I Went To See A Dermatologist About My Hormonal Acne And This Is What Happened

I Went To See A Dermatologist About My Hormonal Acne And This Is What Happened

I survived puberty without a single hint of acne. Well into my 20s there was no amount of chocolate I could eat, no amount of makeup or fake tan that could trigger a breakout and I didn’t have nearly the extensive skin care routine that I have now. I was one of those annoying people who “just had good skin”. Now, in my late 20s, that person I described is a distant dream. As far as I know, she left the building about three years ago and nobody has seen her since.

Switching my birth control…

For context, around the same time that my skin started to breakout around my chin and jawline, I came off the birth control pill and replaced it with the Mirena. At first, the spots were small, but they progressed, and as time went on they gradually got worse. 

Despite not being the deepest, angriest cystic acne I had ever seen, it was still acne by all accounts. There was no amount of concealer that could cover it and no amount of “it’s barely noticeable” comments from my friends or family that could make me believe it wasn’t the most noticeable thing on my face.

After initially consulting my GP, I was told that because the hormones in the Mirena are localised to your uterus (and not in your bloodstream), it wouldn’t be causing my skin issues. No longer having the “protection of the pill”, however, would be. This was something a few of my friends who had previously been on the Mirena disputed, but I went with the advice of my GP. She first prescribed me a topical ointment, but after trying it for several months, bleaching all of my pillow cases and seeing no results, I stopped using it.

Going to a dermatologist…

From there, I went to see a dermatologist. After our first consultation we stripped my skin care routine right back. This meant I was using only a topical salicylic acid wash, a hydrating serum, SPF and moisturiser. Really simple. After six months with no change, I went to get a facial and the facialist essentially told me there was nothing she could do, or put on my skin that was going to fix my hormonal acne. I needed to call in the big guns, AKA an oral medication. 

So I went back to the dermatologist and I got myself a prescription for Spiractin, which is an oral medication using the ingredient spironolactone; originally prescribed to treat high blood pressure and water retention. But earning itself extra bonus points, the ingredient has actually proven to work as an effective hormonal acne treatment too. 

Following a series of unsuccessful topical treatments, this was something I was keen to explore. So after receiving my prescription, I just about skipped to Chemist Warehouse and purchased the bottle containing 100 pills for $7.99 (yes, it really only cost that much) which would carry me through to my next check up. 

How does it work?

Spironolactone works by blocking androgens (such as testosterone) in the body. Increases in androgens result in excessive sebum production, which can cause breakouts and acne. 

Side effects? 

Those who already have low blood pressure may experience feelings of lightheadedness while taking Spiractin. In addition, spirlocatena blocks testosterone receptors, so it is only prescribed for women, as it has been known to increase breast size in men.

Is it working for me?

Honestly, at the moment, no. But it’s too soon to tell. One month down, I’m yet to see an improvement. Nevertheless, I’ve been told to check in after three months, do  a blood test and reassess. 

I’m still getting new breakouts and my existing ones haven’t calmed down. It’s easy to get disheartened and at this point I am. However, all advice I’ve been given (both by medical experts and strangers on the internet) say it can take up to three months before you start seeing any action.

So where does that leave me now? 

Hopeful, kind of. And headed back to the dermatologist for a check up in a few months. 

Do you have or have you ever had adult hormonal acne? Do you have any tips for getting rid of it?

Share your thoughts

Comments 57

  1. Going on the pill improved my acne so much, I wasn’t in need of birth control at the time, I simply went on it for my skin. I also have a mirena now but haven’t gotten acne. I am getting old now though LOL this Mirena will be my last.

  2. Never really had acne just a few pimples here and there during that time of the month.
    Don’t really get them now, however it would be disheartening to have great skin and then, bam 💥 breakouts.
    Hope the tablets work and your skin calms down.

  3. I’ve seen one girl getting prescription oral isotretinoin from her doctor. Her acne was bad, cystic and very inflamed. Now gone completely.

    Hope you get it cleared too easily. I had it worse than you, acne, mine went away with diet change and never got on the cont. pill again! Took only for a month, it was awful.

  4. I had acne as a teenager. Went to the doctor for something else and she referred me to a dermatologist when she saw my acne. Thankfully I eventually grew out of it. The pill also helped with my acne and my horrendous periods.

  5. I have been so lucky in that area and never had this problem -only ever a very odd spot . I really feel for you. Give the tablets a chance as too early to tell and remember a few spots do not determine you and this will pass.

  6. I had general pimples in my teens which developed into hormonal acne (like five times worse than that in the photo above as it was all over my sides of my face on both sides, chin etc) in my twenties – by 25 I decided to take myself to get real help – I so needed it – I went on Roaccutane (as it was called back then) and I was so relieved that the skin specialist said it would be a 100% guarantee to fix my skin – it did, it worked though I had to go on it a couple of times (my acne was stubborn as I got older!). I never had to worry about it after those couple of courses on Roac and I felt so proud of my skin for once, instead of feeling ashamed of it – and it was so painful those pimples that seemed to come up from the depts of the never never. I can highly recommend it.

    • Sheesh – that is bad isn’t yoh. You know I was on the pill for about 8 years and that could have helped me have bad acne – it was also very much for me genetic as my mum suffered it right into her 50’s and 60’s and my sister has terrible pock marked damaged skin from having acne all her her life and not doing anything (medical) about it and she was never on the pill – so I think it was genetic in my case. But yeh, in some cases the pill definitely can worsen things!

  7. My daughter has had hormonal acne now for about five years and has tried many things to no avail. She has not tried oral medication though so I would be interested in a follow up article Ruby to see if this medication has worked for you and whether you have noticed any side-effects.

  8. I did have a really bad episode as a teenager and had to see a doctor to get a prescription but I think with the knowledge I have now I could have fixed it myself with something less harsh.

  9. I feel your pain. I’ve been dealing with hormonal acne for several years now and I tried just about everything. After seeing a naturopath I was given some oral herbal treatments which helped immensely!

  10. My personal opinion is going on medication can work temporarily but will not cure the underlying problem. Most people suffer from toxic liver without knowing it, the liver does a huge job to keep everything clean and clear. Celery juice can help each morning on an empty stomach and lowering your fat and protein intake. Unfortunately I cannot get my son to change his habits and he suffers badly. Look up Anthony Williams books, vids etc for more info. I suffered in my 30s and ended up taking cell salts which broke the cycle. I am much healthier now too and don’t have any issues apart from wrinkles but that’s another story lol.

  11. I can’t imagine having to go through that because I never had acne. However my son ended up having to go on Roaccutane because of his terrible acne but now has lovely skin.

  12. I’ve been zit-prone since I was 11 – years before any of my classmates. I always had menstrual breakouts, but luckily, very few cystic acne spots. At 55, I still get them occasionally, usually only 1 or 2 at a time, so I’ve always got Clearasil on hand & that works for me.

    My tip: pure rosehip oil works well at clearing up those pesky red spots that can linger for weeks after a zit has healed.


  13. My friend had terrible acne as a teen. Her daughter now has it and she’s struggling to get her to go to the doctors about it. she doesn’t wanted her daughters skin scarred from acne like hers has been.

  14. Yes at times I do. I find I get acne and other symptoms at the end of my period more when I am not looking after myself e.g. drinking more caffeine and not getting more sleep

  15. I took accutane when I turned 18, best discussion of my life! and thanks to my parents, I don’t have terrible breakouts all over my face or back.. but I’m slowly getting the odd pimple now during pregnancy. I do not miss pimples

  16. There is little I can say as a natural medicine practitioner (Homeopath) without crossing spam/self promotion boundaries here. As I’m working often with after effects of medications, especially hormonal medications, it just makes me cringe to see one medication “side effect” being replaced with another medication effect. This is how people end up on a dozen medications, each for the effects of the last one. You CAN rebalance hormones without creating new hormonal problems.

  17. So, I have been using derma lmd anti acne serum for a few days now and I can already see the effects. I had an active pimple on which I used it and within a night the swelling came down a lot. I’m still using it and it’s gradually removing the spots as well❤️

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