Why Does The Pill Reduce Acne For Some Women
The hormones contained in the Pill can play a role in reducing acne. Particularly for those suffering from hormonal acne, the Pill can lower the circulation of androgens which also decreases the production of sebum . Less oil can mean less acne for some women.
However, effective acne reduction is only seen with types of contraception that contain a combination of both estrogen and progestin. That means the minipill wonât have an impact on improving acne.
For those of us who experience breakouts in sync with our cycle, the Pill can be an effective acne treatment. When looking for acne-fighting Pill prescriptions, your doctor should recommend a Pill variation that contains progestin with a low androgenic possibility . In most cases, it will take a few months to see the full impacts so itâs important to be patient.
Potential Side Effects Of Taking Birth Control For Acne
Side effects of taking birth control pills for acne are the same as those of someone who takes the pill for contraception or any other indication. The most common short-term side effects of birth control are nausea, breast tenderness, and bloating. You may also experience longer-term mood changes and changes in libido. You should speak with your doctor about whether you’re a good candidate for this medication given your medical history and to get more information about other possible side effects.
“If a person has a history of a blood clotting disorder, is a smoker, or suffers from migraine headaches, they are not good candidates for a birth control pill,” warns Birmingham-based dermatologist , MD.
Why Do Some Women Say That The Pill Caused Their Acne
If youve heard that the pill can actually cause acne or make it worse, heres why. Any time a woman begins to take an oral contraceptive, it takes a while for the regulating effects to kick in. Until it does, your hormones continue to fluctuate, which means that androgens may still rise and lead to acne. Over time, your birth control pill will do its job and stabilize your hormones and your acne.
Another possible link between an oral birth control pill and an increase in acne is when the pill contains progesterone only, commonly called the mini pill. In some cases, the lack of estrogen in the pill may allow for higher levels of androgens and, therefore, the potential for hormonal acne.
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Can You Get Acne After Stopping Birth Control
Yes. A common side effect of stopping birth control is that acne can flare up.
Most women arent told this before going on birth controleven though its a common reaction. Dont believe me? Heres a line straight from a peer-reviewed research paper: It iswell known that acne can reappear after stopping combined oral contraceptives .
This post-pill acne most often happens if you had acne before going on birth control, but it can also occur if your skin was clear before. There are a few reasons for this:
Surging hormones. Free from the synthetic hormones repressive effect, your ovaries kick back into action and their androgen production surges. As you know, androgens are key hormones in the acne-driving pathway.
Depleted nutrients. Its also well-known that the pill can deplete certain nutrients. These include folate, vitamin B12, zinc, selenium, vitamin C and vitamin Eall of which are crucial for healthy skin .
A weakened gut barrier. Although more human studies are needed, emerging animal research suggests that birth control pills can disrupt your gut barrier . And, as you probably know if youre on this site, poor gut health is associated with acne .
If youve stopped taking the pill and your skin is acting up, you have two options:
a) Wait it out. Your hormones will settle out again, though it can take a few months.
b) Take action. Embrace some dietary, lifestyle and skincare habits that can help to calm your skin from the inside out.
Which Birth Control Helps Acne
A Cochrane review found that when it comes to treating acne, most combined oral contraceptives work as well as each other . In other words, any combined pill will do .
But it often doesnt play out like this in real life. If youre taking a combined oral contraceptive pill and you feel its made your skin worse, it may be down to the form of progestin in that pill.
Heres what you need to know:
Older-generation progestins can dock onto androgen receptors on your bodys cells. The synthetic oestrogen in the pill should cancel out this slight androgenic effect, but it may still be enough to worsen acne in particularly sensitive individuals .
Newer-generation progestins dont dock on to androgen receptors as much, and some even have anti-androgen effects. This means theyre much better for treating acne .
To make this even more confusing, progestin-only pills wont help acnein fact, they can make it worsebut well get onto that below .
So, for best acne-clearing effects, you want a combined oral contraceptive pill that contains a newer-generation progestin such as norethindrone acetate, norgestimate, desogestrel, drospirenone or cyproterone acetate .
Confused by all these long, weird-sounding drug names? I hear you. We can also talk about it in terms of brands.
In the US, the FDA has approved three brands of combined oral contraceptive pills to treat acneall of which contain newer generation progestins . These are:
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Can A Dermatologist Prescribe Birth Control For Acne
There are currently 3 birth control pills that are FDA-approved for acne treatment: Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Yaz, and Estrostep. As implied in this article, many other birth controls have been prescribed as off-label use for acne.
While dermatologists can prescribe birth control for acne, they generally tend to refer their patients to a primary care doctor or gynecologist since the main indication for birth control pills is contraception, and it is critical for sexually active women to receive check-ups and pap smears before starting on birth control.
What Types Of Acne Can Birth Control Help Clear
Oral contraceptives minimize the production of sebum by reducing androgen levels. Less oil production may help clear blackheads, whiteheads, pimples and cystic acne even when other treatment methods have failed.
However, because oil production isnt acnes only contributing factor, your doctor may prescribe topical treatments or antibiotics in addition to birth control to help clear your skin.
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What Is Acne Vulgaris
Acne vulgaris is the scientific name for the skin problem commonly just known as acne or colloquially called pimples, spots, or blemishes. The condition is characterized by spots on your skin that can appear on your face, upper back, chest, or arms. These blemishes arise when there is an excess of oil on your skin, which can clog the hair follicles in the oily areas of your body. When your pores are clogged only with sebum and dead skin cells, this is called noninflammatory acne, or comedones, which can manifest as whiteheads or blackheads . If bacteria gets into the clogged pores, it can cause an infection, which leads to inflammatory acne. Inflammatory acne can appear as pustules, which contain pus, or papules, which do not. Cystic acne is another kind of acne that occurs when cysts develop below the surface of the skin. When the cysts are infected with bacteria, they become swollen, red, and often painful.
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Does Nexplanon Help With Acne
Nexplanon is a type of hormonal birth control that looks like a small plastic rod and is inserted just below the skin. Nexplanon, in particular, is a progestin-only contraceptive. The progestin used is called etonogestrel and in some studies~12-13% of those using Nexplanon have reported new or worsening acne.
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Does Birth Control Make Acne Worse Before It Gets Better
Birth control is not a foolproof acne treatment or cure. Sometimes, birth control can make acne worse before it clears up your skin. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict what will or wont work for you. Also, it may take trials of various birth control pills to find the one that will help your acne without minimal side effects. Your dermatologist or gynecologist will discuss other acne treatment options with you if taking birth control pills does not help.
Research Has Only Found Small Differences In The Effect On Acne
Researchers from the an international research network took a look at the effectiveness of birth control pills in the treatment of acne. They did a search for studies comparing the pill with a fake drug or a non-hormonal acne medication. The researchers analyzed 31 studies involving a total of about 12,500 participants. Most of the studies compared different contraceptive pills with each other or with a placebo. Hardly any of the studies compared the pill with other acne medications.
All of the birth control pills tested were able to improve acne. They reduced both inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne. The pills often had to be taken for several weeks or months before the participants skin got better. The birth control pills that reduced acne had ethinyl estradiol in them, combined with one of the following drugs: levonorgestrel, norethindrone, norgestimate, drospirenone, cyproterone acetate, chlormadinone acetate, dienogest or desogestrel.
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How To Treat Acne Caused By Birth Control
When dealing with acne caused by birth control, check which formulation you are using and see if it is a progesterone-only or androgenic progestin, and inquire with your doctor to see if you can switch to a combination pill on our list .
Also keep in mind that birth control can make your acne-flare up at first before you start seeing improvement in your acne. It may be beneficial to wait a few months before deciding to switch to another formulation.
Does Birth Control Help Acne
Acne pimples, blemishes, spots, breakouts the skin condition that tends to start during puberty and can, unfortunately, continue to plague you well beyond your teenage years. These blemishes, characterized by red spots that appear most frequently on your forehead, chin, upper back, chest, and arms, can make you feel self-conscious, even though the condition is extremely common. Over 50 million Americans suffer from acne and for many women, pimples can strike whenever there is a hormonal shift in your body. Beyond puberty, this can mean breakouts the week before your period as well as during your period, making acne a source of stress for a significant portion of each month.
Birth control comes in a variety of forms and while the primary use is to prevent pregnancy, a benefit of several forms of hormonal birth control is the prevention and treatment of acne. These hormonal birth control methods, including the birth control pill and the patch, contain estrogen and progesterone, which help to suppress the androgen hormones that cause acne flareups. Birth control is a simple way to cure acne and can replace or be paired with other treatment methods depending on the severity of your acne. Some birth control pills are even approved by the FDA as recognized acne treatments. If you are suffering from acne, consult with an expert dermatologist, such as Dr. Michele Green, to see if starting birth control is right to treat your acne.
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How Does The Pill Treat Acne
Acne occurs as a result of several factors relating to a hormonal imbalance, including the overproduction of a natural oil called sebum on the skin and the accumulation of dead skin cells in the hair follicle or pores.
In addition, some females have abnormally high levels of androgens, such as testosterone. High androgen levels can stimulate the production of sebum and increase the growth of skin cells in both the skin and hair follicles.
Hormonal medication, including the birth control pill, can help regulate these hormones and minimize acne.
The birth control pill works best when a person takes it at the same time every day and as the prescription specifies. Sometimes, the birth control pill is more effective alongside other medications.
Traditional Treatments For Hormonal Acne
Unless your hormonal acne is mild, over-the-counter products usually arent successful.
This is because hormonal acne typically takes the form of cystic bumps. These bumps form deep under the skin, out of reach of most topical medications.
Oral medications can work from the inside out to balance your hormones and clear up the skin. Common options include oral contraceptives and anti-androgen drugs.
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What You May Have Heard About How Birth Control Affects Skin And Hair
You may have heard that hormonal birth control can improve acne and make your hair fuller. You may have also heard that hormonal birth control can cause acne or make your hair fall out.
It can be confusing, especially when your personal experience is different from that of your friends and loved ones, or what youâve been told to expect.
Not all hormonal birth control is the same, so the side effects arenât all the same either. Hormonal birth control comes in many forms and contains different types and levels of hormones.
Combined hormonal contraceptives are birth control methods that contain two hormones , like the pill, patch, or ring.
Progestin-only contraceptives contain just a form of progestin hormone , like the implant, hormonal IUD, shot, or mini-pill. Different forms of birth control may affect individual people in different ways.
Hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle cause changes in skin and hair. So it makes sense that the hormones found in birth control can as well. Read on to learn how different methods may improve or worsen the condition of the skin or hair.
How Birth Control Works
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Combination hormonal birth control, or the main type of oral contraceptive prescribed for acne, contains two hormones: estrogen and progesterone. Together, these hormones suppress ovulation. A typical menstrual cycle includes menstruation , a follicular phase, ovulation, and a luteal phase, which are all driven by fluctuations in hormones from the brain and ovaries. The pill stops these fluctuations and in turn, stops ovulation.
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Tips For Clearing Acne With Birth Control Pills
To get the most out of your birth control pills when it comes to clearing your skin, stick to the following:
- Speak with your doctor about possible side effects and the various hormonal doses before choosing a pill for your acne.
- Tell your doctor about any other medications youre using. Some might interfere with the effectiveness of the pill, either as a contraception or for acne.
- Use the pills exactly as prescribed. Many pills containing hormones need to be taken at the same time each day for best results.
- Continue with your regular skincare routine and any other acne medications prescribed by your doctor. Birth control pills only help with one facet of breakouts.
If your acne is the result of excess oil production, combination birth control pills containing both estrogen and progestin may help decrease sebum production, resulting in clearer skin. Speak to your doctor about whether or not oral contraceptives are right for you.
There are also a number of ways to address hormonal acne without the use of birth control.
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Birth Control And Acne Management
Acne is closely linked to shifts and imbalances in hormone levels. Your ovaries produce estrogen and progesterone, the hormone needed to make testosterone. When you have an excess of progesterone in your system, you can develop acne.
Hormonal birth control can prevent your ovaries from producing too much of the hormone that triggers acne, helping clear your skin. Not all birth control pills will help, however. Only pills that contain both estrogen and progestin can help manage your acne.
The good news is that birth control pills also help improve other symptoms, including giving you lighter periods, periods that come more regularly, and less cramping.
Its important to choose the right pill for you. At Alpenglow Gynecology, Rickie takes time to answer your questions and provide insights as to which brands might best help manage your acne and meet any other needs you may have.
If youre ready for clearer skin, learn if birth control can help you by scheduling an appointment at Alpenglow Gynecology in Littleton, Colorado. You can schedule online or call our friendly staff at 303-797-9199 to book an appointment.
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Types Of Birth Control To Treat Acne In Women
The last decade has seen an explosion in new types of birth control. But so far, only three types of birth control pills have been approved by the FDA for treating acne. All three are “combination” oral contraceptives that contain both estrogen and progesterone. In fact, birth control pills that contain only progesterone can actually make acne worse.
Each type of birth control pill used for acne contains a low dose of the same form of estrogen. But each one uses a different form of progesterone.
The FDA has approved the following types of birth control for acne:
- Ortho Tri-Cyclen uses estrogen combined with a progestin called norgestimate. A progestin is a synthetic, or manmade, form of progesterone. The pill is available with different doses of progestin.
- Estrostepuses estrogen combined with a progestin called norethindrone. The pill is available with different doses of estrogen.
- YAZ uses estrogen combined with a manmade form of progestin called drospirenone. The FDA has concluded that birth control pills containing drospirenone may have increased risk for blood clots compared to pills containing other progestins. Other brands containing drospirenone include Beyaz, Gianvi, Loryna, Ocella, Safyral, Syeda, Yasmin, and Zarah.
Studies have not shown a major difference among these three pills in terms of how well they treat acne.