Spironolactone for Acne


96 reviews

85% would repurchase

Package Quality: 4.1

Price: $$

Package Quality: 4.1

Price: $$


on 4/17/2014 2:54:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Acne-prone, Other, Warm

Hair: Black, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Brown

I was on this stuff for 2-3 yrs and often tried to wean myself off of it even though it helped with my acne. I've always wanted to write a review for it but there's just so much I have to say about it (most of it negative) that it's overwhelming to think about.

This stuff works for acne due to the fact that it blocks your androgen receptors--accutane and birth control btw, have been shown to (permanently) lower testosterone/DHEA levels too, though obviously to a lesser degree... anyways, like other people, I was completely blind to the negative reivews and didn't understand the problems that could come with taking a medication like this when I first researched it. I had bad acne and this stuff was a desperate last ditch effort before tryng accutane.

Like everyone else I initally experienced weight loss due to the fact that it's a diuretic. However, I quickly gained that weight back--and about 7 more lbs on top of it!

I also experienced fatigue, horribly dry, irritated skin (I had never had dry skin in my life so I had no idea how to deal with it), and an almost crippling depression (which I later convinced myself was due to the accutane--even though i only went on to do 10mg of accutane for 3 months that year!).

But how could a medication like this--a diuretic acne-fighting super star--cause weight gain and depression? BECAUSE IT LOWERS YOUR TESTOSTERONE and DHEA LEVELS. You're probably thinking well duh, isn't that the whole point?

Unfortunately, these hormones (like all hormones) are responsible for a multitude of functions: our sense of well being and even our metabolism (to a certain extent) being some of them. For example: no testosterone= no lean muscle mass= slower metabolism and higher body fat percentage.

This is why we've got some women complaining of cellulite and body fat in weird places (this stuff can change your body composition and make you estrogen dominate). If you don't work out or don't have much lean muscle in the first place it won't be as noticeable.

It also has the ability to lower your sex drive but then again, so does birth control (in fact studies show that birth control can do all these things--some of them permanently).

I can say from personal experience that the weight I gained while on this stuff, WOULD NOT BUDGE despite the fact that I exercised for over 90 minutes a day (embarrassing to admit). It drove me crazy so over the years, I'd just keep lowering my dosage more and more which resulted in horrible acne (though no worse than before) and oily skin (definitely worse than before but I think some of it was due to having to take wellbutrin for the depression).

Eventually I had to do accutane, but even on accutane I was too afraid to go lower than 25mgs of spiro, which I would split in half to take am and pm (sidenote: super important to take this stuff 2x a day am and pm!). I had stayed on that dose about a year and a half until I got sick of devoting all my free time to exercise and diet (even such a small dose made it really hard to maintain my weight).

There's really no telling whether you will experience these side effects to this degree as I suspect it's up to your own individual biology. I've seen many women claiming to have very high androgen levels complaining of this same stuff while others have nothing negative to say about spiro, so who knows (also if you're on certain bc pills you might already be experiencing these symptoms). I also feel like some of it developed slowly over time for me (the 1st year it didn't seem as hard to maintain my weight), which fits with how this med works.

All I know is, I am officially off of this crap and for once, I feel great and am not experiencing the horrible acne or ugliness (I believe the drop in estrogen causes some of the ugliness people are complaining of when they get off this stuff). I also seem to have lost those 7lbs within like WEEKS, so I suspect a lot of it was water. It's amazing but I was only able to do this through balancing out my hormones naturally with supplements and probiotics.

7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

on 2/13/2014 8:33:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Blond, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Brown

I'm 20 years old. I've always had acne prone skin but it was never really horrible. During high school it was just like everyone else's hormonal acne. A few pimples here and there, sometimes it would be for a couple months at a time. It was nothing I needed any oral medication for. I just used pink drying potion and was prescribed Benzaclin. After being really stressed out and depressed for a couple months when I was 18 my skin got horrible. I had really deep cystic acne and it was all over my jawline and my chin. I thought it would go away and so I didn't go to the dermatologist. After it breaking out for about 2 months, I got really bad scars on the sides of my cheeks. My skin went back to normal for about a year. Then, around the same time when I was 19 I broke out really bad again. This time I went to the dermatologist right away. I got on Doxy and Acanya. It worked for about 3 months and then I started breaking out again. My doctor then put me on Spiro, Doxy and Acanya. I was on 50 mg a day and it work RIGHT AWAY. My skin was flawless and it improved the scars, the texture and I had a glow to my skin. I didn't really have any side effects on it at all at first. About 2 months into it I noticed my cheeks were bigger looking and my thighs were HUGE. I'm 5'2 and I weighed 118 before I got on Spiro. Right after I quit I weighed 135. I looked at pictures from the beach and the back of my legs had cellulite all over them. Noone in my family has cellulite and I never did before Spiro. I didn't eat more, didn't change my diet. I know for a fact it was the Spiro that made me gain weight. Right when I noticed I had, I went to the gym and I couldn't loose the weight. I couldn't get my legs to tone and get rid of the cellulite. My skin looked good but I would rather have a couple pimples and find another product than gain 15+ pounds in 2 months. I read that once you get off Spiro your skin is HORRIBLE. I tried to let my body off it slowly, so I went to 25 mg and then to half a 25 mg pill and eventually off. I've been off it about 6 months now and I still have HUGE thighs and cellulite. It's gotten a lot better but my body isn't shaking it. Once I noticed I had gained weight I knew it was Spiro and searched to see if anyone had the same symptoms. I found a website with about 200+ girls who all had weight gain in their face, thighs and produced cellulite. It makes your skin look great so if you don't care about gaining weight, you should do it but I will never take it again. No matter how bad my skin gets, it's not worth gaining that much weight to me. I would rather do Accutane.

5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

on 2/13/2014 1:24:00 AM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Olive, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Hazel

Where to start? In my early 20's (I am now 43) I was diagnosed with PCOS. After fighting with a few doctors for help, at age 28 I finally got bumped over to endocrinologists who prescribed spiro, 200 mg a day. I have been on spiro for 15 years straight. (usually 200 mg, sometimes I'd bump lower it a bit to 150mg). I have had all kinds of side effects over the years, constant thirst, low blood pressure, getting up to pee every 2-3 hours (which never gets better btw), unfortunate breast enlargement (to a 34G from a 32D), large bags and dark circles under my eyes, redness to my skin, I always look like I have a sunburn, and dry eye syndrome, just bizarre type stuff. Some of this might not be spiro, but I think most of it is, after 15 years it's a bit hard to tell. I never stopped taking it beacuse my PCOS symptoms are so severe.

Recently it became apparent that spiro has screwed up my electrolyte balance to the point where I couldn't keep enough sodium in my body, I have been sick for the past year, passing out from low blood pressure. So I decided to stop taking it. I tapered down to 100mg but was still so sick that 6 weeks ago I had to stop entirely.

Now that it is fully out of my system I am shocked at;

A. How much better I feel, so much energy and focus, I didn't realize how tired I had become, and
B. How horrible I look, downright haggard and so aged that it breaks my heart

First I swelled up quite big but now that the swelling has passed all of my skin has sagged terribly. I suddenly (I mean within the past 6 weeks) have developed turkey neck and jowls. My cheeks sag and my eyes droop. It looks as if all the muscle tone has just left my face. I look 20 years older, it's horrific. My skin is yellowed (not my liver, I checked), and somehow looks darker. Doing further research I realize that basically I have been taking a steroid for 15 years and having stopped I suddenly look like an old woman.

I am a typical, yet thin PCOS'er. I have high androgens, my LH to FSH ratio is off, pearled ovaries, as well as insulin resistance, even when thin. I can grow a mean goatee and had some serious acne and male pattern thinning of my hair before starting spiro. I am now trying to treat my PCOS with a paleo autoimmune diet and drinking spearmint tea for the facial hair. It's too soon to tell how well this will work, but running back to the spironolactone is no longer an option as it makes me too ill.

If I had it to do all over again, would I? As bad as it sounds,i t's really hard to say. On one hand, I got 15 good, if not sickly, years out of this drug. I looked great, no side effects that a little makeup wouldn't cover, no acne, and minimal facial hair. Being a thin PCOS'er weight was never too much of an issue.
On the other hand, I am only 43 and my looks are now ruined. I will do my best to try to combat this, I am by no means throwing in the towel, but I look so much older then my age now. The other day someone thought my mother and I were sisters. I almost started crying on the spot. I try to tell myself that if I was going to look good, why not my "younger years"? It's the best positive spin I can put on this but it's really tough to stay upbeat when everytime I look in the mirror at my suddenly aged self, I am shocked all over again.

I'm not sure what my review says except to the user beware. If you need it now for PCOS, you will need it later. It's not a cure, it's a maintenence drug and can wreak a lot of havok over many years of use.

Also, I was sad & amazed by Christine2004's review, her case sounds just like mine, the aging that this drug has done to her. I knew I couldn't be the only one, but I was sorry to hear that someone else has to deal with this.

I will update if I find a way to reverse or reduce this terrible aged look I have suddenly developed. Maybe with time my face and body will recover.

12 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

on 11/28/2013 11:12:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Red, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

Lord have mercy, this medicine is great! I thought all was lost when I developed acne. It began when I started taking my birth control pills off routine and my hormones became unbalanced. I was desperate to find something to cure the whiteheads and cysts. My dermatologist prescribed multiple antibiotics which did not work. I heard my friend that spironolactone cleared her cystic acne. Next appointment, I asked about this. He prescribed it to me. I was on the lowest dose, then bumped me up to 75 mg (2x in the morning, 1x at night). It took six months to really notice a complete difference, but the difference was intense and extraordinary. This is a medication that take awhile to get in your system to work. What it does is change the androgen receptors which cause unwanted facial hair and acne (even weight gain). It basically balances hormones. Within a week of this medicine, I dropped weight. I'm not fat, I'll be honest, but I'm not the skinniest chick alive. Spironolactone is a diuretic so it eliminates water from the body. The only cautions I suggest are checking your potassium levels regularly, because it messes with potassium levels. This medicine made me tired and faint at first, but the side effects go away. Once again, I recommend this product to anyone suffering from acne. It will change your life.

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

on 11/28/2013 7:55:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Dry, Medium, Neutral

Hair: Brown, Curly, Fine

Eyes: Brown

This was so interesting to see this pop up on my home page reviews, because I've been taking 50 mg per day for over 2 years because my hair was falling out in droves. It was to the point that I had to clean the hair out from my shower drain every time I washed my hair because so much would come out!
I finally went to my doctor & after ruling out any thyroid issues, he put me on spironolactone. He also said I might even grow my hair back if the follicle wasn't damaged.
After 2 weeks, my hair wasn't falling out beyond what is normal, and after a month, I could see some new growth around my hairline. Not all of my hair grew back though. My hair is so much thinner than it was before this all happened. And I can't grow it as long. It seems to "get stuck" at about 2" past my shoulders. I wish I had gone to the doctor sooner.
I tried to go off this after I had been on it for a year, & within a few weeks my hair started falling out more, so I went back on it. I will always be taking this, unless I want to be bald, which I don't. This has not made my body hair grow more, thankfully.
I hope this review helps someone that is in the situation I was in.

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

on 11/28/2013 5:49:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Green

I'm almost nervous writing a post to say I've gotten my acne under control with Spiro because I feel like I'll jinx all of my progress! Hopefully not.

I've had acne since age 13 but it was never very serious. Then, out of the blue when I was 22 it turned from mild to severe. I was finally at the stage when I should be growing out of acne and it was worse than ever. I even got a few severe cysts on my cheek that scarred. I was actually depressed, had no self confidence and was truly in a bad place.

Then, I saw an endocrinologist (which I REALLY recommend, especially for women). She was able to diagnose me with PCOS, which explained the severe hormonal acne. I went on Yaz, which was able to stop the horrible acne and it went back to mild.

But I was still frustrated, I would constantly have at least 2 or 3 spots at any given time and I wasn't confident without makeup. I went on Spironolactone 2 months ago and was led to believe by my dermatologist and endocrinologist would finally sort me out.

The most important thing: BE PATIENT. I waited for results for the first 6 weeks and saw no change. Some weeks, things actually seemed to be getting worse. Now, at around week 8, I'm beginning to see a change. Almost no new spots and no severe cysts.

From other reviews, I hope I can expect consistent progress in the coming months and see full effects in the next 6 months. I highly recommend Spiro: it has few side effects and is a mild treatment compared to Accutane, oral and topical antibiotics, and even a lot of topical treatments like Benzoyl Peroxide, which can rapidly age skin.

In general, I encourage people treating active acne to look towards internal treatments for long term success. Topical skincare- washing, moisturizing etc- is important, but it won't change the underlying cause of your acne.

These days, I'm working with a combination of birth control pills, diet (and lots of water!), vitamins, and of course, Spironolactone, to change my body from the inside out and correct the hormonal irregularities that cause my acne.

Try spironolactone, be patient, and good luck!

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

on 11/6/2013 5:48:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair, Warm

Hair: Red, Curly, Medium

Eyes: Green

Where to start? I have been taking Spironolactone for over two years now. I find that some people swear by it while others do not. I am one who does. I stopped taking BC pills (Ortho Tri-Cyclen) because I had gained 60 pounds in 6 years and it no longer had an effect on calming my acne. Within a year I lost all of the weight but I started breaking out so badly with painful cysts and my hair started shedding/thinning. I actually wished they were those little pimples I used to get with Ortho. After 2 months of research I chose Spiro over BCP and Accutane.

I started out at 25mg in Aug 2011. The first 3 months taking it I could feel my skin getting tighter and the acne drying up but it did not go away. (NOTE: realistically this takes a while to clear completely-be patient) I had just finished antibiotics for a wisdom tooth infection and broke out horribly after I finished my round. Antibiotics always make me break out when I quit them so I never take them unless it is serious. By Feb 2012 I had cleared 30% so I bumped my dosage to 50mg/day. I had a breakout that lasted a month but within 2 months my overall face looked a lot better. I still broke out badly on my jawline and a couple strays on my face during my cycle that would hang around forever.

When I increased my dose to 50mg I realized quickly that I needed to drink more water! I had been drinking 3 bottles a day and it was not nearly enough for the new dose. I had muscle cramps, a bloated midsection (retaining water), dry hands, lips and eyes. If you have these symptoms you need to drink more water because you are dehydrated. Once I increased my water consumption to 6 bottles a day all of those issues went away and I ended up losing 10 extra pounds. A couple drops of lemon juice and apple cider vinegar in each bottle doesn't hurt as well. I knew the Spiro was helping but it was not fixing the problem completely. Everybody has different hormone levels. 25mg might work for one person and the other may need 200mg. You have to find the correct dosage for YOU and allow yourself a few months to see results before bumping up. If it doesn't help at all after 3 months you may not have hormonal acne.

By Dec 2012, I was still at 50mg but the stress at my job caused me to go through a horrible breakout that had lasted 6 weeks. My cycle was more frequent but it leveled out after a couple months. All of my PMDD symptoms went away. But my hair seemed to be getting worse with shedding and my face was flaking bad in the winter. I took a hard look at the products I was using to wash my face and hair. I also looked at my diet. Being on Spiro meant I had to back off my potassium rich foods (fruits and veggies). I also had to drink less coffee/soda because it dehydrated me. I started an aggressive organic vitamin therapy regimen everyday to replace those minerals. Vitamin A, B, C, D, E, iron, zinc, hyaluronic acid, saw palmetto, biotin, coconut oil, DHA, Oregano Oil, and red grape extracts. The texture in my skin and hair was amazing after a few months. I also changed to non-sulfate shampoos, conditioners, face wash, vitamin c toner & moisturizer, and noncomedogenic makeups. The side effects only bother me in the winter so I have to deep condition my hair twice a week, drink a little more water and I use hemp oil on my face after exfoliating. Those little changes made a big difference in addition to the Spiro. By April 2013 my face was 75% clear up but I had a couple of cysts that just would not go away.

In May 2013 I started 100mg/day (50mg with breakfast & 50mg with dinner). I had a slight breakout after bumping the dose up but unlike last time this one only lasted 2 weeks before it was gone completely. I also had to increase my water intake from 6 bottles to 8 bottles a day because my hands were dry at first. Since June 2013 I have had no break outs (not even during my cycle) and for the first time in 12 years my face is finally healing up. Without insurance I have to pay $23 monthly which sucks. I have yet to find a cheaper pharmacy.

If you have hormonal acne, I advise you to try Spironolactone over other treatments and use my tips to reduce your side effects. Give it time to work and find out which dose works best for you. If you experience dizziness, cramping, dry skin, or itchy scalp - these are signs that you are dehydrated. Make sure you drink primarily water (limit caffeine after lunch time). Take the Spiro with meals for better absorption in the body and less nausea. Most importantly give it a chance to work it's magic. It takes a while for the body to correct itself, repair itself and finally heal itself.

**** If you are also experiencing hair thinning with your acne and taking spiro for it please note that it can take 2 years to grow your new healthy hair to your shoulders. Don't expect your dry, damaged hair to suddenly perk up like a wilted flower. Keep trimming the damage off and treat it the best you can. (condition, condition, condition, wear it down as much as possible and only wash it 2-4 times a week) It may take 50mg to clear your face but it may take 200mg to grow all of your hair back in that has fallen out. Stay positive and be patient. :)

7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

on 11/1/2013 1:18:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I'm caught between a rock and a hard place. I have found that Spironolactone has helped my acne dry up and blocked the cystic acne from spreading BUT it has caused severe dryness around my eyes. When I say severe I am talking lizard skin! The dryness is causing mulitple lines under my eyes.

I am 43 years old. I am quite often mistaken to be in my late 20s but no one has told me that since the dry lines have appeared. I have tried all types of eye creams (Lancome, Chanel, Arbonne, etc) and currently using SebaMed anti-dry which is very emollient but my eyes are still dry. I also switched from Lancome face powder to Chanel's cream-to-powder hoping it would keep moisture on my eyes but it creases with the SebaMed. Plus, the Chanel makes me have shiny skin. I currently have Derma e Hyaluronic & Pycnogenol Eye Creme on order because the reviews looked great.

I haven't gained any weight but I do find myself hungrier and it is hard to control my eating. Also, my boobs and thighs have gotten slightly bigger which is not what I want since I like to jog. Running and boobs is not a great combo and who wants fat thighs? Spiro is a diuretic so I thought it would help me lose weight since people take water pills to lose weight. But no such luck here.

I was on 100 mg/day but I cut the dosage to 50 mg to see if it would help but it did not.

I don't know what to do.
I don't know what is better: a litt bit of acne with dry, old-looking eyes OR have acne and look younger.

Does anyone else have this trouble with Spironolactone? If so, what product did you use to help alleviate the dryness?

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

on 10/30/2013 4:59:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

I am never looking back. I have struggled with acne since puberty. Accutane TWICE, you name it. I finally deduced it to hormones and was prescribed Metformin for symptoms of PCOS. This did not help my acne much although it was more glowy. I had heard Spiro could be used for acne and asked my Derm to prescribe it to me. Costs me nothing with insurance. I use this with Epiduo and my skin has never been better. But for me, I HAVE TO TAKE IT IN CONJUNCTION WITH METFORMIN. I went off Metformin for a while and immediately started getting little breakouts here and there. For me, taking medication every day for the rest of my life is nothing compared to the embarrassment of adult acne. So worth it.

on 10/3/2013 4:42:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Normal, Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

Many of the reviews on spiro are very positive, so I wanted to share my experience. About a year ago I started breaking out with cystic acne after I stopped nursing my 2nd child. It was painful and my doctor recommended spiro since I had tried topicals/antibotics with little success. I didn't want to go on bcp because they previously caused melasma (which I will probably have forever, ugh...). I slowly worked my way up to 100mg over the course of a month and my skin started to clear up within 2 months. But I immediately noticed the side effects starting the first week. And the side effects were awful, I had to go to the bathroom every hour, I was extremely bloated all of the time, I immediately gain 5-6 lbs (all in my stomach and thighs), I went up a dress size, random spotting, and I also noticed that I was developing wrinkles on my forehead. I stuck with it and maintained at 100 mg for about 3 months. I was miserable so I started decreasing down to 25 mg, which I stayed on for 3-4 more months. My skin stayed pretty clear, but the side effects didn't decrease and I continued to gain weight. I finally stopped 2 weeks ago and unfortunately I'm still experiencing most of the side effects, I'm hoping after I'm off for awhile my body will return to normal. I have had a slight breakout since quiting, I expect in the next few months the cysts will probably increase. I'm disappointed that I had all of these side effects, I would have stayed on it if not for them! The worst part was the weight gain/bloating, I've had 2 kids and it wasn't easy to get back down to my pre-baby size, so it's been a really blow to my ego to have to buy larger clothes and deal with stomach bloating, my doctor told the weight gain would level off, but it didn't and I'm not willing to end up with a 10 or 20lb weight gain just to have clear skin!

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