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#1 hedgehogcatcher

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 07:19 PM

Hey all, after trying a number of treatments and seeing a lot of improvement on the top half of my face, but ONLY the top of my face, I decided to visit my doctor again and ask for a more aggressive option, short of accutane. After some deliberation we settled on spironolactone 25mg 2x/day. Today is day 1. The pictures are from 3 days ago during my latest pms breakout, and since then the smaller spots have subsided so it doesn't look quite as bad, I just have the big ones left. My forehead and nose are completely clear. Hopefully I'll have improvement by next month's breakout! 

 

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Some background - 

As a teen I had pretty normal mild-moderate acne on my face, and occasionally on my chest & back. My skin started getting really oily (this is genetic unfortunately). I went on low-dose birth control (Alesse) and that helped initially but then after a few months made it worse. I tried switching to sprintec (generic ortho cyclen), but the estrogen in it not only made me feel like crap but it decreased the effectiveness of the lamotrigine I'm on as a mood stabilizer and it was such a mess that I settled for a mirena IUD which is estrogen free and has been AMAZING all around (super low fail rate, no worries, no periods). BUT it made my acne so much worse again. The summer after I had it put in (last summer), my acne got so, so bad (it was all over my face, cysts on my jaw and painful ones all over my back) that I finally slunk over to the dermatologist and was prescribed retin-A and clindomycin. Now a few months later my forehead, nose, cheeks are almost completely clear with retin-A and the regimen, but not the rest of my body, so after 6 months and with summer and my wedding looming, my body acne started really really getting me down and I am very frustrated with the stubborn acne on my jaw. I'm in my early 20s, not cool! 

 

Since I'm absolutely convinced that whatever is left is 100% hormonal, I talked to my doc again and after taking a look at my skin and my history agreed fixing my hormones was the way to go. I had the option of going back on birth control or trying spironolactone. Spironolactone would allow me, if it works, to keep my IUD, avoid the side effects of high estrogen pills, combat the negative effects of hormonal imbalance, and be ok to take long term, so I'm giving that a good try first. She seemed confident this was the best option. 

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Edited by hedgehogcatcher, 15 April 2014 - 07:24 PM.


#2 CarpeMomentum

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 07:31 AM

Wishing you the best in your Spiro journey and beautiful confidence long before your wedding.  In regards to your body breakouts, have you already looked into SLS/Paraben free shampoo, conditioner and laundry detergent?  I had minor breakouts on my back before Spiro, I use Cetaphil anti-microbial bar soap after I wash and condition with Nature's Gate shampoo.  I also have used Aveeno baby shampoo and that was really helpful.  My back and chest were the first thing to clear up with Spiro and I hear that is the same for many women too.  Sending you tons of positive thoughts!!



#3 tracy521

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 08:58 AM

good luck to you! its crazy i always had chest and back breakouts and when i started spiro they went away completely i think in the first month. it took about a full 6 months for spiro to work on my face but i think you will have good success with it. i take 100mg a day and have had no issues with it at all.



#4 hedgehogcatcher

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 08:15 PM

Wishing you the best in your Spiro journey and beautiful confidence long before your wedding.  In regards to your body breakouts, have you already looked into SLS/Paraben free shampoo, conditioner and laundry detergent?  I had minor breakouts on my back before Spiro, I use Cetaphil anti-microbial bar soap after I wash and condition with Nature's Gate shampoo.  I also have used Aveeno baby shampoo and that was really helpful.  My back and chest were the first thing to clear up with Spiro and I hear that is the same for many women too.  Sending you tons of positive thoughts!!

Thanks guys! I might look into switching my shampoo, I just use what's cheap at costco and keeps my hair in decent shape- I have a routine where my hair doesn't touch my back when I'm showering/styling and I use a separate towel but it could help my neck and behind my ears tongue.png. I use hypoallergenic laundry detergent but I haven't looked at the ingredients. Other than that I use Mary Kay's oil free cleanser/moisturizer (I get a discount) on my face which made a huge difference on it's own. I use neutrogena ultra gentle cream cleanser on my body, benzoyl peroxide 5% gel on my face and body, and lac hydrin 5 (non-comedogenic 5% AHA). I also do retin-A every other night on my face, and only the areas of my chest and back that are already pretty scarred since it seems to dry out and irritate my body really bad if I do more than that, plus it's too expensive. It's worked really really well for me on my forehead though.

I'm so glad to hear my chest and back might clear up fairly quickly on spiro! I hope I'm one of those women smile.png my face I can suffer with for a while because it's 80% clear 3/4 weeks, but the rest I'll be so relieved to see disappear.

No side effects so far except a tiny bit dizzy if I don't drink water regularly, and thirsty. I already have low blood pressure so I'm sure that's it, I heard that evens out a bit after a week. Haven't really lost weight though. When did the other side effects start to kick in (the hormonal ones especially?) for you guys? 


No changes on the skin side but I don't expect to see something for another 3-6 weeks.


Edited by hedgehogcatcher, 17 April 2014 - 10:17 AM.


#5 hedgehogcatcher

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 10:35 AM

Day 3 - So I had one hard cider last night. Only one, with lots of food and 2 14oz glasses of water. Still a very bad idea apparently. I felt like I'd had 5 and when it cleared my system after the normal 2 hours later I felt hungover. I'm 100% ok and hydrated now but that was very unpleasant. 

I'm a very light social drinker and rarely have more than one drink, once a week, usually apple/pear cider or wine, but I do enjoy it so giving that up is no fun. 

 

My asthma is almost cleared up from the nasty cold(s?) I had a month ago so I'm going to slowly start actually exercising again :D I miss running and hiking very much. I bought better oil-free non-comedogenic sunscreen spf30 and inherited my dad's mini-camelback that's great for longer runs so I'm all set! 

Anyone have a good post-sweat routine? Doing the same thing as my morning/night seems excessive, but I know for sure that sweating only helps my skin if I get it off my body ASAP. 



#6 tracy521

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 12:03 PM

lol dont worry about having a few drinks your body will get used to it. i drink once a week on the spiro with no issues at all.

when i workout i just wash my face and then put on my moisturizer after i am done. sometimes i just rinse it if my skin feels too dry to wash it again.

good luck!!


Edited by tracy521, 23 April 2014 - 07:21 AM.


#7 hedgehogcatcher

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 07:36 PM

Good to know! I'll just try again in a week or 2. 

lol dont worry about having a few drinks your body will get used to it. i drink once a week on the spiro with no issues at all.

when i workout i just wash my face and then put on my moisturizer after i am done. sometimes i just rinse it if my skin feels too dry to watsh it again.

good luck!!



#8 hedgehogcatcher

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 08:06 PM

Day 7! 

 

My upper arms have broken out with a bunch of little bumps, some red and some skin colored, and some blackheads. The cysts on my back seem to be healing but I have one huge new one on my spine (owee!) halfway down my back, and a whole bunch of new small-ish lesions. I also broke out on my cheeks/jaw but everything else is either mostly clear or healing. My chest looks somewhat better. 

 

I really do have to drink so much more water! Other than that I haven't noticed any other side effects. I don't really get light-headed from standing too quickly anymore, and I've had some minor cramps and a smidge of spotting on day 5 (I'm 2 weeks away from my next "period") but that is all and honestly that's happened without the spiro in past months (that's how cool my uterus is). 

 

And that's about all there is to report so far. 



#9 tracy521

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 07:23 AM

hey it sounds like your body is adapting well to the spiro. i had 2 periods a month for a few months in the beginning but then it eventually evened out to one period a month. at first i had to drink a ton more water and was always thirsty but then after a few months that feeling went away too. lol i still get light headed when i stand too quickly but i got that before i started the spiro since i have low blood pressure normally. anyway in 3-4 months or so most of those symptoms should be gone for ya. 



#10 hedgehogcatcher

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 01:45 AM

Yeah so far so good :) I have a mirena IUD and my period consists of a day or 2 of heavy spotting, so that's kind of nice to not have to deal with, just icky cramping at a not normal time. Definitely very thirsty still. I've been drinking 1L of water plus fruits, tea, and an extra .5-1L for exercising or really hot days and that seems to keep me steady or at least rebounding quickly :) Nothing worth mentioning really. 

 

Update on my skin, it's been 3 weeks since my last "monthly" breakout and I'm seeing a lot of improvement on my face and chest. I have 2 large pimples (sad, but only 2!) on my face and a few little ones on my cheeks and chin. Skin still plenty oily. Lots of tiny pimples on my chest, some new, but the big ones are all gone except for 3 and it's not nearly as embarrassing to wear V-neck shirts. I also have new tiny pimples on my shoulders and upper arms, more than usual, which is super annoying. On average though, those areas have some improvement. A lot of my face looks way way better and I attribute this mostly to using better products and adding retin-A. So super stoked :) 

 

My back though, oh my god. All my excitement about my face just goes down the toilet when I look at my back. The last few days I got 4 new, painful cysts, on my neck, between my shoulder blades, and halfway down my back around my spine and I still have plenty active ones that are still sticking around a good while. I'm ghostly white and they are bright red, and the healed ones are still bright red too. It's a mess. I think it's actually the worst it's ever been... I think my total lesion count is down from previous months/years but the severity of the lesions I get is a lot worse. 

 

Again hoping I get at least SOME results in the next 2-3 months so I can wear my hair up on my wedding day :S 



#11 hedgehogcatcher

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 10:07 AM

DAY 11:

My face has actually calmed down and I barely have anything new going on (HURRAY), some bumps from 2 days ago and red spots from those 2 big honkin' spots healing and red spots on my cheeks but all old healing stuff. I got a cyst on my chin like 4-5 weeks ago and it's still a little bump deep under my skin which is annoying me. 

Chest looks good too, lots of little bumps but not really that red, visible but not noticeable really, so that's a big plus. 

I've been really good about my skin care routine, I'm sure that's helping. 

I think my back has less spots on it below my shoulder blades, but just as many higher up and as always quite a few cysts. 1 new today. Can't bring myself to wear anything that doesn't cover it up (I have so many pretty dresses that dip below my neck...) So no improvement there. 

 

It's hard to be patient. I told my SO it might take 2-3 months to see major improvement and he thought it was the most ridiculous and unfortunate thing. He's been so supportive :) 



#12 hedgehogcatcher

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 09:10 PM

Day 15:

 

Well I'm looking for a new shampoo at the moment in the hopes that it'll help my back some. Any suggestions? 



#13 CarpeMomentum

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 05:11 AM

I recommend either Aveeno for Babies, so gentle and has nothing in it or Nature's Gate.  I love the Nature's Gate line it's all natural and has no SLS or Parabens.  I use their toothpaste as well, as soon as I switched to SLS and Fluoride free I stopped breaking out around my lips/mouth.  It's a challenge revamping your entire lifestyle, but when you have sensitive skin like ours it pays to use more natural.  Wishing you continued improvement.  Another recommendation I have which you may already be doing, but as soon as I finish with conditioner I make sure to wash my back, shoulders, arms, etc with Cetaphil antibacterial bar soap.  That way no residue remains on my back and that has really helped at keeping any breakouts away.

Day 15:

 

Well I'm looking for a new shampoo at the moment in the hopes that it'll help my back some. Any suggestions? 



#14 hedgehogcatcher

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 09:43 AM

Thanks! I'll look into both. 

I do wash my back/body with Neutrogena ultra-sensitive cream cleanser at the tail end of every shower and use a detachable shower head to rinse my hair away from my back which has helped some. But it may not be enough so it may be worth going the extra mile. 

 

I recommend either Aveeno for Babies, so gentle and has nothing in it or Nature's Gate.  I love the Nature's Gate line it's all natural and has no SLS or Parabens.  I use their toothpaste as well, as soon as I switched to SLS and Fluoride free I stopped breaking out around my lips/mouth.  It's a challenge revamping your entire lifestyle, but when you have sensitive skin like ours it pays to use more natural.  Wishing you continued improvement.  Another recommendation I have which you may already be doing, but as soon as I finish with conditioner I make sure to wash my back, shoulders, arms, etc with Cetaphil antibacterial bar soap.  That way no residue remains on my back and that has really helped at keeping any breakouts away.



#15 tracy521

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 09:46 AM

once the spiro fully kicks in you shouldn't need to use anything else but regular soap and water on your back and chest. that was such a bonus for me with this stuff is not having to worry about body acne anymore either. 



#16 hedgehogcatcher

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 01:58 AM

Day 16

I'm on the verge of a breakout on my face... I can tell :( 

 

I do hope the spiro will get me to the point of not needing anything too special! 

I want to go camping and backpacking without having to bring my entire bathroom with me (haha...) it's a real bummer. 



#17 tracy521

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 07:52 AM

ugh that sucks! i hope that if you do get a breakout it goes very quickly for you!

oh yeah for sure you will get there. for the last 6 years or so i used benzaclin (bp & clindamycin) everyday on my skin as well as i was on and off various antibiotics and with the spiro i dont have to use the benzaclin anymore. i just wash my face and then use the proactiv glycolic acid toner (only in the evenings) and then apply my moisturizer and that's it. for my body though i just use whatever soap is around and its been so nice not to have to worry about that crap anymore. 


Edited by tracy521, 30 April 2014 - 07:52 AM.


#18 Alicia85

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 12:11 AM

Hey hedgehogcatcher! You must be at about the same point in your spiro journey as me! I'm coming up on about day 30 almost. Our stories sound similar, my doctor suspects pcos though. How many mg of spiro are you on? And how is your face looking?
It looks like you have more control than me, as I'm a terrible picker... God I really hope this is the answer, as 29 feels too old to be dealing with acne....

#19 hedgehogcatcher

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 11:06 PM

Lol no I pick too. I've gotten way better about it but it's still occasionally a problem. For me it's stress related. I've found that using expensive makeup helps me fight the urge, but also having a clear face in the first place makes it easier to stop (or not to start at all)

I'm at Day 25 and I'm on 50mg right now. I don't have PCOS, so it is probably a bit different. But I do hear that if you have PCOS spiro will make a huge difference. So good luck!

 

Hey hedgehogcatcher! You must be at about the same point in your spiro journey as me! I'm coming up on about day 30 almost. Our stories sound similar, my doctor suspects pcos though. How many mg of spiro are you on? And how is your face looking?
It looks like you have more control than me, as I'm a terrible picker... God I really hope this is the answer, as 29 feels too old to be dealing with acne....

 

My face def broke out last week and I got another cyst on my chin last week, and some whiteheads on my nose (which never happens so that was weird) and some regular old red bump things kind of all over. They're starting to go away now, so my face looks okay with a bit of mineral foundation to even it out. It's certainly way better than last month. 2 days ago 4 new large cysts popped up on my back(and several old ones haven't healed yet) so nope. I think there are less non-cyst lesions, but the old cysts are hanging around and are still red and bumpy (but less painful) so I don't feel happy with the minimal progress there. 

I'm hoping that it's just because these things are more deeply embedded in thicker skin, and that it'll change soon. 

 

I will say my chest is almost completely clear! Only a few blackheads, and the skin is so soft. That's my one measurable significant success right now. 


Edited by hedgehogcatcher, 09 May 2014 - 11:07 PM.


#20 hedgehogcatcher

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 10:03 AM

Day 36!

My chest continues to be clear, my face is better too but I did get 3 smaller cysts on it and a few regular zits this week. One of them is a pain in the butt. 

My back is still not clear and looks like a warzone and I have 3 new cysts this week but most of the other ones are healing and look smaller. It's not as painful which is progress, and there are mostly just cysts left, the minor lesions are visibly decreased. 






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