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invasiveexotics

Spironolactone log (+ doxy, benzaclin, acnescript, etc)

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I've been posting in the "mild/moderate" forum because my doctor told me that I mostly had pustules, but I've realized that my case is definitely more moderate/severe, and also, I realized that my post was turning into a log, so I decided to start one here.

Here's my first post:

http://www.acne.org/messageboard/killing-me-out-t270143.html

The gist of my acne story (with certain things bolded to make it easier to read, perhaps): I'm 21 years old, female, and I believe that my pustules/cysts are hormonal, because I was on birth control for a couple years (Apri and Nuvaring) and these breakouts started a couple months after I went off BC, far worse than any breakouts I've ever had in my life. First I tried Doxycycline, which I didn't like because of stomach upset and sunburn susceptibility, so I went back on Apri for about 3 months. This didn't help, so I went to the doctor again. This time, I tried Benzaclin, and then also added Doxy again after a couple weeks, figuring I'd just put up with the side effects if it meant improving the state of my face. So far, these antibiotics have been pretty helping, but I feel that they are treating the *symptom*, on the surface, rather than addressing the underlying problem, which I am almost certain is hormonal. I do think that some picking/popping early on in this breakout made my cheeks a lot worse, but I've been avoiding picking/popping lately. I have no body acne. I had one spot on my chest around when I started antibiotics, but it has since gone away.

Today I went to the doctor for a follow-up appointment, having emailed her about Spironolactone a couple days before. She thought this was a reasonable idea, so today I'll be picking up my Spiro. I believe she said she was putting me on 25mg/day for the first few weeks, because of the potential problems with K+ levels. I'll have to get bloodwork done in a couple weeks, which I've always been scared of and avoided at all costs! I'll be decreasing Benzaclin to once a day with the Spiro (will be using it once before bed) so I also ordered some of the Acne.org BP to use in the morning in place of Benzaclin.

In addition, I got a sample of AcneScript, which is supposed to help a lot with inflammation/redness, and also possibly help with some of my cysts. I started that yesterday.

As far as diet, I am trying my best to avoid grains and dairy, although the grains part has been tough. I think I need to plan my meals for each day and stick to it. Otherwise, I tend to have occasional binges, largely due to stress. Last night and today I ate some cookies and Nutella out of stress (mostly about class, but this acne thing has also been a source of kind of depressed feelings) so I hope that doesn't worsen my face. Other than this, though, I usually eat pretty healthy. I cook a lot of stir fries, I make green smoothies or oatmeal with berries and nut butter for breakfast, I try to snack mostly on fruit and nuts. My ideal diet would be pretty primal, but in a college atmosphere, it's often hard to avoid grains and dairy and processed foods. I also drink TONS of water and exercise as often as I can fit into my busy schedule of class/work, usually biking or running 3-4 times a week, since summer class has really filled up my days when combined with work M-F 9-5.

So here's my basic regimen, as of today:

AM:

100mg Doxycycline

Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser

Soon: Dan's BP (whenever it arrives)

Eucerin Q10 Anti-Wrinkle Sensitive Skin Moisturizer (love this!)

Alima Pure mineral makeup

Spironolactone 25mg

PM:

Lush Ultrabland (an amazing makeup remover)

Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser

Benzaclin

Eucerin Q10 Anti-Wrinkle Sensitive Skin Moisturizer

Supplements:

AcneScript (2 pills twice a day)

Hair/Skin/Nails multivitamin

Fish Oil (1200 mg x 2)

Vitamin C (1000 mg x 2)

Vitamin D3 (5000 IU)

Vitamin A (10,000 IU - going to phase this out once the bottle's done)

Accuflora probiotic (keeps my tummy happy while on antibiotics!)

Here are photos of my cheeks from May 8:

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From May 29:

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Taken this morning (6/29):

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My acne has definitely dried up a bit since I started all of these meds, but there's still some active stuff going on. My flakiness has decreased TONS since starting to use the Eucerin moisturizer, switching from one from Lush that had too many essential oils. My forehead and chin had a bit of an initial breakout with the meds, but those are basically clear, except for red marks. I do have to sort of big, underlying cysts sort of on the bridge of my nose, between my eyes. One of those has been there a while and isn't red at all, the other is bigger and redder and more recent, and seems to be moving through the normal cycle of a cyst.

That's all for now, I will keep updating this log, and it won't be QUITE so wordy in the future, I promise! If you have similar issues and would like to be log buddies or something, I'd be into that. :)

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Edited by invasiveexotics
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So far, I haven't had any negative side effects with the 25 mg dose of Spiro, so that's good. I have to wait another week or two to get the blood tests for potassium levels, but after that, hopefully I'll be able to up the dose.

We've had a horrible heat wave over the past week or so, and I don't have an air conditioner, so this humidity that I'm sleeping in probably really isn't helping. It's been really hard to find a used one though, I'm sure everyone else wants one too. :(

Nonetheless I think things are improving. My cheeks are still somewhat red, but definitely getting better, and now, with makeup on, the skin just looks rough, instead of puffy and inflamed. Hopefully I'll be able to up my Spiro dose soon and that will help!

I've still been taking 1 Doxy pill each morning and using Benzaclin at night. I replaced Benzaclin with Dan's BP in the morning, so now, just one dose of each antibiotic per day. I'm a little nervous that my new jar of Benzaclin might be messed up though, pretty much as soon as I got it, the temp was over 100 degrees in my room. :(

Edited by invasiveexotics
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New photos 7/9:

Photobooth sure is good at making redness look absolutely horrible. It's a bit less gross in real life, I guess. It's starting to look like multiple spots instead of one giant one.

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I have a retail job interview this afternoon (need a second job)... I really hope this doesn't keep me from getting it. It's at a place that requires me to have certain skills, and I'm very qualified, but I also don't know if they want the face of their company to be covered in nasty zits. Plus I feel like whether people know it or not, they do judge differently when your face is like this. I've experienced a lot less random friendliness since my face broke out.

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Edited by invasiveexotics
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I got past the first interview for the job I mentioned in the last post! This makes me feel much better about the state of my face, as shallow as that may be. It feels a lot less inflamed. I doubt that the 25mg/day of Spiro is doing much just yet (going in for a blood test this week for the potassium thing) so I think Acnescript has really been helping calm things down, combined with Benzaclin/Doxycycline once daily. I'm thinking I'll eliminate Benzaclin after this jar, which is still pretty full and will probably last another month or so.

On another note, my stomach hates me in general, and I don't think antibiotics are helping - part of why I'd like to phase them out as soon as I can. But I don't think diet is the culprit for my acne: I've actually been seeing more progress during the last week or so when I've eaten badly a few times + had grains/dairy than when I was actively cutting these out. I feel like as long as I eat a well-balanced diet (with attention to glycemic index, etc), my skin is unaffected by these factors.

Edited by invasiveexotics
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Last night two of my friends separately told me that my face was looking a lot better - yay! I overscrutinize my skin so much that sometimes I feel like it's looking better and other times I still feel like it still looks simply terrible. But I think the end is in sight within the next few months, and I have to remember that it hasn't been long since it was always leaking pus or bleeding and I couldn't touch my face at all without it hurting, now I at least have a solid layer of skin that I can touch, apply makeup to, and brush against my pillow without something bleeding.

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Wow -- great results so far! I'll be keeping up with your log to see your progress. I'd link you to mine, but's kind of depressing at the moment (using spiro and several other acne meds). Best of luck!

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Progress still moving in similar direction ... was supposed to have Spiro follow up appointment today, but when I got to health services, there were fire trucks everywhere so I couldn't go (???). Will have to reschedule to try to up the Spiro dose, though things have been making positive progress.

You know what drives me crazy, which is sad because it's kind of shallow, is when someone posts/tags a picture on Facebook where my face CLEARLY looks terrible/disgusting. Today an acquaintance who's a photographer posted this intense, high-def close up of my face where every little flaw was completely visible. I immediately untagged it, but people think you're a total poor sport if you go so far as to ask someone to remove a photo altogether. I feel like mine is more extenuable, because it's not like I'm just making a weird face or something (in fact, the photo in question would be cute if I weren't so acne ridden in it!) - I'm just very sensitive about the whole acne thing. Argh, I wish it was more reasonable to bring this up, but usually the people who post something like that are the ones who aren't close enough friends for me to feel comfortable talking about it. And even the time that I specifically asked someone not to post pictures of me on FB when my face was at its worst, by the time she posted the album she had forgotten and it was just mixed in with a bunch of other pictures.

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Progress still moving in similar direction ... was supposed to have Spiro follow up appointment today, but when I got to health services, there were fire trucks everywhere so I couldn't go (???). Will have to reschedule to try to up the Spiro dose, though things have been making positive progress.

You know what drives me crazy, which is sad because it's kind of shallow, is when someone posts/tags a picture on Facebook where my face CLEARLY looks terrible/disgusting. Today an acquaintance who's a photographer posted this intense, high-def close up of my face where every little flaw was completely visible. I immediately untagged it, but people think you're a total poor sport if you go so far as to ask someone to remove a photo altogether. I feel like mine is more extenuable, because it's not like I'm just making a weird face or something (in fact, the photo in question would be cute if I weren't so acne ridden in it!) - I'm just very sensitive about the whole acne thing. Argh, I wish it was more reasonable to bring this up, but usually the people who post something like that are the ones who aren't close enough friends for me to feel comfortable talking about it. And even the time that I specifically asked someone not to post pictures of me on FB when my face was at its worst, by the time she posted the album she had forgotten and it was just mixed in with a bunch of other pictures.

Hey,

Your posts are really helpful to read. I started on spiro twelve days ago, having been on roaccutane twice. That made my skin utterly perfect the first time, I was off it for three years and then back on last summer, coming off at Christmes. But my skin recently has got oily again - which I noticed with dread. There was a period of time when I was kind of pretending it wasn't happening and as I wasn't breaking out that was possible - keep blotting and powdering! - but my skin has broken out now.

I wanted to know - how long before you saw any change in your skin with the spiro? I'm on a pretty high dose - 150mg - especially as I'm under 50kg. And what I have already noticed is the water weight loss so I was hoping that was a sign it was working!

LMD87

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GOOD LUCK GOOD LUCK GOOD LUCK GOOD LUCK :)

You'll be gorgeous in no time! You have a great attitude which is why I know you are going to be fine!

I looked just like you about a year ago and I was 20. I also had never had serious acne issues before hand. I did cave and go on accutane and guess what 6 months later my acne came back. I am now on antibiotics again!! So to all those people in the other log who were pushing accutane on you as the holy grail, it isnt necessarily a cure...

Anyway I just wanted to send my love and best wishes!! :)

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Thank you for the supportive comments - this site is such a lovely source of support and has really helped keep me optimistic, even on the most dark days in this face-fixing quest!!

lmd87: I am actually still on only 25mg of Spiro per day - today is day 28 of that. But I'm fairly certain my progress as of now has been mostly because of sticking with the antibiotics (Doxy + Benzaclin) and also Acnescript has been helpful. I was supposed to have an appointment for Spiro follow up last week, but the health services building was on fire so I have to reschedule for mid-August and we're going to talk about increasing the dose then. Wish it could be sooner, I have a feeling Spiro might be just what I need to maintain good skin WITHOUT antibiotics!

Frida.k: Thanks so much for the supportive comment! I'm so glad I decided not to leap for Accutane, I just don't want to put my body through something that harsh when there's not a 100% chance it'll work. I hope the antibiotics work out well for you! Best of luck :D

---

One thing I want to note is that my digestive system has been a bit happier lately, since starting to take probiotics. I feel like antibiotics made my stomach quite sensitive. I haven't had very many new spots lately, and I definitely notice a difference in how quickly spots go down with Acnescript (ie, the other night a little new spot popped up on my forehead, and I stupidly popped it and it bled a bit and I was sure it'd be huge in the morning, instead it had shrunken significantly). I'm really eager to get on a higher dose of Spiro, since it sounds like 25mg doesn't really do anything for anyone and I want to get away from antibiotics as soon as I can! Can't wait for this ordeal to be over.

And a shallow moment of happiness: I feel like people actually look at me in public again. Maybe that's weird to say, but I've occasionally had guys smile at me on the street in the past week or so, and it feels good, since I was practically invisible for a couple months. And it's not just guys, it's the friendliness I get from everyone, whether it's a clerk at a shop or people I chat with at a party. Sure, it requires a decent bit of makeup to hide the redness right now, and even then my cheeks look a bit rough, but that will pass!

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Had a follow up appointment today. I guess my improvement has been significant enough that we're just sticking with what I have been doing, rather than upping the dose of Spironolactone. Kind of disappointing, because it seems like most people have gotten much clearer results on higher doses. Oh well, still moving in a positive direction, most of what's left on my face is the purply red marks rather than actual swelled up spots.

I do have one or two small new zits, the first in a while, and it's right around time for my period to come, so this sort of confirms the hormonal thing for me. They seem to be going down fast, which I mostly attribute to AcneScript. I've also had a few little body spots popping up - never really a problem before, but I think it's probably connected with exercising/sweating in the recent heat, so I got a bottle of Neutrogena Body Clear body wash to try out.

Edited by invasiveexotics
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Hey! It's been a while. Luckily, my skin problems haven't been the only thing on my mind lately. Yay! :D I do still have a lot of redness/roughness, but it's much better, not that visible with makeup on, and I guess I've sort of adjusted to its presence.

Still only on 25mg of Spiro, maybe I'll convince my doctor to do more at my next appt. Got a new deep spot on my forehead today, not too big but still the first in a while.

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Starting to eat a more Primal Blueprint style diet, hoping this will also help my skin.

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Have been feeling pretty bad about my face this weekend :( Was looking at old photos from a year or so ago with totally smooth cheeks, I'm so worried I'll never have that again. I haven't really been getting many new zits but I'm worried a lot lately about the long term effects of the marks left behind. This sort of hit me when someone at a nail salon didn't believe I was an undergrad... and also, it's been rarer and rarer for me to get carded lately. I think this skin is making me look older :cry: If anyone's reading this, do you have any ideas for helping this reddishness/roughness to heal?

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Just started reading your blog..and when I saw these pics, I got excited for you! Things seem to be coming along really well and your skin is looking amazingly better than when you started! Keep up the good work :)

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I hope that you're in a state of amazing well-being and that your skin has cleared up 100%

I'm praying for you and your progress!!!!

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