Does birth control help with acne? The answer is yes and no. Read on to learn if birth control can help with acne or does it cause acne. Also discover the best birth control pills for acne.
Hormonal and Birth Control Acne
Acne on the face is a very common problem for many teenagers and adults around the world. Did you know that one of the major causes of acne, especially in teenagers and women, is hormonal imbalances?
When the male or female body is going through puberty or when a woman is at a certain point in her menstrual cycle, a hormone called androgen is produced in larger amounts. Androgen is sometimes known as the “sex hormone” because of its role in the sexual functions of both men and women alike.
One of the unfortunate side effects of increased androgen production is that the pores on your face tend to start releasing more sebum (skin oil). The more sebum is produced, the more likely you are to experience clogs in your pores. This is especially evident in the chin area of the face.
For this reason, many women are prescribed birth control pills to treat acne if other treatments are not proving to be effective.
Does Birth Control Help with Acne?
Birth control can be a very effective way to treat hormonal acne in women. Contraceptives release hormones which make it unnecessary for the body to produce as many androgens. The lower androgen count in the bloodstream means that less sebum is produced and the pores in your face can operate as usual.
Best Birth Control Pill for Acne
At the moment there are three FDA approved birth control pills for acne. These pills all use a combination of estrogen and progestin, as it has been shown through research that progestin-only pills can give you a worse case of birth control acne instead of improving it.
Birth control injections normally only feature progestin, so they are not recommended for acne treatment and may actually make your acne more pronounced and irritated instead.
There are the 3 types of birth control that help with acne:
This is an effective contraceptive for acne treatment. It uses estrogen and a manmade progestin called drospirenone. Other pills that use this type of progestin include Yasmin, Ocella, Loryna, Gianvi, Beyaz, Safyral, Syeda, and Zarah.
Many of these are also prescribed as acne treatments, although they are not officially approved by the FDA for use as acne treatments. These pills may carry a higher risk of blood clots.
Another pill that’s great for acne treatment in some women, this pill uses estrogen and a manmade progestin called norgestimate. It is a synthetic form of progestin, but no significant issues have been reported from women who are taking this pill.
You can get this pill with different doses of estrogen.
As the last FDA approved form of birth control that helps with acne, Estrostep uses estrogen and the synthetic progestin norethindrone. Again, this progestin is not shown to have any sort of negative effects when taken. You can get this pill with various doses of estrogen.
Each pill uses a different form of synthetic progestin, but they are for the most part equal in treatment of acne. Some women might do better on one pill than another, making it great to have 3 different options. These pills are all available in the US.
Other brands of birth control for acne are Sprintec, Trinessa and Apri.
Can Birth Control Cause Acne?
Many times it happens that stopping birth control can cause acne. This is due to the hormonal upheaval the body goes through after getting off birth control.
Sometimes birth control can cause acne. It is because of not all birth control pills help acne.
Keep in mind that not every birth control pill can have a positive impact on your acne. Pills must have a combination of estrogen and progestin, instead of using exclusively progestin as many contraceptives do.
Is it Safe to Use Birth Control for Acne?
Birth control and antibiotics are the two most common forms of pills for acne. Antibiotics are taken to fight the bacteria that create the irritated pimples. As mentioned in this Women’s Health article, research has shown that birth control can be a more effective acne treatment than antibiotics.
It can be safer to take birth control pills than any antibiotics, as your body can build up a resistance to antibiotics that might impede any future treatments if you become sick with a bacterial infection.
While there are possible side effects from birth control pills, they are less likely to occur and most are not serious. You can read more about the side effects in this WebMD page on the topic of birth control for acne. It’s best not to consider the option of birth control for acne unless you have no other choice.
Best Candidates for Birth Control for Acne
There are a few things that you should pay attention to before you consider asking your doctor about
birth control for acne. Check to see that you fit into some or all of these categories:
- You are 15 years of age or older
- You have a regular menstrual cycle
- You are not currently pregnant or breast feeding
- You are in need of a contraceptive, not just acne treatment
- Your acne is severe and unresponsive to other forms of treatment
Benefits and Risks of Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills for acne can make a big difference on the quality of your skin and could be the break you need in treating your acne. However, it’s better not to consider this unless you are already in need of a contraceptive or you have talked with your doctor about this treatment method.
Here are some of the benefits and risks you may face when using birth control:
- Reduced acne breakouts
- A decrease in the amount and severity of pimples
- Reduced severity of your acne
- Less irritation and inflammation of acne
- Migraine headaches and other severe headaches
- High blood pressure, among other possible cardiovascular issues
- Sudden mood swings and depression
- Liver disease
- Gallbladder disease
Your acne can be an embarrassing and severe problem. If topical skin treatments have not been effective in treating your facial acne, you may want to ask your doctor about birth control that helps with acne.
There are 3 officially approved birth control pills that are commonly prescribed for acne treatment to women who are in need of a contraceptive and acne treatment. While you shouldn’t use birth control pills as a first attempt to treat your acne, they can prove to be a highly effective method for those who already need contraceptive or have not had any success with other treatments.
Hormonal imbalances can cause a lot of problems for your facial acne. Birth control for acne might be your best option for countering the imbalances in your body’s hormones!