anyway, this is always the first thing that men seem concerned about, oh my gosh am I not going to be a man anymore?? :) The nice thing about spiro is that it "mutes" your androgen receptors, it does not get rid of them. Once you go off spiro your androgen levels return to what they were before. So if you try it and don't like it, all you have to do is stop taking it and no harm done.


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GreenGables

 


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