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drifting

The Experiment: Weaning off Spironolactone

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Hi, so you u guys probably heard my kind of story a million times. 

Hormonal acne since teenage years/forever, recent blowup in early twenties, yadda yadda. 
I didn't get clear until I started taking spironolactone. I was prescribed 100 mg for two months which did nothing but dry me out and cause more whiteheads, and then my dosage was increased to 150 mg and boom. I could feel the results in a day and see them in less than a week. Topical epiduo also helped smooth my skin when i used a pea-sized amount mixed with moisturizer every/every other night. 

(grisly image ahead!! not for the faint of heart!!!) 









I went from this 

56b7abc7ca294_image(3).thumb.jpg.f13a077image.thumb.jpg.ee302c39a80d804176b65036
to this. 















Pretty cool amirite? it's been three months on 150 mg and i was completely clear as of last month. As you can see i have no more acne and only a bunch of hyperpigmentation and acne scars. 

Problem is, as much as I like spiro I HATE the idea of being dependent on it for the rest of my life -especially considering the horrifying stories I've read of other ppl getting estrogen dominance and/or having to get off spiro for some reason or other and having it wreck their skin. Also, I just don't like the idea of having those chemicals in my body. 

So I've decided to wean myself off it. My dermatologist has prescribed me a year's worth of spiro on 150mg/day and my goal is to finish this experiment without having to get another prescription. At the same time I've started the Acne.org Regimen on the side so as my skin starts to get thicker/oilier/more acne-prone as I wean off spiro, the more I will depend on the acne.org reg. 

The Plan:
step 1. decrease the dosage of 150mg of spiro/day by 25mg every three months. 
step 2. increase dependence on acne.org regimen

I take three pills of 50 mg each for a total of 150 mg per day. Starting today, I've bitten the third pill in half so I'm taking 125 mg, and I plan to do this every day for the next three months to get my body used to the dosage. Why three months? That's about as much time you need for your body to get used to spironolactone in general so I figured it was a good marker for weaning myself off. If all goes well and my skin is still clear in three months, I'll lower the dosage to 100 mg for three months, then 75mg, then 50mg, etc. 

In total the experiment should take 18 months but slow and steady does the trick so I gave myself an end goal of 21 months just in case. If I succeed in keeping off the acne, I have the chance of helping someone else with this experiment. If I fail, then at the very least it will serve as a warning. Good luck to me and the rest of u struggling with acne. 


Daily routine:
1. mild cleanser* mixed w/ jojoba oil*
(wait 5-10 min to dry after washing off)
2. acne.org benzoyl peroxide (pea-sized amount)
(wait 5-10 min to dry)
3. mild moisturizer mixed w/ jojoba oil
(wait 10-20 min for bp burning to stop)
4. sunscreen

**Note**: My cleanser/moisturizer/sunscreen are either from Cerave/Cetaphil or a Korean brand. I don't specify because I change them often but if you would like to know what I'm using feel free to message me! Also, I use the jojoba oil sparingly (2-3 drops max for the whole morning) and only really to soothe the burning/flaking from the benzoyl peroxide. 


Nightly routine: 
1. mild cleanser 
2. mild toner/essence*
3. mild moisturizer mixed w/ acne.org aha+*
OR
3.1. mild moisturizer mixed w/ topical tazorac*

**Note**:  I'm Korean so I'm used to using things like essences which are basically nutritious serums for the skin. This is a completely superfluous step so you can easily skip it. The only point to emphasize is that if you use a toner please please please make sure you pick one that is hydrating and mild. Astringent toners will unnecessarily irritate your skin, please avoid them altogether. 
   Also, I will use the aha+ as needed. Meaning if I feel there's just too much irritation via exfoliation then I'll use it 1-2 times a week instead. Other times I'll use plain moisturizer or mix in a pea-sized amount of tazorac to my moisturizer.
   Anyone who has been prescribed spironolactone has most likely also been prescribed or been given samples of a topical like Epiduo or Tazorac. These are not necessary but they'll help smooth out your skin like liquid gold. So if you have it, use it. 

Current Focus (for month 1): 
-seeing results of 125 mg spiro per day
-getting used to the acne.org bp so I can start using it in conjunction with the aha+ 
So Far: 
-pea-sized amount of bp burns like hell and turns my face red for 30-45min. :(((


Progress reports + updates to the routine will be once a month. If you have any questions, please message me, do not reply to this post. 
 

Edited by drifting
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START OF MONTH 2: 

So, I gave up on the Regimen. It's still kind of amazing saying that haha, but I don't regret it one bit. For a couple of reasons. 

First off, I hated the benzoyl peroxide treatment. I absolutely despised it. If you love the bp, kudos to u but it just didn't work out for me. I used a tiny pea-sized amount once a day every day or every other day for three weeks straight and the burning still wouldn't let up. I'm not talking about a little tingle either, it was painful enough to bring tears to my eyes. I felt like I was putting poison on my face everyday.

Second, besides the redness/irritation/burning, the treatment also worsened my skin -and I don't mean my acne because i don't have any acne anymore; I mean MY SKIN. Using a tiny pea-sized amount once a day made my face look dull and aged no matter how well I moisturized with jojoba oil added. Now, I've read alot of reports about benzoyl peroxide aging skin but I don't think it does -at least not directly. Benzoyl peroxide kills off the antioxidants in your skin via oxidation, so yes your skin might end up looking more dull and old the way mine did. I tried to counteract the effects of the bp by using an antioxidant rich serum + moisturizer and jojoba oil, but my face still looked much worse than it did pre-treatment. So I dumped it.

BUT I realize that my skin is more thin and fragile due to the spironolactone, and that I might have very different results if I had my naturally thick and oily skin. So the benzoyl peroxide isn't completely off the table yet. The beauty of weaning off spiro is that I have plenty of time to figure out what works. After all, I'm not trying to get rid of my acne anymore, I'm just trying to prevent it. :B

This is my skin after three weeks of benzoyl peroxide and one week of tea tree oil (which I'll explain later):

56d72c577e287_image(7).thumb.jpg.787993b  56d72c60e4b80_image(6).thumb.jpg.2bcc5ec
 

As you can see, I'm still clear. I have had three cystic acne bumps since my last post though, but that's more because of my change in dosage than the topicals, which is my next big thing to report. 

A little over a week ago, I dropped my dosage to 100 mg from 125 mg. Basically, I visited my dermatologist who thought weaning off spironolactone was a wonderful idea but suggested speeding up the process a little since I need to travel abroad in a few months. So, after much thought, I decided to drop 50 mg every three months, rather than 25 mg. This way, I cut my experimentation time from 18 months to 9 months. And boy, did I get results. After having no effect whatsoever dropping my dosage to 125 mg, dropping to 100 mg got me a cystic bump in just two days. Rather than worrying me, it relieved me to see the acne now rather than five months later. Plus, this is where the magic of tea tree oil came in.

Tea tree oil got rid of the cyst in another two days. With no burning, or lasting redness / irritation. And my skin is glowing again. 


The Plan (UPDATED):
step 1: decrease my dosage of 150 mg of spironolactone a day by 50 mg every three months. 
step 2: use tea tree oil to prevent potential acne


Morning Routine:
1. mild cleanser
2. exfoliate (2-3 times a week)*
3. wipe w/ tea tree oil*
4. toner
5. serum/essence
6. mild moisturizer
8. sunscreen

**Note**: When you exfoliate, make sure you do it gently!! I can't stress this enough tbh. Application is just as important as the product, and irritation is enemy number one. I use a pea-sized amount of Acne.org's aha at night and in the morning I use a sugar scrub. The way I apply the scrub is by melting it in my hands with a little water and swiping it onto my face. Then I take 1-2 fingers and work the sugar scrub across my skin in little circles using as little pressure as possible. Scrubs are to take off the uppermost layer of your skin (the part that flakes off) so don't go rubbing that stuff in. Leave the heavy duty pore exfoliation to your chemical exfoliants (aha or bha). If your skin is red after you scrub, you're using too much pressure.
   As for the tea tree oil, I got mine from Desert Essence 100% in a little glass bottle. I don't play around with this stuff; I follow the directions to a T. I put a cotton pad over the opening of the bottle and hold the bottle upside down once, twice, three times so I have three circles of the product on the cotton pad. Then I spritz the pad with some filtered water in a bottle and swipe that all over my face. I do this twice a day, immediately after exfoliation if I have any. There's a refreshing tingle but no thank god no burning pain like the bp treatment.
   I heard if you dilute the product too much, the bacteria in your skin will become resistant to the antibacterial properties of the tea tree oil, so I don't dilute it and I don't move the tea tree oil to a different container. I leave it in the glass bottle it came in and try not to expose it to too much air to prevent oxidation. Tea tree oil's supposed to last for six months but the way I'm using it, it should be done in 3 months.



Night Routine:
1. oil-based cleanser (jojoba)*
2. mild cleanser
3. exfoliate (2-3 times a week)
4. wipe w/ tea tree oil
5. toner
6. serum/essence
7. mild moisturizer*

**Note**: Whenever you use an oil-based cleanser, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before because u don't want to be working all that bacteria and dirt on your hands into your skin. Also if you're using the oil cleanser as a makeup remover, don't rub it around for more than a minute or your makeup will start to sink back into your pores.
I use Acne.org's jojoba oil because it's a steal at that price. :)
   Sometimes after this step I'll spot treat with the tea tree oil. Doing spot treatment after your moisturizer makes it so that the 100% concentration doesn't burn your face, and I've found that the cysts deflated quicker when I spot treat them.



Current Focus (for month 2): 
-watch how skin fairs at 100 mg
-see if the tea tree oil keeps up effectiveness against acne
So far: 
-my last cyst is that red spot on my chin from a couple days ago. So far so good :]





Progress reports + updates to the routine will be once a month. If you have any questions, please message me, do not reply to this post. 



 
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Wow- spiro worked for you so quickly!  Im almost at the 6 months mark and my acne has not cleared.  I just upped to 150 mg a few days ago so here's to hope.  Im excited to read about your progress with this.  I tried the regimen and for almost a year, had great skin and then.....

Eczema.  It was horrible.  That was in 2013 and i still have it and acne today so be careful with BP and the amounts they recommend, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Keep us posted

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7 hours ago, leelowe1 said:

Wow- spiro worked for you so quickly!  Im almost at the 6 months mark and my acne has not cleared.  I just upped to 150 mg a few days ago so here's to hope.  Im excited to read about your progress with this.  I tried the regimen and for almost a year, had great skin and then.....

Eczema.  It was horrible.  That was in 2013 and i still have it and acne today so be careful with BP and the amounts they recommend, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Keep us posted


oh dear good luck!! i hope 150 mg ends up well. i heard some ppl go up even to 200mg so don't give up hope if 150 doesn't turn out alright? :D 

yikes yeah bp just doesn't work for some ppl. :/// i'll update next month w my results, let me know how the 150mg works for u!  Edited by drifting
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This is probably going to be my last post ever. 

It's been over a year and I am still completely clear without spironolactone or bp. Here's how I did it.

I watched this video. Since I'm korean I have a tendency to watch korean beauty bloggers and luckily I stumbled across this goldmine. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Yal_YIJFqU&t=627s
I bought the Zymogen serum off jolse.com and applied it twice a day every day. And that was that. :D When I decrease usage, I get a couple spots around my period or when I'm very stressed and not sleeping well. But I have never had the kind of deep cystic acne I used to get prior to my spironolactone usage.

Since the zymogen serum merely prevents acne formation, when I do have acne the serum doesn't make it go away. So for breakout days, I smear honey over my face, wait twenty minutes and then wash it off, and I do that twice a day until the breakout is gone. The antibacterial properties of the honey sinks into the skin and kills the acne bacteria slowly while healing and strengthening the skin at the same time. I live by honey lately. 

I get acne every now and then but healthy living (im vegan) and minimal skincare products have made it so I'm like a typical person with acne prone skin and not someone plagued and scarred by acne. I love it. My skin is clear and I've never been happier, and I wasn't going to post here again but I realized it doesn't help anyone if I keep the secret to myself. 

Here is my updated skincare routine as of 8/31/17: 

Morning routine: 
1. take a shower.
2. wipe my face with some kind of relieving toner (right now its rosewater).
3. apply zymogen serum.
4. apply light moisturizer (using etude house soonjung 2x barrier intensive cream). 
5. sunscreen.
6. mineral makeup (using everyday minerals semi-matte). 

Night routine: 
1. oil-based cleanser (DO NOT MASSAGE THIS IN. spend a few seconds at most. #hateocm #neveragain)
2. foam-based cleanser
3. wipe face with some kind of relieving toner.
4. apply zymogen serum.
5. apply any kind of serum (loving the niacinamide from theordinary lately). 
6. apply light moisturizer (using rosehip oil and glowing). 

I hope you all get clear skin. I haven't been on this site for over a year because my bad skin days were behind me. I completely forgot about this thread I had up. Good luck to everyone. I know exactly how painful and debilitating this kind of acne is. If I can get to the right place, you can too. Never give up hope. 
 

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