Jump to content

Green Gables

Member Since 06 Jun 2011
Offline Last Active Jun 26 2015 09:55 AM

#3485705 Spiro Ruined My Face

Posted by Green Gables on 24 June 2015 - 11:00 PM

My theory with spiro and skin changes is two-fold

Factor 1

Remember that there is oil retention and water retention.

You can have oily skin that is also dry--it is oily but does not hold water. 

Take away the oil and your skin looks worse because you can see the dryness.

I have noticed this with my skin...anytime I remove oil by any method, my skin cannot hold a normal amount of water. I look older and saggier. 

A little bit of oil makes you appear youthful. Oily skin doesn't have to look shiny. You can have oil in a deeper level that sort of plumps the skin a bit. Let's say you're 30 but you have a bit of oiliness that plumps up your face and makes you look 25. You remove the oil and suddenly you've "aged" 5 years.

Factor 2

The other factor is that acne-fied skin is riddled with inflammation. INFLAMMATION PLUMPS THE SKIN. 

When I went off Spiro my acne came back. So did some of the oil, plumpness, and redness. Skin quality was worse but I looked a little younger. 

Now I am on a new regimen that has reduced my acne again. Guess what...without the constant cycle of inflammation I look older and saggier. 

I'm not invested in Spiro anymore, but I have done a lot of research on how it works. I highly doubt that it irreversibly changed your skin quality or permanently aged you. Compared to many other drugs its mechanism is rather simple and its scope is limited. It is far less powerful than Accutane or even your run of the mill birth control pill. 

#3478189 Going Off Spironolactone. Yes, Really.

Posted by Green Gables on 17 April 2015 - 11:47 AM

First off, why is the formatting so terrible on posts now? Everything is double spaced out and really hard to read. 


So I know that my posts on spironolactone and hormonal acne have been read and re-read, and I have received countless messages thanking me for posting my homegrown research. But I am going off spiro and trying a new approach.


Spironolactone has worked wonderfully for my skin for the last few years, but there are several reasons I am stopping:


1) Unfortunately my doctor will not prescribe it anymore, saying I should have "grown out" of my acne. I did find another doctor that will prescribe it, but he is an hour away, not on my insurance, and wants me to come in every 4 months  :angry:  to gouge me for an out-of-pocket fee. 


2) I have other persistent health issues that obviously spironolactone did not magically fix. Having clear skin is great, but I have hope that if I resolve my other underlying issues that I can have clear skin and FEEL better too.


3) I have acne + rosacea (persistent redness). Spironolactone did not fix the rosacea and may have even made it a little bit worse. 


4) Although it was tolerable, it always bothered me that spironolactone messes with your potassium, water levels, and blood pressure. 


I have actually not taken spironolactone for 3 months now. Acne has come back but not in full force. 

So here is a list of my info, in case it helps someone reading:



I was recently diagnosed as hypothyroid. My TSH was high and my free T3 and free T4 were in range but on the very low end. Being hypothyroid makes you tired, sluggish, cold, fat, and achy in the bones. 

Right now I am on 45mg of Armor Thyroid. It has helped push my basal temperature up and I feel less sluggish in the morning (well, after I take my meds). Armor Thyroid is prescription only. 



One doctor I went to insisted that all my symptoms pointed to a non-alcoholic liver problem. Liver issues can mean issues processing your own hormones. I didn't see the doctor again for various reasons, but I have started taking 450 - 800mg of Milk Thistle daily. I use Gaia Herbs Milk Thistle Seed Liquid Phyto-capsules.



I'm going back to some info I posted about a long time ago, but then forgot about because spironolactone worked so well for me. You can read about it in my post The Low Progesterone - High Androgen Connection to Acne.


Basically, progesterone clears excess DHT (dihyrdotestosterone) from the body and helps regulate estrogen. I have also had an insomnia / sleep problem for years, and that may be because my progesterone is low. 


I have not been very systematic with how I use the progesterone cream. I use it when I wake up and before I go to bed but I don't really measure it out. You're supposed to use it only 2-3 weeks out of the month but I haven't been tracking my cycle so I just use it every day. Maybe when I get my next period I'll start tracking it. 


I just get a little bit of cream between my fingers and spread it on my face and decolletage. Dr. John Lee recommended using it where you blush the most, and so that's what I've been doing. I use bioidentical Emerita Pro-gest Cream.


Vitamin A

Vitamin A is required for T3 production in the thyroid. I took 8,000 IU a day regularly but I think it was just not enough for my body. Currently taking 25,000 IU daily from NOW Foods Vitamin A from fish liver oil.


Fish Oil

The problem with fish oil is that you have to get the good stuff for it to work, and the good stuff is pricey. But I finally bit the bullet and am taking 2-4 capsules every day. Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Formula. This really helps with my chronic constipation for some reason, and for that reason alone I will keep taking it. 


So that's it so far. I'm a really busy person and keeping this regimen along with a healthy diet is already pretty difficult. I will update if I change the regimen or experience any significant progress.

Comments welcome, would love to hear if anyone else is going off spiro or trying similar methods. 

#3467899 Severe Cystic Acne After Pregnancy And Birth

Posted by Green Gables on 13 January 2015 - 06:10 PM

The short answer is the the options for hormonal acne are limited and require some trial and error. And LOTS of patience. It took 8 months for my current treatment (spironolactone) to kick in. That's a long time to wait and be hopeful. If I hadn't waited I'd probably still have acne and be jumping around from treatment to treatment.


Yaz/Yasmin/BeYaz, Ortho Cyclen, Belara, and Dianette seem to be the only birth control pills that truly help stop acne. Anything else makes it worse. If you want birth control that just doesn't affect your skin either way, well you have condoms or the COPPER IUD (just the copper IUD, all of the other ones have hormones in them).


The only other prescriptions I would recommend is spironolactone. It's an androgen blocker that a lot of women (including me) have had success with. I take 100mg a day to stay clear. It's sort of a lifelong thing though, if I go off it, acne comes back.


You can also do some things with your diet and herbal supplements that modify your hormones in a positive manner. This lady wrote a very comphrenesive post about it in "bootcamp" style. It is pretty strict but based on my reading it follows all the principles correctly.

#3467890 Scabs...and Picking...

Posted by Green Gables on 13 January 2015 - 05:42 PM

I have a handful of scars and they are all from ones that I did NOT peel or pick. When I began my "acne journey" I was very careful to follow all of the traditional advice.


Now perhaps it's just a correlation, but I find it really interesting that my scars that won't go away were from when I was being "good". Even though I was younger, had better skin, and the acne was not nearly as bad as later in life. 


There's a difference between peeling/draining and gouging your face. If I went into a dermatologist they would NEVER just leave something your face, they would lance it and drain it. I followed their example.  There are lot of people here who probably suffer from dermotillomania and don't know it. Dermotillomania behaviors will cause damage.


There's also a big difference between lancing/draining and squeezing. Lancing in the right area makes a small cut that allows the pus to drain freely and can heal over without a scar. SQUEEZING the pus out forcefully ruptures the pore.


You have to consider the pros/cons of leaving a zit alone. If you have an impacted blackhead just sitting there, it's already stretching the pore and doing damage. If you can remove the obstruction gently, then it's less damage than something sitting in your pore applying pressure to the skin 24/7.

#3467732 Stomach Problem, Acne?

Posted by Green Gables on 12 January 2015 - 06:32 PM

My digestive issues were cleared up by a combination of Betaine HCL with Pepsin and Daily Essential Enzymes at every meal for 6 months straight.

#3467728 First Time In 7 Years Together, Husband Mentions My Acne :-/

Posted by Green Gables on 12 January 2015 - 06:23 PM

I guess it did get pretty bad probably about 6 months ago, and I was OBSESSED with a 'cure'. I only said things here and there, I'm kind of proud to talk about it. Idk.
Then today he sees something about something new for acne online, one of those things we've all seen a million times before that costs a bunch of $$$ and is obviously bs. But he pointed it out to me. Thing is, I'm doing really great right now, almost clear.
The few times I've asked him he said it doesn't bother him, he just hates that it bothers me.
I don't know what to think now. Maybe it bothers him more than he lets on. sad.png


It probably just took him that long to "click" in his brain. You were obsessed about it for a while, he happened to see something on TV recently, and was trying to help. Don't make it more than it is. He's not making any judgement on the severity of your acne today by trying to help, he's just reacting to months of you looking for a cure. 

#3467726 Natural DHT/ Androgen Blockers

Posted by Green Gables on 12 January 2015 - 06:15 PM

Thanks for the reply and I will check out the links. As I said, I tried the diet approach for years. I cut out gluten and dairy for a long time and have only just started reintroducing the two slowly with no bad effects so far.


For the above post on male pattern baldness, are green tea and zinc still regarded as the best DHT reducers out there? I keep getting conflicting information about green tea and whether or not it reduces DHT or actually increases it. I'm looking for supplements I can take that just might help hair growth and that might be the final piece of the puzzle with regards to a 15 year battle with acne. I've started to zinc again recently and hoping it might help on both fronts.


I believe that beta sitosterol / saw palmetto is regarded as the strongest OTC DHT blocker. Any stronger and you need prescription Finasteride or spironolactone. 


Zinc can modulate DHT. In some studies it reduces it, in others it increases it. I wouldn't count on zinc as your main weapon in the arsenal.


EGCG is in green tea and can reduce DHT. However I recommend extract rather than the tea itself. The natural caffeine content in green tea spikes DHT a lot more than you would think. Caffeine in general = bad if you're trying to control your DHT levels.

#3465858 Spironolactone Journey

Posted by Green Gables on 29 December 2014 - 10:33 PM

Its so weird because I was soooo clear on 50mg  but it took me 6 full months before it cleared me,  I was clear for 4 months then all of a sudden I started getting cysts again so I was bumped to 75mg, then after 2 weeks of being on that my derm bumped me to 100mgs, im beyond frustrated with all this and all right around the holidays grrrrrr lol,........... Hopefully we will all be clear for 2015 !!!!


I could never stay clear on Retin A, which you are on.


In some people retinoids harm rather than help. The exact mechanism of Retin A can actually cause clogs deep in the skin that wouldn't happen if you were off it completely. 

#3458212 Mirena Post-Removal: Severe Acne.

Posted by Green Gables on 30 October 2014 - 11:27 PM

Are you on birth control pills? If so what are you on?


Your best option is to get on a birth control pill that has a hormonal balance that helps acne (unlike the Mirena). Your best options are Yaz, Yasmin, BeYaz, Belara, Dianette, and as a last resort Ortho Cyclen. If you are on ANY other brand of birth control get off it.


Your second best option is to take some OTC supplements and change your diet to fix your hormone levels.The acne bootcamp page has a very detailed plan that tells you what supplements to take, what diet changes to make, and what cosmetics to use until your skin is clear. 

#3457399 Differin For Hormonal Acne

Posted by Green Gables on 24 October 2014 - 08:39 PM

I went off birth control around a year ago and ever since then I have been struggling with moderate but consistant acne. I'm pretty sure its hormonal acne as I'm 31 years old. I started differin 3 weeks ago and my skin is breaking out so horribly. my forehead is completely covered in bumps, where I never used to even get breakouts, and I have pustules coming up randomly all over the rest of my face. It is so depressing. I hate leaving the house. plus it is making areas so dry and scaly and red. 

Does anyone know if jojoba oil will work for a mosturizer? or how long I can expect this irritation to last? I'm only using it every other night, and not slathering it all over my face.

I normally eat fairly healthy, but since I've been reading so much about hormonal acne in females, I'm trying to cut out any high glycemic index food, ( no wheat no sugar no dairy no alcohol ) because apparently those trigger testosterone production which triggers adrenal glands which trigger sebum production.

I honestly can barely handle this anymore. if anyone has any advice, or encouragement about differen, or things that have helped their hormonal acne I would love to hear about it.


My skin doesn't like retinoids. I've tried so many times...it just never gets out of the "bad" phase. If you want your skin to be angry, red, flaky, and broken out for years...keep using Differin. 


Differin doesn't work for hormonal acne. Hormonal solutions work for hormonal acne. 


Jojoba oil is not a moisturizer it is a sealant. It will keep existing water from exiting the skin. It will not add water to the skin.


This moisturizer and this serum have humectants and other ingredients that help add water to the skin and keep it there.

#3457135 Help/prevent Oily Skin

Posted by Green Gables on 22 October 2014 - 11:27 PM

Daily supplementation with vitamin A and pantothenic acid helps keep my oily zone down. It feels a lot nicer to stop the oil from the inside rather than try to control it from the outside. Last thing you want is another cream to your regimen.

#3457133 Is Anybody Here Just Thrilled With Their Foundation?

Posted by Green Gables on 22 October 2014 - 11:22 PM

Low cost option: PF Organic Wear


Moderate cost option: Ecco Bella Flower Color


High end option: Bareskin Pure Liquid


They all work for me, Bareskin is the best but also the most expensive. 

#3457131 How Can I Tell If I'm Overloading My System Or Just Getting Through The C...

Posted by Green Gables on 22 October 2014 - 11:16 PM

Maybe you have an autoimmune disorder or your immune system is in overdrive. So taking "cleansing" agents or anything that stimulate immune responses is making things worse. 

#3457130 Royal Jelly - Anyone Tried This?

Posted by Green Gables on 22 October 2014 - 11:13 PM

I used a royal jelly based moisturizer once.


There's been some claims over the years that it has anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties, most of which have been debunked.


As far as I know, this stuff is basically bee breast milk. It has a mixture of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Won't hurt but it's probably not a magic bullet for anything.


BTW life-threatening allergies have been documented to royal jelly so be careful.

#3456375 Acne/oily Skin And Hair Always Clear Up During Pregnancy, But Return After.

Posted by Green Gables on 17 October 2014 - 02:52 AM

Estrogen, progesterone, prolactin, parathyroid, cortisol, and aldosterone all increase during pregnancy. 


I generally attribute clear skin during pregnancy due to the increased estrogen. I don't have any numbers, but I believe that proportionally estrogen actually increases more than any other hormone during pregnancy.