I was never the kid or the teen with perfect skin, but I also didn’t have terrible skin. I can still remember the first blemish I got, and I was definitely in elementary school, which makes me go ‘whoa’. If I am 23 now, that means I’ve been dealing with skin impurities for around 12 years…that’s a lot!
I’d go through boughs of acne and then not have it for a while, then get a small breakout of tiny pimples, then get some cystic ones. It was never predictable and was never fun.
It seemed as though, however, when I turned 22 and was a junior and senior in college, it was the worst. Why now? I am 20 something years old and now I get consistent acne? Are you kidding me?
It started on my forehead around my Sophomore year of college — I had small pink dots covering my forehead — what was that!? I headed to the dermatologist and she prescribed me two creams, which had worked until it cleared up and my body was over it. Then I went a year or so with no acne, besides the occasional stress pimple and then, the bad stuff hit.
At 22, my chin and jawline were saturated with cystic-like pimples and I had no idea what to do. It’s not even that it looks terrible (it does, trust me), but it hurt. I could feel one growing under my skin for days and theres a certain kind of pain associated with the feeling. Not to mention the stressful mental pain that comes along with knowing that in 2-3 more days, I’d have a cystic pimple that I wouldn’t be able to get rid of for weeks. Plus, when that one would finally go away, I’d have another new one just started millimeters away from it.
I tried spot treatments, gentle cleansers, meditation, a dairy-free diet, facials and NOTHING — I mean nothing, was going to help. That, coupled with everyone in my life trying to say what I could be doing differently to remedy the situation, was not helping at all.
After I graduated college (yes, I had acne at my college graduation), I was able to take the time and see a dermatologist. This time, I was not leaving with a cream or a spot treatment. I don’t know what I was looking for but it wasn’t that.
I saw the nurse practitioner at my local dermatologist and she had suggested a pill actually. The pill is called Spironolactone and it saved my entire life. I am a coward and didn’t take the pill for an entire month because I was scared what it would do to my body — I really don’t like medications (fun fact!) I was prescribed 25 mg to take twice a day. When I finally felt that enough was enough, I swallowed my pride and the pill and within two weeks saw astonishing results. This is a miracle drug that I want everyone dealing with hormonal acne to know about. Spiro, as we hormonal acne-ers call it for short, is actually a blood pressure medication that dermatologists use off brand to treat acne. There are minor side effects that come along with it, such as frequent urination (it’s a diuretic) and lightheadedness. I never experienced any of that, but I also take a low dosage.
I ended up upping my prescription to 50 mg 3 months later because I was still breaking out a bit.
Today I am proud to say that I can’t remember the last time I’ve had a cystic pimple and I don’t go one day without taking it for granted. I’ve elevated my skin care regimine and really am thoughtful about what I put on my face. For some reason I haven’t taken my acne medication in about three weeks, and haven’t had to. However, I know it’s there and works when and if I need to use it again.
I use Aveeno clear complexion cleanser to take my makeup off at the end of the night, Summer Fridays Jetlag mask as my moisturizer, overnight mask and foundation primer and most recently, have been using St. Ives Lavender Face spray that I actually cannot get enough of. It’s so refreshing to not have to worry about pimples.
If you popped over to read about my skin journey and have your own to share, let me know in the comments. We all need support when it comes to acne and I am more than here to listen. Ask your derm about Spiro if you have hormonal acne around your jawline (I sound like a drug commercial!)