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I have been to countless dermatologists. I've tried the creams and pills (every-noin you can think of, another round of antibiotics, etc) and have tried nearly every natural remedy you’ve heard of:

Apple cider vinegar? Yup! Smelled like a foot for months.
Banana peels?  You bet! I was sticky and craved a sundae.  
No makeup? Sure did and I wanted to cry every time I left the house.

Around Thanksgiving this year, I began to break out in horrible cysts on my cheeks. This was an abnormally inflamed breakout and after failing to rid of it with all my natural tricks, I decided it was time to call in the big guns.
Last month, I went to a new dermatologist. She is sweet and knowledgeable with the most adorable foreign accent that I can’t place. She seemed to think my acne was just plain ole’ inflammatory acne and she wanted me to try Accutane. Now, I’ve heard wonders about Accutane and I’ve heard horrors. I'm personally not ready to take the plunge for a number of reasons (a main one being fear of gastrointestinal damage.) I already have a few digestive/muscular issues with my stomach and my boyfriend also now has permanent ulcerative colitis from a month of Accutane ten years ago. I realize that doctors these days are much more diligent about checking in with you during a course of Accutane now that we know its side effects, but still. I’m a worry wart and I’d much rather have zits forever then cause any more damage to my stomach.
So now what? My derm had suggested the one thing I had already ruled out in my mind. Alas, I was ready with a back-up plan to distract her: spironolactone. I found out about this drug through a few acne forums and did some lengthy research. If you’re unfamiliar, spironolactone (or spiro for short) is actually not an acne medication. It is normally meant to treat high blood pressure. It’s also a “water pill”, a medication that prevents you from absorbing too much salt and stores potassium. It also, more importantly, blocks androgen receptors aka it fights against excess testosterone.  Basically, it’s great for balancing hormones and also helps with your skin’s oil production.

When I suggested Spiro, my derma wasn’t too optimistic. Because my skin wasn’t exhibiting the normal patterns of hormonal acne (my acne does not strictly follow my jaw line and I also have acne on my back), she was unsure whether I would get results, but she was totally okay with trying it. It’s a fairly harmless drug with minimal side effects.

I was and am still convinced that my hormones are playing the main role in my acne. I find it too coincidental that since beginning birth control 6 years ago, my face has raged out of control. I’m looking into starting a non-hormonal form of birth control, but it’s flawed and I don’t want to change too many things at once.  If anyone has tried the non-hormonal IUD (Paragard) , I would love to hear your experience.

 I have been on spiro for slightly over a month now along with EpiDuo gel. I will say that the EpiDuo is known to bleach everything and also dry the crap out of your skin. For these reasons, I don’t use it every night like I should. I honestly only use it once or twice a week. We just got a brand new bed set that’s a beautiful dark blue and all I can envision is orange bleach splotches all over the place and my boyfriend’s utter disappointment when he finds them. So far, so good as I have purchased white pillowcases and a hideously patterned sheet I don’t care about ruining that I fold over my side of the bed. What can I say? I like to snuggle safely.
Spiro is a long term drug. I mean, it’s changing the way your hormones interact after all! So it’s understandably going to take a few months before I notice much of a change. This rings true for me. Though I don’t have much considerable change, in my next post I’ll share what I’ve noticed and possibly include some before & after pictures of my beautiful mug. Stay tuned.

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Hi Kay! I just started Spiro last week. I am hoping for some great results. I too have tried everything under the sun. good luck! Look forward to seeing your progress.

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