I finally have some time on my hands to sit down and write this post. I was keeping a blog on here, but I hadn't updated it in a while and I guess it got deleted.
My story: I hardly ever got acne when I was in high school. If I did, it was mostly on my forehead and cheeks, but it was very mild. In my early twenties, I started noticing that I had acne pretty much all the time. It was concentrated on the lower half of my face, and sometimes between my eyebrows. I started using a lot of over the counter stuff, but nothing worked. I eventually got the blue-light treatment. Six sessions over the course of three weeks. I wasn't 100% clear, but I remember it helping a lot. The effects lasted around six months. After that, the acne came back, so I went for another six sessions. This time, it didn't work at all. I eventually upgraded to the levulan treatment (the one that will put you out of work for a week or more). I saw success with it, but only temporary. In about a month, the acne came back. I had two more sessions. A month later, the acne came back again.
Around my 28th birthday, I had the worst breakout of my life (see the before pictures). It is honestly still very hard for me to look at those pictures, because my skin had NEVER looked that bad. For a few months prior, I had noticed my face was extremely oily, and the breakout just kept getting worse. When I took those pictures, I looked at them and decided I needed to be on prescription medicine ASAP. I am usually pretty opposed to taking pills, but I was desperate. I did a LOT of research, and it seemed like my acne was the exact kind that spironolactone successfully treated. Since I had just moved to a new city, I made an appointment with a general physician. He recommended spiro without me even asking for it. He gave me a blood test to check my hormone levels. When he called with my results, he said my testosterone levels were in the normal range, HOWEVER, it's the RATIO of testosterone to estrogen and other hormones that is the important part. My ratio was like 5:1 or something, I think the normal is 2:1 or around there. He was confident spironolactone would help.
I started on 50 mg. For a month, I saw no difference. He increased it to 100 mgs. For six weeks, my face just kept breaking out. Then, all of a sudden, the breakouts started drying up. That took another few weeks. I started the medicine at the end of August of 2013 By the end of October, I had no more acne. Since then, I have had AMAZING skin. I will get a blemish here and there, but since my acne initially cleared, I have had virtually no acne since.
You have to take these pills like a religion. I notice if I skip a day or two, or don't take them pretty much exactly 12 hours a part, I get blemishes. Give it time to work, too. Get your hormone levels tested! And do your research. I was very opposed to taking birth control (which has always been recommended to me by the dermatologist) because you will eventually have to come off of it, and it messes with your hormone levels. Spironolactone does nothing to your hormone levels. It simply blocks the excess androgen you have in your body, which in turn decreases oil production.
The after pictures were taken today (no makeup). As you can see, I was left with some pretty bad scarring, but this is easily covered with makeup. I am considering Fraxel for the right side of my face. I have been on spiro for 9 months now. It is a maintenance drug, and as soon as you stop taking it, it stops working. I will be on it until my 40s, probably.
I hope this will help some of you. I know what it's like to be frustrated by acne, trust me. I tried everything over the counter, prescription creams, light treatments, diet changes (never hurts to eat better, though!), etc. I finally found something that works for me, and I hope it will work for you too!