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Even Celebs Have To Deal With It
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In This Article
This is how the hormonal acne story unfolds: Just when we think pubertyâs passing took unsightly teenage acne with it, weâre introduced to a new wave of pimples in our 20s. Right around the time of our periods, acne flares up along our jawline, cheeks, forehead, and between the eyebrows , adding insult to injury. Looking on the bright side, though, you have options when it comes to helping quell hormonal acne. But letâs first dive into how to identify them.
Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Spironolactone
Medically reviewed by Aimee Paik, MD
When it comes to battling hormonal acne, believe me when I say Ive been there. Ive shot out of bed in the morning, headed straight to the mirror, and inspected my chin to see if any of my painful, cystic pimples have gone down . Ive taken my foundation everywhere I go, in case I need to touch up a caking spot on my face midday. Ive gone down the path of vitamin supplements and acne-fighting foods in an attempt to heal my hormones naturally. Ive been there, and I know how debilitating hormonal acne can be in your everyday life.
If you feel like youve tried every acne-fighting topical to try and treat those painful, inflamed pimples, it might be time to talk to your doctor about trying an oral medication called spironolactone. Previously used as a blood pressure medication, spironolactone is the latest treatment being used to balance hormones and calm inflammation without too many side effects.
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Is Spironolactone The Best Treatment For Your Pcos
Look over the side effects, make a note of your symptoms and discuss with your doc if you should do a trial of natural PCOS therapies or go the Spironolactone route. As a naturopathic physician, Ive treated many women with PCOS using diet and lifestyle therapies alone to regulate their periods, encourage regular ovulation, clear their skin, and ditch the unwanted hair growth.
When we treat hormonal issues with pharmaceuticals, we are only temporarily addressing symptoms, and not getting to the root cause of the problem.
The Best Hormonal Acne Treatment: Accutane Or Spironolactone
Acne comes in many different forms. For example, acne with just blackheads and whiteheads, which are technically called comedones, is referred to as comedonal acne whereas the presence of very large, deep breakouts filled with pus is referred to as cystic acne.
Another particular form of acne that occurs in women usually in their 20s and 30s is referred to as hormonal acne. The best treatment for each type of acne can be different. In this post, we discuss the best treatment for hormonal acne and compare the two most effective options, Accutane and spironolactone.
Hormonal acne is a pattern of breakouts that tends to occur on the lower face and along the jaw lines and upper neck areas of women. Although all forms of acne can be traced back to hormones, the hormonal acne label is given to a particular pattern of breakouts that can be readily identified due to its common occurrence in young women with a tendency to worsen with each monthly menstrual cycle.
Hormonal acne is a very stubborn type of acne breakout that frustrates many women because it seems to resist any treatment that is tried. By the time hormonal acne sufferers seek help from a dermatologist they have typically tried a variety of topical prescription treatments as well as oral antibiotic pills, none of which seem to help at all. Desperation sets in and they are usually ready to try something much stronger as a last resort.
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Side Effects Of Spironolactone
Here are some significant side effects and risk factors that warrant consideration before starting this hormonal therapy. These are the side effects that we know about, but there could be more long term side effects that are unclear as of yet.
Dehydration or unusual thirst, can also increase urination
Cold and clammy hands, especially for individuals with low blood pressure
Due to drug interactions, you absolutely should not take Spironolactone if you’re currently taking any ACE inhibitors or any other oral medication designed to treat high blood pressure.
Spironolactone may cause birth defects, so it must be taken alongside a birth control medication for those who are able to become pregnant. This is specifically because spironolactone can cause feminization of a male baby by blocking androgens. Androgen hormones are necessary in development, so Spironolactone can be quite dangerous for the babies of pregnant or nursing women.
When Is Spironolactone Not A Good Option For Acne Treatment
Spironolactone is not a good option for acne treatment in the following scenarios:
- Mild acne that can be adequately controlled by first-line treatment options such as topical retinoids, topical antibiotics, topical benzoyl peroxide, or topical salicylic acid
- In pregnant or breastfeeding women
- A woman of childbearing age who cannot tolerate birth control and the importance of avoiding pregnancy may be discussed in detail by your prescribing physician
- A woman who cannot tolerate side effects, including those noted above
- A woman with any medical condition that makes her at risk to have high blood potassium levels, such as Addisons or kidney disease
- A woman taking any medications that increase her risk of having high blood potassium
- Men, due to the risk of enlarged breasts and disruption of the normal function of male hormones
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Are There Dietary Concerns When Taking Spironolactone
The most important thing is to follow your prescribing medical providers instructions about diet. In general, people taking spironolactone should avoid excess potassium, which can be found in foods like:
Your Curology provider can work with you to figure out which of these medications are the best ones for you.
Spironolactone And Food Interactions
Since spironolactone can increase potassium levels, its recommended that you avoid excess consumption of foods containing potassium if youre taking this medication.
And girl, you know that celery juice craze that swept the internet? Well, it turns out that 16 ounces of celery on the daily is delivering a whole lot of potassium. I counsel my patients to avoid this practice if they are using a Spironolactone or an oral contraceptive that is potassium sparing due to the potential risk.
If youre one of the gals who swears that celery juice results in clear skin for you then by all means, do you. But youve gotta choosethe juice or the meds, especially if you have a pre-existing condition.
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How Well Does Hormonal Therapy Work And Is It Safe
The pill: Many studies have looked at how well oral contraceptive pills fight acne. The pill has been found effective at treating blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, and acne nodules and cysts.
In fact, the pill has proven so effective that the US Food and Drug Administration has approved some oral contraceptives for treating acne.
The pill is generally considered safe for women. Some women, however, should not take it. Your dermatologist can tell you whether the pill may be a safe and effective treatment option for you.
Spironolactone: Doctors prescribe this medication to treat high blood pressure. Its also prescribed for people who are retaining too much fluid.
Dermatologists have been prescribing it for many years to treat acne and excess hair growth in women. When other acne treatments dont work, it can effectively treat deep-seated, tender acne on the lower face, jawline, or neck.
Spironolactone is not prescribed to treat acne in men due to side effects. Men have developed breasts while taking this medication to treat acne.
Spironolactone is generally considered safe for healthy women.
Taking both spironolactone and the pill can increase effectiveness. This combination has another advantage. Its essential to use birth control while taking spironolactone. If you get pregnant while taking spironolactone, your baby can have serious birth defects.
A word of caution
If you can get pregnant, youll need to use birth control while taking spironolactone.
Learn More About Acne
Acne is one of the most common skin conditions, affecting around 50 million Americans every year. While all acne is hormonal, it can be triggered by a variety of factors, from androgens to stress, medication and more.
Interested in learning more about acne? Our guide to androgen hormones that cause acne goes into more detail about how testosterone and other androgens can trigger an acne outbreak. You can also learn more about common acne triggers in our guide to what causes acne breakouts.
Want to solve your acne breakouts as quickly as possible? Our guide to getting rid of acne fast covers the most effective acne treatments available, as well as the amount of time required for you to see results.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of any treatment.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.
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Your Period Cramps Might Get Worse
I’ve had agonizing cramps every month since I started getting my period in middle school, and I didn’t think it was possible for them to get worse until I experienced my first period on spironolactone. My cycle also lasts longer, too. What I haven’t dealt with is spotting, a common side effect of spironolactone.
Dr. Shah says that it’s possible that intensified cramps could be caused by hormonal changes from taking spironolactone.
How To Get A Spironolactone Prescription
The only way to get a prescription for spironolactone for acne is through a medical providerthankfully, Apostrophe works with doctors and providers in almost every state to help you get spironolactone online and get your skin clear and under control. All you have to do is create an account, fill out the intake survey, and a board-certified dermatologist will create a custom treatment plan for you and ship it directly to your door. It will be up to you and your doctor/provider to figure out if a spironolactone prescription is the next best step in your treatment plan to help clear your hormonal acne.
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Should I Take Spironolactone Or Antibiotics For Acne
Unlike the antibiotics also commonly used to treat acne, spironolactone is considered safe for long-term use. A 2021 study published in the American Journal of Dermatology concluded that “Spironolactone improves clinical outcomes and is well tolerated for many adult women with acne using it for an extended duration.”
Though antibiotics are effective at fighting acne, “prolonged antibiotic use can result in antibiotic resistance,” John S. Barbieri, former dermatology chief resident at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, says. “It may even be associated with the development of inflammatory bowel disease, breast cancer, and colon cancer,” he says. For this reason, the American Academy of Dermatology recommended using acne antibiotics only for “the shortest possible duration” ideally less than three months in a separate 2016 report on acne guidelines.
Pcos Treatment And Spironolactone
In addition to being a diuretic, spironolactone is also considered an anti-androgen and reduces testosterone. For this reason, many doctors prescribe it for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome .
But note that Metformin is used to treat pre-diabetes and diabetes and does not work the same way as Spironolactone does. So they are not interchangeable when being used for the FDA approved conditions these medications treat. Were talking strictly acne here.
Appointments For Acne And Spironolactone
If you are interested in discussing Spironolactone as a treatment for acne, then please contact us on 0121 285 4540 to organise an appointment or to make an enquiry .
Medications are only prescribed during a consultation once your doctor has an adequate knowledge of your health and condition. A particular medication is only prescribed if the medication is suitable for a person in their current situation.
We ask that you do not assume that a particular medication will be prescribed at a consultation, as this will be down to the medical assessment made by your doctor. Further, we also do not necessarily continue prescriptions for medications you may have been prescribed elsewhere including from overseas or from online providers as the same criteria for prescribing are applied.
Consult With An Expert
If you think you are experiencing hormonal pattern acne and wish to consider treatment with spironolactone, the Advanced Acne Institute can help. We use spironolactone in regimens designed for rapid clearing of acne breakouts and maintenance of an acne-free complexion. Our patients are very happy with their results. Spironolactone can be life changing for many women who have struggled with non-stop acne breakouts that have not improved with other treatments.
At the Advanced Acne Institute is to help our patients achieve clear skin. And unlike general dermatologists, we exclusively treat patients with acne.
Our innovative therapies are tailored to each patients unique situation. We treat mild, moderate, and severe acne, and we listen to our patients who may have felt their symptoms were dismissed by other doctors.
If youre suffering from hormonal acne, were ready and waiting to hear your story so we can design a treatment plan that will result in clear skin at last. Why not make an appointment with us today?
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When Is Spironolactone Recommended By Doctors At Belgravia Dermatology
Your skin will be assessed during your initial consultation. Your doctor may suggest Spironolactone to you if you have hormonal acne that does not improve with conventional treatment. Spironolactone may also be recommended if Roaccutane has not worked or if acne has come back after a course of Roaccutane.
What Is Hormonal Acne
The truth is, all acne is traced back to hormones. However, we arbitrarily and loosely label a subset of women, usually in their 30s with persistent breakouts affecting the lower face areas, the jaw lines and the upper neck, as having hormonal acne. By attaching this label to this group of female acne sufferers, it helps acne specialists understand and share effective treatment plans more readily. For example, we have learned that this subset of acne sufferers tends to be less responsive to certain treatments and more likely to reposed well to medicines the work to block acne-causing hormones.
Another thing to understand is that women who have this hormonal pattern of acne breakouts dont necessarily have abnormal hormone levels. Their hormones could be perfectly normal but the acne-prone pores may be more sensitive to the acne-causing effects of the hormones. Thats just one example of how hormones might cause acne breakouts but it is important to understand that acne can actually result from many different factors that could be somewhat different for each person.
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How Does Spironolactone Help Hormonal Acne
Androgens are male hormones but they are also present in women. The main androgens in the body are Testosterone and Dihydrotestosterone.
Hormonal acne can occur if hair follicles are very sensitive to androgens, even when androgen levels are normal. Hormonal acne also occurs if androgen levels are raised or in conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome.
In some women, hormonal acne is caused by a sensitivity to Progesterone.
Spironolactone can help control hormonal acne because it blocks the effects of androgens and progesterone on the skin.
How Does Spironolactone Work
In simple terms, Spironolactone reduces the activity of androgens so that oil-producing glands in the hair follicles produce less oil and become less active overall. Less activity in the oil glands means fewer clogged pores and less acne.
Spironolactone has proven to be effective for treating active red pimples as well as clogged pores, which lead to blackheads and whiteheads, known as comedones, and can be used to clear up breakouts on the face as well as the body.
Unlike Accutane, however, there is no end point for treatment, meaning it generally must be taken continuously to be effective. This is often a deciding factor when making the decision between spironolactone snd Accutane. Some patients prefer to use Accutane since it is only taken for a specified period of time. Other patients, however, choose to take spironolactone because it is a less aggressive treatment than Accutane.
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