Risks Of Birth Control Pills
Most birth control pills today contain lower doses of progesterone and estrogen than they had in the past. However, they are also side effects like depression, mood changes, migraine headaches, hypertension, and liver diseases.
The best approach to using anything contraception related is to seek a medical opinion. Not only will your doctor recommend the product to use, but it will also be based on your health history, acne severity, and your general need.
Each control pill contains different progestins. As a result, you can experience mild differences between different pills. It is also common for your acne to clear longer even after using the recommended products for acne.
If your acne does not respond to the treatment, your doctor can recommend using antibiotics, retinoids, and other medications that can be used together with birth control or alone.
Nonetheless, some people should avoid using birth control pills. The reason for this is that oral contraception can worsen certain medical conditions. Hence, you shouldnt use birth control pills if you:
Have a history of cancer, liver disease, diabetes, or blood clotting disorder.
Heart disease, migraine headaches, blood clots in the lungs and legs, and hypertension.
A smoker over 30 years or if you are physically immobilized.
Severe obese, breastfeeding, or pregnant.
Havent reached puberty, pregnant, or trying to get pregnant.
How Do Birth Control Pills Work For Acne
While there are a whole range of birth control pills available on the market, different pills contain different ingredients. The majority of medication contains the synthetic female hormones estrogen and progestin. These two hormones act together to balance the effects of excess androgens, thereby reducing the severity of current breakouts, while working to prevent any further eruptions. There are several combination birth control methods including the pill, patch and ring.
On the other hand, pills that only contain progestin hormones are likely to worsen acne as they can produce an androgenic effect on the body women who suffer from breakouts should steer well clear of them. Progestin-only methods include the implant, hormonal intrauterine device , or the shot.
If this was not tricky enough to deal with, there is also the fact that not all progestin is the same. Some variations of the hormone can possess more androgenic properties, thereby aggravating the skin condition, as well as causing other issues such as balding and unwanted hair growth whereas other types are anti-androgenic. For this reason, it is crucial that you select the option that is the most appropriate for you.
Hormonal Birth Control And Acne
Acne is often the result of hormonal imbalance in the body your doctor might call it an androgen-mediated problem. In other words, androgens play a key role in your body regardless of your sex or gender. Androgens, such as testosterone, boost skin cell growth and stimulate the skin to produce more oil. This can then lead to blocked pores and thus acne.
Most hormones have a counterregulatory hormone a hormone that opposes its effects. The counterregulatory hormone of testosterone is estrogen, which is commonly supplied in birth control pills. This is why many doctors recommend hormonal birth control for treating acne. The estrogen supplied in the birth control can counter the effects of testosterone.
So now we know why birth control methods are often prescribed for acne, lets go back to our original question does birth control cure or cause acne? The reality is that birth control can both cure AND cause acne. Studies show that birth control pills can reduce acne by 55% on average. However, acne may come back even worse after the pill is stopped. Birth control can also make your acne worse if it lacks sufficient antiandrogenic properties.
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Choosing The Right Method For You
Thankfully, for women suffering from acne well past their teenage years, there exist several relief methods, each one to suit their varying needs and lifestyles. Of course, birth control is not the only route to take in your quest for clear skin there are viable alternatives, which you may feel are better suited to your needs. Remember, finding the best solution may take some time, so do not become disheartened if you dont find it straight away.
Before deciding on how to treat your acne, it is best to speak with your doctor or healthcare provider to determine the most effective method that is in harmony with your individual response. Sharing your concerns and medical history, as well as any questions you may have, is a good place to start.
What Are The Best Forms Of Birth Control For Acne
Different birth control pills contain different forms and concentrations of hormones, so it can be difficult to know which type of pill will be most effective in treating acne.
Large scale research from the Cochrane Collaboration offers some answers. This collaboration is an extensive network of thousands of doctors, researchers, and specialists who review the available research to answer specific medical or clinical questions.
In 2012, they reviewed the research on birth control pills as a treatment for acne. The team looked at a total of 31 studies that included 12,579 people.
The authors concluded that combined oral contraceptives that contain chlormadinone acetate or cyproterone acetate seem to improve acne more significantly than those that contain levonorgestrel . In addition, they advised that birth control pills containing drospirenone may be more effective than those with norgestimate or nomegestrol acetate .
However, they noted that there is limited evidence to confirm these results and that further research is necessary.
The following brands contain these hormones:
- Androcur Depot contains CPA
- Yasmin and Yaz contain DRSP
- Ortho Tri-Cyclen and Previfem contain NGM
- Lutenyl, Naemis, and Zoely contain NOMAC/E2
The side effects should lessen or go away entirely after a few months of taking the pill. If they do not, and they are especially bothersome, it is important to speak with a doctor. The doctor may recommend switching to a different pill.
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Birth Control Can Help With Acne Here Are Your Best Options
- Well-Women Care
- Birth Control Can Help With Acne. Here Are Your Best Options
Where topical acne treatments may fail, birth control is another option that can help to effectively treat acne. For years, this has been an acne treatment that physicians have been prescribing to their patients particularly in treating hormonal acne.
Risk Of Deep Vein Thrombosis Depends On The Type Of Pill
Contraceptive pills can have side effects such as headaches, breast tenderness and nausea. Some women stop taking the pill because of these problems. There hasn’t been enough research to say whether side effects like these are more common with certain pills than with others.
Hormonal contraceptives also increase the risk of blood clots in the legs , even if the overall risk is low. Third- and fourth-generation birth control pills appear to increase the risk of thrombosis more than older first- and second-generation pills do . It is estimated that thrombosis occurs within one year in
- about 9 to 12 out of 10,000 women who regularly take a birth control pill containing desogestrel, gestodene or drospirenone.
- about 5 to 7 out of 10,000 women who regularly take a birth control pill containing levonorgestrel or norgestimate.
For comparison, thrombosis occurs in about 2 out of 10,000 women who arent on the pill.
Deep vein thrombosis can cause tenderness, swelling, an aching pain in the legs, and sometimes even skin problems. In very rare cases it may lead to a life-threatening blockage of the pulmonary artery .
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Optimize Your Circadian Rhythm
Your circadian rhythm is your body clock, determining your sleep/wake cycle. Disruption of this incredibly important rhythm eventually leads to the dysfunction of EVERY SINGLE ONE of your hormones and throws off your metabolism!
Birth control can throw a wrench in this diurnal rhythm, altering the timing of hormonal release from the brain. By sticking to a regular sleep/wake schedule, you support your endocrine system and the delicate balance of your hormones.
The Contraceptive Pill And Acne
The main reason acne develops is because the male sex hormone androgen is made in larger amounts during puberty in girls too. Inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne can improve in girls and women who use contraceptive pills as birth control. The pills that help against acne have the female sex hormones estrogen and progestin in them. But most contraceptive pills haven’t been specifically approved for the treatment of acne. There are also non-hormonal treatments which can help against acne, some of which have fewer side effects.
The frequency and severity of side effects are influenced by the dose of hormones in the birth control pills. But possible side effects might still play an important role when deciding which pill to use. So it’s good to know whether certain pills reduce acne more effectively than others and what side effects they have.
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Absolute Contraindications To Oral Contraceptives
- Migraine with aura
- Smoking: women aged over 35 years who smoke > 15 cigarettes/day
- Ischaemic heart disease, past or current
- Active liver disease: viral hepatitis, cirrhosis, or tumour
- Major surgery with prolonged immobilisation
- Deep venousthrombosis, past or current
- Hypertension: poorly controlled
- Breast cancer, current
Focus On Hormone Detoxification
This is such an important step! Oral contraceptives put a big strain on your liver and its ability to properly detoxify. Not only does your liver oversee glucose and cholesterol metabolism, regulate blood clotting, and produce bile, it has to metabolize and detoxify everything that makes its way into your blood so that it can be properly excreted. This includes all of your medications, including birth control, as well as environmental toxins.
What can you do to help your liver? The most important thing is to avoid substances that further compromise liver health, such as alcohol, acetaminophen , and environmental toxins and pollutants .
You can also support your liver by eating foods that stimulate healthy liver function, like beets, bitters foods like dandelion greens and arugula, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli.
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Learn More About Treating Acne
If youve previously used birth control pills to treat and prevent acne, its important for you to be prepared if you decide to stop taking the pill.
Post-pill acne can range from a few extra pimples to severe, painful breakouts. Using the topical treatments we recommended above, you can usually keep post-pill acne under control and stop future breakouts from occurring.
Want to learn more about treating acne? Our guide to the causes of acne goes into more detail on the two most common types of acne, and our guide to acne treatments goes into more science-backed treatments you can use to protect your skin, get rid of pimples and keep breakouts at bay.
What Is The Best Birth Control For Acne
So weve established that a contraceptive method delivering a small amount of estrogen alongside progestin is effective in both providing contraception and reducing acne. But what about the progestin itself? Is there a certain dosage or type of progestin that will be more effective against acne?
Many progestins are androgenic, which means they boost androgens and can aggravate acne. But some progestins are actually antiandrogenic, which means they can be a powerful asset in the fight against acne.
Below is a table of antiandrogenic progestins and their associated brands of birth control. These progestins block androgen receptors, effectively preventing androgen hormones from doing their job. If you suffer from hormonal acne and want to reduce the effects of androgen on your skin, these brands should be your starting point.
There are mixed reviews regarding the efficacy of one antiandrogenic progestin over the others. One study concluded drospirenone-containing birth control pills more effective in acne reduction than chlormadinone-containing pills, while a different study concluded the opposite statement. Another study concluded that dienogest-containing formulations were equally effective against acne compared to cyproterone-containing pills.
On the flip side of the scale, progestins with high androgenic properties can make your acne worse.
To the left you can see a handy chart I compiled to help you decide which progestins to look for and which ones to avoid.
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Is Severe Acne A Sign Of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormonal disorder that causes cysts to develop in the ovaries. Sometimes, PCOS prevents women from ovulating every month, resulting in irregular and/or painful periods. Severe hormonal acne can be a sign of PCOS, but not always. Symptoms normally show up around an individuals first menstrual cycle during puberty. Irregular periods excess facial and body hair, and trouble losing weight are some of the most common symptoms for PCOS. Going on birth control pills can help balance the hormones and, thus, decrease the severity of symptoms.
Myth : Acne Is Always An External Problem Not Internal
Many believe skin-care products and makeup can cause acne. Although this may be true for some, acne is mostly an internal problem.
Dr. Julia Carroll, a dermatologist at Compass Dermatology in Toronto, said acne forms when dead skin cells clog the pores, leading to a buildup of sebum. Sebum is the oil that is found in the glands on the face.
Bacteria within pores, called Cutibacterium acnes , can cause pore blockage and inflammation, seen as redness, swelling and pus. People may have a stickier kind of skin cell that will clog the pores as well.
More often than not, Carroll said, hormonal imbalances lead to acne.
Its just normal hormonal fluctuations that you might see in puberty or around a womans period, said Carroll, who is also on staff at the University of Toronto medical school. Some peoples skin environment is more sensitive to those hormonal changes than other people are, and that can lead to acne.
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How Should You Use Oral Contraceptives
Although the three oral contraceptives are approved for treating acne, they are only handy for treating mild and moderate acne in women who have started menstruation.
Sometimes, doctors prescribe them for severe acne, but it is usually under supervision. There are also other birth control products that you can use for treating acne however, they are prescribed. In essence, you shouldnt pick just any pill and attempt to use it since there are known side effects.
If you are already using one that is working well for your acne, there is no need to switch to a new product. However, if this is your first time, you might need expert advice to try out the three approved acne treatment options.
However, it is quite possible to have an initial flare-up when you start taking the pills.
How Birth Control Can Improve Acne
Birth control works by affecting your body’s hormone levels, which is how, along with preventing unwanted pregnancy, it can also impact other hormonal-related issues like acne.
“When women’s hormone levels shift from a more female profile, for example, with estrogen and progesterone, to a more male profile, for example, testosterone, during our cycles, this has an effect on oil production and acne,” says Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist and the founder of Entière Dermatology in NYC.
“When the hormone profile is more male dominant, a couple of skin changes occur: The sebaceous glands become more active, there is an increase in dead skin cells, and the skin cells become stickier. This environment is perfect for acne flares. Some women are more sensitive to circulating testosterone and develop hormonal acne,” says Levin. Taking birth control pills can stabilize these hormones and decrease the amount of testosterone in your body.
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What Your Healthcare Provider Might Say
Birth control pills that contain both estrogen and progestin can be prescribed to treat acne and hirsutism , and sometimes hair loss.
Progestin-only methods such as the implant, hormonal IUD, or shot may worsen acne, hirsutism, or hair loss in some people.
To understand these effects requires a little anatomy and physiology lesson.
Can Birth Control Cause Acne
Acne is a potential side effect of all hormonal birth control methods including birth control pills, the patch, the depo-shot, and the NuvaRing can all cause acne or make it worse. However, many people who take birth control report that hormonal birth control methods improve their skin. In fact, some combination birth control pills are so effective that they are prescribed to resolve problem skin.
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If Your Acne Has Flared Up After Quitting The Contraceptive Pill Heres Everything You Need To Know
Choosing to quit the contraceptive pill is a big decision. Many of us have a love-hate relationship with our pill. Some of us quit because we want to feel better mentally, some of us want to see how your body feels without artificial hormones and some of us want to get pregnant.
But, theres one thing that many people dont expect as a consequence of quitting the pill and thats acne! If youve recently quit the pill and your skin looks and feels worse than ever youre far from alone.
Join us as we take a look at post-pill acne, why we get it and what you can do about it.
Did you know that acne after stopping the pill is one of the most common reasons why women choose to go back on the birth control pill?! Post-pill acne is a real issue for many women and developing problem skin after years of suppressing your hormones can be really hard. Acne is still so much associated with teenagers and puberty meaning that those who develop acne after quitting the pill often find that their friends and families just dont know how to help or how to talk about it. With that in mind were here to help.
The biggest myths about post-pill acne
One of the biggest myths about post-pill acne is that it is caused by quitting the pill. This isnt the case! The first thing you need to know about the pill is that although it is often prescribed whilst were teenagers to help us manage our acne, it suppresses our hormones and so doesnt actually address the root cause of the problem.