This is probably going to sound dramatic, but there's no other way to put it... My skin is freaking AMAZING since I started taking the daily 50mg of spiro!!! It's literally unbelievable. I keep waking up thinking "where is that huge cyst going to pop up?" and each day my face just looks better and better!! I even stopped taking the doxycycline yesterday. I was nervous to change anything in my routine, scared it would cause me to "relapse" but seriously, spiro has been such a miracle for me within the past two weeks, I seriously doubt I'll need the antibiotic anymore. I've had acne of varying degrees of severity since I was 15 years old, and 13 years later I honestly think this is the BEST thing I've ever done for my health. Every other product I've tried has cleared a little (from benzoyl peroxide to salicylic acid to tretinoin cream to antibiotic pills to removing dairy from my diet to drinking more green tea to clindamycin gel... the list goes on and on!) but has never ever ever improved the overall health of my skin. I'm realizing now that those products all just dried out the surface of my skin, leading to cracked, icky dry patches that STILL had cysts under them! Other than the cortisone injections that help alleviate the swelling (I highly recommend them as a last resort if you have a painful cyst that just keeps growing under the surface) I've never experienced such a dramatic improvement ever in my life. And I finally feel like this medication is addressing the cause of my acne, versus treating the symptoms of my acne.
I know that not all acne is related to hormones, so I'm sure accutane has great benefits for certain patients, but I'm feeling relieved I didn't take that route. As an "adult" with acne, I felt my skin issues were more related to hormone fluctuations (more info on that here) and would most likely come back after the accutane treatment. There's a great medical article that explains how spiro is the best option for post-adolescent females:
"This group of patients seems to exhibit higher treatment failure rates with traditional acne therapies. In a study of women over the age of 25 with persistent [acne], approximately 82 percent failed therapy with multiple courses of antibiotics and 32 percent had relapsed after treatment with one or more courses of oral isotretinoin [accutane] ... At a lower dosage range of 50 to 100mg/day, spironolactone has been shown to reduce sebum excretion rate by 30 to 50 percent and improve adverse events ... In a 12-week, randomized, placebo-controlled study of spironolactone 50mg daily, 24 of 34 patients were clear of acne lesions as compared to improvement in 2 of 31 patients in the placebo group."
I first noticed the skin on my arms was really soft and my hair was shinier, and then I noticed my face felt softer and smoother, and by this morning I literally have NO BUMPS on my face at all! I haven't been this happy in a long long time. I also noticed my mood has improved -- obviously part of it is how happy I am that my chin is cyst-free for the first time in over a year -- but I also think my hormones have really evened out and I feel less anxious in general. I used to feel extreme anxiety in the morning, thinking "how the heck am I going to cover up this massive bump on my chin??" and now I just feel tired until I drink coffee
I hope my skin stays this way. If anything, it's getting better each day, so I'm pretty hopeful it will! I still have a lot of red marks and scars from past breakouts, but the tretinoin cream should help that over time.
Side effects -- no longer have to pee as often, although still more than before the spiro. No more dizziness when taking the pill. I had a major hangover on Sunday morning after 3 glasses of wine Saturday night, but I think that was because I didn't drink enough water and spiro tends to make you dehydrated anyway. My breasts feel a little sore, but they are bigger (which I think is a bonus!) and my sex drive seems to have dropped off a bit, but nothing worrisome. Overall I'm producing much less oil in general, I notice my face isn't shiny when I wake up in the morning and during the day I only have to blot once or twice, versus the 20 times I would do before. My makeup isn't sliding off my face. It's a miracle. Seriously, I feel like I'm in a dream and am going to come back to reality any minute now. But so far, so good!!!!
No new cysts have formed at all since my initial breakout on day 7. They have all cleared up and my skin has never felt softer. I can't say enough good things about this medication! Hoping to see more improvements and stay cyst-free. Will keep you posted in the next few days!
(Also just a sidenote, I noticed on some of the spiro reviews women were complaining that they tried spiro but their acne came back after the 3 month treatment. Spiro will only work for as long as you take it. If you clear up while taking spiro, you have to KEEP taking it in order for it to be effective in the long-term. Unfortunately you have to stop while trying to get pregnant and while breastfeeding, but other than that, you would need to basically make a long-term commitment to take a daily dose every single day. Generally, doctors can lower the dose to a "maintenance" of 25-50 mg a day, while initially some people will need up to 150-200 mg a day to see clearing results. Other than the annoying side effects like peeing a lot and not being able to eat bananas because of high potassium levels, this is a very safe medication for long term use.)