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alias683

Oh Spirooooo...

So this is my story. I have had persistant acne since about 16. Hormonal, I guess? I have never really noticed it get better or worse with my period. I used everything possible in high school, and college. And finally my junior year of college, at 21, my derm put me on 6 months of Accutane. 4 months at 40mg, 2 at 60. Worked AMAZINGLY. Had flawless skin (with the occasional pimple that didn't bother me), until July. I have always used Tazorac religiously after Accutane, and it seemed to be the perfect thing. I could even skip a few days (if I was in the mountains/too much sun exposure), and my skin would still be fine.

Fast forward to July, I started getting HUGE cysts again on the side of my face. I chalked it up to stress, but they wouldn't go away. I got on doxy, which helped clear it up, and then got off doxy 2 weeks later. 1 month later, my skin is getting progressively worse. Pimples everywhere on my cheeks, chin, side of my face (mainly my right side), and I got back on doxy 200mg for about a month. It cleared me up some, but i was still SO oily, and was having a hard time dealing with the recurrance of my acne. I tried beyaz too, but the nausea and anxiety was SOOOO unbearable I had to get off it within a week. I lost 4 lbs, and wasn't able to function in the hospital.

Let me add, I am a medical student. My life is stressful, yes, but this is my 3rd year, and this isn't a new level of stress for me. I can't figure out if something triggered all this, or if it was just time. It's frustrating to know that I deal with patients day in and day out, and they judge me on my skin. I'm a smart girl, I've worked hard my entire life, and I hate feeling like people don't hold me in as high regard because of my skin.

Honestly, I kinda just want to be put back on Accutane again. The results were great, and I tolerated it really well, just a few muscle aches, dry lips, and constipation. Nothing that couldn't be dealt with.

So, I finally got into see my derm (who is now 70 miles away), and he suggested spiro. I didn't want to beg for Accutane, so I figured I'll give this a whirl. He said 2 months. If it doesn't work in two months, then I'll get back on Accutane. Which is good because I'm no longer on my parent's insurance starting the end of 2012, so if I need to be on Accutane again, then I'd like to do it with their good insurance.

Other things to note about my life, partially becuase it's just cathartic to share, I just started dated this guy a couple months ago. When I initially met him, I was just struggling with a few cysts, its getting worse and I'm pimple-y all over my left cheek (where I rarely break out). I'm worried how he'll react to all this, and I hate feeling like I have to wear make-up around him all the time. This is my first real relationship (Yes, I'm 25), so the stress of worrying what he'll think makes me a little.... emotionally unstable. We're not having sex (yet?), and I'm not on BC (yet.)... Just some other things to think about. Really, if he breaks up with me, it'll be easier on Accutane, not having to kiss with dry/chapped lips.

So. Actual spiro progress:

It has been offically 1 wk on 50mg on spiro (I'm 5'6 and ~120lbs). I was semi-clear before, with some bad scarring from previous cysts, because I had just finished doxy. My skin has definitely gotten worse, but in a strange way. I'm getting little white heads/pimples all over the left cheek (where I haven't broken out since pre-accutane), and not really sure what's going on. I'm still on tazorac 0.1% every night, which is helping keep them managable. No huge cysts yet, but I'm still on doxy for another week or so to help keep things a little calm, I guess. My skin is a little less oily in that I dont feel my make-up slipping off at noon, but its still more oily than it was in June.

My questions:

1. If this is my skin purging, does that mean that the spiro is working?

2. Should I stay on the doxy?

3. I'm going to get on BC at the end of December (That's when I get to see my ob next), does that mean I'll have another IB if I start then?

4. Any words of encouragement, advice, pick me-ups are greatly appreciated.

:)

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Alright. On week 3. Started upping my dose to 75mg/day because my face was still a little too oily at the end of the day. But MAN, do I see a change. I still have a few little, and i mean LITTLE, bumps on my cheeks, and I had 2 cysts trying to form on either side of my face, but it seems that the Tazorac, with the spiro hasn't let them become full blown, and may actually be on their way out. WAHOOO!

I have also decreased my dose of doxy, since I'm drying up a little more. I don't like being on antibiotics long term, and it just makes my mind uncomfortable for some reason, so I'm down to only once a day. I also didn't want to decrease it suddenly and get a bad rebound from it. So I'll stay on it at once a day for another week or so, then stop.

My hormones are still out of whack. I haven't gotten my period since the beginning of november, so its been about 6 weeks, and I have felt like I'm in a constantly PMS state for about a week. I wish my period would hurry up and get here so that my mood can stabilize again. I know part of it is the spiro, and the other part is that I tried birth control for a week at the end of my last cycle, but couldn't stay on it, so that probably messed me up too. Sigh.

On a side note, I think my boyfriend's face irritates my face. I notice little bumps pop up after we kiss on either side of my cheeks. I do wash my face afterwards, but it doesn't seem to stop them from happening. I wonder if my face will ever get used to it, or if it'll be like that forever.

Summary:

After 2 weeks of spiro at 50, and starting on 75, things are looking good. I hope to stay at 75 bc it makes me nervous that I'll have to be on this forever, maybe I'll get bumped up to 100 when January starts... we'll see.

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Alright. Week 3 is over... I started my period last Thursday night. Saturday and Sunday morning I woke up with two huge cysts on the right side of my face. One was just at my hairline and turned into a huge pustule --> popped, and is healing. Still really red though. The other one on my cheek was really painful, isn't as painful anymore, but definitely still pretty big and hard to cover up. Another thing I've noticed is that I've started breaking out on my forehead again. I got another painful pimple kind of on the left side of my forehead. It hurts pretty bad, and is giving me a headache. I woke up with that this morning. Wahoo. And I can't cover it with my hair, and my make-up isn't doing the trick on that. Sigh. And I get to go the hospital today to see patients. Wonnnnderful. I know what they'll be staring at. This also means it'll be a few days before I can spend the night with my boyfriend, bc I'd rather him not see me make-up-less like this.

I'm on 100 on doxy still. Once a day for another week, then I'll do every other day for a week, then stop.

One more week at 75 before I bump up to 100, I think, if things don't clear up.

On the bright side, my cheek area around my nose is much drier, and the scars are starting to fade thanks to Tazorac. Although the major scars on my jaw line have been there for about 4 months now (yay for South Asian/Indian skin and hyperpigmentation).

My question to anyone who is reading this:

1. What make-up should I try? I have prescriptives foundation that was matched to my skin color (bc its hard to find something that normall matches me), but wasn't sure if that was good or not.

2. Why is my hormonal acne getting WORSE? I never broke out so painfully before with my period.

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my recommendation would be to bump yourself up to 100mg. i was on 50mg and am having much better luck with 100mg...some people dont really even see results until they bump it up to 150 or 200. if your cysts are getting worse...call your derm and have him/her ok to increase the dosage.

its basically all about finding your balance with the least amount of side effects and best results. seriously, try doing 100mg for a week and see if you see a change...

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Alright. On to week 5..... Status... UGH. SO ANNOYED. I HATE MY SKIN.

Okay. So. I keep getting pimples one right next to another all on the right side of my face. And my left cheek is breaking out like it never has before. It's really strange, and I'm not quite sure why its happening. I was planning on getting off my doxy, but I'm too scared to now. I'll give myself till Friday to see if any of this clears up. I don't know if I should give myself a little more time on 75 before bumping up to 100, or if I should go ahead and bump it. Any thoughts?

Also, any suggestions on what concealers to use? I'm wondering if constantly using concelear in the same area is causing it to break out some....

I'm getting depressed over my skin. My boyfriend first met me when my skin was clear, and now its THIS. I hope he doesn't find me so repulsive during all this that he isn't attracted to me anymore and he leaves.....

Edited by alias683

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i feel like you started breaking out right when i started!

i've been on doxy for 4 months in conjunction with spiro for 2 months (today!) and its been working well for me. i still get the occasional pimple, but its SO much more manageable and i just dont seem to care as much. my derm has me on 100mg of spiro a day, and its been fine. she told me that i should stay on the doxy for at least another 2 months, which would be a full cycle of antibiotics. i am hoping to get off them sooner than that though.

i would bump up to 100mg and see if that helps you at all...sometimes a higher dose is all you need!

as for concealer--i use bare minerals and it works really well for coverage. if you need more, try neutrogena skin clearing foundation--it has salycyclic acid in it!

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Thanks Ija!! Your encouragement and advice really helps!

I am going to get my blood tests done in a week, and if they're okay, then I'll bump up to 100. I am stopping the doxy as of today, and starting probiotics to help re-flora my gut....

I'll definitely look into the bare minerals concealer. I feel the MAC one doesn't necessarily have the best coverage, and I get paranoid that it makes me break out more in those areas....

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Alright. On to week 5..... Status... UGH. SO ANNOYED. I HATE MY SKIN.

Okay. So. I keep getting pimples one right next to another all on the right side of my face. And my left cheek is breaking out like it never has before. It's really strange, and I'm not quite sure why its happening. I was planning on getting off my doxy, but I'm too scared to now. I'll give myself till Friday to see if any of this clears up. I don't know if I should give myself a little more time on 75 before bumping up to 100, or if I should go ahead and bump it. Any thoughts?

Also, any suggestions on what concealers to use? I'm wondering if constantly using concelear in the same area is causing it to break out some....

I'm getting depressed over my skin. My boyfriend first met me when my skin was clear, and now its THIS. I hope he doesn't find me so repulsive during all this that he isn't attracted to me anymore and he leaves.....

as for conclealers I highly recommend anything from Everyday Minerals(only online but u cant get cheap samples becfore irdering big products)

tel me what did u check in your blood?here doctors dont really know how to cure with spiro so I have to take care of everything by myself.

Edited by eastie

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I just got my blood drawn today (got my potassium checked), hopefully it comes back okay....

This stuff is starting to work... kind of-ish. My face looks really splotchy, and I have actives on my cheeks, forehead, and right jaw line. I never used to break out on my left cheek, and I still get annoyed when that happens, but that seems to be mainly where I've been breaking out a lot. Sigh.

Lots of little little red bumps everywhere. I never used to break out like that either. I need to start using my sulfur mask more often, I just dont want to over wash my skin. I feel with the winter and cold weather, plus all this, my skin is getting a little more irritated than usual, maybe that's whats causing all the little red dots. Some turn into pimples, some dont... Who knows.

Also, I need new make-up/foundation desperately. What are your guys' opinions on MAC? Neutrogena? Any thoughts?

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Alright. So. Done with 6 weeks of spiro, 2 weeks at 50, 4 at 75.

Can I say that I am ACTUALLY seeing a difference. I'm not completely clear, still a little bumpy on my left cheek and forehead, my right cheek has some major scarring/hyperpigmentation going on from my last set of cysts, BUT, I went to the gym yesterday with *drumroll please* NO MAKEUP. I didn't even dot on concealer onto my bad scars. Whether that's me getting more confident, or my skin getting better, or a combination of the two, it was a good feeling.

My OB/GYN told me to start on ortho tri-cyclen, but I am going to wait for a couple cycles before I do. I don't think the spiro is messing with my periods at this dose, and I'd rather not deal with another IB once my skin is already clearing up. Plus, my boyfriend and I are going through some hard times, and I think its best if there is a reason that we CAN'T have sex, just because I don't think I'm quite ready, esp if we're not in a completely stable relationship (don't judge).

My potassium came back normal! Yay! And I'll go see my derm in another week and a half or so, when I'm almost done with 8 weeks. I'm hoping he'll just keep me where I am for a while, then maybe think about changing things in 6-8 months. I think my body has finally adjusted to the 75, I'm not feeling dizzy, weak, or lightheaded as much. I'm going to get back into my normal workout routine (yay for fattening up during the holidays), and hopefully life will start falling into place again.

I still am a little obsessed with my skin, but its not as bad. I don't check the mirror as often, and I am able to focus on other things. I'm going to LA this weekend to see some family, and I'm hoping that my skin stays good for the trip. I also think I should be starting my period this weekend, so we'll see how that affects all this.

Happy New Year to everyone! Here's to a year of better skin and the confidence that comes with it!

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I am almost at the 2 month mark of using spiro. WOW. My skin has not looked this good since......... July/August. I got my period this week, which meant I did break out a little last week, but there were all small pimples, except for one of my forehead. Most of them have resolved, PIH left behind, of course. I do have 3 left on my forehead, but that's about it, I think. *hopefully I don't jinx it*

Skin is dry, a little. Partially because of the winter air too, I think. I've been wearing less make-up, which feels amazing.

I went to the dermatologist and he said that I should stay on this for about 9-12 months, and then try to slow down, and maybe come off of it. I'm sure at some point in the next year I'll start my ortho-tri-cyclen, I just dont want to mess with my hormones, if things are finally getting under control now.

Let hope I keep getting better and better, maybe I'll have perfect skin in another couple months!!!!

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If you have hormonal acne, which it sounds like you do, Spiro can be awesome. I'm a little past the 6 month mark and really I still get zits here and there, like white heads and such but rarely. After three months I really started to see a difference. Spiro is awesome, but you have to be patient. There ARE some side effects. You mentioned the whole period being weird. Well I have not had a "real" period in about 5 months. I have some spotting but nothing heavy which is great since I usesd to have miserable periods. It hasn't really regulated. Also, the less oily thing is awesome but I have to make sure I moisturize now or I start to get a little flaky and dry. Also, I was on 100 mg for a month (I"m 5 foot 7 in 140 lbs) and it didn't do as much as it should have so my doc bumped me up to 150 and I've been that for 5 months now and it really has done the trick. Hopefully after a year I'll be able to lower it. So if you're starting to have a lull in results I would ask to bump it up further. It must be nice to be a 3rd year med student. You probably know what's going on!

I used to have pretty severe acne. Cysts on my cheeks and around my mouth and antibiotics just stopped working so I feel your pain. Sooo just letting you know there is a success story out there. Good luck!

Ah I forgot, makeup wise I use Covergirl clean oil control for foundation. It's really light and doesn't make my face feel gross. I also use Maybelline mineral powder concealer. IT comes in a tube and is liquid. I love it bc it doesn't clog pores. If I'm feeling lazy I'll only put that on.

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Alright. Officially past the 8 week mark. Skin = great. I have a pimple at my temple and one that just popped up on my chin. The one at my temple is kinda a cyst, but its right at the hair line, so it doesn't bother me terribly since you can't really see it. The one on my chin is pretty small, and hopefully will go away quickly. I think the whole decreasing my milk intake has affected it, but I'm still feeling it out. It's hard for me to live without yogurt, so we'll see how I keep this up.

I will stick to 75mgs for now, and see how things work for the next month or so. There's still room to go up, which is reassuring as well. I'm also nervous about possibly having to start birth control, my gyn gave me ortho-tri-cyclen. The only reason I would have to take it is for contraception, which I don't need as yet, but things may change. I'm hoping that since I've been on spiro for a while, that I don't get an IB if I start birth control

Feebedel: Thank's so much! That's definitely helpful to see that things can still get better! This is definitely helping, and I'm hoping there's stil a little room for improvement. And I am definitely going to try the Maybelline concealer, I'm not a huge fan of the MAC one I'm using.

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Med student? Awesome! What are you wanting to specialize in? I'm working towards becoming an NP.

So you are not correctly taking Spiro with birth control right? Spiro works more effectively when paired with birth control. Do you take Vitamin D? You should start taking it as it will help with the hormone suppression. I have been taking all 3 since June 2011. I finished my Accutane course May 2011 and went on the Spiro and BC as a preventative measure.

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Med student? Awesome! What are you wanting to specialize in? I'm working towards becoming an NP.

So you are not correctly taking Spiro with birth control right? Spiro works more effectively when paired with birth control. Do you take Vitamin D? You should start taking it as it will help with the hormone suppression. I have been taking all 3 since June 2011. I finished my Accutane course May 2011 and went on the Spiro and BC as a preventative measure.

The reason I'm not on BC is because I tried BeYaz earlier this year, and just couldn't stay on it because it made me feel SOOO incredibly nauseous and anxious that I wasn't able to function at work. I'm just scared to have to start on a birth control again, 1. because I don't want to deal with the IB, 2. I don't want my mood/head to get messed up quite as yet. I'll start it if I NEED to (for contraceptive purposes), or I'm going to wait for a couple more months till I think I'm ready.

I don't take Vitamin D, I know I probably should considering that I'm dark skinned (relatively), and I live most of my life inside a hospital. I'll maybe start on that soon. I haven't heard of it helping with hormone suppression though. But the new fad is that Vitamin D is important for everything, and that we are all most likely low on it, so I wouldn't mind giving it a try.

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So. I'm almost done with 10 weeks, and I'm thinking about upping my dose. My skin, which I thought was getting better, is getting worse, AGAIN. (fml). It cleared up for a week, and then started breaking out again, and I haven't stopped. I think I'm going to start 100mg on Thursday/Friday, hopefully after a couple of these big ones clear up. I don't know what happened. I started taking zinc because I got a HUGE cyst on my upper cheek last Saturday, and it's not there any more, but its a really bad scar, which probably won't go away for at least 3-6 months. That's the problem with my acne, the scars, because I'm darker skinned, stay FOREVER. I have ones on my chin that have been around for more than 7 months now.

So. This is the plan. Up to 100 this weekend, especially if I keep seeing new pimples this week. Continue the Zinc, Curcumin, and Probiotics. And Tazorac.

I was clear before my period, then the week before, I started breaking out, and I haven't cleared up since. So frustrating!

UGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGHG. Hate acne.

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So. It has definitely been a while since I posted. I imagine I have been on 75 mg of Spiro for..... upwards for 4 months by now. I really started seeing a change mid-February, when I got my period, and only had a few teeeeeeny pimples that no one else could even notice. At the time, I wasn't living at home, and the family members I were staying with have a pretty strict diet, and I inadvertently was on a primarily gluten free/wheat free diet. I had also started taking Zinc PIcolonate about 3 weeks prior to that. Needless to say, my skin has been pretty phenomenal ever since. I can go without make-up (except for concealer under my eyes for the dark circles, thank you med school), for the most part. I do still have some hyper-pigmentation in some areas, but its not that noticeable, and I'm not that self-conscious about it. I do wear make-up to work, just because it looks more professional, but I feel I don't really NEED it anymore. I do L-O-V-E the MUFE HD foundation and setting powder. I mean, it seriously is amazing, not the best coverage, but I don't need heavy coverage anymore.

I did notice that sometimes when I eat wheat now (read more than 1 slice of pizza/2 slices of bread a day), after being consistently off it for 3-4 weeks, I do get little red spots on places on my face, and sometimes a little itchy on my chest. If I use my Tazorac and don't eat it again for a couple days, they go away. I really thought it would be dairy that did it to me, but it seems to be more wheat/gluten.

In conclusion: something is going right. the 75 of spiro + wheat-free diet + zinc + MUFE foundation = I feel like myself again. Dealing with going through all the ups and downs with spiro initially was hard at first, but it has definitely paid off. I think my doctor is going to keep me on it till the end of the year, and then we'll slowly try to wean off and see what happens!

At some point I need to start on BC, but I'm kinda afraid to. My ob/gyn gave me ortho-tri-cyclen, but I still haven't started it. I don't want it to mess up my skin since things are going so well right now, but I may need to start it for other reasons.

We'll see.

Thank you to everyone for all the support!!! These message boards really have helped me through a lot of my struggle with acne. I'll continue to update periodically! Stick to the spiro and definitely try to change your diet. Something may finally work for you :)

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My acne changed when I was around 24...I am now 25 and for the past year I've gained weight and my acne has been terrible, went from being moderate to severe and the retin A I was using wasnt doing a thing.

So I went to a new derm, because my previous one wasnt willing to put me on accutane, and I cant take antibiotics due to them interferring with my BC and plus I get terrible yeast infections..sorry tmi...

Well this new derm tested my hormones and guess what! My testosterone is wayyy high. Like in the 400's...so she said lets try spiro...and thank the lord we did....lol

I have been on it for 2 weeks and its made a HUGE difference in some areas. My skin was so oily before. I could use 4 of those clean and clear oil absorbing sheets easy. My skin is still "oily" but WAY less than before.

I am taking 50mg twice a day. Also she gave me samples of Aczone, which I like (although my insurance will not cover it) and some sulfur wash.

My routine is now the spiro twice a day, sulfur wash twice a day, aczone during the daytime and retin A at night. Its working pretty well so far! So I am happy...only will get better from what I hear.

Oh and I've been on tri sprintec for like 1.5 years...which alone did nothing for my acne.

The pic is of my skin right before the derm saw me.

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My acne changed when I was around 24...I am now 25 and for the past year I've gained weight and my acne has been terrible, went from being moderate to severe and the retin A I was using wasnt doing a thing.

So I went to a new derm, because my previous one wasnt willing to put me on accutane, and I cant take antibiotics due to them interferring with my BC and plus I get terrible yeast infections..sorry tmi...

Well this new derm tested my hormones and guess what! My testosterone is wayyy high. Like in the 400's...so she said lets try spiro...and thank the lord we did....lol

I have been on it for 2 weeks and its made a HUGE difference in some areas. My skin was so oily before. I could use 4 of those clean and clear oil absorbing sheets easy. My skin is still "oily" but WAY less than before.

I am taking 50mg twice a day. Also she gave me samples of Aczone, which I like (although my insurance will not cover it) and some sulfur wash.

My routine is now the spiro twice a day, sulfur wash twice a day, aczone during the daytime and retin A at night. Its working pretty well so far! So I am happy...only will get better from what I hear.

Oh and I've been on tri sprintec for like 1.5 years...which alone did nothing for my acne.

The pic is of my skin right before the derm saw me.

do you have an after pic? so happy spiro worked for you.

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