The acne pill you must know about

In my quest for a clear complexion I’ve tried everything - retinols, peels, natural remedies, doxycycline and accutane too. But one medicine that is most effective, safe enough to be taken for years (unless you’re planning for a baby), and is completely under the radar is Aldactone or spironolactone. 

Aldactone is basically a potassium-sparing diuretic, which is used to control fluid retention in patients with congestive heart failure, liver cirrhosis, and kidney conditions. So basically, it helps flush out water retention, but holds on to the potassium. It also helps control acne, especially the hormonal variety that women get in adulthood. You know the sort when you get breakouts on your chin and jawline, with open pores and oiliness? This pill will help put a stop to it. It works as an androgen (male hormone) blocker, to shrink pores, reduce oil and breakouts. This also means that only women can use this as an anti-acne remedy. Unlike accutane, the other effective treatment for acne, this can be taken for years at end with no side effects. 

When I tried this pill a few years back, my skin was going though a bad phase and even retinol didn't help. My dermatologist (Dr Vandana Chatrath at Kubba Clinic in Delhi), put me on Aldactone 50, a super low dose. She was going to up the dosage in a few months to 100 but my skin adjusted so beautifully that 50 was enough. While it is said that Aldactone takes about three months to show results, my skin started looking clear, poreless and matte within a month. 

The other wonderful thing about this pill is that it is also recommended for women who have PCOS. Because it is a diuretic, this reduces water retention, but you will pee more often. One word of caution - avoid too many bananas or too much coconut water because this is a potassium sparing diuretic, and these foods are rich in potassium. Consult your gynaecologist or dermatologist, before taking this pill. You many have to go through a liver and kidney function test before getting on this medicine, but it is safe enough for most people. So if you are really, seriously, completely tired of acne, try Aldactone - it's worth a shot.