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Spironolactone For Acne: What You Need to Know Before Trying It

Spironolactone can regulate your hormone levels in order to treat hormonal acne, but changing your hormones should not be your first defense against acne.

So how does Spironolactone work for acne? It suppresses the uptake of the hormones generally associated with acne. But altering your hormone levels can come with various side effects that can easily be avoided by trying a holistic skin care treatment that treats the excess oil production that causes hormonal acne.

While those experiencing hormonal acne may find some relief from this hormonal treatment or from oral contraceptives, a well-formulated acne-fighting skincare regimen is likely to be more effective without the cost and side effects that can accompany a new prescription.

Also read: How to choose the best acne treatment

A woman smiles as she washes her face
While Spironolactone can be effective against acne, it may not be necessary.

Do I have Hormonal Acne?

Everyone experiences hormonal fluctuations throughout life.

Hormonal acne may crop up during certain times, such as:

  • During puberty

  • At specific points during the menstrual cycle

  • During pregnancy

  • During menopause

  • After a change in a hormonal birth control method like oral contraceptives (birth control pills)

  • If you have polycystic ovarian syndrome

  • If you are taking testosterone

Hormones, namely androgen, stimulate the production of sebum, the oil in your skin, which can lead to greasier skin and clogged pores, and thus, acne vulgaris.

If you believe that your acne may be caused by hormonal fluctuations, spironolactone could potentially help you, but a skincare regimen could do the same without the need to go on prescribed medication.

If you are already on medication or if you have already been prescribed Spironolactone, do not stop taking it without first consulting your healthcare provider.

You should also consider talking to a board certified dermatologist if you are experiencing cystic acne. However, note that cystic acne is a term that gets thrown around quite often, but true cystic acne is rare. Check out our article on the cystic acne treatment plan if you believe you might have cystic acne.

Is Spironolactone Right for Me?

Prescription medication comes with many downsides, including cost, inconvenience, and side effects. But most importantly, medications like Spironolactone may be treating the wrong problem, or at least overdoing it.

Hormone fluctuations are a normal part of being a person. In fact, if your hormones are changing with your cycle or with puberty, it's probably a good sign that everything is in working order.

However, as we mentioned above, women with hormonal acne may find that these hormone fluctuations create excess oil on the face, which can lead to acne vulgaris. But you don't need to treat the hormone changes to get rid of your acne; you just need to treat the excess oil.

If you notice plaque building up on your teeth, you probably don't arrange to have all your teeth pulled out and replaced with dentures; you simply brush your teeth. Trying to change your hormone levels to treat hormonal acne vulgaris would be a bit like pulling your teeth to treat plaque when it would be far more reasonable to just brush your teeth, i.e., to clear excess oil.

For this reason, we believe that taking spironolactone for acne is overkill, especially considering that there are other acne medications applied via topical treatments that are better and healthier.

Products like the Exposed Skincare Ultimate Kit, which arrives at your door with a monthly subscription, uses ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide to open clogged pores and regulate overgrowth of acne-causing bacteria while Pro-Vitamin B5 regulates oil production.

The Exposed Skincare ultimate kit
The Exposed Skincare Ultimate Kit.


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.

  1. Dizziness

  2. Nausea

  3. Hair loss

  4. Low energy

  5. Fainting

  6. Dehydration or unusual thirst, can also increase urination

  7. Breast tenderness

  8. Blurred vision

  9. Cold and clammy hands, especially for individuals with low blood pressure

  10. High potassium levels that cause a condition called hyperkalemia

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.

A Consistent Skin Care Routine

The best treatment for any kind of acne is a gentle yet effective skincare routine with ingredients designed to promote skin health. Taking care of your skin directly treats the cause of acne at the source.

At Exposed Skin Care, we know the most important part of acne treatment is to keep your skin healthy, which means treating it gently. That’s why we combine acne-fighting ingredients and soothing ingredients in all of our products. Check out our Expanded Kit which contains all the ingredients you need to control acne, and more.

A before and after of an Exposed Skincare patient
Brittany Klier-Oshel saw fantastic results with her Exposed Skincare routine.