Definitely improved since my last post... The spot on my chin barely amounted to anything and is totally flat today. I don't have any "active" breakouts right now, at all, in fact. Just a LOT of hyper-pigmentation and some scarring. Seems like the spiro is doing its job! I have been able to go 2 days without washing my hair (which would NEVER happen before, I would be greasy after 12 hours) and my makeup is still staying in place really well, without needing to blot oil or touch up at all during the day. The skin on my arms and, really, all over my body seems much smoother and softer (which was actually the first thing I noticed back on day 5!) and overall I feel great. I got really nervous a few days ago when I felt another cyst forming, and am so thankful it didn't swell up like they used to. I think I finally found the right combination therapy after over a decade (yes, a whole freakin' decade) of trying every product under the sun! It seems like it's been a hundred years since I had clear skin. One big thing I've noticed since I stopped using "harsh" topicals is that my skin, even when its pimple-free, is much "healthier." Obviously it depends on the type of breakouts you have, but mine were all deep under the skin, very large (like the size of a dime, or bigger, all the time) and super painful. I used to put benzoyl peroxide and clindamycin and all sorts of drying agents on them to try and shrink them. I realize now, after talking to my doctor (yes, my primary care physician and not my derm, because all my derm kept telling me was that I needed accutane) that these breakouts weren't going to be cleared up by topical creams and if anything, those creams were just ruining the top layer of skin, making the area even MORE red and even more dry. Thank goodness I finally found something that works from within my system and gets to the root of the cause. My fingers are crossed the spiro keeps doing its magic and I stay clear of cysts, and once the acne marks fade, I could be makeup-free by 2013!!! And that would be the absolute best holiday gift I could ever imagine receiving
200mg/daily doxycycline -- still planning to slowly stop taking this, once I've gone 1+ week without a major breakout
Sprintec birth control pill
0.025% tretinoin cream at night
Spiro side effects: I'm not dizzy anymore after taking the pill, and even though it's a diuretic, I notice I'm not going to the bathroom as often as I did when I first started it. I definitely still get more dehydrated, so I'm making a point to drink more water throughout the day (good for my skin and health anyway, so that's a positive thing!). My stomach gets a little upset if I don't eat enough before taking the pill, but that's not a problem at all if I take it right after a full breakfast with a big glass of water. Overall, feeling great!