Spironolactone for Acne

3.9

100 reviews

84% would repurchase

Package Quality: 4.1

Price: $$

Package Quality: 4.1

Price: $$

INGREDIENTS



on

Age: 25-29

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Blond, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Hazel

I have had acne since I was 12 and I'm now 24.. Needless to say, i've tried everything from over the counter medicine to various prescriptions and nothing so far has worked.

I started Spiro about 5 months ago. My acne is mostly hormonal with some very rare deep cysts and mild to moderate in severity depending on my period that month. Since nothing else has really shown me noticeable results, i wasn't expecting much to be honest. Some reviews have mentioned the side effects however i rarely, if ever, experience those. I take it once a day before bed, 125mg.

It seems like it took forever to "kick in" but once it did, it was fast. I seriously went from getting a new breakout every week or so to maybe one or two spots. Knock on wood, but this month i haven't gotten my usual breakout so i'm hoping it stays away!

I'm all for instant gratification and i love to see results right away, however i am so glad that i stuck with this. Hopefully it continues to improve and i can continue to tolerate it.



on

Age: 36-43

Skin: Other, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Other, Other, Other

Eyes: Other

Ruined my looks! Aged me by 10 years! --Think carefully before taking. At first I loved spironolactone. I lost some weight on it and my face mostly cleared up (it is a a back and forth battle for me) and I had high hopes that it would decrease this sudden facial hair I was experiencing and increase the sudden hair loss on my head. It never really seemed to help with the latter two, in fact my facial hair just grew and spread.
But then I noticed my cheeks lost some volume. I thought it was from switching to a healthier diet and so tried to eat more.

But then my cheek indented when I got a blackhead or pimple. At first, it slowly filled up, but then it stayed dented for ages and even once filled in, seemed hollow underneath.

I then had a bad stomach flu and got very dehydrated and blamed that for losing what was left of my cheeks and mid-facial volume. I rehydrated like crazy afterwards and ate a lot (of healthy foods), but with no luck except to lose muscle and gain weight.
I then suddenly went from being a 8-9 hour sleeper to sleeping 4-5 hours and waking up and then sometimes getting another 1-2 hours. And I developed huge circles under my eyes.
Finally with another dent appearing in my cheek, it dawned on me I could be too dehydrated from the spiro.
So I started drinking 8 -10 glasses of water a day. 2 weeks later, I quit the spiro. The last dent filled in and my face seemed a teeny bit fuller, but then it swelled up from water weight, I think.
Although somehow at the same time it is still looking very spongey and saggy and has an awful texture.
I've been off the spiro a month but twice I took it for 2 days in a row bc I got so scared by my body's reaction to going off it. But I am determined to stay off it now and I am praying my body readjusts water/weight wise and that I regain muscle tone. But, most of all, I am praying i will one day see my own face looking back at me in the mirror.
I'd give nearly anything to rewind to a year ago. I would rather have acne and my youth than this.
I was on 100 mg for 9 months and 150 mg the last 2 months. The negative effects kicked in at months 4-6 (though I had some weight loss nearly immediately) just when my face was looking it's clearest. So perhaps one can take it until that point, but then wean off it? But given how I look now, I wouldn't take the risk.
HAS ANYONE HAD A SIMILAR EXPERIENCE BUT RECOVERED, in full or in part? I would LOVE to hear from you bc I am so depressed and sad now over this. I can't look at any photos from 5 months ago (or before) bc the change since then has been too drastic.


on

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Grey

I totally agree with M5fan. I am also not sure, what is better-*a little bit of acne with dry, old-looking eyes OR have acne and look younger*. I have acne since 18 y.o. Now I am 45. Looked 10 years younger, till started using this medication little over than 1 month ago (50 mg/day). My acne have never been really terrible, but always terribly annoying. Tried lots of different stuff on my face-basically I am my own *guinea pig*. I noticed, that oral antibiotics of wide range ( like Vancomycin) really helped me, but I only used them when I needed them for something more serious, than acne. Other than antibiotics-sun light also helps me, but I don't spend enough time outside because of my job and other life obligations. With this drug I am not impressed at all. It helps just a bit, but dryness under the eyes starts turning into more serious problem, than acne ! Can't wait to go to the dermatologist and discuss this issue...Not happy.

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.


on

Age: 25-29

Skin: Very Oily, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Blond, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Green

Background on my skin: very oily, acne prone for many years, rosacea. Many derms wanted to put me on Accutane. But after seeing my mom, dad, and brother go through that.......I would not touch it unless it was my last resort. So I gave Spirolactone a chance.

IF YOU ARE GOING TO BE PRESCRIBED SPIROLACTONE THROUGH POCKETDERM AKA CUROLOGY --- HERE IS SOME KEY INFO: They apparently CAN NOT prescribe it to you for more than 3-4 months. I LEARNED THIS THE HARD WAY and after digging around the internet, I found out they do this to everyone to avoid lawsuits. My pocketderm/curology dermatologist DROPPED ME TO THE CURB, telling me to get it prescribed by a local derm face to face. He also claimed they only prescribe it for you to "try it out". Which in my opinion is AWFUL on their part because SPIRO AFFECTS YOUR HORMONES. Thus starting/stopping it abruptly is no easy feat. You are WAY better off being prescribed it from a local derm from the get go. ALSO pocketderm / curology absolutely REFUSES to prescribe moderate amounts because they are scared of lawsuits. 100mg seems to be their maximum, and that's not going to do much.

Not.......as for my experience with Spironolactone itself. Initially it made me really nauseous all day long. Honestly, this side effect did not go away the entire time I was on it. It didn't matter if I took it on a full or empty stomach. HOWEVER luckily for the rest of you, this side effect is uncommon.

I did notice a reduction in my oil. But 100mg is actually considered a low dosage (another reason I hate pocketderm). I am confident that if I was on 200 MG, it would have been a life changer. But... I might have been throwing up all day too. LOL. (Again - that's uncommon so don't let my review scare you).

Why am I pro-Spiro nonetheless? Because the science backs it up. Spironolactone cures acne when your oil production is the cause. It (the spiro) has high anti androgen properties. Androgens are responsible for your oil production, and when you cut back on sebum - it often clears up the acne. Similar to how Accutane clears up acne for many.

The HUGE difference between Spiro and Accutane is that Accutane is MUCH more intense. It potentially can permanently shrink oil glands. Rarely do people have to go more than one round. My mother only went through one round and she tells me she regrets it because her skin is so dry that she feels she would have aged better without it.

Spirolactone on the other hand, just cuts back on the androgens and has very short half lives. What does short have lives have to do with it? Well for one, that's why many of you will have to take one dosage in the morning then one at night. Missing a few dosages means you will go back to your skins prior state quite quickly. Where as Accutane is hard to reverse. In turn, you will likely have to be on Spirolactone for many years. I know plenty of people that have been on it for 10+ years with no problems.

One issue is you'll need blood tests regularly (average is every 3 months) to make sure your potassium levels are ok. Spironolactone for acne is actually an off-label use and acne was never what the drug was originally created for. Spiro originally hit the market to help with medical issues involving fluid retention and also low potassium levels. Do not eat potassium rich foods (IE bananas) otherwise you could find yourself in a deep deal of trouble. Other than that - you should be fine.

I ended up using Spearmint Tea to finally clear my skin IN ADDITION to a great skincare routine (moisturize + ss + chemical exfoliator). Spearmint tea has anti adrogen properties. There's a review in my profile for that. The only big downside of spearmint tea is that it's not nearly as potent as Spirolactone. But..........if Spearmint Tea did not work - I'd likely still be on Spiro.

I'm confident Spiro could help many of you as I have seen it perform miracles on others. Just because I went a different route does not mean it would not work out for you. FIghting acne internally is a lot of the battle when topicals fail to perform. :)

8 out of 12 people found this review helpful.


on

Age: 19-24

Skin: Oily, Fair, Cool

Hair: Blond, Wavy, Coarse

Eyes: Other

This has been a miracle for my cystic acne. I had never had cystic acne in my life, and suddenly got multiple red, cystic pimples that would not go away. Saw a derm, she prescribed 50 mg of Spironolactone, and I have not had a cyst since! I personally feel like it is safer/less harsh than taking an antibiotic daily since it is just a water pill. I have very oily skin and this has had no affect on my oil production. I haven't had any other side effects other than I pee all day long. This is $3 for me each month. My derm says its fine to be on long term, and I am very pleased with the results and would tell anyone with hormonal acne to try it! Also if you are having hormonal acne, check your birth control pill (thats what I think was causing mine).

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.


Age: 25-29

Skin: Other, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

I would have given this a 1.0 but my case is a little unusual and I don't want to unfairly judge this medication. Unlike most users here, I took high dose (200mg/day) Spironolactone for 4.5 years, so I can give some insight into what this drug can do *for* you and *to* you in the long term.

Background: As a teen I had severe, recalcitrant acne AND rosacea that was only controlled by a course of Accutane. In addition to super oily skin I also had hirstuitism. Wee! So post-Accutane, I wanted to try something hormone-based, and strong in an effort to knock out my residual Rosacea and body hair.

Well, 200 mg/day of Spiro *is* certainly strong, although it wasn't at all effective at controlling my Rosacea papules (did control my "pustules" though). It was also not very effective at treating my hirstuitism. I was still darn hairy while I was on it--and again, I was on it for a cumulative 4.5 years.

What it *did* do was dramatically reduce my oil production, and make me dehydrated. I got frequent headaches and my previously oily skin became a dry, red desert. I have tons of small wrinkles on my face that weren't there before (I'm 25, btw). My eyes were also frequently dry and irritated. Was this because my protective oil barrier was repressed, or due to the diuretic effect? I'm unsure. Probably a little of both.

The diuretic effect does not let up, btw. Expect to pee about 8-10 times a day, every day.

What happens when you take Spironolactone long term is much more concerning than dry skin. Aldactone, the active ingredient in Spiro, steadily raises your cortisol levels. It has both anti-cortisol and pro-cortisol effects, but ultimately you get a rather significant net gain in cortisol.

Elevated cortisol levels can create sleep and mood disturbances. I'm going to talk about what Spiro did to my sleep. This is not a happy story.

I noticed the insomnia gradually. I went from getting 8-10 hours a night to 7, then to 6, then to 4-5. Depression and panic attacks crept in. Eventually I could only clock about 2 hours of sleep a night. Despite improving my sleep hygiene and using all sort of prescription meds (Ambien, clonazepam, clonodine, hydroxizine, gabapentin, to name a few), my sleep was shit--and only a few years prior I was known for being a heavy sleeper. As mentioned, I had become increasingly depressed and anxious, which was exacerbated by the insomnia.

It was bad. This was 2.5 years into Spiro, btw. I quit the drug on the chance that it may have been causing my sleep problems--and a week later my ability to sleep began to improve. Full improvement took several months. My depression also lifted. I was doing okay again.

Gradually, after about a year off the drug, some pustules began to return. Not a lot, but to me any was too much. I decided to give the Spiro another go. I thought maybe I was wrong to attribute my insomnia to this drug--maybe it was a coincidence. My doctor wrote a new scrip for 200mg/day and off I was again.

Two years later, I was in the same place I was before. Anxiety, panic attacks, depression, dry skin, and of course: incurable, unremitting insomnia. I have (probably) permanently worsened the dark circles under my eyes, both from the chronic dehydration and from not getting enough sleep.

I stopped Spiro in February, and will never go back. And guess what? Sleep and mood improved.

Low dose Spiro (25-50mg/day) for acne is effective and safe, although you need to be drinking a lot of water while you're on it. I would also recommend periodically getting your cortisol levels checked.

High-dose, long term Spiro, however, was disastrous for me. I cannot begin to express how significantly my mood and sleep quality changed on this drug. My skin is also still bone-dry and wrinkly nearly six months after stopping (not purely Spiro's fault, I'm sure, since I do still have rosacea and irritation can cause dryness). Be cautious, do your research, and get your cortisol levels checked if something feels fishy.

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.


on

Age: 25-29

Skin: Acne-prone, Medium, Warm

Hair: Black, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Brown

I have been on spironolactone for about two months. As I write this, I have one small spot on my face that is almost totally healed up. That is it.

This, to be clear, is insane and something that sort of makes me want to cry with happiness.

I have had serious acne since turning 22 and everything on my face going to heck. That's four years now. I'm talking constantly having at least two (usually more) deep, painful spots on my cheeks. I have tried just about everything short of Accutane and while some things, like Epiduo, definitely helped, they weren't making it go away. Finally, two months ago, I went to a new dermatologist who took a look at my face and the prescription topicals I was on and said "Yeah, these will help clear the spots up faster, but they aren't going to stop them from coming in, because topicals can only do so much for hormonal acne." (To which I have to say, WHY DID IT TAKE SO LONG FOR SOMEONE TO TELL ME THIS, PREVIOUS DERMS?!) She sent me in for a blood test and then prescribed 50 mg a day of spironolactone for me.

I take a pill once a day with a glass of water. It is $8 for a months worth of pills with my insurance (as opposed to the hundreds of dollars I've spent on OTC treatments - oh, and Epiduo's legitimately insane pre-coupon pricetag of $900). My biggest piece of advice on this is do your research. Read all of the MakeupAlley and acne.org reviews so that you know the cycle that you're in for, because spiro definitely has a crazy initial outbreak period for most people and is going to likely take weeks, if not months, to be effective. My IB started at the end of my first week and lasted about two and a half weeks. I don't want to sugarcoat this. It was awful - and I was lucky in that it was only a couple of weeks. I had more spots on my face than I'd seen in a very, very long time - at least 6-7. They were huge, red, and painful. They would heal up quickly, but it felt like 2 would pop up every time 1 went away.

And then it just stopped. I began noticing that the skin between the spots actually looked really good - when you have serious acne, everything is always clogged and you can always see that something is brewing under there. My pores looked smaller and my face was less oily. And then the spots healed up and went away - this was about a month in. A week later, I got my period, and 2-3 spots showed up (I usually have a big breakout right before my period), but they were significantly smaller than normal and went away quickly. For the past month, I have had maybe 2-3 spots in total. The one currently on my face is the only one that popped up for my period this week. My face is otherwise smooth and clear. I camped at a music festival two weeks ago, an experience that would have normally taken a month for my skin to recover from, but literally experienced no issues with the fact that my skin regimen was out the window for four days. (I have actually turned down social things like this before, out of fear of what my skin would do.)

Spiro does have some weird side effects, since it messes with your hormone levels. My doctor had me take a blood test in the beginning, once after I had been taking it for a week, and then I'll have to get blood tests once every year. This is to check on my potassium levels - I haven't had any issues with this. My breasts definitely hurt for about three weeks when I started taking it, and they got bigger, but seem to have gone back to their normal size since then. It's definitely a diuretic at first, so I was extremely careful about getting enough water (dehydration causes the dizziness associated with it). I haven't noticed anything happening with my body hair. Should I manage to find myself in a situation where I could get pregnant, I'm going to be extra cautious (for some reason, this does not come with the same crazy DO NOT GET PREGNANT materials as Accutane, which makes me a little uncomfortable because it really should). I don't like the fact that this is a pill that I'm just going to have to be on every day, but honestly, my self esteem reached such a rock bottom that this is a trade-off that I am 100% okay with making.

I cannot tell you how important the results of this medication are to me and my life. I have struggled with acne for four years. I have not walked out of my house without makeup on in that time, and have had mental breakdowns whenever I've gone on trips or the like and forgotten my concealer. This thing is life-changing for me - no exaggeration.

If you have hormonal acne, I highly recommend at least starting the conversation about this with your doctor. I wish I'd done so sooner.

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.


on

Age: 25-29

Skin: Acne-prone, Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Brown

A God send. I was suffering from deep cystic hormonal acne on my jaw, neck, cheeks and shoulders. It was so painful and embarrassing. I had previously been on retin-a micro for about 6 years. Retain-a worked up until I hit 26, at which point it seemed suddenly ineffective. I attribute the changes to age-related hormone shifts. I'm on 50mg a day and take it once a day in the late afternoon since it's a diuretic and makes me go up to go to the bathroom way too many times during working hours.

Benefits to having taken this medication:
1. no HORMONAL acne!
2. decrease in sebum production (I went from blotting 3x's a day to not needing to at ALL)
3. decrease in sebum production also means I don't have to wash my hair as often, yay!
4. I don't have to shave my legs as often- hair doesn't grow on my legs as quickly)
5. My period went from 10 days (abnormal) to 3-4 days (crazy, I know).

I also use this in conjunction with epiduo, which is a benzoyl peroxide/retinoid gel, I use this 3x's a week to clear up congested pores (blackheads/filaments/clogged pores). This combo has made my face radiant, thank the heavens!

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.


on

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Red, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Grey

it worked.
25-100 mg a day
watch your potassium
its feminizing so i got prettier lol
skin was glowy and softer... less oily
its made from mint so also the spearmint tea works the same way :)
so look that up too
somehow i was very depressed on it after a while
like a clinical depression so i stopped it and went for Accutane
i don't know if it was the spiro but i was a dark kind of sad.
even though i looked great haha
even my hair was better
i didn't gain any weight
ive always had oily skin/high free testosterone levels for a female
it also helps if you have any facial hair i read. ive never had facial hair so just sharing.
my main concern is oily skin.even in my 40's now.
i recommend this product

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.


on

Age: 19-24

Skin: Acne-prone, Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Other

Well I'll start out by saying Spiro has made my life LOTS easier!! I have been on Spiro for probably close to 2+ years, as prescribed by my dermatologist. I previously and sometimes still have hormonal acne. My previous dermatologist had me on antibiotics, creams, etc. and nothing seemed to do the trick. I finally went for a 2nd opinion with another dermatologist. He prescribed me Spiro 25mg, take 2 pills twice daily. Unlike the previous antibiotics I was prescribed, Spiro is okay to be on long-term, from what my dermatologist told me. As far as side effects go, this may alter your menstrual cycle...but from what I understand this is normal. And, honestly, I'll take that over acne any day. Secondly, I did not notice any weight gain....if anything I would say I have lost weight since taking Spiro. Also, I had oily skin...like to the point I had to use those oil blotting sheets daily. But the Spiro has REALLY helped with that. Like I really don't have problems with oiliness anymore. The Spiro did significantly help my acne. It is wonderful. However, I do feel like I noticed better results when I first started taking it. I think I have taken it so long that maybe my body has gotten used to it. But I'm not complaining because I am still a faithful about taking my Spiro daily. I don't have perfect skin now. I do still notice a breakout or two around the time of my menstrual cycle but I usually just treat with a salicylic acid or benzyl peroxide spot treatment. So don't expect to never have another breakout but to sum it all up Spiro has significantly helped my face...with both acne and oiliness. I hope to use it as long as possible!

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.


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