If you’re like many people suffering from acne, you may feel like you’ve already tried everything under the sun. There is a huge market for acne treatments and many companies have made a lot of money selling potential treatments, even if they’re not all that effective. So, like many people, you may have tried many of the options out there and still be living with acne. If this sounds like you, don’t give up. Until you’ve tried spironolactone for acne, you haven’t used every option. And you might just find that spironolactone is just the solution you need. Despite the fact that acne treatments seem to come out a dozen a day, spironolactone, which many would argue is one of the best available, is actually relatively old as far as drugs go. It was first introduced to the world back in 1959, in fact.
What is Spironolactone?
Spironolactone actually has a number of uses, aside from treating acne. One of its main applications has been in helping out with cardiovascular conditions. It’s also been used to treat liver disease, amongst other things.
The drug itself is little more than a diuretic. This is why it can be so good for high degrees of fluid retention and high blood pressure. However, it can be processed and combined with a number of other medications to increase its efficacy.
The truth is that spironolactone is not specifically made to treat acne. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t even recognize the drug as an effective treatment. Still, that hasn’t stopped countless doctors from prescribing it and even more patients from benefiting from it as an acne solution.
Generally, the drug is administered as a pill. However, how many milligrams you’ll be taking with each dose will depend on your doctor and their diagnosis of how bad your acne is.
Who Can Use It?
There are some very important things to know about spironolactone for acne. First of all, it will pretty much only be prescribed for women. That’s because the hormonal effects the drug can have on men can actually have a feminizing effect. That’s why spironolactone is known as an anti-androgen. For example, it will cause an overall lowering of testosterone. So for this, and a few other reasons, men will want nothing to do with spironolactone, even if it can help with acne.
Another important thing to understand about the drug is that it’s not used to defend against acne from occurring or breaking out again in the future. Your best line of defense will still be a combination of eating right, monitoring your stress levels and keeping yourself clean. Spironolactone is only meant to diffuse and treat acne breakouts once they’ve already occurred if other measures have had no real effect.
Specifically, the drug is meant to treat acne that occurs as a result of hormones. Just like it can lower testosterone problems, it can also play with your hormones in ways that will flip the switch on acne. Many women have even used spironolactone to treat other hormonal issues, like unwanted hair on their face.
How Does It Work?
Now that you understand that the drug is meant for women who suffer from acne because of hormonal reasons, you can better appreciate how spironolactone works.
Recall that the prescription drug is considered an anti-androgen. So it’s generally prescribed for women whose bodies create more androgen hormones than they actually need. Drugs like spironolactone work by blocking your body’s androgen receptors. By doing so, they prevent a woman’s cells from being able to absorb androgen hormones.
Put simply, the prescription drug limits the amount of hormonal fluctuations in a woman’s body. This is important because these fluctuations can cause, amongst other things, breakouts of acne. Of these hormones, androgen is constantly zeroed in on as a leading culprit.
As we mentioned earlier, this is why spironolactone will only be effective with women who see acne regularly due to their hormones. Women (or men, for that matter) who experience outbreaks in acne because their pores clog easily or they eat greasy food, won’t’ benefit at all.
66% of women who suffer from acne because of their hormones will see results from taking spironolactone. When the treatment is combined with oral contraceptives, the efficacy rate hits 85%. Keep in mind, too, this is with women who have tried just about everything else to no avail. So these numbers are pretty impressive.
How to Take Spironolactone
Seeing as how spironolactone is a prescription drug, you won’t be able to get it without first speaking with a doctor. Part of this conversation should involve how to take the drug too. However, for the most part, as we mentioned earlier, you’ll take spironolactone orally as a tablet or pill. Usually, you’ll be prescribed somewhere between 50 mg and 100 mg per day. The amount will differ by person because of the differences in hormones. It’s not rare for a doctor to start a woman as low as 25 mg a day and slowly work them up to a greater amount.
Some women experience acne breakouts the week prior to their cycle. This is almost always hormonal based, meaning doctors will prescribe spironolactone to counteract it. In such a situation, it’s common that the tablets will only be prescribed for the week before the cycle starts.
Again, it’s best to speak with your doctor about anything involving how to take the medication. However, many people who have taken spironolactone have recommended the same tips.
For example, if spironolactone causes you an upset stomach, you’ll probably find it helps to take the medication with a meal. Also, because spironolactone is a diuretic, you’ll want to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Obviously, drinking lots of water is always better for your health, but when taking diuretics, it’s especially helpful. Furthermore, if you’re getting any acne for reasons other than hormonal ones, extra water can help there too.
Be patient when taking spironolactone. Even though it’s a prescription drug, it’s still working through a complicated process within your body. Adjusting your hormones to help eradicate acne isn’t something that happens overnight. Seeing an improvement can easily take several weeks.
Spironolactone Acne Side Effects
Taking any prescription medication always carries with it the risk of some type of side effects. So taking spironolactone for acne is no different. And, just like with any prescription pill, spironolactone’s side effects are something you’ll want to look out for and tell your doctor about immediately. Even though it can take a few weeks before you see the results you want, the side effects can be immediate.
Because it’s a diuretic, you could experience dry mouth, cramps in your stomach or even diarrhea and/or vomiting.
It’s extremely common to come down with tenderness in your breasts too. Irregular menstrual cycles are also typical. Nonetheless, let your doctor know if you experience these.
Spironolactone and acne will continue to be mentioned in the same breath so long as women suffer from the ailment because of their hormones run amock. So expect to continue hearing about it more and more in the future. That being said, there’s no reason to wait. If you’ve been fighting chronic acne for years, see a doctor and ask about spironolactone today.