For some people, acne is a result of hormonal imbalances in the body. For many women, the monthly cycle can bring about changes in complexion and for some, severe cystic acne along the jawline and the chin. In these cases, typical treatments including over-the-counter and other prescription topical methods aren’t going to treat the underlying condition.
In recent years, a resurgence has happened with a hormonal management drug called Spironolactone (commonly referred to as “Spiro”), which can be prescribed for women who are experiencing hormonal related acne – especially those for which other more traditional therapies have been unhelpful.
The drug was originally introduced in 1957 and used to treat high blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues. It works by blocking androgens, which affect the skin’s sensitivity to testosterone, which is why it isn’t used in males. By limiting the sensitivity to testosterone, the drug can help with acne because this hormone sends oil glands into over drive – thus resulting in cycle-related breakouts.
Spiro is a diuretic, so one of the common side effects is the increased amount of time spent in the bathroom. It will also cause your body to hang on to stored potassium, so it’s important limit high potassium foods as high levels of this can be bad for the heart.
It’s important to note is that Spiro is out of the question for males, and women are warned that they should never become pregnant while using the drug. In the case of males, there is risk of growing breasts, dissolution of libido, plus the fact that men need testosterone to retain male like features such as musculature and body and facial hair. In the case of a woman becoming pregnant while on Spiro, there is a chance that a male fetus can develop feminine traits.