OverviewDosageSide EffectsInteractionsHalf-Life

The FDA has not approved the use of spironolactone for acne treatment. That said, medical providers still sometimes prescribe it off-label for this purpose. Limited research is available on the effectiveness and safety of using spironolactone to treat acne. For example, a 2017 study shows that the majority of female participants experienced acne improvement without adverse side effects or reactions.

Spironolactone for Acne — Dosage

The dosage for spironolactone when used to treat acne varies for each patient based on different factors, such as the severity of their acne. In the 2017 study, 85 out of 101 patients who took 100 mg of spironolactone per day experienced improvement. Other patients experienced improvement when given 150 mg or 200 mg of spironolactone per day.

Side Effects

For more information, please visit our page on spironolactone side effects.


Should I take spironolactone for acne?

Spironolactone works by blocking oil production that normally results in acne. However, due to the risk of breast enlargement and decreased testosterone, it is generally prescribed for women only instead of men when used to treat acne. Women who have facial acne or cystic acne should talk to their medical provider about using spironolactone as a treatment option.

How long until spironolactone works for acne?

Spironolactone for acne may take a few weeks to begin working, according to a 2012 study. However, the amount of time it takes for the effects to work may vary from individual to the next.

How effective is spironolactone for acne?

Spironolactone has been shown to improve acne based on studies involving adult women with acne and post-teenage female patients with acne. However, not all participants in these studies experienced improvement. More research is needed to better understand the effectiveness of spironolactone for acne.

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.


Generic Name: Spironolactone


Class: Aldosterone antagonist, potassium-sparing diuretic

Availability: Prescription

Molecular Formula: C24H32O4S

Substance UNII: 27O7W4T232

What is Spironolactone?

Spironolactone is an aldosterone antagonist and potassium-sparing diuretic. It is often sold under the trade names Aldactone and CaroSpir.

What is Spironolactone Used For?

The FDA has approved spironolactone for the treatment of heart failure, hypertension, edema associated with nephrotic syndrome or hepatic cirrhosis, and primary hyperaldosteronism. People also sometimes use it to treat acne or to promote weight loss.

How Does Spironolactone Work?

Spironolactone works by blocking the activity of aldosterone, a steroid hormone associated with water retention. This fluid retention can cause certain problems to worsen such as kidney, heart, or liver diseases or conditions. Taking this medication causes higher amounts of water and sodium to be eliminated, thereby reducing water retention.

Spironolactone also prevents your body from excreting or getting rid of potassium. Notably, potassium helps reduce water retention through promoting urination and excretion of sodium during urination.

How Long Does It Take for Spironolactone to Work?

The time it takes for this drug to work depends on what it is being used for and other factors, such as the presence of other medical conditions and dosage being taken. A 2012 study found that it generally takes a few weeks for spironolactone to become effective when it is used for treating acne.

Do Not Use Spironolactone If:

There are several situations where this medication may not be the right choice for you. According to the FDA, the following should not use spironolactone:

  • Patients with hyperkalemia (high potassium)
  • Patients with Addison’s disease (hypocortisolism or adrenal insufficiency)
  • Patients who are using eplerenone (Inspra)

Please note that this list may not be complete, and there may be other situations where use of this drug is not advisable.

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.

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