Whats The Best Combined Pill For Acne
The good news is that people who take the combined pill often see an improvement when it comes to acne. Some people are actually prescribed the combined pill to clear up their skin even if they dont need contraception. Studies show that women with acne who take the combined pill tend to see an improvement in their skin compared to individuals who arent on birth control. But different pills can have very different results.
And it can take a few months of use to see a noticeable improvement in your skin after you start taking the pill. Some people even find their skin gets worse after they start taking a new pill, but it often settles down after a few months.
Birth Control Pills Function Best When Used Together With Acne Creams
Birth control is rarely used entirely by itself when youre trying to get rid of acne. Dermatologists usually also prescribe lotions and topical creams that are meant to fight everyday pimples, such as benzoyl peroxide and retinoid. There isnt any research out there to figure out whether the pill is as effective on its own compared to its effect alongside acne creams, but we do know that its quite common for doctors to encourage their patients to use both.
Does Birth Control Help Acne
At present, many women are tending to use the birth control for their acne. Some women also use these pills to stop unwanted conception and to clear up their skin from acne.
There is no doubt that these pills help in reducing and even removing acne completely, but you first need to consider the advantages and disadvantages.
On the other hand, there is a big disadvantage of this treatment. There are a few serious diseases that are linked to the birth control pills. If you have cancer in your family or you are a smoker, then you must not use these pills at all. Whenever you are thinking to use these pills, you first have to see family doctor or dermatologist.
Also, you have to know that by using the birth control pills, your acne might be temporarily removed. More than 90 percent people have stated that after using the birth control pills, their acne was gone yet when they stopped using the pills, it came back. Thus, this may or may not be the best way to remove acne.
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The Best Birth Control Pills For Treating Acne
Although there are numerous different birth control pills, the FDA has currently only approved three different pills for treating acne.
All of the FDA-approved birth control pills are combined oral contraceptives, meaning they contain a mix of estrogen and progestin.
Right now, the three FDA-approved birth control pills for treating acne area:
How Long Does It Take To Clear Acne
As indicated in the first study, birth control doesnt clear acne overnight. It can take up to six months to see good results. Also keep in mind that the 55% reduction mark is only a calculated average, so not all women will reach that potential.
In contrast, antibiotics seem to work much faster, reaching their full potential within the first three months. However, frequent and long-term use of antibiotics is generally not recommended. Issues of toxicity and antibiotic-resistant infections can be dangerous.
Frequent use of antibiotics can also cause gut problems, which can in turn cause acne according to some studies. Taking into consideration these long-term damaging effects, birth control pills provide a much safer option for acne treatment.
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Which Birth Control Pill Is Best For Acne
Like we mentioned above, Estrostep , YAZ and Ortho Tri-Cyclen are all approved by the FDA for treating acne.
If you have hormonal acne, youll likely experience significant improvements using any of these birth control pills or their generic equivalents.
In short, theres no clear best birth control pill when it comes to treating or preventing acne. All three of the pills approved by the FDA work well and produce similar improvements.
How Does Birth Control Treat Acne
As every teenager knows, there’s a clear relationship between hormones and acne. Some women experience premenstrual flare-ups of acne as their hormone levels shift during their cycle. And for some, acne simply persists through the years, even after menopause.
Acne is triggered by an excess production of sebum. Sebum is an oil made by glands in your skin. Along with skin cells, sebum can clog pores and promote the growth of bacteria that contribute to acne. Androgens, a group of hormones that includes testosterone, stimulate your skin to produce sebum.
A woman’s ovaries and adrenal glands normally produce a low level of androgens. Higher levels of androgens can lead to excess sebum. Taking birth control pills that contain both estrogen and progesterone lowers the amount of androgens in your body. This results in less sebum and less severe acne.
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Women Hormones And Acne
Young teens going through puberty often suffer from hormone-related acne because this is a stage of life characterized by an increase in androgens. But girls and women experience hormone fluctuations every month before, during, and after their menstrual periods that can cause or exacerbate acne well into adulthood.
If youre like most women, your highest androgen level occurs about a week before your period so, if you tend to break out just before you menstruate, this may be why. Then, during your period, your estrogen level goes up and your progesterone level goes down.
But menstruation isnt the only thing that affects your hormones. Stress, medications, and pregnancy can all shake up your normal and leave you with a pimply face, chest, or back.
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How Birth Control Works As An Acne Treatment
Healthcare providers have been prescribing birth control pills as an acne treatment for several decades, with the FDA even recommending several oral contraceptives as acne treatments as well as for birth control purposes.
The way birth control works as an acne treatment is simple. As a woman, your body produces a small quantity of androgenic hormones such as testosterone. These hormones are essential for optimal wellbeing and health.
Testosterone, for example, plays a role in everything from your muscle and bone health to your sex drive.
Testosterone also regulates the amount of sebum produced by your skin. When your adrenal glands and ovaries produce too much testosterone, your skin can become overly oily, resulting in more severe and frequent acne outbreaks.
Our guide to hormonal acne explains this process in more detail. Simply put, the higher your levels of testosterone and other androgens, the more likely it is that youll experience acne in the days leading up to your period.
The estrogen and progesterone in oral contraceptives lower the amount of androgens in your body. Lower levels of testosterone mean less sebum production, which means a lower risk of experiencing hormonal acne.
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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.
How Long Does It Take For Birth Control To Help Acne
It can take as short as 4-6 weeks or as long as a few months after starting birth control pills to see a significant decrease in acne. It is common for women to experience an initial flare-up of acne after starting birth control, but this should eventually go away. The process takes a while because the body may need a few months to get used to the new hormones being introduced.
With all of that being said, women who have more severe acne will need to use topical medications like tretinoin cream or other acne treatment products to get the best results.
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Can Birth Control Pills Cause Acne
Some contraceptives are progestin-only and do not contain any estrogen. Such birth control pills are known as mini-pills. Acne sufferers should avoid these pills at all costs as they can exacerbate existing acne, rather than reducing it.
In one study, 30-40% of women using progestin-only birth control reported worse acne upon using these methods. Another study reported acne present in 34% of women on mini-pills, compared to 8% of those on combination pills and 18% of those on the copper IUD.
Copper-releasing implantable contraception is non-hormonal and thus has no impact on acne. If we use this as a baseline acne rate for the group, we can gauge that mini-pills almost doubled the rate of acne in women.
Here are some popular progestin-only methods that may worsen acne:
- Progestin-only pills Camila, Errin, Heather, Jolivette, Norethindrone, etc.
- Implant Nexplanon
- Shot Depo-Provera
- IUDs Mirena, Kyleena, Skyla, and Liletta
Remember that the ParaGard IUD is not a hormonal contraceptive. Also please note that this list is not comprehensive. Confirm to your doctor to make sure you arent using progestin-only contraception.
Potential Risks Of Using Birth Control Pills To Treat Acne
If Youve just stopped taking oral contraceptive pills, Your Skin Condition may Worsen. According to dermatologists, when you stop taking the pill, complications may occur. The reason is that your body will experience hormonal shifts when you stay oral contraceptives. Therefore, dont be shocked if those changes lead to a breakout. It is highly likely if you used to struggle acne before you started using with the pill.If your concern is breakouts, experts recommend that you watch your diet when youre shifting from the pill. Say goodbye to sugar, refined carbs, and dairy for some time, and eat plenty of low-glycemic foods. It will discourage your skin from becoming inflamed. Of course, speak with your medical professional to figure out how to incorporate all this information into your routine. Just because youre no longer taking the pill doesnt mean you have to wake up the following mornings with a spotted face.
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Benefits Of Birth Control For Acne
Several clinical trials have shown that taking combination birth control pills can result in:
- Less inflammation
- Less severe acne
Many women with severe acne take oral contraceptives with other acne treatments. For women who also want contraception, taking birth control pills for acne also offers one of the most reliable forms of contraception, as long as the pills are taken on schedule as prescribed.
What Type Of Birth Control Fights Acne Best
Dermatologists and healthcare professionals have been prescribing birth control pills for the treatment of acne for many decades, and there are numerous brands and types available. There is no foolproof guide to acne causes, but many health professionals tout the benefits of contraception for female acne patients.
“What’s the best birth control for acne” is a difficult question to answer, but if youre looking to use contraception to help clear your skin, there are only three specific pills that have been approved by the FDA for acne treatment: Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Estrostep, and YAZ.
All three of these pills are considered combination oral contraceptives, which means they contain both estrogen and progesterone.
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What Birth Control Makes Acne Worse
Birth control pills that only contain progesterone hormones, otherwise known as the mini pill, will make acne worse. Women who suffer from acne breakouts should steer clear of these contraceptives.
Women can find relief from painful, annoying breakouts by taking birth control pills. With several types to choose from, its possible for any woman to find a pill that will work for her lifestyle. If youre concerned about acne flare-ups, talk to your doctor about getting started with safe, effective birth control for hormonal skin problems.
How Do These Birth Control Pill Treat Acne
Before we can get into how these birth control pills prevent acne, well need to cover the basics of how acne develops in the first place, as well as how its related to your hormones.
Acne develops when your pores — the openings in your skin that lead to the sebaceous glands and hair follicles — become blocked. Several different substances can cause blockages in your pores, but the most common are sebum and dead skin cells.
Sebum is an oil-like substance thats produced by your sebaceous glands. If your skin feels wet and oily at the end of a busy day, its almost always the result of sebum building up on the skins surface.
Your skin naturally produces sebum to keep your skin soft and moist, as well as to protect your skin from wind, dust, dirt and other irritants. While it can be annoying when it builds up in large amounts, sebum is an essential component of healthy skin.
When too much sebum builds up on your skin, it can become clogged inside the pore, resulting in a pimple.
Depending on the amount of sebum that blocks the pore, youll develop either a whitehead or a blackhead. A whitehead forms when the sebum completely blocks the pore. The white color is a result of the sebum forming a complete seal in the pore, blocking air from entering.
A blackhead forms when the sebum only partially blocks the pore. Blackheads arent black as a result of dirt or poor hygiene — instead, the black color forms when air comes into direct contact with the sebum.
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Other Possible Causes Of Acne
Its important to keep in mind that birth control pills containing an anti-androgen may not result in clear skin. Thats because not all acne breakouts are caused by hormones. Some medications, including testosterone, corticosteroids, and lithium, may contribute to acne breakouts. Wearing greasy makeup can also clog the pores and cause acne to develop. In some cases, acne is hereditary.
While stress doesnt cause acne, it can make it worse. Other factors, like pollution, high humidity, and skin irritation can also contribute to more severe acne. If acne tends to develop in one area, consider possible irritants like pressure from tight collars, backpacks, or bike helmets.
Is There A Way To Balance Hormones Without Birth Control
There are several medications besides birth control that can help balance hormones and effectively treat acne. One of the most effective is called Spironolactone , an oral medication used to treat high blood pressure does not contain hormones or synthetic hormones. It’s actually a diuretic that works as an androgen blocker, which means it blocks the effects of male hormones in the body like testosterone, contributing to oil production and, ultimately, acne.
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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.
How To Use The Birth Control Pill To Treat Acne
If you have acne and want to use the birth control pill to treat it, the best approach is to talk to your healthcare provider . Depending on the severity of your acne, they may recommend a specific pill as a treatment.
If youre uncomfortable talking to your healthcare provider about birth control, we offer an online consultation with a healthcare provider and a choice of 10 different birth control pills, including generic forms of Yaz or Ortho Tri-Cyclen, both of which are approved by the FDA as acne treatments.
It can take several months for the birth control pill to help bring your acne under control. For the best results, its important to be patient and give your medication at least three to six months to work before assessing your skin.
Although some birth control pills can help to treat acne, they may not be enough to ensure you no longer experience acne breakouts. If you have severe or difficult-to-treat acne, your healthcare provider may prescribe a medication like tretinoin, clindamycin or isotretinoin in addition to the pill.
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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.