2020 update: Spironolactone to Roaccutane + clear skin

Happy New Year everybody! It’s been a while since I actually wrote a fresh blog — I’ve been focusing on getting all my old content from my old blog over to here, instead. See ya later, Wix, hello WordPress — it was about god damn time!

Anyway, before I start uploading some super long, informative articles about my experience moving from Spirolactone to Roaccutane (yup, I switched… but I’ll get to that in a minute ), I thought it was time I wrote a quick lil update and, well, just said hello.

I’m determined to get lots of content out this year — I love writing and chatting with other girls (and guys 🙋) who’ve had or are currently experiencing acne — so the whole thing makes me super happy. So, check back in if you’re interested in lots of acne treatment, mental health, self-esteem and maybe even veganism content (I’ve also made that switch 😲) — I’ve decided that 2020 is the year of the blog!

I stopped taking spironolactone

Last year, I made the decision the decision, along with my dermatologist, to stop taking spironolactone. I felt weirdly guilty for stopping the drug, as I’d ‘recommended’ it (well, as much as can recommend a drug — acne treatment is always something you should discuss with a doctor or dermatologist, not a blogger) to so many girls who were at their wits end with acne.

So just to clarify, spironolactone did work amazingly for me. You can read about my experience with spironolactone for acne here. When my acne was at its worst in Vietnam a couple of years ago, it really affected my mental health and self-esteem. Spiro cleared up my skin and kept my cystic acne under control for over a year. I’d still suggest discussing it with your doctor or derm if you believe your acne is hormonal and nothing else is working for you.

The thing is, spironolactone seemed to wear off the longer I was on it for. Don’t get me wrong, it made my skin a million times easier to handle — but towards the end, I never had completely clear skin. I still felt like I had to wear makeup to leave the house. At the same time, I didn’t know how keen I was about taking a tablet every day for the rest of my life — at least if I wanted to keep my skin under control.

Cat under doctors appointment slip

I also experienced some less than desirable side-effects from spiro, which also seemed to get more noticeable the longer I was on it. Weirdly, at first, spironolactone appeared to thicken out my hair. But that completely changed the longer I was on it. Now, my hair thinned out a lot and my hairline is seriously struggling. Obviously, there’s no guarantee that it was spiro which caused this — but to me, I think it was pretty obvious considering I’d never had that problem before.

I also had spider veins pop up on my legs, which (from my own research — I’m no doctor) might be due to estrogen dominance from spiro (this can also be a side-effect of the pill, but they only popped up after I began spironolactone, despite being on the pill for years). I also couldn’t drink — even a couple of gin and tonics — without getting a horrendous hangover a few hours after. That might sound silly, but I’m only 25 and want to be able to enjoy a night out every now and again without having to call it a night by midnight.

But Roaccutane has completely cleared my skin

So, I made the switch from spironolactone to roaccutane. I was wary of Roaccutane. There’s no denying that it’s an intense medication with lots of scary stories behind it. But at the same time, there are thousands of success stories — and I knew that getting rid of my acne for good would do wonders for my mental health.

I started around February of 2019 and finished up my course around September time. I’ll write about my experience in more detail in another blog, but generally, I didn’t have the worst time on it. I had the usual dry AF skin, cracked lips and aches and pains — but nowhere near as bad as I’ve heard other girls have experienced. I’d say it gave me low mood, too — but in comparison to what years more of acne would have done to my mood, it was well worth it!

Girl After Roaccutane Acne Treatment

From what I’ve seen online, most people tend to get an initial breakout (it gets far worse before it gets better) from Roaccutane — but I didn’t. I think this was because my acne was already partially clear from spiro — I guess there was nothing to come up from under my skin. My skin certainly became very dry and sensitive, and it was still scarred from my years of acne — but I had quite a smooth ride in terms of actual spots.

My skin is now clear and barely scarred. Yep, Roaccutane got rid of my acne for good. Whilst using it, I totally stripped back my skincare routine. I’d use micellar water to remove my makeup, wash my face (I’ve never had a favourite face wash — I just tend to use whatever I can find at the time), apply a little bit of The Ordinary’s Argan Oil and/or hyaluronic acid, and finished off with Rescue No. One from Science of Skin. While I never had awful scarring, I had lots of hyperpigmentation and my skin was very uneven. I genuinely think Rescue No. One played a huge part in evening out my skin tone and fading all the red marks I had, so I’d totally recommend it —I have a full review coming soon!

Rescue No One Scar Cream

That’s all for now, but I have some much more in-depth content about moving from spironolactone to roaccutane soon. I also want to start writing lots of product reviews — as I have plenty of favourites to share with you! If there’s anything specific you’d like me to write about, please leave a comment and let me know as I’d love to help you out if I can.

7 responses to “2020 update: Spironolactone to Roaccutane + clear skin”

  1. Tori D says:

    I just started my third month of spirno and my acne is 50% better. I’m hoping this works but if not I’m definitely willing to give roaccutane a chance! I dream of makeup free days 🙏🏻

    • alicelang says:

      Hey Tori!

      Thanks for your comment — hope you’re doing well. Suuuuuper happy to hear that your skin is improving on spiro. If it works for you, there’s no harm in staying on it (assuming your doctor/derm says it’s safe to do so). I only quit because of a few side-effects and the fact that my skin starting getting bad again. I think it’s important to remember that medications work differently for everyone though, so don’t let my story put you off!

      Totally get where you’re coming from with the makeup-free days too. I love makeup and still wear it often, but it’s nice to feel like I don’t HAVE to wear it (not that I ever did, but you know what I mean!). I’m sure you’ll get there — stay patient and be kind to yourself — and I’m sending all my love! 🙂

      Alice xx

  2. Sian says:

    Hi there, so glad you posted your experience on spiro and Roaccutane – so helpful!! I’m hoping to start spironolactone soon, as I already have a history of eczema so I’m too paranoid to try Roaccutane for now. Sorry this may be a stupid question lol, but just wondering were the side effects of Spironolactone permanent for you once you stopped taking it? I.e., Do you still have spider veins and thin hair? Thanks again for sharing your experience and I’m so glad your skin is much better now!

  3. Melissa says:

    Thank you SO much for sharing your story and your experiences with acne. Although I’m a 40yo woman dealing with this, I relate to your story so much. I appreciate your recommendations on products and people on insta to follow. It’s just nice to know that I’m not alone in this! <3

    • Alice says:

      Hi Melissa, how’re you? Sorry for the late reply to your comment! I’m glad you enjoyed my blog. You’re never ever alone in this, I’m always here if you need someone to ramble and rant to… I totally get how much of a mental struggle it can be! Sending so much love to you and I hope you’re feeling happy and confident, because you should be xxx

  4. Maggie Fitzsimmons says:

    Hi there! I’ve just come across this anecdote after searching for the process of being on Spiro and switching to accutane. I am in a similar boat to you – I’ve been on Spiro for about 6 years and unless I take a high dosage now, my skin still isn’t 100%. I also would rather not take a pill the rest of my life! If you happen to see this, I’d love to ask you a couple questions 🙂

    -Was it easy to convince your doctor to let you switch from Spiro to Accutane even with Spiro technically “working”?

    -Did you immediately switch from Spiro to Accutane or did you have to take time in between?

    Thank you!


    • Alice says:

      Hey Maggie, how’re you? Thanks so much for reading my blog! Sounds like you’ve had a similar experience to me and I can totally relate to how you feel. In answer to your questions:

      1 – I went to my GP and explained that I didn’t want to stay on spiro forever, but I just KNEW my skin would get bad if I came off it. I brought photos in of my skin pre-spiro and everything to my prove my point and they agreed to refer me to a dermatologist to discuss roaccutane. In the meantime, they kept me on spiro. I think most doctors will refer you to a dermatologist if your acne is persistent and is affecting your mental health – don’t be scared to explain why you don’t want to stay on spiro and push for a referral to a dermatologist.

      3 – I immediately switched! It actually worked really well for me – I didn’t have the ‘initial breakout’ that most experience on roacctuane and I think that was because the spiro had stopped my skin from getting too clogged/congested in the first place.

      Hope that helps! All the best with it 🙂

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